April Wrap-Up

Hello Bookworms & happy Friday!!! here in NYC we’ve decided to skip Spring & go straight to Summer and although when I’m outside I truly dislike it…when I’m inside, I get to blast that A.C. & no sleep is better than one right next to that powerful ice machine ๐Ÿ˜‚ย anyways, I pulled up Goodreads to see how many books I’d read in April & had to do a Britney…

I cannot remember the last time I read 8 BOOKS!!! *GASP*ย it was a great quality reading month, no complaints here (except for maybe Professed haha!) I was able to get ahead in my TBR ๐Ÿ’œย I participated in 2 Buddy Reads and had so much fun talking to the Bookworms in our group chats. I also borrowed for the very first time from another blogger buddy who is simply an amazing human being! Thank you Sarah @TheYaBookTravelerย I appreciate your kindness ๐Ÿ’œย Out of the 8 books that I read, 4 were 5 star reads which means I had a lot of fun reading in April.ย I’m hoping for an equally as good May & so far I think I’m getting my wish thanks to Harper & some new arc approvals that came through.ย Now without further ado I present to you my April Wrap-Up…

Professed by Nicola Rendellย โ˜…โ˜… STARS: Not what I expected but I read along since this was a book club pick for Julie & Chelsea’s Book Hangover Book Club. The characters just felt over the top & the “steamy scenes” were terrible ๐Ÿ˜ž

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglasย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… 4 STARS: This being the first book I p/u as a reintroduction to the NA genre (not that I’ve read all that very many ๐Ÿ˜‚) was UNPUTDOWNABLE! ๐Ÿ˜ณย I seriously couldn’t stop reading & now I’m on a Penelope Douglas binge

Ace Of Shades by Amanda Foody (Review)ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… 4 STARS: Falls into the younger side of YA but still very enjoyable with its Sin City/Moulin Rouge vibes. Book 2 was just announced today, titled King of Fools for 2019 & I’m REALLY looking forward to It ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young (Review)ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… 4 STARS: Character driven, less focused on the bloody history of Vikings we’ve all come to know. This one is for those bookworms who love stories about family bonds and loyalty and choosing who your family is when you’ve lost it all.

My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (RTC closer to publication date)ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… 5 STARS: I mean C’mon! I LOVED My Lady Jane to pieces when I first read it & waited ever so patiently for this sequel. When a bookworm friend offered to loan me her copy I was STUNNED & Happy & grateful! I devoured it & all I can say is THANK YOU My Lady Janies for the ode to my childhood faves The Ghostbusters ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (RTC)ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… 5 STARS: a witchy read with a plus sized POC MC who’s a bit of a curmudgeon dishing out the sarcasm when she sees fit. Practicing witchcraft was never supposed to yield any real results until she needed it to & then…๐Ÿ‘€

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Review)ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… 5 STARS: This is perhaps my fave read of the month! a black MC who kicks a** & doesn’t back down whether it’s racist white men or the walking dead trying to make a snack out of her. This book has so much more going on underneath the surface, #Blacklivesmatter, Colorism, and racism are all weaved into this tale. I have a giveaway currently running until Sunday 5/6, open to international Bookworms as well ๐Ÿ’œย Click on the link to take you to my review post to enter ๐Ÿ’œ

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (Review)ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… 5 STARS: Take me back to this little town & island PLEASE! so atmospheric & haunting, I cannot stop singing this books praises! Please pick this one up before the Netflix series airs, it’s a short read but sooooo good that it’s guaranteed to stick around even after you’ve read that last line ๐Ÿ˜‰

Avengers: Infinity War

ย ย ย ย 

Date Day this month with the hubby was a ton of fun & led us to visit some of our favorite haunts. Starting off with breakfast at our fave diner by the theatre & a quick trip to The Strand where I picked up Leah On the Offbeat (Creekwood #2)by Becky Albertalli & the Graphic Novel Moonstruck: Magic To Brew. I spent a little too much time in the stacks & we ended up having to cab it to the other side of Manhattan to the theatre for a 1:30pm show. IMAX 3D…why do I always forget to wear contacts? instead I watch movies through 4 lenses ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚

The movie was about 2.5 hours long & it just exceeded expectations! Thanos our villain is one complex character with depth to him, he wasn’t just trying to kill everything in sight for power or control. I found this villain really interesting but that ending still had me giving him major side eye ๐Ÿ˜‚ย It was awesome seeing some faves back on the screen & after watching Black Panther just last month, I was super stoked to return to Wakanda. This being part I of II, I expected to walk away with unresolved story line and I felt the ending sets up for the next movie rather nicely. The after credit scene led to a really cool development & now I spend my time on Screen Rant looking for any bread crumbs being released for the next set of Marvel movies. Overall I gave this movie 5 BUTTERFLIES!!!


I hope you’re all having a wonderful start of the month ๐Ÿ’œย what was your favorite read in April? feel free to link those wrap-ups down below & I’ll make my way over to your corner of the interwebz ๐Ÿ’œ’s! Don’t forget to throw yourย ๐ŸŽฉย in the ring for a chance to win a copy of Dread nation (see here)! ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿผ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿผ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿผ


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ONโ€ฆ

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBooks

Spoiler Free Review: Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young

Title:ย Sky In The Deep

Author:ย Adrienne Young

Pub. Date:ย April 24th, 2018

Genre:ย YA Fantasy

Publisher:ย Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press

Pages:ย 352

Format:ย eGalley

Buddy Read: Melanie @Meltotheany, Amy @ACourtOfCrownsandQuillsย , Jules @JAIronsideย Always a good time with these bookworms! โค

*HUGE thanks to Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press, Netgalley, and Adrienne Youngย for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

ย ย ย 

Sky In The Deep is one of those books you definitely shouldn’t judge by the cover. As a avid fan of the History channel series Vikings & anything Norse Mythology really, I had this book on my radar for quite some time. However, although this book has battle & blood shed…It was & wasn’t the focal point in this story. We have two Viking clans with different sets of beliefs & each has their own God they worship. Every year these two clans face off in a bloody battle to appease what they believe is the will of their Gods. We are given history as to why the Gods feud originally started & all year round those of fighting age prepare for battle & the gathering of supplies to heal their wounded. Our MC Eelyn from the Aska Clan lost her brother Iri on the battlefield five years before the start of the story. Eelyn lives with her father who is a great Viking warrior & Myra her friend/adopted sister of sorts. The story takes off with Eelyn preparing for the yearly battle against the Riki Clan alongside her father & Myra. Whilstย  on the battlefield, Eelyn comes close to death and face to face with the brother she believed to be dead. Eelyn is in shock & desperate for answers when she makes the decision to follow Iri and his Riki friend Fiske against their wishes. Her decision to follow Iri into Riki territory sets off a series of events that will make every character question their beliefs.

Sky In The Deep is a VERY character driven book, which means it was my type of book but it may not be for everyone. The plot is pretty straight forward, it isn’t deeply layered or complex with promises of plot twists. Instead, Young delivered a story about family ties & my all time favorite…those people we CHOOSE to be our family. There’s a sense of betrayal underneath it all and sorting through those feelings to see the bigger picture. This is also a slower paced story with attention to detail, each & every time I opened this book I felt transported to their time & place. I LIVE for this style of writing because it wakens my imagination and senses with descriptions of nature, climate, and YES battle! With the being said, I did end up feeling like the pacing was a bit off since this to my knowledge is a stand-alone. My love for the characters is what really carried the story for me & ultimately my attachment is the reason for which I rated this read 4 stars.

Eelynย Our MC has lived the life of a shield maiden ever since she was a little girl, training side by side with her brother Iri. Eelyn is loyal to her loved ones & the Aska clan. She isn’t the YA female heroine you’re perhaps used to seeing. There were times I wished she fought a bit harder against those who wished to do her harm considering she was a trained fighter/killer. Overall I enjoyed seeing her road to self discovery, she had the most growth in this book. Most of all, I loved that Eelyn never abandoned her beliefs while understanding she was evolving into someone new.

Myraย Eelyn’s best friend who is more like a sister. Myra is a side character I have to mention because her scenes were some of the most passion filled to read. She is someone who has lost everyone she loves to these yearly clan wars. She only has Aghi (Eelyn’s father) & Eelyn who have taken her in as family. Which means she will fight tooth & nail to protect them. I LOVED reading the scenes where they readied their armor & checked with each other for weakness/injuries. Eelyn & Myra are the definition of ride or die BFF’s!

Iriย Not my favorite of the characters if I’m being honest. I can see how thinking you were left for dead in battle can mess with your head. I can see why he found a home with the Riki after one of them saved his life. However, I wanted more dialogue from Iri specifically between him & Eelyn. She’s both elated to see him alive & furious to see him willingly living as a Riki.

Fiskeย The Riki who saved Iri’s life & is basically like a brother to Iri. Fiske is honestly that guy who is all tough on the outside but mush for the people he loves. He’s also one of the MOST open minded characters I’ve ever come across in YA Fantasy. He is someone who follows his heart no matter what others may think. Fiske is a new found favorite of mine.

Ingeย The Riki who took in Iri wounded and helped bring him back to life. She is a healer and a motherly figure to those in her household & a healer to those in the village. Inge LOVES her boys & most importantly she knows their hearts.

Halvardย Can’t forget to mention this little guy who is Fiske’s little brother who is not of fighting age. Halvard dreams of one day joining his “brothers” but until that day he helps around in the house. Halvard immediately takes a liking to Eelyn and her religious beliefs. I loved this characters innocence against the back drop of so much violence.

If you’re looking for a slower paced book with an emphasis on family ties and relationships, Sky In The Deep is a solid choice. We do get the battles we all know the Viking culture thrived in but it isn’t the core focus of the story. There were some pacing issues I personally feel if ironed out, would’ve enhanced this read for me. Mainly because I enjoyed the time I was spending with each of these characters. It’s rare when you find MC’s & side characters you truly get attached to & so I greatly enjoy and appreciate these types of books. I also enjoyed learning about both the Aska & Riki culture and religious beliefs. When I was reading this book I was easily transported to the Fjord by Eelyn’s home. It was very easy to silence my surrounding & get absorbed into this world. The romance (cause there is one lol) is hate-to-love & slow burn to another level HAHA! part of me got a bit impatient with this ship #jussayin smh. Overall, Sky In The Deep was a very enjoyable read for me & I’m going to miss these characters.


Sky In The Deep hits shelves April 24th!!! are you ready to take a trip into Viking territory?!?! โค โค โค

Also, Adri from Little Fox and Reads blessed me with some news on my WWW Wednesday post…it appears the author was on IG yesterday with news of a companion novel! *GASP* Thank you Adri for making my DAY! ๐Ÿ™‚


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ONโ€ฆ

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBook

WWW Wednesday 4/18/2018

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted byย Sam @ Taking On a World of Wordsย 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?

Happy Hump Day Bookworms!!! I hope you’re all having a good week, if not *HUGS* I have been on a reading binge this month & I don’t see myself stopping anytimeย  soon *fingers crossed*ย Recently I’ve decided to try out other genres that I’ve visited in the past but haven’t returned to in a while. This week I’m trying out New Adult Romance & I’m a little excited if I’m being honest. Spring hopefully will make an appearance in this lifetime & I’m in the mood for some light reads to mix in with my love for Fantasy.ย  Happy reading <3’s!!!ย 

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

I am 82% into this buddy read & although it’s not quite what I expected, it is one I’m really enjoying. Slower paced with writing that transports me each & every time I dive into its pages. More than anything, this Viking story is more about family and loyalty. Coming together in the face of adversity. This is NOT the book you’d go to for non-stop bloody Viking battles. Although we do get some of that, it really isn’t the core focus. I’m in the final stretch now wondering how it will all end & kind of wishing there is a sequel out there I haven’t heard about yet…

Birthday Girl by Penelopeย 

Highly persuaded by Melanie @Meltotheany who can basically sell me anything through her Instagram stories SMH…Seriously though, not only is she the Queen of EPIC reviews but her IG stories & unboxings are not to be missed ๐Ÿ™‚ So Mel was really hyped to hear Penelope Douglas had released Birthday Girl a few days early & her excitement was contagious. I know nothing of this author & I’m a newb to the genre having read only 3 K.A. Tucker books so I figured why not start with one of my most trusted friends fave authors? So! by the time this post is live, I’ll already be reading this one on my breaks at work. Possibly not the best place to start a steamy romance but what can I say? I’m a newb HAHA!

 

Ace of Shadesย (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody

I recently finished Ace of Shades & gave it 4 stars (my review) &ย can honestly say this is one new Fantasy series I will be continuing with. In this book I found influences from some of my favorites like Cabaret, Moulin Rouge, and many of the gangster movies I love. I have a deep appreciation for Fantasy writers who diversify their cast of characters & in Ace we get Bi-sexual & gender fluid representation. The reviews on goodreads seemed to be a mixed bag, with many comparisons to Six of Crows. It’s hard to compare to anything by Leigh Bardugo, there may be some similarities but the same can be said of Six Of Crows. Both draw inspiration from some of our favorites but their characters are VERY different & Ace isn’t heisty.ย  I say, if you can separate the two & enjoy casinos, seedy characters, mobsters, and friendships over romance (there’s still some) then this may be one worth checking out ๐Ÿ˜‰

Dread Nation (Dread Nation #1) Justina Ireland

Influenced byย Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the author gives us a different version. In a Bustle interview with author she tells us about her inspiration…

“I wrote [Dread Nation] many moons ago, after I readย Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” Justina Ireland tells Bustle. “Sure, you have well-to-do white women fighting, but it didn’t seem realistic. It wouldโ€™ve been black women fighting in the streets.”

I am BEYOND ready for this read & can’t wait to dive in! ๐Ÿ™‚

Professed by Nicola Rendell

Two of my FAVORITE Booktubersย Chelsea @Chelseadollingreads & Julie @PagesandPensย  started a book club called Book Hangover Book Club They chose Professed as their April book pick & I will be buddy reading with Melanie from Meltotheany this coming weekend! I’m excited to read more from this genre Bookworms & can’t wait to see how these two New Adult books I’ll be reading this week fare with me ๐Ÿ™‚


Happy reading Bookworms! I’ll be blog hopping in just a few & can’t wait to see what you all are reading. I’m always up to hear from you down in the comments below, what’s on your nightstand? also, out of curiosity since I mostly review & talk about Fantasy & contemporary, would you be interested in me possibly reviewingย New Adult here on Lair Of Books?ย ๐Ÿ’œ


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ONโ€ฆ

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBook

Review: Berserker by Emmy Laybourne

Title: Berserker (Berserker #1) 

Author: Emmy Laybourne

Pub. Date: October 10th, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 352

Formats: eGalley/Netgalley & physical arc won from a Goodreads Giveaway

Rating: 3.75 Stars

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.

Berserker wasn’t at all what I was expecting & for a minute there I wondered aloud what exactly I was reading? the answer took me by surprise & intrigued the hell out of me enough for this frightful bookworm to read through the bloody scenes. I can only describe Berserker as Norse Mythology meets the American Frontier with hints of the classic novel Of Mice and Men & guess what bookworms?!?! IT WORKS!!! part of the reason I think that it did is because Laybourne has created her own lore in this world instead of using everything we know about Norse Mythology. The opening scene really sets the tone for this short read, bloody and raw. Our MC Hanne & her siblings (with the exception of the youngest) all have been gifted/cursed with special abilities from the Viking Gods. It is believed that the Viking God Odin gifted three of his favorite Kings with special abilities known as The Nytte. This gift/curse doesn’t come without its consequences, there is a big price to pay as a result of using their ability. The odds of inheriting The Nytte are greater if both parents are descended from these kings & such is the case for our MC & her siblings. They don’t know the names of each ability or even if they quite believe in the origin of these abilities but they’ve learned to use them to make a living. Hanne is a Berserker which is the only gift that is focused on taking life whenever someone she loves in danger. While in Norway, her father has her using her “gift” to slaughter pigs for local farmers (detailed in the book) because her technique leads to better quality meat. A incident on the farm triggers Hanne’s Berserker abilities ending in tragedy & the need to go on the run. While on the run they manage to catch the interest of a man who has made it his mission to find Nyttes daughters & sons with a keen interest in their abilities. Although this mans intentions are not readily made known, Hanne doesn’t trust him & will keep her siblings running to put as much distance as possible between the law & this stranger.

*In order not to spoil anything, i won’t be including each characters Norse gift/curse…besides it’s more fun finding out for yourself along the way ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hanne- The MC aka the Berserker & sort of the matriarch of the family. She loves her family fiercely & her abilities have sharpened her senses to the point where if any danger is even headed their way she is ON IT! Hanne doesn’t see The Nytte as a gift but rather a curse she can’t control & when it strikes it leaves her mortified at the end results. When I picture Hanne there is only one Goddess that comes to mind…Lagertha!

Stieg- not sure if he’s the oldest or second oldest to Hanne but either way he is more of the patriarch of this family. Stieg is a intellectual with a passion for knowledge & conversation. He knows more than one language & will never pass up the opportunity to teach. Stieg also has a ability that he uses sparingly whenever in dire straights. What I liked about Stieg is that he wasn’t made out to be the stereotypical bookworm, he’s just as much down to have fun as he is to hit the books. Also, his ability is pretty bad a** ๐Ÿ˜‰

Knut- Knut reminded me most of Lennie from Of Mice and Men which meant that I was already on Over protective mode upon meeting him. Tender hearted standing at 6’2, Knut also carries The Nytte & it is tied to his physical strength. There’s no way you won’t love him when you meet him ๐Ÿ™‚

Sissel- my least favorite of the siblings, she is the youngest and most spoiled. Sissel is all about comfort and finding a good match for marriage, in other words being taken care of. Sissel is described as frail in physical appearance & very likely to have had The Nytte skipped her. This being book 1 in the series, I can’t help but wonder if Laybourne has special plans with this sibling…

Owen- The cowboy the siblings pay to safely guide them to a uncle who could possibly help Hanne control her Berserker abilities. He is actually one of my favorite characters in this book, its just him and his dog Daisy until he meets the siblings. Owen loves Daisy to pieces & has trained her to help herd cattle with dreams of one day training pups on a farm to do the same. He minds his business & lives a simple life until chaos is introduced and he has a decision to make…

I managed to fly through my reading of Berseker because of my general interest in Norse Mythology & the ease with which Laybourne used the well known mythos as a jumping board. This is a VERY bloody read & had some cringe worthy passages that surprisingly engrossed me. Why the 3.75 rating? well for starters, this is still a good rating in my book & translates into a 4 star rating on Goodreads. The siblings were for the most part traveling in this book trying to reach their uncle to help Hanne & I enjoyed that adventure very much. However, my only complaint is how neatly the ending was presented compared to how bloody, chaotic, and raw Berserker was for the most part. Berserker could also easily be viewed as a stand-alone which really left me thinking where the series would take Hanne and her siblings. I’m still curious & have every intention on continuing on to read the next book. It may very well be that in the sequel the siblings find a way to reverse or at least stop the consequences of their abilities…So, I do have questions bookworms which means I’ll be returning to this world when the next book is released ๐Ÿ˜‰

HUGE thanks to Feiwell & Friends, Netgalley, Goodreads, and Emmy Laybourne for the ARC copy of Berserker.

Hello Bookworms! Happy FriYAY! have any of you read Berserker? has it made its way onto your radar? If you’re a fan of Norse Mythology, Berserker will probably intrigue you & Laybourne will surprise you with her twist on Viking lore. It’s a bloody gripping read! ๐Ÿ˜‰


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ONโ€ฆ

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBook