Monday, March 27, 2017

Let's Talk: The "Faith" Series

Here we have another one of my series reviews! I'm writing the reviews as I read them and then throwing a couple thoughts on the series as a whole in the end! Let's just jump in because this series is 5 books long and there is a lot to talk about.

So here we have...The Faith series by Nikki Bolvair. 

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~Book 1~
Title: Love Is Not Lost
Publication Date: November 12, 2015
Date Started: November 7, 2016
Date Finished: November 8, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars 

This book drew me in so quickly and before I knew it, I had read the whole thing. I immediately bought the rest of the series. The characters just made me feel warm and fuzzy and I loved how this book was such a nice introduction of what else was to come.

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~Book 2~
Title: Brokenly Found
Publication Date: December 30, 2015
Date Started: November 8, 2016
Date Finished: November 8, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

The characters really grew in this book, and so did the romance. I enjoyed every single scene with Faith and the boys. It was so fun reading and it even got a little steamy at some points (um, yes please!). The drama of this series started to get more intense, which I really liked. All in all, I loved this book.

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~Book 3~
Title: Gaining Ground
Publication Date: April 8, 2016
Date Started: November 8, 2016
Date Finished: November 8, 2016
Rating: 5/5 stars

This book raised this whole series up to another level. The boys and Faith got even closer in this one, and the drama amplified. I loved how the boys were able to help Faith and I loved every scene where they were with her and helping her (and getting steamy with her). The supporting characters in this installment also grew and I really enjoyed them.

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~Book 4~
Title: Silent Secrets
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Date Started: November 9, 2016
Date Finished: November 9, 2016
Rating: 5/5 stars

This book blew me away. I cried, I laughed, and I am eagerly anticipating the next novel (hopefully there is one). I was a little disappointed that we didn't get the scene with her and all three guys that had been building up. I (and other readers) were really anticipating that steamy scene but it didn't happen in the book. I hope that the next book has more steamy scenes. However, this book also took the series another direction that I really enjoyed. I loved how it ended (and that plot twist!). I loved this book and this series and I am seriously hoping that there is another book added.


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~Book 5~
Title: Just Married
Publication Date: March 26, 2017
Date Started: March 26, 2017
Date Finished: March 27, 2017
Rating: 5/5 stars

While I always want more of this story and of Faith and her guys, I do think that this was the perfect ending to this series. I loved getting to see more of Faith and Tyler and Lincoln and Kayden. I especially loved that we finally got that one anticipated scene with all five of them. When I finished this book, I was so surprised that I had reached the end. I wasn't paying attention to how far I'd read and then I read the words "The End" and almost cried. I want more! I have a feeling this will be one of those series that I go back to and binge-read whenever I need a pick me up.

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~The series as a whole~
I loved this series. It was light-hearted, fun, and had just the right amount of drama for me. I love all the boys and wish I had some of my own. I am excited for the spin off series, despite wanting more of just Faith and her guys. I think that this series is definitely going to be one of my favorites for many years to come! I will definitely be binge-reading it again (probably sometime within the next year)

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Thanks for reading
xoxo
Lauren

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Unpopular Opinions Tag: 2017 Edition

I've seen this tag around BookTube and multiple book blogs for a while now and I finally decided to do my own. Opinions do change throughout the years, so maybe this could be an annual book tag! That would be super fun, if I'm being honest. You can find the original video from the creator here. Let's get into it!

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#1: A popular book or series that you did not like?

This one is pretty tough because I do like or enjoy most books I read on a basic level. However, I am going to go with the Divergent series by Veronica Roth and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. 
Now, I didn't hate either of these books. In fact, I rather enjoyed both Divergent and Fangirl. But I did not think that Fangirl lived up to all the hype. There were plenty of times that I was bored while reading the book. When it comes to Divergent, I actually really love the first book, but I can't get into the sequel, especially knowing how the series ends. 
Neither of these books/series lived up to the hype for me.

#2: A popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate but you love?

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer <3
I love this series so much despite what everyone says about it. I read it when I was young and I read it for entertainment. I didn't read it to critique it, and I simply let myself enjoy this book. I can see where people think this book went wrong and understand why some people don't like it, but I am a die-hard twi-hard and I'm proud to admit it.

#3: A love triangle where the main character did not end up with who you wanted OR an OTP that you do not like?

I don't think there's ever been a time where I was not happy with how a love triangle turned out. I seriously can't think of a single time, because usually I love both guys so much that I also go through the decision process that the main character goes through. 
There have been a few OTPs, however, that I just did not like or preferred other ships over. A few that come to mind that I just did not ship include Layla/Zayne from Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Jaxon/Sam from How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather, and Chaol/Celaena from Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (le gasp! such controversy). 
I know a lot of people wished Chaol ended up with Celaena, but I personally never saw them working out as a great couple. They're both just too headstrong. 

#4: A popular book genre that you hardly reach for?

Horror, 100% hands-down. Just, heck no!
I do not like being scared. It is not something I enjoy unless it's on a roller-coaster or jumping out of a plane. I cannot handle horror movies either. I just can't. If I ever get a boyfriend, he is never allowed to take me or force me to watch a horror movie just so he can "comfort" me when I'm scared. I'd rather he comfort me during a sappy crying movie or after the ending of Empire of Storms

#5: A popular or beloved character that you did not like?

√Čtienne St. Clair.
There. I got it off my chest. I do not like √Čtienne very much. In my opinion he was moody and dragged two girls on at the same time. I did not like him, and I honestly don't know why everyone says that he was the perfect book boyfriend. After reading "Anna", I honestly felt under-whelmed and disappointed in his character.

#6: A popular author you can't seem to get into?

I don't really know for sure if there's a specific author that I can't get into, because most authors that I read different series from I end up enjoying. However, I think I'll go with John Green on this one. I haven't finished TFIOS (I put it down one day and just never picked it up--that was 3 years ago) and I was severely disappointed in Paper Towns.

#7: A popular book trope that you're tired of seeing?

Insta-love.
I do like some insta-love when it happens over a few days, because that occasionally happens in real life. But when two characters meet for the first time and then two hours later they're saying "I love you" and acting like they've known each other for years? How about no. Unless this is a werewolf/supernatural mating story, that just doesn't happen. I can understand falling in love in a few days, but in two hours...just no.

#8: A popular series that you have no interest in reading?

The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh. 
At this time, the premise doesn't sound interesting to me. I don't want to say that I'll never read this book, but I just have no interest in it at the time being.

#9: The saying goes "the book is always better than the move". But what movie or TV show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
I liked the book just fine, but I ended up bored towards the end. The movie was a lot better, though. It cut out some scenes that I thought were boring and unnecessary. I do think some things didn't need to be changed the way that they were, but I do prefer watching the movie to reading the book.

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Thanks for reading and (hopefully) understanding my controversial opinions.
xoxo
Lauren

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Let's Talk: Caraval

Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: "Caraval" Book 1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 404 pages
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Date Started: March 7, 2017
Date Finished: March 11, 2017
Rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads Review

*SPOILER FREE SECTION*

HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK! This book messed my mind up so many times. It was so flipping good. You really do have to follow the instructions and "Remember it's only a game" because EVERYTHING tries to convince you otherwise.

I was laughing and then I was mesmerized and then I was crying and then I couldn't put it down. When I first picked up this book I was pretty interested in it, but I definitely wouldn't have picked it up without the hype (and the gorgeous cover...this was a 85% cover buy for me). Even after I bought it, I was skeptical as to if it would live up to all the hype. Let me tell you guys...this book needs MORE hype! I loved it! It was so much better and different than I expected! In my personal opinion, it 100% needs more hype. Everyone should read this book; it definitely has elements for everyone.

Let's talk Julian. I loved Julian. He was so up and down and hot and cold at the beginning but I came to love him at the beginning of the book. I definitely have another Julian to add to my book boyfriend harem. Scarlett was amazing. I honestly can say I would not have been able to be in her situation and do so well in it. She's smart and witty and I loved it. I can't wait to see what book 2 has in store for us.

All of Caraval was pretty freaking awesome. The glamour and the games and the performers. It was fantastic. I highly recommend this book and if you've read it already, feel free to continue on to my spoilery section :)

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

Let me just make a list of things that messed with my mind:
-Julian was Legend, and then he wasn't and was actually trying to get revenge on Legend, and then he ended up being one of Legend's pawns, and then he ended up actually just being a performer and Legend's brother
-There was always different theories on who Legend was and they ALL made sense!
-We never actually met Legend and he was instead being played by a person named Caspar
-Julian was killed and then brought back to life (totally NOT cool! The tears were real!)
-Tella was dead and then brought back to life by love magic from Scarlett
-Everything was a game to get Tella and Scarlett away from their father
-Legend and Tella had been corresponding
-Julian
-The whole freaking book

Alrighty then. I thought I had things figured out pretty early on. I was dead wrong. Everything was so different than I expected it to be. I loved the plot twists (I honestly didn't expect so many; maybe one or two but not the gazillions that we actually got). Everything just shaped up to be a seriously well put together book that could probably spin my brain in even more circles and make me enjoy it.

Let's just talk/theorize/gush about a few quick points:
-The tears were very very real. There was sobbing and I had to put the book down at times because I couldn't see the pages.
-I hate Scarlett's father. He's an abusive manipulative turd.
-Her fiancé is no better--he can go die in a hole or in the depths of the tunnels for all I care. But there was something in the book about Scarlett thinking she would see him again? Will the next book have a retaliation from him?
-The ending note talked about the girls seeing their mom soon. WHAT?! I am totally behind this. What will happen with it though? Is the focus of the next book going to be on them finding their mom?
-I really want to see more of Dante in the next book (I feel like he needs to be there because yes). I also think so much can be done with his character.
-I kind of ship Tella and Legend. I feel like their relationship could go beyond a mystical being who helped her out and blossom into more. Do we think Legend was the one who actually danced with her and slipped her the note? Or was it another one of his performers?
-If Julian and Scarlett have relationship trouble in the next book I will riot.

All in all, I loved this book. I loved the characters, the plot, and the magic of it all. I really connected with these characters, which I always love. I can't wait for book 2 (*sobs* January 2018? *sobs*). I am definitely going to try to get my hands on an arc of book two when I got to ALA this summer. Also, I am definitely going to be buying the UK edition. I'm not sure if I want a specific under the cover design but I know I want one. I also definitely feel the need for a movie or TV show adaption! I would love to see how the world comes to life!

Sorry for this review being all over the place, but my feelings are all over the place. Just a quick ending note: this book was amazing and I loved it so much.

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Thanks for reading
xoxo
Lauren

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Monday, March 6, 2017

#LBS500GW Giveaway!!!

Hello everyone! So just yesterday I hit 500 followers on Instagram! As I promised to my followers, I'm hosting a giveaway. Below you'll find the rules in detail and the prizes in detail. Make sure to read them fully as well as the entry requests. Also, thanks a million for 500 (I know this may not seem like many followers to some, but I didn't even know if I would hit 50 followers let alone 500). The giveaway will run March 7-March 25. Good luck and enjoy :)


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Alright, here's the fun part...the RULES:

1. You must be following me on Instagram (@laurensboookshelf). This is a giveaway to say thanks to my followers, so you must be a follower. I will be checking!

2. You must be 18 years+ or have a parent's permission (I will be needing email, full name, and/or address).

3. This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL! YAY!

4.  No giveaway or spam accounts (will be disqualified). Account must be public. Also, please do not follow just to enter and then unfollow when the giveaway is over. 

5. I will be emailing the winner within 48 hours of winning. You must respond to my email within 24 hours or a new winner will be chosen.

6. Lying on an entry (i.e. saying you reposted a photo but didn't repost it) will disqualify ALL of your entries.

7. If we hit 750 followers by the end of the giveaway, I will increase the prizes :)

8. The winning prize (a book) excludes preorders. Sorry!

9. Talk the giveaway up to your friends if you want :) The higher the follower count the higher the giveaway amount!  

10. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter giveaway (below), so make sure you log all your entries there. 

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Okay, now for the ACTUAl fun part...the PRIZES:

~1 Winner will be able to choose one physical book of their choosing (value $15 or less) from Amazon or two eBooks of their choosing (equaling $15 or less)

~If the winner is from a non-USA country, the prize will be from Book Depository (same $ value)

~IF WE HIT 750+ FOLLOWERS...
   -1 Winner will be able to choose one option from the following:
     ~Up to two physical books or three eBooks from Amazon (value $20 or less before tax)
     ~Up to two physical books from Book Depository (value $20 or less)
     ~$20 BookOutlet e-Gift Card
     ~$15 on Amazon/BD and 25 extra entries on next giveaway :)

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Good luck!
xoxo
Lauren

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Friday, March 3, 2017

Let's Talk: Trickery

Title: Trickery
Authors: Jaymin Eve & Jane Washington
Series: "Curse of the Gods" #1
Genre: Adult Paranormal RH Romance
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Date Started: March 2, 2017
Date Finished: March 2, 2017
Rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads Review

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! It's kind of hard to explain how much I loved this book without just telling you about my experience reading it. I had quite a bit of homework last night, but what did I do? I started reading this book AND finished it. I stayed up pretty late (about 3 hours past when I usually would...) but I have zero regrets. I finished it pretty late last night and I already want to reread it all (ok, confession, I have already started rereading it).

Willa is my spirit animal. Never have I identified with a main character more than I have identified with her. She's so clumsy (likewise) and constantly embarrasses herself (also me). She is headstrong and rebellious, despite being a dweller--the slaves of the sols. She stands up for herself and it's pretty much just a stroke of good luck that she didn't get sacrificed if we're being completely honest. But I loved Willa. She was so funny and amazing. Willa Knight is now one of my absolute favorite book characters of all time.

Oh lordy lords, the guys...*le sigh* So, this in a reverse harem story and that means that all five of the delicious sols Willa befriends are our potential love interests. And holy crappity they're freaking amazing. Each sol has a certain gift, and our five sols are pretty powerful. We have Rome, who's gift is Strength; then we have Yael, who's gift is Persuasion; then we have Coen, who's gift is pain (he likes to give out pleasurey-pain--a man after my own heart); then we have Siret, who's gift is Trickery; and finally Aros, who's gift is Seduction. Oh la la, all of them were so freaking awesome.

In the beginning, they were kind of arrogant and annoying (because they are sols destined to become gods) but as they slowly warmed up to our main character I found myself falling in love with them too. They're sweet to Willa (deep down) but cocky, arrogant, and kind of mean to everyone else. I love that aspect of it.

While I did have a few ideas of how the story was going to go, it definitely did not end up how I expected it ending. There were things that I did not see coming (but I should have...because it's Jane Washington and Jaymin Eve and they like making us angsty apparently). I think that the plot was very well developed for such a short amount of time. I loved the world building and I find myself wishing that I could be visiting and seeing that amazing world that these characters live in.

I was especially grateful that there was a glossary at the beginning to help with some of the terms that the characters use. While they weren't that difficult to figure out on their own (as it was just different words for words we have), it was nice to be able to check the glossary to see if I had a word correctly.

This book was one of my favorites of the year (probably in a three way tie for first place so far), and I have no doubt that this series will become one of my top series ever. I'm excited to see how the next book goes and I'm even more excited that the second book is releasing in April! April! So close, yet so far! The cover has already been revealed, and it's gorgeous.

So, long story short, I'm kind of obsessed with all five of the guys, Willa is my new-found spirit animal, and I'm drawn into yet another series that will consume my mind, body, and soul. It's flipping fantastic.

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Thanks for reading guys :)
xoxo
Lauren

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Links

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If You Liked Trickery, Try...
Trying to Live With The Dead by B.L. Brunnemer
Charcoal Tears by Jane Washington

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

February Book Haul

So I definitely didn't think I was going to be buying as many books in February as I did. In my defense, two of these were bought for me, one I won in a raffle, one was on sale, one was a preorder, and it was my school's book fair week in February so I had to buy books to support them. 

I have -- books to haul this month and I've got a few little stories about each of them, so let's just jump in. Again, I mostly used pictures from my bookstagram because I was too lazy to do a whole photoshoot when I had amazing pictures already. Without further ado, here we go :)


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The first book I got was The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg. 
I didn't actually buy this book. My sister and I went out to dinner on Valentine's Day and stopped at Schnuck's afterwards to pick up flowers for my mom. Schnuck's always has a bargain bin of books (usually with a sale like 3/$10) and I saw that they had the sequel to The Heist (which I also previously bought at Schnuck's). Now, this book is a steal when it's $3 vs $27, and I convinced my sister to buy it for me. So now it happily sits with book 1, even though neither have real shelf space right now.

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The next book I picked up was Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard.
I didn't buy this book either! My super amazing best friend, Lexi (here's her blog link), bought me and one of my other friends each a book from the book fair for Valentine's Day! She's amazing, I know. I decided to pick up this one because I'm planning on starting Red Queen soon considering I have the hardcover and the audiobook. So now when I finish that one and have my feels ripped out, I can move straight on into this one :)

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Up next we have Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard


I did buy this book myself, surprise surprise. It was on sale at the book fair for $1.99, which is a better price than anywhere else, and I decided I needed it as I had just bought Glass Sword. Now I can read these books back-to-back. I don't know much about these novellas, but I've heard good things and I think I'll like this series so it's a must-have part of my collection.

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And next is The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron.


I didn't buy this book...I won it in a raffle! My school had an After Hours Literacy Show and everyone got a raffle ticket just for showing up. You could get more tickets if you tweeted, snapchatted, or bought a book from the fair (I did all 3) and all the tickets were put into a basket for raffle prizes. There were quite a few books to chose from (including a couple arcs that don't come out for a few months) and some gift cards, but I ended up picking this one before anyone else could. It came out a while back and I've been interested in the premise, so I thought I'd give it a shot (especially since it was free).

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Next I got Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull.
This is the first book in a sequel series to Fablehaven, which was one of the most prominent series in my childhood. When I found out that there was going to be a sequel series, I freaked out. This is probably my number one book I got this month. This series has been a huge part of my life, and while it ended on a good note, I always wanted to know what happened next. I'm so excited to dive into this book (I actually cried when I opened to the first page). And it's just the icing on top of the cake that I got it three weeks before release date :)

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Next we have Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling in the library binding.
Yes, this is my second copy/edition of this book, but I couldn't resist. The gorgeous library binding goes for $27 on Amazon but it was only $15 at the book fair. So I got it...I couldn't help it. It was so pretty and I was so weak. 

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Next I grabbed Whenever I'm With You by Lydia Sharp


I had no idea what this book was before I saw it at my school's book fair, but the cover intrigued me so I picked it up and read the description, and knew I needed it. It sounded like just my thing and I'm so excited to dive into it. I'm not sure when I'll get to it (as I'm in the worst reading slump ever right now).

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Next I picked up By Your Side by Kasie West


I've been interested in this book since I first read the synopsis. It's about a pair who get locked in the library for a weekend (yes!) and start to get to know each other and develop a friendship/maybe relationship. As a book lover, getting locked in a library for a weekend with a hot guy would be the absolute dream for me. He would have to talk to me then, mwahaha. 

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Then I picked up the physical edition of One Hundred Breaths Later by Hayley Stumbo. 
(pictured on the left)
I am a huge Hayley Stumbo fan; she's one of my favorite indie authors and I highly recommend her works. I think she has a little something for everyone, especially with her new novel that's releasing later this year (it's a fantasy thriller-y thing and I'm so excited!)

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Thanks for reading guys! I hope you enjoyed and I'll see all of you back next month for more! :)
xoxo
Lauren

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February 2017 Wrap-Up

This month was an okay month for me. I read some books I wanted to read, but I kinda fell into a bit of a slump towards the middle of the month.. All in all, I read 4 books this month, which is not very many for me. I'm still ahead of my reading challenge this year (of 80 books, 20 less than last year) though, and I'm feeling good. Without further ado, here's my February Wrap-Up.

1.
Title: One Hundred Breaths Later
Author: Hayley Stumbo
Rating: 5/5 stars
Review: http://laurensboookshelf.blogspot.com/2017/02/lets-talk-one-hundred-breaths-later.html
Goodreads Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1819224871


2.
Title: Long Way Home
Author: Katie McGarry
Rating: 5/5 stars
Blog Review: http://laurensboookshelf.blogspot.com/2017/02/lets-talk-long-way-home.html
Goodreads Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1902513544

3. 
Title: Candy Boys
Author: Jo Raven
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I enjoyed this book. There was some smut, there was some fluff, it was pretty good. But there wasn't anything special. I wasn't overly attached to the characters. But I still enjoyed it and got the sequel to read (each were a dollar, so not a huge dent in my wallet). I was a bit disappointed when I was reading this ebook, though, that this specific story ended at only about halfway through the book and then a completely different story started up. But, all in all, I enjoyed this book. 

4. 
Title: Knights
Author: Ava Ryant
Rating: 4/5 stars
Holy dang the smut! While there wasn't much deep substance to the characters or story, I still really enjoyed it. It was a light, smutty, fantasy read with plenty of action and magic. I liked it. I am excited that the next book is coming out in March (whoop whoop!) and I can get more of these characters. Plus, this cover is gorgeous! I love it. 

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I have to say, my favorite read this month was Long Way Home by Katie McGarry. Just the anticipation I had for this book in the months leading up to it mixed with the amazing story just shot this book to the top of my favorites of this year list.

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I can't wait to see what March has in store for me (I'm hoping to read more books than I read this month). Thanks for reading :)
xoxo
Lauren

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