Spoiler Free Review: Reaper of Souls by Rena Barron

Title: Reaper of Souls

(Kingdom of Souls #2)

Author: Rena Barron

Pub. Date: February 18th 2021

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Format: eGalley/ARC

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 448 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

“𝐼 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑚𝑦 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑖𝑑𝑑𝑙𝑒, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑛𝑑. 𝐹𝑜𝑟 𝐼 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑑 𝑎 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑠𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑑𝑖𝑒𝑑 𝑎 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑠𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑑𝑒𝑎𝑡ℎ𝑠, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝐼 𝑑𝑖𝑑, 𝐼 𝑟𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑦.“

Reaper of Souls was one of my MOST highly anticipated sequels to look forward to in 2021 and I can honestly say it was worth the wait. Kingdom of Souls (My Review) introduced us to Arrah who comes from a powerful family of witch doctors but for some reason hasn’t come into her own powers. After the catastrophic events we left off in Kingdom Of Souls, Arrah finally has the gift of magic but it came about in a terrible way. Returning from exile, we see Arrah go after those who have taken her people from their tribal lands. What she soon discovers is that this is a war between the Orishas and their demon children and caught in the middle are mortals. The Character development alone was phenomenal & the world building/magic system is very richly woven and inspired by folk magic. Arrah is discovering along the way the many secrets she unknowingly carries within. A deeper connection to it all. A sort of forbidden love. A choice to make. The inevitability of it all.

Rena Barron has delivered such a rich and beautifully written Fantasy where the lives of our key characters are constantly haunted by the mistakes and transgressions of their parents and ancestors. Will they choose to repeat those mistakes OR course correct for the good of their people? This story is told in multi-POV format between Arrah, Rudjeck and a third entity that for spoiler free reasons I won’t disclose. If you love character driven stories that are more slower paced with a big reward at the end, then this is absolutely a trilogy worth giving a go. Seeing as it had been some time since I had read Kingdom of Souls I would’ve loved it if there had been a Legend/Key at the very start. There are a handful of Orishas and their history is fleshed out in the first book but this follow-up goes even deeper into their history and conflicts with one another. Pacing can seem a bit off at times but I chucked that off to Arrah’s own personal journey to self realization which in my opinion was done perfectly! If you’re expecting NOT to be left reaching for more after this book, you are sadly mistaken! I cannot wait for the conclusion to this fantasy/love story💜


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December 2020 Wrap-Up & Birthday Book Haul

It may be January but your girl is still sorta…kinda…celebrating my birthday! It took many years for me to love celebrating this day (December 31st) but life should be celebrated & I’m very blessed with an awesome little family and friends. December was an odd month, I felt like I was watching everyone try and reach their Goodreads goals while I accepted quietly (of course smh) that it just wasn’t going to happen. I don’t have a post going up with 2020 stats cause honestly that year is dead and gone and I have no desire to go dig it back up. However, I’m happy with the 67 books I read because of the grade A quality stories I discovered (Top 10 of 2020) and the new authors I fell in love with (I’m looking at you Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Fredrik Backman.) In the month of December I read 6 books, some of which ended up being my top faves of 2020! Now, onto some non-bookish December happenings…

I very bravely decided to made my very first Pavochon which is a Puerto-Rican style cooked Turkey!!! It was very important for me to make everything from scratch like my dad used to do and I have ZERO regrets on the turnout even if…it was a 3 day process (flashbacks oh no!) but it was also very therapeutic and FUN!!! my loved ones who are some of the TOUGHEST food critics were floored and that honestly made my birthday week. I’ve fallen in love with cooking these past 2 years and can’t wait to try out new recipes in the new year.

Promise to keep these brief since I have reviews for most of the books I read…

SUCH A FUN AGE BY KILEY REID – (Review) ✨5 STARS✨ A more timely book I could NOT have read in 2020, we follow a black young woman who is accused of kidnapping while baby-sitting for a white family in a. predominantly white neighborhood. I listened to the audiobook which had a awesome narrator! this was a rollercoaster ride for me, feeling everything from anger to hopelessness. Although this does cover some very heavy themes of racism, the author managed to weave in some humor and truly captured what it feels like to be a twenty something year old trying to figure out what to do with your life.

BLAZEWRATH GAMES BY AMPARO ORTIZ – (Review) ✨3.5 STARS✨ This was a fast paced YA Fantasy featuring a Puerto-Rican MC who is feeling displaced from the island after her parents go through a separation. There are dragons and a sort of magical olympics where the dragons and their riders compete. There’s also a villain who was formerly a dragon and is on the brink of starting a rebellion for his own gain. I enjoyed the Puerto-Rican rep I just wished there was more character development done on our MC Lana.

MERRY INKMAS BY TALIA HIBBERT✨4 STARS✨I was looking for some romance/smutty reads around mid-month after reading Fantasy & this novella hit the spot. Yes we can probably all agree that we’re tired of seeing the body boy/dark past trope however, I hadn’t read it in quite some time so it felt new! haha! Here we have Cash Evans who very much love at first sight, falls for Bailey a curvy black woman who he hires to work at his tattoo parlor. Cash invites Bailey over to his family’s home for the holidays and their romance pretty much takes off. Steamy in all the right ways!

FOREVER WILD (THE SIMPLE WILD #2.5) BY K.A. TUCKER – ✨5 STARS✨ I almost feel like this should’ve been a part of Wild at Heart which would’ve then made that a 6 star read. K.A. Tucker novellas really pack in a ton and this was no exception. My fave characters did Christmas and the in-laws in Alaska…PERFECTION! more Calla & Jonah is always a good thing but this time we get backstory on Roy! yea I know, our fave curmudgeon has a past & here we get to see more of him and his happy ending *smiles*

ANXIOUS PEOPLE BY FREDRIK BACKMAN -(REVIEW) ✨5 STARS✨ Simply BEAUTIFUL! I adored this cast of characters & seeing them offer each other sage advice while they remain hostages in a botched bank robbery. The less you know, the better with this book! just bring a box of Kleenex 😉

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE – (REVIEW) ✨5 STARS✨ FINALLY! a V.E. Schwab book I ADORED start to finish. This book was heartbreaking and yet (hate to use this word again but…) BEAUTIFUL! I lost count of the times I teared up seeing Addie grow hopeful at the possibility of finding love and having that person remember her. Addie has made a deal with good ol’ Lucifer, in exchange for a somewhat immortal life she will surrender her soul when she tires of living. Of course, a deal with Luc doesn’t come without stipulations. Gahhhh! I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!


 

Blessed with SUPER AMAZING thoughtful friends! these are the books I received for my birthday and Christmas from Taylor @NerdNarration & Lourdes @Chapterswelove *heart eyes* safe to say I’m set for some good reads for the next couple of months *shimmy shimmy* 


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The Cozy Autumn Book Tag!

What’s this?!? a tag?!?! why YES, Yes it is! Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year, it’s when my spirits are at an all time high and I want to do all the cozy & outdoor things. This year I’m adding one new thing to my list of Fall things…hikes & trails! I’m a sucker for a scenic route and it only helps my efforts to get some cardio in on the weekends whilst also staying away from crowded city life. I’m slowly going to be working my way up to some tougher/longer hikes throughout New York State & hopefully I’ll get some good colorful Fall shots along the way. Of course, it wouldn’t be my favorite season without some fave autumnal reads…

🍂 Q U E S T I O N S 🍂

1. What book always reminds you of fall/autumn? Adriana Mather’s  Haunting the Deep #2 in the How to Hang a Witch series ALWAYS invokes Fall vibes. Set on the Titanic with a MC who is a direct descendant of a prominent figure in the Salem Witch Trials, this book with Its ghostly characters is a great way to kick off the Fall season.

2. What is your favourite autumnal book cover? This year it’s a toss up between Lobizona by Romina Garber (my review) & Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (my review). They SCREAM autumn with their lush dark burgundy and orange colors. Cemetery Boys does take place around Dia De Los Muertos which only amps up this book as one to pick up this season. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

3. What is your favourite autumnal drink to read with? Currently…COVID has me staying away from Starbucks BUT I found their creamers at Target *jazz hands* specifically the Caramel or Cinnamon Dolce creamers with my home made coffee topped off with some ground cinnamon. Mhm…as you may have guessed, I love cinnamon!

4. Do you prefer to read late at night or early in the morning? Late nights used to be my JAM! but alas, no longer! neither are the mornings tbh cause of my hectic jam packed schedule. Evenings are when I get most of my reading in.

5. Halloween is coming! What is your favourite spooky read? Up until this tag, I did NOT think to choose a fave spooky read. However, going forward Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (my review) which is haunting AF! will be that read I go to for its horror noir vibes. UGH! this book my fellow bookworms…will make the hair on your neck stand.

6. What is the ultimate comfort read for you? This will always be the Romance genre as a whole. However, most recently I discovered Adriana Herrera who I HIGHLY recommend. Here to Stay (my review) sees our MC relocate from NYC to Dallas Texas & it just so happens to run into Thanksgiving. The cast of characters/friends in this story felt like home to me so much so that I truly didn’t want the book to end. I will continue reading Herrera’s books whenever I need that cozy feeling.

7. What is your favourite autumnal reading snack? although it has been WAY TOO LONG! for many years, I’ve loved Junior’s NYC Strawberry Cheesecake. Not just for the flavor but for the many sweet memories attached to this treat.

8. What is your favourite autumnal candle to burn whilst reading? In previous years, I did buy candles from bookish shops but not as of late. While I burn through my current collection, I’ve noticed Butterscotch, Hot Cocoa and Salted Caramel scents seem to call to me.

9. When you’re not reading, what is your favourite autumnal activity? Long outdoor walks paired with a hoodie\leggings & an engaging audiobook. If not, then it’s curling up in bed watching romantic comedies in fuzzy socks.

10. What is on your autumn/fall reading list? Ha! this may just be a bit ambitious but I’m sure going to give it a shot…


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Spoiler Free Review: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

Title: The Beautiful

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Pub. Date: October 8th 2019

Genre: YA Paranormal/Historical Fiction

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 448 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

 🖤ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review🖤

At its core The Beautiful is a Paranormal murder mystery with a steaming romance in the mix. Set inNew Orleans (FAVE CITY) 1872, our heroine Celine has been shipped off with 7 other girls to live in a convent. The intention is to have the girls meet eligible suitors to marry since they’ve had no luck thus far. Celine & her friend Pipa however are ahead of their times, feminists through & through who have trouble conforming. One encounter with a member of La Cour des Lions leads to Celine discovering night life in New Orleans. Captivating & enticing, she quickly falls down the rabbit hole that leads her to meeting the Lions leader, Sébastien Saint Germain. Coincidentally, the city begins to see young women being murdered. The victims are said to have been savagely drained of their blood. The person of interest is the young Sébastien Saint Germain which Celine finds herself being pulled towards. She begins to investigate the murders & quickly realizes she may be next on the killers agenda. Could the man she finds so alluring also be the one murdering innocent young women? Celine knows he’s the leader of a crime ring with a reputation in the under belly of New Orleans. This man is shrouded in mystery and darkness, well protected by his organized crime family he almost seems untouchable. Celine sets out to discover the truth all the while trying to stay alive.

Celine A bi-racial fashionista who studied under the best seamstress in Paris before being shipped off to New Orleans. Our MC who is a Feminist way ahead of her time & I LOVED reading her commentary whenever faced with expectations she had no plans on meeting. Celine is torn between living up to societal expectations vs. running free and living life to the fullest. She feels most at home amongst the members of La Cour des Lions. She’s also SUPER curious and intuitive.

Sébastien Saint Germain Fits the standard mold of ridiculously beautiful brooding MC (also bi-racial) who can’t be bothered. He has lost his entire family & has been taken in by his uncle who is a well known crime leader himself. Having had no children himself, Sébastien is his only heir and is expected to follow in his footsteps with the family business. Sébastien has no shortage of admirers, Celine just happens to be the one he can’t get out of his head.

Michael Grimaldi The police chief in charge of solving the murders and who has an age old feud with Sébastien. Michael is a bit rigid and a by the book type of man. When he finds himself falling for Celine, it puts him once again up against Sébastien. Of course, as is the case with most of the characters you come across in this world there’s more than meets the eye with Michael.

Pippa The closest thing to a friend for Celine, Pippa is the only one who can understand Celines dark & salacious humor. Pippa also is a feminist in her own way but she is more willing to conform to the norms. Pippa is what one would call a ride or die 🙂

Odette is by far my FAVE character in this world! Odette may very well be non-binary but I’m not 100% certain. This character also loves fashion and you can find them wearing a pant suit or ball gown. Odette is attracted to women and similar to Celine is just trying to live their life on their own terms & I couldn’t love them more for it! ❤

Arjun Desai (described as being from the Far East; a person of color) A member of La Cour des Lions, Arjun stands close to Sébastien as wise council. Arjun has studied law however due to the color of his skin during these times he was not permitted to practice law. Arjun is one character I would love to get more of in the sequel.

Without it being very clearly stated on the page, it is known The Beautiful is a story with paranormal creatures. It takes a subtle approach when introducing the different types of mythological beings we all know and love.  I for one was very happy with the hints & descriptions the author leaves behind forming a picture of who & what inhabits this world. At the very end we’re left feeling that this will be an expansive world & I for one am READY for a paranormal series set in 1800’s New Orleans. I found myself effortlessly flipping the pages & getting invested in these characters one by one. This is one hell of an atmospheric read where New Orleans comes alive on the page. If you go in expecting less Fantasy & more Mystery/Paranormal Romance, then I think this will be one very satisfying read. The only reason I docked it 1 star is because if I’m being completely honest, it could’ve been cleaned up a tad bit & that would’ve helped with the inconsistent pacing. However, I truly enjoyed the chapter breaks where we get the POV of whatever thing or person is hunting & killing. This added all of the creepy vibes to this book & had me dying to know their true identity. I do believe this is laying down the groundwork for what I expect will be a world lush with Vampires, Lycans, Fae and possibly more. If you’re a lover of historical romance, mysteries, and the paranormal…The Beautiful will deliver with hints of more in the future.


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July 2019 Book Haul

Hello Hello Bookish Friends! 🤗 It’s almost Midnight here in NYC & I’ve had way too much coffee 🤦🏻‍♀️ & so what better time than to knock out a few posts?      July was a weird month for me, I had a craving for Fiction (could be the overwhelming amount of Fantasy arcs on my Kindle @ the moment 😂) & I happened to catch some good deals. Besides the AWESOMENESS that is Book Of The Month, Amazon had an early Summer Black Friday sale I couldn’t turn away from. Wicked Fox was sent by the Publisher, it was a 5 star read & my review will be up this week. I also read Lock Every Door which was 3.5 stars, highly enjoyable but it did have its parts that dragged. I listened to the audiobook while reading along & loved the narrators performance. I’m currently reading The Diviners by Libba Bray as part of the #DivinersReadalong 🖤 Who is this Gal? reading all the books she hauls? haha! 🤷🏻‍♀️ Below I’ve included my Book of The Month referral link, if you happen to sign up using my link then I’d get a free book. I fully support this book subscription box, for an AMAZING price you get to choose some of the top buzz worthy titles. They’ve also recently added a seperate Young Adult subscription option in case Fiction alone isn’t your thing. Links for all books will take you to Goodreads 😉

The Diviners | Next Year in Havana | When We Left Cuba | Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1) | Where The Crawdads Sing | Lock Every Door | Three Women | Things You Save in a Fire

BOOK OF THE MONTH REFERRAL LINK

 

Spin The Dawn (The Blood Of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim

“Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.” – Goodreads 

The July Owlcrate box has to be the MOST beautiful box I’ve received this year! 😍 I LOVE every item but if I had to choose one favorite it would have to be the deck of cards with STUNNING artwork & red foiled edges 😍


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MARCH BOOK HAUL

Hello Hello is anybody out there? It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a blog post & I’m admittedly a bit rusty 🙈 but ummm have no fear! I am quickly getting back in the swing of things. 2018 was a bit rough at the end for a number of reasons but 2019 so far has proven to be full of blessings & beautiful surprises 💓 I thought I had lost my love for books & blogging, turns out *Maury Voice* the lie detector determined THAT WAS A LIE!!! 🙌🏽 my appetite for books has returned full force. I recently finished & LOVED Daisy Jones & The Six, a gift from my Twin Soul Gretchen over at ChicNerdReads who truly knows when to send a book recc my way (thanks Twin!) 🖤 I’m currently reading Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncanmy first Fantasy of the year & so far I’m really enjoying this one 🤞🏽I have reviews I’ve been working on & will start to sprinkle out over the next week. One major thing did change & that’s the way I buy books. After un-hauling 50+ books, I knew I was going to be hella selective going forward. This haul contains only books that I’ve HIGHLY been anticipating & will be reading very soon. Whether you’re new or a Ol’ G here on my blog, thank you for sticking around & stay tuned for all the new content 🖤

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The Weight Of The Stars| Dealing In Dreams| Queenie (Book Of The Month)| LOT (Book Of The Month)| The Priory Of The Orange Tree| Fence Volume One


Hello Bookworms! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day with your next best read  I am STOKED to be reading & blogging again. This blog & community has brought me so much happiness & friendships I am so thankful for 💓 I think I’m going to enjoy making up for lost time ☺️ Happy reading!


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: TO BE HONEST BY MAGGIE ANN MARTIN

Title: To Be Honest

Author: Maggie Ann Martin

Pub. Date: August 21st. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Romance

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Pages: 304

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

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: SCREAM ALL NIGHT BY DEREK MILMAN

Title: SCREAM ALL NIGHT

Author: DEREK MILMAN

Pub. Date: July 24th. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Horror

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Harper

Pages: 400

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

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

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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WWW Wednesday 7/18/2018

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

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

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

Strange Grace by Tessa Graton

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


The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

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


Check, Please!: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

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


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

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


Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

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


Scream All Night by Derek Milman

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


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


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: LIFEL1K3 BY JAY KRISTOFF

Title: LIFEL1K3

Author: JAY KRISTOFF

Pub. Date: MAY 29th. 2018

Genre: YA SCI-FI

Publisher: KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS/RANDOM HOUSE

Pages: 416

Content Warning: Violence, suicidal thoughts, war themes, terminal illness, loss of a loved one

*HUGE thanks to Random House & Jay Kristoff for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

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A high octane YA dystopian described best by the author as “Romeo And Juliet meets Mad Max meets Xmen meets Blade Runner.” LIFEL1K3 is set in a post apocalyptic/post nuclear war North America…specifically a fictional island called “Dregs” in “Kalifornya”where Cancer is the biggest threat to life. The story opens up in a brutal heart wrenching scene that sets the stage for what’s to come. Our MC Eve is a teen who is just living to survive the day to day struggle of surviving the nuclear war. Eve makes her living in the War Dome fighting rogue robots that have broken the First Law…

1. A ROBOT MAY NOT INJURE A HUMAN BEING OR, THROUGH INACTION, ALLOW A HUMAN BEING TO COME TO HARM

2. A ROBOT MUST OBEY THE ORDERS GIVEN TO IT BY HUMAN BEINGS EXCEPT WHERE SUCH ORDERS WOULD CONFLICT WITH THE FIRST LAW

3. A ROBOT MUST PROTECT ITS OWN EXISTENCE AS LONG AS SUCH PROTECTION DOES NOT CONFLICT WITH THE FIRST OR SECOND LAWS

 

Either by malfunction or willfull rebellion, these robots have turned against humans. Eve is a tinkerer like her grandfather and has built herself a Machina to battle these rogue robots for money in order to buy him his Cancer medication. All is seemingly well until the day everything goes wrong in the dome leaving her exposed and marking her as a target. From this day forward, Eve and her companions will be on the run for their lives. Pulse pounding action that will leave you at the edge of your seat bracing for the next attack, LIFEL1K3 was one wild ride! With plenty of plot twists along the way, I honestly had a couple of “Ohhhhh Wow” moments haha! I wasn’t expecting a YA sci-fi to have as much depth and layering as LIFEL1K3 did but it went above and beyond. Paired with such unique world building are characters you can’t help but get attached to and root for. Perhaps what makes LIFEL1K3 stand out most is that by the very end it’s not at all what you thought it would be 😉

 

Eve- a kick a** fighter, loyal to those she loves, a character who is definitely dealing with PTSD. I really felt for Eve and admired her resilience through it all

Lemon Fresh – Quick witted, amazing ride or die friend to Eve, willing to go to the ends of the earth for those she cares about. Lemon has so much gratitude in her heart & this made her my fave character in this book

Cricket – a robot created by Eve’s grandfather to protect her with his robotic life. I wasn’t too fond of this little guy (he hated being called little haha) because of the hurtful names he used to refer to Ezekiel specifically regarding his missing limb

Kaiser (Cyborg dog) – a robotic dog also created by Eve’s grandfather who you easily come to see as a real dog. Kaiser is very much a part of this crew

Ezekiel (LIFEL1K3) – The LIFEL1K3 aka Human-like, Zeke has this undying love for Eve & I’m not quite sure how I feel about him tbh. Zeke isn’t human but he sure has developed as one, has independent thoughts, and acts of his own accord. Personality wise I can’t say much though cause he came across dull to me & I’m not sure if that was purposefully done or not

🖤 All in all I LOVED these characters as a whole and Lemon is a new fave I can’t wait to read more from. Through the grapevine I’ve heard we may also get Lemon’s POV in the next installment *fingers crossed*

LIFEL1K3 is the first book I read outside of the Illuminae world from Kristoff and I walked away pretty much sealing the deal…I have found a new TOP favorite author. I rated this book 4.5 stars simply for one reason & that’s the fact that I struggled just a smidge with the slang created for this world. Everything feels so authentic in this world that it renewed my interest in the post apocalyptic reads but the language is quick & raw. Kristoff does an excellent job at teaching you the slang along the way but it wasn’t without some effort on my behalf. Besides this small thing, I absolutely enjoyed this fun action packed read & already miss the hell out of these characters. I love the reads where you don’t walk away unscathed & there’s plenty of room for theorizing for the next book. LIFEL1K3 has definitely left me with plenty to sit on until the next chapter which can either be viewed as cruel or ingenious & I’m going with the latter of the two 😉


LIFEL1K3 has hit the shelves & is already making fans out of readers. Have you read LIFEL1K3? If so, who is your favorite character? if not, are you adding it to your tbr now that you’ve seen the book trailer up above? 😂


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