WWW Wednesday – August 7, 2019

Hello everyone! Hope you all are enjoying your week! I’m here to share with you my current reading status with another WWW Wednesday post which is a weekly meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words. 

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

What are you currently reading?

spin the dawn

I just started this one and it has been one of my highly anticipated reads of this year. I have not gotten too far into it but I do like the pacing and the writing. I really hope I enjoy since I heard nothing but great things about this book. Have any of you read Spin the Dawn? What did you think of it?

What did you recently finish reading?

the cruel prince

OMG!! OMG!!! I finally did it! I finally read the Cruel Prince!!! Whoohooo!

You know the kind of books that you finish and countless days later, you still think about it? Yep, this was one of them and it will probably be one of my favorite reads of this year. And please stay tuned for my book review because OMG we need to fangirl about this together!

What do you think you’ll read next?

 

Oh Lord. . . my never ending TBR! It was difficult but I managed to narrow it down to these two – Queen of Shadows by Sarah. J Maas and Vicious by V.E Schwab and I am in a serious dilemma!!!

I hope you all find it easier to find your next read than me haha Thank you all for reading and I hope you all have a fabulous day!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Settings I’d Like to See More Of

Hi Everyone! I hope you all are having a great start to your week! And since it’s Tuesday, it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday post! This week’s prompt is regarding settings that we would like to see more of. I always view reading to be my escape from my normal life into alternate worlds of magic, intrigue and thrill and I feel that a proper setting can capture those attributes. For some reason, I was unable to come up 10 settings but I have managed to list my top 8 below:

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

And without further ado, LET’S GET INTO THE LIST!

carnival

Carnivals

Ever since I read the Caraval series, I was amazed at what Stephanie Garber was able to build upon with a simple setting such as a Carnival/Circus. She added so many interesting plot lines, characters and magic which made the reading experience even more divine. I hope to pick up more novels that take place in this setting!

Asian/ African/ South America

Doesn’t diversity just add to the beauty of novels and reading in general? I absolutely love novels which are inspired by different cultures since it offers us so much more insight about the world around us and in addition, it makes for a great read as well. I was absolutely stunned with Children of Blood and Bone. The incorporation of African folklore along with an intriguing fantasy world made it such a more pleasure to read.

underwater

Under the Sea 

I’ve always loved the water ever since I can remember and it seemed to be pretty obvious to people around me since my closest friends truly believe I’m part mermaid LOL I think the interest also expands to novels as well. Whether it be about a seafaring adventure, pirates, mermaids or sirens I know for sure that I will be immediately interested!

Schools

Harry Potter. Fangirl. School for Good and Evil. Truly Devious. Long story short – ever since I read these novels which were all in a school setting, I realized how much I loved these types of stories and only wanted to read more. It just creates a difference ambiance overall as compared to other novels and gives so much more room to explore different themes and plots.

space

Space

I will admit it. I am avid lover of sci-fi novels! They are so interesting and have the potential to create such intriguing and gripping plot dynamics which are absolutely captivating. Ever since I read novels like Illuminae and These Broken Stars, I was stunned at why I never picked up books of this genre before. And eventually it lead me to series like the Lunar Chronicles and OMG my fervor only grew!

library

Library

I’m actually reading A Sorcery of Thorns right now and “Libraries” popped into my head and I just had to include it! I mean who wouldn’t want to visit a magical library? That’s the dream!

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Fictional Worlds

There is something magical and wondrous about traveling into worlds which are drenched in complete fantasy and are completely different about our own. It allows room for the cultivation of interesting political and magic systems which are so interesting to read about. Novels such as A Darker Shade of Magic, Six of Crows and An Ember in the Ashes are just a few which I have thoroughly enjoyed which transport readers into worlds of intrigue and enchantment. Fantasy is my weakness. Can you tell? HAHA

World War II 

Recently I have a strong interest in the historical fiction genre and although there are plenty of books which are in the WWII category, I have listed it here since this type of setting does peak my curiosity. Ever since I read the Prisoner of Fog duology,  I developed a strong interest in worlds within this time period so if you do know any good novels within this setting, please let me know! I would definitely check it out!

What are your favorite settings?

Until next time keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Can you guys believe it is already July??? LIKE HOW?? I felt like the new year just began!! It’s crazy!!! Can time slow down for a second? Please have mercy on this poor soul . . .

Ahem. So since we are mid way through the year, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to do this tag! Thank you so much to the lovely Jane @ BloggerBooks for tagging me! And please check out her blog, because it is absolutely amazing and I love all our bookish conversations!

This tag was originally created by ReadLikeWildfire and Earl Grey Books. Without further ado, let’s jump into the questions!

1. Best Book You’ve Read so Far in 2019

hunting prince

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

OMG. This was so far the best read of 2019. I loved everything about it: the plot, the characters, the setting, the banter, the character dynamics/ growth, etc. It was all done so well! This series definitely made Kerri Maniscalco as one of my favorite authors of all time! She is absolutely brilliant and if you have not picked up the series yet, I highly recommend it!

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

 2. Best Sequel You’ve Read so Far This Year

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Finale by Stephanie Garber

Another stunning read of 2019. GAHHH It did not take long for the Caraval series to become one of my favorite series of all time. Each book just got better and better! The world was so different and magical from any other fantasy book I have read and I loved the journey the characters go through with each book. I loved that the plot focuses on the journey of two sisters since this is something I can relate to since I have a younger sister myself. Just Brilliant!

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Really Want To

sorceryofthorns

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

I am kind of bending the rules here since I am currently reading this but it still fits the category 🙂 The writing is exquisite!

4. Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

There are so many upcoming releases for this year that its so hard to pick one. Even after attending BookCon, I was surprised to learn that there were so many new and upcoming titles so I have listed a couple here which I am eagerly anticipating!

 

5. Biggest Disappointment of the Year

girlswithsharpsticks

I don’t think I read anything this year which turned out to be a huge disappointment. The lowest I rated any of my books was probably a 3.5 out of 5. If I were to choose, I would probably say Girls with Sharp Sticks? While I did enjoy the plot, themes and twists, I was not a huge fan of the writing style and some of the characters. It was not a terrible read, but I thought it could use some improvements here and there.

6. Biggest Surprise

truly devious

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Being a book in the mystery genre, I think this novel fits the question completely. I did see a few reviews for this book ever since its release and I never got around to reading it until early this year. I will say I was pleasantly surprised and it evoked my interest into the mystery genre. I can’t wait to read the next installment – I heard that one was even better than the first! AHHHH!!!

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

7. Favorite New Author (Debut or New to You)

acursesodark

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

I recently just finished this novel and OMG it was absolutely brilliant. I was hesitant since I saw a couple of mixed reviews but I ended up loving it! I understand that Brigid Kemmerer might be an author that a lot of other book bloggers know, but I recently just discovered her with this novel. I am definitely looking forward to her next book in the series (especially with that ending!!)

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

8. Newest Fictional Crush

LET 2019 BE THE YEAR I DISCOVERED THOMAS CRESWELL!!!! MWAHAHA

(I’m totally sane I SWEAR!)

9. Newest Favorite Character

Audrey Wadsworth – This girl is epitome of strength, intelligence and empowerment!

10. Book That Made You Cry

heir of fire

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Can we talk about character growth? THIS WAS PHENOMENAL! I was absolutely stunned at how well Sarah was able to showcase emotion, pain and struggle with this installment. After reading this book, I am really looking forward to read the next one ASAP.

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

11. Book That Made You Happy

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

WAIT! I have my reasons for this one!

To be honest, I did not know which book to choose for this question. I have not read any comedic or light-hearted contemporary books this year so its difficult to answer. However, if I were to choose one book, I would most like go with the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. The banter between the two leads always put a smile on my face!

If you would like to read my review of the first book, you can check it out HERE!

12. Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought or Received This Year

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

I mean take a look at this cover:

spin the dawn

13. What Book Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

Queenofshadows

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

After marathoning the first three books (which were awesome), I had to step away from reading for awhile due to work/classes. I am finally at a state where I can read more books and spare more time diving back into this fantasy world so I can’t wait to see what happens next!

14. Favorite Book Community Member?

OMG! It’s really hard for me to choose one specific member within the book community as an answer. Ever since I joined, I met so many great bloggers who have been so supportive and inviting on this platform so I extremely thankful to each and everyone who have read my posts, shared their opinions and have showcased their support! Ya’ll are the best!! ❤

I tag these lovely bloggers:

Joanna @thegeekishbrunette

Becky @becky’sbookblog

Dini @dinipandareads

Kristi @Confessionsofayareader

Jennifer @sleepingsuburb

Jess @crowingaboutbooks

Macy @afictionreality

Grace @Sheheartsfiction

If I tagged you and you have already done this, so sorry! And if you do decide to do it, have fun! 🙂

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Characters

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It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday!!! And for this week’s prompt, its all about characters! So I decided to talk about my favorite female and male leads! This was a very hard list to create since I had to narrow it down to only 10. In addition, I wanted to create an even distribution so I decided to list my top 5 female leads and my top 5 male leads. Otherwise, we would have a pretty long list HAHA

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Without further ado, let’s move on towards the list!

Female Protagonist 

Laia An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I think Laia is a perfect example of a dynamic character. When reading the first book of the series, I was amazed at how her character grew from a scared, young girl to a strong and determined fighter. In addition, she grew to be more expressive of her feelings and I loved that aspect of her since it showcased a balance of strength and emotion.

KatnissThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss will forever be iconic in YA novels. I loved that even despite going through physical, emotional and mental challenges, she still remains strong. In addition,  I  loved reading about the immense care and love she had for her sister since that was something I could relate to since I have a younger sister as well. Although I do love Katniss, I also feel that a lot of the main characters in YA emulate her personality. Sometimes it feels so repetitive and becomes extreme that they seem strong but also void of emotion. In these cases, I can’t help but wish for something different and fresh.

Audrey WadsworthStalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 

Audrey was superior in many ways. I love that she did not fall into the typical YA warrior archetype. She was powerful in her own way through her knowledge and pursuit of studying forensic science. She also has a spark to her character and her banter with the male lead in this series is absolutely hilarious! 🙂

CressThe Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Cress was simply adorable. I loved how she was a cute fangirl with her head full of fairy tale/ drama moments but at the same time she was a wiz when it came to computer tech. Her hacker skills were extraordinary as was her character growth. I loved reading from her perspective since I could relate to certain situations which she went through.

Delilah BardA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

Well. Is there anything we can say about her? She is just amazing! The amount of tenacity, intelligence, strength is stunning to see in her character. While I did not appreciate her reasons for being a thief in the beginning of the novel, I do believe that she does act rationally and at the end, she matures to a fantastic character. It was honestly hard to say goodbye when the series ended 😦

Male Protagonist 

Thomas Creswell –  Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 

OH. MY. GAWD. Thank the lord I started reading Stalking Jack the Ripper series this year or else I would have never discovered this man LOL Thomas is a character who captured me from the start. He bears a close resemblance to Captain Thorne (that’s probably why I adore him so much) but I really loved reading about his approach to solving issues in the book. He also has a great level of intelligence in criminal investigations and always supports the female lead in this series which loved seeing.

EliasAn Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

One of the main reasons why I love Elias is because he was able to discover where his faults lie and was willing to fix them. Moreover, he was open about it and was not afraid to discuss it and why is was important for him to correct it (more so in the first book). I also loved that as a soldier, he was brave yet had empathy unlike his other fellow companions within the training academy. GOALS!

Captain ThorneThe Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Captain Thorne is probably one of the best characters in the Lunar Chronicles series. Every time I would read one of scenes, I could not help but smile at his hilarious comments! I also think he had really great character arc in this series as well and it was great to see his growth. (Ahem . . Why is this almost turning into a Book Boyfriend tag . . .Focus ASH! FOCUS!)

KellA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

Kell is a sweetheart. Yes, he is an Antari and wields powerful magic but he will always hold a special place in my heart. Throughout the series we see Kell grow from a lonely young man to one who discovers his true family had always been beside him. It was heartwarming to see the brotherhood between him and the future heir of Red London as well as the dynamics with the female lead Lila. I truly believe he is a character who showcases a perfect example of strength, vulnerability and compassion.

Kaz BrekkerSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The Six of Crows duology is one of my favorite series of all time. One of the main points of interests in this novel are the characters and Kaz Brekker as the mastermind leader of the Dregs was phenomenal. I loved that you never really knew what he was thinking or planning to do and that made it even more interesting to read about him and where the story might go. Despite being criminals, I appreciated that the author provided glimpses to their pasts since it does help ground them and even help us as readers to relate to them. These are perfect cases where when you take away the labels and stereotypes, we see that at the end we are all human and we all feel the same way.

And this is my list! Who are your favorite characters? Did we have any similarities?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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BookCon 2019 Haul + Experience

BookCon

EXPERIENCE 

My first ever BookCon! I will say that part of me found it to be quite overwhelming since there were times when I was super intimidated by the crowd and wanted to crawl into a cave being the introvert that I am. HAHA But at the end of the day, it was definitely a great experience and I ended up walking away with a ton of books which I am super excited to share with you in this post!

So for some highlights – I managed to randomly bump into Sasha Alsberg and Stephanie Garber! AND OMG i WAS FangIrling So Hard! Ahem . . . thankfully my coffee kept me steady and I was able to speak coherently. Sasha was so sweet and I made sure to let her know how her channel actually sparked me to dive into my passion for reading, start blogging, instagram, etc. Stephanie was amazing as well! I rambled a bit on how Finale wrapped me in a bundle of emotions and that the series now become one of my favorite series of all time! I honestly can’t wait for her project! i am sure it will be fantastic!

ARCs/ Book Signings

*All Summaries below provided by GoodReads*

Cursed by Frank Miller and Thomas Wheeler From Simon Teen/ Riveted

Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.

But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?

Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave…

That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.

Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.

But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade.

SuperNova by Kass Morgan From NOVL

(Sequel to Light Years – Summary may contain spoilers to the first book)

The 100 meets Ender’s Game in the captivating and romantic sequel to Light Years from New York Times bestselling author Kass Morgan!

With a galaxy on the brink of war and loyalties divided, the friendship of four Quatra Fleet cadets will be tested as their greatest enemy closes in.

Arrested for espionage, Orelia’s future is looking bleak . . . until the Quatrans make her a surprising offer that could save her life — and the lives of everyone in the galaxy. Reeling from a betrayal, Arran finds comfort in a sympathetic boy from Loos, someone who understands how hard it can be to fit in. But is it enough for Arran to forget his heartbreak? Meanwhile, Cormak’s position at the Academy is in jeopardy when someone discovers his own treasonous secret, putting everything he’s fought for in peril. And Vesper is on the brink of becoming the superstar officer she always dreamed she’d be . . . until she uncovers a conspiracy that shakes her faith in the Quatra Fleet to its core.

As secret machinations come to light, these cadets will be forced to overcome their differences and band together to restore peace to their worlds.

Kass Morgan, the bestselling author of The 100, once again delivers pulse-pounding action and glittering romance in this sequel to Light Years.

Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart From NOVL

(Sequel to Grace and Fury – Summary may contain spoilers to the first book) 

A fierce sequel full of sisterhood, heart pounding action, betrayal, and intrigue in the royal court in a series that “breathes new life into the feminist story of oppression and resistance” (Publisher’s Weekly).

Banished by Asa at the end of Grace and Fury, Nomi and Malachi find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. Their only hope is to find Nomi’s sister, Serina, on the prison island of Mount Ruin. But when Nomi and Malachi arrive, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina–polite, submissive Serina–is its leader.

Betrayal, grief, and violence have changed both sisters, and the women of Mount Ruin have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of their island prison. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they’ll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.

Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, and build something better in its place.

The stakes are higher and the battles bolder in Tracy Banghart’s unputdownable sequel to Grace and Fury.

A Match Made in Mehendi From NOVL

Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers-with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.”

But Simi is an artist, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with relationships, helicopter parents, and family drama. That is, until she realizes this might be just the thing to improve her and her best friend Noah’s social status. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course.

But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.

Into the Crooked Palace by Alexandra Christo From LitJoy Crate

Into the Crooked Place begins a gritty two-book YA fantasy series from Alexandra Christo, the author of To Kill a Kingdom.

The streets of Creije are for the deadly and the dreamers, and four crooks in particular know just how much magic they need up their sleeve to survive.

Tavia, a busker ready to pack up her dark-magic wares and turn her back on Creije for good. She’ll do anything to put her crimes behind her.

Wesley, the closest thing Creije has to a gangster. After growing up on streets hungry enough to swallow the weak whole, he won’t stop until he has brought the entire realm to kneel before him.

Karam, a warrior who spends her days watching over the city’s worst criminals and her nights in the fighting rings, making a deadly name for herself.

And Saxony, a resistance fighter hiding from the very people who destroyed her family, and willing to do whatever it takes to get her revenge.

Everything in their lives is going to plan, until Tavia makes a crucial mistake: she delivers a vial of dark magic—a weapon she didn’t know she had—to someone she cares about, sparking the greatest conflict in decades. Now these four magical outsiders must come together to save their home and the world, before it’s too late. But with enemies at all sides, they can trust nobody. Least of all each other.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (Book Signing) – Joan He is so down to earth and awesome! I always love reading novels with an Asian setting and she made sure to recommend me some – Spin the Dawn, Tiger at Midnight and The Candle and the Flame. Will definitely be adding those to my never ending TBR!

Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.

Queen of the Conquered by Kheryn Callender (Book Signing)

An ambitious young woman with the power to control minds seeks vengeance against the royals who murdered her family, in a Caribbean-inspired fantasy world embattled by colonial oppression.

Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik. When she was a child, her family was murdered by the islands’ colonizers, who have massacred and enslaved generations of her people—and now, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.

When the childless king of the islands declares that he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney uses her ability to read and control minds to manipulate her way onto the royal island and into the ranks of the ruling colonizers. But when she arrives, prepared to fight for control of all the islands, Sigourney finds herself the target of a dangerous, unknown magic.

Someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. As the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers… lest she become the next victim.

Queen of the Conquered reckons with the many layers of power and privilege in a lush fantasy world—perfect for readers of V. E. Schwab, Kiersten White, and Marlon James.

The Tenth Girl From Fierce Reads – I happen to receive this book by chance since this was a mystery ARC that Fierce Reads announced on twitter. I did not know about it until one of my fellow book readers advised me and I was so fortunate that they still had a copy. And its a paranormal thriller, so I am super excited for this one!

Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

Eight Will Fall From Fierce Reads

In a land where magic is outlawed, eight criminals led by seventeen-year-old Larkin are sent on a mission to kill an ancient evil that plagues their kingdom. Descending into an underground realm full of unspeakable horrors, Larkin and her party must use their forbidden magic to survive what lies in wait, teeth sharp and jaws deadly. 

As she fights for her life, Larkin finds a light in Amias, a fellow outlaw with a notorious past. Soon Larkin and Amias realize their fates are entwined. The eight of them were chosen for a reason. 

But as the dangers multiply and her band of felons are picked off one by one, Larkin must confront a terrible truth: They were never meant to return. 

Sarah Harian crafts a thrilling, high-octane fantasy adventure that explores the often-thin line between light and darkness, good and evil.

Beyond the Black Door From Fierce Reads

Kamai was warned never to open the black door, but she didn’t listen …

Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.

But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.

When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.

A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom …

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco

Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends. 

And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….

Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau

Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin’s Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.

Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins…not even to save the woman he can no longer live without.

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TIPS AND ADVICE

Plan Ahead – You have no idea how planning ahead actually helped me with my first trip to BookCon. When I initially started researching about other reader’s experiences, nearly everyone had planned out a full itinerary but trust me, it helps so much. When you first arrive to the Showfloor, it can be overwhelming since there are so many publishers, vendors, and exhibitors who have booths throughout the show. Therefore,  one of the most strategic things you can do is plan ahead. So for a lot of first timers, you may ask – How can I? I would suggest following your favorite publishers on social media such as Twitter, Instagram, etc. They will most likely release their schedule within 2 weeks before the show starts and sometimes even earlier so it is within our best interest to compile a schedule of all the events and arc drops which we want to attend. In addition, BookCon would also release a schedule of all panels and autograph sessions as well so make sure to include them as well.

Autograph Sessions – The autograph sessions at the main Autographing stage will be revealed online a couple of weeks before the show. BookCon enables one general ticket holder to sign up for two autographing sessions per day. These tickets tend to go fast so if you really want to meet an author I would advise that you try to sign up for them as soon as you can.

Ticket Information – There are 3 type of tickets: Weekend, Saturday and Sunday. There are also VIP tickets available as well. Tickets will need to be purchased online and if you are able to purchase them early, they will be mailed to you a few weeks before the show. I highly suggest that you purchase your tickets as soon as you can so you can avoid the Will Call Line in the morning of the show and that can take up time.

Earlier the Better – I am pretty sure a lot of other bookbloggers have stated this before but depending on your schedule and what you specifically want to do at BookCon, try to arrive early so you will be able to attend these events. Each year, the convention grows and grows so it is best that we keep this mind and prepare ourselves when attending the show.

Pack Snacks – With the time you spend waiting for ARC drops, autographing lines or simply strolling through the show floor, I guarantee that you will loose track of time there. I most certainly did since I had a pretty packed schedule! Therefore, I highly suggest that you pack some snacks to keep you energized throughout the day just in case some events may run longer than expected.

Take a Light Jacket/Sweater/ Comfortable Shoes – The convention center can get quite cold so I would suggest that you bring a light sweater. In addition, it is highly advisable that you wear some comfortable shoes. I made sure to go in with some flats and I was so thankful that I did. But even with the amount of walking and standing in line, my legs were still screaming at me by the end of the event HAHA

Choose ARCs which you are interested in – ARCs are meant to serve a promotional purpose for authors so when you are waiting for an ARC, please try to get ones which you are interested in and are willing to provide a review on GoodReads, BookBlog, Amazon etc. This would even help newer authors to gain recognition for their work and it would overall help in the actual release of the novel.

Be Polite – This one is pretty self explanatory but please be polite while waiting in line. I did not have too many issues during the ARC drop lines but I have heard some unpleasant accounts from other attendees so please be courteous to one another and be polite. We are all book lovers here and we all want to have a good time in the event. So even if  you are unable to receive the book you want, then no worries – You can always get it when it releases! Hakuna Matata! 🙂

I hope you all enjoyed this post! Have you ever been to BookCon? How was your experience?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post! 🙂

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Grace and Fury Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Tracy Banghart

Publication: July 31st 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 320

Rating: 4/5

GoodReads

Since I managed to get the ARC of the second book (Queen of Ruin) at BookCon, it’s about time I picked this one up! I was actually surprised on how this book turned out! While I do feel that there were some YA tropes which I recognized from previous books, I think author did a great job in moving the storyline in a different direction which overall delivers the main theme of feminism and strength. In addition, this is also a great novel to pick up if you are ever in a reading slump since its very fast paced and I ended up enjoying it! 

Summary (From GoodReads)

In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace – someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

Characters:

Serina – Patient, Submissive (at first) – Serina’s character growth is phenomenal and I think she was my favorite part of this entire novel. She is initially very accepting to all the societal rules around her and believes that as a woman, that’s how she is supposed to be but then later develops a boldness and courage which I really appreciated.

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Nomi – Strong, Determined, Outspoken – While Nomi’s story was not as dynamic as Serina’s, we still see developing tension and court politics moving into play. She faces a lot of struggles as well and takes a powerful blow to her inner strength with her experiences.

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Final Thoughts

While I do feel like there were similar tropes such as the Cinderella fairytale and the Hunger Games dystopia setting, I liked that it focused on feminism and the sister relationships which I love to see in books mostly because they remind me of me and my sister. At first,  I was not able to connect as deeply with these characters and it could be because it moved too fast but with the progression of the story and the character growth, I found myself developing a connection with them over time. I will also say that there was one instance which I found to be predictable but I think this is also because of the amount of YA novels I have read so it was not much of a surprise to me. 

But let’s talk about the positives! The main points of interest is that we follow these two sisters who are placed in situations which are completely out of their comfort zone and they endure serious challenges which overall contribute to their character growth.  We do have to two perspectives (one for each sister) and I ended up preferring to read Serina since her plot dynamic suddenly flips to the most extreme and I was so curious and interested to see how her journey would progress! I think she is faced with so much challenges which push her to her limits and she develops into a strong leader and I loved seeing that growth! Nomi is also a character I admired. She is already strong in her values and beliefs from the very beginning but she finds herself caught in a web of court politics and it is interesting to see her navigate through this web which she has never come across before.  

In terms of plot, I think the story only gets interesting about halfway through the novel. We see plot lines growing more intricate and dangerous. We see the stakes being raised even further. While the beginning does incorporate a lot previous YA tropes we have seen before, I do believe that the author only started to differentiate the storyline about midway through the novel. One of my favorite scenes (not a spoiler) is the cliff scene where we see a build up of a lot emotions and it was handled very well: “You fight back. Always.”

Overall, I definitely think this was a satisfying opening to a series. While there were some similar tropes used, we do end up receiving a different storyline by the end along with a dynamic character growth which I loved seeing unfold. BUT THAT CLIFFHANGER ENDING THOUGH!!! 😦

Have any of you read Grace and Fury? What did you think of it? And stay tuned for my review of the second book coming soon!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon in another bookish post!

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Finale Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“A true Queen’s power isn’t in her crown.” 

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publisher: May 7th 2019 by Flatiron Books

Pages: 496

GoodReads

Rating – 5/5

OMG FINALLY!!!

Every time I pick up one of the books in this series, I’m whirled away to another realm drenched with magic, thrill and enchantment. There is no clear way to describe the magic of Caraval and I think that is what makes this series so unique and special. Its riveting, whimsical and dangerous but also grounded by themes of love and sisterhood.

Summary from GoodReads: (Since this is the final book in the series, there are some minor spoilers to the first two books in the summary below):

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…all games must come to an end.

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything. . .

Characters:

Scarlet – Scarlet now takes control and takes risks – something she never done before and it was refreshing to see that. While we do know that Scarlet has an inner strength to her in the first book, she expands on it with a touch of boldness in this one.

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Julien – Lord. This man. Confidence. Carefree. Jovial. And Witty AF. What’s not to love about him? I swear as soon as he appeared the amount of post it tabs I used increased exponentially!  I was living for the ScarletxJulien moments in this novel since they were all so satisfying. We do see an dynamic change in Julien from the first book and I liked seeing that growth. OMG and I absolutely adore the way he calls Scarlet “Crimson” LOVE IT!

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Tella – Well we all know that Tella is quite the firecracker! She is bold and sometimes rash in her decisions than her cautious sister which is probably why it gets her into some troublesome situations. Nevertheless, I have always appreciated her character for her fearlessness since its a trait that I wish I had!

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Legend – Hmmm what can I day about Legend? He is borderline dangerous with his manipulative nature but his charm, explosive magic and devious schemes have a way of entrancing us. I will say I was not a huge fan of the push and pull between Tella and Legend and I preferred the relationship between Scarlet and Julien but that’s just me 🙂

Final Thoughts:

Stephanie Garber really grew with her writing. The imagery is spectacular. The growth of the story and world is brilliantly done. The dialogue is amazing. The pacing is perfect that you can’t help but fly through the pages. Within the first chapter I was hooked! I also loved the abundance of quotes in the novel which are hard hitting!

“Occasionally, there are minutes that get extra seconds. Moments so precious the universe stretches to make additional room for them.” 

“She looked the way Love might have looked if Love in a mirror, infectiously happy and radiantly beautiful.” 

The concept of utilizing the Deck of Destiny and providing characterization for each of the fates/cards was such a phenomenal idea. Stephanie Garber continued to build on the story from the previous novels and as a reader you can feel the story lines intertwining and building upon one another. With the added intricacy of the story, it is clear that the author spent an enormous amount of effort devising the plot lines and developing a seamless flow to the story. There are just so many twists and turns which keeps you on the edge of your seat and I have to say that this series has now become one of my favorite series of all time! 

Side Note –  I also randomly bumped into Stephanie Garber at BookCon this past weekend and OMG I was FanGirling so hard HAHA She is just the sweetest person ever! And Stay Tuned for my BookCon Haul and Experience post coming soon!

Have any of you read Finale yet? What were your thoughts on it?

Until next time, keep reading and i will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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