2020 Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Hello Hello Book Lovers! I’m a bit past the mid-point of the year but I was reading some FAB books I couldn’t put down & risk them not making this list. I’m pretty sure there are still some new faves out there I’ve yet to read but I’m also very happy with the ones that did make the cut in this tag. The fact that we’re still finding joy in a hobby we love in such tough times is a blessing in & of itself. This tag took me just about a day to work through but while working on it I caught up with some Booktube videos as well as my binge of The Cold Case Files on Netflix.

Best book youโ€™ve read so far this year

Without a doubt the honor goes to All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson! (My review) this book will forever stay in my heart & soul as a genuine collection of stories (essays) that are raw & powerful. George gives us a intimate look at life growing up as a queer black man in America. At times it was very hard to listen to & others I felt like an honorary guest at the kitchen table. Race, gender, sexuality, and socio-economic differences are all explored here. Poignant & life changing, this is a book you want to have read Luvs!

Best sequel you’ve read so far this year

Out of all the prompts in this tag, this is the one I can say was the reason for this tag going up past the month of June. I was honestly holding out to read a few more sequels that I’m pretty certain are going to blow my mind but for now I have selected Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan! (My review) This was 10 times darker than Wicked Saints & I was sort of anticipating this since I follow the author on Twitter. This book is more focused on Serafin but overall the character development was *chefs kiss*ย & the set-up for the final book which btw will be driven by a Malachiasz POV…was just A+! slower paced sequel & worth every page ๐Ÿ˜‰

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson (Goodreads)๐Ÿ–ค First off I’ll start by saying that I love reading all things witchy, even before I had read the synopsis this book was in my cart. Described as a feminist fantasy with gothic vibes that takes on race, misogyny, religion and homophobia to name a few. I received my copy in the mail about a week ago & will be reading it in August!

 

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Wayward Witch (Brooklyn Brujas #3) by Zoraida Cordova the final book in a witchy series I absolutely fell in love with! This book will be following the youngest of the sisters Rose as she comes into her newfound powers. This is the third & final book so I’ll just leave it at that cause spoilers. If you’re looking for more Latinx Representation, Zoraida Cordova is such a talented writer who has become one of my top 3 favorite authors!

 

Biggest disappointment

This is the year I’ve re-discovered my love for reading & that’s partly because I’ve made it a priority to only read what my spider senses detect will be a hit. I’m sort of riding the wave between mood reading & arc timely reading if that’s even a thing. No disappointing reads to report as of yet and a gal is crossing her fingers it stays that way ๐Ÿ˜‰

Biggest surprise

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria (Goodreads) When I first saw this book announced I knew that I had to read! not only for the Latinx representation but also because it’s centered around telenovela stars which I figured would be pretty nostalgic for me. This book was more than what I expected in the best of possible ways. We see two Latinx characters cast in a major telenovela that is set to break barriers & stereotypes for the Latinx community. This is also the first time I read a book with Latinx characters where the Spanish in text is not italicized which gave me a more organic reading experience. I have a review in the works but for those that are interested, some of the content warnings are PTSD, anxiety, talk of loss of a parent, Cancer, alcohol as coping mechanism.

Favorite new author (Debut or new to you)

I’ve recently fallen down the rabbit hole with buying all of anything written by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia with ZERO regrets! I read Mexican Gothic (review coming) this month while at the beach & was just teleported to High Place with its Gothic/Horror vibes turned all the way up! I’ve legit started collecting Moreno-Garcias books since I plan on binge reading for a future blog post. One thing I have noticed about this author is that she isn’t boxed into any particular genre. So far I’ve seen books she’s written under the Horror, Sci-Fi, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology, Magical realism genres. The one thing that makes Moreno a favorite for me besides the A+ writing is that her characters are all Latinx. I’m really looking forward to reading all of her back-list books.

Newest fictional crush

Artwork Credit: Hellhoneyy (Click on photo for artist website)

I’ll admit I’ve never had a fictional crush but then Talia Hibbert went & changed all that with Zafir Ansari in Take a Hint Dani Brown (My review) he is the perfect balance between sweet cinnamon roll & a knight in shining armor. Not that Dani needed one at all but he’s old school & seeing to his ladies needs/wants is at the top of his priorities. Zaf is attentive & nurturing, he’s also super supportive. To top it all off, he has. foundation where he helps young boys shed toxic masculinity by providing a safe space where they can talk about their feelings. Zaf has my heart!

Newest favorite character

Artwork Credit: Melanie Tranchemontagne (click on photo for artist Instagram)

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas (my review) was the last book I purchased before Quarantine in NYC & I LOVED it to pieces! There are so many stand-out characters but one in particular stole the show…Lehabah the small & curvy Fire Sprite. Lehabah isย bashful & loves watching Fangs & Bangs. Her love for Fangs & Bangs is only rivaled by her love for our MC Bryce Quinlan. Lehabah fretted over Bryce & I just adored her!

Book that made you cry

This may come as a surprise but the book that made me cry was House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas (my review).ย If you’ve yet to read this one I’d suggest steering clear of the Goodreads synopsis since it’s VERY spoilery & in my opinion also takes away from the emotional reaction it may illicit. However, I will say what I loved most about this book is the awesome ride or die female/female friendship at its core.

 

Book that made you happy

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2) by Talia Hibbert (My Review) was THE book that made me smile & just radiate happiness all over! Between Zafir being the ideal love interest & Dani being this independent bi-sexual witch Goddess, I was LIVING for their story! the body positivity & acceptance of personalities and differences is #GOALS If I’m being honest for favorite new to me author it was a tie between Sylvia Moreno-Garcia and Talia Hibbert. Love them both so much! but this is the book that put me in a happy place.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia is STUNNING!!! Noemi our MC is serving 1950’s glamor with a Gothic/Horror Vibe on the cover with what looks to be dead flowers in her grasp. I LOVE this cover & story so much that I have it on display on my bedroom shelves. It is legit a source of inspiration for some upcoming paint/artwork I have planned for my bedroom walls.

 

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

There are SO many wonderfully Diverse titles as well as some highly anticipated sequels hitting our shelves in the second half of this year that I absolutely can’t wait to read. These are just a few I plan on reading THIS year in an attempt to deliver my Top 20 of 200 by the end of the year…


๐Ÿ–คFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS๐Ÿ–ค

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBook

April Monthly Wrap-Up & Book Haul

April was a month FULL of bookish events online like the Social Distance Book Festย & YALLWESTย that made it possible to attend Bookish events virtually. I personally was able to watch many panels for debut authors I’ve had on my radar as well as some favorites I’ve never had the opportunity to hear speak. For the Social Distance Book Fest, you can still watch the playlist on Youtube & they are ABSOLUTELY worth watching! My favorite panels included: Navigating Latinx Identity in Fantasy, New Voices in YA Science Fiction & Fantasy and Diversifying Romance. In the realm of books & what I watched, I’d say there really was NO method to my madness. I kinda just went with the flow & read when the mood hit vs. a more structured TBR. I also participated in Riley Marie & Ginger Reads Lainey weekend Smutathon as a last minute thing because by the end of the month my anxiety had seen a peak. Whenever this happens, I put the Fantasy heavy books to the side & go for some lighter reads. Now as far as what I watched…this has to be the STRANGEST month yet! Yes, Yes I did fall down the tiger hole that is the Tiger King & all things cats really smh! haha ๐Ÿ˜‰

These areย definitely not in the order I’ve read them but I figured I’d start with the steamy reads I p/u during Smutathon…

DESPERATE MEASURES – โœจ5 STARSโœจThis reimagining of the Disney Princess Jasmine was NOT what I had expected at all in the best of ways! With her kingdom snatched away & her father thrown off the throne, Jasmine is at the mercy of Jafar who now claims ownership of their lands as well as Jasmine herself. This is a consensual non-consent steamy read that will never allow you to see Jafar in the same light again! I among fully invested in all Katee Robert books & can’t wait to read the follow up with Hades & Meg as the MC’s.

THEIRS FOR THE NIGHT – โœจ4 STARSโœจย Another Katee Robert novella, this was the Smutathon Group pick. HIGHLY enjoyable with A+ chemistry, this one sets the stage for a new series that features a M/M/F relationship. Our female MC is out for the night celebrating her birthday & trying to forget about her ever mounting debt. With her best wing mate she hits up a lounge where she meets two hella mysterious guys who look good enough to make her consider a threesome. SUPER intrigued to see where this goes seeing as there may also be a royal twist? we shall see!

YOUR DAD WILL DO – โœจ4 STARSโœจOk so maybe it was an entirely Katee Robert weekend? SO WORTH IT! this author can write chemistry like no other! these short reads are packed with sparks that leave you wondering about the characters way after you’ve read the last page. This one features a taboo/age gap romance where the MC has just been dumped by her fiancรฉ. Plotting her revenge she shows up at her exes dad’s house with a plan to seduce. That she does! but also she gets a lot more than initially planned. LOVED this!

MY DARK VANESSA -โœจ4 STARSโœจย My darkest read yet! I don’t think any book has ever made me feel this uncomfortable. Following a MC in past & present tense, we get the story of Vanessa at the age of 15 as she is groomed by her teacher while at a boarding school. Present day Vanessa is still very confused about what to feel as she finds out she wasn’t the only one. That perhaps it wasn’t a special relationship she was having but actually a case of grooming. HEAVY trigger warnings for rape, suicide, drug & alcohol abuse.

RUTHLESS GODS – โœจ4 STARSโœจ (My Review)ย The follow up to The Wicked Saintsย took us to a very dark place! the characters we got invested in really show growth here & carry forth their battle wounds. The war between the Kalyazin & the Tranavians is reaching a climax with the underdog Kalyazin surprisingly flipping the script. There are some secrets that come to light & leave everyone questioning the Gods who may very well be more involved than ever. The war on land may just be a subplot to the real war taking place between the Gods. I’m READY for the final installment with will be mostly from Malachiasz’ POV…there is NO other villain in YA that currently holds a place in my heart like Mal! โค

FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE – โœจ3.5 STARSโœจ(My Review) This was an audiobook I’d say was just ok. I’ve heard from other fans of Sandhya Menon that this is their least favorite. I still plan on picking up When Dimple Met Rishi in the near future seeing as that’s an ongoing series with a strong fan base.

INCENDIARY – โœจ5 STARSโœจ(My Review) Saving the BEST for last! Zoraida Cรณrdova is my Favorite YA Fantasy author! bringing to our shelves Latinx representation in characters is something she’s been doing since the Brooklyn Brujas Trilogy.ย Here we have a Fantasy inspired by the Spanish Inquisition with a cast of characters that are being hunted & killed for their magical abilities. The Kingdom has turned its back on what they consider heretics & our MC Renata Convida at one point in her childhood was their most formidable weapon. Now that she’s back on the right side of the fence, it’s time to take down the Kingdom once & for all. BIG time page turner with tons of plot twists that will leave you jaw dropped!

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

THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES | CHECK PLEASE! BOOK 2: STICKS & SCONES

 

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

BEACH READ & VALENTINE

*These are all ebooks I found for either $1.99 or $2.99*

BLOOD HEIR | THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN | GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW | ONLY FOR A NIGHT | WHEN WE LEFT CUBA | DOMINICANA | XENI | RAFE | BRING ME THEIR HEARTS | KULTIย 

What can I say about the circus that is the Tiger King on Netflix? this documentary-series made me lose track how many times I asked myself & friends…Is this real? LMAO! SMH Joe Exotic is quite the unforgettable character & this is the story of how his Zoo of Tigers was shut down starting with Carol Baskin who is cat activist on a mission to “save the cats” or is she? the jury is still out on Baskin. I binged this in two sittings not for quality but just entertainment.

This documentary is three episodes that are also highly binge worthy. We follow a group of cat lovers as they track down & help in the ultimate take down of a cat/serial killer. If anything this opened up my eyes at just how easy it is to track anyone down as long as they’ve left an internet fingerprint. The Facebook group that pieced together this puzzle as the killer released videos of him killing cats was PERSISTENT! it became a game of cat & mouse that as a viewer is hard to look away from.


๐Ÿ–คFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS๐Ÿ–ค

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBook

Audiobook Review- Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life

Title: Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life

Author:ย Ali Wong

Pub. Date:ย October 15th 2019

Genre:ย Auto Biography/Memoir/Humor

Publisher:ย Random House

Run Time: 6 Hours

Format: Audiobook

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

Where to start? I LOVE Ali Wong!!! ๐Ÿ–คย I watched Always Be My Maybeย on Netflix earlier this year & it’s the one movie that actually helped me get through some down days. I just knew I had to listen to her new book Dear Girls & get to know the comedian a bit better, no regrets here! last night I stayed up till 2am watching her stand-up on Netflix “Baby Cobra” & had tears in my eyes from all the laughter. I love auto-biographies/Memoirs, especially those by comedians & have always preferred the audio-book format. Dear Girls is a collection of stories that reads like a long letter to Ali’s daughters. She recounts life as a single woman in NYC and what the dating scene looked like for her leading up to when she meets her husband & father to her girls. There are moments where she drops some knowledge on the comedy scene & what it’s like for a female trying to catch her big break. I LOVED how she makes it known from the get that comedy is something you have to have a passion for. She has a deep appreciation for the small gigs in shady areas that eventually led her to her big break. One things Ali shares is that she knows & has Asian comedian friends who stuck to performing within their Asian communities. This is something Ali wasn’t trying to do, she branched out & really put herself out there. Once she reached a certain level of success & started going on tour, she brought two of her Asian comedian friends along to open her shows.

The love for her roots & cultural background is a big theme in Dear Girls. She talks about how even though it sometimes brings forth judgment from her friend group, dating someone from your own cultural background has its perks. When she met her husband, she knew she had met the one because of how much they have in common. A shared love of Asian cuisine, parents who taught them the value of a dollar, and last but not least a DEEP appreciation for all things 90’s hip hop and R&B. These are some of the things we see her use as inspiration for the movie Always Be My Maybeย in which she co-starred & wrote for. I LOVED hearing about her birthing story simply because she doesn’t hold back. Ali gives us the beautiful along with the ugly deets many don’t talk about when describing the birth of their kids. Let’s face it, it can get nasty in the delivery room & I appreciated hearing someone recount their delivery day while I nodded along in agreement haha! There are most definitely some cringe worthy moments where Ali goes into detail about her sex life & I just about died laughing each time! One day her daughters will look back & appreciate those nuggets of wisdom she dropped on them.

Listening to this audio-book got me thinking about writing my own letters to my two tiny humans. A no holds barred approach to journaling that would leave them with a sense of hope when they’re going through ups & downs in love and life. In the last chapter to this audiobook, Ali brought in her husband. In this chapter he talks about meeting Ali and tells his girls a bit about gender roles & the effects on men who don’t necessarily follow traditional roles. Ali’s husband is super supportive of her career & an amazing dad who flew back and forth with the girls to make sure they were together as a family. Traditionally, the men are expected to be the bread winners as was the case with their own fathers. Ali & her husband adjusted their family unit to what worked best for them. Although he is a Harvard graduate & a successful entrepreneur, my heart smiled when I heard how there came time where he sold Ali merch outside of her shows. I loved hearing Ali gush about how she knew her husband was a catch the minute she saw him. Listening to her hubby speak about Ali with admiration was heart warming & you get a sense that they really are soulmates. I walked away from this audiobook knowing that seeing Ali at one of her shows is now a MUST! ๐Ÿ–ค


๐Ÿ–คFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS๐Ÿ–ค

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBook

Spoiler Free Review: Kingdom Of Souls by Rena Barron

Title: Kingdom Of Souls (Kingdom Of Souls #1)

Author:ย Rena Barron

Pub. Date:ย September 19th 2019

Genre:ย YA Fantasy

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Pages:ย 496

Format: eARC

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

ย ๐Ÿ–คARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron is exactly the type of YA Fantasy I look forward to reading whenever I pick up a debut author. On the YA scale this definitely leans more towards darker & more mature, it will appeal to those who enjoy adult Fantasy. Inspired by the authors West African ancestors, the world in which Kingdom of Souls is set in is very expansive. The magic system & world building is detailed and complex, the characters are multi-faceted as are their deities. At the center of the story we have Arrah who is the daughter of a High Priestess & Witch Doctor. In this world you come into your magical abilities between the ages of 0-16. However, Arrah hasn’t seen not even a stirring of her magic and fears that this will make her an outcast.

“I’m sixteen, near grown by both kingdom & tribal standards. My time is running out. No daughter or son of any tribe has come into their gifts beyond my age. if it doesn’t happen this year, it won’t happen at all.”

ย The five tribes in this land were said to have been gifted their magic by Heka who is their God. We follow Arrah as she attends celebrations for those who are coming into their powers in hopes she too will blessed by Heka. Her entire family carries powerful magic within but it’s her mother Arti alone who cannot accept Arrah’s lack of magic. Their strained and toxic relationship plays out throughout this book in a way I’ve never seen written before. We see Arrah have a very different & nurturing relationship with her father who tries to get her to understand that magic is not the end all be all. In the midst of it all we learn of children that have gone missing and aย  Demon King who is rising. This all serves to give Arrah an intense sense of urgency. She sets out to find other more dangerous ways to obtain magic in order to defend & protect her people. This of course bears a steep price to pay, an unknown amount of years shed from your life in exchange for magic. Arrah is determined to do whatever it takes to stop children from going missing & the Demon King from from fully coming into power.

This year has seen many debut YA Fantasies hit the shelves with all sorts of original stories & diverse sets of characters. I LOVED that this world although fantastical, is West African inspired with a cast of all black main characters. I also have a very HIGH appreciation for authors who steer clear of info dumping & instead deliver complex world building in a way that says they trust their readers. I never got tired of the story or lost interest, the only thing I would’ve liked to have seen is an index of some sort to keep track of all the tribes in this world & the deities. I can easily see (or at least I hope)ย this being a ongoing series because of how rich the world building is. I also loved seeing how much support Arrah really had even when she thought she was alone.ย I did NOT see that last portion of the book coming! it left me reeling for days wondering where these characters will go from here. It did not surprise me one bit to hear Kingdom of Souls has been picked up by Warner Brothers studios (see here) & will be produced by Michael B. Jordan. I will definitely be picking up the next installment in this trilogy.


๐Ÿ–คFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS๐Ÿ–ค

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBook

Review: The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis

Title:ย The Dangerous Art of Blending In

Author:ย Angelo Surmelis

Pub. Date:ย January 30th, 2018

Genre:ย YA Contemporary/LGBTQIA+

Publisher:ย Balzer + Bray/Harper

Pages:ย 336

Format:ย eGalley

Content Warning: Physical abuse, homophobia, emotional abuse, and child abuse, bullying, Suicidal thoughts

*HUGE thanks to Balzer + Bray/Harper, Edelweiss, and Angelo Surmelis for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

ย ย ย 

Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesnโ€™t know where he fits in. His strict Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend Henry has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer.

Tired, isolated, scaredโ€”Evanโ€™s only escape is drawing in an abandoned church that feels as lonely as he is. And, yes, he kissed one guy over the summer. But itโ€™s his best friend Henry whoโ€™s now proving to be irresistible. Itโ€™s Henry who suddenly seems interested in being more than friends. And itโ€™s Henry who makes him believe that heโ€™s more than his motherโ€™s harsh words and terrifying abuse. But as things with Henry heat up, and his motherโ€™s abuse escalates, Evan has to decide how to find his voice in a world where he has survived so long by avoiding attention at all costs.

Where to begin? well first I’d like to refer everyone to the content warning up above. This wasn’t a easy book to read but then again I know it couldn’t have been easy to write either. The author wrote this book based on his personal childhood experiences & so this is Ownvoices for LGBTQIA+ and child abuse. I requested this title from Harper once I read the synopsis & found that something about this character resonated deep within me. This review will be a mix of my thoughts on the book & my own personal experience which is something I rarely if ever talk about. I’ve never wanted to be proven wrong so badly but when I met Evan Panos on the pages, I knew I was in trouble. My childhood experiences at home ran parallel to Evans or really to the author himself with regards to child abuse. There is nothing pretty about what went on behind closed doors for Evan & being silenced by your abuser is the norm. Telling our stories isn’t something we do because child abuse is a very ugly thing & many aren’t prepared to hear about it. From personal experience, as someone who was silenced by my own family, this “story” rings true & my heart broke in a million pieces at the extent to which Evan went to hide his ugly truths.

Evan Panos is a only child living at home with both mom & dad, on the outside they appear to be the perfect Greek family. He is a talented artist & loves to sketch whenever he can as a means of escape. His mother, a extremely religious woman will go above and beyond to keep up appearances. His dad is a hard working man who loves his son but unfortunately doesn’t have the courage to put a stop to the abuse going on at home. Evan’s mother considers homosexuality a sin & although Evan hasn’t come out or even really had the chance to embrace who he is to himself, his mother makes it known on a daily basis that she knows he is Gay. We see Evan doing good in school and being a all around good kid but that isn’t enough for his mom who is determined to beat sin out of him. We see Evan walking on egg shells while home trying not to trigger another attack from his mother but his very existence is enough for her to go off. She physically beats him & emotionally breaks him down every chance she gets. She vocalizes her hatred for him & goes as far as wishing she never had him. Evan is numb at this point & we see him take it and never once actually break down. He’s become a master at hiding his wounds both inside & out, something his mother has taught him to do. I’d like to point out here, many times his bruises were on his face & although others questioned & suspected abuse at home… NO ONE ever really pressed the matter & this is something that unfortunately happens every day. It is easier to accept the lie the victim gives than accept the unthinkable truth. Although Evans mother mostly attacks him when his dad is away, there is no denying that his father knows what is going on at home. Their trips to the Doughnut shop was his Dads way of taking Evan out of the toxic home for a couple of hours. This was something my own father did for me & at the time it felt like a lifeline, now as an adult I understand so much more what those trips to get ice cream really were.

There is a love interest that plays a big part of Evans life, his childhood best friend Henry. The only reason they were allowed to be friends was because Evan’s mom set out to convert Henry’s parents into her religion. Their friendship runs through High School & becomes more than just platonic. It isn’t easy though, Henry knows something is going on at home but his life & parents are the exact opposite of Evans. Henry has a supportive home & his place becomes sort of like a refuge for Evan. I wanted to really like Henry, but unfortunately this is where I shook my head no. Evan is pretty numb all around & sometimes his answers just roll off the tongue in order to keep people away from his personal life. Henry has just come out as Gay to his family & receives all their love & support. My issue was with how much he pressured Evan all around. I understood Henry wanting Evan to leave his toxic home (been there myself & had someone try this for me)ย but I also understand how it feels to be in Evans shoes. What I can’t imagine is what it must feel like to also be pressured to come out as Gay & that is why Henry really rubbed me the wrong way.

I would’ve much rather he supported Evan & encouraged him to get help to get out of his abusive home more than his focus on them as a couple. I was happy to see that Evan had found another home & another example of what a supportive family looks like even if it was Henry’s. I myself found a home that showed me love & support and ultimately gave me the strength I needed to leave. From this book I wanted a ending that empowered others to seek out their peace of mind away from any form of abuse. Did I get that? Ultimately, yes! and no it wasn’t with Henry. If I had a book like this when I was a child/teen, I’ll be honest & say I may have hated seeing the truth written on the pages but by the end I know I would’ve also been emboldened to get help. I read the author’s note & the inner turmoil he had within himself to share his story is one that I’ve felt many times and still experience. Another well known author who is also his best friend, advised him to give the story to someone else. This is how Evan came about & through this character he was able to share something that not many are ready to hear. This book won’t be for everyone, the abuse is very raw & the wounds are deep but for those who have experienced it or still are…maybe this book will give you hope & strength to find your safe space.

The author shared some helpful links at the end of this book…

LGBTQ ORGANIZATIONS The Trevor Projectโ€”www.thetrevorproject.org

It Gets Better Projectโ€”www.itgetsbetter.org

LGBT National Help Centerโ€”www.glbthotline.org

ABUSE National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) and its affiliate, Childhelpโ€”www.childhelp.org

BULLYING Stomp Out Bullyingโ€”www.stompoutbullying.org

StopBullyingโ€”www.stopbullying.gov


Review: Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet

Title: Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet

Authors: Jennifer L. Armentroutย ,ย Sona Charaipotra,ย Dhonielle Clayton,ย Katie Cotugno,ย Jocelyn Davies,ย Nina LaCour,ย Emery Lordย ,ย Katharine McGeeย ,ย Kass Morganย ,ย Meredith Russo,ย Sara Shepardย ,ย Nicola Yoonย ,ย Ibi Zoboiย ,ย Julie Murphyย 

Pub. Date:ย January 2nd, 2018

Genre:ย YA Anthology/Romance

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Pages:ย 320

Format:ย eGalley

*Thank you HMH Books for Young Readers, Netgalley, and all of the wonderful authors who contributed to this anthology for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

ย ย ย 

Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of todayโ€™s most popular YA authors.

This was such a unexpectedly wonderful read that left me feeling happy inside & in love with Romance haha! I’m going to need to watch Serendipity, You’ve Got Mail, Brown Sugar, Sleepless in Seattle, Love and Basketball, and last but not least Love Actually during this upcoming holiday weekend. Get it all out of my system LOL! but I digress..

Some of the diversity/own voices stories included in Meet Cute had POC, LGBTQIA+, and plus sized rep. Some of the relevant topics discussed were the misogynistic behavior in the entertainment industry, fashion & how it mostly caters to a specific body type, and struggling libraries with no real funding. I fell in love with so many of the stories & will treasure this collection for years to come.ย If you’ve been looking for an anthology but have been a bit weary due to some less than great ones (no shade)…look no further! I’ve found a few new to me authors I can’t wait to read more from & got reacquainted with some 2017 debut authors I need more from like yesterday (*whispers* Ibi Zoboi I’m pleading to you).

Siege Etiquette by Katie Cotugnoย โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ
Opening scene is a house party that the police have come to shut down. Hailey is the MC & The story is told in third person POV? Since this isnโ€™t the first time the police have coming knocking, Haileys best friend is adamant on not opening the door. Instead everyone hides and Hailey ends up in the bathroom with Wolf, a classmate who sheโ€™s known since she was a little girl. Wolf receives partial homeschooling in order to allow him to help his family on their farm. To Hailey, Wolf is a fresh clean slate…someone who doesnโ€™t know about the tragedy that marked her past. I gave this one 2.5 stars because of the writing style/POV, it just wasnโ€™t my cup of tea tbh. I was however very interested in Wolf as a character & would love to find him in a future full length book
Print Shop by Nina LaCourย โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ
Oh goodness! I shouldโ€™ve known I would LOVE this to pieces! Any time I pick up anything by Nina LaCour I end up falling in love with the writing & characters. We meet Evie who interviews to work at a old fashioned print shop as a way to step back from technology & modern day everything. When she gets the job, she realizes the shop actually needs help stepping into the 21st century. Although it isnโ€™t what she signed up for, helping this shop is something she really wants to do.
In doing so, she also wasnโ€™t expecting to meet a girl after her own heart. This was such a cute queer story but Iโ€™m going to need more of the characters who work at the print shop! We have the Gay artist/owner of the shop with a quick cameo of his husband, his pregnant assistant and the babyโ€™s father all giving life to this old school shop & gahhhh! Nina!!! Can 2018 be the year we get more Nina LaCour please & thank you?!?!
Hourglass by Ibi Zoboi โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ
Introduces Cherish as she is dress shopping with her best friend for prom. Cherish is debating whether sheโ€™s going to attend since finding a dress for her body type isnโ€™t as easy as it is for her best friend Stacy. Cherish is tall, curvy, and dark skinned living in a town made up of primarily white people. When she stumbles across a flyer for Mamadouโ€™s African Tailoring: One Size Donโ€™t Fit All, she decides to make a visit. This story embraces the beauty in different body shapes & sizes and in turn highlights the need for more black owned businesses. Loved how this Meet Cute carried some important messages along the way. I did however wish weโ€™d been given a tad bit more of the Meet Cute itself.
Click by Katherine McGeeโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ1/2
Takes place in 2020 NYC & is told in alternating POVโ€™s between Alexa and Raden whoโ€™ve both signed up to a dating service app. Grieving & trying to get back in the dating scene, Alexa is giving Click a chance since she believes in the power of data. A computer engineer herself, she figured Click reliable enough to find her a compatible match. Raden is a photography student who is trying to get over his ex. Their meet up is sort of ruined when Alexa realizes sheโ€™s left her phone behind in the cab she took to get to her date. A unlikely adventure begins & I just died thinking what if someone would do this for me?!?๐Ÿ˜ย the last line was sort of cheesy but otherwise I can see this one play out on the screen as a rom-com ๐Ÿ’œ
The Intern by Sara Shepardโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ1/2
This one tells the story of Clara who has just started begrudgingly working at her Dadโ€™s record label. Clara is grieving the death of a loved one & of the many businesses her dad owns, a internship at V is the last place she thought her dad would place her in. Clara is an old soul at heart when it come to music & itโ€™s something she shared with the person sheโ€™s grieving. Sent on a errand that seems silly at first leads her to taking the first steps to healing. The Meet Cute in this one was ok but not as serendipitous as Iโ€™d like.
Somewhere Thatโ€™s Green by Meredith Russo โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธย 
We meet Nia a transgender student and her best friend Lucien (AMAZING BFF) as they try out for parts in the schoolโ€™s fall production of Little Shop of Horrors. Ok, the fact that they went with one of my fave movies had me smiling from ear to earย ๐Ÿ˜ƒย then the supportive father is introduced & I knew this was going to be a favorite for me in this anthology. Nia is fighting for the right to use the girls bathroom after another student raised concerns & petitioned to deny that right. We see her confront the issue head on & we also see her valid fears when talking to her bff. Thereโ€™s another student also struggling with identity but spoilers. Both characters showed a side not often seen in YA. These are the types of stories we need more of. I would LOVE to read a full length novel on these characters.
The Way We Love Here by Dhonielle Claytonโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธย 
The first Fantasy Iโ€™ve come across in this anthology & it was wonderful!!! This one takes place on a island where the people have coil-like tattoos on their skin which fade/disappear as they get closer to meeting their soulmate as deemed by their Gods. The MC is struggling to accept this as her life path. Her Meet Cute is also struggling with the ways of the Gods regarding fated love. The whole โ€œwhat ifโ€ and paths left untraveled has always interested me. Also enjoyed how this one didnโ€™t stick to traditional Meet Cutes. It embraced life, itโ€™s beginning & some day end.
Oomph by Emery Lordโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ
I was so curious about the title to this short story that by the time I found out itโ€™s meaning, I was smiling so hard! This is set in a airport which btw is one of my fave settings…thereโ€™s something about an airport…a place of goodbyes & hellos that make all the sense for matters of the โ™ฅ๏ธ We meet Cass who is spending Spring break in NYC as sort of a trial run for NYU Tisch. Besides trying to calm her parents fears sheโ€™s also trying to battle her self doubts. I LOVED her Meet Cute! a funny loner girl who plays along with Cassieโ€™s made up Marvel Universe identity. THAT ending was FLAWLESS!!! I WANT more of these two, either a full length book or a romantic movie set in NYC with the occasional flight home to see the worry wart parents I couldnโ€™t help but loving! *adds Emery Lord books to cart*
The Dictionary Of You and Me by Jennifer L. Armentroutโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ1/2
Moss is a librarian who loves her job…even the โ€œtaskโ€ of calling H Smith almost daily to return the only dictionary the Library owns, isnโ€™t really a task. Long overdue to return the book, H. Smith begins to get to know Moss by way of random conversations. Ok, I could not stop laughing at the back & forth exchange between the two characters in this Meet Cute ๐Ÿ’œ filled with humor & flirting, this was a fun one. The only thing is that the ending did feel rushed whereas the other stories maintained the same progression & wrapped up well. I also LOVE how the author brings light to the budgetary issue Libraries are facing, this was a plusย ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
The Unlikely Likelihood Of Falling in Love by Jocelyn Daviesโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ
Iโ€™llย be the first to admit I started off thinking I wasnโ€™t going to love this one because the MC is very rigid. Her own family thinks of things for her to do in order to loosen up and have fun. A germaphobe with a love for data and numbers is focused on only one thing, handing in a killer Statistics research paper. I ended up seriously loving this Meet Cute & I think it’s because I had a similar experience. The story plays with the idea of fate & the Universe defying numbers when it comes to love. It mentions women in STEM & how the government is trying to dissuade girls from going into STEM because itโ€™s believed women canโ€™t handle it. Our MC is set on defying gender norms & I found myself really admiring & respecting her hustle. As a NYC dweller, the subway system is a huge part of my commute and the odds of running into the same person are pretty slim…but what if? ๐Ÿ˜‰
259 Million Miles by Kass Morgan โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ
This one was Ok in the Meet Cute Department. Itโ€™s centered around a guy and a girl who have signed up to win a spot on the space shuttle to Mars where theyโ€™d contribute in efforts to establish a new civilization. Philip is trying to escape Earth and all of the awkward moments heโ€™s had in High School. Blythe on the other hand wants to help create a second chance at life on another planet. Both were selected due to their IQโ€™s and inventions that would prove to be useful on Mars. I guess it was hard to reconcile the Philip who is escaping Earth & socializing as a whole to the Philip we see in the end. Also, this read more as a platonic relationship ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ otherwise, I appreciated the message of reclaiming your voice & identity.
Something Real by Julie Murphy โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ1/2
This was my first Julie Murphy read & Iโ€™m sitting Happy with the fact that I truly enjoyed the writing. This one has plus sized + LGBTQ representation, I can only speak on the Plus sized rep and say I loved June to pieces! Confident & at times a little self deprecating, she owns her body and style. June is also a tiny bit obsessed with pop culture sensation/singer Dylan & is responsible for the creation of his international fan club. When an opportunity presents itself to go on a dating show (think The Bachelor) & win a date with Dylan, June is over the moon happy! This story had such a good turnout, Murphy highlights misogynistic behavior & calls it out ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ I canโ€™t help but want more June now that itโ€™s overย ย *Dumplinโ€™ is now on my February TBRย ๐Ÿ’œ
Say Everything by Huntley Ditzpatrickย โญ๏ธโญ๏ธ1/2
This one starts off in a diner, Our MC is a waitress who notices a guy come in with his group of friends, all distinguishable by their preppy uniforms that are clear markers of their wealth. The opening scene is very similar to that of when Blue Sargeant meets Gansey & the boys in Maggie Stiefvaterโ€™s The Raven Boys. Perhaps a bit too strikingly similar for my taste. Also, I wasnโ€™t sold on this Meet Cute . The chemistry just wasnโ€™t there & although it is a short story, I did feel like it was a bit rushed. Wanted to love it but just couldnโ€™t get into itย ๐Ÿ˜•
The Department Of Dead Love by Nicola Yoon โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ ALL THE STARS IN THE WORLD!!!!
How wonderful to finish my reading of this anthology with what is now my all time favorite Meet Cute of all time!!! Nicola Yoon you slayyyyyyed your story! & literally saved the best for lastย ๐Ÿ’œย this story is about heartbreak & all matters of the heart. There is a fantastical element in this world where The Department of Dead Love exists. A series of buildings that specialize in Break-ups, Unrequited Love, Bereavement, and Young Love…yea I know! sounds interesting already! tell me more! we meet our MC Thomas who has just had a break-up and is going through all the necessary steps to see if he can get approved for a “Do-Over” & bookworms it is exactly what you’re thinking, a second chance at your failed relationship. I LOVED the ingenuity & characters so much in this short story and wish with all my might that again as I’ve mentioned with some of the other stories, that this was a full length novel *le sigh* this was just perfection and the chemistry in this Meet Cute was off the charts making this story my #1!ย 
Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a wonderful day & squeezing Inย some amazing reads. I’m still riding a high from the last story inthis anthology, are any of you planning on reading Meet Cute soon? if so, whose story are you most looking forward to reading? Sound off in the comments down below <3’s!

FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ONโ€ฆ

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBooks

Top Ten Tuesday 8/15/17

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten accordingly. I LOVE lists, they keep me happy and I’m so glad to see this meme return this week after a mini hiatus. This week was a freebie of sorts where you are prompted to list 10 bookish recommendations. I’ve linked my reviews for each of these as well, please excuse the older reviews since I didn’t know what I was doing in terms of format, a year ago when I 1st started this blog lol. Here are my top 10 picks for this weeks topic (in no specific order):

August 15th 2016:Ten book recommendations for Bookworms looking for Diversity:

 

1. Saints & Misfits by S.K. Ali

*features a Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager, her friends, family, and community. Janna Yusuf is like many other teenagers trandealing with social pressures, first love, and friendships. We follow Janna’s story as she tries to reconcile her wants with her faith. (Trigger warning: attempted rape) check out my review here.



2. You’re Welcome Universe by Whitney Gardner

* features a Indian deaf girl with 2 deaf moms & a honest f/f friendship with it’s ups & downs. Our main protagonist is skilled in Grafitti art & has a wicked sense of humor ๐Ÿ˜‰ Check out my review here.

 

 


3. When The Moon Was Ours by Anna Marie-McLemore

* features a transgender Pakistani boy & LATINX girl as main characters in this Magical Realism story guaranteed to stir emotion. The writing is lyrical & lush with vivid imagery. Check out my review here.

 

 


4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

* A raw & moving read relevant to our current times. Itโ€™s hard to read THUG & not walk away feeling like you need to do your part in the Black Lives Matter movement. Check out my review here.

 

 


5. Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Cรณrdova

* a LATINX Young Adult Fantasy with elements of Alice in Wonderland. This story centers around a young Bruja’s (witch) Death Day celebration which is a rites of passage. In the Authors Afterword, the ancestors who appear in this book are from Ecuador, Spain, Africa, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Check out my review here.

 


6. American Street by Ibi Zoboi

* features a Haitian main protagonist who leaves Haiti with her mother in search of a better life in Detroit Chicago. We get a different perspective on a religion we often see in mainstream media. The writing in American Street is a mix between Fabiolaโ€™s native culture and the raw grittiness of Detroits mean streets. Check out my review here.

 


7. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee 

* features a Chinese American teenager slayyyyying demons! centered around the Chinese tale of The Monkey King, this book offers up a kick a** protagonist who doesn’t take ish from anyone & I loved her! Check out my review here.

 

 


8. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

* features a gay couple with AMAZING parents who I wish we had more of both in real life & in our books. This book deals with grief & will leave you reaching for the nearest box of tissues. Check out my review here.

 

 


9. The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

* Lush with Persian influences & steeped in Indian folklore, this book will leave you questioning whether we are in control of our own fate. This book also features a positive f/f friendship & a beautiful father/daughter bond. Check out my review here.

 

 


10. Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

* features a Chinese-American teenager in a gender bending story. Jordan Sun is on a mission to join Acapella in order to stand out in her college applications. The only thing standing in her way is that Acapella is all male only. When Jordan decides to dress as a boy in order to try-out, she wasn’t expecting to find a diverse cast of characters she feels most at home with. Check out my review here.

 

Happy Tuesday Bookworms!!! have you read any of the books Iโ€™ve listed? are you as excited as I am to have TTT back?!?! I guess I’m more excited than some since just when I started doing this meme again, the hosts announced their hiatus leaving me with a ton of unused excitement haha! 


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ONโ€ฆ

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBooks

ARC AUGUST Review: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

Published by: Amulet Books

Date of Publication:ย August 8th 2017

Genres: YA Fantasy/Mythology/Re-telling

Pages:ย 336

Format: eGalley

*HUGE Thanks to Amulet Books, Netgalley, and F.C. Yee for the eGalley of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo in exchange for an honest review

ย ย ย 

The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imaginedโ€ฆ

This has to be one of the most fun and adventurous plots I’ve read all year long & I was so thankful for so many reasons! many have compared this to Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series which I have much love for. I can say that there are some similar feels but that goes for much of mythology, we can always find similarities. For me, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo stands apart for the following reasons:

1. A relatable Chinese-American heroine who is first and foremost just a student in High School trying to get into an Ivy League College before she starts juggling school & slaying demons

2. The story originates from the Chinese tale Journey to the Westย telling the story of Sun Wukong aka The Monkey King…I love all re-tellings however, I have never come across Chinese Folklore in Young Adult so this was a MUST READ!

3. The inclusion of Chinese culture specifically as it pertains to education and expectations. The pressures at home to over achieve bore so many similarities to those in Latinx culture. The fact that Genie wasn’t a child prodigy, she simply didn’t have a skill to set her apart in college applications & that alone made her very relatable…

The opening has us meet Genie Lo as she is meeting Quentin aka The Monkey King for the very first time. She witnesses him getting beat up by a group of guys in an alley & intercedes. She doesn’t know what to think of him when he shows up as the new kid in her class who just won’t let up on following her around. He speaks oddly enough but more than that, it’s what he is saying…he speaks of a greater power lying within her. Genie is someone who believes in Science and the things he is saying & more so doing are supposed to be impossible. Quentin doesn’t give up until he has made her question all that is real. Encounters with demons that leave her fighting for her life make her realize he isn’t lying and that the world may very well be in danger. Embracing her new found powers, Genie sets about to restore normalcy in California one demon at a time…

Genie Lo stole my heart with her sass but it’s the temper when she thinks you’re trying to take a jab at her that really made me care for her. She’s very self aware and makes no apologies for what sets her apart. Described as being very tall with a body that isn’t considered very feminine, Genie plays to her strengths. She’s part of a volley ball team not because she’s very good at it but because it’s a sport where her body is an asset & it looks good on college applications. Her moments of honesty really resonated with me & my own memories of High School. In Genie I saw a lot of my own self & it was refreshing seeing her not trying to change who she is for anyone.

Quentin aka The Monkey Kingย got a ton of laughter out of me! he dished out as much sarcasm as he got from Genie. I enjoyed the moments where he pointed out all the hoops students had to jump through just to get a higher education. He of course is a supernatural force & school is not really an obligation lol. Quentin teaches Genie to fight all the while knowing he hasn’t told her the full story of who she really is…

Yunie-Genie’s BFF has to be one of the best BFF’s I’ve come across in YA! she is HILARIOUS!!! & also has no hairs on her tongue. She had me from the moment she referenced her Ovaries upon seeing Quentin’s handsome self walk into their classroom smh HAHA!

Genie’s Momย is by no means what you’re probably used to seeing from parents in Young Adults. As a matter of fact, she reminded me of my own in many ways. Genie’s mom is a single working mother trying her best to keep her daughter goal driven. She also doesn’t have any chill when speaking her mind & seeing her conversations play out with Genie felt familiar. Her heart is in the right place, she just has high expectations for her daughter. There are some moments when she speaks about Genie’s appearance that may make some uncomfortable, for me this was very relatable coming from an old school home that encouraged education but also an ideal marriage. Genie fortunately has tough skin & knows that her mothers ideals aren’t her own & loves her nonetheless.

The Epic Crush of Genie Loย is fun, adventurous, packs a punch, and will leave you rooting for this heroines victory! The time I spent in its pages sparked so much interest in the Chinese tale from which it was inspired that I found myself researching on the side for my own growth. This is when I know I’ve come across a good book, when it leaves me wanting to dig deeper. This book was highly enjoyable while still imparting the reader with an inside look to a small aspect of Chinese culture. I was also a big fan of the humor throughout, so many LOL moments that I truly lost count (like I said, a very fun book haha). I also enjoyed the progression or development of Genie & Quentins relationship all throughout. It felt more realistic to go from truly not trusting Quentin to friends to something more than just friends.ย I only docked it 1 star because the writing in the beginning felt like it was trying to find its footing. It started off with a very middle grade feel and towards the middle/end, it makes its mark as Young Adult. I’m very much looking forward to more from this author who lends an authentic diverse voice to this genre.

*Please check out these Own Voices reviews: Read Think Ponder & One Way or an Author

Hello Readers! yesterday was Genie’s Book Birthday, did any of you get to grab a copy? & if you’ve already read it please share some non-spoilery thoughts down below ๐Ÿ˜‰


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ONโ€ฆ

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBooks

WWW Wednesday 8/2/2017

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 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?


Cheating just a smidge here, haven’t started this one yet but will once I’m finished writing this post haha! I’m off from work today to supervise some repairs in my apartment which means I’ll be doing a ton of bookish things as well. I’ve already finished reading a book early this morning so I think this day may just prove to be really productive *fingers crossed* I immediately requested this book from Netgalley once I read the synopsis mention Chinese Folklore…yea, Folklore in general might as well be my Kryptonite cuz I can’t resist LOL! This book already has a ton of rave reviews & more streaming in as the release date (8/8/17) approaches, very excited to see what the buzz is about ๐Ÿ™‚


I also recently re-activated my Audible subscription & got some really good recommendations from Larkin over at Wonderfilled Reads which you should all go checkout cuz she’s pretty awesome! I decided to go with The Serpent King By Jeff Zetner after hearing so many fellow bloggers love up on this little gemstone lol. I can tell you that I’m already happy with it being a cast of multiple narrators (3) & that it has my attention. I’m only about 10% in though so more on that later on this week ๐Ÿ˜‰


Recently I read, reviewed, and LOVED The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
(Gush Non-spoilery Review here). A perfect blend of Historical Fiction & YA Fantasy set against the backdrop of the early 1900’s New York City. I can go on & on about how much I enjoyed this book but my review probably captured all of my real time excitement haha!


This morning I finished reading The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy a Young Adult Historical Fantasy/Mystery…that’s a mouthful lol but tbh it really did have a little of everything. I will be writing my review today & it should be up either tomorrow or Friday. I rated it 4.5 stars, this is one you’ll want to read with the lights ON if you’re anything like me & startle easily ๐Ÿ˜‰


Believe it or not, I seriously tossed & turned about this all night! LOL! my indecisiveness tends to strike at the oddest hours & that’s why I’m thankful for my spreadsheet lol. Yesterday I posted about my particiaption  in Read. Sleep. Repeat’s Fifth Annual #ARCAUGUST (please see here) & I’m very excited to join in on the fun for the very first time. This is really something that I can benefit from, the book community is AWESOME & I can sometimes use a little motivation. I will keep you all updated on the ARCS I’m reading here via the WWW Wednesday post, Friday Reads, Twitter & Instagram (please follow down below for updates, I follow back all bookish accts). Now onto the first 2 ARCS I am planning on reading next…


โ€œThis isnโ€™t meant to be a confession. Not in any spiritual sense of the word. Yes, Iโ€™m in jail at the moment. I imagine Iโ€™ll be here for a long time, considering. But Iโ€™m not writing this down for absolution and Iโ€™m not seeking forgiveness, not even from myself. Because Iโ€™m not sorry for what I did to Rose. Iโ€™m just not. Not for any of it.โ€

Ben Gibson is many things, but heโ€™s not sorry and heโ€™s not a liar. He will tell you exactly about what happened on what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. But heโ€™s going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of.


One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon itโ€™s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she wonโ€™t talk about.

Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, theyโ€™re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets.

When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless itโ€™s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .


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


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ONโ€ฆ

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBook

Waiting On Wednesday

Children Of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Publisher:ย Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 6th 2018

Genre:ย YA Fantasy

Pages:ย 448 pages

 

ย 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.

Zรฉlie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orรฏsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelieโ€™s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zรฉlie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zรฉlie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zรฉlie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orรฏsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zรฉlie herself as she struggles to control her powersโ€”and her growing feelings for the enemy.

This is the 1st Waiting On Wednesday I’ve been over the moon excited to share in a very long time! Although I have plenty of books on my radar, only 1 takes the title of most anticipated for 2018 in my planner & that is Children of Blood and Bone! I’ve been patiently waiting for a cover reveal & it was absolutely worth the wait *heart eyes emoji*ย the words beautiful & stunning come to mind but really don’t do it justice.ย Children of Blood and Boneย is slated to be the biggest YA Fantasy of 2018, steeped in African Culture with its own Mythology, the world building alone calls my name. I am eager to meet these characters, learn their magic/world, and welcome them in my heart. As most of you know, I am passionate about Diversity & to see it make its way into YA feels like a victory!

Children of Blood and Boneย is already being adapted for the big screen (see here) & the author, 23 year old Tomi Adeyemi is said to have scored one of the biggest YA book publishing deals of all time. The article I’ve linked above mentions talk of Children of Blood and Bone being called “Black Lives Matter-inspired fantasy”…If this hasn’t convinced you to add this book to your TBR’s maybe the authors profile bio will…

Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. Her debut novel, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, comes out March 6th, 2018 and the movie is currently in development at Fox with the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner attached. After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When sheโ€™s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 3,500 subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writerโ€™s Digest.

I would love to know if any of my fellow bookworms are anticipating this title or any other diverse YA Fantasy books you are looking forward to reading. Drop those comments down below <3’s!ย