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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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:

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

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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 – Auto Buy Authors

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Hello everyone! It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday and this week’s prompt is all about our favorite authors and which ones we would most likely auto buy from. I will say that it was a bit difficult to come up with 10 authors since I only thought of 6; but nevertheless, I find their work absolutely amazing and I hope you enjoy reading!

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!

Marissa Meyer

The first author I thought of when reading this prompt had to be Marissa Meyer. Ever since her Lunar Chronicles series, I was absolutely addicted to her stories and writing style. I grew to be an even bigger fan after Heartless which was a backstory of the Queen of the Hearts and that was such an interesting take on fairy tale re-tellings since there is not a lot of literature which focuses on the villains. I am currently on the recent Renegades series and while it is not my favorite of her works, it is definitely one that I will be continuing on with.

 

Victoria Schwab

Now who doesn’t love Victoria Schwab? She is one of the authors I truly admire since she offers such diverse characters and intriguing stories/ worlds which we can’t help but drown into. Along with her writing skills and amazing story telling capabilities, it’s no wonder why she is so revered within the book community!

 

Stephanie Garber

The Caravel series by Stephanie Garber easily became one of favorite series of all time. The world is so different from anything else I have read and her themes of sisterhood, strength and love was beautifully interlaced throughout the series. Since this series has come to a close, I am so curious as to what project she will attempt in the future but I will for sure be picking up her next book!

 

Kerri Maniscalco

This series soon became a favorite of mine. After hearing many positive reviews about the first book, I really wanted to see what all the hype was. With the combination of amazing characters, hilarious banter and a thrilling plot line, I was completely hooked on this series and I can’t wait for the final book!

 

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Sabaa Tahir

The Ember in the Ashes series was an auto buy for me. I loved the first novel and as soon as I read it, I couldn’t wait for the next installment. She is amazing in developing plots where there are high stakes, danger and never ending twists and turns. I am eagerly anticipating the release of her final book to this series and I will for sure be picking up whatever future project she plans to do.

 

Sarah J. Maas

Ever since I picked up the first book of the Throne of Glass series, I was automatically hooked. Sarah is absolutely brilliant in building her world, creating stunning characters and writing addictive plots which we can’t help but be consumed by. I do understand that there is some controversies with her novels which she tried to correct with her latest releases but as a whole, I do think she is amazing in crafting superior fantasy worlds.

Hope you all enjoyed reading! Who are your auto buy authors?

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

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“I’m always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.” 

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Published: January 29th 2019 by Bloomsbury YA

Pages: 484

Rating: 4/5

GoodReads

Ok. That ending had me shook! OMG!! It’s going to make an interesting set up for the next book and I will definitely be reading the sequel! It took me some time to get used to the characters, but after a few pages, I found myself glued to the book eagerly anticipating what’s going to happen next. If you have not picked this one up, I highly urge you do because it was an awesome twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale!

Summary (from GoodReads):

Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Characters

Harper – Expressive; Compassionate; Strong; – What can I say? I really enjoyed reading Harper’s perspective. She is a strong character but I liked her since she was different from the typical YA leads since she exhibits a balance of strength and emotion. She loves her family – her brother and mother  – and is persistent to find them. Despite having Cerebral Palsy, she is still a determined individual and that’s what makes her so inspiring.

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Rhen – Strategic; Disheartened; Trapped – Rhen was just the sweetest. In the beginning we see him to be a tortured soul whose glimpses of hope are constantly being depleted and we can’t help but feel for him.

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Grey – A character who slowly grew on me. Initially, it was hard to discern his qualities due to his stoic personality; however, as time went by he slowly started to reveal layers of his character and it made me appreciate him even more.

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Final Thoughts 

I will admit that it took quite some time for me to get into this novel. I am not sure why but it did progress quite slowly in the beginning. However, within the 100 page mark, I noticed a lot of interesting dynamics and plot elements being introduced and this caused me to grow more intrigued. Since this book was described to be a Beauty and the Beast re-telling, I already had preconceived notions on how the plot would play out but I was surprised to see the different elements which were being introduced into the story. I found it to be refreshing since it offered a new look into a world which was build within this fairy tale backdrop.

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I also appreciated the hilarious banter between the characters! It brought a lighter atmosphere to the novel’s dark ambiance. The novel also intertwines the themes of inner strength and resilience against the most overwhelming and gruesome tribulations. It was amazing to see these characters go through this incredible journey to become the best version of themselves. The romance was a slow burn and I loved seeing the progression of their relationship and how they grew to be bit more open with each other. It made everything quite believable. The only reason why I could not give this book a complete 5 star rating was because I ended up questioning a few plot details here and there and I did have a couple of questions on certain issues. But overall, I really enjoyed it and I personally think this is the best Beauty and the Beast re-telling out there!

Have any of you read A Curse so Dark and Lonely? What did you think of it?

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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WWW Wednesday – July 3rd 2019

Hello everyone! Hope you all are having a fabulous week! I’m here to share with you all my current reading status through a WWW Wednesday 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?

 

Currently Reading:

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I finally managed to pick this one up and I am so excited! From all the positive reviews on GoodReads and bookblogs/booktube, I knew I just had to start this ASAP. Plus, it incorporates my favorite genres – Fairy Tale Re-tellings/ Fantasy. I also heard that there is a representation of the main character with Cerebral Palsy so I am really interested to see how the author incorporates this into the novel. Have any of you read A Curse so Dark and Lonely? What did you think of it?

Recently Finished:

queen of ruin

A stunning conclusion to an awesome duology of sisterhood, feminism and strength. If you are looking for something to get you out of a reading slump, I highly suggest that you try this series. It is really fast paced with an amazing character development that is sure to capture your attention! I recently finished a review post for this book and you can check it out HERE

Read Next: 

Well, is quite obvious at this point that I cannot have just one book for this answer HAHA I need some choices 🙂 For now, these are the books I am really looking forward to read next. I have a feeling it might be either The Cruel Prince (ahem . . let’s face it, I am way behind LOL) or Sorcery of Thorns (the summary is just too intriguing).

How about you guys? Have you read A Curse so Dark and Lonely? And what are your next reads?

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

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Queen of Ruin ARC Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Tracy Banghart

Publication: July 2nd 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 336

Rating: 4.5/5

A huge thank you to NOVL./Little Brown Young Readers for providing me copy of this novel at BookCon! As soon as I finished reading the first book, I automatically jumped into the second! Talk about a major cliffhanger ending HAHA

Summary from GoodReads:

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.

Characters:

Serina – Strong, Caring, Supportive; It is stunning to see Serina’s growth from the beginning of the first novel to the second. I love how she blossoms into a strong leader who cares for the women of Mount Ruin.

Nomi – Determined, Helpful – With the results of the first book, it is understandable to see the internal struggles within Nomi and we can sympathize with her. What I appreciated was that she was willing to help to correct her mistakes and learn from them since others could have been blind to their faults and fail to fix them.

Final Thoughts:

WOW. I will definitely say that this was a satisfying conclusion to the duology! While the first book dealt more with the characters trying to understand the world around them, the sequel dealt with “the fight back” or the characters coming to terms with the restrictions placed in society and how they can hopefully create a better world.

Serina is a very different character from book one. I loved seeing her transformation into someone of strength and level-mindedness. She has the characteristics of a leader which one may not have expected from her introduction in the first book. This is primarily one of the reasons I found this series to be intriguing. The character growth was very well done! 

I really felt for Nomi in this novel. Although her story was a bit slow moving in the first book, I think we really get to see how she deals with the aftermath in a deep and personal level. The amount of excruciating pain and guilt flows through her but nevertheless she is still persistent on setting things right. 

The themes of feminism and sisterhood were interlaced beautifully throughout the novel. I love the relationship between Serina and Nomi. Having a younger sister myself, I can definitely understand the turmoils that Serina was going through and I appreciated that they were willing to support each other despite their differences. The novel goes even beyond the relationship between the blood relationship within sisters and focuses on the relationship between all women in general. I love that it places strong emphasis on being supportive of other women and encourage their growth and potential. I feel like this is a message which needs to be fully grasped and understood in order to move past the conventional ways of harboring competition and negative tendencies on those who are successful.

All in all, I thought this was a solid duology with interesting themes and dynamic characters and if you have not picked this one up, I highly recommend it 🙂

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

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Summer 2019 TBR

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Oh the TBR list . . . it just grows and grows! Especially after I completed last week’s prompt of my most anticipated reads list HAHA. I really hope I will be able to get to all of these books. It may be difficult with my classes but I will definitely try my best!

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!

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Queen of Shadows By Sarah J. Maas

I just started reading the Throne of Glass series this year and OMG its pretty addicting. I had to stop at the third book because of school and other priorities but I definitely want to pick this up soon!

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The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Ok. So this one was on my TBR list forever and since so many of you lovelies have told me that this book is worth reading I am definitely making some time to pick it up this summer. I must know what all the hype is all about!

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Having checked GoodReads on the release of this novel, I noticed ton of positive reviews. I wasn’t a huge fan of Margaret’s first book An Enchantment of Ravens and I am hoping that I will enjoy this one. Plus, the summary sounds fantastic! A girl who works in a magical library – That is my DREAM JOB!

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Vicious by V.E Schwab

If you have been following my blog, I think it is safe to say that I am quite the fan of Victoria Schwab and her novels. Especially after reading The Shades of Magic Trilogy! I really want to start this series as well since I heard nothing but great things about it! If you have any her other novels which you personally enjoyed, please let me know!

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

So it is quite obvious that I am late on the bandwagon here. Ahem . . but I will pick it up this summer I swear! Now that the third book is about to be released I think it’s probably a good time so I can binge read the series HAHA

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

How can you have a summer TBR without a few contemporary books thrown into the mix? This one seemed particularly interesting since this incorporates characters from a South Asian background and I am so happy to see some representation in YA novels!

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Another fairy tale re-telling!!! That’s good enough to convince me!

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Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

I really need to catch up on this series especially since the Supernova release is coming up soon!

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Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

How about adding a bit of Middle Grade novels for change in pace? I’ve heard so many great things about this series and from the reviews it looks like each book just keeps getting better and better so I just have to know what all the hype is all about. Since I do have a couple of major fantasy novels on my list I hope this book would give a shift in tempo! 🙂

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Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

I always had my eye on this book ever since I realized that this was releasing this year. Luckily, I was able to receive a copy when I attended BookCon this year and even met the author, Joan He who is super awesome! The summary is so intriguing, I just had to add it to my TBR list!

What’s on your Summer TBR?

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

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