January 2021 Anticipated New Releases

Hello Bookworms! I decided to try something new (to me) here on the blog since I always have a running list going on my phone of anticipated new releases. It helps me be more aware of what’s coming out in the publishing world even though I don’t particularly like or stick to TBR’s. I debated this past weekend on whether this post should be quarterly or monthly and with the help of a friend decided monthly would be best. The reason being that I read across many different genres and a quarterly list would look Nanas & would probably end up missing a few titles that slip through the cracks. I’m a little late this month since I was unsure on the format but in the future these posts will go up the last week of the month in anticipation of the following months titles. January is typically a slow month in books seeing as we’re gearing up to be overwhelmed with ALL the books come February and I do mean ALL the books haha! So without further ado…


YA & MIDDLE GRADE

LORE BY ALEXANDRA BRACKEN (1/5/2021)-Putting aside the fact that this cover is STUNNING & will make anyone do a double take…this book features Athena the Goddess of wisdom, war and crafts aka my favorite of them all! as punishment for a past rebellion, nine greek Gods are forced to walk the mortal earth while being hunted by ancient bloodlines. Our MC has turned their back on said world until a wounded Athena crosses her path. This one is coming in one of my book boxes & will MOST def be a book I read in February.

ANGEL OF GREENWOOD BY RANDI PINK (1/12/2021)- Historical YA inspired by the Greenwood Massacre of 1921 in Tulsa aka Black Wall Street. We follow two teens with  opposing views on how black people should handle conflict & racism. Isaiah is a follower of WEB Du Bois & believes black people should rise up and claim their place as equals. Angel is a follower of Book T Washington and believes black people should take a slow peaceful approach w/out forced conflict. Things change when a white mob storms their community destroying the town and leaving its residents displaced.

CONCRETE ROSE (THE HATE U GIVE #0) BY ANGIE THOMAS (1/12/2021)- The prequel to the The U Give, here we get the story of Maverick Carter (Starr Carter’s Dad) and how he came to be a young father.  For Mav, life hasn’t been easy but he tries to juggle school and becoming a young dad while also making money on the streets as apart of a gang. Son of a former gang legend, Mav is left to care for his family while his mother works two jobs and his dad is in prison. He’s offered a chance to leave street life behind and go straight but it proves to be much easier said than done. This is Mavericks story of becoming the man we later see in The Hate U Give. STOKED! black men as a whole are under represented in books, Mav is a fictional father I absolutely loved when I first met him on the page!

BE DAZZLED BY RYAN LA SALA (1/5/2021)- After reading and really enjoying Reverie by this author, I knew to keep an eye out for future works. Dubbed as Project Runway goes to Comic con! this a queer m/m YA Contemporary with a MC who loves creating, bedazzling, sewing, stitching, pattern making etc. when he enters a Cosplay competition in hopes of winning a sponsorship. The problem is that his ex boyfriend has also entered the competition and unresolved feelings still linger when they’re partnered to work together! SIGN ME UP!

WINGS OF EBONY BY J. ELLE (1/26/2021)-A debut fantasy about a black teen from Houston Texas who witnesses the murder of her mother on her doorstep. She’s then separated from her sister by her father and whisked away to an island of magic wielders, Rue is half God/half human. On the anniversary of her mom’s death she wants only to return to Houston and see her sister. When she does, she finds that Evil has taken a hold of the black kids in her community and forced them into crime and violence. Rue must tap into her ancestral magic to try and save her neighborhood before the Gods burn it to the ground.

ROMAN + JEWEL BY DANA L. DAVIS (1/5/2021)-What if Romeo & Juliet got the Hamilton treatment? Yea that’s about all I needed to read to know I want to to read this tbh. Our MC Jerzie wants so badly to land the lead role in what is Broadway’s hottest new show featuring a diverse cast of characters and “modern twists” on the play. She ends up however, being cast as the understudy and also falling for the male lead. The problem is, the mega star who has been cast as the star lead has also set her eyes on him. DRAMA! haha!

AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS BY B.B. ALSTON (1/19/2021)- Quinton Peters who is living in low-income housing has received two full scholarship offers to Ivy League schools when he mysteriously goes missing. His 13 year old sister Amari wonders why it’s not made a bigger deal. When she discovers a suitcase in Quinton’s closet with an invitation for her to go to a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs she decides to answer. In search of answers on Quinton’s disappearance, Amari discovers a world of mermaids, dwarves, yetis, magicians and a weredragon as a roommate. Mari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids who’ve known about the supernatural world all their lives. This just sounds like it’s going to a be a fun time!


SCI-FI & FANTASY

REMOTE CONTROL BY NNEDI OKORAFOR (1/19/2021) –“She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own.” An African Futurism Novella that features a MC named Fatima who has a fox companion she walks alone searching for answers on the object that fell from the sky changing her forever. STOKED to have a eGalley I’ll be reading tonight!

PERSEPHONE STATION BY STINA LEICHT (1/5/2021)-Dubbed as being for fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop will pretty much get anyones attention! a Queer Sci-Fi space opera that takes place in a backwater planet called Persephone station where a bartender named Rosie serves two types of people: Those of the criminal class and those who seek to employ them. When Angel an ex marine and head of a semi-organized crew of criminal bent on doing the honorable thing gets hired by Rosie, she sees herself up against an army. The Serrao-Orlov Corporation is a corporation set on exploiting Persephone Station until met with Angel & crew. THAT COVER & PREMISE!!! ❀


fiction & romance

THE PROPHETS BY ROBERT JONES JR. (1/5/2021)- “A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.” I received an ALC copy from Libro.fm that I’m pretty stoked to get to just from listening to the sample audio.

THE EX TALK BY RACHEL LYNN SOLOMON (1/26/2021)- hate to love romance? seems so. Shay, a producer for her Seattle public radio realizes things have gotten pretty stale on the air and the show needs a new concept.  Her newest colleague Dominic who has just attained a masters program in journalism thinks he knows all there is to know about radio. The idea is born to have exes come on the show and deliver relationship advice. Their boss decides they’re PERFECT to host the show since they already despise each other. This sounds innnnneresting haha!


What are some of the january titles you’re most looking forward to hitting the shelves? drop a comment down below & as always, happy reading <3’s!


πŸ–€FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKSπŸ–€

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBook

Spoiler Free Review: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Title: Such a Fun Age

Author:Β Kiley Reid

Pub. Date:Β December 31st 2019

Genre:Β Realistic Fiction

Format:Β Audiobook

Publisher:Β G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages:Β 310 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | LIBROFM – MY REFERRAL LINK

In the middle of the night, white blogger Alix Chamberlain and her husband are experiencing a crisis in their home. They call their African American babysitter Emira asking her to come over and take their baby girl Briar Chamberlain for a walk to distract her while they handle the events that have transpired in their home. Emira who is off the clock and at a friends birthday party decides to do this favor for her employer. While walking through the local supermarket in the Chamberlain’s neighborhood with 2 year old Briar, things quickly take a left turn. We have what we now have come to call a “Neighborhood Karen” raise what she thinks are concerns for the safety of Briar to the security guard at the market. It’s quickly implied that a white child wouldn’t be out late at night with a black girl who claims to be said child’s babysitter. One thing leads to another and Emira sees herself accused of kidnapping Briar and isn’t allowed to leave until contact is made with her employer. THIS BOOK!!!! WOW! I was NOT prepared for the rollercoaster of emotions I sat and listened through. This most certainly was a read-in-one-sitting type of book. I felt all things from anger to empathy to disgust watching Emira navigate through the racism and microagressions in her life.

β€œI don’t need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like… happens.” – Such a Fun Age

Emira is 25, the age where many find themselves wondering what to do with their life. She isn’t sure what path to take career wise or even what her skillset is really valued at. We see her sort of just go with the flow of things while Alix Chamberlain adopts this really weird obsession with all things Emira. Alix is a white woman who at one point in her life decided to change her name to make herself sound more sophisticated. She’s made a career of writing eloquent persuasive letters that in turn get her free products to review. Alix belongs to this circle of women who are very judgmental and toxic towards one another. This character literally got under my skin, she had this really awkward way of going about making sure Emira sees her as different than most white women. She becomes obsessed with trying to befriend Emira al the while Emira is very aware that they could never be friends. Alix would never treat Emira like she treats her own wealthy friends from New York. There are moments where Alix finds herself both surprised and embarrassed at being taken aback at hearing Emira using words in her vocabulary that don’t align with her listening to rap music. She acknowledges to herself that it shouldn’t come as a surprise since Emira is a college graduate but still she harbors these thoughts. Bookworms! this book will have you shaking your head but the truth is we all know an Alix in real life.

There’s so much to unpack in this book but at its core it’s a book about racism, microagressions, social class, parenting andΒ racial fetishization. These characters seriously had me back and forth with my feelings when it came down trying to figure out if their actions/thoughts were ill intended or not. The idea of the white savior comes into play from the very start when Emira’s white employers are called before releasing her and then continues all throughout. Β There were a few twists that I didn’t see coming and seriously had me eyes wide open with anticipation at what could come next. While there are very serious hard hitting themes that play center stage, this book never once felt preachy yet (actually some parts were fun as odd as that may sound) it managed to give a huge SMH at the ignorance Emira had to deal with. The writing invoked emotions that go hand in hand with what 2020 brought to the surface. Β A more satisfying ending I did not read in all of 2020, a read I’ll never forget. Kiley Reid’s debut is simply phenomenal! One of my Top 10 of 2020 that I will continue to recommend to all my friends!


πŸ–€FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKSπŸ–€

Instagram:Β @LairOfBooks

Twitter:Β @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:Β LairOfBook

Spoiler Free Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Title: Anxious People

Author: Fredrik Backman

Pub. Date:Β September 8th 2020

Genre:Β Contemporary Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Publisher:Β Atria Books

Pages:Β 341 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | LIBROFM (MY REFERRAL LINK)

My First Backman!!!

I’ve been hearing about Fredrik Backman’s curmudgeonly characters and tear jerker story lines for a few years now but decided to end 2020 with seeing for myself. Whelp! no lies detected Bookworms, this book broke me and left me sobbing tears of happiness? sadness? I still don’t know. I opted to listen to the audiobook after hearing many rave reviews on the narrators performance, this I can also attest to. I also think this is the type of book you want to walk in blind to as I did. From the very start we are thrust into a botched bank robbery and our MC is the perpetrator who in an effort to escape stumbles into an apartment open house. What our MC finds is possibly the worse group of hostages ever but for the reader it proves to be a good time haha! Yes, there is humor all throughout which does a nice job of balancing out the more hard hitting conversations between these hostages. We meet a retired couple who seek fixer uppers in an effort to find common ground in their stale marriage, a lesbian couple who are about to have their first child even though they can’t seem to agree on much, a wealthy woman banker who has been consumed by wealth so much so that she’s lost touch with humanity and love and a 87 year old woman who could not be less fazed by the gun wielding bank robber. This is a story about every day people trying their best to get it right but oftentimes discovering that the road is paved with many bumps along the way. It was beyond eye opening and heartwarming to see how human empathy can really make those differences that set us apart seem really minuscule in the grander scheme of things.

CW: Suicide, suicidal thoughts, depression, death of a loved one, infidelity, divorce

Zara, Roger, AnnaLee, Roe, Julia, Estelle and our MC aka the Bank Robber are some of the MOST unforgettable characters I’ve come across in fiction. Each one of these characters left their mark when sharing insight on their lives, the wins and the losses. There are secrets, love affairs, grief, sadness, fears that all get laid out on the table in the nooks & tiny closet of this small apartment. I predict Fredrik Backman will become one of my favorite story tellers of all time simply because I love character driven stories and he so masterfully creates people who you can connect with on a soul level.Β This is the type of book you should go into blindly & allow yourself to get wrapped up in. I guarantee that in no time you’ll be deeply invested in each of these characters stories. Backman is an author I’ll be revisiting in 2021, I’ve already secured a copy of A Man Called Ove from my library but I have a feeling I will be buying myself a copy real soonΒ πŸ™ŒπŸ½


πŸ–€FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKSπŸ–€

Instagram:Β @LairOfBooks

Twitter:Β @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:Β LairOfBook

Spoiler Free Review: Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz

Title: Blazewrath Games (Blazewrath Games #1)

Author:Β Amparo Ortiz

Pub. Date:Β October 6th 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy/Latinx

Format:Β eGalley

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Pages:Β 368 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZONΒ 

πŸ–€eGalley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewπŸ–€

β€œπ‘‡β„Žπ‘’ π‘‘β„Žπ‘–π‘›π‘” π‘Žπ‘π‘œπ‘’π‘‘ π‘π‘’π‘œπ‘π‘™π‘’ 𝑖𝑠 π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘¦ 𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑑 π‘‘π‘œ π‘™π‘œπ‘£π‘’ 𝑒𝑠 π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘–π‘Ÿ π‘€π‘Žπ‘¦, π‘›π‘œπ‘‘ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘€π‘Žπ‘¦ 𝑀𝑒’𝑑 π‘€π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘š π‘‘π‘œ π‘™π‘œπ‘£π‘’ 𝑒𝑠. π‘Šπ‘’ π‘π‘Žπ‘› 𝑑𝑒𝑙𝑙 π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘š π‘™π‘œπ‘Žπ‘‘π‘  π‘œπ‘“ π‘‘π‘–π‘šπ‘’π‘ . π‘Šπ‘’ π‘π‘Žπ‘› π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘€ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘š π‘Ž π‘π‘™π‘œπ‘œπ‘‘π‘¦ π‘šπ‘Žπ‘. π‘†π‘œπ‘šπ‘’π‘‘π‘–π‘šπ‘’π‘  π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘–π‘Ÿ π‘€π‘Žπ‘¦ 𝑖𝑠 π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘œπ‘›π‘™π‘¦ π‘€π‘Žπ‘¦ π‘‘β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ π‘šπ‘Žπ‘˜π‘’π‘  𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑒 π‘‘π‘œ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘š. π‘‚π‘’π‘Ÿ π‘£π‘œπ‘–π‘π‘’π‘  π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘’ 𝑗𝑒𝑠𝑑 π‘€β„Žπ‘–π‘‘π‘’ π‘›π‘œπ‘–π‘ π‘’”

Blazewrath Games is described as β€œHow to Train Your Dragons” meets β€œQuidditch through the Ages” and I’d say that’s about right with the exception that this book actually brings forth a ton of representation. It is the first Young Adult Fantasy I’ve seen hit the shelves with Latinx characters straight from the island of Puerto-Rico. The Spanish language is used all throughout, bringing the terms of endearment we use for one another as well as the pride we have for our Island to the page. The Blazewrath Games themselves are sort of like the Olympics with representation from all countries. One of the countries introduced has a team made up of ALL members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Within team Puerto-Rico we also have Queer rep which made my little heart very happy to see! Our MC Lana faces some challenges getting chosen as a Runner for the team since she has spent many years away from the island. She feels displaced & is met with some opposition along the way.

Lana is passionate about Blazewrath & Puerto Rico, she sets out to prove she’s worthy of her place on the team. In this world dragons bond with the humans they choose to participate in the Blazewrath Games. The Dragons are full of personality & love for their Riders but there are also Unbonded Dragons. These dragons are deemed volatile to civilians and our villain who was a former dragon cursed into human form sees an opportunity to gain control. Dragon sanctuaries are being burned down in protest of the Blazewrath Games. Lana and her teammates are thrust into solving a complex conspiracy while also trying to win the Cup for their Island of Puerto Rico. If you’re looking to discover new diverse YA Fantasy with dragons, wizards, witches and adventure this is one worth giving a shot.

Content Warning: Mention of domestic violence, Cancer, death of a parent

Blazewrath Games is Amparo Ortiz debut YA Fantasy, one that I was heavily looking forward to since seeing Ortiz speak on a panel earlier this year for Diversity in YA. Our MC Lana who was born in Puerto-Rico but has since relocated with her mother after their parents separation is experiencing a sense of displacement. She yearns to reconnect with her roots and also with her father who she maintains a close long distance relationship with. I’ve always had a soft spot for father/daughter stories since they take me back to my own and so I was hoping to see Lana’s more fleshed out. Her dad seems to be someone she has a deep bond with but for the majority of the story he’s M.I.A. Although his absence is explained on the page, I wished we’d seen more of him and less of what seemed to be a very tense relationship with her mom. Blazewrath is a fast paced adventure with a conspiracy at its core, if you’re a fan of dragons and magical settings this is a solid read. Team Puerto-Rico is a tight knit crew we get to know as Lana interacts with them in her training. More focus however is placed on the dragons, their abilities which are developing and their personalities. I LOVED all of the dragons with a special place in my heart for Daga the youngest and easily excited of them all. I’m very curious to see where Ortiz takes this story next inΒ Bloodbath Ring (Blazewrath Games #2)Β which doesn’t have a release date yet but I’ve already added to my TBR.


πŸ–€FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKSπŸ–€

Instagram:Β @LairOfBooks

Twitter:Β @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:Β LairOfBook

Top 10 Books of 2020…

Not Lilly starting 2021 with a Top 10 of 2020? *side eye* this post should’ve gone up last week but your girl was enjoying her birthday shennanigans haha! Hello Book Lovers & Happy New Year! I originally was aiming for a Top 20 0f 2020 however as I’m sure many of you can relate to, I found I read a lot less this past year than I ever have. So, instead of reaching to deliver a Top 20 I decided to go with the books I have ZERO hesitations reaching for on my shelf. These are titles that invoked a range of emotions and/or left me with new and memorable characters I’ll be thinking about for quite some time. I would also love to see your favorite books of 2020 posts, drop those links down below <3’s!


HEAVY HITTERS – WE LOVE TO SEE IT!

For more Bookish photos, click on the photo to follow LairOfBooks on Bookstagram

TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN BY TALIA HIBBERT (SPOILER FREE REVIEW)Β This book will forever go down in the books as having the MOSt swoon worthy couple EVER! I fell head over heels for both Dani & Zaf who are complete polar opposites that compliment each other. Dani is a daughter of Oshun, a witch who is fiercely independent & closed off to the idea of love. Zaf listens to romance books, helps youth males shed toxic masculinity through his foundation, and worships the ground Dani walks on. Sexy AF couple GOALS Bookworms!

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE BY V.E. SCHWAB (SPOILER FREE REVIEW)Β I allowed myself to get swept into this Historical Fiction story of a girl born way ahead of her times. Addie seeks to escape a life of domesticity she will certainly be tied to when married off by her parents. A prayer made at night and heard by the wrong God grants her the chance to strike a deal. Immortality of sorts, her soul to be rendered to Lucifer once she tires of it. The deal is made with stipulations, Addie will not be remembered by anyone once she is out of sight even if for a few minutes. This book had me up at all hours of the night thinking about the footprints we leave behind. Yes, I absolutely was left heartbroken at the very end.

SUCH A FUN AGE BY KILEY REID (RTC) This was my last read of 2020 thanks to my good friend Taylor at NerdNarration who gifted me a copy. I also listened to the audiobook which delivered an A+ performance. I can’t think of a better time to have read this book than in 2020, the year that many were forced to take off their rose colored glasses and see their own internalized racism and microagressions. Told in dual POV we follow Emira who is a young black woman working as a sitter for a white family. Emira is asked to do the family a favor and take their little girl for a walk (in the middle of the night) while they sort through some things at home with the police. Emira is then approached by a neighborhood Karen at the Supermarket and accused of having possibly kidnapped the child in her charge. It’s not meant to make you comfortable, it’s one of those reads I’ll never forget.

ANXIOUS PEOPLE BY FREDRIK BACKMAN (RTC)Β I went in blind to this book and honestly feel like this is the BEST way to go in! I listened to the audiobook which starts off with a bank robbery gone wrong but also in the BEST of ways LOL smh. I have yet to write my review but that’s because I loved it so much and don’t feel I can do it justice. All I will say is that in 2021 I will be making my way through Fredrik Backman’s books.

MEXICAN GOTHIC BY SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA (SPOILER FREE REVIEW)Β HAUNTING AF! Also the book that has sent me on a “MUST buy all Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s books”Β quest #noregrets This Gothic Noir story transports you to High Place, a sort of mansion where Noemi our MC has arrived in search of answers. Noemi’s cousin who has married and left to High Place has been sending Noemi strange letters that are concerning. Is she ill or are there nefarious acts afoot at High Place? This was a ride! I didn’t expect where it took me but I was engrossed in the atmospheric setting nonetheless. This is not just horror written for the scare factor, there are also themes of eugenics and colonization weaved into this story that speak to Silvia Moreno Garcia’s level of craft.

INCENDIARY BY ZORAIDA CORDOVA (SPOILER FREE REVIEW)Β I actually laughed out loud when I started typing for this one simply because I would NOT call it a night until I read the last page of this book. I remember my boyfriend giving me that look and the scream/jump I gave when I read the last line…Yeah it was a cliffhanger! the MOTHER LOAD of all cliff hangers at 2am smh! I love Zoraida Cordova and found that compared to the Brooklyn Brujas trilogy, I much prefer the older side of YA writing delivered in this book. Set during the Spanish Inquisition in a Fantasy world where magic is deemed a disease, we meet Renata who can steal other peoples powers. She is taken at a young age and weaponized until she matures into a young woman and crosses over to the rebel side. A more twisty YA Fantasy I haven’t read in a long time & the crew of characters will be a hit for those who enjoyed Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

LOBIZONA BY ROMINA GARBER (SPOILER FREE REVIEW) This one raised the bar for me when choosing YA Fantasy to read. I was blown away by how Romina Garber managed to portray the feelings of displacement felt by many young immigrants. Our MC Manu is caught between two worlds, an immigrant from Argentina living in hiding in Miami Florida she stumbles into a world of magic. Witches, werewolves, a magical school with their own sport paired with important themes of gender identity and immigration Β made this one an absolute favorite of the year!

HOUSE OF BLOOD AND EARTH BY SARAH J. MAAS (SPOILER FREE REVIEW)Β I picked this one up on release day which was back in March before the country shut down and all ish hit the fan to be quite honest. SJM provided the escapism I so desperately needed at the time. By now we all know what to expect when reading a book by SJM, characters you can’t help but get invested in & a compulsivly readable plot. Do not read the synopsis on GR if you plan on reading this book! it’s super spoilery and you’ll be robbing yourself of the heartbreak everyone else experienced who didn’t read the synopsis. Angels, Fae, Wolves and a lovable Fire Sprite who loves watching Fangs & Bangs…mhmmm it’s exactly what you’re thinking LOL!


πŸ–€FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKSπŸ–€

Instagram:Β @LairOfBooks

Twitter:Β @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:Β LairOfBook

Spoiler Free Review: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue By V.E. Schwab

Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Author:Β V.E. Schwab

Pub. Date:Β October 6th 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction/Paranormal/LGBTQIA+

Format:Β eGalley

Publisher: Tor Books

Pages:Β 442 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

πŸ–€ALC & Galley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewπŸ–€β€œπ‘‡β„Žπ‘’π‘Ÿπ‘’ 𝑖𝑠 π‘Ž π‘Ÿπ‘¦π‘‘β„Žπ‘š π‘‘π‘œ π‘šπ‘œπ‘£π‘–π‘›π‘” π‘‘β„Žπ‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘’π‘”β„Ž π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘€π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘™π‘‘ π‘Žπ‘™π‘œπ‘›π‘’, π‘¦π‘œπ‘’ π‘‘π‘–π‘ π‘π‘œπ‘£π‘’π‘Ÿ π‘€β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ π‘¦π‘œπ‘’ π‘π‘Žπ‘› π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘π‘Žπ‘›π‘›π‘œπ‘‘ 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒 π‘€π‘–π‘‘β„Žπ‘œπ‘’π‘‘, π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘ π‘–π‘šπ‘π‘™π‘’ 𝑛𝑒𝑐𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑑𝑖𝑒𝑠 π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘ π‘šπ‘Žπ‘™π‘™ π‘—π‘œπ‘¦π‘  π‘‘β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ 𝑑𝑒𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑒 π‘Ž 𝑙𝑖𝑓𝑒”

There aren’t very many books I’ve read that have moved me to tears and introspection, the last one I can recall is π‘‡β„Žπ‘’ 𝑆𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛 π»π‘’π‘ π‘π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘π‘  π‘œπ‘“ 𝐸𝑣𝑒𝑙𝑦𝑛 π»π‘’π‘”π‘œ. Addie is a very different read but it absolutely broke me in much the same way. I’ve had moments when I’ve felt as if life was passing me by much too quickly. When I’ve asked myself, what am I leaving behind in this world? faced fear of living a life without finding my souls purpose or simply not being seen. Not being enough. To see characters on the page who want more out of life whether by way of experience or human connection is something we can all probably relate to.

For our MC Addie, living a simple life wasn’t something she could commit to. She sought a way to break free of what was traditionally expected of her but it came at a steep price. A deal struck with Lucifer aka Luc, her soul when she tires of it…immortality with a definitive ending. Addie lives many lives in the span of 3oo years, lives that take her across many countries and continents. The subject of many art pieces, songs, and unintentional heartbreak that is at once forgotten. The deal stipulates that she may have this immortality however she will not be able to form long lasting human connections. She will not be able to utter her real name or write her story…she will love a few but will quickly be forgotten. This all changes the day she meets Henry at a bookstore because unlike all the others, Henry does remember her.

Addie Larue-I honestly feel Addie took me by the hand to experience the world through her eyes and make me understand why she would sacrifice so much. At first I just couldn’t…the thought of having my loved ones forget I ever existed and therefore have to let them go seemed too much to even fathom. In truth, Addie was a young woman born in the wrong time period. She was progressive and in many ways a feminist at heart, her soul craved experiences outside of what was deemed appropriate at the time. Domesticity would’ve been a slow death for Addie who is able to flow through the centuries with a sense of timelessness. I wasn’t expecting to love Addie by the end of my time with this story but somehow she managed to steal my heart.

Henry-the cute bisexual bookshop guy who is also in a sense trying to acquire as many life experiences as possible. However, whereas Addie is going about it at a leisurely pace…Henry feels like there just isn’t enough hours in the day. Henry is the guy who you won’t catch living a repetitive life, but this is just what’s surface level with Henry. I connected with Henry on a soul level and I think many readers will find him most relatable.

Luc-Β Our master of night, the one they warn you about when they tell you not to pray once the sun goes down. Luc is always present even when Addie can’t see him which kind of made me feel like I was waiting with her in anticipation for their encounters. Their relationship is very toxic seeing that it’s very co-dependent because Luc has made it so. We get to know his temperamental ways & I came to fear what new ways he’d come up with to make life all the more difficult for Addie.

Would you trade your soul to live many lives and see/experience what the world has to offer? Would you trade your soul to finally be enough? To be loved simply for being you? these are the exact questions that ran through my mind as I read this book. Personally, that feeling of life seeming like a series of snapshots that capture fleeting moments is something I’ve felt deeply. I’ve at times struggled to connect with V.E. Schwabs other fictional characters but this book gave so much character development & atmospheric writing that I found myself carried away with the story. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking, truly one that will remain imprinted in my soul.


πŸ–€FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKSπŸ–€

Instagram:Β @LairOfBooks

Twitter:Β @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:Β LairOfBook

October 2020 Wrap-Up

Ever had a month where you simply needed change? change of scenery or routine? That was October for this book lover. Working from home as well as remote teaching can be hella fatiguing without adding all the other day to day tasks. I was craving fresh air, trees, bodies of water and trails. So, I took my physical fitness journey to the trails in Ramapo New York. It was exactly what I needed to reinvigorate me for LIFE in general. Books were read & lots of thinking and self care was done as well, all in a safe space. I find that detaching from my apartment REALLY helps me ground myself & feed my soul.

I wish I’d taken more photos on the trails but tbh, they were intermediate and for someone like myself who has just started doing these…it can be challenging to say the least (short girl short strides problems haha!) I did get an AWESOME sense of accomplishment whenever I reached the top or pushed myself the extra mile. My reading was top quality this month! I’m behind just two more reviews for October but they’re coming I promise. I just thought it best to wrap up October cause we’re already at the end of November smh.


My Spoiler freeΒ  reviews are linked down below…

FABLE BY ADRIENNE YOUNG –Β This was a 4 Star read, I love a good father/daughter story and Adrienne Young is an author who really delivers on familial bonds. I listened to the audiobook on Libro.fm, the narrator nailed female pirate with an air of defiance. The world building was A+ and if you’re a lover of high seas adventures, this one will make you feel like your dead smack in the middle of an ocean aboard their ship. Pacing at times can be a bit off but the story & character development more than make up for it.

SPOILER ALERT BY OLIVIA DADE – 5 Star read which had me smiling & at times giggling at its raunchiness haha! this is one for those who love fanfiction OR fandoms in general. Our MC is plus size & very secure of herself in a way that had me thriving to embody her glow. She’s a fan fiction writer & cosplayer who loves living the geeky life. The male love interest is the star of a Gameofthronesque type show…the same show our MC writes fan fiction for. I gushed all about these characters in my non-spoiler review linked above.

LEGENDBORN BY TRACY DEONN – 5 EPIC STARS!!!Β yet I’m still sitting here wondering why this one made a splash pre-release yet I haven’t seen many reviews out there for it. Those reviews I have seen on Bookstagram from black readers & POC have been rave reviews and I LOVED to see it! This is the ONLY Arthurian re-telling? continuation? I really care for this year. We get a MC who has suffered a very traumatic loss at the start & so her grief is integral to this story. She finds her way into a secret society of the descendants of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. There’s blood magic & a war brewing but it’s all linked back to the racism & generational trauma experienced by the MC’s ancestors. This one moved me on a soul level and is exactly the type of Fantasy I want to read more of.

BLACK SUN BY REBECCA ROANHORSE –Β 4 Stars & I’m prepared to read more by Rebecca Roanhorse ASAP! this is the start to a new adult fantasy series set in a world inspired by the Pre-Colombian Americas, we follow the Sky Made Clans who are prepping for Winter Solstice. Ya’ll ever read a book with a jaw dropping first passage?Β cause this one had me shaking my head like, what did I just get myself into? HOOKED! Ok. There’s a prophecy, a clan of Crow people who have been wronged, retribution, Queer characters (one who just so happens to be sort of a siren), multiple POV’s and so much more.

GROWN BY TIFFANY D. JACKSON – 5 StarsΒ simply put this was a Gut wrenching audiobook. Our MC is a teenage black girl who aspires to have a singing career. Her path unfortunately crosses with a narcissistic predator who dangles promises but only seeks to control her mind and body. We see her innocence stripped away while he works to isolate her from a family who loves her and has only sought to take care of her. Many have linked this book to the singer R.Kelly but the author has previously stated that this is not that but is it’s own story. Either way, it was at times disturbing to read and others just sad because too often black girls are subjected to having to grow up way before they’re meant to. HIGHLY recommend to those seeking to read & connect with stories/characters outside of their own culture, ethnicity or youth experience.

AMERICAN DREAMER BY ADRIANA HERRERA – 5 GLORIOUS STARS!!! In this corner of the interwebz we LOVE Adriana Herrera and whatever she writes I will buy and support. Also listened to this on Libro.fm while cooking & doing laundry. We follow our MC who is a Dominican Gay man leaving NYC and moving to Upstate NY in hopes that he can turn his Afro-Caribbean food truck into a restaurant. When he arrives he meets Jude, the cute librarian guy who is a bit shy but also very curious about Nesto’s confidence and swag. Filled with yummy food descriptions and a crew of fellas who are #BFFFriendGoals I ate this book up! haha! Cannot wait to continue on with this series.


Lovecraft Country

This was just about the only TV show I managed to watch in October but WOW! Quality streaming content book lovers! I’m not yet finished, I’ve watched 9 episodes and have been staying away from Twitter spoilers. I hear the ending will break me and I’m just bracing for that. Sci-fi Horror which starts off with a black man who goes on a road trip with his Uncle and friend through 1950’s Jim Crow America. Each episode has you clutched in fear for these characters whose lives are constantly in peril between racist America and the actual monsters/demons which I took to be physical manifestations of the hatred steeped in our history/present day.


I hope you’re all doing well during these tough times, finding things that bring joy and peace to your lives. Big or small, whatever brings your soul joy I hope you’ve found it or are on your way to finding it. I’d LOVE to hear all about what ya’ll have been reading or spending time on/with. Drop some love down below <3’s!

πŸ–€FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKSπŸ–€

Instagram:Β @LairOfBooks

Twitter:Β @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:Β LairOfBook

Spoiler Free Review: Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

Title: Spoiler Alert

Author: Olivia Dade

Pub. Date: October 6th 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Avon

Pages: 416 pages

πŸ–€ALC & Galley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewπŸ–€

This may just be the book responsible for me dipping into the world of fan-fiction, I had an absolute blast reading from the POV of April & Marcus. If like myself you’re someone who didn’t quite get on board with the finale of Game of Thrones or Dexter (haha), possibly even thought you could’ve written a better finale? then this book is for you! Set in a post Gameofthronesque (totally made this word up #noshame) world we follow April a plus size fan-fiction writer for the show Gods of the Gates.  April has just tweeted out a photo of herself in a self made/designed Lavinia Cosplay who is one half of the show’s OTP. When her photo goes viral it captures the attention of many a troll as well as that of Marcus Caster-Rupp who plays main guy Aeneas AKA the other half of this beloved OTP. One twitter exchange leads to another and Marcus sees himself asking April out on a date to spite the nasty trolls who are body shaming her on social media.

April has no idea that Marcus has a secret online persona he uses to write fan-fiction of his own. Gods of the Gates Fan Fiction that contractually he needs to not be linked back to. In this fandom he’s known as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous writer who gets to take out his frustrations with the show he works in. Little does Marcus know but he and April have a ton in common, April is Unapologetic Lavinia Stan in the Gods of the Gates Fan Fiction world. Furthermore, they have actually been friends all along but Marcus can’t let her know his real identity. For Marcus, the acting career he’s worked so hard to build means everything to him & he’s not ready to risk his contract. However….staying away from April is just simply NOT something he can do.

Content Warning: body shaming, toxic parent relationships, fat shaming

April AKA Unapologetic Lavinia Stan- Honestly represents everything I wish I was a few years ago. April is an empowered woman who is tired of hiding the parts of herself that make her phenomenal. She wants to live her geektastic life out in the open! meet her online friends IRL & last but not least, find the man who will love every inch of her beautiful body inside and out. We get a glimpse of the toxic relationship she had growing up with her parents that shaped her into the woman she is at the start of our story. April is body positive & won’t allow anyone, be it friend or family to body shame her.

Marcus AKABook!AeneasWouldNever – THIS MAN! getting to know him meant falling in love with this character. He appears to the masses as this vain persona but in reality he’s protecting the softer intellectual he truly is. Also stemming from a toxic childhood, Marcus isn’t living in his truth at the start of the story. He’s hiding just how amazing he truly is and relies on his fan fiction to express himself authentically. The way he loved up on April in every which way is EXACTLY what I LOVE to see!

Was I expecting to love a book based on fan-fiction culture? No. Was I sucked in & left cheesy smiling? YES! April is beautiful, sexy, smart, creative, and a true friend. She’s not apologizing for her body size, nor should she have to! I smiled and nodded YES every time she stood up for herself and claimed her power and femininity. The contrast between who she really is and what Marcus pretends to be is something that really stands out and makes these characters memorable. They both bring a level of healing into each others lives I don’t imagine they expected. LOVED to see it! This book was such a fun time, one of my favorite aspects being the excerpts we get from their actual Fan-Fiction. A lot of it being outright silly in its raunchiness HAHA! I’m now eagerly anticipating the next book by Dade which I believe will be based on a fave character of mine in this book! *fingers crossed*


πŸ–€FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKSπŸ–€

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBook

A Diverse Non-Fiction November…

Hola Book Lovers! It’s been quite some time since I picked up a Non-Fiction book, but the mood hit yesterday and before I knew it I had 5 books I’d like to read this month. I’m not too surprised this was a last minute thing since that pretty much sums up most of my reading this year. That it just so happens to be Non-Fiction November is a plus! Earlier this morning I finished listening to Β In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado. I expected the horror noir vibes but wasn’t expecting it to hit on a personal level. This is going to be a tough read but for those who are interested in the audiobook, the author does narrate it herself which personally made the delivery that much more profound. I’ll hopefully have a mini-review up forΒ In the Dream HouseΒ this weekend.

DIVERSE NON-FICTION I’M READING THIS MONTH


IN THE DREAM HOUSE BY CARMEN MARIA MACHADODocuments the authors own experience within anΒ abusive same-sex relationship. I wasn’t expecting to listen to this in one sitting but it happened. At times very hard to listen to, raw and unflinching in its honesty. The author wants to raise awareness of how abuse within queer relationships is handled. The fact that often times victims aren’t believed unless there are visible scars & even then it’s sort of swept under the rug. The toxicity in this relationship ranges from emotional to verbal & at times even physical, I’d say you have to be in the right mind space.

BORN A CRIME BY TREVOR NOAHΒ “Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious motherβ€”his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.” I’ve followed Trevor Noah on The Daily Show for some time now & heard amazing reviews about his memoir, it’s time to dig in!Β 

ORDINARY GIRLS BY JAQUIRA DIAZ“Ordinary Girls is a fierce, beautiful, and unflinching memoir from a wildly talented debut author. While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Jaquira DΓ­az found herself caught between extremes: as her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was surrounded by the love of her friends; as she longed for a family and home, she found instead a life upended by violence. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico’s history of colonialism, every page of Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. DΓ­az triumphantly maps a way out of despair toward love and hope to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be.” Thank YOU Bookstagram for placing this book on my feed cause the minute I saw the cover I ran over to Goodreads for a synopsis. This sounds like itΒ will be a powerful read!Β 

THE UNDOCUMENTED AMERICANS – “One of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans in this deeply personal and groundbreaking portrait of a nation.Β Writer Karla Cornejo Villavicencio was on DACA when she decided to write about being undocumented for the first time using her own name. It was right after the election of 2016, the day she realized the story she’d tried to steer clear of was the only one she wanted to tell. So she wrote her immigration lawyer’s phone number on her hand in Sharpie and embarked on a trip across the country to tell the stories of her fellow undocumented immigrants–and to find the hidden key to her own.”Β HavingΒ had many of my own family members battle for years to obtain their paperwork for an opportunity to live & work in the USA, this one is HIGH up on my priority list.Β 

HOOD FEMINISM – “Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?”Β I’m MOST stoked to read this one, I have both the audiobook and a physicalΒ copy I was gifted from a friend. It’s important for me to read books with a focus on intersectional feminism.Β 


πŸ–€FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKSπŸ–€

Instagram:Β @LairOfBooks

Twitter:Β @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:Β LairOfBook

Spoiler Free Review: Black Sun (Between Earth & Sky #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

Title: Black Sun (Between Earth & Sky #1)

Author:Β Rebecca Roanhorse

Pub. Date:Β October 13th 2020

Genre:Β High Fantasy

Format:Β eGalley

Publisher: Saga Press

Pages:Β 454 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | LIBRO.FM

πŸ–€ALC & Galley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewπŸ–€

Set in a world inspired by the Pre-Colombian Americas, we follow the Sky Made Clans who are prepping for Winter Solstice. This Winter Solstice happens to coincide with a solar eclipse which is considered a rare celestial event. For the Sun Priest, this is an opportunity to try and restore the faith by upholding traditions in Tova. This is no easy task with brewing animosity stemming from theΒ Night of Knives,Β a night where the Priesthood slaughtered many people from the Carrion Crows Clan. This has never been forgotten and many believe there to be rebel groups waiting for their time to seek retribution.Β  Naranpa, our controversially appointed Sun Priest seeks to bridge the gap between the Priesthood and the clans. Naranpa who comes from very humble beginnings and has since turned her back on family, is very disconnected from the clans. She will find that she is a target despite not having bloodied her hands. Finding someone she can trust will seem nearly impossible in her present circle and in her past.

We also followΒ  the perspective of Xiala, a Pansexual Teek Captain who has faced exile and is recruited by a nobleman to transport a blind passenger by the name of Serapio. This is to be done within a very short and what sounds like an unreasonable amount of time. Xiala was specifically sought out for her Teek abilities which are similar to that of a siren. As a daughter of the Sea, Xiala is able to ask her mother for help with navigating treacherous weather and rough sails. Serapio is mysterious and observant with a single objective…to arrive in Cuecola in time for the Solstice. The bearer of a prophecy, Serapio is able to inhabit the bodies of crows who serve as his eyes. His own were stitched shut by his mother who gave him instructions and set him on the path to fulfill the prophecy. Much isn’t divulged about the prophecy until we reach the end of this journey. All of these characters paths converge in what is a solid foundation for an epic story.

This is my very first read from Rebecca Roanhorse but I can clearly see why this author is beloved. This is high fantasy that delivers on inclusivity, political intrigue, rich culture and multi-layered world building topped off with an adventure at sea. I have NEVER read anything from the Fantasy genre that I can say is as beautifully queer and features what for the most part is a matriarchal society. Naranpa, Xiala, and Serapio are all multi-faceted characters that each display at one time or another a level of moral ambiguity. There are no heroes in this story however if you love a good tale of uprisings and a settling of scores, then this is absolutely one worth giving a go. This world practically jumps off the page both during the travel at sea and on land…sometimes even in air. Roanhorse has gifted us these giant crows that train to fly with a specific clan, a deep respect between humans and these birds is evident. I was left craving more story from the Carrion Crow Clan and some of the key characters we meet in the second act. The pacing of the story is the only thing that docked it a star on my end since there were times I found myself wanting to be with another POV than the present chapter. All in all, a solid foundation for this high stakes Fantasy that I personally look forward to continuing on with!

CW: Suicide, death of a parent, child abuse, violence, extreme body part modification, gore, ritualized body mutilation


πŸ–€FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKSπŸ–€

Instagram:Β @LairOfBooks

Twitter:Β @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:Β LairOfBook