Friday, April 19, 2019

Book Review: "Strange the Dreamer" by Laini Taylor

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: "Strange the Dreamer" #1
Genre: Fantasy
Page Length: 536 pages
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Date Started: April 14, 2019
Date Finished: April 17, 2019
Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Did I ask for that heartbreak? No. Did Laini deliver it anyway? Yes.

This book is so magical and lyrical and wonderful. The world is amazing, the characters are so intriguing, and I'll admit to being completely sucked in. I can see how so many people absolutely adore this book and I can also tell why there's so much hype surrounding it.

I have to say, I would die for Lazlo Strange. He's the sweetest, most amazing character every and I'm so excited to see how he grows in the next book. I just...he's wonderful. Sarai was great as well. I found her struggles really made me sympathize for her. A few of the secondary characters were quite interesting as well, though I will say that I would have liked to see even more of them, especially from the inhabitants of Weep.

The world building was pretty great. Every time I envision Weep in my head it's so pretty and I can't wait to look up fan art and depictions of it. I can't wait to see what happens in this city next. Especially with how things were left after the ending of this book. I can only imagine what will happen next in the city.

I will say I didn't think this lived up to my expectations. I think all of the hype got me thinking I'd be blown away and I wasn't. Don't get me wrong, I did absolutely enjoy this book and I had all the feels reading it, but for a book that long it just seemed like not much happened? It was beautiful writing, a beautiful world, and wonderful characters but I kept waiting for the plot to pick up and when the big ending happened I was like, "wait, that was it?" I did really enjoy this book but everyone's hype for it definitely impacted my expectations.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book and I'm excited to see how things play out in the sequel. Especially considering how my favs were left at the end of this one (insert sobbing emoji here). I would definitely recommend it to those who like fantasy and don't mind a slower moving plot!

Have you read Strange the Dreamer? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Recommending My Favorite Books


Hello all! This week I'm going to be recommending some of my favorite books. I've been reading for quite a long time and have amassed a long list of books that I absolutely love. I have 14 books across different genres that I'll be recommending today and since there's so many, I'll be offering brief thoughts and synopses on each of them. Let's just dive straight in!

First, I have five fantasy books to recommend. Fantasy is my favorite genre and I love a lot of other fantasy books, but these seem to be my top 5 at the moment. 

Up first is Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. This is all about an assassin named Celaena Sardothien who has been locked up in the slave mines of Endovier for a year when the Crown Prince comes to offer her a deal: her eventual freedom in exchange for fighting in a competition to become the King's Champion. But when fellow competitors start showing up dead, Celaena must figure out who it is before she comes next. This series has a wonderful blend of magic, badass-ery, and more! It's my all time favorite series and is complete with 7 books as well as a collection of novellas. Links: Goodreads, My Review

And, unsurprisingly, my next recommendation is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. One day while Feyre is out hunting in the woods, she kills a wolf. When a fae prince shows up on her doorstep claiming the wolf as one of their own, she's dragged to fae lands as punishment. Romance and magic starts to bloom as Feyre discovers she is the only one who can break the ancient curse on the land...or doom them forever. The series is such an amazing one and I absolutely love it. The first trilogy is complete with a sequel novella already out and a spin-off novel coming next year. Links: Goodreads, My Review

Up next we have a new favorite I discovered this year that I've absolutely fallen in love with: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. This book is all about a Cairo con-woman named Nahri who accidentally summons a djinn warrior during one of her cons. She discovers that her childhood stories of djinn are real and there's a magical city hidden across the desert that she's connected to. This world is so magical and the story is just amazing. This will be a completed trilogy in January of 2020. Links: Goodreads, My Review

Next we have a new favorite as well: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. "Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home. Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.  All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch" (synopsis from Goodreads). I love everything about these characters and the story is just so fun. Links: Goodreads, My Review

My last fantasy recommendation is Furyborn by Claire Legrand. "The stunningly fantasy follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it. When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable--until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire's heart is more terrible than she ever imagined. As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world--and of each other" (synopsis from Goodreads). I am absolutely obsessed with this book and the second one comes out in May!  Links: Goodreads, My Review

I have two loosely thriller/mystery books up next. The first is Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. This is set in the late 1800s and follows Audrey Rose, a girl trying to escape her father and society's expectations in order to study forensic science under her uncle. When a string of bodies is left across London, Audrey Rose must team up with fellow-apprentice Thomas to uncover who's behind the murders. I'm absolutely in love with the characters and their adventures are so fun. There's currently three published books with the final book coming out in September! Links: Goodreads

I also have a lesser-known book that I absolutely adore: Hide and Seek Her by H.B. Stumbo. After getting out of a rough relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Charlotte is in a dark place while attempting to rebuild her life. Enter Vance Wait, a mysterious man who starts to bring light into her life. But she can't help always looking over her shoulder. This is one of the first books I ever reviewed on my blog and I absolutely love it. The characters are amazing and this series will tug at your heartstrings and absolutely destroy you in all the best ways. Links: Goodreads, My Review

Now I have two contemporary books to recommend. The first is To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. This trilogy is all about a girl named Lara Jean who writes a love letter to every boy she's ever had a crush on in an attempt to get over them. One day, her letters are sent out into the world and things get funny from there. This is such a cute and adorable story and I absolutely love these books! The trilogy is complete now and there's even a film adaption of the first book with the second in progress. Links: Goodreads, My Review

Next, I have Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry. "Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both" (synopsis from Goodreads). This book is so addictive and the characters are just amazing. Links: Goodreads, My Review

Now I'm going to recommend two paranormal books that I absolutely love. The first is Trying to Live With the Dead by B.L. Brunnemer. This is a reverse harem story following a girl named Alexis who can see and interact with ghosts. Upon arriving at a new school, she meets a group of guys and starts to become friends with them. But keeping her secret from her new friends weighs on her and soon she discovers that someone is messing with the ghosts in town. This is such an addicting series and I absolutely adore the characters. Links: Reverse Harem Guide, GoodreadsMy Review

Up next is White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout. This is such an addicting book about a girl named Layla who is half-Warden, half-demon. She doesn't fit in with the Wardens, aka demon-hunters, she refuses to interact with demons, and both of these keep her from being like the other humans at school. Then a demon named Roth shows up and flips her world upside down by showing her things aren't always as they seem as well as revealing secrets about her past that had been hidden from her. And, of course, romance starts to bloom in unexpected ways. I absolutely love this trilogy and I can't wait to reread them. Links: Goodreads, My Review

Lastly, I have two science-fiction books to recommend. The first of which is Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It's hard to describe this book other than by saying it's absolutely amazing, but I'll try. After two rival mega-corporations bring enemy fire to their small out-of-the-way planet, Kady and Ezra - who are barely even talking to each other - have evacuate to a rescue fleet while a hostile warship is in pursuit. After a plague breaks out aboard the ship and things start to get suspicious, Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth where it is soon clear that she’s going to have to turn to the one person she swore she’d never speak to again. "BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes." Links: Goodreads, My Review.

The last book I have is The Host by Stephenie Meyer. From Goodreads: "Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love." This is definitely Stephenie Meyer's best book and I absolutely love this story. It's so fantastic and wonderful in so many ways. Links: Goodreads, My Review.

Well, that's it for my recommendations today! If you'd like to see more of my favorite books, you can find a longer list here on Goodreads. Have you read any of these books and, if so, which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below! 



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Book Review: "Escaping From Houdini" by Kerri Maniscalco

Title: Escaping From Houdini
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Series: "Stalking Jack the Ripper" #3
Genre: YA Historical Mystery Fiction 
Page Length: 436 pages
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Date Started: April 11, 2019
Date Finished: April 12, 2019
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

I'm so glad I finally read this book because I absolutely adored it. I loved being back with these characters and this story. I just...it was so good. I did have some small problems with it but my overall feelings were just "AHHH." Also, this review will be non-spoiler until the very last paragraph which I will give warning beforehand.

I loved this book. I thought it was a great addition to the story and I'm glad we got to see this journey with Audrey and Thomas. I thought it was very mysterious and also a lot more magical than the previous books. I don't really know what to say other than I enjoyed it a lot.

I love Thomas even more, which I didn't think was possible, though I do with that he'd had more page time in this installment. I also thought that while a lot of people had issues with Audrey Rose in this book, I could actually see how most (but not all) of her actions made sense for her character and her growth over the books. Sometimes there were things she did that annoyed me but overall I can see her reasoning behind her actions.

I did enjoy the addition of new characters, though I felt like I was a bit confused at times with all of the new names being thrown at us. I wish we'd have gotten to see even more of the different carnival workers apart from the ringmaster. We got a brief intro to each of them but I would have enjoyed diving deeper into a couple of the more visited characters. Also, for a book with Houdini in the title, there wasn't much Houdini in the actual plot. Lastly, I'm so glad that there were characters from previous books that got to play bigger roles in this one.

I honestly struggle with reviewing books that I've really enjoyed. With books I didn't really enjoy there's always a lot of critique but with books I loved, there's only so many ways that I can say I enjoyed it. And that's the case with this book. My overall feelings were that I loved it and I can't wait for the next one.

I especially can't wait for the next one after how the final events in this book happened! Like....just...I'm actually a bit blown away. I'm so excited to see how those events impact the next book. And speaking of the ending...I can't wait to pull out my arc of this book and see how the endings were different since she changed the entire ending after the arcs were printed. I'm very much looking forward to that!

But overall, I did think this was a strong installment in the series and I'm very excited to see where the final book goes!

*Small spoiler section*

Okay, so I liked Mephistopheles but I wish that we'd gotten less of his character and more of Thomas. I think a lot of people were annoyed by the somewhat-love triangle that was present in this book but, honestly, I thought it was pretty realistic. I know we all love Thomas and so does Audrey Rose, but she's a girl who hasn't had much experience with boys so it's not that hard to believe she'd be conflicted about the attention she got all the time from Mephistopheles. Also, it's a nice fantasy to think that Thomas and Audrey would meet in the first book and be together throughout all of them with no ups or downs, but that's not realistic either. Even though I'm still Team Thomas, I don't think this was a bad plot development. I liked Mephistopheles and was okay with the love triangle, but I still wish we'd gotten more Thomas. Also, the one part of Audrey's behavior that I didn't like was when she made the bargain to get information that would break Liza and Houdini up.

Also, can we just quickly talk about Audrey throwing herself in front of Thomas and almost dying to save him. Like oh lord that was just...I still cannot get over it. I'm going to be rereading that scene many a times. I'm interested to see how her injury will impact her and her sleuthing in the next book.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Friday, April 12, 2019

Book Review: "Invictus" by Ryan Graudin

Title: Invictus
Author: Ryan Graudin
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Page Length: 458 pages
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Date Started: April 3, 2019
Date Finished: April 8, 2019
Rating: 3.5 // 5 stars

I was so excited for this book. I'd somehow secured a trade for an arc almost two years ago and have been excited to read this ever since. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed but I'm attributing some of that to the fact I was literally hyping it up in my mind for almost two years. Overall, I did enjoy this book and thought the characters and plot was enjoyable, but I thought there was a lot of missed opportunity.

Looking back on reading this, I feel as if I can count the major plot points on a single hand, which is rough because this book is over 400 pages long. I honestly don't feel like there was much actually going on. Also, for a time-traveling crew of space pirates, there's not very much time-traveling or pirating. Yes, there's a few different time periods we get to see, but I expected so much more time-travel for a 400-page book. Still, what we did get was interesting and I wish we'd gotten to see even more of how time-travel technically works. It seems to me that whenever they time-traveled, the scene would go something like, "character typed in a few numbers, we waited, and then we were there." I just feel as if there were a lot of missed opportunities for more time-travel, more new exciting places, more everything. But, instead, a lot of times I found myself bored or wishing their was something actually going on rather than the characters just sitting around a room talking because that doesn't work for me unless I'm highly invested in them. 

In terms of the characters, I did really enjoy them even if I didn't connect a whole lot. I definitely found Far to be my favorite, but the others on the crew were also very enjoyable to read from. There were only two main points of view, but at some point or another a lot of characters got a chapter or two where we ended up with about seven total points of view, which is a bit much and could be a potential reason I didn't connect as much. I feel as if the multiple points of view let me connect a little bit with every character but not beyond that. But the main thing is that I did connect with every character and I liked most characters, I just didn't love them. 

The relationships between the characters were another thing that made me like this book a lot more. I was indeed shipping characters with each other and I did want to see how everything ended up between each of them. I also really liked how at the start of this book the main character was already in a relationship with another character because we already had that established bond that continued to grow throughout the book. 

I flew through the last 100 pages  when I was supposed to be doing homework because I had to know how the ending played out, even though I pretty much called it. The more I think on it, too, the more the ending is growing on me. I originally didn't like the ending but when I look back on it now I find that it was a good ending for the situation.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. I didn't love it but I did enjoy it though I do think that it disappointed me with all of the missed opportunities. I did think it was a fun read and what we got of the time-travel was interesting, I just wished there had been more of it. 



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Jokesters


We're back on another Wednesday with my Top 5 Favorite Jokesters! I'll be honest, this was a tad difficult but, in the end, I managed to pull together a list. I think the thing with reading mostly high fantasy is that it's more about war than joking around so I did pull in some TV show characters that I absolutely adore. So, without further ado, here are my top 5 favorite jokesters: 

Of course, at number one we have Fred and George Weasley from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. They immediately popped into my head for this prompt because they are the epitome of jokesters. They even opened up a magic joke shop. 

Second, I have Fenrys from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. He's not as much of an outright jokester as Fred and George, but in Empire of Storms especially he is always cracking jokes and making quips. It doesn't hurt that he's one of my favorite characters.

Next I have Cassian from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. Oh lordy my baby Cassian. He's definitely one of the funniest characters I've read. He's making quips and jokes all the time, and sometimes at inappropriate times. But he's just an all around funny character.

Fourth we have Stiles Stilinski from Teen Wolf, aka my favorite show of all time. From the very beginning Stiles is a comedic relief through all of the supernatural aspects and drama of the show. There are so many amazing quotes of his that I continue to use to this day. 

Lastly, I decided to go with Kitty from the Lara Jean trilogy by Jenny Han. I absolutely adore this books and Kitty is such a great character. She's the epitome of a little sister and has so many comedic lines and actions. I can't wait to see how she's played in the Netflix sequel to To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Well, those are my top 5 favorite jokesters! Honestly this list was a bit hard to form but I'm happy with all the characters I've chosen. Let me know in the comments who your favorite jokesters are! 



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Graphic Novel Review: "Saga" Volumes 1-9 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Title: Saga
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Series: "Saga" #1-9
Genre: Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy Graphic Novel
Overall Page Length: 1,402 pages
Published Between: 2012-2018
Vol 1 Date Started: March 28, 2019
Vol 9 Date Finished: April 4, 2019
Overall Rating: 5 // 5 stars 

If you would have told me that one of my favorite reads of the year so far would have been a graphic novel series, I would have laughed, mostly because I had no plans to read this series this year.

I'd been hearing amazing things about this series for a long time. I'd been wanting to read it for years, but graphic novels are expensive. Then I found out my school library had a graphic novel section and I got very very excited. And better yet, they had all 9 of these graphic novels and no check-out limit. So I got them all. 

Boy was this a wild ride. It didn't take me very long to read any of these which I'm a tad sad about. I just discovered this series and now I have to wait even longer to read the next installment. But I'm so happy that I did get the chance to read these. And now that I'm all caught up, I don't have to worry about spoilers and I can immediately jump on the tenth volume when it comes out. 

Ok, so moving into the actual review...I loved these, obviously. I will say I loved different volumes more than others but overall, this is a 5 star series for me. I think that what made it that for me is because I could read it so fast and it was so addicting. I didn't think I would connect as much with the characters because there obviously isn't much text, but the images definitely helped with that.

The characters, oh boy. I love a few, like a couple, and don't like a few. Despite seeing the backstory and motivations for some of the characters I don't like, I still can't find it in me to like them. I think they're good, well-written characters, but I don't like them. I absolutely love the main three characters, though. I just love their relationships, their struggles, their journey...everything! Just...my heart. 

The plot is definitely interesting. There's a war going on and we're pulled into these star-crossed lovers' stories while they're on the run from freelancers, their own governments, and pretty much everything else honestly. I really am excited to see what happens next with how the ending of the ninth volume went. 

I have to say I'm a little heartbroken after the ending of the ninth volume. Both at what happened and what was set up for the next installments but also because I do have to wait a while for what happens next. But in terms of being a well-written story, it was so well executed. 

Overall, I just have to say I've found a new favorite series. I also think that the story itself and the quality of art are simply amazing and have most likely ruined me for other graphic novels since I'll be expecting the same quality elsewhere. I highly recommend these, though, and I cannot wait to see where this story goes.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

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Friday, April 5, 2019

March 2019 Book Haul!


So I got a lot more books this month than I expected, but I'm totally okay with that. To break it down, one of these was a book for class (but I won't be talking about that one), two were Twitter trades, three were books I already had read, five were books I ordered all the way back in July, and one was the random purchase of the month. I didn't really spend that much and I'm excited about the books I got. Total, I got twelve books in the month of March. Let's just go ahead and jump straight in!


The first book I got this month was a preorder from February that arrived at the beginning of March: the UK hardcover of Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard. I don't know why I love this edition so much but it's absolutely gorgeous and I can't wait to display all of my editions together in the future. This is by far my favorite Susan Dennard book and I can't wait to see how the next one in this series turns out. You can find my review here

The next two books I have to talk about are
 the UK hardcovers of The City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty. I read these books in February and absolutely fell in love with the story and the characters! I'm still thinking about them months later and I knew that I needed to have these editions on my shelf. I'm planning on painting the edges of these to match the Goldsboro editions that were sold out before I could get my hands on them, so there will be an update in the future about that! Here's my reviews for book 1 and book 2.

Next, I got Renegades by Marissa Meyer. I've heard so many great things about these new books by Marissa from people that I trust. To be honest, the fact that it sounds like a glorious sci-fi adventure also is pulling me in. I read Marissa's other series and loved it, so I'm hoping that when I get to reading this one I'll love it too!

Up next was my Apollycon virtual signing order. They did this really cool thing where you could order as many books as you want by any of the 100+ authors who attended the convention to get a signed and personalized book sent to your door. I ended up ordering five titles back in July and I'm super excited to finally have them in my hands!

The first of these is Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I slowly want to collect a personalized edition of every one of her books so I'm super excited to have this one in my hands! Especially since this is the book that started the entire series. You can find my review here.

Next, I have a copy of Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. When it came down to choosing which SJM books to get, I decided to jump on this one as well. It's one of my favorites of the series and I really wanted to get a special copy since I didn't own any special or signed editions before this one. You can find my review here.

The third book I got was Kingdom of Ash, also by Sarah J. Maas. I was a tad bummed when I found out Good Choice Reading wasn't going to be doing a virtual signing for KoA because I really wanted a personalized copy of the final book. Then I heard about this virtual signing and was quick to jump on it. This book broke me in all the best ways and I cannot wait to do a reread. You can find my review here.

The next book I got from the signing was Torn by Jennifer L. Armentrout. This is the second in one of Jennifer's series that I haven't read yet, so I was like, "Why not get a signed edition if I'm going to need to buy a copy anyway?" I'm hoping to read this trilogy over the summer if I have time. If not, there's always winter break or next year!

The final book I got from Apollycon was Scorched by Jennifer L. Armentrout. This is one of her  non-paranormal/fantasy standalones and I'm super excited to branch out into even more of her writing. I think that this definitely has the ability to be a powerful book and I'm just excited to have a personalized copy in my hands.

The next book I got was from a trade on Twitter and that was an ARC of The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson. S.A. Charkaborty was talking about how much she loved this book on Twitter so I looked it up and it sounded interesting enough to make me try to find a copy to read. I'm excited to read this one, though I don't know when I'll get to it!

The last book I got this month was also a trade from Twitter and that is an ARC of Naturally Tan by Tan France. Tan is one of the members of the show Queer Eye, which I absolutely adore. When I saw that he had a book coming out in May, I knew I wanted to read it. Luckily, I was able to trade someone for an ARC. I've already read a couple pages and loved it, so I have a feeling this will be a nice, heartwarming read.

Well, there you have it! Those are all of the physical books that I got in the month of March. I'm hoping to get a lot less in April but we'll see how well that goes! Did you get any exciting books this month? Let me know in the comments below!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Exciting Upcoming Book Releases


Hey everyone! We're about to move into two of the busiest months of book releases for this year. For some reason, it seems like so many amazing and hyped books come out in April, May, September, and October. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of awesome books that don't come out during these months, but I've found that my preorders are typically pretty loaded in these four months.

Today I thought I would discuss my anticipated releases for April and May. It seems like every time I turn my head there's a new book being promoted that just sounds amazing. There are so many books releasing soon and I have a bunch to talk about so let's just dive in! 

The first release that is fast approaching is The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu. This is the first book in a trilogy (?) following Magnus and Alec through the time between other Shadowhunter books. I am so excited about this one because I absolutely love Malec! Of course, I'm thinking I should reread the entirety of the Mortal Instruments series first, but we'll see. This one releases April 9th and I actually have a giveaway for a copy running over on my Instagram!

Up next, we have a few that are coming out on the same day: May 7th. The first of these is Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I'm super excited about this one as I've heard stellar early reviews and I loved their other co-written series. It's another sci-fi story and I've heard that it has all the feels! There's also a super awesome preorder campaign going on where if you preorder the US edition and you have a US mailing address, you can get an Illuminae novella! If you want a signed edition or live outside the US and want the novella, you can get those from Good Choice Reading (purchase deadline April 26)!

The next one releasing on May 7 is Finale by Stephanie Garber. This is the final installment in the Caraval trilogy and I'm so excited! The ending of the second book absolutely shook me and I'm excited to see how things wrap-up in this final book. You can also get a signed, personalized Barnes & Noble edition from Good Choice Reading as well (purchase deadline April 22)!

Next, I'm super excited about Again, But Better by Christine Riccio. I've been following her YouTube for years now and she's one of the reasons I got back into reading. I'm so excited for her debut novel to be coming out! Also, the main character is studying in London and I'm studying abroad there in the fall so I think that'll be super cool to read about! This is another book you can get a signed & personalized copy for from Good Choice Reading (purchase deadline May 10).

The last book I'm excited for that's releasing May 7th is Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo. I had the chance to meet Maurene Goo on tour last year and she was so nice! This newest book by her also sounds so cute! There's k-pop, adventure, and more!

On May 14th, We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal is coming out! I've heard so many good things from people who got to read it early and I'm beyond excited to read it. It sounds badass and adventurous and full of magic! Again, you can get a personalized Barnes & Noble copy through Good Choice Reading (purchase deadline May 6). 

The last book I'm talking about releases on May 21st and is probably the most exciting one on this list: Kingsbane by Claire Legrand. I loved Furyborn and I honestly cannot wait to see how the story continues in this sequel! I'm counting down the days until I have this beautiful book in my hands and I can binge-read it!

Well, there you have it! Those are my anticipated releases for April and May! There's a lot of them, I know, but I can't help how awesome all of these books sound. Are you excited for any of these books? Let me know in the comments!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Monday, April 1, 2019

March 2019 Wrap-Up!


Wow. I am honestly shook while sitting down to write this wrap-up. Halfway through March I had read all of three books--all of them for school--and I was feeling very disappointed with how my reading month was going. Somehow I turned it all around in the second half of the month. Once spring break was over it was like I was on reading overdrive. Overall, I managed to read 16 books this month. Sixteen. Rarely do I ever get over 12 books a month and I'm so happy with this number. I'm hoping to carry over this momentum and at least match that number by the end of April. But, without further ado, here's my March Wrap-Up!



BOOKS READ

1.
Title: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Author: Harriet Jacobs
Rating: N/A--Read for class

2. 
Title: Sula
Author: Toni Morrison
Rating: n/a--read for class
Sula

3.
Title: Macbeth
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: N/A--Read for class
I mean, it was enjoyable I guess? I was critically reading and analyzing as I read, though, so it took me forever to read through it when I was doing the assigned scenes. Since I now have to go watch a movie adaption, I'm interested to see how it's portrayed on screen. 

4.
Title: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author: Stuart Turton
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review

5.
Title: Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Rating: 3 // 5 stars
Blog Tour Review + Excerpt

6.
Title: Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows
Author: J.M. Bergen
Rating: 4.25 // 5 stars
Review

7.
Title: Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Review

8.
Title: Saga, Volume 1
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Well this was a delightful ride. I'm cursing myself for not bringing the second volume with me to work because now I'm not sure what I'm going to do. But anyway, this was a fun graphic novel. I enjoyed the artwork and the plot but I have to say the dialogue between the two main characters was pretty great. I'm super excited to see what happens next.

9.
Title: Finding My Pack
Author: Lane Whitt
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review
On my third time reading this, I definitely am still getting all the feels from it. It's still as addictive and fast-paced as the first time around. However, I also notice how cringe the beginning is a lot more now. Still, I love it.

10.
Title: Daring Greatly
Author: Brené Brown
Rating: n/a--read for class
I think that this book was pretty powerful and inspiring. After I stopped thinking about it as "oh god I have to read this for school" and instead as "Maybe I can learn something," I ended up enjoying it. I still would have preferred reading a fantasy novel or watching Netflix, but I feel like I learned something from this read. This book is very relevant to my life. For almost everything she talked about, I could pull up something from my life that related to that concept. As I start drafting my paper on this book for a class, I have no doubt that I'm going to have a list of things I want to start using in my own life. I've already started thinking back to this book during certain behaviors and corrected them in the moment. I highly recommend this book.

11.
Title: Saga, Vol 2
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

12.
Title: Keeping My Pack
Author: Lane Whitt
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
It was definitely fun reading this. I just really enjoy this world and these characters. They'll always hold a special place in my reading since this is one of the first series that introduced me to RH. I will say I am super excited to read the next book...finally! After waiting two and a half years for this final book, I can finally read it!

13.
Title: Saga, Volume 3
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

14.
Title: Saga, Volume 4
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
I just...these graphic novels make me laugh so hard. But after reading about these characters, I also am connecting to them a lot more and I'm honestly shook at the way this one ended. Guess I'll need to read the next one immediately. 

15.
Title: Saga, Volume 5
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

16.
Title: Saga, Volume 6
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Damn this was good. Some hilarious laughable moments and some great feels moments. Definitely excited that I've made it this far and have the next ones already check out from the library. Overall, just reading this series has been super fun and enjoyable! I highly recommend this to older readers (as it's definitely got a lot of mature content).



BLOG POSTS




TV/MOVIES

On top of reading 16 books this month, I also watched quite a lot of TV shows and movies. Most of these were from the first half of the month, but I'm pretty happy with all that I watched this month.

First, I finished season 8 of Hawaii Five-0. It feels like forever ago but man, I love this show. I cannot wait until the entirety of season 9 has come out so I can get a trial to CBS and watch it all! There's just something so addictive about this show and these characters.

Then I started rewatching Arrow. I finished season 1 and got about halfway through season 2 before I kind of fell off of watching it again. I still plan on watching it here and there but right now I'm more focused on reading. Still, it's an enjoyable series if a bit boring at times.

Next I watched Bohemian Rhapsody and holy shit you guys! This movie was great! I loved watching it and, while there were a few times I was a tad bored, the rest of the scenes totally made up for it. The casting was magnificent and the music was just...so good. I've been listening to the soundtrack on repeat for a few weeks and I'm sufficiently in love.

Then while I was at my dad's we watched a documentary called The Dawn Wall. It was all about the two climbers who free climbed El Capitan for the first time. It was such an interesting documentary with breathtaking footage at times. The story was also so inspiring and I will admit I cried at least twice. Overall, I just found it really fascinating!

And then I saw Captain Marvel with my dad and sister. And oh boy was it good. I didn't realize how chronologically it takes place so much earlier than most of the other movies and I found it to be so good and a great backstory to not only Captain Marvel but also to SHIELD and Nick Fury. The humor was on point and there was some thinly veiled social commentary that I was living for. I definitely cannot wait to see more of Carol in the next Avengers movie!

Next I watched the entirety of Queer Eye season 3. You guys...I just love this show and these guys so much. I swear ever since I finished watching it I end up watching at least one video about the cast every day--whether it be an interview, a game they're playing, or something else. I just love how amazing they all are and this is such an inspiring, heartwarming show in such a tough world. I cannot wait for the next season but I'll make do by listening to the audiobook of their joint book!

Lastly, I rewatched the first season of Supernatural. It was announced that the show would be ending after its 15th season and I kind of want to watch the last season live. But since I haven't seen past season 7 and I've forgotten a lot of what happened before that, I figured I would slowly start rewatching the series. I'm hoping to spread it out over many months so we'll see how long it actually takes me and if I have the self-control to not binge three seasons in a week.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

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