SPOILER FREE REVIEW: STRANGE GRACE BY TESSA GRATTON

Title: Strange Grace

Author: Tessa Gratton

Pub. Date: September 18th. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 320

Content Warnings: Human sacrifice, Death, Trauma, and Torture…There’s probably a whole lot more that I’m missing since this in fact is THE darkest read I’ve ever read, please note trigger warnings for graphic imagery.

Buddy Read: Melanie, Julie, and Candace

*Thank you Simon & Schuster for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

“Every seven years their best boy is sent into the forest from sundown to sunrise, on the night of the Slaughter Moon. he will live or die on his own mettle, and for his sacrifice the devil blesses Three Graces”

In Three Graces the people live without death, disease, or injuries in exchange for their best boy. The most purest of heart & loved by all the people is raised to be sacrificed as a “Saint” every seven years to the Devil who lives in the forest, a bargain that started when a Grace witch fell in love with the Devil. When the Slaughter moon comes early at the 3 year mark, all are left wondering what went wrong with the last sacrifice. For three of the youths living in Three Graces, it’s an opportunity to give their lives some purpose…

Mairwen- A Grace Witch who has always been pulled in by the dark magic that lives in the forest. The Daughter of a Grace Witch & a Saint, Mairwen dreams of the day she can do more than just brush the borders of the Forest. Mairwen is definitely what I’d consider a daughter of the night, she collects bones and makes trinkets out of them. Mairwen does NOT fear the Devil. Fearless & strong, Mairwen also loves Rhun & Arthur who each face their own challenges.

Rhun- Our towns chosen Saint, loved by all and descended from a long line of Saints sacrificed to the Devil & the forest. Rhun is fully prepared to die for the people of Three Graces who believe him to be the best boy. However, Rhun also knows that his love for Arthur if discovered will most likely take him out of the running for “Saint.” Still, Rhun doesn’t hold back his love for either Mairwen or Arthur. What I love about Rhun is that he respects Arthur’s boundaries & understands that Arthur isn’t ready to acknowledge there are feelings there to begin with.

Arthur- The Outcast of Three Graces as a result of his mothers decision to raise him as a girl. Arthur’s mother believed she could protect him from ever having to be considered for sacrifice by keeping his gender a secret. This however backfires when at a young age he is exposed in front of others and made to question his own identity. My heart bleeds for Arthur who I just want to protect at all costs! Arthur’s also the only one who sees how messed up Three graces really is and how toxic masculinity runs deep in its core. Arthur waivers between needing to prove something to this town and basically saying SCREW YOU! Arthur is not one to self sacrifice for this town however he loves both Mairwen & Rhun most and for them anything goes.

Strange Grace lured me in with its beautifully mysterious cover with a tree and red leaves never once thinking it would wrap its roots around my every waking thought. I LIVE for dark atmospheric reads but Tessa Gratton seriously elevated the bar on what I consider Dark Fantasy going forward. I LOVED every minute of my reading experience with this book & the imagery I was left with alone makes this a stand-out read. Gratton gives us a Polyamorous relationship and a mostly all queer cast of characters. Gender fluidity is discussed from the POV of one of the main characters who was made to live as female at an age when they didn’t know the difference. This character grows up to be someone who wants so badly for there to be no hard lines of distinction between what makes one male or female. This is the first book I’ve ever come across in YA Fantasy to weave in so many important discussions on gender & sexuality and I cannot sing its praises enough! The writing might haunt you & break you but I guarantee it will leave its mark on you 🖤


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July Wrap Up

Hello Bookworms! It’s the start of the weekend for me & on the agenda is getting some reviews posted here on the blog. I had one of the MOST fun reading months in July & pretty much picked up one book after another with no brakes. I also participated in  #Smutathon & read some awesome Contemporary titles, special thanks goes to Melanie for keeping us on track with them buddy reads haha! ❤ I also found myself reading books that I’d typically pick up in the Fall & I think that’s just my subconscious prepping for the season of warm sweaters, colorful leaves, and hot tea *bring it* In the month of July I truly tried to read whatever my heart desired seeing as the rest of the year is pretty booked with new ARCS & releases I have on deck to review. Looking down at my collage of book covers I’m smiling seeing the variety so this is one happily satisfied bookworm!

Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart 3 STARS I really enjoyed this tale of two sisters switching places however I ended up being interested & invested in one sister more than the other. There were some pacing issues however, the ending is soOo promising of what’s to come & I am definitely going to p/u the sequel to this duology.

The King Of Bourbon Street by Thea De Salle– 4.5 STARS✨ (RTC) This is the first Naughty read on Lair Of Books & I could NOT be more happier with it! well…I could have been hype as all hell had it been a plus sized gal up on the cover but more to come on that in my review. This was steamy & all around AMAZING with body positivity (except for the cover) & LGBTQIAP+ Rep. I look forward to continuing on with the rest of this series 😉

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory 4 STARSA Contemporary with important topics woven into the story. I LOVE the female MC however I wasn’t fond of the male interest, his attitude towards women left much to be desired. 

Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazu ✨5 STARS✨ (Mini RTC) This has to be the cutest web comic turned Graphic Novel EVER! well it’s the first I’ve read & has me officially HOOKED! I debated on whether to give this 4 stars cause I really wanted more of the romance but then again the friendships REALLY are AMAZING! Bitty stole my heart with his pie baking skills & I just need more of his college experience & Vlogs 💓

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton5 STARS✨ (RTC) A Pleasant & unexpected surprise this was! I thought I’d be creeped the heck out by Strange Grace but instead I ended up being entranced by this dark and beautifully written Polyamorous read. More thoughts to come in my review next week 🖤

Scream All Night by Derek Milman4 STARS✨ Quirky, odd, sad, and a times very funny all rolled into one is what I described this one as in my review. Scream All Night feature a MC who has had to emancipate himself at the age of 12 in order to get away from an abusive father. Now 17, Dario returns to the castle/studio where the worse of his memories still reside in order to be present for his father’s last wishes. This one read very different that anything I’ve ever read & it worked, I was engaged all throughout & enamored by Moldavia studios and its inhabitants 🖤

Josh and Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren4 STARS✨ (RTC)  There’s so much to love in this story! from the Korean culture we get from Josh to the fierce independence we see in Hazel. I had SO MUCH fun reading this & found myself falling in love with their love story, easily one of the best I’ve read!  More thoughts to come next week 🖤

The Black God’s Drum by P. Djèlí Clark 5 STARS✨ (RTC) I just need this to be made into a full length novel cause it absolutely left me wanting more from this world. Most intriguing is how I managed to get so interested & invested in these characters in such a short period of time since this is a novella but I did! If you enjoyed Children of Blood and Bone for its Orisha aspects then this is a MUST read 😉

I think it’s safe to say now that you’ll be seeing quite a few reviews start to trickle out here on Lair Of Books 😂 they are for the most part ARCS that are set to be published in September. Since I was on a roll with my reading, everything else pretty much took a back seat & that includes TV & Netflix. I did however go on a date with hubby & we watched…

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

Paul Rudd & Evangeline Lilly were the PERFECT duo on the screen! Where Scott/Ant-Man fell short, Hope/The Wasp more than made up. Action packed scenes infused with the ol’ Wasp humor, enhanced suits, and old friends = a VERY good time!  I rated this one 5 STARS!

 

 


Hope you’re all having a FAB August! It’s setting up to be an exciting month for me with my first vacation in over 10 years! LOOOOOONG overdue but oh how sweet it will feel taking that ride on the Hogwarts Express?!?! 😱😱😱 I know I’m a bit late with this wrap-up so instead I’ll end this by asking, what books are on your night stand? 💓


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JULY BOOK HAUL

Hello Bookworms! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend & an even better start to your week! ❤ I legit spent the weekend reading The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie. I don’t usually ever have the time to read a whole book in 1 weekend but I did which means I lived & breathed this book at all hours of the day LOL! My hubby cheered me on all the way every time I reached a certain percentage & by the end I felt like I had accomplished the biggest feat! Two tiny humans on the weekends usually take up all of my time but the wonders a couple of remote control race cars can do to let Mommy read haha! 😉

I come to you now with my July Book Haul!!! I have a mix of books I bought, was gifted, and received from the publishers so without further ado…

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Solitaire | Radio Silence | I Was Born For This | Next Year In Havana | A Room Away From The Wolves | A Storm Runner | SEAFIRE | Traitor’s Blade (gift from Melanie) | The Shadowglass | Mud Vein (gift from Melanie) | The Traitor Baru Cormorant (gift from Melanie, who is also hosting a HUGE Buddy Read at the end of the month for this book!) )

Thanks again Mellie Mel! You ROCK & so does that face mask you sent me! XoXO! 🙂

FAIRLYLOOT

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Heart Of Thorns

Ok….so this wasn’t my favorite box at all and it breaks my heart to admit this. It just seems like the curation was off par with what we’re used to receiving in terms of quality this go-around. i am still very excited to get this book with the red sprayed edges & the Children of Blood and Bone print is by far my MOST favorite item in this box….it’s getting framed by my desk *heart eyes*

BOOK OF THE MONTH

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The Last Time I Lied

KINDLE & AUDIBLE

The Last Black Unicorn (Audible-HIGHLY recommended by my Sister) | The King Of Bourbon Street | Howl’s Moving Castle | | Romancing The Duke | Roomies | Spirit HuntersJade City | The Poppy War

eGalleys

The Cerulean | Heroine | We Set The Dark On Fire | The Tiger At Midnight | The Proposal | Fire & Heist | Josh + Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating | The Simple Wild | The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy


SOooo this Fall is looking AMAZING amiright?!?! Excited for all of these reads & sequels. I’ve been mixing up my reading to make sure I’m reading from all of the genres I really enjoy & it has made quite the difference! No more Fantasy burn-out, I’m actually craving Fantasy more now & have been reading some AMAZING ones lately! Keep an eye out for my blog tour stop tomorrow for The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie…this is one I’m going to HIGHLY recommend to all of my YA Sci-Fi Bookworm Buddies 🙂


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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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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books with Sensory Reading Memories

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 brought back a ton of good memories and reminded me that there are a few books I’d definitely re-read. These books are very near & dear to my heart because of the feelings and memories they invoke…

July 24th 2018: Ten Books with Sensory Reading Memories

💜 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #4)– This book is my favorite of the whole series for so many reasons but the very top one being that it’s the one I had in my hands when I met my hubby. I walked in to my 1st day at a new job with my copy and saw him sitting with his copy of Deathly Hollows and knew it was a sign haha!  It was a constant game of “No Spoilers” that led to casual flirting smh 😉

💜 Heartless by Marissa Meyer– I buddy read this wonderful book with my book twin Gretchen @ChicNerdReads after scoring arcs at Bookcon in 2017. I had all my alerts ready on my phone when I saw Fierce Reads tweet out that they were giving out T-shirts at their booth. Whelp I went right over thinking it was just a shirt, told them the magic password & ended up with a arc copy!!! *GASP* I still remember flipping out on the phone to my book twin and since hubby was with me, he got her a copy as well. The buddy read was so much fun and had us thinking about baking & pastries all along 🙂

💜 Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem– My first college assigned read  & it has stuck with me throughout the years. The MC Lionel has Tourettes and he finds himself working for a small time mobster. When the mobster who took him in as an orphan shows up dead, Lionel puts on his detective hat to find his killer. I was ABSORBED in this story & can remember discussing it in class as if it were just yesterday

💜 My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton (The Lady Janies #2)– I read this book in one day, two sittings. I started it on the train ride home and found myself laughing out loud without any reservation. I was having a very bad week and this book didn’t let my thoughts wander. I laughed hard & long and in turn made those around me laugh…a contagious fun read I will always turn to for some silliness 🙂

💜 A Million Junes by Emily Henry– This book stirred up memories of my dad and I found the tears streaming full force by the time I read the last page. I won’t say how because it would be spoilery for this book but it will always be THE book that moved me with thoughts of my own dad.

💜 Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six Of Crows #2)– I finished reading CK on my train ride to The Strand for a Leigh Bardugo signing & although that was EPIC! it’s not the main reason I remember it fondly. This is the day I met my book twin Gretchen in person! from watching her videos on Booktube to being motivated by her to start my own blog and going on a blogging journey with her to a Leigh Bardugo event we had so much fun in! Crooked Kingdom will always be the book that brought me to my twin 🙂

💜 The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslie Walton– Ok! this has to be one of the most beautifully tragic books I’ve ever read! & I had the pleasure of sharing the heartbreak with my best friend of 18 years. He wasn’t happy with the ugly crying this book put him through but he loved it just as much as I did & it even kicked off a buddy read binge. My BFF doesn’t really read much so this was definitely a time I’ll always remember fondly 🙂

💜 The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden– I don’t have a specific memory attached to this beautiful gem of a book but it’s one that will always feel, taste, sound like Winter whenever I think of the story within its pages. I read The Bear during the Winter and it couldn’t have been a more ideal read for the season.

💜 Nyxia: Unleashed by Scott Reintgen– I’ve gone ahead & linked to Melanie over at Meltotheany on this one cause I will always think of her when I think of this book. She & I buddy read a whole lot & I think that’s cause she has the patience of a Goddess cause ya girl lives life on the go & sometimes can fall behind Haha! anyways, we gush over this book for days & could NOT stop quoting front to back!

💜 A Dance With Dragons (A Song Of Ice & Fire #5) by George RR Martin– This is a bittersweet memory if there ever was one…where is book 6?!?! yea I know! haha! but it’s here because I remember buddy reading this 5th installment with my hubby while expecting our tiny human. Since I was limited due to a high risk pregnancy, weekends were spent reading Game Of Thrones in bed and trying not to read ahead for fear of spoilers…he still outread (totes should be a word) me though smh hehe 🙂


Happy Tuesday Bookworms! This post is going up wayyyy later in the day…it’s now night but somewhere in the world I am right on time! ❤ Hope you’re all reading amazing books & finding your next book obsession! 😉


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WWW Wednesday 7/18/2018

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

Happy Hump Day Bookworms!!! It’s been a minute since I posted one of these reading updates here on Lair Of Books. Mostly I’ve been updating Goodreads & Instagram (links at the end of post) but I’d really like to get back to doing updates here on the blog on Wednesdays or Fridays (there will be weeks I alternate days). Personally I love reading updates on the books you all are reading, loving, not so much enjoying haha! and doing these posts for me goes hand in hand with blog hopping. Also, sometimes mid-read I just need to rant or rave about my current book & what better place than here amiright? 😉

Strange Grace by Tessa Graton

I am buddy reading (currently @65%) this bone chilling book (thank the stars) with Melanie, Julie, and Candace & I’m legit hooked Bookworms! & I don’t know why cause this isn’t typically my genre…horror has always made me look like a chump. I steer clear of high key horror anything & yet I requested this cause the blurb spoke to my soul *covers eyes* yea I dunno why I do the things I do but I have ZERO regrets. The writing is A+ spooky and why didn’t I know this was LGBTQIAP+?!?! It’s giving me LIFE! I’m still reading it with the lights on but yea, look out for this one! witches, demons, demon forest, and one hell of a romance!


The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

This has so far been the summer of me reading all the contemporary my heart desires which includes ROMANCE! I’m also buddy reading this one with Melanie cause we’re reading all the books together at this point & she’s the BEST buddy read partna! LMAO! I’ve fallen behind though so today I plan on binge reading the last half. So far, I’m enjoying the read & REALLY appreciating the body positivity.  This is a interracial fake dating romance that has all the ingredients for a cute romance movie. I don’t think this will be quite the 5 star read but it is highly enjoyable, we shall see.


Check, Please!: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Oh goodness I am enjoying this webcomic turned graphic novel oh so MUCH! which is probably why I’m taking my time with it smh. I do plan on finishing Check Please tonight. This is a LGBTQIAP+ story about a guy who is in his freshman year of college & is also on the hockey team. He’d much rather be baking pies but Hockey has the potential to help with the costs of college. I am OBSESSED with the MC Bitty & will be pre-ordering a copy ASAP! this is an arc I received at Bookcon, Check, Please! will be out on 9/18/18 🙂


Josh + Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren

I recently finished & thoroughly enjoyed this one, gave it a 4 star rating over on Goodreads. My review will be up closer to publication date as per the request of the publicist. This is a friends to lovers contemporary romance, my first by this author duo and I found it to be fun & quirky. We also get a Korean MC who I imagined to be quite dreamy haha! more thoughts to come, this one hits the shelves 9/4/2018 🙂


Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Last week I finished Grace and Fury and gave it a solid 3.5 star rating (my spoiler free review) & think it’s a promising start to a new Duology? I only see 2 books listed in Goodreads & that seems to be the trend lately. Grace and Fury has strong feminist themes threaded all throughout the story but ultimately it really came down down to my enjoyment of one sisters arc over the other. They both started off strong but I do feel the sister I was initially in love with, had her fire put out before it started. I do however plan on reading the follow-up since the ending left me eyes wide open! this one is filled with plot twists to keep you breakin’ your neck haha!


Scream All Night by Derek Milman

This is one that I’ve actually already started & stopped reading at about the 15% mark. No real reason other than I just wasn’t in the right mood for it. The 15% I read was enjoyable and also very odd with a bit of humor. I’m actually really curious to see where this goes.


Happy reading Bookworms! Does anyone else feel like today is Thursday? cause I’ve spent the entire day saying”heeeeeeY at least tomorrow’s Friday right?!?!” SMH. In some part of the world today is Thursday! so happy Friday’s Eve 😉 its been a long week & I’d love to see what you’re reading, drop some luv in the comments below <3’s! 


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: GRACE AND FURY BY TRACY BANGHART

Title: GRACE AND FURY

Author: TRACY BANGHART

Pub. Date: July 31ST. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Pages: 320

Content Warning: Physical abuse, violence, threatened talk of rape, and death

Buddy Read: Melanie, Amy, Jules, Jen

*HUGE thanks to Little Brown Books For Young Readers for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

   

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Grace & Fury opens up in an Italian inspired Fantasy setting that has been compared to that of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Women are limited to the role of housewives and the simplest of educations is deemed illegal to them. We meet Serina and her sister Nomi who are complete polar opposites. Serina is in training to compete for a position as a “Grace” for the Heir to the throne. Nomi in turn is being trained to be her handmaiden of sorts if Serina secures a position as a Grace. To be chosen as a Grace is viewed as a honorable thing & blessing bestowed upon a family. In truth, a Grace is groomed in all sorts of manners & etiquette but is also to assume the role of concubine to the Heir. To Serina, being chosen is all that matters & it’s what she’s worked so hard for. For outspoken & Feminist Nomi, this all sounds more like a life sentence. Free spirited and hungry for knowledge of the written word, Nomi wants Serina to see that this life isn’t a choice at all. While Serina aims to please the Heir someday, Nomi can be found sneaking in lessons with her brother on how to read. They both seem to have their life purpose laid out in stone until their world is turned upside down and they are forced to step into each others shoes…LITERALLY! One random run in with the heir leads to Nomi securing a most undesirable spot as a Grace leaving Serina to be her handmaiden. This twisted turn of affairs is one of many that will keep you flipping the pages as fast as you can drink in the words.

Grace & Fury is told from the alternating points of view between Serina and Nomi which worked really well to show us just how different these two siblings really are. I started off really favoring Nomi and her refusal to be boxed into a role she never asked for. I found myself really wanting to see more from this character & her contribution to the overall story. About half way into Grace & Fury, I found myself really frustrated with Nomi’s situation but understood that it wasn’t ideal for either of the two sisters. Made to swap roles, neither Serina or Nomi were prepared for the cards they were dealt. I did however have higher expectations from Nomi who knows how to read & is from the very start is very rebellious. Instead, I feel like we didn’t get much character growth from Nomi vs. the immense transformation we see in Serina during the last half of this book. Given, Nomi was in a very subdued position given the very nature of having to fulfill the role of a Grace but it doesn’t explain some of her decisions specifically when it came to insta-love. Serina on the other hand really won me over during the second half of the book as she came to terms with the hard consequences of her sister’s secret. I also really enjoyed Serina’s POV chapters because of the supporting characters we are introduced to on the island she is cast away. Not only is Serina stripped of her chances to become a Grace but she takes the fall for her sisters secret & is discarded on an island where the women fight to the death for their meals. The women on the island all have a story and getting to know them had to be my favorite part of this story.

This was such a fast paced easy read that caught me by surprise each & every time I sat down. I easily read chunks at a time every sitting but won’t deny that the second half of this story is where all the action and character growth really hooked its claws into me. I also found myself enjoying Serina’s chapters way more than Nomi’s which is a shame since Nomi and what she represents really appealed to my Feminist soul. There is so much good to this story though, including the history embedded into the ways of the land and why women are not allowed to learn how to read. Fear of what is perceived to be the weaker sex gaining knowledge & one day reclaiming power is at the root of the story. I found Grace & Fury to be a solid start to a Feminist Fantasy that I am very interested in continuing on with. If that ending is any indication of things to come…I am one very excited Bookworm! 🖤


Good Monday Morning Bookworms! I hope you all have a wonderful start to the week 🖤 Grace & Fury will hit shelves 7/31/2018, will you be picking up a copy? 


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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: 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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THE LADY JANIES ARE BACK WITH A SMASH HIT! BLOG TOUR: MY PLAIN JANE REVIEW + GIVEAWAY! 💙

Title: MY PLAIN JANE (THE LADY JANIES #2)

Author: Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

Pub. Date: June 26th. 2018

Genre: YA HISTORICAL FICTION/PARANORMAL/HUMOR

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 464

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | TARGET (EXCLUSIVE BONUS CHAPTER)

    

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

When I first read My Lady Jane last year, I giggled and snorted in the most random crowded places with absolutely NO regret! I still vividly remember how much fun I had reading that book & so when I heard My Plain Jane was on its way, I legit couldn’t contain my excitement! luckily for me, there are some AMAZING humans in this world and I was able to read an arc copy early on (thank you Sarah!). What I wasn’t expecting was to love it so much I didn’t want it to end! My Plain Jane shares many similarities with its predecessor except, it’s not a continuation in a series and can be read as a stand-alone (I still urge you to read My Lady Jane lest you miss out on all the laughs 😉). Humor infused with a paranormal twist, this is one Jane Eyre re-telling I could not put down! The Lady Janies quite literally took two of my favorites & meshed them together: 1. a love for all things Gothic Victorian and 2. Ghostbusters 😱😱😱 WHAT?!?! YES!!! These books are fun & best of all…they don’t take themselves too seriously allowing the reader to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the silliness of it all. The writing is once again seamless, The Lady Janies are these 3 wonderful authors who must share the same sense of humor. I’m convinced when I am reading that it’s only 1 author but in all reality I can’t tell where one starts and the other ends. This is to say, it has an organic flow and makes for such an enjoyable reading experience with unexpected laughs along the way.

💙Fan Made Book Trailer (and all other MPJ graphics here) by the Wonderful Sarah over at the YABOOKTRAVELER💙

Jane is an orphan who has the ability to see & speak to ghosts, she also enjoys painting and looks forward to a stress free life as a governess one day. The day comes sooner than she thought and Jane ends up in Thornfield Hall working for Mr. Rochester who has a pension for brooding. All the while, Jane has left the orphanage in the midst of a murder investigation. A Mr. Brocklehurst has been killed and his ghost is lingering behind in hopes of finding his killer. When the orphanage calls upon the services of the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits, Alexander Blackwell shows up and crosses paths with Jane right before her departure to Thornfield Hall. He quickly makes out Jane for having Seer abilities and offers her employment in the agency. Jane turns down his offer choosing the more “practical” route of governess. Jane’s best friend Charlotte Brontë is also an orphan at the same orphanage. As an aspiring writer, she would love nothing more than her BFF to take up the mantle as paranormal detective. Charlotte finds Jane’s life to be MOST fascinating! and even has a little notebook where she writes stories inspired by Jane. Polar opposites, the friendship between Jane & Charlotte are serious #FRIENDGOALS 💓

This book was filled with ghosts, witty banter, social commentary, feminist empowerment, and so much more! If I had to pick a favorite character, I’d have to go with Charlotte who truly embodied the feminist movement. There is no telling Charlotte what she can or cannot do. Strategic, intelligent, and resourceful are just some of the words that describe this beloved character. The romance she gets caught up with is hella swoooooon worthy! When I realized this was a full on ghost busting story, my heart skipped beats! This book left me happy with a smile from ear to ear, the ending was PERFECTION!💙

We’re the authors of the young adult novels, MY LADY JANE, and MY PLAIN JANE, which is coming in June 2018. Our group is made up of Brodi Ashton (New York Times bestselling author of the EVERNEATH series and DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY), Cynthia Hand (New York Times bestselling author of the UNEARTHLY series, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, and THE HOW AND THE WHY), and Jodi Meadows (New York Times bestselling author of the INCARNATE trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN duology, and the FALLEN ISLES trilogy). Between the three of us we’ve written nineteen novels, a bunch of novellas, a handful of short stories, and a couple of really bad poems, but we have the most fun working on our books together. We’re friends. We’re writers. We’re fixing history by rewriting one sad story at a time.

💙 Win a signed copy of My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. Open US only.

🎉🎉Rafflecopter Link Here 🎉🎉

💙 Photo Challenge & Giveaway!

Share a photo or selfie with your copy of My Plain Jane and you could win a custom designed book sleeve, made by Second Hand Pages, a custom Jane Eyre candle from Canterbury Road Co, Jane Eyre (Barnes and Noble Collectible Edition), the Blu-Ray DVD of Jane Eyre, and a My Plain Jane Bookmark! For the photo, you can use your copy, a friends or one from the library. Use the hashtag #MyPlainJaneGiveaway to enter. Open to US only. Ends Sunday, July 8th.

 

Week 1
June 25 – The YA Book Traveler – Trailer & Review
June 26 – Alexa Loves Books – Gift Guide
June 27 – YA Wednesdays – Jane’s Playlist
June 28 – Novel Novice – Styled by Books
June 29 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Famous Janes
June 30 – A Backwards Story – Leaking Top Secret Dossier Files of Current ( Royal ) Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits Members
Week 2
July 2 – Bookcrushin’ – Supernatural Meets Jane Eyre – Tips for the Reluctant Ghost Hunter
July 3 – The Reader and the Chef – Guide to eating á la My Plain Jane (Bookish Menu) + Bookstagram Post
July 4 – The Clever Reader – Launch Event Recap
July 5 – Booknerd Addict – Review + Bookstagram Post
July 6 – Lair of Books – Review
July 7 – Mary Had a Little Book Blog – Famous ghosts & ghost hunters

Happy Friday Bookworms! Thank you so much for stopping by today, It’s been such a pleasure participating in the #MYPLAINJANE tour 💙 The 1st week alone has seen AMAZING news with My Plain Jane hitting the TOP 10 Bestsellers List! If you haven’t yet, check out the bloggers above who’ve come up with some of the most unique, fun, and creative blog posts to ever hit the net! Have you read My Plain Jane?!?! Plan to? let me know in the comments down below & best of luck to those who’ve entered the amazing Giveaway 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼


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