Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books with Sensory Reading Memories

Top Ten Tuesday was created byย The Broke and the Bookishย in June of 2010 and was moved toย That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This weeks topic brought back a ton of good memories and reminded me that there are a few books I’d definitely re-read. These books are very near & dear to my heart because of the feelings and memories they invoke…

July 24th 2018: Ten Books with Sensory Reading Memories

๐Ÿ’œย Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #4)– This book is my favorite of the whole series for so many reasons but the very top one being that it’s the one I had in my hands when I met my hubby. I walked in to my 1st day at a new job with my copy and saw him sitting with his copy of Deathly Hollows and knew it was a sign haha! ย It was a constant game of “No Spoilers” that led to casual flirting smh ๐Ÿ˜‰

๐Ÿ’œย Heartless by Marissa Meyer– I buddy read this wonderful book with my book twin Gretchen @ChicNerdReadsย after scoring arcs at Bookcon in 2017. I had all my alerts ready on my phone when I saw Fierce Reads tweet out that they were giving out T-shirts at their booth. Whelp I went right over thinking it was just a shirt, told them the magic password & ended up with a arc copy!!! *GASP* I still remember flipping out on the phone to my book twin and since hubby was with me, he got her a copy as well. The buddy read was so much fun and had us thinking about baking & pastries all along ๐Ÿ™‚

๐Ÿ’œย Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem– My first college assigned read ย & it has stuck with me throughout the years. The MC Lionel has Tourettes and he finds himself working for a small time mobster. When the mobster who took him in as an orphan shows up dead, Lionel puts on his detective hat to find his killer. I was ABSORBED in this story & can remember discussing it in class as if it were just yesterday

๐Ÿ’œย My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton (The Lady Janies #2)– I read this book in one day, two sittings. I started it on the train ride home and found myself laughing out loud without any reservation. I was having a very bad week and this book didn’t let my thoughts wander. I laughed hard & long and in turn made those around me laugh…a contagious fun read I will always turn to for some silliness ๐Ÿ™‚

๐Ÿ’œย A Million Junes by Emily Henry– This book stirred up memories of my dad and I found the tears streaming full force by the time I read the last page. I won’t say how because it would be spoilery for this book but it will always be THE book that moved me with thoughts of my own dad.

๐Ÿ’œย Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six Of Crows #2)– I finished reading CK on my train ride to The Strand for a Leigh Bardugo signing & although that was EPIC! it’s not the main reason I remember it fondly. This is the day I met my book twin Gretchen in person! from watching her videos on Booktube to being motivated by her to start my own blog and going on a blogging journey with her to a Leigh Bardugo event we had so much fun in! Crooked Kingdom will always be the book that brought me to my twin ๐Ÿ™‚

๐Ÿ’œย The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslie Walton– Ok! this has to be one of the most beautifully tragic books I’ve ever read! & I had the pleasure of sharing the heartbreak with my best friend of 18 years. He wasn’t happy with the ugly crying this book put him through but he loved it just as much as I did & it even kicked off a buddy read binge. My BFF doesn’t really read much so this was definitely a time I’ll always remember fondly ๐Ÿ™‚

๐Ÿ’œย The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden– I don’t have a specific memory attached to this beautiful gem of a book but it’s one that will always feel, taste, sound like Winter whenever I think of the story within its pages. I read The Bear during the Winter and it couldn’t have been a more ideal read for the season.

๐Ÿ’œย Nyxia: Unleashed by Scott Reintgen– I’ve gone ahead & linked to Melanie over at Meltotheany on this one cause I will always think of her when I think of this book. She & I buddy read a whole lot & I think that’s cause she has the patience of a Goddess cause ya girl lives life on the go & sometimes can fall behind Haha! anyways, we gush over this book for days & could NOT stop quoting front to back!

๐Ÿ’œย A Dance With Dragons (A Song Of Ice & Fire #5) by George RR Martin– This is a bittersweet memory if there ever was one…where is book 6?!?! yea I know! haha! but it’s here because I remember buddy reading this 5th installment with my hubby while expecting our tiny human. Since I was limited due to a high risk pregnancy, weekends were spent reading Game Of Thrones in bed and trying not to read ahead for fear of spoilers…he still outread (totes should be a word)ย me though smh hehe ๐Ÿ™‚


Happy Tuesday Bookworms! This post is going up wayyyy later in the day…it’s now night but somewhere in the world I am right on time! โค Hope you’re all reading amazing books & finding your next book obsession! ๐Ÿ˜‰


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Spoilery Review: Crooked Kingdom (Six Of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

crooked-kingdomCrooked Kingdom (Six Of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugoย 

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

Publication Date: September 27th 2016

Format:ย Hardcover

Genre:ย YA Fantasy

Page Count: 536ย pgs

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (3.75)

 

 

Goodreads:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streetsโ€•a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.


Crooked Kingdom is the 2nd installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Six Of Crows Duology, the conclusion we’ve all been waiting for following the huge success of Six Of Crows. This time around I participated in a buddy read with some awesome bloggers you all have probably seen around. If not allow me to introduce to you the Bookish Dregs starting with Jill @Rantandraveaboutbooksย who came up with the name for our little group, Melissa @Booknerdmomoย and Megan @BookSlayerReads. Now, we all went into Crooked Kingdom with high expectations since Six Of Crows absolutely delivered on Plot, Characters, Writing, and last but not least Pacing. I think it’s safe to say by now lol, that the ladies (including myself) struggled with the pacing and plot this time around. I’m the type of reader who loves character driven stories so this actually worked in my favor & I finished Crooked Kingdom sometime last week. The Bookish Dregs have not given up on this book but they are taking some time off from it.


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Unlike many other readers, my wait for Crooked Kingdom was a very brief one…1 hour to be exact lol. I finished Six Of Crows on a train ride to the Leigh Bardugo book signing for Crooked Kingdom & was legit riding a high off the book when I finally met her in person. I was looking forward to bringing home this beautiful book with red deckled edges and having it sit next to its counterpart Six Of Crows with its black deckled edges. The story picks up after Inej’s kidnapping with the crew planning her rescue. Without Inej, Kaz is much more darker than usual & much more harsh to those around him. I must confess, I wasn’t a fan of this side of Kaz and was really hoping that Inej was rescued sooner rather than later cuz DAMN! the man can brood. We get to see the crew doing what they do best, carrying out the crazy schemes Kaz comes up with. We also get to see Inej in captivity where Van Eck is attempting to break her down mentally. If you’ve read Six Of Crows (hope you have if you’re reading this review lol), you know that Kaz & Inej have unspoken feelings for each other. This weighed heavy on Inej’s mind who knows Kaz Brekker a bit better than anyone. She questions whether he will chuck her off as a loss since he is driven by money & power OR whether he and the team will come to her rescue. Here is where character development comes into play, we get to learn about Inej’s time as an indentured sex slave and its after effects. As a matter of fact, this is a multiple POV story each chapter told by one of the 6 Dregs and they all seem to be reaching into their pasts to tell you their stories and how they came to cross paths with Kaz Brekker. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about each of these characters but agree that it made up the majority of this book which took a toll on the pacing & most importantly the plot.


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Leigh Bardugo once again made these characters come to life & gave them so much depth & complexities that I honestly think i’ll have a hard time coming across another cast of characters I’ll love as much as them. That being said, I felt that she wanted to gives us the readers/fanbase, as much of them as possible since this is the 2nd book in a duology. In doing so, the pacing of the book is dramatically slowed down because we are spending quite a bit of time in each characters mind. The plot itself didn’t really kick into high gear until past the halfway point. If i’m being completely honest (My Dark Queen YOU know I LOVE you So LOL!) this book could’ve easily been split into two seeing as there were technically 2 jobs/heists. We have the plot & rescue of IneJ and then we have the take down of Van Eck. If you’ve read Crooked Kingdom, you know that taking Van Eck downย was really a two attempt job since the unthinkable happened to our fave bad boy Kaz. Splitting ย this book up some time after the 1st failed attempt would’ve ended in a cliff hanger BUT the 3rd & final installment would have us all wondering what state of mind they are all in & what if anything do they do now that they’ve met their match & have been outsmarted. Nonetheless, I am satisfied with the journey, characters, and world Leigh gifted us and I will miss the crew more than I can express. I do wish Matthias Helvar had made it to the very end, I really lovedย that Fjerdan lol. I did find that the way he was taken out was super ironic considering his change of heart towards Grisha & how the world views them. There’s something magical that happens to a reader when they connect with a character, but to come across a crew of 6 that you’ve come to know & love dearly is as rare as finding all 7 Horcruxes ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Photo Credit: Galvthynius

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (non-spoiler)

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Series: Six of Crows #1

Published by: Henry Holt and Company

Publication Date: September 6th 2016

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 465 pages

Format: Hardcover (I own)

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

 

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right priceโ€”and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destructionโ€”if they don’t kill each other first.

 

Plot

Six of Crows takes place in the same world as Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, 2 years after the Ravkan Civil War. The Six of Crows series however, was written so that readers who haven’t read The Grisha trilogy can still enjoy. There are references to characters from The Grisha trilogy purposely name dropped however, the characters in Six of Crows themselves do not have an accurate account of the events that followed the Ravkan Civil War. In other words, you won’t be missing out on any crucial bits of information. Leigh Bardugo has been interviewed & has answered questions on Goodreads where she tells readers that clarification will later be provided so there’s that. We get introduced to Kaz Brekker who is the leader of the Dreggs. The Dreggs are a rag tag team of criminals from all walks of life who Kaz has recruited to run heists on the wealthy. Just like in the movies (Oceans Eleven comes to mind lol) where THE BIG heist presents itself, Kaz is offered 30 million Krug to take back a scientist that is being held captive by the government. The scientist is their most prized asset because he has come up with a way to enhance a common drug. The drug, when ingested by Grisha can enhance their magical abilities to unimaginable heights making them unstoppable. Oh the damage one can do with just 1 Grisha on this drug *hides* There are many different types of Grisha & thanks to Google I will list them for you:

Corporalki

  • Healers
  • Heartrenders
  • Tailors

Etherealki

  • Inferni
  • Squallers
  • Tidemakers
  • Summoners

Materialki

  • Durasts
  • Alkemi

Characters

Photo Credit: Lauren’s Tumblr Page

This is by far my most FAVORITE Cast of characters in a Fictional Fantasy world PERIOD! Not only did Leigh Bardugo give us some of the most beloved characters, but she made a whole lot of people fall in love with their imperfections & complexities. None of her characters are perfect but it’s their flaws that make you fall in love with each & every one of them. We have Kaz Brekker aka Dirty Hands, leader & head schemer HAHA! Inej AKA The Wraith or The Spider, a female POC known for her stealthy abilities. Even with bells on you will NOT hear Inez creeping up on you & she holds many of Kaz’s secrets close to heart. Jesper sharpshooter extraordinaire & Kaz’s Second, walks around with 2 pearl handled guns that he is more than happy to pull out & show off lol. Nina the Heartrender, she’s a Grisha who has the ability to alter or stop your heart. She’s also a semi trained Tailor which means she can alter physical features on a person (she’s not very good at this lol). We also have Matthias & Wylan but i’ll leave these characters roles out of the description cuz spoilers ๐Ÿ˜‰ I found myself rooting for these characters, getting mad at some of them, and other times very protective over them. Thanks again Gretchen @Chicnerdreads for pointing me in the right direction for the perfect Fan cast art ๐Ÿ˜‰

โ€œKaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.โ€ 
โ€• Leigh BardugoSix of Crows

Writing

Leigh Bardugo aka My Queen Of Darkness has a way of infusing her sense of humor in her writing & since she is one funny lady, I often found myself chuckling at the dialogue between characters. The story is fast paced but it’s appropriate for a heist that typically you would see playing out on the big screen. The fact that she managed such a feat is impressive enough but that she did so by managing 6 different characters without skipping a beat is utterly INSANE & proof that she is QUEEN! The characters she created are so fleshed out that they practically leap off the pages which I LOVE! I can’t get enough of Six Of Crows & can’t wait to start Crooked Kingdom.

Thoughts

I have fallen in love with the world Leigh Bardugo has created & hope that she has more for us reader fans. She did say at the Strand NYC event this past Monday, that there are plenty more stories to tell in this world but that she couldn’t say anything was for certain (Leigh Bardugo event post here). It’s pretty clear to me that Leigh Bardugo really got to know her characters well & brought them to life on the page. I haven’t had this much fun reading a book in a long time. The story gave me Ocean’s Eleven & Boardwalk Empire feels but in the end nothing compares to Six of Crows ๐Ÿ˜‰

About Last Night…

My Monday started off with me trying to finish reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, a book that has been talked about & praised all over social media. It was my shameful little secret that I had not yet read this beautiful black paged book, until it was announced that Leigh Bardugo would be coming to New York City Strand Bookstore as part of her #Troublemakerstour. I could NOT put it off any longer because Iโ€™ve heard such amazing things not only about Six of Crows but the author herself. I have read the Grisha trilogy but I wasnโ€™t too much of a fan on how that wrapped up. Six of Crows however, BLEW ME AWAY! I finished reading SOC on the train ride to the event signing for Crooked Kingdom & got off the train to immediately text Gretchen at Chicnerdreads that I had DONE IT! I had finished the book in time. I was also reeling from how it ended but nonetheless feeling pretty euphoric lol. Review for Six of Crows to come, gathering all of my thoughts & feels so that Iโ€™m not just saying I LOVED IT! over & over again lol.

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The night was made all the more special because I was also meeting Gretchen (pictured above) for the very first time after many months of communicating through social media, our blogs, gchat, text, & HILLARIOUS voice messages LOL. I met Gretchen earlier this year when she was still a booktuber, thankfully I came across her before she left Booktube & started her blog. She is actually one of the people who motivated me to start my own (4 days later to be exact haha!) & for that I am very thankful for this friendship. It should come to no surprise that a couple of bookworms decided to do a little book & comic book shopping since we arrived super early for the event…

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$18.00 for hardcover = WINNING!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

The event was to start at 6:30pm but the crazy long line started forming by 4pm, luckily we were in the front of this line. We also happened to be standing in the exact spot where Leigh Bardugo & Jesse The Reader’s car pulled up which meant she had to cut through us…

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Gretchen took this photo because I was author struck & froze, as a matter of fact it took considerable effort to move out of Leigh’s way so that she can get through *hides face* LOL!  Leigh Bardugo arrived promptly at 6pm (early) & did not keep us waiting. We were in the first group of 20 to be let in & be seated which was great because the place quickly filled up to maximum capacity. Some artwork was brought in & placed in different corners…

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I tried unsuccessfully to take a selfie with Jesper, he is hella tall & I am nothing but a shrimp next to him. Leigh & Jesse came out shortly after we were seated & from the moment she sat down it was non stop laughter from everyone because she is one funny lady! Jesse asked her a series of pop culture questions like “if the crew of Six Of Crows were Youtubers, what would each of their channels be about?” or “which drink would each of the characters order from Starbucks?” we were also given a chance to ask questions & she answered everything with sincerity, honesty, and gave some really good advice to aspiring writers. She spoke briefly about Wonder Woman; the YA book she is writing under DC but couldn’t give away too much of course. When asked about the possibility of more books in the Grishaverse she made no promises but said there are plenty more stories to tell & she’s not quite finished with that world sOOOo *fingers crossed* 

Fact:  Leigh is also donating 10% of book sales to GEMS, a charity for young girls ages 12-24 who’ve been victims of sexual exploitation & domestic trafficking. This charity works to empower young girls/women by giving them the tools they need to leave the commercial sex industry & develop their full potential. This charity is also close to the theme in Six Of Crows. 

Can we just take a moment to admire this woman’s style?!?! Fierce! after a few rounds of questions we were then asked to form a line for the book signing & again arriving early truly makes a difference (signing expected to run till 10:30pm). We were the first 20 to line up & while we waited…smh…we realized there were other authors present for this event. We spotted Zoraida Cรณrdova author of Labyrinth Lost (I recently reviewed & LOVED this book here), Daniel Josรฉ Older author of Shadowshaper (on my TBR, probably will get a copy at Bookcon next week), and Libba Bray author of The Diviners series (I own & need to stop procrastinating). It happened again, I froze & didn’t woman up to talk to Zoraida but ummm there will be other times *cough* for sure…smh LOL. Back to Leigh Bardugo, it was finally our turn to get our books signed and take a photo  with Leigh…

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This was simply AMAZING! she struck up a convo when she saw my name on the post-it (Lilly) & told me that when she was a little girl, her parents used to call her LeeLee which is what my parents call me in Spanish. I got to pick up one of the playing cards that were face down on the table & drew Inej which YESSSSS!!! I LOVE!!!! also got a pin & a crow shaped cookie but that broke into bits so no pic lol.

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Gretchen & I ended the night by going to Chipotle since we had skipped lunch and it was around 8 or 9pm. We chatted up a bit about the event AND already prepping for next week’s BookCon @ NYC Comicon. It was a great night & I had so much fun with Gretchen that I cannot wait to do it again! Thank you Gretchen for taking the photos at the event cuz you know you had the heels/height, what would I have done without you?!?! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Six of Crows bookmark was part of the September Owlcrate, got it just in time for Crooked Kingdom!

September’s Owlcrate Unboxing

It’s that time again!!! My September Owlcrate box arrived & the theme this month is DARKNESS! I am VERY happy with the curating of Owlcrate’s boxes but this one takes the cake! They’ve outdone themselves with an EPIC box. Three Dark Crowns is one my most highly anticipated books for fall 2016 so pardon me while I *SquEeee*๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค— lol. 

Favorite item in the box has to be the Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children canvas pouch & the Raven Cycle series inspired fortune telling bath fizzers from Da Bomb Bath Fizzers. Also in this box is a bookmark Inspired by Leigh Bardugo’s Six Of Crows from Evie Seo aka Eviebookish (my next read ๐Ÿ˜‰), a Throne of Glass inspired candle by The Melting Library in the exclusive scent Celeana’s Cake (smells like cotton candy YUM!) & the first episode in a 15 episode YA sci-fi series titled ReMade. For those of you who have an account with NetGalley, they currently have some of the next few episodes in this 15 episode series available as “Read Now”.

I feel like these past few boxes, Owlcrate has been raising the bar for themselves. This has to be my favorite box this year (so far). I’m already using the canvass pouch as my makeup bag & Im reading Six Of Crows so the bookmark came at the perfect time. Now, to find the time to enjoy the bath bomb, is my next mission in life! #goals ๐Ÿ˜‚

Did anyone else LOVE this month’s Owlcrate? Also, I have this thing where I have to guess the next month’s box & so far I’ve been right the past 3 boxes lol. I must say that I have NO clue what October’s pick could possibly be. Open to some guesses though, leave them right down below lol.