Saturday, May 30, 2020

How I Get Free Books


Hello everyone! I've gotten questions here and there on my blog and Instagram about how I get free books (mainly regarding ARCs). I figured instead of doing brief comments here and there I'd do an entire post outlining how I get books for review to help upcoming bloggers. I do want to point out that how reviewers get books varies by person but these are the ways that work for me. 

First I wand to address what an ARC is. ARC stands for advanced reader's copy and is usually a paperback printed before a book's publication and strictly for publicity and marketing purposes. ARCs usually have a sentence, sticker, or something on the cover denoting that they are one of these advance copies. More often than not, ARCs will also include the marketing plan on the back cover and information about the published book such as price and ISBN. ARCs are not available to buy from publishers and they're not to be resold by bookstores or those who receive the ARCs. ARCs also can be called other things such as advanced reader's editions (ARE), uncorrected proofs, and galleys.

If you're a reviewer who receives free books for review and would like to share tips and tricks with upcoming reviewers, please leave a comment at the end of this post!  


The first and main way that I get books for review is by participating in blog and Instagram tours. These are usually run by blogs or companies in collaboration with a publisher or by the publisher themselves to promote a book before or during release. I've been very lucky in the past few years and especially in 2020 to have participated in a lot of amazing tours with different companies.

Blog tours are great because not only do you get to usually review a book, but you then get to engage with the community about it. One of my favorite things about blog tours I've been doing recently is curating playlists based on the books. To see some examples of what a blog tour post is, you can check out this page of all the blog tours I've participated in.
There are many different companies that offer blog and Instagram tours. Usually Instagram tours are more limited but often have more physical books, whereas I've found blog tours to be a mix of physical and e-books. Here are some of the blogs & companies that I've worked with in the past or are well-known tour hosts (though there are numerous others that you can find by Googling):
  • The Fantastic Flying Book Club
    • This is the tour coordinator that I've been working with the most this year. They offer a lot of different tours and the chance to not only put out a review but also add fun things such as a moodboard, playlist, and whatnot.
    • Blog tours usually receive digital copies. Sometimes there is an Instagram tour run at the same time that usually receives physical copies. Additionally, if a tour is for the second or later book in a series, hosts might receive the first book(s) if they haven't yet read them (though not always).
  • Jean Book Nerd
    • This is the first tour company that I worked with and I've enjoyed every tour with them. There is often a mix of my anticipated releases and some unknown books that also deserve the hype. They also host Nerd Blasts which are shorter, promotional posts about a book that doesn't necessarily include reviewing it. 
    • I've found that there's usually a mix of digital and physical copies for these blog tours. 
  • Storygram Tours
    • This is an Instagram-based tour company and you have to have an Instagram to participate. This is also one of the most well-known Instagram tour companies and is highly competitive to be a host for. They often have multiple books per sign-up session. Tour hosts aren't always required to review the books but they do have to post about them on a specific day. 
    • These tours are usually done with physical copies. 
  • Indiegram Book Tours
    • Indiegram is another Instagram-based tour company so you also have to have an Instagram for this one. What is unique about this company is that they focused on independently published books and authors to promote. Tour hosts aren't always required to review the books but it's often encouraged.
    • These tours are usually done with physical copies. 
  • MTMC Tours
    • This is another Instagram-based tour company and an Instagram account is required. This company is run by two book-lovers who I've followed for a long time and I've been lucky enough to work with MTMC tours in the past. Tour hosts aren't always required to review the books they're sent to post but there's usually a stronger chance of being picked for a tour if you sign up to review it.
    • These are also usually done with physical copies. 
  • Rockstar Book Tours
    • I haven't worked much with Rockstar Book Tours but it's one company that's been on my radar for over a year. They do many different types of tours and have been in work for over five years. 
    • I've found in most of the sign-ups for this company that it is hosted primarily with ebooks. 
  • YA Bound Book Tours
    • This is another company that I haven't personally worked with yet but has been on my radar for many years. I've noticed that this company features lesser-known books and authors rather than focusing on big name titles. 
    • I've noticed these are mostly ebook tours. 
  • Pride Book Tours
    • This is a new Instagram-based company that is focused on promoting LGBTQ+ books. They are very new but I've personally worked with the owner in the past on other tour companies and this is definitely a company worthy of being worked with.
    • As there haven't yet been tours, I can't say 100% if they offer physical or digital books but, as it's Instagram-based tours, I would assume they will offer physical books.  


The next way that I get books for review is through Netgalley. Netgalley is a digital review platform where you can request digital ARCs across all genres prior to their release date. In return, you're expected to read and review the book. You also have a review ratio of the number of books you've been approved for compared to the number of books you've reviewed.

This is one of the easiest ways for newer bloggers to get involved in reviewing books. In the upcoming weeks, I will be writing a post specifically focused around Netgalley. I'll be discussing how to get started on Netgalley, some tips and tricks, and offer advice for fellow reviewers. When that is posted, it will be available here. Until then, you can check out Netgalley for more information. 


Another way I get books for review is through authors and publishers directly. Sometimes this is through me reaching out requesting a review copy (though that is hit-or-miss) but most times it is through authors, publishers, and publicity services reaching out to me. I've gotten the chance to work with a lot of amazing authors and publishers to promote books that I've loved this way.

There aren't many clear ways to start working with publishers and authors directly. The first tip I have would be to build a base on your blog or Instagram. It took me a few years before I was receiving review or collaboration requests and a couple years more before I was receiving them on any regular basis. I would also recommend that all book blogs create their own Review Policy (you can see mine here) with what books they're willing to read and how to contact the reviewer. This way, it's easy for publishers, authors, and publicity services to reach out. 


The next way I get books for free is through numerous types of giveaways. While it's not required to review books that you win in a giveaway, if I receive an ARC in a giveaway I will always try to review it before it is released since the purpose of ARCs is pre-publication publicity. There are also many different types of giveaways that I will list here:

  • Goodreads Giveaways
    • I've had hit-or-miss experiences with Goodreads giveaways. I've been entering giveaways on Goodreads for years and have probably entered a few hundred by now but I've only won 1 ebook and 1 ARC. That being said, Goodreads giveaways are easy to enter and they have hundreds of books up for giveaway at any given time. FYI: you will need a Goodreads account to enter these!
  • Conventions
    • Conventions are a wonderful way to get ARCs and connect with publishers, authors, and other book lovers. Not all conventions are open to non-professionals/plain book lovers, but there are some awesome ones that are. Conventions are hosted all over the world and there are a lot held in the US across the year. Not only can you get ARCs to review, but you can meet authors and get books signed, you can attend panel discussions, and get free goodies. 
  • Publisher & Author Hosted
    • The next giveaways that I've entered are ones hosted specifically by the publisher or author of a book. A lot of times, authors might giveaway their extra ARC copies or even finished copies of their book when they have extras. Publishers also can host giveaways and I've seen a lot of publishers partner with tour companies to include giveaways with blog/Instagram tours. For these types of giveaways, you really just have to be on the lookout.
  • Independently Hosted
    • The last type of giveaway that I'm going to talk about is independently-hosted giveaways. These are giveaways hosted by reviewers or bookstagrammers (or even just regular book-lovers) on their own and not through a publisher, author, or tour company. These are quite popular for milestone numbers, such as reaching a certain number of followers, and for holidays and birthdays. I, myself, have hosted quite a few giveaways on my own. For current and past giveaways I've hosted, you can check out this page


The last way that I get free ARCs is through trading books. There are a few tags (#arcsfortrade & #booksfortrade) that people use in order to find ARCs, special editions, and just regular books they are looking to trade for. Trading is great because it's cost-effective and you get the chance to get ARCs and special editions you've been looking for. A downside to trading is that sometimes you'll see something you want but don't have anything to offer that person.

Additionally, it's important to be on the lookout for scammers (people who use false pictures of books or who don't send their side of the trade even if you've sent yours). Trading isn't for everyone, and I haven't trading much in the past couple of years, but if it is something you are interested in then I would recommend scrolling through the tag on Twitter to get started. There are also numerous Facebook groups (usually with B/S/T in the title) where trading can be facilitated as well!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Book Review: "The Tiger at Midnight" by Swati Teerdhala

The Tiger at Midnight (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy, #1)
Title: The Tiger at Midnight
Author: Swati Teerdhala
Series: "Tiger at Midnight" #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 487 pages
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
Rating: 3.75 // 5 stars

*I was provided a free copy of this book by Wunderkind PR in exchange for an honest review*

I've been wanting to read this book since it came out so when I was sent a free copy so that I could participate in the blog tour for the sequel's release, I was so excited. I read this book in just a few sittings and it was definitely a wild ride.

To be honest, my expectations were way different than what we got. That's not a bad thing, but it did throw me off a bit throughout the book. I think I was expecting a grittier, more action-packed novel but what I got was definitely more of a game of hide and seek. That being said, I did enjoy this book quite a bit.

The characters are definitely what drove this story for me. I'm a big character-lover, so even if the plot isn't as strong, I can usually find a book enjoyable if I like the characters. We follow two main characters with alternating points-of-view: Esha and Kunal. Esha is a legendary assassin and Kunal is a solider for the other side. What I loved was getting to see this enemies-to-lovers situation and follow the character development throughout. It was such a stark contrast how much these characters had changed from the beginning of the book and I really liked getting to see their journeys. I also really liked the side characters that we got to see and I'm hoping that these side characters get more page time in the next book.

The world itself was fascinating. At times I did feel like we got a lot of info-dumps but by the end of the novel I understood the world and history pretty well, I think. I always find politics intriguing in books and, while we're not in a court or in a war planning room, we see the trickle-down effects of the politics and war throughout the novel which was interesting.

The actual storyline and plot was interesting to follow as well, though I did think the book felt rather long to me. While there was a lot of action in the beginning and end, the middle just felt like the same few scenes repeated over and over with small differences and a bit of new information thrown in each. One thing that I couldn't wrap my head around was if Esha is this badass, notorious assassin who has actual legends being told about her...why is she so bad at not getting tracked and caught multiple times? That frustrated me a few times throughout the book.

Overall, I did enjoy this book and the characters. I think that there were a few things that pulled me back from fully loving it but I do think that this series has potential to become a favorite of mine. All of this being said, I do think this book set up the second one quite well and I have high expectations for that one. I have an ARC of it for a blog tour, so once I finish this review I'm actually going to dive straight in and hopefully I will love it.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Book Review: "Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria" by J.M. Bergen

Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria (Book 2)
Title: Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria
Author: J.M. Bergen
Series: "The Elandrian Chronicles" #2
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy 
Page Length: 370 pages
Publication Date: May 20, 2020
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Book 1 Review

*I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own*

I read the first book in this series last year and has a wonderful time so I was incredibly excited to read this installment. These books follow Thomas, who I believe is now thirteen, as he discovers that magic  runs in his family legacy and his help is needed to foil an enemy's plot that could impact the entirety of the world.

I really enjoyed book one. I thought it was light-hearted and fun with plenty of action and magic to keep any lover of middle-grade entertained. This book, however, developed in such a different and unique way. While we still have action and magic and the fun interactions between Thomas and his best friend, Enrique, the stakes have also risen and the book has a lot more tension throughout.

This book was a quick read. The writing is easy to follow and fall into while the story is engaging. The tension throughout also helped keep the pages turning because I wanted to know what happened next and I wanted to know immediately. This book is almost 400 pages long and I read it in one sitting in only a few hours.

The storyline itself was rather interesting. It builds on threads that were weaved from the first book and adds new information and events. There's plenty of action and fighting scenes as well as just magical training scenes. One thing that was nice is that the magic system is explained well to readers through the training scenes with Thomas so it doesn't ever feel like we're being info-dumped on. That being said, there were a lot of strategical and lower energy scenes throughout the book as well. It was an interesting balance between the two.

I will say that some parts of the novel didn't feel necessary to the overall plot line, though that didn't mean I didn't like them. I won't give specific examples because of spoilers, but there were a few scenes where I was reading and thinking, "what does this add to the story or character development?" and would draw a blank. That being said, I still enjoyed these scenes but some younger middle grade readers might find them tedious in an already long book.

I could definitely see how Thomas has grown up some from the boy we meet at the beginning of book one. He's been through a lot of tricky ordeals and stressful situations and you can see the effect that these have had on him. I also loved getting to see Enrique again. I love the value placed on friendship that is often in middle grade books and this was no exception. Thomas and Enrique always have each other's backs and I loved seeing it.

I will say that something I did get overwhelmed with was the sheer number of characters in this book. I probably should have reread the first book to refresh myself on everyone beforehand, but I found most of my struggles weren't with recognizing characters from the first book but with trying to keep all the new characters straight. I always struggle with names both in real life and in books. This means that I typically need a character to do something memorable individually on the page for me to keep them separate from the others. While a few characters did that, I ended up not spending the brain power trying to remember who's who in the frequent multi-character scenes. However, there were definitely a few new side characters who were introduced that I really enjoyed having in this book and am excited to see in the next one.

Overall, I really enjoyed this installment in the Elandrian Chronicles. I think Thomas is such a fun, nuanced character to read from and these books have a good balance on light-hearted middle grade fun and the more mature aspects that come with battles and saving the world. There was also a lot of new information that we got in this book about Thomas's family, magic as a whole, and more that I'm excited to see play out in the next book. A big thank you to Book Publicity Services for sending me a copy to review!



Author's Website     |     Amazon     |     Barnes & Noble     |     Signed Copies



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Spring Cleaning Book Tag


Hey all! It's been a while since I've done a book tag and I thought it was well overdue. As it's spring  where I am and a lot of us are stuck inside our homes, I figured this book tag was quite fitting. There's a total of 8 questions (but I was unable to find the original creator's video for it). Let's just dive in! 



1. The Struggle to Get Started
a book or series you struggle to begin because of its size

The Priory of the Orange Tree

There are a ton of books and series that I could choose for this prompt, but I'm going to go with The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. I love Samantha's Bone Season series and I've heard nothing but amazing things about this other fantasy of hers, but I'm so scared. On one hand, I love big books. On the other hand, they terrify me. I'm just so intimidated by the sheer mass of this book even though it actually has less pages than some books I've read before. One day I will get to it (maybe via ebook though).



2. Cleaning Out the Closet
a book or series you want to unhaul

Crave (Crave, #1)

I actually want to do a big unhaul because I like to do one at least once a year, but with most of my books in storage I can't do that at the moment. However, Crave by Tracy Wolff is one that I am ready to get rid of. I both received and read this book in April and...I hated it. I could rant for at least an hour about all the things I thought weren't done well in this book (or you could read my review here). Overall, it was a disappointing book that I'm going to be donating or selling very soon.



3. Opening the Window and Letting Fresh Air In
a book that was refreshing

She's With Me (She's With Me, #1)

This pick can actually be very cliche and contains a lot of YA contemporary tropes in it, but I'm still going to choose She's With Me by Jessica Cunsolo. The reason I chose it is because, when I read it this year, I had been reading a lot of high fantasy or slave narratives or other denser reads. A light-hearted contemporary that still dealt with difficult issues and real-life problems was quite a breath of fresh air.



4. Washing out the Sheets
a scene you wish you could rewrite

I honestly couldn't think of a specific scene for this prompt, so I'll go with the broad answer of "any scene where one of my favorite characters dies." There are definitely a few books I can think of where I would like to go back and change a death just for my own person love.



5. Throwing out Unnecessary Knick-Knacks
a book in a series you didn’t think was necessary

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2)

My pick for this one is The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson. I do want to say, though, that I can't actually remember anything that happened in this book. All I remember is being thoroughly bored. I want to do a reread of the first book and this one so that I can finally finish out the trilogy, but as for right now all my experiences with this book have been of boredom.



6. Polishing Doorknobs
a book that had a clean finish

Red, White & Royal Blue

There are definitely a lot that I could have picked for this one but I'm going to go with Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. There were a lot of different subplots and different storylines so the fact that it all was resolved neatly at the end makes me very happy. I also just love the ending, so that could be a reason why I think it qualifies for this prompt.



7. Reaching to Dust the Fan
a book that tried too hard to relay a certain message

Forgiven Are the Starry-Eyed

I'm going to go with Forgiven are the Starry-Eyed by Christine Doré Miller for this one. I read this last year and it just wasn't good. I will say that I appreciate the fact that the author tried to tackle a difficult topic and I wouldn't say that they tried "too hard" in relaying a message about it. However, I do think that the topic wasn't handled as well as it could have been. I have an entire review here if you'd like to know more of my thoughts. It was quite disappointing to have a book tackle dating abuse in a way that fell short.



8. The Tiring Yet Satisfying Finish
a series that was tiring but satisfying to get through


I had to pick The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare for this one. I love the story and the characters but I really struggled to finish this trilogy. The first book was amazing--I fell in love and I was so excited for what was going to come next. And then the second book happened and I was so incredibly disappointed. I was bored, I was rolling my eyes, and I wasn't connecting with the main storyline. The third book brought it back a little bit but still felt very long at times. Overall, it was very satisfying when I finally finished the last chapters because I did like the ending but my experience with this trilogy was mostly just me being bored.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Friday, May 15, 2020

Book Review: "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight (Twilight, #1)
Title: Twilight
Author: Stephenie Meyer 
Series: "Twilight Saga" #1
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Page Length: 501 pages
Publication Date: October 5, 2005
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

So I haven't re-read this in at least 8 years, if not longer, and I was quite excited about it. When Stephenie announced Midnight Sun a little while ago, my inner Twilight fan reared to the surface and I pulled my beat-up copy off the shelf because I couldn't resist revisiting the books.

I've watched the movies over the years quite often. I've read dozens of fanfictions. But it's been years since I actually read the books and, because of Midnight Sun, I've decided that now is the time to reread them. It was actually really interesting because I realized some of the things from the movie that I never remembered being different in the book. Some iconic lines and scenes from the movie are completely different or missing from the book, so I just enjoyed getting to note those differences.

That being said, on this time around I definitely noticed a lot more of the problematic aspects of this book as well as some general craft-related things that were a bit iffy. As I've grown up, I've definitely had more discussions about how this series can be problematic, but when I was rereading this book there were definitely things that made me cringe when I originally was in love with them. I could probably write a whole paper on the issues of just this book alone, let alone the whole series. But I digress. Additionally, as a writing student who's almost finished with a degree focused on creative writing, there were just some craft-related things that I noticed weren't the best.

I don't think I would have liked Twilight as much if I'd read it for the first time now. But I read this book when I was 8. I fell in love with it and this series has done so much for me and been such an important part of my life for many years. I've visited Forks, I've made so many friends, and I fell in love with YA because of this series. Even rereading this book and knowing that it's not a literary masterpiece of any kind, I still loved it.

I loved being reuinted with this story in this form and these characters. This book really did feel like I was slipping into a piece of my childhood...a familiar place that felt like home. I know it's not perfect and there are a lot of issues, but I loved rereading it and I'm excited to continue on rereading the series since I haven't read them in years.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

BLOG TOUR: "The Henna Wars" by Adiba Jaigirdar Review + Giveaway


Hello everyone! Today I'm bringing you another awesome blog tour in collaboration with The FFBC and Page Street Kids. This one is all about The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar, a book that I absolutely adored! This post is full of a bunch of awesome stuff including my non-spoiler review, an exclusive playlist, and a giveaway. There's also an Instagram giveaway running that you can enter here!



SYNOPSIS

When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: May 12th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, LGBT, Contemporary, Queer



MY REVIEW

5 // 5 stars

I loved this book. I want to start by saying a big thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club and Page Street Kids for providing me a free copy for review. I am so happy that I'm a part of this tour and got the chance to read this amazing book. 

What speaks most to my enjoyment of this book is that it's almost 400 pages and yet I read it in one sitting. The writing was so easy to fall into, I connected well to the main character, and the story itself was so rich and addicting to read. 

I loved Nishat and she's such a compelling character to read from. She goes through so much and is definitely not perfect, but she's resilient and she cares about others and she calls people on their bullshit. Even if I couldn't relate to everything she's going through and struggling with, I did feel like I could still connect to her for other reasons. Nishat felt like a very well-rounded character and watching her development throughout the book was so fun. 

The side characters were also very well done. I think Priti was my favorite side character followed by Flávia. Priti was a very prevalent character as Nishat's sister and I really enjoyed her. She also felt like a well-rounded character--even though she was there a lot to support Nishat, her own issues and life were also addressed on the page and I felt that that made her more relatable to me. There were a host of other side characters I enjoyed as well. I like that we weren't oversaturated with them but the ones who did get page time were well-written and engaging. 

I felt that this book was very eye-opening to me and I learned a lot. Our main character, Nishat, is a lesbian, Bangladeshi, and living in Dublin. Throughout the book, she experiences a lot of instances of racism, homophobia, and bullying because she's not white and straight. To me, it was definitely a moment of I know these types of situations happen in the world and I've read second-hand accounts but I've never experienced it before. One of the reasons I like books so much is because I can put myself in other people's shoes. Even if it's not the same, I felt like this book definitely helped me realize that racism and homophobia are still very big issues even in "1st world" countries. 

I loved getting to read about Nishat's culture as well. I'm not Bangladeshi so I can't comment on the representation's authenticity, but as the author is Bangladeshi herself, I feel confident that it was written in an authentic and respectful way. I love getting to read about other cultures and learn about them so I really liked how that aspect of Nishat's life wasn't glossed over to make room for the romance. One of my favorite scenes was when they were describing all of the different foods at the  big wedding and I was literally salivating while reading it and had to make myself a snack because it was making me so hungry. 

Another thing I felt was well done was the family dynamics. Family is a huge part of every culture, I'd say, but the dynamics are different depending on that culture. Not only did I like getting to learn all the different names for family members, but I also thought the way the family was written was quite eye-opening. There's a big emphasis on how your actions affect your family and their reputation as a whole. But I also just liked the sisterly moments between Nishat and Priti and the cute family moments in the car. I just loved how prevalent and important family was in this book and to Nishat. 

Another thing I liked was the romance. I'm a big fan of enemies-to-lovers tropes, though I'd say in this case it's more of a rivals-to-lovers because Nishat and Flávia aren't really enemies, just competitors in this business competition. I just really enjoyed getting to read their relational development and how they overcame different issues. 

So many things were discussed in this book: family and culture, cultural appropriation, romance, bullying, racism, homophobia, friendship, etc. However, I never felt that one thing overshadowed another. These are all things that Nishat was struggling with and I liked how they all got addressed and not brushed over. 

I said "loved" a lot in this review and I'm not sure how coherent this book is as a whole but that's just because I loved this book. I loved everything about it and it is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2020 and will always have a spot on my Favorites shelf. I highly recommend this book and I hope everyone will enter the giveaway below or go buy a copy to support this amazing author!

There are content warnings listed at the beginning of the book, but I will also list them here: "contains instances of racism, homophobia, bullying, and a character being outed. All of these are challenged and dealt with on the page."



PLAYLIST

YouTube

Beautiful People - Ed Sheeran ft. Khalid

Don't Stop Me Now - Queen

I'm Just a Kid - Simple Plan

Fight Song - Rachel Platten

I Don't Want to Be - Gavin DeGraw

Turning Out - AJR




MEET ADIBA JAIGIRDAR

Adiba Jaigirdar is a Bangladeshi/Irish writer and teacher. She lives in Dublin, Ireland. She has an MA in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent, England and a BA in English and History from UCD, Ireland.

She is a contributor for Bookriot. Previously, she has published short fiction and poetry in various journals and anthologies.

All her work is aided by copious amounts of (kettle-made) tea and a whole lot of Hayley Kiyoko and Janelle Monáe.

She is represented by Uwe Stender at TriadaUS.

GOODREADS     |     WEBSITE     |     TWITTER     |     INSTAGRAM



PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON     |     BARNES & NOBLE     |     KOBO     |     GOOGLE PLAY



GIVEAWAY

Prize: a copy of The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
US/CAN Only
May 12, 2020 - May 26, 2020
Direct Entry Link

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Follow along with the rest of the tour and giveaways here!
And check out my stop on the Instagram tour & giveaway here!




Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Thursday, May 7, 2020

BLOG TOUR: "The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly" by Jamie Pacton + GIVEAWAY


Hello all! I'm back today with another super exciting blog tour stop for The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton in collaboration with Fantastic Flying Book Club and Page Street Kids. I'll keep this introduction short because there is a bunch of exciting stuff in this post but I am super excited to be bringing this post to you today! I was lucky enough to review this book and curate a playlist for it and compile a list of my favorite quotes. Stay tuned till the end for a giveaway and enter another giveaway over on Instagram here!



SYNOPSIS

Kit Sweetly slays sexism, bad bosses, and bad luck to become a knight at a medieval-themed restaurant.

Working as a wench―i.e. waitress―at a cheesy medieval-themed restaurant in the Chicago suburbs, Kit Sweetly dreams of being a knight like her brother. She has the moves, is capable on a horse, and desperately needs the raise that comes with knighthood, so she can help her mom pay the mortgage and hold a spot at her dream college.

Company policy allows only guys to be knights. So when Kit takes her brother’s place and reveals her identity at the end of the show, she rockets into internet fame and a whole lot of trouble with the management. But the Girl Knight won’t go down without a fight. As other wenches join her quest, a protest forms. In a joust before Castle executives, they’ll prove that gender restrictions should stay medieval―if they don’t get fired first.

Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: May 5th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance



MY REVIEW

4 // 5 stars

To start my review, I would like to thank Fantastic Flying Book Club and Page Street Kids for allowing me to participate in this blog tour. I really enjoyed this book and I'm so grateful for the chance to review it and promote it to everyone!

That being said, I really enjoyed this book! I flew through it in only two sittings and it was a wild ride. I've always loved Medieval history and so I was so excited to read this book centered around a Medieval restaurant. I went to my first renaissance faire last summer and loved it, so I was really excited to be able to visualize the actual knight action scenes. 

I loved Kit. I loved reading from her character voice and I just love how resilient she is. Of course, the main plot of the book deals with overcoming the gender bias at her job, but there's also a lot about friendship, family, working class struggles, and issues with just being a teenager. The main focus was on the feminist storyline, but I liked that we got to see multiple sides of Kit and her life. It made her a much more realistic character for me.

The side characters were all very fun to read about as well. We have a wide cast of characters who are in this struggle with Kit and I thought they were all very fun to read about. Our most developed ones were Chris, Jett, and Layla while the other few didn't get much page time (not a bad thing, though). Still, I thought they were all enjoyable characters. 

I adored how much representation we got in this book. There were multiple queer and non-white characters and I loved it. A lot of time in books there has to be a "reason" for a character being queer but I liked that in this book it wasn't a plot device it was just because queer people exist and deserve to be represented too. That was one of the things that I just loved seeing throughout the book. 

The story itself was very compelling. I'm a feminist and I was just metaphorically pumping my fist in the air for most of this book in support of Kit. I did think that the romance plot line did take a bit of a backseat but I still enjoyed it. I don't think that romance needs to be the number one focus in every book, so while I did annoy some people on Goodreads, I thought that it was perfectly fine. This felt less like a contemporary romance and more a coming-of-age story of resilience, friendship, and fighting for what you believe in. And I loved it.  

I actually go to school in the same area as this book is set, so I loved that I could understand all of the little setting markers that the author sprinkled in. It was a small thing that I picked up on but just one that made me smile throughout the book. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I'm so glad I got to read it as a part of this tour. I highly recommend it and hope you'll enter both the giveaway at the end of this post and the one over on Instagram! A big thank you to FFBC & Page Street Kids for the free ARC! 



PLAYLIST

YouTube

Who Run the World (Girls) - Beyonce
We are the Champions - Queen
Fight Song - Rachel Platten
Don't Give Up On Me - Andy Grammer
Help! - Beatles
Don't Stop Me Now - Queen
Raising Hell - Kesha



FAVORITE QUOTES

"This is really all I want. A life with the people I love. Together. Eating shit tons of pancakes"

"People of all genders have been fighting for centuries, in places all over their world. But you've not heard their stories. Here at the Castle, we think it's high time for a change"

"Let's go storm the Castle."

"A little bit of my barf and a huge piece of my heart goes with him."

"Who brings a block of cheese to a laundromat?"

"It's a reminder of your dreams, stupid."




MEET JAMIE PACTON

Jamie Pacton writes all sorts of books: dark, feminist YA fantasy; contemporary YA stories with a funny + geeky bent; funny MG adventure-fantasy; and, even the occasional adult rom-com. She was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2015 and she mentored YA in 2016, 2017, and 2018. She grew up minutes away from the National Storytelling Center in the mountains of East Tennessee; she’s the oldest of ten kids; and, she currently lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband, their two kids, and a dog named Lego. The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly (forthcoming May 5, 2020) is her Young Adult debut.

GOODREADS     |     WEBSITE     |     TWITTER
INSTAGRAM     |     PINTEREST



PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON     |     BARNES & NOBLE     |     ITUNES
KOBO     |     GOOGLE BOOKS



GIVEAWAY

Prize: One (1) copy of The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly
US/CAN only
May 5, 2020 - May 19, 2020
Direct Entry Link

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Follow along with the rest of the tour and giveaways here!
And check out my stop on the Instagram tour & giveaway here!




Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here for more bookish content!

To get more awesome posts like this post, click the follow button to the right!

Get free worldwide shipping with Book Depository using my affiliate link



Sunday, May 3, 2020

April 2020 Book Haul


Hello everyone! Today I'm here with my book haul for this past April. I'm actually really proud of myself because all of these were either sent to me for free or were books I paid for previously meaning I didn't buy any new books this month! This was a goal for me since I bought so many in March and I'm trying to focus on not spending money (especially as a coping mechanism for lockdown) or growing my TBR even more. That being said, I am super excited for most of the books I got this month so let's dive in!

Crave (Crave, #1)The first book I got this month was a signed copy Crave by Tracy Wolff. This was sent to me by Entangled Teen for my participation in the blog and instagram tour for this book hosted by FFBC. Unfortunately, I also read this in March and hated it so I'll be unhauling it as soon as it's safe to go places.

45046944. sx318 The second book I got was a book I ordered all the way back in October and that is the A Court of Thorns and Roses Collector's Edition by Sarah J. Maas. I ordered this through the Apollycon Virtual Signing and it was supposed to come signed and personalized to me but with COVID the event got cancelled so I got a bookplate instead. I am slightly annoyed because I already had a Collector's Edition but I really wanted a personalized copy and, to me, paying full price + shipping + extra shipping since I couldn't get the address switched and had to pay for it to be forwarded wasn't worth  a bookplate. I in no way blame Apollycon or Sarah, but I am annoyed that COVID made this happen.

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit SweetlyUp next I got sent an ARC of The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton from Page Street Publishing. I'm participating in the blog and instagram tour for this book as well (also hosted by FFBC). I'm really excited for this one--it was on my radar and wishlist, so when I saw there were tour signups for it I jumped at the chance! I'm actually posting about this book on Thursday and there will be a bunch of fun stuff including a giveaway!

The Henna WarsThen I got sent an ARC of The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar, also from Page Street Publishing for a blog and instagram tour through FFBC. I am also so excited about this one because it's a sapphic love story with rivals-to-lovers and it's an ownvoices novel. I'll be posting about this one on May 13th so don't forget to check back in for all the fun stuff I have planned!

Bloomsbury UK on Twitter: "🌙🔥 Here is the #CrescentCity: House ...Up next I finally got my UK tour edition of House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas. The story behind this one is quite long--I was supposed to see Sarah on her UK tour when I was in London for spring break (before COVID response actually started) but she cancelled it because of COVID. I wasn't too upset since I've met her before and I wouldn't want her to endanger her health or family but I also was hoping I'd still be able to get this edition. Waterstones was nice enough to put it up for general sale and I was able to snag a copy with some extra goodies (an enamel pin & temporary tattoos). It took over a month to get to me (it shipped March 17 and didn't get here until April 21st). Shipping is already slow because of COVID so it took three weeks to get to my college since I wasn't able to change the address, and then another week until I was able to pay them to ship it to me. Overall, I'm just glad that it's finally here and I can add it to my SJM collection since it is stunning.

Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria (Book 2)The last book I got this month was sent to me by Book Publicity Services and it was an ARC of Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria by J.M. Bergen. I read the first book in this middle grade series last year when it came out and really enjoyed it, so I was very excited when they reached out again this year to offer me a review copy. I'll have a review for this up likely by the end of the month so stay tuned for that! 



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Friday, May 1, 2020

April 2020 Wrap-Up!


Hey all! So if March was a million years long, April flew by. Maybe it was because I finally got used to lockdown and was swamped with schoolwork and maybe it was because the days all blended together. Either way, it's now May and I am shook at how fast that went. I'm working through my final projects and exams and by Tuesday night I will be finished with my junior year of college (thank god). But this post is all about my bookish experience over the last month. I finished a total of 14 books in April (way better than May) and started another. I would have liked to read even more, but I can't be too upset about that number. Hopefully May can be equally as amazing of a reading month. Anyway, without further ado, here are all the books I read in April!



BOOKS READ
1. 
Title: Deep River
Author: Howard Thurman
Rating: n/a--read for class
Deep River and the Negro Spiritual Speaks of Life and Death
I read this for an African American Literature class and it was actually quite interesting at parts, especially in conjunction with lectures and watching videos of spirituals being performed. 

2. 
Title: House of Earth and Blood
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Review
House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)
3.
Title: Crave
Author: Tracy Wolff
Rating: 2 // 5 stars
Review
Blog Tour
Crave by Tracy Wolff

4.
Title: The Escape, or A Leap for Freedom
Author: William Wells Brown
Rating: n/a--read for class
The Escape; Or, a Leap for Freedom
I had to read this play for class and it was rather interesting. It was the first play published by an African-American author and had quite a bit of comedy throughout it. It was also rather short so I was able to get through it quickly and enjoy it throughout.

5.
Title: Hide and Seek Her
Author: Hayley Stumbo
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review
-reread-
Hide and Seek Her
I reread this because the third book in the trilogy finally released last summer/fall time. It's been a while since I read these books so I wanted to have it all fresh in my mind before I read the final book. I have to say, I did enjoy this book a lot on my reread through and I can see why I loved it so much the first time. It was a really quick read as well and I actually flew through. I'm even more excited to reread the second book, though, because that's really when shit starts to go down! 

6.
Title: Finders Keep Her
Author: Hayley Stumbo
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review
-reread-
Finders Keep Her by Hayley Stumbo
This was always my favorite of the books that had been released so far and, rereading this, I remembered why. It's so addicting and fast-paced. Whereas a lot of the first book focused more on the romance, there's a lot of angst and more of the thriller aspect of the series in this book. I flew through my reread and I'm so excited to read the final book tonight. I literally have been waiting four years for this moment and I cannot wait. 

7.
Title: Losers Reap Her
Author: Hayley Stumbo
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review
Losers Reap Her

8.
Title: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review
These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

9.
Title: This Shattered World
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Review
This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)
10.
Title: Their Fractured Light 
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review
Their Fractured Light (Starbound, #3)

11.
Title: This Night So Dark
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
This Night So Dark (Starbound, #1.5)
I thought this was an interesting little novella to help get a little bit of backstory on one of the main characters in this trilogy. While it technically takes place between books 1 and 2, a lot of it is told in flashback which I thought was interesting. I liked getting to see not only a bit of Tarver's history but also get to know more about this big plot point that comes out at the end of book 1 and seems to tie into this event from Tarver's past. Overall, was enjoyable and I thought it helped my understanding of the story become a bit better even if it wasn't necessary to read.

12.
Title: The People Could Fly
Author: Virginia Hamilton
Illustrators: Leo and Diane Dillon
Rating: n/a--read for class
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales
This was a really cool book to read. It was a book I was looking forward to all semester because (1) there's pictures and (2) it's all about American black folktales which I've never read before. I really enjoyed getting to read these and then discuss them with my classmates and professor.

13.
Title: Bird Brain
Author/Illustrator: Chuck Mullin
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Bird Brain: Comics About Mental Health, Starring Pigeons
This was such a cute little graphic novel and I honestly feel so SEEN after finishing it. There's so much on the different aspects of living with anxiety and I related so much to different parts of this book. Not only that, but the art style is wonderful and the author included little anecdotes throughout which I really enjoyed.

14.
Title: Incendiary
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Review & Blog Tour
Incendiary (Hollow Crown, #1)



BLOG POSTS

March 2020 Wrap-Up!
March 2020 Book Haul
Book Review: "House of Earth and Blood" by Sarah J. Maas
Blog Tour: "Crave" by Tracy Wolff + Giveaway
Stay Home Reading Rush TBR
15 Bingeable Book Recommendations (& Free Reading Resources)
Book Review: "Losers Reap Her" by Hayley Stumbo
Book Review: "Crave" by Tracy Wolff
Book Review: "These Broken Stars" by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Book Review: "This Shattered World" by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Book Review: "Their Fractured Light" by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Blog Tour: "Incendiary" by Zoraida Córdova + GIVEAWAY



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here for more bookish content!

To get more awesome posts like this post, click the follow button to the right!

Get free worldwide shipping with Book Depository using my affiliate link