Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten accordingly. I LOVE lists, they keep me happyโ€ฆhere are my top 10 picks for this weeks topic:

June 26th 2016: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far…

*had this been a prompt for the 2nd half of the year I think I would’ve tapped out with all the great books we have coming our way. The books listed below are in no particular order.

(Covers  —-> Goodreads Links)


320756711. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

*A raw & moving read relevant to our current times. It’s hard to read THUG & not walk away feeling like you need to do your part in the Black Lives Matter movement. Check out my review here.

 

 

 

 

 


2. love, and you by Gretchen Gomez34335011

*For all those who have experienced that one toxic relationship, you know? the one you simply cannot let go…this one is for you. Love, and you will haunt you with each turn of a page & ultimately will leave you with hope for healing. Check out my review here.

 

 

 

 

 


   3. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera   history-is-all-you-left-me

* If you’ve been following me for a while now, this comes as no surprise. I ADORE Adam Silvera to pieces! so much so that after being pushed by a mob at Bookcon for his new book They Both Die at the End, my hubby went into full on Superhero mode & got me a copy smh lol. Every single one of his books make me cry & I keep going back for more! smh. Check out my review here.

 

 

 


4. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
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*Upside was my 1st Albertalli book & it was everything I could’ve hoped for and some. I laughed so hard & fell in love with all of these characters. Filled with diversity & positive body rep, Upside is a Gem of a book <3. Check out my review here.

 

 

 

 

 


5. A Million Junes by Emily HenryA Million Junes

*STUNNING writing! if you’ve ever felt a tad bit intimidated (Me) by Magical Realism or even had a bad experience reading a MR book, please give this one a go, it’s not at all the type that will have you looking all types of constipated trying to figure it out lol. A beautiful story at its core about a daughter trying to find answers from her father who passed away…Check out my review here.

 

 


6. The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

25489134*This was Katherine Arden’s debut novel & OMYGOSHHH how is it so damn good?!?! Atmospheric, slower paced, filled with Russian folklore gahhhh! female protog reminds me of Merida from Brave lol, be still my heart! Check out my review here.

 

 

 

 

 


300954647. The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) By Rin Chupeco

*The Bone Witch has a ton of mixed reviews, mostly the complaint was based on the slow pacing & I won’t deny that it is slow paced.  However, as a lover of Memoirs of a Geisha, I instantly got sucked into this world and its main protog. This one is for the lover of lush worlds & details. I am looking forward to the sequel . Check out my review here

 

 


8. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappa Eliza and her monsters

*I am still a mess from having to leave this world & these characters. For those who have ever loved being part of a fandom, Eliza is your girl! filled with bits of comic strips and online chat messages this book will make you wish Monstress Sea was a real thing ๐Ÿ˜‰ Check out my review here.  

 

 

 

 


291028969. Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

*Impactful, raw, painful, but necessary. A story centered around dating abuse & domestic violence  I just recently finished Bad Romance & it’s safe to say that it will resonate with me for years to come. This isn’t the type of book I’d recommend to just anyone as it does tackle many difficult topics. Check out my review here.

 

 

 


Our Dark Duet10. Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab

* I couldn’t possibly compose a list of my favorites so far & not include the most satisfying conclusion to a duology. Our Dark Duet left me in tears & heartbroken yet at the same time, it was perfect. Review to come just as soon as I could work up my nerve to write my RAVE review lol ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 


Happy Tuesday Bookworms!!! have you read any of the books I’ve listed? It’s already the last week of June & there are a ton more EPIC reads ahead of us *Gasps* legit wish I could slow down the hands of time just a smidge ๐Ÿ˜‰

April Wrap-Up & Book Haul

April was a solid reading month & I finally beat my 4 book per month streak! I read 6 books & only 2 were in the 3 star range so I’d say that it was one of my best months when it comes to quality ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m pinning the reason for breaking my 4 book streak on the fact that my hubby, 2 tiny humans, and I were sick for about 2 weeks. It honestly felt like a never ending battle since we were all taking turns lol. Other than reading, it was a quiet month with an occasional miserable sick whimper on the home front but I welcomed it nonetheless. The next few months are always crazy with my 2 tiny humans & this one won’t be any different with Bookcon (tickets arrived yesterday! eeeeK!) right around the corner. I did manage to squeeze in my monthly date with the hubby but more on that towards the end of this wrap-up/haul <3’s

I was supposed to have mixed in a few graphic novels in honor of Saga Volume 7 being released however, that didn’t happen. I did get to read the final copy of my twin Gretchen’s poetry book. Ladies & Gents I can’t stop raving about it, I related to her writing on a personal level but what I loved the most was how there’s a little of something for everyone. Gretchen is also a book blogger who shares her love for books & poetry on her blog @ChicNerdReads ๐Ÿ˜‰

On to my…

     Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (3 Stars)

A Million Junes by Emily Henry โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 Stars)

A Flame in the Mist โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 Stars)

Spindle Fire โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (3 Stars)

The Upside of Unrequited โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 STARS)

Love & You โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 STARS)

If youโ€™d like to support Gretchen’s beautiful writing, please purchase a copy of love, and you at one of the following:

Amazon (also available worldwide)

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository

CreateSpace

*currently free for those who have Kindle Unlimited

Ok so…lol…in preparation for the heavy book releasing month of May, I wasn’t trying to buy ANY books. Of course, every bookworm who tries to adhere to even a small book buying ban sees themselves tempted by the Book Gods smh. I myself purchased 4 physical books & 3 e-books however, thanks to my AMAZING book blogger friends Debby @AlwaysBooking, Danielle @BooksVertigoandTea, and my twin Gretchen @ChicNerdReads the book gifts were a plenty lol. I’m seriously happy to have met these lovely ladies, they make my work day go so much faster โค 

Click on pic to follow my gram @Lair_Of_Books for more snaps ๐Ÿ˜‰

Strange The Dreamer, Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1), Empress of a Thousand Skies (Empress of a Thousand Skies #1) (gift from Debby), Queens Of Geek (gift from Gretchen), Dream Waters (giveaway win-Dream Waters #1), The Broken Empire trilogy (gift from Danielle), Saga Vol. 7, Avenged (Ruined #2) (Goodreads win), Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2), Nemesis (Project Nemesis #1), Thirteen Reasons Why

*April’s BOTM & Owlcrate Unboxing

Timekeper (Timekeeper #1), The Handmaid’s Tale, The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1), Love, & You

Date night’s are always tough for the hubby & I who don’t have a night sitter so we opted for a US day. A personal day where we take off from work & catch a flick, some good food, visit a bookstore or 2, and walk around the city indulging in our free time sans the 2 tiny humans. In April’s day off we caught Fate of the Furious aka Fast 8. Now I had my doubts, the franchise is 8 movies deep & after the tragic loss of Paul Walker I was feeling like maybe it’s time for them to write the final chapter. I also contemplated not watching at all but hubby really wanted to see this one as a fan of fast cars & things that explode. I was pleasantly surprised to see the way they flipped the tables in this one with the team going up against Don. I was also very happy to see some old familiar faces return after being absent in the last movie. The plot twists & revelations leave many roads this team can take. There are strong rumors that Universal is in the process of creating a spin-off with Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Charlize Theron (see here). For now I think i’ll keep watching where this team that I’ve been following since day 1 goes…

This post is on time with being late of course & May is well underway. I already mini hauled 4 books smh BUT they are ones I’ve wanted to read for a while now. I’m actually currently reading The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich & enjoying it so i’m glad to have chosen it in my May’s Book of the Month subscription box. 

What are you lovely bookworms currently reading/watching/enjoying/dis-liking?

Review: A Million Junes by Emily Henry

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A Million Junes by Emily Henry

Publisher:ย Razorbill

Publication Date: May 16th, 2017

Genre:ย YA Fantasy/Magical Realism/Contemp

Pages: 350ย pages

Format:ย eGalley

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 Stars)

*HUGE thanks toย Razorbillย and Emily Henryย for the ARC copy of A Million Junes.

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Romeo and Juliet meets One Hundred Years of Solitude in Emily Henry’s brilliant follow-up to The Love That Split the World, about the daughter and son of two long-feuding families who fall in love while trying to uncover the truth about the strange magic and harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations.

In their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, the O’Donnells and the Angerts have mythic legacies. But for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them, except to say it began with a cherry tree.

Eighteen-year-old Jack โ€œJuneโ€ Oโ€™Donnell doesn’t need a better reason than that. She’s an O’Donnell to her core, just like her late father was, and O’Donnells stay away from Angerts. Period.

But when Saul Angert, the son of June’s father’s mortal enemy, returns to town after three mysterious years away, June can’t seem to avoid him. Soon the unthinkable happens: She finds she doesn’t exactly hate the gruff, sarcastic boy she was born to loathe.

Saulโ€™s arrival sparks a chain reaction, and as the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers conspire to reveal the truth about the dark moment that started the feud, June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored. And she must decide whether it’s finally time for herโ€”and all of the O’Donnells before herโ€”to let go.

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At first glance, A Million Junes is hands down a Romeo & Juliet re-telling in the country. However, at its core A Million Junesย can also read as a open love letter from aย father to his daughter. June O’Donell lives with her mom, stepdad, and half brothers in Five Fingers Michigan where the O’Donell’s are sort of famous in their own right. June’s dad who passed away, made sure June knew to stay away from the Angerts aka the other infamous family in Five Fingers. The bad blood has run for 3 generations however, no one can pinpoint the exact moment the feud started orย the cause of it. Both the O’Donell’s & the Angerts believe they’ve been cursed so that whenever their paths cross (often they do) bad things happen. June’s dad may no longer be living but this doesn’t stop June’s mom from continuing to keep a healthy distance from the Angerts. This of course all changes when June goes to the fair with her best bestfriend Hannah & bumps into Saul Angert. Saul is a few years older than June & has just returned from a pricey artsy school for writers. No one really knows why he’s back in town other than that he is staying with his dad who was a former top bestselling author. Although Saul has heard all about the curse over both their families, he is a non-believer and crossing paths with June soon changes that. For June is a O’Donell through & through, she believes in the curse and in the magic thrumming in Five Fingers. She sees a spirit with a pink feathery aura & a fox who appears every so often in their backyard waiting for them to give it their shoes. To June, her dad was a hero and a wonderful story teller & she believed each and every last story no matter how outlandish they may have seemed at the time. The more June tries to avoid Saul, the more they are thrown together. The spirits in and around her home are trying to tell her something, they keep transporting her to others memories. Memories of her dad from his recollection when she was just a little girl. Each & every time the “Whites” (aka little puffs of white that can be seen on her windows)ย come to show her a new memory, June gets to know her dad a little more. Everything she thought she knew to be true may or may not be a fact. To June, these trips to the past through the “whites” offer her so much insight on her father, grandfather, and great grandfather but are they harmless? And can June let go of what she & every O’Donell before her has always believed in & follow her heart?…

Starting with Five Fingers, this town is its own character filled with spirits, ghosts, and forest animals that steal your shoes. I fell in love with this strange little town even though at times it did creep me out just a little bit. Everything from the famous O’Donnell Cherry tree to the haunted lake kept me hooked in Five Fingers. June herself is sarcastic and blunt, making her a fun character to follow. Her best friend Hannah is one of my new fave sidekicks! From their own made up way of greeting eacother to how she has June’s back no matter what, Hannah is an instant fave. This right here was A+ female friendship goals ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ Saul Angert aka the Romeo in this book, wasn’t THE BEST on the interesting meter but he scored some major brownie points towards the end. Now, last but not least is June’s dad. Although deceased, he is definitely a character all throughout this book. We get to know him and his love for June in a way perhaps that wouldn’t have been possible if were alive. He clearly had tons of love for June, enough for it to transcend beyond the veil of the living & dead. It was this relationship in particular that will stay with me for a lifetime. I myself lost my dad, a man who loved to tell stories just like June’s dad & I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I picked this book up…I’m glad I did though ๐Ÿ˜‰ these characters are endearing, strange, and filled with magic.

I’m usually very weary when it comes to Magical Realism & A Million June’s was no exception. I love MR but it’s not always an easy experience to read & enjoy. This book is for those that may even be a little intimidated by Magical Realism. I found the writing style to be easy to digest which only heightened my level of enjoyment. This was a very atmospheric read that will ask you suspend all disbelief which I found myself doing immediately (leave it a Fantasy lover lol)ย once I entered the town of Five Fingers. I mentioned in the beginning that on the surface this is inspired by Rome & Juliet however, it was so much more than that. By the time I finished the last sentence I found myself in a puddle of tears atย the realization that this story is more about a father’s love for his daughter. I’ve never read anything by Henry but now I am absolutely buying her last book The Love That Split The World if only to get a bit more of her unique writing style ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have any of my bookish peeps read A Million Junes? or are planning to? Sound off in the comments below <3’s!ย 

Also, if any of you have read The Love That Split The World please let me know ifย I should pick up a copy ๐Ÿ˜‰

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three Wโ€™s listed below. Once youโ€™ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Samโ€™s comments <3โ€™s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think youโ€™ll read next?

*Covers = Links to Goodreadsย 

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I’m currently reading Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyerย which I’ve read so many negative reviews on *unfortunately* but I’m not hating so there’s that *glass half full* I wouldn’t say that this a 5 star read but at the 50% point I see some things that I do like. I’ve always been a sucker for a Sleeping Beauty re-telling & couldn’t resist this one but I am feeling a bit under-whelmed.

I recently finished Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis (review here) which I rated 3 stars. Although I didn’t LOVE it, I am in love with two of the characters in this book to actually want to pick up the conclusion to this duology. This is Mindy’s 1st dipย into YA Fantasy pool & in the spirit of giving authors a 2nd chance, I’d say that yes I would give it another go. I admire authors who take risks and cross genre’s (thinks of Adam Silvera & smiles lol) when done right, it can be interesting to see a different style of story telling from your favorite author. Now, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalliย I believe was aiming to shatter my cheeks with how much smiling I was doing haha! I have been seriously going through a YA Fantasy burn-out/slump due to ARCS I’m trying to do right by smh lol. I needed a contemporary & I’m so glad I picked up Upside!!! I have a review going live on Thursday & I can’t recommend this book enough. The positive body image representationย for plus size was FLAWLESS! and yea I can say this since I am plus size ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

I’m not really sure in which order I’ll read these yet, it really all depends on my mood after I finish Spindle Fire. Although I am currently feeling slumpy with YA Fantasy…I’ll shamefully admit, I haven’t read anything by Renee Ahdieh *for shame* &&&& I’m curious about her writing now. I mean I own The Wrath & The Dawn but don’t honestly know why I haven’t read it yet…the woman obviously speaks to my cover lust/vanity side. Also, who doesn’t want to read a Mulan re-telling? I think ya’ll know which one I’m leaning towards LOL! it’s a close tie if i’m being honest only because I love Magical Realism & have heard lovely things about A Million Junes so far ๐Ÿ˜‰

Comment down below whether you think I should read A Million Junes or A Flame in the Mist next? Also, did any of you participate in WWW Wednesday? if so, drop that link & iโ€™ll swing by your blog for a peek. <3<3<3 XOXO!

March Owlcrate & Book of the Month Unboxing

March proved to be a bit of a slumpy month for me in so many areas…books, blogging, putting away the laundry, etc. etc…One thing I managed to muster up some enthusiasm over however, were my BOTM & Owlcrate boxes. Super excited to have received Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller, I was lucky enough to snag a arc copy a few months back & absolutely loved this swashbuckly story of what I’ve come to refer to as the female Jack Sparrow HAHA! As for Book of the Month,ย I was actually considering skipping March since I could NOT decide if any of the books appealed to me. After coincidentally watching threeย Booktube videos for BOTM, I was convinced by one book & I’m so happy I opted to go with this one because it has so many elements I’ve come to love in Fiction (Magical Realism) & it’s a diverse/own voices read. So w/out further ado…

Follow my gram @Lair_Of_Books for more snaps ๐Ÿ˜‰

This monthโ€™s theme is Sailors, Ships & Seas, in the box are the following items:

โš“๏ธ Hardcover copy of Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levensellerย (My 5 Star review here)

โš“๏ธ temporary skull tattoo (won’t wear but saving for the Gram)

โš“๏ธ roll of Simply Gilded Mermaid Washi Tapeย (maybe in planner?)

โš“๏ธย Kitch Studios Tea Towelย (saving for the Gram)

โš“๏ธย Boy Girl Party Notepadย (cute as hell, using RIGHT AWAY!)

โš“๏ธ necklace & pendant fromย The Geeky Cauldron Compass Pendant Necklaceย (already wore this out & got 1 compliment YAY!)

โš“๏ธ exclusive Owlcrate Pirate pin (not picture here, already in my 6 yr olds possession)

My Rating:ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (4 STARS)

 

Follow my gram @Lair_Of_Books for more snaps ๐Ÿ˜‰

Goodreads Blurb

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meetโ€”sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doorsโ€”doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

*I haven’t gotten around to reading Exit West just yet due to a back log of arcs I’m working my way through at the present moment. However, if any of you have a non-spoilery review or just thoughts then I’d โค to hear them ๐Ÿ˜‰

What are yourย thoughts on the March Owlcrate box? Have any of my bookish peeps read Daughter of the Pirate King? For my fellow BOTM subscribers, what were your selections for March? also, if you subscribe to any other boxes & have done a unboxing, drop yourย link down below ๐Ÿ˜‰

October Wrap-Up & Haul

 

Wrap-Up

October saw me reaching for cozy reads which I find mostly in mystery, suspense, and humor. I was lucky to have come across some quality reads, three of these were real page turners and 1 was an audiobook. I’m now interested in reading more books by Lisa Unger, Cyna Blog, and Anna-Marie McLemore. Personally, I love when I come across new or under the radar authors in my TBR’s that truly surprise me. October was a slow blogging month for me & I’m only now crawling out of my blog slump but I never stop reading. As a matter of fact, the rest of the year is going to demand that I organize my reading schedule & tackle some arcs. The month of October was pretty AMAZING for me with bookish experiences. I attended my very 1st Comiccon/Bookcon (event post here) with my husband & bookish twin Gretchen @Chicnerdreads where I met some AMAZING authors & scored some epic arcs. I attended 3 days out of 4 and learned some valuable tips & tricks all while having a blast surrounded by the book community. I loved my October & I’m looking forward to Bookcon 2017 since at the moment BEA is up in the air due to all of the changes taking place with the event (Publishers Weekly article). November is here & with it comes Thanksgiving & basically the start of all of the end of the year festivities. I’m hoping to take advantage of some of my days off to read on the go since mostly, I spend it with family. Next week on the 17th, I have a Crooked Kingdom Buddy read & i’m hyped up for that ๐Ÿ™‚

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When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore 5 Stars

Gemina by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman 5 Stars

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (audiobook) 3.5 Stars

Ink And Bone by Lisa Unger 4.75 Stars

Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog  5 Stars

Book Haul

My October Book Haul was humble…at least I think it is compared to previous months LOL. A major reason for this was that as I mentioned above, I attended Bookcon & came home with a good stash to keep me far away from the bookshop. Two of the books listed below were gifts from my hubby (Harry Potter & Vassa) and the others were either Bookoutlet, B&N, and Book Of The Month. I did purchase 1 Kindle book, I jumped when I saw The Underground Girls OF Kabul for $1.99 since this is a book that i’ve been itching to read since last year smh *covers eyes*  Overall though, my book shopping is going to see a MAJOR slow down for the rest of the year. I won’t call Book Ban LOL cuz that would be setting myself up for failure haha! BTW I had to cancel Book Of The Month, they changed their plans after I subscribed for the very 1st time. Switching me from my preferred month-to-month plan to a 3 month plan at $48…yea no, as much as I love BOTM I am simply not rollin in the dough to give them all my $$$ so instead I’ll check out their monthly picks & continue buying books from their selections sans a subscription. If they ever bring back the month-to-month plan I would gladly sign right back up but until then, i’ll admire from afar ๐Ÿ˜‰

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A Study In Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro  (Bookoutlet)

Every Heart A Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire (Bookoutlet)

Vassa In The Night by Sarah Porter (Owlcrate-recurring VDay gift from Lรฉ Hubby)

The Mothers by Brit Bennett  (Book Of The Month $5 for their 1st box)

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (B&N Coupons & Sale =$5.99)

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (full price cuz it’s worthy LOL)

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (gift from Lรฉ Hubby)

The Underground Girls Of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg  (Kindle $1.99)

 

In Other News…

October saw me become OBSESSED with Luke Cage!!! every night I came home & after settling our 2 tiny humans in for the night, hubby & I would watch 1 episode a night. Netflix has been putting out some quality series & this one is no exception. Luke Cage touched on relevant current day issues taking place within black communities, thought provoking with it’s subtleties. I couldn’t stop watching this man who is bullet proofa man of colorbullet proof…let that sink in my fellow bookies. Hands down, this show was one of the best i’ve watched in 2016 & I’m looking forward to any news of a 2nd season. Also, the soundtrack…I am truly old school with my music & when I say old school I mean old school hip hop. The series has WuTang on it’s soundtrack which was a perfect fit & gave it more character. If you’re into that old school feel with a mix of politics and kick a** scenes then Luke Cage is for you. It does have a bit of a slow beginning but the pay off is HUGE! This is the 3rd series after Daredevil & Jessica Jones (to be followed by Iron Fist last) that will tie into Marvel’s The Defenders (Youtube trailer here).

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โ€‹Hope you’re all having a great November, I’m a bit late with my October wrap-up & haul โ€‹but if you’d like to share a link to yours, i’d love to take a gander ๐Ÿ˜‰

Review: When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

 When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Published by: Thomas Dunne /St. Martinโ€™s Press

Date of Publication: October 4th 2016

Genres: Young Adult/Magical Realism/LGBTQ

Pages: 288

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…(5 stars)

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themesโ€”a transgender boy, the best friend heโ€™s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Mielโ€™s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Mielโ€™s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And theyโ€™re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

Iโ€™d like to thank Thomas Dunne /St. Martinโ€™s Press for approving me to receive an eGalley of When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT

When the Moon Was Ours is the story of two best friends, Miel & Sam who meet when they are children, under unusual circumstances. The townโ€™s water tower has fallen & Miel, a child at the time is found sitting there when the water washes away. The belief is that she came from the water tower. Sam is the only person/child that Miel allows to approach her & since that day, theyโ€™ve been inseparable. A friendship that grows with them & eventually turns into much more. Both Miel & Sam hold secrets close to their hearts. This is their story of coming to terms with, accepting, and loving who they are. Itโ€™s about releasing your fears & understanding your loved oneโ€™s journey at their pace. A story about self-identity & living your truth. Sam short for Samir is a transgender Pakistani boy who the town often refers to as moon for all of the globes/moons he paints & hangs all throughout the town and woods. Sam & his mother who is a stay at home teacher, moved to the town with no paper trail to their past. Miel (Spanish to English translation: Honey) is a Latina girl with a fear of pumpkins & is believed to have been cursed. Miel has an open wound on her arm where a rose with vines & thorns grow. when in full bloom, Miel offers them up to the river. Miel was taken in & cared for by a neighbor after she was found by the tower of water. The neighbor, a Latina woman who is known as the town’s Curandera, specializes in curing lovesickness. The story revolves around Miel, Sam, Sam’s mom, Aracely (Miel’s caretaker), and lastly the Bonner sisters (4 in total). The Bonner sisters are known for their beauty, red hair, and ability to attract any male in town with little to no effort as if they have bewitched them. When one of the Bonner sisters does something that could bring shame to the family, she is sent away. It is her return that shakes up Miel & Sam’s lives. The Bonner sisters seem to have lost their magic but believe the  rumor that the roses growing from Miel’s arm can restore beauty & attraction, are true. So begins this story filled with pain, sadness, and beauty…


โ€œTo the boys who get called girls, the girls who get called boys, and those who live outside these words. To those called names, and those searching for names of their own. To those who live on the edges, and in the spaces in between. I wish for you every light in the sky.โ€


CHARACTERS

I LOVED these characters so much that my heart was breaking for them for more than 80% of the book. Sam, a transgender Pakistani boy who binds his chest & practices his voice to make sure it sounds low & developed at the same rate as other boys in school. Sam who adopts a tradition that his grandmother passed on to him, called bacha posh “a cultural practice in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan in which families who have daughters but no sons dress a daughter as a boy. The daughter then acts as a son to the family. As an adult, a bacha posh traditionally returns to living as a girl, now a woman” Sam adopts this tradition thinking he would one day want to be a woman. Sam will forever be in my heart for all of his beauty & tenderness towards Miel. For all of the moons he lit up & hung around the homes of children who couldn’t sleep. Miel is a girl who carries guilt, pain, and beauty on her arm. This book is full of metaphors & beautiful prose but it’s clear that the roses are connected to Miel’s own heart. The cruelty she experiences at the hands of the Bonner sisters broke my heart into pieces & I felt the need to protect her. The parentals, it’s rare nowadays that you come across parentals in YA books that you actually like but that are also flawed themselves. Such is the case with Sam’s mom & Aracely who is Miel’s caretaker, these women have plenty of pain of their own but they both are portrayed as very strong women.  What I loved the most about these two is the support & understanding they both provided to Sam & Miel. They guided both Miel & Sam, making sure to toughen them up for what was sure to come.

WRITING

The writing in When The Moon Was Ours is full of magic, folklore and legends. Lush with the littlest of details making their world come to life on the pages. So much beauty in the words for these characters who experienced profound pain & sadness. Sam went out of his way to bring out the beauty of the night to Miel & we can feel how much he truly loves her. I found myself caught up on some of the prose describing how he viewed Miel, tissue at the ready. When I read violent scenes I was always struck by the contrast in the world Sam & Miel had created for themselves next to what it really is. To be honest I didn’t know if this book was for me because although I love Magical Realism, McLemore’s writing is very lyrical & reminiscent of Laini Taylor…I just have to be in the mood for their style of writing. Thankfully I decided to stick with it & now I have a new favorite story that will for sure stay in my heart.

THOUGHTS

I actually read the afterward at the end of this book & I’m glad because Anna-Marie McLemore shares a bit of where she drew inspiration for this book. She met her husband when they were both teens & always wondered whether he was transgender. There were moments where she noticed his awkwardness at being grouped with other females. She provided for him the same understanding that he gave her. Anna-Marie had nightmares of La Llorona as a child. In myths she is said to have drowned her own children & roamed around wailing at night and stealing daughters from their parents. She talks about providing that understanding for her husband when he did decide to live his life in the gender he identifies with. It wouldn’t be until many years later that she would write When the Moon Was Ours, a story that at its base is an extension of her own life experiences. Reading this part about the author’s personal experience made this story all the more special.