September Monthly Wrap Up

September was such an odd month having just returned from vacation during the very first week, I was riding a happiness HIGH! Many asked me where I’d gone to which I responded “The happiest place on Earth” YES! Orlando Florida/Disneyland. See, this was my first vacation in over 10 years and I had no clue how badly I needed it till my first morning of waking up without an alarm clock.  Best of all was our trip to Universal Studios aka home to Harry Potter aka the land of endless Butterbeer *heart eyes* I’ve told this story here before but, I met my hubby when I walked into my 1st day of work at my then office, carrying Goblet of Fire. He was holding a copy of Deathly Hallows & we gravitated towards each other in true Nerd love haha! It was nice getting to experience & share our love for a fandom that lives near & dear to our hearts. Although it did rain all the while we were there, that didn’t stop us from seeing all there is to see in HP world. We finished our trip by getting our wands & having lunch at the Three broomsticks #BLISS! 🙂

Once back in New York I dived back into my books since I didn’t necessarily miss them (1st vacay & all) while away but once back I wanted to read them all. I joined #Contemporaryathon to keep it light but I did manage to squeeze in two amazing Fantasy books & one beautiful anthology. All in all, it’s probably one of the MOST fun reading months I’ve had all year long…

 

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson✨5 STARS 

I didn’t know what to expect going into this one but it was hands down one of the best adult fantasy books I’ve ever read. This was the book chosen by Melanie from Meltotheany for her Birthday Read along & I’m so glad I decided to participate. There’s a ton of political strategizing & ruthlessness to spare but I still believe this one is best to go into blind. If you’re a fan of Game Of Thrones, this will most likely appeal to you 😉

Check Out Mel’s Review here

As She Ascends (Fallen Isles #2) by Jodi Meadows (Review✨5 STARS 

This is the sequel to top all sequels! I absolutely devoured this read and loved every minute of it. If you read Before She Ignites and enjoyed it but wished there’d been more action & more DRAGONS! please pick this one up! Meadows knocks it out the park and really fleshed out all her characters. Side characters step up and the dragons have personalities & just gahhhhh! I could be here all day gushing about this one haha 🙂

Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Youth (Review✨4 STARS 

This is an anthology I was sent for review and another one I am so glad to have had the privilege of reading. I think this collection is SUPER important & very much needed. This is a Own Voices collection, I’m unsure if each of the authors represent the exact disability their own story was based off of. There’s a variety of disabilities/mental health rep in this collection that I loved to pieces!

Fight or Flight by Samantha Young (FULL RTC)✨3 STARS

Sooo this is where it got interesting haha! I won’t lie and say I wasn’t flipping pages at the speed of light.This was honestly one of those rare moments where I picked up a Contemp. Romance & thought I was enjoying it but something was niggling me that just couldn’t be ignored. The Male love interest, ahhhh! he wasn’t the nicest & often left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I have a full review coming to the blog this Sunday 10/14/18.

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (Review✨4 STARS

If you read & enjoyed The Wedding Date earlier this year, I’d say it’s a safe bet you will also enjoy this companion novel set in the same world. TBH, I enjoyed this one wayyyyy more than TWD. From the minute we were introduced to Carlos in TWD, I knew I wanted a full backstory to this character! with only a few bumps in the road, I can honestly say I was satisfied with this arc. Also, if you enjoy books with food and culture weaved in then I’d say you’re in for a real treat with this one 😉

Blue Is The Warmest Color by Julie Maroh (Graphic Novel)✨5 STARS

Goodness! I really didn’t think I’d end up crying with this one. As a matter of fact I was wondering whether I was just dead inside and couldn’t see what everyone else was seeing. Whelp! those last few pages REALLLLLY got me & sure enough the tears flowed easily. This is one that stays with you way after you’ve finished reading. I fave a mini-spoiler free review coming but If you decide to give this one a go, content warning for Homophobia & cheating

Pride by Ibi Zoboi (FULL RTC)✨5 STARS

Saved the best for last here really! Keeping it short because I have a full on GUSH review coming on all the reason why this book is making my best of 2018 list. I also HIGHLY recommend the audio-book as it is narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo the author of The Poet X. This is a Pride & Prejudice “Remix” set in Brooklyn. The MC is Afro-Latinx & the very relevant topic of Gentrification within the city boroughs is woven all throughout. This book only further solidified my love for this author & I truly look forward to whatever she writes next.


I Hope you’re all having a wonderful day! we’re finally beginning to see Fall weather here & there in New York. I am so READY to pull out my sweaters, candles, and tea mugs *heart eyes*

I did want to let you know that I am running a GIVEAWAY over on my Instagram (IG link listed below) for a 2019 ARC of Four Dead Queens!!!!! head on over to the original IG post for the rules of entry & may luck be ever in your favor <3’s!


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This weeks topic spotlights the top 10 unread books by your favorite authors. I typically like to read my faves as they are released but this year saw me collecting them & not reading them? yea It’s this new thing where I find myself avoiding book hangovers by not reading my faves 🤦🏻‍♀️ this will be changing in 2019 though that’s for sure. Watch me play catch up 😉

*These are in no particular order*

September 25th: Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor– Strange made an appearance in my TTT last week as will others because I will be reading them this Fall/Winter season. Laini is my #1 favorite YA author of all time, this book is going to break me with its beauty & I’m finally ready to embrace all of it!

Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo– My Dark Queen has written two books that I haven’t read but know that I’m going to LOVE! I actually learned about this book from Leigh Bardugo while listening to her speak at a signing at NYC Strand. It wasn’t news in the bookish community so it was a real treat to get the 411 straight from Leigh Bardugo. Definitely reading WW this season.

The Language Of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo– This book is STUNNING both inside & out with eye popping illustrations. I meant to read this last Winter just cause it has cold season vibes but that didn’t happen. This Winter season I will be reading this collection.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff– Jay Kristoff won me over with The Illuminae Files & since then I’ve just wanted to read all of his books. I also own The Lotus War trilogy that I’d really like to get to but Nevernight has 100% of my interest for next Kristoff read.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare– It’s been a while since I’ve been in the Shadowhunter world & returning to it this Fall will probably be a bit nostalgic. I have a ton of good memories buddy reading TMI & TID with my hubby. Since he’s already read Lady Midnight, I will have someone at home to bounce my thoughts off of 😂

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman– Uncle Gaiman as I affectionally have dubbed him here on the blog, wrote a book and I haven’t read it 🙈 what’s worse is that I love anything Greek or Norse Mythology so I really don’t have any excuse. I’m a big fan of Gaiman’s audiobooks, he has one of my favorite narrating voices & it always feels like I’m getting a bedtime story. This is a collection of short stories so I may just read it along with another book.

Wire and Nerve by Marissa Meyer– This Illustrated Graphic Novel has been sitting on my shelves for far too long! I loved The Lunar Chronicles & Iko was my fave character along with Captain Thorne of course. Iko as a lead though is all my heart could’ve hoped for so it’s time I give this one a go.

Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker– K.A. Tucker holds a special place in my heart as the first New Adult author I ever read. I’m so happy it was Tucker cause since then I’ve been OBSESSED with anything she writes. Until It Fades gave me darker vibes though but that might just be my perception. Either way, having just recently finished The Simple Wild by Tucker, I want nothing more than to read those books I have yet to get to by this author.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – I actually received my Owlcrate exclusive edition box for the sequel Vengeful earlier today & it was EVERYTHING I could’ve hoped for 🙌🏽 I LOVED The Monsters of Verity Duology so much last year that I just simply couldn’t resist! Most bookworms love the Darker Shades Of Magic books & although I didn’t become obsessed after reading the 1st book, I haven’t quite given up on them either 😂 I will be reading Vicious sometime in October.

The Winds Of Winter by George R.R. Martin – Sort of cheating here since this isn’t out in the world for me to read but I feel putting it out in the Universe may make it actually happen in my lifetime #jussayin 🤷🏻‍♀️ We keep getting other books in this EPIC world & I welcome them all but I just really need book 6 like yesterday 😂


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The One Where I Try To Read All The Books…

Hey Bookworms! It’s Saturday morning when I’m writing this post to go up on Sunday. TBH I had no intentions of making this “Official” I kind of always participate on the low 😂🙈 which is probably because of how high I set the standard for myself & don’t always meet it 🤷🏻‍♀️ This time, I wanted a bit of accountability. These are just the books I’ll be reading during Contemporary-A-Thon, my actual September TBR is dreadful & scares me putting on paper so that’ll just stay in my head 😂 This readathon is run by some truly fantastic Booktubers I adore to pieces & you should definitely consider checking out:

Julie @PagesandPens

Chelsea @ChelseaDollingReads

Natasha @MyReadingIsOdd

The Challenges:

1. Read a contemporary with orange on the cover
2. Read a dark/spooky contemporary
3. Read a diverse contemporary
4. Read a contemporary in a non-traditional format
5. Read a contemporary that has your initials somewhere on the cover
6. Read a contemporary from a new to you author
7. Read a contemporary that is a 5 star prediction

 

Read a contemporary with orange on the cover  What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera Not only is my MOST anticipated Contemporary book of 2018! 😱 One of my top 3 fave authors co-wrote this book! If you’ve been following my blog for some time now, you probably know how much I LOVE Adam Silvera’s books! They always leave me wrecked yet I keep returning for more tear jerking reads. I also think this will be a 5 star read & it also fits the diverse read category as well.

🌟Bonus🌟 One of the MC’s  is Puerto-Rican & therefore this book aligns with Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018) 🖤

Read a dark/spooky contemporary  Sadie by Courtney Summers which I’ve been trying my hardest not to start before the readathon! this book legit checks off so many of my boxes & appeals to my love of Podcasts. It’s been a while since I discovered Serial & the Adnan Syed case, but my time listening/obsessing over each episode is still fresh in my memory. I’ve had a couple of book blogging buddies tell me there is now a podcast to go along with the book & GAHHH! I’m so ready! I have this book in physical format & then used 1 of my Audible credits for the audiobook after hearing some AMAZING things about the narration.

Read a diverse contemporary  The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory  is sort of a companion novel to The Wedding Date (My review) published earlier this year. Carlos, one of the side characters who starred in The Wedding Date had me wishing so hard for a character swap #jussayin 😂 he was way nicer & just all around chivalrous which is something rare. Carlos also IMO has excellent taste in foods 😉

🌟Bonus🌟 Carlos is a Latino Doctor which means this book also book aligns with Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018)

Read a contemporary in a non-traditional format  Blue is The Warmest Color by Julie Maroh is a graphic novel I’ve been meaning to get to since 2017 & never got around to it. I’ve heard it’s best to go into it blind but that it for sure is a tear jerker starring a F/F romance. STOKED to finally have no excuse to not get to this one. I also just found out a movie exists for this story (IMDB) 🖤

Read a contemporary that has your initials somewhere on the cover  The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid & no a longer title I could not find 😂 truth be told, I’ve been DYING to read this for so long. My initials are simple, ‘LB’ or my unmarried initials ‘LL’ can both be found in this title. I’m possibly even more excited to read this one than What If It’s Us. All great books but this is one I’ve owned for so long with the knowledge it’s going to be a 5 star read & that once I read it I won’t be able to experience it for the first time again…anyone else do this? procrastinate with nooks you know will be your next obsession? 😩😂

🌟Bonus🌟  MC is a Cuban bi-sexual woman which makes this one perfect for Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018)

Read a contemporary from a new to you author  Flight or Fight by Samantha Young which I’ll be buddy reading with Melanie from Meltotheany (we’re also BR The Proposal). I admittedly don’t know much about this one other than it’s a cute hate to love contemporary everyone has been buzzing about. This will be my first Samantha Young read & I’m hoping to find a new fave author 🖤

Read a contemporary that is a 5 star prediction  Pride by Ibi Zoboi is one I’ve been highly anticipating! After reading American Street & the short story written by Ibi Zoboi in the YA anthology Meet Cute, I can’t help but want to read everything this author writes. The fact that it takes place in my home city of Brooklyn & that it’s a Pride & Prejudice REMIX (not a retelling 😂) has me HYPED!

🌟Bonus🌟  The MC Zuri Benitez is Afro-Latina….we don’t have no where near enough Afro-Latinx MC’s in our books, so happy to be reading this one for Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018) 🖤


Contemporary-A-Thon takes place from 9/17-9/23, all info to participate can also be found in the Booktube channels listed above. If you are participating in the readathon or just happen to have ready any of the titles I’ll be reading, drop me some luv in the comments down below 🖤


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Spoiler Free Review: The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèli Clark

Title: The Black God’s Drums

Author: P. Djèli Clark

Pub. Date: August 21st. 2018

Genre: Sci-Fi/Steampunk/Fantasy/Novella

Publisher: Tor.com

Pages: 110

Content Warnings: Death, Slavery, War themes, racism

Buddy Read: Mel from Meltotheany

GOODREADS | BARNES AND NOBLE | AMAZON 

🖤 ARC received in exchange for an honest review 🖤

    

Black God’s Drums takes place in a alternate New Orleans in the late 1800’s, two decades since a slave uprising against the Confederates which led to their freedom. The slaves & “Free Coloured Militias” joined forces against the Confederates in a all out war that resulted in New Orleans getting assistance from Haitian, British, and French airships. From this a Truce was signed & New Orleans was made a neutral and open port. Our MC Jaqueline aka Creeper roams the docks picking pockets in order to feed herself.

Image from Pinterest, not my own

Creeper is also blessed & chosen by the Goddess Oya, ruler of the winds. Oya is one of many Orisha aka Black Gods known to live among the people although they can’t be seen. Oya makes her presence known to Creeper in her own language & living in alignment with her sister God is key to living a less chaotic life. I love reading anything about the Orishas & seeing them come to life on the page really enhanced my reading experience. They weren’t in the background, one God/Goddess can recognize when another human comes with another Orisha link and since the Orishas themselves have history, it doesn’t always make for a pleasant experience. One thing is for certain though, the Orishas want to help these people and they don’t want to see New Orleans succumb to terror & war at the hands of the Confederates or any other group of people who can’t accept emancipation.

Always silently sneaking in & out of places, trading in secrets for her survival, Creeper does stumble across some information that put New Orleans in danger. Her path crosses with Ann-Marie, a female lesbian Captain with a disability who Creeper thinks would be interested in buying said secret. Ann-Marie is a Privateer who ships cargo…well she also has a side job helping “General Tubman” smuggling slaves out and helping with the war against the Confederates. This makes Ann-Marie the ideal person to sell this secret to. Of course Ann-Marie is far from naive & decides she’s going to need to hear it from the horses mouth. Thus begins Creeper & Ann-Marie’s journey to uncover the threat hanging over New Orleans.

The Characters we meet along the way made me wish so hard for this to be turned into a full length novel! How can I get so attached to them in so little time?!?! Maybe because just like New Orleans, they come full of personality & life 🖤 I giggled a few times when we met the Nuns who know EVERYTHING & do a bit more than pray for New Orleans. We get a bit of alchemy in the mix that left me giving these characters a nod cause I really didn’t know what to expect.

My only grievance if that, would be that this book really deserves to be a full length novel 🖤 Clark fleshed out these characters so well they are still fresh in my mind a month after having read the last page. The world building had me in its clutches cause who doesn’t love airships, lesbian captains, Black Gods/Godesses and a all black main cast of characters?!?! I need more 🤗 & cannot stress enough how important it is to get these Own Voices diverse stories  🖤


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: TO BE HONEST BY MAGGIE ANN MARTIN

Title: To Be Honest

Author: Maggie Ann Martin

Pub. Date: August 21st. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Romance

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Pages: 304

Content Warnings: eating disorders, fat shaming, emotional abuse, cheating, anxiety/panic attacks

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

🖤 Thank you Swoon Reads for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review 🖤

We meet Savvy as she and her mom are taking her sister Ashley to her dorm in college & there are a lot of feelings from the start. Savvy does struggle with anxiety & having such a tight bond with her older sister made separating all the harder. Besides not having her very best friend around anymore, she also has to deal with a difficult, strained, and just plain toxic relationship with her mother. Savvy’s mom went through a life changing event after her husband/Savvy’s dad cheated on her with her best friend. Her mom won a spot on a weight loss TV show & was flown across the country for intense weight loss training. Upon her return, her whole outlook on weight was toxic and Savvy was unfortunately the person she affected most. We see Savvy miss the relationship she used to have with her mother  prior to the drastic weight loss. Savvy is vocal with her thoughts on the unhealthy weight loss these TV shows promote which causes her to butt heads more often with her mom.

“It took everything within me not to add some extra hashtags, like #LoveYourBody or #AllBodiesAreGoodBodies. I walked such a fine line with her because, yes, she was my mom, but I also did not agree with her views on her body and my body, for that matter”

That being said, Savvy really does love her mom & since it’s just the two of them home now, she tries her hardest to not cause friction or let her mom’s comments get to her. We follow their relationship & the very real fights that take place leading to days of silence. Maggie Ann Martin also did a A+ job of showing us Savvy’s mom & her battle with body image. I felt terrible for her mom because you know she’s a good mom but life’s curve ball really threw her off & her self esteem really took a hit. I wanted so badly to see her mom get the help she so desperately needed & be a positive role model for Savvy.

Savvy is in High School & we also get to follow her life outside her home which balances out against her home life. Savvy has an amazing best friend who she enjoys spending time with. She’s also a math tutor on the side but her real passion is journalism. There’s a a really caring teacher who encourages her not to drop out of working on the school’s paper & it leads to the sub-plot of this book. We see Savvy uncovering some under the table dealings with one of the athletic departments. We also see her tutoring turn into something more than 😉 & I cannot tell you the number of times I found myself smiling for Savvy 💓

Savvy- Our MC stole my heart! she’s her own level of cool & doesn’t even realize it. Savvy is fat, tall, blue eyed and blonde with no interest in losing weight in the same unhealthy manner her mother has. She definitely has her inner monologue of self doubt running in the background but she knows that to love her is to love ALL of her & nothing less will do! This made her all the more relatable cause we all have those moments of self doubt but to see her love the skin she’s in meant everything to me 💓 Savvy is also very funny, knows all the lyrics to every Eminem song, and is a math wiz even though she’d much rather be writing to make a difference in the world of journalism.

Ashley- aka Big Sis 💜 I LOOOOVE the sibling relationship between Savvy & Ashley who is now in college & trying to be there for Savvy even while college life is taking place. Ashley is described as being tall, slender, and a beauty by Savvy herself but never does Ashley make Savvy feel anything less than a beauty herself. Ashley is Lesbian & seeing Savvy encourage her to show interest in her college crush was the sweetest! 💜

Grace- Savvy’s best friend & partner in crime when it comes to journalism. Grace is Colombian & part of a BIG family who has welcomed Savvy into their circle whole heartedly. What I loved MOST about Grace is how supportive & in tune she is with Savvy when it came to her anxiety/panic attacks and general discomfort. She also isn’t afraid to give it to Savvy straight when she sees her bestie self sabotaging her own chances. Grace legit got Bestie Award Of The Year from me at the very end when they went shopping for Homecoming dresses…😉

George- The love interest here who also happens to be Grace’s cousin. I knew this guy was going to be a favorite of mine the minute he corrected Savvy for thinking he wasn’t part of the family based on his more Caucasian appearance. George is also blonde, tall, and slender and very much Columbian 🙌🏽 George is tutored by Savvy in math & all throughout we see him take a real interest in Savvy. Legit I wish I had a George in my life at 17 😩😂🙌🏼💓🙌🏼

To Be Honest (see what I did there? 😂)this book hit very close to home, I wasn’t expecting it to stir the feelings that it did in me but by the end I was left asking where was this book when I needed it MOST?!?! growing up as a plus sized gal myself. This book introduced me to Savvy, a fat MC who isn’t fiercely confident in the skin she’s in but she isn’t NOT confident either if that makes any sense. Well it did to me since this was the attitude I adopted in High School, I was Savvy & the things she experiences in this book with her mother and even in her love life, are things that feel all too familiar to me as a grown woman looking back. I wish this book had existed back when I found myself in a toxic home & turned to books as a way of comfort. Within these pages I see strength & courage for those who just want to love themselves but keep getting dissuaded at every turn. I see a MC who although she battles internally with what others may think…knows that she won’t allow anyone to love her any less. This book handled a variety of topics well, body image & mental health being at the forefront. I couldn’t have chosen a better time to read this book as I am currently on my own personal weight loss journey. This book lifted my spirits & reinforced my confidence in my own path to healthy 💞


Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! To Be Honest will be hitting shelves this coming Tuesday August 21st, 2018 & I cannot wait to pick up my copy to display on my shelf of positive rep 💜 If any of you lovely Bookworms have recommendations for plus sized rep books, please drop them in the comments down below 💞


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Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This weeks topic is all about the HYPE! books everyone is talking, blogging, and instagramming about. Wherever you look, these are the books you can’t seem to escape and feel like you NEEEED to read like you need air 😂 Well, these are 10 (in no particular order) that actually live up to the hype and I’m glad to have hopped on that train! 💓

July 31st 2018: Ten Books with Sensory Reading Memories

🖤 The Cruel Prince by Holly Black– My 1st book by Holly Black & honestly it had me wondering why I hadn’t read anything by Black in all these years! 🙈 I’m fully convinced Black is Fae Royalty, I’ve never come across anyone who made me LOVE Fae as much. Dark & full of plot twists this is THE book to break your neck trying to keep up with. The hype is real with this one & as expected, The Wicked King set to release in 2019 is no different 🙌🏼

🖤 FURYBORN by Claire Legrand-This book had me a bit skeptical I’ll admit & that almost made me pass on it. Whelp! something told me to request that title from the Publisher & fainted a million faints when it showed up in all its glory. This book pulled off two timelines 1K years apart! I read FURYBORN with a bunch of other bookworm buddies & we ALL agreed…the HYPE IS REAL & WELL DESERVED! 😆

🖤 Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff– Quite possibly THE trilogy to get me into all things YA Sci-Fi books. I actually waited 1 year before cracking open my copy of Illumimae after hearing so many of my closest rave about these characters. I kicked myself once I had read it & realized I was missing out BIG time! 😂

🖤 Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo–  I meaaaaan! by now you’ve probably seen a hundred different variations of artwork inspired by the characters in this book. It’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t heard of Kaz Brekker or Inej Ghafa. The crew in this book will stay with you way past the last page & is ABSOLUTELY worth the hype! 🙌🏼

🖤 The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden-  This is the one everyone slept on & then it just started to make waves a year later. I couldn’t believe this book was written by a debut author. Today, this trilogy is one of my all time favorites. Who else is HIGHLY anticipating The Winter Of The Witch? 😃

🖤 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas– Relevant, poignant, and such an important read! THUG is one that should be part of course curriculums & I’m just so glad to have read it & continue to spread the love for this book. FOMO will run high around the time of movie release, please read the book before watching the movie 💙

🖤 Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi– The line for this book at Bookcon was Nanas! and a true testament to this books success really. COBAB is also being adapted to the big screen & has also been selected as the 1st book selection for Jimmy Fallon’s Book Club 😱 it is well worth the hype!

🖤 The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater-The Raven Boys are another crew of characters that are very well known in the book community. Blue & the boys have a special place in my heart and I’m really looking forward to the tv adaptation if only to get more time with these characters. I read this one before the hype train took off & can honestly say it’s hype worthy!

🖤 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by JK Rowling– Saving the best for last! HP is one that will never die down its hype as well it shouldn’t! I am forever hyping Harry & Co to my tiny human to the point where she can’t wait to reach HP reading level 😂 SMH. Till we’re old and gray we’ll reminsice on the days we spent reading about Hogwarts.

🖤 The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare– My first YA series, the one responsible for my love of all things YA Fantasy. Twilight may have been my first YA book ever but it was City Of Bones that hooked me and never let me go. The hype with these books was and is so strong that I caught wind of them way before knowing the book community existed. I had no idea it was the beginning of a long love affair…


Hello Bookworms & a very happy Tuesday <3’s! Have you read any of the books I’ve listed? Which hyped up book are you ever so happy you hopped on the train for? Drop some love down below 🙂


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: SCREAM ALL NIGHT BY DEREK MILMAN

Title: SCREAM ALL NIGHT

Author: DEREK MILMAN

Pub. Date: July 24th. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Horror

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Harper

Pages: 400

Content Warning: Physical Violence, substance abuse, child abuse, homophobic jokes, and Miscarriage

*HUGE thanks to Balzer + Bray/ Harper for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

   

Scream All Night is one of those books that has a personality all of its own. Quirky, odd, sad, and a times very funny all rolled into one bringing the setting of Moldavia studios to life. Our MC Dario Heyward has very mixed feelings on his childhood growing up as the son of Moldavia Studio’s infamous owner/producer. Cast as Alastair the star on one of his father’s B-Horror flicks, Dario was subjected to physical violence and even emaciation at the hands of his dad. At the age of 12 after having his last near death scare, Dario decided to put distance between him and his abusive father. His father is a perfectionist and there really aren’t any boundaries he wouldn’t cross for one of his creature features. Dario is emancipated & living in a group home where he is trying to live his life away from all things Moldavia. This all changes of course when his brother Oren calls him with an invitation to Moldavia for a ceremony (being vague here cause spoilers haha!) taking place for his father & Dario wants nothing to do with it. Since his departure from Moldavia as a child, Dario has grown leaps & bounds and knows that accepting means the possibility of getting sucked back in to the world that is Moldavia studios. Perhaps because he still has some unfinished business, he accepts and sure enough finds himself sucked in by the Moldavian castle & its inhabitants who are all family to him. Although Dario has cut off all ties to Moldavia, its the people he got to know there while growing up that he is still attached to. He may not be prepared for what is asked of him but ultimately Dario is a much better man than his father. Scream All Night is a book about getting closure and new beginnings. It’s about grieving someone when they are still alive and it’s about second families, those we make along the way & those that take us in as if one of their own.

Dario- The MC of this story who has had a tough life raising himself. Having had a traumatic abusive childhood, he’s had to move away from the family he loves. This includes the girl he grew up with on the set of Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, his co-star a the age of 11. Although he’d love to be around those he loves, he’s also not ready to return to the castle filled with painful memories at every turn. The last thing he wants is to face his 91 year old father but there’s a part of him that needs closure. Dario’s mother resides in a psychiatric facility, mental illness runs in the family & is always on Dario’s mind. Dario is loved by those cast & staff members who live in the Moldavia castle, no one expects him to return to the place that haunts him the most.

Oren- Dario’s older brother who shadowed their father in hopes of taking over Moldavia studios one day. Oren probably spends most of the book under the influence of mushrooms which means you can’t really trust anything he says or does. When we meet Oren he is fully immersed in writing the script for a movie of his own making. As much as I loved this character later on in the book, he was also frustrating and at the very beginning outright infuriating. Oren is the reason I docked this book a star, homophobic jokes left unchecked really get under my skin. I get that Oren was all shades of messed up, under the influence, and in his father’s shadow but I could’ve done without his jokes on Dario.

Hayley- The girl who saw it all & wanted more for Dario even if it meant that he’d have to leave the castle. Hayley lives & breathes Moldavia and unlike Dario she never had to experience child abuse (unfortunately that was solely reserved for prodigal son Dario) at the hands of his father. Hayley had both her parents with her in the castle and they treated Dario as if he was their own son.

Jude-Dario’s BFF from the group home who wears a wrestling mask and cape to sleep at night naked smh 😂 Jude is one of my fave characters simply for how hard he tried to protect Dario. They both hit it off while at the group home & I’ll be honest, for a minute there I thought there was chemistry between Jude & Dario.

Moldavia Studios-Yes, I put down Moldavia Studios as a character because it truly is! The cast & staff love making B-Horror movies no matter how terrible most of them are. Walking through the castle halls, seeing the set designs described as well as the costumes and makeup give a vivid image of what this Transylvanian-like castle is like. I came to really LOVE this setting and the character Moldavia Studios embodied making for one quirky strange laugh out loud read.

I’ll admit when the publicist for this book reached out, I wasn’t too sure whether it was something I’d enjoy since Horror is a genre I stay away from. That being said, for those of you who fear the creeps like me…have no fear! this isn’t scary at all. It’s a contemporary that carries a ton of quirk and isn’t like anything I’ve read before. The MC had such a messed up childhood and in a way is the black sheep of the family since he chose to emancipate himself. That doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t have a little of his family’s passion in him. Dario may have turned away from Moldavia Studios because of the bad memories attached to it but B- Horror flicks are a HUGE part of his life. Once he returns, all the oddness of his childhood comes back, both the good and the bad. Getting a behind the scene look at the production of these films was a TON of fun. There were parts were they ran dialogue that as ridiculous as the lines may have seemed, offered up so much entertainment and laughs. Scream All Night is easily one of those reads that’ll be hard to forget in the best of ways!


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June Wrap-Up + Book Haul…A Little Bit Of This & A Little Bit Of That ;)

Hello Bookworms! When this goes live I’ll be counting down the last few hours in the office before I can do my FriYAy Dance 🤗 it’s been a long week & I am thrilled to finally start the weekend *huge sigh of relief* I’m actually participating in the #Smuthathon Readathon hosted by the lovely GingerReadsLainey & RileyMarie over on Booktube & so far it has been a awesome new experience 🙌🏼 Those of you lovely readers that have been around this blog for a while now know that I primarily read YA Fantasy/Fantasy however, sometimes a gal needs a pallette cleanser 😂 I am finding enjoyment in the books that I’m reading & so you’ll see the occasional New Adult, Rom-Com, or smutty read review on Lair Of Books. If this happens to be your wheel house, please leave me some recommendations in the comments down below 💜 For those who love Fantasy, fear not! I have a ton of titles I’ll be reading & reviewing throughout the rest of the year 😉 But 1st, let’s Wrap-up June…

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff (Unique AF! Kristoff really built a world from scratch including the slang, never read anything like this)4.5 STARS ✨ 

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (Audiobook, not exactly what I was expecting–RTC

The Queen Of Crows (The Armored Saint #2) by Myke Cole (Really hoped this would’ve gone a different way but still hoping for a strong follow-up–RTC)

Whisper Of The Tide (Song of the Current #2) by Sarah Tolcser (Favorite read of the month! EPIC & satisfying end to this duology)✨5 STARS ✨ 

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (a taste of Winter to to cool off in this summer heat, spell-binding!) ✨4.5 STARS ✨ 

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Fairest Of All: A Tale Of The Wicked Queen | VICIOUS | A Thousand Beginnings and Endings | BRUJA BORN | The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding | My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) | Smoke In The Sun (Flame In The Mist #2)| The Death Of Mrs. Westaway | Legendary | WARCROSS | Motor Crush Vol. 1

JUNE FAIRYLOOT

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Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart (RTC Grace & Fury was a 3.5 star read for me; favorite item in this box is costume mask necklace. Would’ve LOVED the journal if it was for a full year, instead it covers July-December 2018)

JUNE BOOK OF THE MONTH

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The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (Recently found out that this is a series and after reading & listening to so many rave reviews, this is exciting news!!! really looking forward to this read)

Season 2 binge of Luke Cage was even better than expected! This is a Netflix show I really enjoy watching with the hubby for so many reasons! Ok, for me it’s all about the Wutang soundtracks Luke listens to while he kicks a** 🙌🏼😂🙌🏼 Luke is so old school & the show reflects that. The first season really made me fall in love with this show but season 2 solidified that love 💓 Luke is going through a transformation of sorts & by the very end he isn’t the same man we’ve come to love and trust. Also, we get introduced to a new character who challenges Luke & I surprisingly ended up enjoying. Why of why did it have to end? season 3 where are you?


June was one of those months that had me feeling off kilter which was mostly due to Bookcon at the very beginning of the month. I didn’t expect to read much of anything but ended up happy with the 5 books that I did finish. Surprisingly, I didn’t watch any movies. July however is already off to an AMAZING start so stay tuned for a more exciting Wrap-up/Book Haul for this month 😉


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: SPINNING SILVER BY NAOMI NOVIK❄️

Title: SPINNING SILVER

Author: NAOMI NOVAK

Pub. Date: July 10th. 2018

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Re-telling

Publisher: DEL REY

Pages: 448

Content Warning: Anti-antisemitism, alcohol abuse, physical abuse, death of a family member, and violence

*HUGE thanks to Del Rey for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

    

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I’m not quick to say I have a type when it comes to books or anything for that matter however, this slower paced wintry read seems to fall in line with some of my favorites (think The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden or The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco). Spinning Silver is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, an adult fantasy that takes on real life hard hitting issues (please see Content Warnings above) while weaving a tale about debts owed and the relentless winter that is plaguing the land. A tale about three daughters left to pay the price of bad decisions made by their fathers. Their lives intertwined–Miryem, Wanda, and Irinushka have every odd set against them in a world that would soon rather have them married and birthing children than in a position of power.

Told through multiple points of view, we start off with ❄Miryem❄ who loves her father for the good man that he is but recognizes how terrible he is as a money lender. Miryem and her family are struggling in poverty while those in the village that have borrowed from her father continue to prosper whilst not paying their debts. Money lending runs in the family & just like her grandfather Miryem has a knack for collecting from those that owe her. She sets out to settle the books and quickly makes a turnaround of their fate. However, she also manages to capture the attention of the Staryk King aka Lord Winter himself. The Staryk believes Miryem may have the power to transform silver into gold and promises her his hand in marriage if after his 3 visits, she has made into gold all of the silver he brings her. Each load he drops off being impossibly larger than the last because deep down inside, this Staryk King doesn’t see Miryem as a worthy Queen. Meanwhile, Miryem’s “Cold” approach seems to match the Satryk King quite well IMO 😂

❄Wanda❄ works for Miryem’s family tending to the house-chores and any manual labor. Miryem teaches Wanda her #’s and takes her long when collecting monies owed. In Miryem’s home, Wanda learns what love looks like and it isn’t the daily beatings she gets at the hands of her alcoholic father. Sort of an adoptive daughter, Wanda finds herself looking after Miryem’s parents and plays an important role later on in the story. I really love Wanda’s character, she’s someone who if shown even a little love to, will honestly go hard for you. We see this play out with her own brothers which made her scenes so heartfelt 💓

Irinushka❄ daughter of royals, Irinushka’s father has already promised her hand to a Tsar as a way to gain political favor. The Tsar has a deep dark secret he’s keeping & is the reason for which he has yet married and produced an heir. There’s a ton of pressure on Irinushka & instead of succumbing to it, we see an intellectual rise up and make some interesting power plays. Irinushka is a natural at politics 😉

❄There are also a slew of supporting characters that come in throughout the story. Many are memorable like Irinushka’s Nana of sorts who raised her and only wants to see her happy. We also travel a bit with Wanda’s brothers. In the Staryk King’s world we meet a different kind of people who at first come off as cold hearted but end up being quite the opposite❄

There are very few books I’ve come across with the power to transport me from the very first page. Usually it takes some settling in and getting to know the world a bit. Spinning Silver however is already set-up and literally feels like opening the door in the back of the closet that leads you to Narnia. These make for some of my favorite reads and linger behind even after I’ve closed the book. At times this book was heavy on the heart with scenes of violence in Wanda’s home. Seeing her & her siblings being physically hurt mercilessly and the fear they carried was tough to get through. Paired with the very different home life of Miryem and the love her family has for one another made for a deeper connection to these characters lives. We see a village deeply rooted in antisemitism, Miryem is Jewish and is seen honoring the Sabbath even in the most undesirable circumstances. In the background we have the threat of an endless Winter and we see the effects it takes on the people. I only docked it half a star because we get so many POV’s throughout & although it was written in a way so as to not make it overwhelming, it still felt like I could do without some. I found myself wanting to get back to certain fave characters quicker than others but that is not unheard of in a multi-POV story. Overall, I highly reccomend this spell-binding tale over a cup of hot Cocoa or Tea ❄


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: WHISPER OF THE TIDE BY SARAH TOLCSER

Title: Whisper Of The Tide (Song of the Current #2)

Author: Sarah Tolcser

Pub. Date: June 5th. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: BLOOMSBURY YA

Pages: 416

*HUGE thanks to BLOOMSBURY YA & Sarah Tolcser for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

Goodreads | Barnes & NobleAmazon

    

2018 has been the year of the sequel here at Lair Of Books & thankfully there have been some really amazing follow-ups! Whisper Of The Tide is one of the most satisfying conclusions to what is now one of my favorite duologies in YA Fantasy. If you’re a fan of all things pirates like I am, you’ll enjoy this high seas adventure into the wee hours of the morning. All of the things I loved about Song of the Current were back & better than ever! our MC has spread her wings and is on a mission to protect the love of her life Marko who has a huge target on his back. Marko’s father the Emparch has been murdered & Konto Theucinian has taken over. Konto’s rule is very rigid and Markos is having difficulty campaigning for military support to overthrow Theucininan, many are going as far as calling him “The Pretender.” Caro is focused on keeping Markos alive while he tries to rally support & is beginning to struggle internally with the change of course her life has taken. To Caro, being the captain of her own ship was a dream come true and although the River God never whispered her name, that never changed her love for the pirate life. Caro may not have received the call of the River God but a bigger power has already set it’s sights on her. Destined for the open waters, Caro will have to choose between Markos & his political battles or her true calling. The Sea Goddess isn’t one to give those she chooses, the option to decline her call…

*Photos not my own, obtained from Pinterest

Caro & Marko are both struggling a bit with what they think is expected of them VS. their hearts desire. These characters are super fleshed out, more so than in Song Of The Current. I may not have cared too much for Marko in the first book but I began to appreciate him a bit more in this book. Marko is driven by duty, he doesn’t want to let the people down but politicking isn’t something that is coming easy to him. Most importantly, he isn’t willing to let go of Caro & marry a more “suitable match” for the good of the kingdom. Meanwhile, Caro is playing the self-sacrificing card & is basically telling Markos go-on get married & I’ll learn to live with it. This then sets off a series of events that place Caro on a wild treasure hunt. From piers to pavement, Caro & Marko are chased & multiple attempts against their lives are made. This made for a adrenaline induced read in which I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. I ditched the page flags & allowed myself to enjoy this fun ride till the very end. We also got to see some of our favorite supporting characters return, with a focus on immediate & extended family members. I find myself hella intrigued by Caro’s cousin who can manipulate her shadow & has been in training since last we saw her in Song of the Current. It’s rare we get extended family in YA Fantasy, I love seeing Caro with her family members. If I had one complaint it would only be that we don’t really get to see Caro’s dad and Fee (Frog person) this time around.

The world building continued to be A+ expanding on the Sea God mythology and those she has chosen to be her children. What I loves most about this book is that  we see Caro who is a strong Bi-racial woman continue to embrace all of the things that make her look different. Caro has bi-racial hair and is of a darker complexion with freckles, all things she loves about herself. She’s also very aware that they set her apart amongst the people of the river where she was raised by her father. Caro shows us what it’s like to be caught in the middle of both sides of her family. Her Father’s side who live by the ways of the River God as fishermen & wives VS. her Mother’s side who are well known established business people (Ships & trade) throughout the land. Caro resembles her mother who is described as a beautiful strong woman of color who also went against tradition & became a powerful captain and owner of the family business. We see Caro toggle back & forth between the two worlds & it just added depth to our MC, something that is sometimes sacrificed in YA Fantasy books for the sake of the plot. I am someone who prefers character driven books and can honestly say there was a healthy balance of both character & plot development in this duology. When an author creates characters I can’t help but get attached to it’s always my hope that we see more from them. Sarah Tolcser is now on my radar & I will pick up anything written in this world or not for that matter. For now, I won’t say goodbye…till next time 🐸🤞🏼🐸


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