November Wrap-Up and Haul

Let’s be honest…November wasn’t the best of months for many & we’re all wishing for a much better 2017, well I know I am lol. November marks the beginning of my favorite time of year because of Thanksgiving. I have many beautiful memories tied to this holiday and i’m making new ones for my two tiny humans. This month was filled with family time and I managed to surprise myself with my reading because I really didn’t think I would get much done at all. Favorite read of the month goes to Heartless, it was just what I needed at the time and I was so glad to have buddy read it with Gretchen @Chicnerdreads. Every month I squeeze in a audiobook & it’s always a treat when I go with Gaiman, The Graveyard Book did NOT disappoint. Fractured was a fast paced page turner that hooked me in til the very last page. Crooked Kingdom was a bittersweet conclusion to what has now become my favorite duology *fingers crossed for more Dregs* 

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer  ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman ★★★★ (4 Stars)

Crooked Kingdom (Six Of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★ (3.75)

Fractured by Catherine McKenzie  ★★★★ (3.75)


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I seriously thought I had purchased way more than I actually did this month and for this I am very thankful LOL! Besides digging myself out of my ARC hole, I have also taken advantage of some e-book deals this month. I love adding to  my physical library but for now, i’m scaling back just a smidge. In my haul I include my Owlcrate subscription (ongoing Valentines Day gift from hubby), Book of The Month subscription, physical books, e-books, and the random books/bookish items my hubby gifts me from time to time. So, Let’s get on with it…

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Heartless was the November Owlcrate selection & The Trespasser by Tana French was the book I selected for my Book Of The Month subscription. I ordered Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them the same night I watched the movie cuz it was THAT good! hehe. The Sun Is Also A Star will be my 1st Yoon even though I own Everything Everything, I was hooked once I read the synopsis for The Sun Is Also A Star so I hope that it’s as good as what I hear its predecessor was.

Gifts from Lé hubby: Potter, Beasts & Blanket ❤

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Kindle Deals I couldn’t resist for $1.99 or less, Blood Lust by Jill Cooper was a free book I found thanks to the lovely Liz at CoverToCover  who featured a Sci-Fi & Fantasy Mega Promo on her blog mid November💕

 

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Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was Fan-Frikkin-Tastic!!! Hubby and I felt a wave of nostalgia hit us as soon as we heard the Harry Potter theme music intro. As a matter of fact he turned to me & said “BABE! I’ve missed that intro” 😂😂😂 we completely fangirled/boyed out Lol. The actors were all pretty great but as many will probably agree, The Niffler stole the show haha. Also, major brownie points for taking place in the 20’s, my fave time period in history (Real & Fantasy) I’m looking forward to the upcoming movies in this new installment to a beloved world 💕

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SoOo I am currently OBSESSED with This Is Us…it’s intense what I feel for this show lol. I recently watched the first 9 episodes on Hulu  and every single one…hit me in the feels! all of them! every single time! This show has it all and then some, I don’t think there’s anything to compare to this show on tv at the moment. I’ve heard it be compared to The Parenthood but I never watched that show so I wouldn’t be able to confirm this to be true. The acting…The writing…I really can’t even describe how amazing of a show this truly is. Told in present day & flashbacks this show weaves the lives of this family together in a most seamless way. I love it & will sit back and wait for the Emmy announcements to start rolling in LOL 😉

Hope you all had a good November filled with good food and great reads! Although November was a bit rough, i’m hoping for a better December. What were some of your EPIC reads for November? watch anything new on Netflix/Hulu?

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

2213661The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Published by: HarperCollins

Date of Publication: September 30th 2008

Genres:

Pages: 312

Format: Audiobook (self-narrated)

Rating:★★★★ (4 Stars) 

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

 

The Audiobook Experience…

I’ll keep this one short and sweet since i’m beginning to believe that Uncle Gaiman can do no wrong when he begins to spin his tales. You would be sadly mistaken if you were to think that you can resist the magic of his worlds once they begin to reel you in. The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman is now the 2nd book i’ve read by this author and it has only served to cement my feelings towards him…I simply LOVE Uncle Gaiman! It has now become the norm for me to reach for the audiobook vs. physical or even digital format for Gaiman’s books. Treat Yo self to a feast for your ears & imagination with the audiobook narrated by Gaiman himself. Not only is his voice truly one of of the most soothing story telling voices i’ve come across but he also has a few other talents up his sleeve. Gaiman gave each of the characters in this book their own distinct voice without sounding over the top. I truly enjoyed listening to his audiobook and often found myself wanting to return to the graveyard at all hours of the day.

The book opens up right after the murder of a mother, father, and daughter. Baby Nobody Owens aka Bod, managed to crawl over his crib railing and out of the house, too little to know he had just escaped his families murderer. Bod wanders off into the street and eventually walks right into the cemetery where he meets all sorts of interesting characters  no longer of this world. The Owens, a married couple who were never able to conceive children of their own take to “adopting” Bod who is still a baby. They grant him full freedom of the cemetery  to wander off & also get Silas who is neither living or dead (believed to be a Vampire) to become his guardian. Together, the many characters in the graveyard, raise Bod and protect him from outside dangers by providing a safe home for him amongst the tombstones. We get to see Bod the baby grow into a young man who becomes curious about the outside world & experiencing it for himself. Just like any child his age, Bod gets into a bit of mischief (more like adventures lol) that teach him theres more than just the dead…there’s the living he has yet to experience. All the while, The Man Jack (Bod’s families murderer) is out and about looking to tie the loose ends of the night he intended to kill baby Bod in his crib.

The characters in The Graveyard Book all played a role in educating young Bod and keeping him safe. I thoroughly enjoyed The Owens as well as the other supporting ghosts Caius Pompeius and Scarlett Perkins to name some of my faves. I found out later on while blog hopping that some of the characters in Gaiman’s books crossover one way or another. In this book we get an appearance from a relative of Daisy Hempstock from Stardust, my 1st Gaiman & favorite thus far. With such descriptive story telling & imagery, Gaiman’s ghosts/characters will probably stick with me for many years to come. It really doesn’t matter what age you are, if you’re young at heart and are looking for a heartwarming story then The Graveyard Book is the book for you 😉

“Kiss a lover, 
Dance a measure, 
Find your name 
And buried treasure. 
Face your life, 
It’s pain, 
It’s pleasure, 
Leave no path untaken.” 
― Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book

Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Spoiler Free)

gemina-by-amie-kaufman-and-jay-kristoffGemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Date of Publication: October 18th 2016

Genres: Young Adult Sci-Fi

Pages: 608

Format: Physical Book (Hardcover)

Rating:★★★★★ (5 Stars)

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

 

After reading and Loving the ISH (funny cuz currency in Gemina is referred to as ISH) out of Illuminae (review here) earlier this year, I knew that Gemina would be a book to have me running to the bookstore to drop that $$$ HAHA! just like its predecessor, Gemina did NOT disappoint. Offering up non-stop page turning action & a cast of witty characters you can’t get enough of. Illustrations by Marie Lu author of the Young elites covered the pages making Gemina one beautiful book both inside & out. The Illuminae Files are addictive, fun, and overall just great story telling…

 

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CREDS & HAILS go to Gretchen @CHICNERDREADS for this EPIC aesthetic, I can’t stop staring at it with the only *heart eyes* Thanks again my fren’ you’re simply AMAZING! 

PLOT

Gemina picks up with a brand new set of characters on the Jump Station Heimdall right after the events of the Kerenza invasion & BeiTech assault. Since this is book 2 in the series, I will ward off the dreaded spoilers. Gemina is said to be a companion novel to Illuminae & for the most part it is, however it most definitely is necessary to read Illuminae as it all does tie in. The characters at jump station Heimdall are unaware of the events at Kerenza or BeiTech’s involvement. As the reader, you feel a sense of anticipation all throughout Gemina because you are aware of what’s happened & the imminent danger that lays ahead. The civilians and crew on Jump Station Heimdall are unaware of the incoming ships & just like in Illuminae, they are in for a rude awakening. This is the story of how Hemidall came to defend itself & the intricate web of deception BeiTech has woven…

CHARACTERS

Although we have quite a few players in the game, the main characters are Hannah Donelly & Niklas Malikov. These are two young adults who end up having to step into much larger shoes when the ISH hits the fan. We get to know both these characters on a more personal level since the format in this book is dialogue heavy. I enjoyed the witty banter between these two so much & found myself either smiling or outright laughing at some of the their exchanges. Hannah also keeps a journal & she’s a pretty good artist (illustrations by Marie Lu) depicting exactly what she thinks of Nik in a series of laugh out loud drawings. Hannah has to be one of my new hands down favorite kick a** female protagonists in YA PERIOD! she is smart, quick on her feet, a pro in war games thanks to her dad, witty, and loyal to her friends & family. Nik Malikov stole my heart with his dirty mind & endless attempts to win Hannah over. He was born into the House Of Knives, a criminal family (yup they exist even in outer space HAHA!) & is being groomed & taught to earn his keep through a series of innnnneresting criminal activities (I won’t divulge more than that hehe). I can’t discuss the characters in this book without mentioning my FAVORITE Spider, Ella Malikova who is Nik’s cousin and hacker extraordinaire. Ella is disabled from the waist down and spends her time in front of a computer in her wheelchair exchanging sarcastic & witty remarks with Nik through IM’s. Not only is Ella AMAZING at what she knows with computers but she’s also a fighter in every sense & I looked forward to seeing her IM’s pop up on the page.

 

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Illustrations by Marie Lu author of The Young Elites trilogy

WRITING

The format for Gemina is the same as the one the authors used for Illuminae. The story is told through a series of IM chats, E-mails, & memorandums. In between these you’ll come across transcriptions from video camera footage which in the story, are written by Analysts that have watched & to the best of their ability tried to make sense of what is caught on camera. Gemina just like Illuminae may appear intimidating at first glance especially given the 600+ page count. However, I can assure all those that are interested in The Illuminae Files that it is all well worth it & a very quick read. In fact, the format of this book only helps move the story along much faster & the dialogue is so much fun that before you know it, you’ll be requesting that Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman get working on the 3rd book hehe 😉

Donelly, H: What, you’re just going to open the door so I can creep in?

Donelly, H: It’s too far, not safe. recon before action, that’s the rule. If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.

Merrick, J: What?

Donelly, H: Sun Tzu.

 IM chat between Hanna Donelly & her boyfriend Jackson Merrick

THOUGHTS

Gemina deserves all of the hype it gets because it truly delivers & packs a punch, I’m lucky to have other books I’ve really been looking forward to because the book hangover is REAL!  Once again, I am left so impressed with these two authors because I can’t tell where one starts and the other ends, they write so well together. The inclusion of Marie Lu’s illustrations in this book only enhanced the beauty and overall bad a**ness of this second installment. Although Illuminae will always hold that special place in my heart for introducing me to such an interesting world…Gemina came in & is now holding the crown. What really made this book even more spectacular is the humor & characters this round, these authors are clearly in tune with young adults making the dialogue so believable. I am now left waiting another year for the 3rd installment…currently experiencing the phase where I watch for (stalk) these authors for any bit of info…following the cookie crumb trail I go…

 

 

 

Review: The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

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The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

Published by: Gallery Books

Date of Publication: August 16th 2016

Genres: Memoir/Autobiography/Humor

Pages: 323

Format: Audiobook (self-narrated)

Rating:★★★1/2 (3.5 Stars)

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is – a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friends – an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably – but only because it’s over.

 

The Audiobook Experience…

I guess I should preface by mentioning that before deciding to listen to The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo in audiobook format, I wasn’t familiar with Schumer’s stand-up comedy. I only knew that she had been in the movie Trainwreck which I saw the trailer to & immediately added it to my “Must Watch” list. I’m glad I decided to go with the audiobook as I do with all my funny ladies books because I don’t think I would have fared well with the physical book. Coming off the happiness high that was Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy, I was looking for another humor filled audiobook. Although The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo had a few laugh out loud worthy moments, the parts that I enjoyed the most were the stories that fell on the lesser than happy side of Amy. This is a collection of essays, some with humor & others with a bit of sadness. Schumer is very comfortable in her skin and sexuality, something that i’ve come to admire from her. Some of the standout stories in The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo explore some very dark life experiences including a years long abusive relationship & the very real issue of non-consensual sex with your significant other. Stories that crushed me with the heaviness of sadness, had to be whenever she touched on her fathers Multiple Sclerosis. There were the come-up stories in which she highlighted moments of gender stereotypes amongst her peers & the media. Last but not least Amy shared stories that allowed the reader an inside look to world issues that she cares deeply for like gun violence/control. She speaks about the shooting at a theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana during a showing of Trainwreck that led to the deaths of Mayci Breaux, 21, and Jillian Johnson, 33. How these deaths have greatly impacted her & motivated her to take action. Schumer shares her experience at the White House, meeting President Obama for the first time at an event where he announced his executive orders aimed at stemming gun violence. She may have no hairs on her tongue about a ton of things, but she learned how to be humble & we see just how life has made sure she stays true to herself. Making the choice to educate herself on gun control laws & no longer sit on the sidelines watching, has to be my favorite essay in this collection.

Final Thoughts

I love that Amy Schumer isn’t afraid to show everyone her flaws, mistakes, and vulnerabilities in such a raw way that we’ve come to know through her comedy. She is many things to many people & is very self aware. Often times letting her readers know that she is aware of how she comes across & the many misconceptions people have of her because she’s comfortable using sex in her comedy. She points out a well known fact…being of the female sex in an industry predominantly made up of the opposite sex JUST ISN’T EASY! like many other female comedienne’s, Amy has been judged heavily by everything other than her craft, this includes her weight & sex life. The fact that she embraces who she is & doesn’t apologize to those who frown upon her makes me LOVE this woman & has managed to pique my interest in following her career going forward.

P.S. Can we give it up for Amy & that COVER!!!! #Fierce  *insert flames here*

“I know my worth. I embrace my power. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story. I will. I’ll speak and share and fuck and love, and I will never apologize for it. I am amazing for you, not because of you. I am not who I sleep with. I am not my weight. I am not my mother. I am myself. And I am all of you.” 
― Amy SchumerThe Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

Waiting On Wednesday 

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at @ Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.



Title: The Education of Margot SanchezAuthor: Lilliam Rivera

Book: Hardcover, 304 pages

Expected Publication: February 21st 2017

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Reasons:

Let’s just start by getting this out of the way since when it comes to my books I can be a bit vain with no shame. The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera has an INSANELY STUNNING cover! from the yellow contrast against the black & white to our main protagonist’s BEAUTIFUL hair, I am experiencing some serious cover lust here Gals & Ghouls! Then we have the synopsis intro describe this story as “Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx” now this book is just after my heart, no doubt about it! you mention Pretty in Pink anywhere & I’m already pulling out my old Chucks haha! A coming-of-age story about a girl basically split between two very different worlds, that of her family & neighborhood vs. the life of a prep school student. I myself came from a Brooklyn neighborhood very similar to Margot’s Bronx neighborhood and chose to attend school in Manhattan in a neighborhood that was the complete opposite of my own. These types of stories are so rare & nuanced that I can’t help but gravitate towards them since I can see myself relating to the Margot’s of the world. I am looking forward to reading all about Margot’s dysfunctional family. I have a feeling that I am going to love these characters. I am a Latina woman (Puerto-Rican & Salvadorian) & I know how a Puerto-Rican family household marches…to the beat of their own drum!

Goodreads Synopsis:

Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal

Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal

This supermarket

Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…
Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

I am ready for this beautiful book to be in my hands & can’t wait to read & fall in love with Margot’s world. What’s on your Waiting On Wednesday? C’mon my bookish peeps, I have my Goodreads TBR open & ready for some love 😉💕

 

WWW Wednesday

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

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

 

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CURRENTLY READING

Ink & Bone by Lisa Unger

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Goodreads

I have about 100 pages left in this Mystery Thriller with psychics & JEEEEEZ! I’m at the edge of my seat seriously trying to keep it together here HAHA! Really enjoying this one Gals & Ghouls. Pick this one up if you’re looking for a quick & suspenseful read 😉

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

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Goodreads

Just started this in audiobook format yesterday & i’m about 35% in, so far it’s OK. I think my expectations are a bit high coming off of listening and LOVING Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy OR it really is just OK *shrugs shoulders* I will say that Amy doesn’t hold back and has no hair on her tongue which I admire. I’ve had a few awkward moments listening to this audiobook while multi-tasking outdoors. For example, paying for my lunch while listening to Amy describe orgasms…even though I knew the cashier couldn’t hear what I was listening to, I still managed to look like a deer caught in the headlights *hides face*

What did you recently finish reading?

Unnatural deeds by Cyn Balog

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Goodreads

I recently read & reviewed Unnatural Deeds (here) by Cyn Balog my very 1st YA Thriller which I succeeded in discussing with NO Spoilers. This is a book you want to go into completely blind. I knew there were some mixed reviews out there but I made sure to stay clear of them & it turns out that I enjoyed this one a whole lot. Unnatural Deeds will hit the shelves November 1st.2016

What do you think you’ll read next?

Gemina by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

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Goodreads

Words cannot describe how I felt when I read the last page to Illuminae a few months back smh but i’ll try…EPIC ADRENALINE RUSH!!!! that book left me reeling & jumping off my couch whooping & hollerin (haha) in the middle of the night. The wait for Gemina has been in the back of my mind ever since but I finally have what i’ve come to call Baby Blue in my hands! I reserved her in store this morning & hubby went and picked her up after work. Best day EVER Gals & Ghouls!!! I will be starting Gemina this week without a shadow of a doubt 😉

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Goodreads

Heartless has been on my list of most highly anticipated books of 2016, I nearly passed out when I managed to score an ARC at Comic Con/Bookcon earlier this month (Bookcon haul post). I went to the booth simply because I wanted a Heartless Tee & instead walked away with the beauty that is this book *silent thank you to Fierce Reads* I will be reading & reviewing Heartless right after Gemina since this is a November release. *Squeee* I can’t remember the last time I was this excited over so many good book releases in 1 season! *Happy Fall All*

Did any of you participate in WWW Wednesday? if so, drop that link & i’ll swing by  your blog for a peek. Also, I can’t stay calm…GEMINA HAS ARRIVED!!!!! ***whoop Whoop*

Review: Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog (Spoiler Free)

unnatural-deeds-by-cyna-balogUnnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire

Date of Publication: November 1st 2016

Genres: YA Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 288

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Secrets. Obsession. Murder. Victoria is about to discover just how dangerous it can be to lose yourself.

Victoria Zell doesn’t fit in, but she’s okay with that. All she needs is the company of her equally oddball boyfriend, Andrew. She doesn’t care what anyone else thinks…until magnetic, charming, mysterious Z comes into her life, and she starts lying to everyone she knows in an effort to unravel his secrets.

And then something terrible happens. Someone is dead and it’s time for Victoria to come clean. Interspersed with news clippings and police interviews, Victoria tells her story to Andrew, revealing her dark, horrible secrets…secrets that have finally come back to haunt her.

I’d like to thank Sourcebooks Fire for approving me to receive an eGalley of Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Unnatural Deeds is a YA Mystery Thriller and as expected was very plot driven with some occasional glimpses into the characters past lives. Since this book is a mystery, i’ll keep this review short for a change 😉 We meet Victoria at the beginning of the school year & she’s pretty much the new kid in the school until Z shows up. Z is a transfer student who just like this book, enjoys being one giant enigma, in fact he thrives on it. The polar opposite to Victoria who takes medication for her anxiety and doesn’t speak to any of the students in the school. The daughter of a religious family, Victoria’s only friend is her neighbor Andrew (same age as her) who suffers from Agoraphobia & has been homeschooled & sheltered. Andrew also happens to be Victoria’s boyfriend and they see each other mostly at each others homes or at their favorite spot by the fence that separates their homes. Up until the arrival of Z in Victoria’s school, Andrew was her life and she enjoyed coming home and re-counting her day at school to him & listening to him talk about his life at home. Andrew’s mother had re-married & his step-dad was physically abusive and not understanding at all of his anxiety disorder. This all changed the minute that Z noticed Victoria & chose to give her the attention that all of the popular girls in the school wanted from him. Z was charming & charismatic, the definition of a bad boy and the minute he set his sights on Victoria they both fell through the rabbit hole. Z brings out a side of Victoria she never knew she had & it was thrilling to her.

Writing/Thoughts:

This being a Thriller/Murder Mystery, I enjoyed the format Balog used where she started each chapter with the transcript of the police investigation…yes, someone is killed but I won’t say who HAHA! students and teachers are interviewed by the police & it is during these brief chapter openers that we are given a piece of the puzzle. What you think you know or have figured out is probably wrong…that’s all i’ll say about that for fear of you guessed it…spoilers! LOL. I’ve seen a ton of mixed reviews for this book because of the way Victoria worshipped Z but given her background & the fact that she suffers from anxiety, I was able to give her character some understanding. This wasn’t at all what I was expecting in reading my 1st YA thriller & that’s a very good thing, makes me want to check some more out. I don’t want to reveal more than this because this book is just one that you want to go into not knowing anything, I would definitely recommend Unnatural Deeds if you’re looking for your next YA Murder Mystery *wicked grin*

Waiting On Wednesday: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

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We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Published by: Penguin Random House/Dutton Books For Young Readers

Date of Publication: February 14th 2017

Genres: YA Fiction

Pages: 240

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the award-winning author of Hold Still comes an achingly beautiful novel about grief and the enduring power of friendship.
“You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.”

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.

 

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at @Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 

Reasons 4 Book Lusting We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (Goodreads Link here):

I recently read and loved Nina LaCour’s Everything Leads To You (review here) for her writing style & ability to bring to life the settings in her book. I’m big on character development and LaCour knows what she’s doing with the friendships/relationships she builds. We Are Okay takes place in New York City (my home city) where Marin now lives in her college dorm after leaving California in an attempt to flee her past. This being a story about grief and friendship, i’m hoping we get some amazing story telling and truly get a sense of the events that make Marin who she is now. I’m curious about her friend Mabel & how she is connected to Marin’s past. I get the feeling from the synopsis that Marin doesn’t have a family or has had a disconnect & i’m wondering whether we’ll get an amazing cast of supporting characters like we did in Everything Leads To You. I also love that this story is about female friendship because we don’t see that enough in YA. LaCour really knows how to portray the ups & downs of female friendships, hoping this will be a new favorite. Although she writes YA, in her last book I got the sense that the characters were much more mature for their age & had some life experience points under their belt. I’m hoping for a complex & deeply layered Marin, yea I like my characters rough around the edges lol smh.  Also, LaCour gets serious brownie points for this cover! at first I thought that she had gone the Graphic Novel route but quickly realized (& jumped 4 joy a bit) that it was her next YA Fiction book. Love the pastels against the night sky, she appears to be standing on her dorm room bed while looking out into a field somewhere that’s not NYC while snow falls…innnnnnneresting!

Waiting On Wednesday 

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at @Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.


Title: The Valiant

Author: Lesley Livingston

Book: Hardcover, 288 pages

Expected Publication: February 14th 2017

Publisher: Razorbill Young Readers (Penguin Random House)






Edelweiss Synopsis:

A richly-imagined, gripping historical fantasy for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Cinda Williams Chima,The Valiant recounts a seventeen-year-old’s tumultuous journey from fierce Celtic princess to legendary female gladiator and darling of the Roman empire.

The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha’s legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father’s royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon’s worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.

Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant. 

Reasons:

When a synopsis includes the words/names: Gladiators, Julius Caesar, Celtic King, fighting arena, and warrior…I stop for a moment of silence while I try to contain my excitement. Female warrior protagonists? *SqUEeee* & it’s being released on Valentine’s Day, what better gift to give myself? Ok! fangirling over lol. A school of female gladiator’s run by none other than Julius Caesar himself?!?! SIGN ME UP! to read all about it that is (Lol). I’m a sucker for a strong female protog who isn’t afraid to get down & dirty, throw in a bit of Rome & you’re basically serenading me. I also love the names Fallon & Sorcha, they scream Fantasy & that cover is AWESOME to say the least. I only wish that the book was a bit longer but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is the beginning of a possible trilogy.

Slowly but surely we’ve been seeing YA branch into different sub-genres and Historical Fiction is finally getting some love. With some of the more popular books like Eleanor Herman’s Legacy of Kings & the collaborative project My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Asthon, and Jodi Meadows leading the way, I am hoping Lesley Livingston’s The Valiant joins their ranks & makes for a brutal & kick butt Valentine’s Day. Also, for those of you attending New York Comic Con this October like myself, Edelweiss has The Valiant listed for promotion at this event. So yes! I am already crossing my fingers & toes for the Book Gods to bless me with either a eGalley or physical ARC of The Valiant.

BTW, did any of you catch the “for fans of SJM & Cinda Williams Chima”? …Signed, Sealed, Delivered *sings* I’m YOURS!

Have any of you heard about The Valiant? If so, does it tickle your fancy? Eh? Lol. Feel free to drop THAT link with your Waiting On Wednesday’s. I have my Goodreads open & TBR ready for suggestions <3’s!
 
 

July 2016 Wrap Up & Haul 

July July!!! Hit me by surprise when I checked my Goodreads to see what I read during the month of July, a total of 8 books/graphic novels. One of the books that I read was actually a Library book, my first in over a decade. Stepping foot into my Library felt like a blast from the past for about 10 seconds before I eyed the empty shelves. Now, my Library is located in Williamsburg Brooklyn which for those who aren’t from NYC, happens to be hipster central nowadays. It’s walking distance from luxury condos (I’d probably have to sell a kidney for 1 months’ rent), art galleries, tons of coffee shops, and… you get the picture right? I was under the impression that my 1st visit would be met with a beautifully stocked Library & when this was not the case, I had a ton of questions for the Librarian who didn’t look quite too happy to be approached. Turns out, they’ve gone digital & a request for a book can be made online so that the book may be delivered to your local branch for pick up. This all sounds great since now you can almost guarantee you’ll get the book you are looking for…. yet…I still felt some sadness over the bare shelves that during my childhood held stacks & stacks of adventures and stories.
The top floor held some of my fondest memories with my mother (sadly, there aren’t very many). My mother would stay in the poetry section reading love poems and writing them in her notebook while my sister & I stacked up on Goosebumps & Sweet Valley High. Sweet memories that I’ll cherish while living in this modern world 😉

On to my Wrap Up:



The Fireman by Joe Hill– 3.75 Stars

https://lairofbooksblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/review-the-fireman-by-joe-hill/

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman– 5 stars
https://lairofbooksblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/review-illuminae-by-amie-kaufman-and-jay-kristoff/

Chasing River by K.A. Tucker– 5 stars
https://lairofbooksblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/review-chasing-river-by-k-a-tucker/

Surviving Ice by K.A Tucker– 4 stars
https://lairofbooksblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/review-surving-ice-burying-water-4-by-k-a-tucker/

Graphic Novels- I went on a Saga spree with NO regrets! I was going to review them in the blog but I was absorbed by the binge SMH so I’ve linked my mini reviews, more like ‘feels’ & after thoughts lol

Saga Volume 3– 4 stars (link to my Goodreads mini review)

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1696157127?book_show_action=false

Saga Volume 4– 5 stars (link to my Goodreads mini review)

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1697036687?book_show_action=false

Saga Volume 5– 5 stars (link to my Goodreads mini review)

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1350882555?book_show_action=false

Saga Volume 6– 5 stars (link to my Goodreads mini review)

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1641774601?book_show_action=false

July 2016 Book Haul:

In the month of July I came across some amazing deals that demanded I suspend my book ban for a bit 😂😂😂 but I can honestly say that with the exception of The Walled City, I was actively looking out for these titles😊

For those interested in ‘booktography’ hehe…please follow me @Lair_Of_Books (link at the very top of the blog page)

& On a sick day my hubby brought home these two beauties 😍😍😍