August 2021 Anticipated New Releases

I’m making up for skipping out on my July Anticipated Releases post with this nice and LONG early list of anticipated August New Releases. There’s a little of everything for everyone and while gathering these titles I realized I have some books to read ASAP since this month is sequel heavy! *sideways glance at Raybearer* I have been blessed by the Book Gods with early access to some of these titles (Currently Reading: Velvet Was the Night) and will be sharing my reviews for them here on the blog. Not sure how my internal bookish clock just knows that it’s August and even though I don’t ever pre-plan on participating in ARC August…it always ends up happening that I do, possibly cause Netgalley guilt is a real thing *silent nod* Anyways let’s get to it, If there are any titles I’ve left out please drop them down below in the comments <3’s!

FANTASY & SCI-FI

DEVIL IN THE DEVICE (GODDESS IN THE MACHINE #2) BY LORA BETH JOHNSON – The sequel to Goddess in the Machine which I have not yet read, follows Andra in the year 3102 as she awakens from a cryonic sleep only to discover that all of her friends and family have died while she survived. The descendants of those that have passed see her as a deity and she’s game to play the part if it means finding answers and making her way back to Earth. The sequel Devil in the Device hits shelves on 8/24/2021

THE SECOND REBEL (THE FIRST SISTER TRILOGY #2) BY LINDEN A. LEWIS – Geared towards fans of The Red Rising series, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Expanse. The original, The First Sister follows a Priestess of the Sisterhood as she travels alongside soldiers from Mars & Earth. When her former captain abandons her and she’s forced to stay aboard the ship with no friends or power alongside a new captain, she is commanded to spy for the Sisterhood. Complications arise when she finds herself falling in love. The sequel The Second Rebel hits shelves on 8/24/2021

THE WITCH HAVEN BY SASHA PEYTON SMITHThe Last Magician (Gasps) meets The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. A Historical Fantasy following a young woman who discovers she has magical powers and is thrown into a battle with witches and wizards. Oh, and it’s set in 1911 New York City. That is ALL I need to know tbh. 8/31/2021

THE PARIAH (THE COVENANT OF STEEL #1) BY ANTHONY RYAN – Set to be an EPIC Fantasy trilogy, we follow an Outlaw living amongst thieves until an act of betrayal sets him on a new path of vengeance and living a soldier’s life in the Queen’s army. He will be up against both human and arcane forces as he is forced to decide whether he can be a warrior or forever an Outlaw. Orbit NEVER fails to deliver heavy hitters – on shelves 8/24/2021

A LESSON IN VENGEANCE BY VICTORIA LEE – “For fans of Wilder Girls and Ninth House comes a dark, twisty, atmospheric thriller about a boarding school haunted by its history of witchcraft and two girls dangerously close to digging up the past”-Goodreads …Witchery & a Boarding school? SIGN ME UP! – 8/3/2021

REDEMPTOR (RAYBEARER #2) BY JORDAN IFUEKO – A HIGHLY anticipated sequel and yea shame me now for not having read Raybearer but I promise it’s happening SOON! Raybearer follows Tarisai who longs for the warmth of family. Raised in isolation by a mysterious and often absent mother called The Lady, she is sent to compete with other children for a chance to be chosen to join the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. Why? because The Lady has a magical wish Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince. The Sequel Redemptor hits shelves on 8/17/2021

THE SISTERS OF RECKONING (THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS #2) BY CHARLOTTE NICOLE DAVIS – The sequel to The Good Luck Girls which is described as Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale. A western with a sisterhood of queer girls who are sold to a “Welcome House” as girls, branded with cursed markings. Setting off on a dangerous escape to freedom, the girls are up against a country who doesn’t want them to have freedom and forces both human/inhuman. The sequel The Sisters of Reckoning hits shelves on 8/10/2021

CAZADORA (WOLVES OF NO WORLD #2) BY ROMINA GARBER – The follow-up to Lobizona & YES I absolutely did read and LOVE Lobizona! (My review) Argentinan Folklore weaved in with real world issues make this Fantasy a MUST read! We get witches and wolves in a magical school setting. The sequel Cazadora hits shelves on 8/17/2021

ROMANCE

THE DATING DARE (SWEET MESS #2) BY JAYCI LEE – I have been meaning to read the first book in this cute new series but it doesn’t seem like you have to read them in order. Here we have Tara Park who doesn’t hop into bed with perfect strangers but then she meets Seth Kim. Her friends new brother-in-law who is very tempting, handsome and charming. A game of truth or dare leads these two to a four date arrangement. Doesn’t seem like this fling with no strings attached is set to be very successful, not when they find each other to be the perfect package- 8/3/2021

BATTLE ROYAL (PALACE INSIDERS #1) BY LUCY PARKER – OK! baking rom-coms are my WEAKNESS BOOK LOVERS! a hate-to-love rom com where we meet Sylvie, she once was a contestant on a hit baking show where her creation of a glittery unicorn went sideways. Dominic, a judge on the panel was quick to vote her off but Sylvie still uses her platform to open up her own magical bakery. Fast forward to present time where the the royal family is having a wedding and the Princess wants both Sylvie and Dominic to compete for the opportunity of making the royal wedding cake. This just sounds like a fun time! 8/17/2021

CONTEMPORARY YA

HOW MOON FUENTEZ FELL IN LOVE WITH THE UNIVERSE BY RAQUEL VASQUEZ GILLIAND – THE HATING GAME meets I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER; a YA Romance starring a Mexican American teenager who discovers profound truths about the universe as she spends her summer on a road trip across the country – 8/10/2021

EDIE IN BETWEEN BY LAURA SIBSON – Described as a modern day Practical Magicwe meet Edie one year after the death of her mother. But her ghost never left. According to Edie’s GG, it’s tradition for the dead of the Mitchell family to linger with the living. Edie stumbles upon the diary of her mother along with some talismans that transport her to different times in her mother’s life where Edie witnesses her mom experience love, loss and hope. Edie is still grieving her mother’s death and hopes she can find a way to make peace with her loss and put the past to rest – 8/24/2021

ADULT FICTION/THRILLERS

VELVET WAS THE NIGHT BY SILVIA MORENO-GARCIAThis is 100% a SMG STAN BLOG! I nearly fell off my chair when the Publisher granted my request and I’m currently reading this title, too early to speak on thoughts. This one is for lovers of Noir, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thrillers. We follow Maite in 1970’s Mexico City where she is a secretary who loves reading Secret Romance. In the backdrop there is political unrest with students protesting and taking over the city. Maite escapes into her romance reads until her next door neighbor Leonora goes missing & Maite goes searching for her. Meanwhile, she’s not the only one searching for the missing woman. We have a shadowy figure who runs goon squads that target political activists and stopping them. Elvis is one of the goons and he LOVES movies & Rock n Roll…he comes to observe Maite from a distance and grows obsessed with her, the woman who shares his taste in music is also lonely- 8/17/2021

THE HEART IS A CHAINSAW BY STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES“Alma Katsu calls My Heart Is a Chainsaw “a homage to slasher films that also manages to defy and transcend genre.” On the surface is a story of murder in small-town America. But beneath is its beating heart: a biting critique of American colonialism, Indigenous displacement, and gentrification, and a heartbreaking portrait of a broken young girl who uses horror movies to cope with the horror of her own life.” Goodreads8/31/2021

A SLOW FIRE BURNING BY PAULA HAWKINS – “When a young man is found gruesomely murdered in a London houseboat, it triggers questions about three women who knew him. Laura is the troubled one-night-stand last seen in the victim’s home. Carla is his grief-stricken aunt, already mourning the recent death of yet another family member. And Miriam is the nosy neighbor clearly keeping secrets from the police. Three women with separate connections to the victim. Three women who are – for different reasons – simmering with resentment” – 8/31/2021


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Review: Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

Title: Honor Among Thieves (The Honors #1)

Author: Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

Pub. Date: February 13th, 2018

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/Harper

Pages: 309

Format: eGalley & Physical ARC

Trigger Warning: Physical/Child abuse

*HUGE thanks to Katherine Tegen Books/Harper, Edelweiss, Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

   

Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.

My first YA Sci-Fi of the year & I ABSO-FRIGGIN-LUTELY LOVED IT! When we meet our MC Zara, she is on the streets trying to survive in a cut throat world. Her mother & sister have moved to Mars, she opted to stay behind as a emancipated young adult and her father…whelp more on that situation in the characters section of this review down below. I inhale read 90% of this book in 24hrs, sleep ended up winning the battle in the end but I picked it up as soon as I woke up the next morning & GAHHHH! well worth my time! as previously mentioned, Zara is on the streets and has turned to petty crime. She has one friend who is addicted to drugs & they have a very co-dependent relationship. Stealing & selling to street sharks is how she gets by until the day she steals from the daughter of a very wealthy & powerful man. Once she realizes she’s being hunted for a very specific gadget she stole, Zara goes ghost in an effort to avoid being captured. She goes through drastic measures to ensure she is tossed back into a rehabilitation program that focuses on “helping” youth by reconditioning them to go back into society as upstanding citizens. This is all in efforts to avoid the powerful clutches of those intent on squeezing her for info on the gadget she stole.

The story then truly begins while Zara is keeping her head low in the rehab facility where she realizes there really isn’t anywhere she can hide. The Honors program recruits her, a never before seen move. This program was created in partnership with the Leviathan who are Aliens that are credited for saving the human race from total annihilation. They have saved many planets from extinction and in turn, The Honors Program allows the recruitment of 100 youth from Earth & other planets. Until Zara’s recruitment, there was always a type the Leviathan chose. Selected in pairs, there is always 1 musician & 1 scientist…Zara is neither of these. Seeing as she doesn’t have much of a choice if she wan’ts to stay alive, she accepts her role. The Leviathan are aliens that act sort of like spaceships in the sense that the Honors all have to board a Leviathan. The Objective of the year long program is for humans & Leviathans to learn from each other in order to improve their quality of life. Of course there’s more than meets the eye to this program & finding out just what that is will be Zara’s real objective…

Zara- at first I thought we’d be getting the same kick a** strong female MC we’ve grown accustomed to in YA. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Zara is the first of her kind I’ve seen in any of the books I’ve come across. To say she’s had a rough life would be downplaying it. From the age of 6 she’s suffered from chronic headaches & having a hardcore religious father meant being subjected to unorthodox methods of healing. As a survivor of child abuse, Zara has detached herself from her parents. Her only loyalties are to herself & she’s managed to stay alive on the streets by always being on the move. Getting recruited into the Leviathan program has a major effect on her fierce need to not be tethered to any person,place, or thing. She’s also not used to having anyone care for her & I really enjoyed seeing the character development with Zara as the story progressed.

Parents & Sibling- We see that Zara does love her mother but unfortunately, her mother didn’t know how to protect her when she had the chance. It leads to sort of a love from afar type of situation that aches whenever they’re close & things are great because it’s temporary. Zara does have a younger sister she loves deeply & plays the overprotective sister role to.It’s her relationship with her father that is beyond repair. There were some tough scenes where she recollects moments of physical abuse at the hands of her very religious father. Zara’s dad really gives a whole new meaning to scumbag.

Beatrice- Zara’s partner on the Leviathan she is assigned to. Beatrice aka Bea is musically inclined, with a beautiful voice it makes sense why the Leviathan have chosen her to join the expedition. Bea is Brazilian and knows 4 different languages, with a large family waiting for her return to Earth, she is the exact opposite of Zara. Thankfully, their friendship was very positive & I LOVED seeing how well they meshed together.

Nadim- Saved the best for last! The Leviathan Zara & Bea are assigned to could not have been a better match. Nadim is a young alien & shares one thing in common with Zara…an aversion to following the rules. Nadim does try to adhere but more often that not, he goes off course. In this book Nadim is referred to as being a “he” but I loved how that was discussed because Leviathan don’t really have a assigned gender. The relationship that develops between Zara & Nadim can be described as unconventional & I still can’t tell you what exactly these two have going on LOL! but ummm…it gets innnneresting 😉

I’m going to keep this sections short cause when I love a book it’s really tough for me to pick it apart. I think it’s so bad a** when I come across a book collaboration where the synchronocity between the authors make for a seamless reading experience. I really couldn’t tell you where Rachel Caine’s writing stops & Ann Aguirre’s begins. I’ve read books in the past that take place in one specific setting for the entirety of the story & it just didn’t work. Honor Among Thieves takes place for the most part inside of Nadim the Leviathan in outer space & I could not get enough of these characters & their world. The only thing I would’ve liked to have a bit more insight on is the subplot involving Zara & the very powerful man she stole from when we first start this journey. Since I feel as if this will be explained in the follow-up, It didn’t take away from the story for my reading experience. We know early on that there’s more than meets the eye to the whole Leviathan program & Zara is hell bent on discovering their secrets & whether or not they have a hidden agenda. This plot progresses at a steady pace but it’s the evolution of Zara & Nadim that made for a story I just couldn’t put down. I also love the fact that we get to see some of the aliens that inhabit other worlds who have joined the Leviathan program. We get introduced to a diverse set of characters that represent all corners of the worlds & who will need to band together if they want to survive what’s to come. I HIGHLY reccomend this book to anyone who loves Sci-Fi, I’m probably going to be gushing about this one for a while & have already sent my arc copy along to another blogger buddy who I know will LOVE this book to pieces! I’ve also gone ahead & added both Rachel Caine’s & Ann Aguirre’s previous series to my TBR cause they’re my new favorites! ❤ ❤ ❤


Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re having a wonderful day <3’s! Honor Among Thieves hits shelves tomorrow 2/13 & I’ve been bitten by the Sci-Fi bug. Please leave any reccs you may have for me down below in the comments & in return I ask you pick up this AWESOME book cause I’d like to fangirl haha! ❤ ❤ ❤


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Gush Review: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen

Title: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1)

Author: Scott Reintgen

Pub. Date: September 12th, 2017

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Publisher:  Crown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 384

Formats: eGalley

    

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Fast paced non-stop action from the minute you start the EPIC ride that is Nyxia! This is one will leave you with a bad case of “just one more chapter & then I’ll stop”

We get introduced to this diverse set of characters who have all basically signed on the dotted line & joined Babel as recruits. The Mission: to board the ship departing Earth & headed for Eden aka a newly discovered habitable planet with alien life. In Eden the recruits will mine a substance called Nyxia. This substance has been heavily researched & found to be invaluable. The major corporation Babel has recruits from all parts of the world on the ship headed for Eden after having them sign contracts promising huge pay-outs for their families back on Earth as well as themselves upon their return to Earth. For these specific recruits the money is worth leaving all they love behind, they are all poor & many have terminally ill parents. Our MC Emmett Atwater has signed but his gut feeling is telling him that something just isn’t right & that there’s more than meets the eye with Babel. Alliances & enemies will be made once the specifics are laid out & what once appeared to be a lucrative deal turns into survival of the fittest.

“We’re poor,” Roathy says without a trace of shame. “They picked us because we’re poor. We can be kings and queens, sure, but only if we bow first”

Nyxia’s cast of characters come from all over the world & the author Scott Reintgen came up with an ingenious way to overcome the language barrier. Each of the recruits are given high tech suits & small quantities of Nyxia that can be molded into literally just about anything. Inclusively, they’ve given them mouth pieces which function as translators. This being science fiction, I was very happy to see all of the different equipment & functions that facilitated communication between these characters. Our MC Emmett Atwater is a young black male from Chicago who considers himself a Southpaw. Emmett is very guarded, intelligent, and has his eye on the prize. With two very loving parents at home, one of which has Cancer, Emmett is driven by their need for better medical coverage. I have read a TON of YA books across many sub-genres but it wasn’t until I picked up Nyxia & discovered Emmett that I could say I had a favorite male MC. I can list teh reasons I love him but the truth is that parts of the fun is seeing him discover parts of himself he never knew he had in him 😉

In total there are 10 recruits to board the light ship & although I enjoyed them all so much there are a couple of stand outs.

Kaya ends up being sort of roomates with Emmett & if there’s one thing that will instantly make me fall for a character is finding out they are a fellow bookworm.When she pulled out a copy of my favorite childhood book I gasped haha! Kaya is Japanese and through the translating mouth piece is able to talk to Emmett with no barrier. Their scenes reading together were some of my FAVORITE! Kaya is also a strategist & Emmett’s first alliance, LOVE this character! Then there’s Bilal who comes from a small village in Palestine where he & his family are very poor. Bilal is always smiling & an overall positive presence, he is the type of person we could use more of in real life. Bilal befriended Emmett through perseverance, never taking Emmett’s stand offish attitude as a deterrent. Azima is from Kenya & emanates strength, beauty, and intelligence she is silent when we meet her but soon realize she is a force to be reckoned with. Jasmine aka Jazzy is from Texas & she carries with her that southern charm. It be best not to sleep on Jazzy though now that she’s far from the world of beauty pageants & focused on the same goal as the rest of the recruits (to remain vague cuz spoilers). Katsu…many might not like his boisterous personality but I found him funny at times, he is also Japanese & enjoys making others laugh through random outbursts & jokes.

Last but not least Emmett’s father who imparts such valuable pieces of wisdom to his son, stole my heart from the moment I met him. His confidence in Emmett to do the right thing & the history he keeps alive to strengthen his son brought me to tears a few times. Many of my highlighted passages in my galley were of conversations between Emmett & his dad. These characters are all amazing but they are also very flawed & hurting inside, but they were also very relatable & I am so glad to have met them even if it was within the pages of this book.

So of course after I finished reading Nyxia & finding myself in a EPIC book hangover, I did what I always do hehe. I went looking for the authors note & bio to meet the person behind the book. Scott Reintgen is a teacher of English & creative writing and when he set out to create the characters in Nyxia, he aimed to give his students characters they can relate to & see themselves in. Scott also had some of his students beta read for him which I found to be brilliant! In his author bio is written “The hardest lesson he learned was that inspiration isn’t equally accessible for everyone. So he set out to write a novel for the front-row sleepers and back-row dreamers of his classrooms”…I’d say he accomplished what he set out to do, this AMAZING diverse set of characters are relatable. Combined with the fast paced non-stop adrenaline inducing plot, Nyxia is hands-down my favorite YA Sci-Fi book of 2017! ❤ ❤ ❤

*HUGE Thanks to Crown Books for Young Readers, Netgalley, and Scott Reintgen for the eGalley copy of Nyxia in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Bookworms! I was so excited to write this review since I couldn’t stop raving about it & Twitter/Goodreads wasn’t enough to spread the word hehe. Have any of you read Nyxia? or possibly plan to? what are some of your favorite YA Sci-Fi books? Sound off in the comments <3’s!

WWW Wednesday 10/18/2017

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?

I am currently 40% into Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen & OMYGOSH Bookworms!!! It’s too early for me to start gushing about this book but it’s SO GOOD! I’ve had so many fellow bookworms read my status updates on Goodreads & get just as excited that I’m reading Nyxia. Beautifully diverse in such an interesting setting, Nyxia leaves you wondering what if we could all understand each others different languages. The most fascinating aspect of this book is that each character who signed up to venture to the newly habitable planet of Eden, is able to understand each other through a facial translator of sorts. The characters themselves are quickly becoming faves but never have I grown this attached to a male MC!!! I think I found the ONE! more to come on that 😉

On Monday I finished The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1) by Lauren DeStefano which I believe to be a very solid start to this new YA Fantasy. I’ve already written my review which goes live tomorrow morning & can’t wait to chat with you about. I knew I had to throw my hat in the ring for this galley when I read the synopsis & got from it that this is at its heart a genderbend version of King Midas and the Golden Touch. As a kid I was always fascinated by stories & myths but I was always down to hear about King Midas. The Glass Spare was a hit in my book (jeje) & now I start my watch for the sequel with bated breath lol 🙂

Since I am desperately playing catch up with arcs after having a disastrous September with family (discussed in my September wrap-up), I am doubling up & powering through some October new releases. I’m pretty sure I’ll be done with Nyxia either by tonight or tomorrow morning. I plan on starting the following 2 titles next, both of which I’m beyond super excited for! they are very different from each other which is great because I have a ton of Fantasy titles to read after & the change of pace keeps me from genre burn-out haha. I’ve heard nothing but GREAT things for both of these titles, especially You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins which is a multi-generational YA Contemporary, take a look at those accolades down below bookworms! & Berserker by Emmy Laybourne truly appeals to my love for all thing Norse mythology, I have a feeling I’m going to love it 🙂


BERSERKER (BERSERKER #1) by EMMY LAYBOURNE

Are Hanne’s powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse?

Her brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It’s not Stieg’s fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit.

No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous “gift”–she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. The siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice.

Aided by a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await.

Will they be able to reach their uncle, the one man Hanne believes may be able to teach her how to control her drive to kill? With Berserker, Emmy Laybourne, the author of Monument 14, presents her vision of an American west studded with Viking glory.


YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR by MITALI PERKINS

Nominated for the National Book Award | Six starred reviews: ★ Horn Book ★ School Library Journal ★ Publishers Weekly ★ Booklist ★ Shelf Awareness ★ VOYA

Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve Bengal tigers and her Bengali identity–award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3’s!


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May Wrap-Up & Book Haul

It finally feels like Summer is right around the corner! &&& I’m also late with my May Wrap-Up/ Book Haul but that’s less surprising. I had one goal in mind for the month of May & that was to keep my book buying to the bare minimum because I’d be attending Bookcon the 1st week of June. I succeded & have already given myself some pats on the back for this little accomplishment. I also read a bit more than expected what with all the Bookcon excitement keeping me up at night lol, so that was nice. I also managed to squeeze in 2 movies & celebrated LairOfBooks 1 year Blogoversary!!! *throws confetti* Since we’re already a week into June, I’ll keep it short & sweet 😉

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate ★★★★ (4 Stars)

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich ★★★★ (4 Stars)

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier ★★★★ (4 Stars)

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King ★★★★ (4 Stars)

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

 

I had a pretty great reading month in terms of quality & quantity (for me anyways lol). I was over the moon excited to hear my favorite Thriller/Suspense author released a book in May (Lisa Unger, Red Hunter) & when my twin called from the Strand Bookstore saying she picked me up a copy, I did a little dance. I’ve only read her books through Netgalley so this will be my 1st physical copy on my shelves, thanks Twin @ChicNerdReads! It was an amazingly atmospheric read that I had a hard time leaving behind once I had reached the last sentence. My 2nd favorite read of the month is hands down Eliza And Her Monsters which is another I can’t let go of. For everyone who has ever belonged to a fandom or was behind the creation of one, this one is for you! for those of US who seek & find comfort at home reading or watching a fave show because social anxiety is ever present in your life, this one’s for you! there is so much good in this book, I really do believe there’s something for everyone 😉

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A Court Of Wings And Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins (BOTM additional book I added)

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (Owlcrate)

Milk And Honey by Rupi Kaur

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember 

The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger (gift from my twin Gretchen @ChicNerdReads)

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich (BOTM selection)

Hubby & I started May off with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, we typically take off 1 day from work every month to chill, hit up a movie & bookstore/comic book store…basically nerd out sans the two tiny humans giving us major side eye haha! I want to say that I enjoyed Vol. 2 more than the first but I think that my feelings toward it are the same (3.5 stars). Except I could’ve done without the cheesy dad bit. The soundtrack & Groot continue to be my fave parts of this movie. Trang & Lashaan over at Bookidote have a EPIC review or as they call it on their blog, a “Cinedote” (see here) which pretty much sums up how I feel about this movie. I’d give them a follow if I were you cuz they’re pretty dope 😉

Towards the end of the month, my sister & I went on our sisterly date to watch Snatched cuz Goldie Hawn & Amy Schumer LOl. I love these ladies & the idea of them together on the screen at the same time reallllly gave me the giggles so I had to see what it was all about. OMYGOSH it was so funny! I’m talking bust your stitches funny smh lol, I spent it holding my tummy the entire time. It’s centered around a mother (Goldie) & daughter (amy) getting kidnapped in South America. They end up being more trouble for their captors than it’s worth with escape attempts turning into jaw dropping high jinks. As a fan of Goldie Hawn since childhood, it was great seeing her back on the screen. I recently read & enjoyed Amy’s autobiographical memoir The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo  within the last couple of months & can say I am now a fan, LOVE HER! Def recommend (5 stars) 😉

Hope you all are having a wonderful June so far! How was your May? read/watch anything AMAZING? thank you for reading my late post & I’ll see ya all in the next post <3’s!

 

1 Year Blogoversary Q&A/Giveaway Announcement!

Good Monday morning my AMAZING Bookworm family! I am so excited to share this milestone with you all. On 5/24/17, LairOfBooks will have its 1st Blogoversary!!!! *confetti* HAHA! I honestly didn’t think I’d make it to the 1 year mark what with all of the curveballs life has thrown my way. SO many amazing things have happened this past year & this little blog has helped keep me centered. Before blogging, my audience for all things books was my hubby & he’s great and all but I realized he has to sleep too. I was in search of a community similar to Booktube minus the having to get on video cause that’s just not my thing *introvert* lol & I’m happy to have found all you amazing book bloggers/readers.

Q&A

So now here’s where it gets innnneresting 😉 I’ve never done one of these & I’m kind of hoping you all have fun with it. Starting today & running until Friday May 26th 2017 (12 Midnight EST.) I will be be accepting all of your questions be it blog related or personal, I’m a open book (see what I did there? jeje). Also, for those who submit a question I will count that as an additional entry to the giveaway.

Giveaway

This will be my 2nd Giveaway, my first being sometime in the beginning of the year for an Owlcrate box. One lucky winner will win a pre-order of 1 of the titles pictured below. I wanted to offer all of you some options while still making sure I stay true to LairOfBooks mission to read Diverse Books as much as possible. Two of these books aren’t diverse reads but I know they are titles EVERYONE including myself are looking forward to (eeeeeeK Wonder Woman!). The titles are listed after the rules & addtl’ entries. This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!!! *more confetti* So without further ado, I present to you the rules to enter:

  • Since this giveaway will be open to my INTERNATIONAL bookish peeps as well, you just have to have a valid mailing & email address that you are willing to share with me
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Follow my blog of course  (i’ll be checking loves)
  • Simply comment down below that you’d like to be entered & it shall be done

For Additional entries

  • Ask a question, be it about books/blog/or personal (1 extra entry)
  • Follow my Bookstagram account Lair_Of_Books  (1 extra entry)
  • Follow my Twitter @LairOfBooks 

*This giveaway will run starting today 5/22/17 til Friday 12 Midnight EST. 5/26/2017

Good luck to all those who decide to throw their hat in the ring. I’ve dusted out the old Mason jar & can’t wait to start filling it up 😉

 

New York Comic Con/Bookcon 2016 Haul

Last weekend I attended my very first Comic Con which also happened to be hosting Bookcon for their very first time. The experience is one that i’ll never forget because of how much fun I had as well as the tips & tricks I picked up along the way. As a book blogger, Bookcon was definitely a motivator in buying my tickets since let’s face it, getting physical ARCS is no easy feat for small time bloggers like myself LOL. My hubby & I purchased the 3 day passes with hopes that all would fall into place as far as sitting for our 2 tiny humans and it did *Whoop Whoop* well on day 3 we didn’t have sitting but hubby gracefully bowed out while I attended with Gretchen @Chicnerdreads who was already set to go for the day.

Day 1 was a bit on the overwhelming side since we didn’t really know what to expect tbh. It was a huge crowd & I’ve never seen so many people come together for one event but i’m glad that it was this one. Everyone for the most part was friendly which is also rare cuz hellO! it’s New York jeje! as expected we spotted tons of Jokers & Harleys, seemed to be the popular costume choice of the year. Most of the entertainment panels I was interested in, took place in the evening which meant that I missed them. I arrived at opening and left each day between 2-4pm therefore I made the showroom floor my main focus with some occasional wanderings into artist alley. Bookcon itself was held in the building across the street from the Javits Center but it mostly was for the author panels. At the end of each panel, each author would be giving away an ARC of their new book. Most ARC giveaways were held in the Javits center on the showroom floor.

Days 2 & 3 were much more successful & is when we scored most of our ARCS. Day 3 (Sunday) being the MOST EPIC because all of the publishing houses were having crazy sales & giveaways since it was the last day of Comic Con. Below is my very 1st Bookcon Haul…

Books I purchased at reduced price:

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Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

  • Release Date: 10/25/2016
  • Urban Fantasy/Horror

The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh 

  • New paperback edition on sale now (The Rose & The Dagger will follow April 2017)
  • YA Fantasy-Fairy Tales

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

  • October 4th 2016
  • YA Mystery/Contemporary/LGBTQ

Replica by Lauren Oliver

  • October 4th 2016
  • YA Sci-Fi

The Female of The Species by Mindy McGinnis

  • September 20th 2016
  • YA/Contemporary/Mystery/Thriller

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

  • August 30th 2016
  • Fantasy/Middle Grade

YA ARCS: 

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The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

  • November 1st 2016
  • YA/Sci-Fi/Dystopia

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

  • November 8th 2016
  • YA Fantasy/Re-telling

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

  • January 10th 2017
  • YA Fantasy/Re-telling

The Edge Of Everything by Jeff Giles

  • YA Fantasy

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James (author signed)

  • YA Fantasy

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston THANK YOU GRETCHEN @CHICNERDREADS!!! she gave me her copy cuz she knew how badly I wanted this ARC & missed it 2 days in a row *covers eyes*

  • February 14th 2017
  • YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

  • March 28th 2017
  • YA Historical Fantasy

The Freemason’s Daughter by Shelley Sackier

  • April 11th 2017
  • YA Historical Fiction

Non-YA ARCS (hehe)

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The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood

  • October 6th 2016
  • Historical Fiction/Horror/Mystery

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

  • January 10th 2017
  • Thriller/Mystery/Suspense

The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden (signed by author)

  • January 17th 2017
  • Historical Fiction/Fantasy

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

  • February 7th 2017
  • Sci-Fi Fantasy/Time Travel

Published books obtained through Signings/in booth giveaways

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The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin (signed by author)

  • August 4th 2015
  • Sci-Fi Fantasy

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

  • October 11th 2016
  • YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Vassa In The Night by Sarah Porter (signed by author)

  • September 20th 2016
  • YA Fantasy/Re-telling

Comics Purchased

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Lazarus (Volume 1) Greg Rucka, Michael Lark (Artist), Santiago Arcas (Illustrartor) (gift from hubby)

Black #1 by Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith III (illustrator), Jamal Igle (Illustrator), Robin Riggs (Illustrator), Sarah Stern (Illustrator), Khary Randolph (Illustrator), Dave Sharpe (Illustrator), Sarah Litt (Editor) (signed by Tim Smith)

Bookish Freebies

Penguin Journal, Carve The Mark phone charger (universal), and the Heartless tee given away by Fierce Reads as a cover for the real score LOL (Heartless ARC)

I don’t even know where to start but I am beginning to form some sort of TBR for the rest of the year leading into 2017 🙂

 

 

 

Review: When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

 When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Published by: Thomas Dunne /St. Martin’s Press

Date of Publication: October 4th 2016

Genres: Young Adult/Magical Realism/LGBTQ

Pages: 288

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: ★★★★★(5 stars)

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

I’d like to thank Thomas Dunne /St. Martin’s Press for approving me to receive an eGalley of When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT

When the Moon Was Ours is the story of two best friends, Miel & Sam who meet when they are children, under unusual circumstances. The town’s water tower has fallen & Miel, a child at the time is found sitting there when the water washes away. The belief is that she came from the water tower. Sam is the only person/child that Miel allows to approach her & since that day, they’ve been inseparable. A friendship that grows with them & eventually turns into much more. Both Miel & Sam hold secrets close to their hearts. This is their story of coming to terms with, accepting, and loving who they are. It’s about releasing your fears & understanding your loved one’s journey at their pace. A story about self-identity & living your truth. Sam short for Samir is a transgender Pakistani boy who the town often refers to as moon for all of the globes/moons he paints & hangs all throughout the town and woods. Sam & his mother who is a stay at home teacher, moved to the town with no paper trail to their past. Miel (Spanish to English translation: Honey) is a Latina girl with a fear of pumpkins & is believed to have been cursed. Miel has an open wound on her arm where a rose with vines & thorns grow. when in full bloom, Miel offers them up to the river. Miel was taken in & cared for by a neighbor after she was found by the tower of water. The neighbor, a Latina woman who is known as the town’s Curandera, specializes in curing lovesickness. The story revolves around Miel, Sam, Sam’s mom, Aracely (Miel’s caretaker), and lastly the Bonner sisters (4 in total). The Bonner sisters are known for their beauty, red hair, and ability to attract any male in town with little to no effort as if they have bewitched them. When one of the Bonner sisters does something that could bring shame to the family, she is sent away. It is her return that shakes up Miel & Sam’s lives. The Bonner sisters seem to have lost their magic but believe the  rumor that the roses growing from Miel’s arm can restore beauty & attraction, are true. So begins this story filled with pain, sadness, and beauty…


“To the boys who get called girls, the girls who get called boys, and those who live outside these words. To those called names, and those searching for names of their own. To those who live on the edges, and in the spaces in between. I wish for you every light in the sky.”


CHARACTERS

I LOVED these characters so much that my heart was breaking for them for more than 80% of the book. Sam, a transgender Pakistani boy who binds his chest & practices his voice to make sure it sounds low & developed at the same rate as other boys in school. Sam who adopts a tradition that his grandmother passed on to him, called bacha posh “a cultural practice in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan in which families who have daughters but no sons dress a daughter as a boy. The daughter then acts as a son to the family. As an adult, a bacha posh traditionally returns to living as a girl, now a woman” Sam adopts this tradition thinking he would one day want to be a woman. Sam will forever be in my heart for all of his beauty & tenderness towards Miel. For all of the moons he lit up & hung around the homes of children who couldn’t sleep. Miel is a girl who carries guilt, pain, and beauty on her arm. This book is full of metaphors & beautiful prose but it’s clear that the roses are connected to Miel’s own heart. The cruelty she experiences at the hands of the Bonner sisters broke my heart into pieces & I felt the need to protect her. The parentals, it’s rare nowadays that you come across parentals in YA books that you actually like but that are also flawed themselves. Such is the case with Sam’s mom & Aracely who is Miel’s caretaker, these women have plenty of pain of their own but they both are portrayed as very strong women.  What I loved the most about these two is the support & understanding they both provided to Sam & Miel. They guided both Miel & Sam, making sure to toughen them up for what was sure to come.

WRITING

The writing in When The Moon Was Ours is full of magic, folklore and legends. Lush with the littlest of details making their world come to life on the pages. So much beauty in the words for these characters who experienced profound pain & sadness. Sam went out of his way to bring out the beauty of the night to Miel & we can feel how much he truly loves her. I found myself caught up on some of the prose describing how he viewed Miel, tissue at the ready. When I read violent scenes I was always struck by the contrast in the world Sam & Miel had created for themselves next to what it really is. To be honest I didn’t know if this book was for me because although I love Magical Realism, McLemore’s writing is very lyrical & reminiscent of Laini Taylor…I just have to be in the mood for their style of writing. Thankfully I decided to stick with it & now I have a new favorite story that will for sure stay in my heart.

THOUGHTS

I actually read the afterward at the end of this book & I’m glad because Anna-Marie McLemore shares a bit of where she drew inspiration for this book. She met her husband when they were both teens & always wondered whether he was transgender. There were moments where she noticed his awkwardness at being grouped with other females. She provided for him the same understanding that he gave her. Anna-Marie had nightmares of La Llorona as a child. In myths she is said to have drowned her own children & roamed around wailing at night and stealing daughters from their parents. She talks about providing that understanding for her husband when he did decide to live his life in the gender he identifies with. It wouldn’t be until many years later that she would write When the Moon Was Ours, a story that at its base is an extension of her own life experiences. Reading this part about the author’s personal experience made this story all the more special.

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.

The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1)

Author: Traci Chee
Book: Hardcover, 448 pages
Expected Publication: September 13th 2016
Publisher: Putnam


Amazon Synopsis (I usually go with Goodreads however; GR was missing the very enticing last line):

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible. With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

 Things undeniably alluring about this book:

· That coverrrrrr yooOO!!!!!!!!!!! Such stunning colors which will probably only make the gold lettering Pop! Smh don’t mind me, this book is speaking to the bookstagrammer in me

· The Title! perfect for this book (read Amazon Synopsis) & who doesn’t luv reading about a fellow fictional bookworm? Eh?

· A mystery to solve! & the only clue left behind is a BOOK! In a society where everyone is illiterate–there are NO BOOKS! *Gasps*

· Our female protagonist! I am actively looking for diverse reads whether it is Fiction or Fantasy, because there just isn’t enough. I don’t know the female protagonist’s ethnicity but it definitely adds to my reason for wanting to read this book

· Last but not least! The promise of assassins & pirates! Need I say more? 😉
 

May Book Haul


I hope everyone had an AMAZING Memorial Day weekend! Whether it was at the grill serving up that BbQ or just chillin with a good book, some wine & or beer 😂😂😂 I just got back to NY from Massachusetts. The hubby & I took our two penguins on a road trip and had a blast! Mosquitoes for days but after a few twisted teas & a little bug spray all was good.

Now,ya know! my fellow book lovers, that we cannot just simply drive past a Barnes & Noble (or any book store) and not pull over or make a U-turn lol. No, we as book lovers have a sacred duty to visit any & all bookstores we spot while in other states. So that being said, Mass has a HUGE B&N and while there the hubby gifted me The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) by Evelyn Skye & The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) by Roshani Chokshi Both of these are YA Fantasy & have had amazing positive reviews, they’re very popular in booktube at the moment. I’m just excited to dive into these two because I’ve been on a Fantasy kick lately. Also, the covers on both of these are STUNNING!

A Court Of Mist & Fury by Sarah J. Maas, I purchased earlier in May right after reading & liking (not loving but seeing potential) in ACOTAR. I have NO regrets, and I’m very happy that I decided to continue with this series. I do think however, that we are In a different ball park with this series in terms of rating or genre. This was def a mature, not a YA read which I enjoyed immensely but I do think that it should (since I’ve heard many express feelings of awkwardness) be put out there as what it is…STEAMY! Lol! My favorite read of 2016 so far, I’m missing my ACOMAF babies 😦

Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGuinnis, this was from Bookoutlet & it will be my 1st Mindy McGuiniss book. The Goodreads synopsis for this dystopian world made it sound so interesting. With this opening synopsis line—-“Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water” you know you’re going to get one kick ass protagonist. I’m excited about this one.

The Shock Of The Fall by Nathan Filer, Goodreads has this one as “an extraordinary portrait of one man’s descent into mental illness” I’m glad that the full synopsis is vague, I’ve heard great reviews on this & was immediately intrigued because it deals with mental Illness.

The First Bad Man by Miranda July, for this one Goodreads gives away too much of the quirk that this book seems like it will deliver. So, I’ll give the last bit of the synopsis—

“Tender, gripping, slyly hilarious, infused with raging sexual fantasies and fierce maternal love, Miranda July’s first novel confirms her as a spectacularly original, iconic and important voice today, and a writer for all time. The First Bad Man is dazzling, disorienting, and unforgettable”

I picked this one up on Bookoutlet as well after reading the entire Goodreads synopsis, I can honestly say this sounds like a unique read & I’m hoping it’s full of quirkiness.

I’ve always been a mood reader so this may be why I lean towards books filled with humor in the Summer. In prepping for my summer reading, I’ve noticed myself picking up books that although they are meaty in plot, the characters themselves offer up humor or quirkiness. I ordered Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman yesterday which is why I didn’t include it in my May Haul. I am really looking forward to this one because its about a curmudgeon elderly woman in a town filled with people and children who she can’t stand. It seems like Britt lives a rigid life but sometimes the universe has other plans for us (at least that’s the vibe that I got on Goodreads). Ultimately, it’s a story of second chances and these types are my favorite Fiction to read 😉