November Book Haul

Hello Bookworms! I hope you’re all having  a FAB week, we’re already half-way to the weekend & I seriously feel like the days are flying by now that we’re at the end of the year. I have in the past separated my book hauls from my wrap-ups & over time they just merged into one final post. Whelp! my posts have only grown over time as I upped my reading & also included my viewing. So, it looks like I’ll be going back to my old blogger roots & splitting them up again. Here’s the part where I begin to make excuses for this haul…

I’ve got nothing HAHA! also, I def participated in Bookoutlets Black Friday sale cause it’s been a year since I hopped on that site & thought it only fair to treat myself lol. That haul will be in a separate post cause by the time I receive it we’ll be in December. Onward & forward <3’s…

Physical Books I Purchased

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Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1)

Her Body and Other Parties (Review to come)

Strange Weather

Renegades (Renegades #1) (My Review)

e-books I Purchased

Vinyl|Radio|Binti

Physical ARCS

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*with the exception of 1 book that’s in the mail on its way

The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne #1) (from the Publisher)

Honor Among Thieves (The Honors #1) (Twitter #Booksfortrade)

Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King #2) (The AMAZING Ashley at Socially Awkward Bookworm swapped with me, seriously she ROCKS!)

Frankie (Goodreads Giveaway Win)

The Belles (The Belles #1) (Twitter #Booksfortrade)

FURYBORN (Empirium #1) (from the Publisher)

Everything Here is Beautiful (Goodreads Giveaway Win, on its way)

Netgalley 

Reign the Earth (The Elementae #1)

Book Of The Month

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Uncommon Type | Rules of Magic

Owlcrate

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The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1) (My Review)

I’ve read 3 of the books in this haul lol, but I do have some in my December TBR (to be posted) so yea. As I mentioned earlier, I participated in the Bookoutlet sale on Black Friday & well thanks to the site crashing a few times, I didn’t get as many of the books initially in my cart but umm you’ll see that haul soon enough haha!


Happy Friday’s Eve Bookworms! I LOVE a good book haul as I’m sure most of you do! if you’ve already posted yours, drop those links down below & I’ll swing on by your corner of the interwebz. Also, If you’ve read any of these let me know if they were a hit or miss for you 🙂


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Review: The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves

Title: The Closest I’ve Come

Author: Fred Aceves

Pub. Date: November 7th, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction

Trigger warning: Alcoholism, Physical Abuse, Racism

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 320

Format: eGalley/Edelweiss

   

Marcos Rivas wants to find love.
He’s sure as hell not getting it at home, where his mom’s racist boyfriend beats him up. Or from his boys, who aren’t exactly the “hug it out” type. Marcos yearns for love, a working cell phone, and maybe a pair of sneakers that aren’t falling apart. But more than anything, Marcos wants to get out of Maesta, his hood—which seems impossible.
When Marcos is placed in a new after-school program for troubled teens with potential, he meets Zach, a theater geek whose life seems great on the surface, and Amy, a punk girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. These new friendships inspire Marcos to open up to his Maesta crew, too, and along the way, Marcos starts to think more about his future and what he has to fight for. Marcos ultimately learns that bravery isn’t about acting tough and being macho; it’s about being true to yourself.

The Closest I’ve come follows Marcos Rivas’ life course in a rough neighborhood /violent household & the motivation he finds to want to get out. For Marcos, the daily grind is made up of getting up for school & hanging out with his boys after school to avoid having to go home. Life at home isn’t easy & he is met with either his mothers silence and closed doors or her boyfriends fists. Mentally checked-out, Marcos’ mother is a alcoholic who doesn’t really have much of any relationship with him. Marcos himself would love to play the role of over protective son however, the truth is that internally, more than anything he wishes she would show any signs of caring for him. Life outside his home isn’t exactly the best either but in his community he has developed friendships that have become a safe place to turn to. Academics have never really been Marcos’ main focus & with no one in his corner rooting and or encouraging him to apply himself, he hasn’t given much thought to life after High School. He believes that Maesta is the end all be all for him and many other teens like him. We come across teachers who provide Marcos with the confidence he needs & who most of all, believe in him.

At times, The Closest I’ve Come was difficult to read because of the violence Marcos experiences at the hands of his mothers boyfriend. It seemed like all the odds are set against this kid & with nothing really inspiring him & his own home being so volatile, I wondered when he would catch a break. With little to no money whatsoever, we see our MC try to earn cash the right way by cleaning parking lots but we also see one of his friends who is a straight A student go about it illegally by delivering drugs. Having myself lived in for many years what was considered a “ghetto” neighborhood, the reality is that too many bright futures are dimmed before they even get a chance to begin. There were so many tough themes in this book paired with positive reinforcement from Marcos’ educators that I found myself rooting him on in realizing that he is valued.

We see a tremendous amount of character growth take place within our MC Marcos which is perhaps the strongest aspect of The Closest I’ve Come. Aceves wrote Marcos’ character in first Person POV which allows the reader to really get into his thought process. From the way he views his barely existent relationship with his mother to how he handles rejection, Marcos isn’t a confidant cocky teenage boy. His physical appearance is something he is always hyper aware of because he lacks funds to buy clothes or pay for grooming. Something as simple as a haircut could boost his confidence briefly & a lot of the time he didn’t get the end result he was seeking but the effort was there. I LOVED this character & how humble he is the core, he definitely had me in his corner the whole way through. We meet some of his friends from around his neighborhood, mostly through visits to the courtyard to shoot hoops. There’s a sense of loyalty from these guys that I’ve seen for myself in neighborhoods where most don’t have it to make ends meet. I enjoyed one particular scene where one of the guys sets up shop on his stoop to cut hair for a couple of dollars, very much like a brotherhood. Although we meet many of Marcos’ acquaintances, they aren’t as fleshed out as our MC but nonetheless they serve their purpose in giving the reader a picture of what Marcos has in his life. The friends he has don’t really know how bad his home life is but I was glad to see them rise to the occasion when he really needed them.

Told in first person POV, The Closest I’ve Come is raw & uncensored giving Marcos’ voice & narrative life. Own Voices Latinx author Fred Aceves was raised in a poor working class neighborhood just like the one he brings to life in this book. From the dialogue between Marcos and his friends in the streets to his stream of consciousness on life after High School, our MC is raw & uncut just like the world he lives in. Many who come from similar backgrounds will find this book to be very relatable. To those who don’t, The Closest I’ve Come is a insiders look to a reality that exists in our real world. Not only do we get POC representation but we also see socioeconomic diversity when Marco meets & befriends a HS student from a wealthy background. The challenges Marco has in his life are going to resonate with others & that is one of the biggest reasons I am happy to see this narrative hit the shelves.

*HUGE thanks to HarperTeen, Edelweiss, and Fred Aceves for the eGalley copy of The Closest I’ve Come in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Monday Bookworms! hope you all had a wonderful weekend & managed to squeeze in some good books. With so many diverse reads coming our way, which ones are you looking forward to? any Own Voices on your 2018 TBR?


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October Wrap-Up & Book Haul

Hello Bookworms & Happy November!!! I’m back to being epically late with my wrap-up/haul & I’d like to think it’s because I’ve been so wrapped up in my reading…well at least this is what I’ve convinced myself to be the reason lol. October was a good reading month both in quality & quantity, seems that I’ve managed to break my 5 book per mth cap. Earlier in the month I attended NYC Comic Con & actually enjoyed this event more than I did Bookcon. Much more chill & I got to see many more authors this time around, even got a chance to meet Julie C. Dao author of Forest of a Thousand Laterns. Julie was very sweet & signed a copy for me that I was sending to my giveaway winner Beth over at Reading Every Night as a surprise bonus. Fedex totally lost the package & ruined that but I quickly replaced the copy & sent it on it’s way to Beth sans to signature…who knows Beth, the package may still one day mysteriously show up at your door lol.

October was also slow in flicks I actually wanted to see in the theater & I really thought for a moment there that I wasn’t going to watch anything. Then my co-worker reminded me that Jigsaw was being released Halloween weekend & the stars aligned for me to get my tickets (more on the movie towards end of post). I’ve been thinking of including the arcs/galleys I’ve been approved for in the month in these wrap-ups…yay or nay? or do you prefer a separate post? please let me know in the comments if this is something you’d like to see <3’s! 

With the exception of The Dark Intercept (to come this week) I’ve posted reviews for all of my October reads & will link them down below. Both Nyxia & Moxie are my stand-out reads & I have GUSH reviews for these new found favorites, both pulse pounding in their own way. You Bring the Distant Near is also a new found favorite & I encourage anyone in search of #ownvoices reads on the immigrant experience & Indian culture to pick this one up. Invictus was so much fun & appealed to the Historical Fantasy lover in me, the time travel was on point & not confusing like many others who’ve had a go at it. The Glass Spare gave me a King Midas inspired fantasy with a female MC & gahhhh! I LOVED IT! Berserker was bloody & I described it in my review as Norse Mythology meets the American Frontier with hints of the classic novel Of Mice and Men. I’m still working on my thoughts/review for The Dark Intercept which was a cold & frightening dystopian that had me thinking….what if this were to really happen? I mean, is it really so far fetched? lol smh. It was a really good month quality wise with mostly 5 star reads which doesn’t ever happen & so I am a very happy bookworm 🙂

 The Dark Intercept by Julia Keller (3.5 stars/review to come)

The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano ★★★★★ 

Berseker by Emmy Laybourne ★★★.75

Invictus by Ryan Graudin ★★★★★ 

Moxie by jennifer Mathieu ★★★★★ 

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins ★★★★★  (Mitali Perkins read & loved my review, when she re-tweeted it I got all teary eyed smh)

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen ★★★★★ (I also won a signed copy from the author himself which legit made my mth!)

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (gift from hubby, he’s turned it into his things where he gets me all HP related items, he knows how to make my heart happy lol)

Monstress Volume 2 by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda (artist)

Ringer by Lauren Oliver (Replica #2)

The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1) by Julie C. Dao

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Garcia-Moreno (Won this from a Twitter giveaway)

Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (gift from my twin Gretchen over at ChicNerdReads, love her sooooo much! but this was a September gift & I mistakenly threw it in this haul so yea we’re rollin’ with it lol)

October Owlcrate

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Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

October Book of the Month

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Beasts Of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang (my pick for the mth, also have the eGalley that I will be reading in November)

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King

   

Some of you who have been around the blog for a while now might be raising a brow at both Sleeping Beauties & Jigsaw since I’m a self proclaimed scaredy cat *no shame* baha! Sleeping Beauties I do believe was me getting in the spirit of Halloween however, Jigsaw was not lol. Many years ago my bestie of 18 years wanted me to go with him to watch Saw IV in theaters only I hadn’t watched any of them for the previously mentioned reasons (i’m a wussss lol). He decided to sit me down & have me binge watch the first 3 movies til I walked away numb & ready for IV smh. I honestly think I can tolerate psychological horror but not whatever IT falls into cuz no damnit! I’ve banned all red balloons from my home, sorry tiny humans. Anyways, Jigsaw wasn’t anything new new lol, it followed the same ol’ formula & delivered with the shock factor in regards to the games themselves. However, I saw the ending coming within the first 30 minutes & I’m not THAT person….you know? the one that ALWAYS predicts the ending making you feel clueless? yea, I’m not this person so when I figured it out, the jig was up (jeje see what I did there?) smh. I doubt I’ll continue watching any future movies in this franchise.

Happy reading in November Bookworms!!! Hope you all had a wonderful October & an even better start to this month. What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in November? planning on watching anything innneresting? Sound off in the comments down below 🙂


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#ARCstravaganza #11

#ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Flavia over @Flavia the Bibliophile where book bloggers/bookstagrammers have a chance to show off their ARCs/eARCs/Galleys!

Hello Readers! This is my 11th week participating in #ARCstravaganza Monday & this week I’ve chosen Artemis by Andy Weir! I was very excited to have won this arc through a Goodreads Giveaway since it is one of my most highly anticipated reads. Now, many have asked me whether I read The Martian & the answer is no I have not simply because the hype train got the best of me with that book. I still fully intend on reading The Martian & I know this because as much as I’ve been tempted to, I still have not watched the movie haha! That being said, Artemis perhaps comes with more hype & high expectations. No worries I will not be discouraged this time…also, who wouldn’t want to live in the first city EVER on the moon?!? Jazz sounds like a MC I will love getting to know & so I will be reading Artemis in anticipation of its November 14th release date 😉

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Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

What are some ARCS/eGalleys you’re excited to have Bookworms? are you a fan of Andy Weir? looking forward to Artemis? If you’ve read The Martian, do you think I should still read it or watch the movie? haha! sound off in the comments below 🙂


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Hocus Pocus Book Tag

It really isn’t October if my favorite Halloween movie of all time isn’t on TV, Hocus Pocus will forever be THE movie I associate with this month. Thank you Flavia The Bibliophile for tagging me to participate in this very witchy tag…now I know what you meant when you said this brought out the bad witch in you 😂😂😂

THE RULES 📝

There are no rules. It’s YOUR blog. But it would be nice if you linked back to Never Not Reading (tag creator), and maybe the person who tagged you too. Share the love folks.

Feel free to use the GIFs used by Never Not Reading, the graphics made by Flavia the Bibliophile if you would like, both, or make and use your own visuals!

 

I have started a TON of new trilogies & series this past year alone, not all have I completed though lol. One trilogy I can credit with getting me into YA Fantasy is Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. Laini’s writing is easily some of my favorite in this genre. Book 2 in the trilogy is a bit on the slower side but the pay off is worth it all! This trilogy also includes The Night of Cake and Puppets novella which Laini Taylor & her husband Jim Di Bartolo re-released recently with illustrations. I recommend this trilogy to those who love strange & beautifully written worlds/characters.

Truly written without a chance for redemption, Levana takes the cake in my book as the most vile of all villains. Once I read Fairest: Levana’s Story, I knew this character didn’t have an ounce of good in her. Fairest is a novella published after the Lunar Chronicles trilogy ended however this is very much Levana’s story before the events of the trilogy took place. Meyer gives us a look at the villain & how she came to be but never once did I feel sympathy for Levana. Not sure if it’s just me but she is DARRRRK! 🙈

Two series came to mind for this prompt since I’ve found that many bookworms I’ve come across have either read one or the other. The first for me will always be Harry Potter by JK Rowling & the other is Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. Both filled with their own kind of magic that whisks you away into lands unknown. Although I’m a die hard fan of Harry Potter, Rick Riordan continues to give his young readers more adventures in this world making sure kids keep going back 😉

Flavia & I share the same opinion for silly books, My Lady Jane & The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue immediately came to mind. However, My Lady Jane definitely takes the cake for silliest in my book. I have not laughed as hard as I did reading My Lady Jane & because of that suffered many long stares on the crowded New York City trains. The mix of humor & twist on historical fiction is so effortlessly done, I couldn’t tell you which one of the 3 awesome authors wrote which parts. I am so ready for the sequel! have you seen the cover to My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2)?!?! isn’t it STUNNING?!?!? 😍😍😍

I hate to put this book here because I REALLY enjoyed it! but I’m very much aware that I fall in the minority with this one 😂 The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich (my review) is a satire on all the well known YA tropes we all have a love/hate relationship with. It reminded me a ton of one of my fave modern rom-coms This Means War with Reese Witherspoon. Many bookworms felt that there was no depth to the characters which I thought was purposefully done by the author. This book didn’t take itself seriously & provided me with many bursts of laughter 😂😂😂

Julia in You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner  is unapologetically honest & for this alone has secured a safe place in my ❤️ This character is confident even when she may not feel that way on the inside. Most of the time she is speaking her mind through sign language & won’t shy away from giving her two cents when asked. I appreciated Julia’s raw & straight forward personality because we don’t see a lot of that in YA contemporaries.

I didn’t think I had a series for this prompt but a quick trip to Goodreads brought back all of the memories I had with The House of Night series by P.C. Cast 😩I had to DNF the series 5 books in because of the writing. I read 5 books which says I enjoyed it enough to continue but I struggled with the massive amount of grammatical errors. I am no member of the grammar police, I’m far from perfect but when it becomes a task to get through a sentence I’d say that it’s a problem. I believe the series currently has 12 books out & I just hope the editing improved for the sake of the loyal fanbase.

I’ve got NOTHING folks! 😂 So I cheated a bit…since I couldn’t think of a bookish character I’m going with one from the Marvel Netflix series Iron Fist…Danny Rand really worked my last nerve with his role as a dumb naive superhero. Not sure if this was intentional but it persisted throughout the rest of the show with ZERO character growth. I’ve heard from friends who’ve read the comics that this is just how he’s always been portrayed & that sucks cuz I loved all of the other characters in this show.

It may be too soon to wish for this but a part of me just doesn’t want to accept that this is over 😩 but as a fan of this du-ology, how could I not? Specifically for the group of hackers introduced that serve as kind of “Over watch” for Kate & who go by the name of The Wardens. I NEED more of these characters, I still think of them & what crime they’ve been fighting since last I saw them 💭

I almost went with The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich again but another more recent read came to mind & it HURTS my soul to put it in here! 😩I recently had the opportunity to read & review Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi which I really enjoyed. That being said, early reviews put me once again in the minority but this time I’m not sure why. My review will go live later this week in time for its October 31st release date & so I’ll save my thoughts for that post. All I will say is that this was a 4 star read for me & I’m very interested in seeing more from this author 😄

Another prompt that had me scratching my head (these questions weren’t easy bookworms! 😂) but similar to Flavia, Mr. Kristoff came through. For me however it’s The Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff since I have not yet read Nevernight. Illuminae as many of you have probably heard or seen, isn’t written in the traditional style. Told via chatroom scripts & Files, this book feels very much ahead of its time which I guess is the point since it takes place in the future aboard a space ship 😂 Now that I know Nevernight also has a similar feel I am even more eager to get to it 🙌🏼

Although I haven’t read Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I did get to meet Simon briefly when he walked right into the middle of The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli  & it most definitely accomplished what it set out to do, I am still thinking Who is this Simon guy? no worries, I will be reading Simon Vs. the Homo sapiens Agenda before the movie release March 2018 😉

 

 


I had a ton of fun with this tag, those who’ve been around my blog for a while know by now that I’m not the type of bookworm to hate on a book harshly but rather give it a fair trial 😂 I’m a very honest reviewer & can also be very selective with the books I request to read so I don’t have too many disappointments. That being said, it’s always good to go back & see why certain books/authors didn’t work for you💜

If I didn’t tag you down below but you’d like to take a go at it, please do & share your links down below. If I did tag you but you’re not up for it that’s ok too 😉

I Tag 🙋🏻

Shanah @Bionic Book Worm

Beth @ ReadingEveryNight

Gretchen @ChicNerdReads

Darque Dreamer Reads

Kristin @KristinKravesBooks

Avalinah @AvalinahsBooks

 


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WWW Wednesday 10/18/2017

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 W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

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

I am currently 40% into Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen & OMYGOSH Bookworms!!! It’s too early for me to start gushing about this book but it’s SO GOOD! I’ve had so many fellow bookworms read my status updates on Goodreads & get just as excited that I’m reading Nyxia. Beautifully diverse in such an interesting setting, Nyxia leaves you wondering what if we could all understand each others different languages. The most fascinating aspect of this book is that each character who signed up to venture to the newly habitable planet of Eden, is able to understand each other through a facial translator of sorts. The characters themselves are quickly becoming faves but never have I grown this attached to a male MC!!! I think I found the ONE! more to come on that 😉

On Monday I finished The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1) by Lauren DeStefano which I believe to be a very solid start to this new YA Fantasy. I’ve already written my review which goes live tomorrow morning & can’t wait to chat with you about. I knew I had to throw my hat in the ring for this galley when I read the synopsis & got from it that this is at its heart a genderbend version of King Midas and the Golden Touch. As a kid I was always fascinated by stories & myths but I was always down to hear about King Midas. The Glass Spare was a hit in my book (jeje) & now I start my watch for the sequel with bated breath lol 🙂

Since I am desperately playing catch up with arcs after having a disastrous September with family (discussed in my September wrap-up), I am doubling up & powering through some October new releases. I’m pretty sure I’ll be done with Nyxia either by tonight or tomorrow morning. I plan on starting the following 2 titles next, both of which I’m beyond super excited for! they are very different from each other which is great because I have a ton of Fantasy titles to read after & the change of pace keeps me from genre burn-out haha. I’ve heard nothing but GREAT things for both of these titles, especially You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins which is a multi-generational YA Contemporary, take a look at those accolades down below bookworms! & Berserker by Emmy Laybourne truly appeals to my love for all thing Norse mythology, I have a feeling I’m going to love it 🙂


BERSERKER (BERSERKER #1) by EMMY LAYBOURNE

Are Hanne’s powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse?

Her brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It’s not Stieg’s fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit.

No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous “gift”–she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. The siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice.

Aided by a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await.

Will they be able to reach their uncle, the one man Hanne believes may be able to teach her how to control her drive to kill? With Berserker, Emmy Laybourne, the author of Monument 14, presents her vision of an American west studded with Viking glory.


YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR by MITALI PERKINS

Nominated for the National Book Award | Six starred reviews: ★ Horn Book ★ School Library Journal ★ Publishers Weekly ★ Booklist ★ Shelf Awareness ★ VOYA

Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve Bengal tigers and her Bengali identity–award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3’s!


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September Wrap-Up & Book Haul

Happy Tuesday in Fall Bookworms! I friggin LOVE this beautiful season to pieces but I can’t write a wrap-up without mentioning recent events that hit close to home. September wasn’t a easy month to get through with Hurricane Maria affecting the island of Puerto-Rico where one half of my family lives. That being said, I have a pretty pro-active family doing everything possible to make sure we are doing our part in helping and providing for our loved ones. Hoping for a much better tomorrow as our family here in New York continue to send relief in hopes that the basic needs are met. The world is hurting & I know I myself can’t turn a blind eye, it has definitely weighed heavy in my heart & thoughts each & every night. Reading has always provided a sense of comfort but once disaster hit, for the first time in a long time I had no desire to read at all. It took me about 2 weeks to get through my 6th book of the month Girls Made of Snow and Glass. I chose to push through seeing as it was the only thing allowing my mind to pull back a bit from the sadness. Fantasy will always be one of my top favorite genres for its very nature asks that you suspend belief in reality which was much needed. The stories I read this month only helped booster my need to help & do more. Heroines like Mira Minkoba from Before She Ignites helped me be more aware of my own anxiety & triggers when faced with a issue that seems like it can swallow you whole. This month has showed me the strength in family unity (ups & downs) and I have hope we can come back stronger than ever…

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust ★★★★ 

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows ★★★★1/2

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett ★★★1/2

Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast ★★★★1/2

Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor ★★★★★

Runaways #1 by Rainbow Rowell & illustrated by Kris Anka (no review for this 1st issue, will be reviewing trade paperback of Vol 1 when it’s released)

These weren’t small books my friends, I didn’t intentionally set out to read 400+ pg books but that’s exactly what happened lol. This is why I had to throw in a novella and a comic. Besides being thick books, they were also very slow paced (all of them) which contributed to the docking of stars. I love character driven stories which is probably why I still really enjoyed all of my reads. Night of Cake & Puppets let me re-visit some of my fave characters with the addition of awesome illustrations. Runaways managed to seriously stir my curiosity for this comic run, I’m already signed up with Comixology to receive each issue as they are released. Girls Made of Snow and Glass has to be the freshest most unique re-telling I’ve ever read. Before She Ignites gave us our first MC in YA Fantasy with anxiety & OCD. Zero Repeat Forever was so sad bookworms! *sobs* LOVED IT! & lastly, Even the Darkest Stars had potential however it fell victim to its Mountain setting. All in all, a quality reading month 😉

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Snot Girl: Green Hair Don’t Care Volume 1

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff (no, I haven’t read Nevernight but I have every intention of doing so & Bookdepository is notorious for selling out of these editions *sobs* lol)

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (gift from who who listened to me RAVE about this book every single time I put it down lol)

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas (a gift from my hubby who has already read & rated this installment 4 stars…he’s stingy with the stars so this is a good sign)

Wonder Woman (DC Comics #1) by Leigh Bardugo 

Warcross by Marie Lu

September Owlcrate

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Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1) by Jodi Meadows

September Book of the Month

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Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (my pick for the month, the other 2 were add-ons)

The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson

The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo  (a gift from my Soul twin Gretchen over at @ChicNerdReads, she’ll be making her return to book blogging this week so YAY!)

OHMYGOSH-THIS-SHOW!!!! I legit didn’t know just how much I LOVE Jason Bateman till’ I binge watched Ozark! for those who are fans of Breaking Bad this is one you’re going to want to watch. The pilot episode was ominous and slow yet I knew I’d be watching the 2nd episode to see where it was going. Marty Byrde played by Bateman comes across as if he were on auto-pilot after a life changing event puts him & his family in a very sticky dangerous situation. Unraveling bit by bit it almost feels as if our MC will lose it any minute but he perseveres. Laura Linney who plays his wife is a character who grew on me, I did not love her from the start but grew to appreciate her later on. I’ve always been attracted to stories set in small towns & the characters they produce, in Ozark everyone has their own agenda. I don’t want to give anything away, part of what makes this series so good is the mystery that surrounds it.  There are many jaw dropping moments & an ending to knock your socks off lol.

Happy reading in October Bookworms!!! October is already setting itself up to be a good Bookish month with some FAB reads. Comic Con later this week should be fun, let me know if you’d like a post on my 2 days there. Also, if you’ve read or watched any of these? drop your comments down below <3’s!


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Book Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Author: Melissa Bashardoust

Pub. Date: September 5th, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-telling/LGBT

Publisher:  Flatiron Books

Pages: 384

Formats: eGalley

   

*Opted to leave out the Goodreads Synopsis this time as I usually do whenever it’s too spoilery. With so many unique twists, this is one you’ll enjoy unraveling yourself sans the blurb 😉

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is THE modern Snow White  re-telling I’ve been waiting for since the day I realized I didn’t need a Prince Charming to come rescue me on a horse. When I started questioning fairy tales & the incompetence of Kings all the while they had a kick a** intelligent Queen sitting on the sidelines. With an almost entirely female cast, GMOSAG gives the classic fairy tale a unique and fresh spin that will leave you feeling empowered by the very last page. Perhaps most importantly it shatters the clichéd belief that women in leadership roles cannot co-exist. In our cast we get a new Queen to a widowed King, a female Surgeon in service to the King, and a court council run by women. The men in this re-telling play the role of secondary characters.

Told in third person POV, we get both Mina (new Queen) & Lynet’s (King’s daughter) stories in past and present times. Mina’s story unfolds in an earlier time when she first met the King at the age of 16 & decided she wanted to be Queen. Living in a village with her Magician father has been no easy feat, feared by the townspeople in the South for her father’s abilities. Mina herself is walking talking proof of his abilities. Having died & been brought back to life with a heart made out of glass, Mina has been raised by her father to believe she neither has the power to love or be loved & that her beauty is her only asset. Mina however proves to be resourceful & intelligent, always observing human behavior. She studies the King and soon realizes that his daughter is all that he cares about. Never once did she expect to get attached to the Kings young daughter Lynet or what that could potentially spell for her future as the present Queen. We follow Mina as she helps raise Lynet from toddler to young adult all the while thinking that their future rivalry is inevitable.

Each of these characters came to life on the page. Well fleshed out, complex, and flawed they rope you into this cold tale of love, loss, grief, and ultimately defining what family is to you…

Mina- I love my villains, they often bring the most meat to a story & such is the case with Mina. She comes from the South where everything is warm and lush with life & the transition to Whitsespring castle in the North is the total opposite. This however doesn’t stop her from fulfilling the role of Queen & stepmother to young Lynette. Although she lacks a beating heart, a part of her wants so badly to feel loved. Her marriage to the king isn’t what she expected but she never once takes it out on Lynette. I don’t want to give away too much but this is one character I really enjoyed seeing develop. She isn’t the evil Frost Queen we all come to expect from fairy tales but I can appreciate that since women in  power are already thought of as Frost Queens in real life & I can do w/out that in my books 😉 

The King- My least favorite of the characters for oh so many reasons! but the biggest one being that he’s down right selfish. Yes, he’s a wonderful doting father but once you read this book you’ll see a man who just couldn’t let go.

Lynet- Besides Mina, I actually really enjoyed Lynet’s character. She knows her father sees her late mother in her & that he’s raising her to one day be Queen. Trying to fill her mother’s shoes however isn’t something she wants. Far from it, Lynet enjoys scaling castle walls & s spying on people…particularly the new Surgeon *smiles* there’s also more to Lynet than meets the eye but that would be spoilery so I’ll leave you to find out that interesting secret on your own 🙂

Nadia- new surgeon in service to the crown, Nadia spends her days in her laboratory poring over her books. The friendship to romance progression with Lynet was on point! I was rooting for these two all along 🙂

The Magician aka Mina’s father- Adding this guy to my list of most hated villains of all time! I’m beginning to see a trend with Magicians being this nefarious. This man seriously takes the prize though! playing all his cards close to his chest, he is one to keep an eye on.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is easily one of my favorite Snow White re-tellings of all time. I was the kid who had no interest in Prince Charming. No, my interest was more with ingenuity…always asking why the princess had to wait in the tower instead of finding a way out. This is the Snow White story that I’ve been waiting for with messages of female empowerment & Queens that don’t need saving. I LOVED the fact that this was a mostly female comprised cast & that we got LGBTQIA+ representation. The only reason I docked GMOSAG 1 star is because of the very slow pacing all throughout. There aren’t fast paced action sequences, this is a story told primarily through dialogue and stream-of-consciousness. That being said, I was invested in these characters til the very end. The last line in this book is PURE PERFECTION!

*HUGE Thanks to Flatiron Books, Netgalley, and Melissa Bashardoust for the eGalley of Girls Made of Now and Ice in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

Title: Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars #1)

Author: Heather Fawcett

Pub. Date: September 5th, 2017

Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

Pages: 304

Formats: eGalley 

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

   

I typically read the Goodreads Synopsis before writing my Plot summary & I’m a bit confused this time around. The order of events & how they happened aren’t exactly correct in the synopsis & this is the first time I’ve seen this happen on GR. So, my Plot discussion will differ from what is listed in GR and for that reason I’ve decided to exclude their synopsis from my review.

We meet our MC Kamzin in the midst of the excitement surrounding the arrival of River Shara, a famed explorer for the Royal Emperor. River has been tasked with finding a Talisman of great value for the Emperor. However, his business in her small village is yet known, Kamzin’s sister Lusha is skilled & well versed in the study of the stars and maps & it is assumed River is there for her assistance. Kamzin however, isn’t one to be left behind & so she sets out to meet this man of great fame in order to join his quest. A turn of events (vague for fear of spoilers) sees Kamzin paired off with River Shara as his guide. Kamzin may not know much at all about astrology however, she knows maps better than anyone & she also has grit, a quality River admires. For Kamzin this is the opportunity of a life time to see the world outside of her small village, it’s also a chance to step outside of her older sisters shadow. However, when it’s revealed that Lusha is also on her own mission to retrieve the Talisman it becomes a race to the finish. The Talisman is rumored to be located at the very top of the tallest most deadliest mountain. Many have attempted this climb including Kamzin’s own mother, and none have made it back. We follow Kamzin, her bff Tem, River, a Shaman, and two adult siblings (brought along for their physical strength) as they take on the grueling task of climbing Raksha.

The plot is slow moving start to finish which if you really think about it, is fitting to their journey. Getting to the top is no easy feat & it also isn’t without its losses. Something to keep in mind: the entire story takes place in the middle of mountains & ice and so you can expect it to be very character driven. These traveling companions have a ton of time on their hands to get acquainted & that made for many moments of comedic relief. I can easily see this book play out on the big screen with the beautiful backdrop of the icy mountains. The author really gives you vivid imagery that had to have taken some serious research. That being said, I did feel that the descriptions of the climb itself did have an impact on the plot itself. The ending felt a little rushed but it also didn’t make me lose interest in continuing with this series. I NEED to know what happens next!!! haha!

Although there are some amazing side characters in Even the Darkest Stars, I’ve decided to highlight the main players on the chess board…

Kamzin- This MC has to be one of my newest faves for her persistence, ambition, intelligence, determination, and true grit! she will not give up once she’s set to task. She’s also very funny unintentionally, Kamzin is being trained to be the next village Shaman when we meet her but she’s terrible with magic & has no problem critiquing herself.

Lusha- I really wanted to like Kamzin’s older sister but sadly she was as cold as the mountains they were climbing lol. I did love that she is a wiz at Astrology & that her Familiars are two fierce looking Raven so there’s that.

Tem- Kamzin’s bff who had a romantic past with her but has since settled for friendship. I enjoyed this character & how well he wielded his magic. perhaps what I liked most was how he never made Kamzin feel bad for her shortcomings.

River Shara- This guy! lol smh, he’s charismatic & lives life on the edge. I really enjoyed the banter btwn. him and Kamzin, there were many LOL moments. I’m very curious to see how he develops in the next book & what path he takes 😉

The Familiars-  I mentioned Lusha’s Ravens but the real star of the show goes to kamzin’s Familiar Ragtooth. A feisty little fox who has Kamzin’s back with or without invitation lol. It’s rare for anyone to have a Familiar aka a animal protector & so that makes these siblings really important in their village.

Ultimately, Even the Darkest Stars was an enjoyable journey with amazing characters both human and animal. There were some aspects I would’ve liked to have seen expanded upon like the “villains” in this story. Although we do get some of their backstory, we don’t actually get much on-the-page time with them & our cast of characters. The final part of their journey also seemed a little rushed but it also spiked my interest up ten fold for the next installment. I am really looking forward to the follow-up & getting some of my questions answered. I had so many LOL moments which is rare in Fantasy so I’m hoping for more of that as well. Even the Darkest Stars has a very cinematic feel to it & I can’t wait to see what Fawcett has in store for us next 🙂

*HUGE Thanks to Harper/Balzer + Bray, Edelweiss, & Heather Fawcett for the eGalley of Even the Darkest Stars in exchange for an honest review

Hello Readers! has anyone read or plan on reading Even the Darkest Stars? I was OBSESSED with Ragtooth! I need more furry book companions please & thank you 🙂


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WWW Wednesday 9/13/2017

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 W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

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


I tend to finish books in the middle of my work day leaving me stumped with the question of what to read next? NOT TODAY! I knew I’d finish my book in the morning & so I grabbed a arc from my shelves that I have been super stoked to get to! Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor!!! this will actually be a re-read for me since I read this a few years ago along with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. This however is the first time the Novella is published in print edition and it includes S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G black & white Illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo. Laini Taylor is one of my top 5 favorite authors and I’m excited to revisit Zuzana and Mik’s first date. I loved it the first time around, these characters are 2 of my faves & are total #relationshipgoals haha!


I also recently started Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer however, I haven’t had much free time to listen to this audio-book. Now that I’ve finished my current read I can focus more on this book. I can usually read and listen to 2 different books at the same time however, this last read was very slow paced & took a bit more effort on my behalf to finish reading.


This morning I finished Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett & gave it a 3.75 star rating. I will be writing my review tonight, I did enjoy the characters in this book immensely however, the issues I found with pacing/world-building are why I rated it a 3.75. Overall, I have so many good things to say about ETDS & I do plan on continuing with this series 😉

 


Having just finished a book whose world had humans living side by side with dragons, I knew I’d be craving more! I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about Before She Ignites from my fellow blogger buddies which has me hyped up. I was approved for a galley on Edelweiss & will most likely inhale this read within the next 48 hours lol! Before She Ignites hit the shelves just yesterday & I can’t wait to see what the buzz is all about 🙂


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3’s!


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