Spoiler Free Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

Title: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3)

Author:ย Holly Black

Pub. Date:ย November 19th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Pages: 300 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

*Although this review is spoiler free for The Queen of Nothing, it will contain spoilers for The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)

The high stakes conclusion to The Folk of the Air trilogy was the BEST way to end 2019! I read The Wicked King & The Queen of Nothing back to back & so I didn’t have to bear the painful cliffhanger many of my fellow bookworms experienced. This last installment had double the schemes & politics making for one hell of a ride! While I’ll still maintain that The Wicked King is my favorite of the three, this was a satisfactory ending to a beloved YA Fantasy. Jude is living in the mortal world with her sister Vivi after having been exiled by Cardan when last we saw her. She’s taking odd jobs given to her by another exiled member of Fae in order to keep up appearances of making a living. She’d pretty much given up all hope of returning to Fae & also was harboring a lot of anger for how dirty she was done in by Cardan. Hope is restored when her duplicitous twin sister Taryn shows up in the mortal world asking for Judes help in clearing her name. Returning to Fae comes with much risk but Jude is up to the task if only to get closer to Cardan.

From the minute Jude is back in Fae it’s non-stop twists & turns with very little time to catch your breath. To top off all of the plotting & scheming we get a curse that is now plaguing the land of Fae itself. You’d think Holly Black wouldn’t be able to pull it all off in 300 pages but the Queen has done it again! it may not be my absolute favorite in the series but I won’t sit her & lie, this is entertainment at it’s FINEST!!!!

If I had to choose one thing I loved above all else in this trilogy & the very reason for why it will go down as an all time favorite, it would be the complex father/daughter relationship we see play out. We know Maddoc is the General who killed Judes parents but his choice in taking the twins & raising themas his own is hard to wrap your head around. He is trained in the art of war & Jude in many ways is his protรฉgรฉ. The complexity of their relationship is always at the forefront especially when she makes moves that will directly affect him. Her relationship with Tarryn is also filled with challenges they are still trying to overcome till the very end. Overall I’d say the bonds & relationships Holly Black developed on these pages are what gets you invested as a reader because in their own way these characters are relatable. Measuring up to someones standards, sibling rivalry, and the complexities of humanity come in to play making for one unforgettable story.


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Spoiler Free Review: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

Title: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)

Author:ย Holly Black

Pub. Date:ย January 8th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Pages: 336 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

Fan art credit by Monolime (click on image)

This sequel is one I’ve had on deck for a very long time simply because I knew I’d want to binge the rest of the trilogy after that EPIC ending in The Cruel Prince. We pick up right where we left off with Jude as the new Seneschal to the newly ordained King Cardan. Jude has bound Cardan for exactly 1 year & 1 day to serve as the King while Oak the real heir is sent to the mortal world. This of course places Jude in a position of power where she can pull strings & eliminate any threat to the throne. This time the world of Fae is more expansive with the inclusion of Princess Niccasia & her mother Orlagh who is Queen of the Undersea. We see tension build up between land & sea which strains the long standing peace treaty forged between the two. All the while, Jude and Cardan walk a fine line between hate & want for each other. Cardan bids his time in service to the crown by training with The Court of Shadows,ย growing stronger as the days go by & he is further connected to the land. Jude knows the time is running out & pretty soon Cardan will be liberated. She knows he has no desire to rule over the land but feels she can convince him to renew their bond in order to keep her in control until Oak comes of age.

Judeย I still haven’t come across another fictional character more strategic, intelligent and downright cut throat like Jude. She continues to impress me with her thirst for power & ability to think ten steps ahead of the game. Jude is truly a great example of the student overcoming the master. She is still dealing with deep emotional issues with regards to Madoc who is her adoptive father of sorts. This is one complex character ou can’t help but admire.

Cardanย I wasn’t completely sold on Cardan when we first met him in The Cruel Prince but here he had my FULL attention! it could have been his training with The Court of Shadows or the fact that he never truly submits to Jude even though that’s what it may appear to be. Theres more than meets the eye with Cardan who we learn has had a pretty messed up childhood & has been prophesied since birth to be the ruination of the land. By far my favorite character in this installment to the trilogy.

Tarynย Continues to be as unlikeable as ever, Taryn is honestly the sister I’m glad I never had to deal with. Superficial and motivated by all the wrong reasons, Taryn is the complete opposite of Jude. We do get more understanding on her character but it’s just not enough to redeem her as a person to me & that’s ok we don’t have to love them all *shoulder shrug*

Vivi/Heather/Oakย These characters I’ve bunched together since they move as one single unit in the mortal world. Viviย is Jude & Taryn’s fae sister entrusted to care for Oak until he comes of age. Vivi has no desire to live in Fae especially now that she has her girlfriend Heather in the mortal world. This is a cute trio who we also see encounter issues since Heather doesn’t know Livvy & Oak are Fae.

Maddocย Ruthless as always Maddoc has FINALLY learned to stop underestimating his adoptive daughter Jude. The master is seeing first hand how well his student has learned & adopted many of his tactics. Still, Maddoc has an agenda of his own & he’s still much peeved at having the crown stolen from right under his nose by Jude when she had Oak crown Cardan. Maddoc is someone I’d love to hate but find myself fighting my inner feelings for. I should despise him but “it’s complicated” to say the least.

Nicassia & Orlaghย The Princess & Queen of The Undersea had much bigger roles in this installment & I quite enjoyed seeing their Kingdom & Mer-folk. Nicassia is still Queen B or rather Head Mean Girl In Charge. She had her eyes set on a marriage with Cardan until Jude showed up & ruined that. Out of all the parent/child relationships we see play out in this trilogy, much respect goes to these two because it is the healthiest of them all. Orlagh loves her daughter & has her back just as Nicassia goes hard for her Mother.

Fan art credit by Melie Scribbles (Click on image)

If you’re a fan of smart political cut throat stories set in fantastical worlds, then this is in my opinion top tier in YA Fantasy. Other than Oak who is still pretty young to be anything other than innocent, all of the characters are morally grey. I LOVED seeing Holly Black expanded Fae to include the Undersea & its key players. It’s a massive world open to many possibilities if they wanted to continue writing stories set in this world. I continue to enjoy Jude & Carden as main characters with many layers. These characters hold their cards close to their chest giving them an air of unpredictability I’ve come to appreciate and enjoy.


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: GRACE AND FURY BY TRACY BANGHART

Title:ย GRACE AND FURY

Author:ย TRACY BANGHART

Pub. Date: July 31ST. 2018

Genre:ย YA Fantasy

Publisher:ย Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Pages: 320

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

Buddy Read:ย Melanie, Amy, Jules, Jen

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

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

ย ย ย 

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

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

This was such a fast paced easy read that caught me by surprise each & every time I sat down. I easily read chunks at a time every sitting but won’t deny that the second half of this story is where all the action and character growth really hooked its claws into me. I also found myself enjoying Serina’s chapters way more than Nomi’s which is a shame since Nomi and what she represents really appealed to my Feminist soul. There is so much good to this story though, including the history embedded into the ways of the land and why women are not allowed to learn how to read. Fear of what is perceived to be the weaker sex gaining knowledge & one day reclaiming power is at the root of the story. I found Grace & Fury to be a solid start to a Feminist Fantasy that I am very interested in continuing on with. If that ending is any indication of things to come…I am one very excited Bookworm! ๐Ÿ–ค


Good Monday Morning Bookworms! I hope you all have a wonderful start to the week ๐Ÿ–คย Grace & Fury will hit shelves 7/31/2018, will you be pickingย up a copy?ย 


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The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1): Spoiler Free Review Feat. Gretchen @ChicNerdReads

Title: The Cruel prince (The Folk of the Air #1)

Author: Holly Black

Pub. Date:ย January 2nd, 2018

Genre:ย YA Fantasy

Publisher:ย Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages:ย 384

Format:ย Physical ARC

Content warning: Suicide and Graphic Violence

Buddy Read: w/my Twin Gretchen @ChicNerdReadsย (Q & A at the end of this review)

*Thank you Little Brown Books for Young Readers and Holly Black for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

Butterflyย Butterflyย Butterflyย Butterflyย Butterfly

Where to begin?….well maybe with the fact that up until now I hadn’t come across a fae character that I liked in any of the books that I’ve read. This all has changed of course now that I’ve read this magnificently twisted book by Holly Black. I get it now! I get why you all call her the Queen of the Fae! The Cruel Prince was EVERYTHING I never knew I needed & now I simply cannot get enough of this world.

The opening scene is one of the most cold blooded I’ve ever read, we meet our MC Jude in her home with her two sisters Taryn & Vivi. A knock on the door brings a stranger into their home changing the course of their lives. Jude’s sister Vivi is half Fae & her father Madoc has come to take her back to Elfhame, the home her mother took her away from when she left him. Murdering both their parents, Madoc is now responsible for his daughter Vivi and her two human siblings. We fast forward 10 years from the date he stole them away to find them all grown up into teenagers with very different personalities and feelings towards their new home & Madoc himself. Elfhame is no easy place to live in especially if you’re a human which is why our MC Jude has given it her all to try & fit in by earning a place in the royal guard. Always having to look over her shoulder, Jude knows the fae world is a treacherous place to live in & the only way to survive is to always be ten steps ahead.

Our antagonists are Prince Cardan and his fae friends who look down on all humans which make Jude & Taryn easy targets. For the most part, the bullying is directed towards Jude for wanting to be in the royal guard so badly that she is actively competing in the tournament. Taryn on the other hand tries to lay low & encourages a non-yielding Jude to do the same. Jude however, is not the type to stay down for long & pushes back each & every single time. She manages to capture the attention of Prince Dain who is rumored to be chosen by the king as heir to the throne. Dain offers her a position with his royal spies & Jude begins to unravel court secrets one by one. She soon realizes that nothing is at it seems & the kingdom of Elfhame is in danger. The Cruel Prince is filled with political intrigue, ruthless double-crossings, and tons of twists & turns that will leave you second guessing all of your theories. If you enjoy watching pieces on a Chess board move Game of Thrones Style, then chances are you’re going to LOVE this book!

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It’s rare that I end up loving the MC of a Fantasy so hardcore & yet even more impossible…that I end up loving the MC as much as the antagonist haha! I’m still not sure that any of the characters in this book can be described as wholly good or bad, they’re all so complex & deeply layered. Starting with our MC Jude who can be seen as a outcast & a bit of a anti-hero, she is going to put the kingdom and its people above all else. Jude was unpredictable & resilient to the very end, very much a product of her environment.ย Her twin sister Taryn who isย also human has a very different mindset although ultimately she’d also like to just fit in. Unlike Jude, Taryn has no interest in training for battle & instead plans to marry a fae of the royal court. We find these two siblings at odds throughout the book as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a strange land that doesn’t want them.

Madoc is also an interesting character, described as blood lustful and a winner of wars. He also is the person who murdered their parents & then gave them a new home with everything they could’ve possibly ever wanted/needed. Each of the girls has a difficult relationship with Madoc who is the only father figure they’ve known since the age of 7. Vivi who is his legitimate daughter by blood has never accepted Madoc or Elfhame. We see her often steal away in the human world where she hides her true identity. Vivi has held onto a lot of her anger & resentment towards Madoc & we see her rebel against him at every turn.

Prince Carden & his crew of friends who go out of their way to make Jude’s life all the more difficult, are just as complex as our three siblings. There’s definitely a lot more underneath the malice & I ended up really enjoying this character’s development.

There are plenty more characters in this book the I truly enjoyed, the cast is large & I could talk about each one for days but then that would take the fun away from meeting them for yourselves. Besides the main characters and group of antagonists we also have another set of players in the background who are just as crucial to the story. When we first start this story, it’s on the heels of a coronation where the King would choose his heir. You can bet on there being tons of moves being made between his heirs for the highly coveted seat. With so many players on the board I found myself HOOKED! with many theories that ultimately didn’t even come close to the final play for the throne ๐Ÿ˜‰

ย Never have I ever entered a Fantasy world & felt the need to watch my own back! Such was the case with this book & I can’t even begin to explain just how deeply fleshed out this story, it’s characters, and world really are. The plot alone is FLAWLESS!!! well executed & guaranteed to leave you holding your theories with a big Oh So You Thought That’s What’s Happening Here? HA! Think Again!ย I am in awe of how Black brought all the pieces together, she thought of its all! past, present, and future. As if that weren’t enough, the characters were morally gray & really hard to turn away from. There isn’t a heroine in this Fantasy, this isn’t that type of book & I found this to be ingenious! EVERYONE is effed up at some point or another & EVERYONE is flawed. The world building is A+ bookworms! yet again in awe of how Holly Black managed to give us so much in under 400 pgs. Elfhame comes to life with its many different races of fae, their customs, food to tempt any human, and a high court filled dangerous characters. I couldn’t get enough & every time I opened this book, I found myself sucked into the land of the fae very easily. I didn’t see the ending coming and had to pick my jaw up off the floor at the very end. The good news is that Black leaves us with an amazing epilogue to hold us over & I’m going to need the sequel like yesterday! *sobs* It’s not too early to place this book on my Top 2018 reads, ย  already have. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, please do not hesitate! the hype is well deserved with this one & I just know you won’t regret it ๐Ÿ˜‰

ย It’s been a while since my BFF & I buddy read a book so when she suggested it I wasn’t going to say no! LOL. I cleared all of my planned TBR books because buddy reads with my twin are always fun & I knew this would be no different. I’m so glad it was a book we both really enjoyed & are now totally OBSESSED with! Check out her full spoiler free review here!

When I asked Gretchen how her experience reading Holly Black for the first time went, she immediately gushed on how AMAZINGย It was! “I loved the world building, characters, and how they took me by surprise. I loved how dark the characters were because the match my soul!”ย *she LOL’d when she said this* Gretchen LOVED Carden who plays the antagonist, she admits not liking him at first but then realized he had reasons for being the way he is.

The world building as I mentioned in my review, is one of my favorite aspects of this book. Although this was my first Holly Black, it isn’t my first book with Fae & I found myself wondering why this time I ended up LOVING them so much. I asked Gretchen, compared to other Fae books she’s read, what made the world of Elfhame in The Cruel prince stand out? “The many different races of not just Fae, the inclusion of termites, Goblins, and pixies”…we both agreed that this book had so much detail in the best of ways & we soaked it all up.

The main characters in this book also battled internally with whether they were given a choice, would they stay in Elfhame or return to the human world. Vivi who is the Fae sibling, hasn’t accepted Madoc as her father or her new home. She can be seen often sneaking away to the human world & clinging on to human things. We also see Jude struggle with the desire to be one of the Fae. I asked Gretchen if she were give the choice would she live in the human world as a Fae? or would she continue to live in the Fae world as a human?ย I’d prefer to be a Fae living in the the human world, living undercover with modifications to keep people from finding out my true identity”…for those that are wondering, it’s totally possible with the help of some contacts & our wonderful author herself has surgically re-shaped her ears to those of the fae ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lastly, I asked Gretchen whether she plans on picking up any of Holly Black’s other books that have already been published & she said ABSOLUTELY! Gretchen is interested in reading Titheย ๐Ÿ™‚


Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones,ย The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her new series which begins with The Cruel Prince in January 2018.

She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.ย 


Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a wonderful day, possibly even a snow day for some like myself *fingers crossed* Sound off in the comments if you plan on reading The Cruel Prince? & if you’ve already devoured it like we did, how was it for you?


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ARCstravaganza #13

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

Hello Readers! This is my 13th week participating in #ARCstravaganza Monday & this week Iโ€™ve chosen Defy the Worlds (Constellation #2) by Claudia Grayย & it legit makes me happy every time I walk past my shelf. Earlier this year I had the awesome opportunity of reading & reviewing Defy the Stars (my review) & ahhhhh! Bookworms! if you’re a fan of Illuminae & Gemina then please treat yo selves to this new series & thank me later HAHA! A++ world building & amazing characters have me looking into Gray’s other books that I’ve also heard great things about. One thing’s for certain, whoever Gray has as a cover artist deserves EPIC praise! they’re all so eye catching & vibrant that it makes walking past them damn near impossible.

Funny story on how I came to actually owning this arc copy…while walking past The NOVL/Little Brown booth at NYCCC my peripherals caught a flash of pink, purple, and orange hidden behind a curtain. Now, it was clear they were hidden for a surprise ARC drop later that day but I’m a sucker for vibrant book covers & so I knew I had to ask The NOVL people if it was what I thought It was (jumble of nerves be damned). Yea, like many of you out there I love a good cover reveal & so I knew Defy the Worlds fit the description lol. Well, they were more than gracious to confirm my suspicions & told me when to come back for the drop. I nearly fainted a million faints right on the showroom floor as I set my alarm on my phone. Of all the arcs I acquired that day, Defy the Worlds really got me the most excited ๐Ÿ™‚

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ย *Since this is a sequel, I won’t include the Goodreads synopsis for fear of spoilers.ย 

What are some ARCS/eGalleys youโ€™re excited to have Bookworms? Have you read Defy The Stars? I’m thinking of reading Gray’s Firebird trilogy, has anyone else read them? I’d also likeย to get into her Starwars books but feel as if they may go over my head since I’m not a die hard SW fan lol…sound off in the comments below


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GUSH Review! Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Title: Invictus

Author: Ryan Graudin

Pub. Date: September 26th, 2017

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Publisher:  Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Pages: 464

Formats: eGalley & physical ARC

    

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

Since finishing up Invictus I’ve gone on a Ryan Graudin video binge on Youtube…this is when I KNOW I love a book! when I can’t let it gooooo! *cue Elsa/Frozen*  well in one of these videos Graudin mentions getting inspiration from Dr. Who and Fire Fly. These are shows I’ve only watched in passing & that now have immense curiosity for after finishing this book. Time travel alone has always intrigued me in Sci-Fi & that’s probably because I love History so much that the idea of traveling back to ancient Rome was SUPER appealing. We get introduced to our MC Farway Gaius McCarthy as he preps to take his final SIM exam to determine whether he is Recorder material. You only get 1 shot to pass this exam & failure means expulsion. Things go haywire during his SIM & Farway is given the boot from the academy. Being the best of the best, Farway knows his exam was tampered with however he has no real way of proving it. Faced with the reality of having all of his dreams of one day commanding his own time travel machine & crew taken away, Farway is quick to accept a offer from a Boss in the black market.

The opportunity: to man his own time travel machine in exchange for his services stealing valuable pieces from the past that will not be missed.

Translation: Stealing valuable pieces that won’t alter history & in turn alert the time travel police.

Farway of course gathers his most trusted friends from the academy and forms his crew to carry out these heists through different periods in time. When I think of my experience reading Invictus, the first word that comes to mind is FUN! popping in & out of time, wearing period fitting costumes, stealing ancient items all the while trying to stay incognito was insanely fun! Besides the awesome plot we get this great set of characters you can’t help but get attached to. I feel Graudin accomplished exactly what she said she set out to do with this crew & that was making them feel like home. By the end of the book I could tell you who was who blindfolded & that just made my reading experience all the more better. In terms of plot pacing I wouldn’t say it was fast paced however, there was never a time something wasn’t happening with one of the characters. There are also elements of parallel universes which I’ll be the first to admit intimidated the hell out of me however, I was able to follow the madness without having to double back haha!

Farway- at the top of his class, he knows he is destined for time travel. He is also well known for being born outside of times parameters. His mother is a Recorder of much fame garnering recognition for her many achievements. The truth about Faraways conception however is one well kept secret. Faraway wants nothing more than to follow in his motherโ€™s footsteps in hopes that it will lead him back to her (trying to be vague here lol). Itโ€™s hard not to like Farway, heโ€™s great with his friends aka crew and isnโ€™t scared to take some risks for the sake of time travel ๐Ÿ˜‰

Imogen- I LOVE THIS GIRL! I mean, who wouldnโ€™t love a character who wakes up every day & colors her hair in with different colored chalk? ๐Ÿ˜‚ funny, sweet, always positive, & loves her cousin Farway to pieces! She also keeps a Red Panda fur baby she named Safron who is feisty & offered up a couple of laughs along the way. Imogen is also the Historian on the crew & is in charge of researching the time periods they’ve been sent to steal from in order to dress them all accordingly.

Gram- you can find Gram at his station playing with his rubix cube & or computations to make sure they land in the exact time period desired. He is the Engineer who double majored as a recorder & basically I saw him as a Jack of all Trades. Gram is also a POC & I was glad to see this brought up by him seeing as time traveling may take them to places that would put him in danger. Gram is a very quiet character with a high IQ & the few times he was off the Invictus to aid in a mission I really enjoyed (hope to see more of this).

Priya- The medic on board & also resident beat master, Priya is known for compiling epic playlists. Her spicy Chai tea keeps everyone going & when she isn’t jamming to her tunes she can be found either patching up one of the crew members with stitches OR lending her mechanic skills to the maintenance of the Invictus.

Eliot- This character is SUPER mysterious & carries with her many truths. At first she annoyed the hell out of me but I came around to appreciate her resourcefulness. Without saying too much about this character for fear of spoilers, I will say that she kept things very interesting on board. As the source of Farways frustration I thought Graudin was writing her in as a love interest however, I’m so glad that isn’t the case & that her role is way more interesting than that.

I loved this cast of characters & the dynamic they brought to the page on board the Invictus. Although we don’t get a ton of time to delve deep into each one, I felt Graudin gave us enough to get to know them for their quirks & personalities. If you loved the cast of characters in Gemina, then chances are you’ll also love this crew ๐Ÿ˜‰

Many of my book blogging buddies have recommended Graudin’s books & until now sadly I hadn’t picked one up. I’m so glad I finally listened & found a new favorite. This was a almost 500 page book and yet it didn’t drag & actually left me flipping for more pages knowing very well that I had reached the end LOL! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED the ending & how everything led up to what isn’t necessarily a happy ending but one full of hope…these are always the best in my opinion. I haven’t seen any news of a sequel however, it was left with plenty of room to expand which again leaves me oh so hopeful! haha. In the mean time I have my imagination to conjure up ideas of where this crew could possibly be headed next, although not as good as Graudin, it will have to do ๐Ÿ˜‰

For more Bookish photos, follow Lair Of Books on Bookstagram

*HUGE Thanks to Little Brown Books, Netgalley, and Ryan Graudin in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Bookworms! I’m hoping some of you out there have already read & loved Invictus cuz I am really trying not to fall into a book hangover & need some support lol! who was your fave character? better yet, do you know if Graudin is in her lair writing us a sequel? *fingers crossed*


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Review: Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor

Title: Night of Cake & Puppets

Author: Laini Taylor & illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Pub. Date: September 12th, 2017

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Formats: Physical ARC

    

In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first dateโ€”as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to make the first move, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.

New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogyโ€”the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Originally published as an ebook, this new print edition will include breathtaking black and white illustrations, plus bonus content in a gorgeous package perfect for new and current fans of the series.

Night of Cake & Puppets is the novella that follows the 2nd book in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy which happens to be one of my TOP FAVE trilogies of all time! also the reason why I’ll read anything Laini Taylor writes….EVER! I first read this novella a few years back after reading the trilogy & still remember how much I ADORED it to pieces. When I heard through the Bookish Grapevine of an illustrated edition I knew I had to read in physical format. I’m so very happy to have received this ARC from the publisher, the illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo are ON POINT! he captures the humor & quirk of this beloved character & gives the best scenes in this novella an extra dose of magic. Di Bartolo is Laini’s husband & that perhaps makes him pretty much the perfect person to illustrate this story since I’m guessing he’s had some time to get to know these characters very well. I thoroughly enjoyed his illustrations & would love to see more of this collabo ๐Ÿ™‚

Night of Cake & Puppets is a novella set in Prague, home to Karou and her BFF Zuzana. While Karou is off on a mission (no spoilers for the DOSAB trilogy) Zuzana is on a mission of her own: to capture the heart of Mik the Violinist or at the very least his kiss! 

Zuzana was an instant fave character for me because of her eccentricities, whenever I think of her the quote “Though she be little, she is fierce!” comes to mind. Just like her grandfather, Zuzana designs puppets that are very life-like as well as a bit creepy. She is a lover of all things strange, dark, and magical which makes her a perfect BFF to Karou who is all of these & more. It also manages to catch Miks attention who is working in the same stage play as Zuzana. Before Karou went off on her adventure aka scavenger hunt, she blessed Zuzana with 5 scuppies which will grant her 5 small wishes. With her scuppies for back-up, Zuzana sets out to plan the most romantic night ever sprinkled with a touch of magic.

Mik is one of the few male characters in YA that I LOVE & as such, the next time I get asked on a tag to choose a book BF (terrible memory), my pick will ALWAYS be MIK! โค โค โค he’s that person, the one that wishes they had a more exciting life & is just waiting for THE night that will catapult him into said life. When he first sees Zuzana, he admire her fierceness from afar but couldn’t bring himself to talk to her. Their awkward almost encounters started to increase & he was genuinely intrigued by the mystery surrounding her.

Zuzana concocts this plan for the night she’s chosen to make her feelings known to Mik but it’s going to take some participation & effort on his behalf as well lol. I was completely knocked off my feet, left smitten on the floor (not an easy feat) with this magical night from start to finish. Taylor pulls you in for the night taking you through the streets of Prague while it snows & these two complete opposites take part in their own scavenger hunt. I honestly think Laini Taylor’s pen is infused with magic & whatever she writes is destined to come to life on the page & the readers mind. Highly recommending Night of Cake & Puppets to everyone! although it would be ideal to have read the first two books in the Daughter & Smoke and Bone trilogy, it is not a pre-requisite. You will however probably end up wanting to know more about Zuzana’s mysterious friend Karou & how she comes about those magical scuppies haha! Also…there’s Cake ๐Ÿ˜‰

For more Bookish photos, follow Lair Of Books on Bookstagram

*HUGE Thanks to The NOVL/Little Brown Books & Laini Taylor for the Night of Cake and Puppets ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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Waiting On Wednesday

Devils & Thieves (Devils & Thieves #1) by Jennifer Rush

Publisher:ย Little Brown Books

Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017

Genre:ย YAย Urban Fantasy

Pages:ย 336 pages

*click on cover for Goodreads

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted byย Jill at @Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that weโ€™re eagerly anticipating.

ย thrilling new urban fantasy filled with magic and motorcycle gangs from Jennifer Rush, author of the Altered saga–perfect for fans ofย Beautiful Creatures.

Eighteen-year-old Jemmie Carmichael has grown up surrounded by magic in the quiet town of Hawthorne, New York. In her world, magic users are called “kindled,” and Jemmie would count herself among them if only she could cast a simple spell without completely falling apart. It doesn’t help that she was also recently snubbed by Crowe, the dangerous and enigmatic leader of the Black Devils kindled motorcycle gang and the unofficial head of their turf.

When the entire kindled community rolls into Hawthorne for an annual festival, a rumor begins spreading that someone is practicing forbidden magic. Then people start to go missing. With threats closing in from every side, no one can be trusted. Jemmie and Crowe will have to put aside their tumultuous history to find their loved ones, and the only thing that might save them is the very flaw that keeps Jemmie from fully harnessing her magic. For all her years of feeling useless, Jemmie may just be the most powerful kindled of all.

No idea how Devils & Thieves managed to slip from under my radar but it did & so now I sit and wait til release day lol. A motorcycle crew that just so happen to wield magic? YES PLEASE! Set in a quiet New York town? aka my home city? YES PLEASE! threat of forbidden magic aka black magic? MHMMM, I’LL TAKE THAT! a main protagonist with untapped/unknown magic of her own? MY KRYPTONITE! As a big fan of the AMC tv series Sons of Anarchy, this book is practically shouting for me to read it & I shall heed the call ๐Ÿ˜‰

Honestly, they had me atthrilling new urban fantasy filled with magic and motorcycle gangs” ย I’m hoping to love this 1st installment because I’ve been missing Sons of Anarchy something bad & the thought of those guys having magic at their disposal is a scary yet humorous thought. I’d welcome this new series (if I enjoy the 1st book) to fill the void SOA left in my little โค ๐Ÿ˜‰

Any readers out there who have read Jennifer’s Altered series? I’m curious about her writing style & very excited to read Devils & Thieves *insert excited emoji*

Waiting On Wednesday

Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Publisher:ย Little Brown Books

Publication Date: September 26th, 2017

Genre:ย YAย Sci-Fi/Time Travel

Pages:ย 464 pages

*click on cover for Goodreads

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted byย Jill at @Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that weโ€™re eagerly anticipating.

 

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.ย 
But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

In this heart-stopping adventure, Ryan Graudin has created a fast-paced world that defies time and space.

I legit hadn’t heard of Invictus up until a few nights before I attended Bookcon this past weekend. Turns out that there was an ARC drop & I missed it which was sucky but September is right around the corner & before you know it *grabby hands* haha! I also haven’t done a Waiting on Wednesday for quite some time because I’ve been very blessed to already have copies of my most highly anticipated books of the year & for that I am very thankful. Until Invictus came along, caught my eye, made me trip over my own feet with outstretched hands LMAO! Time Travel is myย drug of choiceย folks, I can’t resist a good one & this one has EPIC stamped all over its cover. I already have questions just off the blurb…like how in the world is it even possible for Far to exist with parents who each exist in different time periods?!?!? I’m SUPER intrigued by the parents origins. Next, there’s mention of the Titanic & a heist….So, Far seems like the most innnneresting fictional character I haven’t met yet.ย Being that this book is close to 500 pages, I’m also hoping for a kick a** crew of misfits that I’ll inevitably grow attached to. Yup, it’s definitely a haul worthy book for me in September ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sci-Fi (yes!). Time Travel (Yes!). Heists (Yes!). Titanic (Yes!)…*heart eyes*

Is Invictus on your radar for September? Already snag a copy? don’t tell me! *side eye* Haha! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 Wโ€™s listed below. Once youโ€™ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Samโ€™s comments <3โ€™s!

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

*Covers = Goodreads

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Iโ€™m currently reading The Upside of Unrequited & LOVING the lightness of it all, it’s just what I needed. I’m enjoying the sibling relationship & the main protagonist is seriously my type of gal. Molly Peskin-Suso is someone I could easily relate to. At the rate that I am reading this one, I’m probably going to be finishing up by tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜‰

ย I recently read, reviewed, and ADORED the hell out of Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray! for those of you missing the Illuminae files something BAD!…this one is for you ๐Ÿ˜‰ check out my review here. After Defy the Stars I jumped in Given to the Sea (Given Duet #1) by Mindy McGinnis since this one was from Penguin’s First to Read & I was cutting it close on time limit. The First to Read program is pretty cool but you do have a due date before the book expires my bookish peeps! *always tardy to the party* haha! anyways, I’m still working my thoughts out about Given to the Sea…thoughts a PLENTY! and should have a review up this week *fingers crossed*ย BUT if you’re really curious or you’re just looking for a really cool Book Blogger, check out Kourtni @KourtniReads review here. Kourtni & I share similar thoughts on this one, she gave it 2 stars I gave it 3 but we both want to see how this duology works itself out ๐Ÿ˜‰

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood–and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.

Spindle Fire (Spindle Fire #1) by Lexa Hillyer, its not often we get aย Sleeping Beauty re-telling & as a kid I always wanted to see more from this fairy tale princess. I was over the moon excited to hear of Spindle Fire & although I’m trying to remain positive…I have caught wind of the mediocre ratings *Le sigh*ย nonetheless I will enter this one with an open heart & hope for the best ๐Ÿ˜‰

Did any of you participate in WWW Wednesday? if so, drop that link & iโ€™ll swing by your blog for a peek. I’ve made a considerable dent in my arc spreadsheet & I’m wondering if I should reward myself with reading Strange the Dreamer…tempting!ย