Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Book Review: "Rhapsodic" by Laura Thalassa

Title: Rhapsodic
Author: Laura Thalassa
Series: "The Bargainer" #1
Genre: NA Urban Fantasy Romance? 
Page Length: 423 pages
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Date Started: June 25, 2019
Date Finished: June 25, 2019
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

I was super excited to go into this book since I'd heard so many good things about it and, while it didn't fully live up to my high expectations, I still really liked this book. It was addictive, the writing was easy to fall into, and the story was compelling. 

This book definitely focuses mostly on the main two characters and the romance between them. While there is magic, alternate worlds, a big mystery, and some other stuff, the main focus is on these two characters. They've gone from friends to enemies to lovers and I loved seeing the growth. 

One thing that threw me off at first but I ended up enjoying by the end of the book was the flashback scenes. These scenes take place 7-8 years before this book and they chronicle the relationship these characters had a first before it all went south. Seeing their original relationship growth, how it ended, and their new relationship growth was very interesting for me, if that makes sense. I'm trying to keep it somewhat vague here so that there aren't any spoilers. 

From reading the synopsis of book 2, it looks like we're going to get a lot more world building and expansion, which I'm excited for. While we did get to explore a few places in this book, I think that we stayed mostly in the same few places because of the focus on the relationship. Still, I enjoyed the glimpses of the world building that we got and I never felt overwhelmed by any of it.

The romance was great. Honestly, I kind of dig morally grey romances in books at times. This is one of those times. Would I want to be in this kind of relationship in real life? No. But does it somehow work within this story? Yes! I was addicted and I want more

Overall, this review was kind of all over the place. It can be hard for me to discuss books I liked since I don't analyze why I liked it like I do when I dislike a book. But my final thoughts are this: I really liked this book and I'm definitely excited to continue on with this story! 



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Friday, June 21, 2019

Book Review + Playlist: "Her Royal Highness" by Rachel Hawkins


So as much as I want to dive straight into this review and discuss all my feelings, there's a few things that are different about today's post! For starters, I want to give a huge thank you to Penguin Random House for allowing me to be a part of their Summer Lovin Blogger Campaign (featuring these awesome three LGBTQ+ books during pride month no less!). I am so excited about all three of these books but today I'm here to focus on one in particular: Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins.

This is one of those books you can't help but fall into and binge-read in a day. At least, that's how it was for me. Obviously I'll have more to discuss in my review at the end of this post, but I really enjoyed this book and it just made me so happy.

This post is broken up into a few sections including a description of the book, a playlist that I've specifically curated for this book, my spoiler-free review, and a few other cool things! Enjoy!



SYNOPSIS

Regal romance abounds in this flirty, laugh-out-loud companion novel to Prince Charming, by New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins. 

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. Heartbroken and ready for a change of pace, Millie decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Soon, Millie is accepted into one of the world's most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Here, the country is dreamy and green; the school is covered in ivy, and the students think her American-ness is adorable.

The only problem: Mille's roommate Flora is a total princess.

She's also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can't stand each other, but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, but Millie knows the chances of happily-ever-afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn't a fairy tale . . . or is it?

-

 Rachel Hawkins lives in Auburn, Alabama with her husband and son, three cats, and numerous abandoned craft projects. When not writing about fake royals, she's reading about the exploits of real ones and tracking some of their bigger scandals via her #SexyHistory stories on Twitter. Her Royal Highness is Rachel's eleventh novel.




REVIEW

Title: Her Royal Highness
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Date Started: June 19, 2019
Date Finished: June 19, 2019
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

I adored this book. It was so cute and heartwarming for most of it and I was laughing out loud at  good portions of it. I have to say, I am so happy to have read this book because it was just what I needed to lighten my mood.

One thing that I really liked about this book was how short the chapters were. They weren't overly descriptive and contained just enough. Each chapter was so short that I was able to say to myself, "oh just one more chapter because they're short" and then I would end up reading fifty or more pages. It was great.

I loved the setting. I've always enjoyed the idea of Scotland but I loved getting to follow Millie around Scotland through school trips, royal trips, and just general exploration. I'm studying abroad in London this fall and this book has definitely pushed my excitement about visiting Scotland even higher than it was before.

The plot was easy to follow and wasn't convoluted like some fantasies and science fictions can get. I enjoyed the simplistic nature of it while still seeing the growth of characters, the conflict and stakes, and the overall progression of the book.

I loved the characters. I really want another book of just all of these characters hanging out together--especially Seb and his friends. We got a glimpse at them but not a whole lot and I just want to know more about them all. Flora was pretty great, though I didn't connect to her as much as Millie as the POV stayed with Millie the whole time. I still loved seeing her growth and progression throughout the story.

I think just overall I enjoyed this book so much because it's a light-hearted contemporary with such an exciting setting and background. I think a little bit of everyone fantasizes at some point in their life about becoming royalty and reading this book is kind of like the next best thing. I just...it was so cute and light and wonderful. I related so much to Millie just personality wise and I thought she was an interesting character paired with an interesting love-interest.

Enough rambling from me...I'll just leave my final parting thoughts as I loved this book and I am so glad that I got the chance to read it. I'm definitely going to go and read the other book set in this world just so that I can get more of Rachel's writing and characters. I HIGHLY recommend!



PLAYLIST

*Disclaimer---I don't have amazing music taste and these are just the first songs that came to mind for different scenes so while they might not sound amazing back to back I'm pretty happy with how they describe different scenes!*

If you haven't read the book, you can check out the playlist at this link! I'll be briefly describing what song goes with different scenes here so if you don't want to be spoiled, I would suggest listening to the playlist on YouTube!

Flora: "Cool" by Jonas Brothers

When Millie sees Jude kissing another: "Better Than Revenge" by Taylor Swift

When Millie is arriving to Scotland: "The Skye Boat Song" by Bear McCreary

The Bar Fight scene pt. 1: "Drink and Fight" by Dropkick Murphys

The Bar Fight scene pt. 2: "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen

Lost in the Highlands: "Up Is Down" by Hans Zimmer

Flora teaching Millie to dance: "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" by Aerosmith

Flora falling for Millie: "Falling for the First Time" by Barenaked Ladies

Millie falling for Flora: "Can't Help Falling In Love" by Haley Reinhart

Their first kiss: "Kiss Me" by Ed Sheeran

After their fight: "All You Had to Do Was Stay" by Taylor Swift

When Millie is confessing her feelings to Flora in the parade: "A Thousand Years, pt 2" by Christina Perri

General Millie & Flora: "Amazed" by Lonestar

General Millie & Flora: "There You Are" by Zayn



PURCHASE LINKS

Penguin Random House      |      Amazon      |      Barnes & Noble      |      Book Depository



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Book Review: "Aurora Rising" by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Title: Aurora Rising
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: "Aurora Cycle_01"
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Page Length: 470 pages
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Date Started: June 7, 2019
Date Finished: June 16, 2019
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Goodreads

Honestly, I'm not 100% sure what to say about this book. I both liked it and felt a bit disappointed by it. I think for the most part, I enjoyed the book but there were definitely some factors that went into me not liking this as much as I'd hoped.

Before I get into the reasons I liked this book, I just want to talk a bit about how I was disappointed. I don't necessarily think it was the book itself that made me like it less. I went into this book with really high expectations, which I knew would probably hurt my reading but I couldn't exactly change my subconscious hope that this book would blow me away. Additionally, everyone is hyping up this book. People I have very similar reading tastes to talked about how much it blew them away. So I was expecting something along the lines of the brilliance of Illuminae. But I didn't really get that. Additionally, it took me a while to read this book because of personal life things and just stress in general. I don't think any of that helped and I wasn't connected to this story very much because it took me over a week to get through it.

I want to say that this is my preliminary thoughts on this book. Looking back on what was happening, I should have loved it. In terms of how this book, the characters, the story, etc and whatnot were written, it was done very well. But I was stressed and it took me so long to read this book that I didn't connect to the characters and was left feeling disappointed. So, these are my thoughts for now but I do plan on rereading this book before the second comes out so that I can (hopefully) have a better experience reading it.

But like I said, looking back on this book I think it was done very well. The plot, the logistics of the world, the pure creativity that must have gone into it--all were great. The characters were awesome but I do think that there were too many POV changes. We could have stuck with just 3 of them rather than everyone getting a POV but never in a consistent order or in equal amounts. What's the purpose of giving a character a POV when their chapters are less than a page long? But I did like the characters--especially Fin! His sass, his struggles, just him in general made me so happy.

Overall, I don't want to talk too much about this book just because I don't feel like I read it at the right time. I was so excited to read it, I was reading quickly, and I was enjoying it until I became stressed in my personal life and that severely inhibited my reading experience.

I am very much looking forward to rereading this book to see how things change--I've already forgotten a lot of it too because it took me so long to read. I also think this series has a lot of potential and I'm definitely excited to see where the story goes with how things were left at the end of this book.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Blog Tour Review: "Only A Breath Apart" by Katie McGarry


I am so excited to be bringing another blog tour post to all of you guys! Today is all about Only A Breath Apart by Katie McGarry which is an absolutely amazing book that I enjoyed every second of. I was first introduced to Katie's works through her Thunder Road novels and absolutely fell in love with her writing and stories. When I was given the chance to read this book for the tour, I was simply ecstatic at the chance to finally read her newest book. I could go on and on in this section about how amazing it was, but I'll leave that for my review down below! What you can find in this post is a synopsis, praise for the book, an author bio, my review, links to where you can purchase it, and a GIVEAWAY! 



SYNOPSIS

Bestselling author Katie McGarry’s trademark wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance is given a new twist in the gritty YA contemporary novel, Only a Breath Apart. 

Jesse Lachlin is cursed. 

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head… 



PRAISE FOR ONLY A BREATH APART


“Katie McGarry knows what YA is, how it works, and what it can do better than anyone, but she always takes it one step further.” ―Hypable

"Fair warning: Picture-perfect Scarlett and misunderstood Jesse will have you in your feels." ―Girls' Life Magazine

“Beyond a haunted teen romance is a beautiful, moving exploration of domestic violence, forgiveness, and self-love. ...Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming.” ―Kirkus, starred review

“McGarry ably captures the feeling of desperately wanting to come home to a friendship that has radically changed. The novel manages to tackle domestic violence in a way that never feels clichéd, and the romance is sure to win over even the most cynical reader. This is a story you’ll want to read slowly, just to be able to stay with the characters for a moment longer.” ―Booklist

“A gorgeous, heartfelt journey of redemption and love.” ―Wendy Higgins, New York Times bestselling author

“Powerful, emotional, and ultimately hopeful. An unforgettable story that will leave its mark on your heart.” ―C. J. Redwine, New York Times bestselling author

“Gritty and real, Only a Breath Apart is a story of hope conjured from pain, strength drawn from innocence, and love earned from self-respect. Beautiful, poignant, and fierce.” ―Kristen Simmons, critically acclaimed author of the Article 5 series

“Meticulously weaves a fragile love story through a minefield of loss, broken trust, and familial curses both real and imagined. Haunting, authentic, and ultimately hopeful.” ―Tammara Webber, New York Times bestselling author

“A painful, beautiful, and utterly magical story about the family you’re born into versus the family you choose.” ―Trish Doller, author of In a Perfect World

“A touching tale of love and fate straight from the heartland.” ―Mindy McGinnis, author of The Female of the Species

“Scarlett and Jesse’s story will stay in your heart long after you finish the book.” ―Simone Elkeles, New York Times bestselling author

“Southern Gothic at its finest, this is Katie McGarry’s best book to date!” ―Miranda Kenneally, author of Catching Jordan and Breathe, Annie, Breathe



MEET KATIE MCGARRY

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. She is the author of the Pushing the Limits and Thunder Road series.





PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON    |    BARNES & NOBLE    |    BOOK DEPOSITORY    



MY REVIEW

I loved this book, plain and simple. I've enjoyed all of Katie's books that I've read but there's something about this one that just hit me straight in the heart. I connected so much to these characters and I'm still thinking back to this book over a week after finishing it. 

For starters, Katie's writing has always been so wonderful. From page one, I always am able to just fall into her stories. This book was no exception. I was only planning on reading one chapter of this book before I went to bed but the writing sucked me in and I ended up reading over 100. If that  alone doesn't give you reason to pick up this book, just sit back and wait for the rest of this review.

Katie's characters and stories are so compelling. The characters in this book struggle with a lot, both in terms of their relationship but also with a lot of real-life stuff. From toxic family relationships, death, financial struggles, and more, these characters don't have it easy. Yet this isn't a depressing book. It's addicting because not only are the characters amazing but their situations are so real.

The main reason this book hit me so hard was because of the connections I made. I don't think I've ever seen myself as much as I have in this book. Now, this may be because I stick to fantasy books most of the time and I don't go off fighting in wars every day. But I connected with this book so hard. I don't have the exact same experiences as these characters, but a lot of the lessons and inner struggles they dealt with in this book were ones I had. I honestly had to put this book down at one point because I was crying over the fact that I could see my personal struggles in a book for the first time. Not only did I find myself in this book, but I am also able to take the advice these characters got...take their techniques...and apply them to myself moving forward.

I think this is why I loved this book so much. I loved the characters, the plot was compelling, the writing was wonderful...but more than any of that I connected with the struggles these characters went through and found healing processes I can try myself. I've never gotten that from a book before and I'm getting a little weepy just thinking about it.

This kind of turned into a rant about how much I loved the fact that I connected so hard with this book but even if I hadn't connected in this way, I still loved the characters and the story. It's a compelling story with no easy way out but it's such a wonderful journey with angst and hope and bright moments. I miss these characters and I wish I could revisit them again for the first time or somehow know how they're doing after this book.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. It was phenomenal and Katie, like always, didn't disappoint. If you're a fan of contemporaries with a hint of something else, I'd definitely suggest picking this up.

TW for domestic abuse



GIVEAWAY


Giveaway is Open Internationally | Must be 13+ to Enter
5 Winners will receive a Copy of ONLY A BREATH APART by Katie McGarry

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Most Anticipated Releases of 2019


Hello all! We're about halfway through the year and we've seen a lot of amazing new releases so far. However, some of my most anticipated releases are yet to come! The second half of 2019 looks amazing in terms of new releases and special editions that are coming out so I thought I'd compile a list of some of my most anticipated! These are going to be in order of release and contain books from many different genres and authors, so let's just dive in! 



July

Up first, there are a couple of releases I'm looking forward to in July. The first of these is Losers Reap Her by H.B. Stumbo. This is the long awaited final book in the Hide and Seek Her trilogy which is one of my favorite trilogies. Not only is this series a great read, but these books also hold a special place in my heart. I've been waiting a few years for the final book and I am so excited that it's finally coming sometime in July! Here is the synopsis for book 1:

Jackson Greene was the dark. If there was a place in the world where all of the light had been sucked out of, Jackson Greene would be what was left standing. Charlotte Lyons had let Jackson Greene take all of the light from her world and after his mysterious disappearance and her near death experience she worries that she will spend the rest of her life trying to find the light again. Enter Vance Wait, the mysterious yet intriguing man who pulls Charlotte from the darkness of the shadows of her past and out of the world she has spent years hiding in. As Charlotte attempts to rebuild her life and learns what it is like to let someone new in, she finds that the things she thought were gone are hiding just out of her line of sight. The lingering thought that she should always look over her shoulder is like a burn that will never fade. Where Jackson is the flame still inflicting the wounds, unbeknownst to Charlotte, Vance is the gasoline used to ignite those flames. Sometimes the things we think we see are mirages, hallucinations even. Our imagination is usually what haunts us more than the actual vision our eyes process. It's the things we don't see, the things that we feel but cannot ever point out that are the real threat in our lives. Seeing isn't believing, believing is seeing and you wouldn't believe the things you miss seeing when you're searching for something else. 

~

The second release is Heartstopper, Volume 2 by Alice Oseman. I read the first volume back in May and absolutely fell in love with how cute it was. I am so excited to get my hands on a copy of volume 2 so that I can dive back into these characters and see how things continue on from where they were left at the end of volume 1. Here is the synopsis for volume 1:


Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn't been too great, but at least he's not being bullied anymore, and he's sort of got a boyfriend, even if he's kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He's heard a little about Charlie - the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months - but he's never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn't think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner...



September 

Next we have a whole bunch of exciting releases for September. Why is it that all the amazing-sounding books release in 1 of 3 months: May, September, and October? Either way, there are some books that I'm very highly anticipating for the month of September and I can't wait to get my hands on copies of! 

The first of these is Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff. This is the third and final book in the Nevernight Chronicles and I'm pretty excited. I've only read the first book but I'm planning a binge of the first to books to prepare for this one's release. There's also a chance I might have the opportunity to meet Jay on tour when I'm studying abroad this fall and that would honestly just be so exciting if I can figure it out. Here's the synopsis for book 1, Nevernight:


In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family. Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined. Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves. Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge? 

~

Up next is another September 3rd release: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. This is a book that I didn't even know anything about until a couple months ago and now I'm so excited about it. I've heard so many amazing things and it sounds wonderfully magical and dark. Additionally, I've been told that if you like ACOMAF, you'll like this book and that's just a big selling point for me. Here's the synopsis:


Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned. Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou's, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony. The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou's most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all. 

~

Then we have another book on September 3rd that I'm beyond excited for that I didn't know anything about until very recently: There Will Come A Darkness by Katy Rose Pool. After reading the synopsis for this book, I am so excited for its release. It sounds like everything I love about fantasy books all mashed into one. Plus, the cover is absolutely stunning and pre-release reviews have all been super positive! Here's the synopsis: 


The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it... or unleash it? 

For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared. All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:

A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart. 
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.

One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer? Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Children of Blood and Bone, and An Ember in the Ashes

~

Another September 3rd release I'm looking forward to is The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young. This is the companion spin-off novel to Sky in the Deep which was one of my books of 2018. It was such an easy book to fall into with amazing characters and a compelling narrative. This companion spin-off follows one of the side-characters from Sky and I'm so excited to get to read their story! Here's the synopsis:


For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

~

Finally moving on to September 10th, there are a couple releases I'm super excited about. The first of these two is Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco. This is the fourth and final book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and I'm beyond excited to see how it will end. With the end of Escaping From Houdini, I have so many theories and anticipations for this final book. I'm eagerly looking forward to this book being my read on the plane over to London. I've put the synopsis for the first book, Stalking Jack the Ripper, down below.


Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life. Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world. The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

~

Next we have Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron. This is a book that wasn't even on my radar until a few weeks ago but I'm super excited for it nonetheless! I actually just received an advanced copy of this book from a trade so I may even be able to squeeze this in before it comes out! Anyway, this book is an African-inspired fantasy that I've been told you'll like if you enjoy Black Panther and witch doctors. I am so excited to dive into this story and this cover is a stunning addition to my shelf! Here's the synopsis:


Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval. There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit. She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him

~

The final release of September that I'm looking forward to is Steel Tide by Natalie C. Parker. This is the sequel to Seafire which was one of my favorite reads of 2018. I loved the characters and the world so much. I can't wait to see what happens next and I hope that I'll get my hands on a copy once I get back from studying abroad! Here's the synopsis for book 1, Seafire:


After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, who have lost their families and homes because of Aric and his men. The crew has one mission: stay alive, and take down Aric's armed and armored fleet.

But when Caledonia's best friend and second-in-command barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all . . . or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?



October

Moving into October, I have seven more books to talk about as well as a bookish related release. The first thing I'm looking forward to releases on October 1st and is Embers of Memory, a new card game that is themed around my favorite book series: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I've been so excited for this ever since it was released and I cannot wait to get my hands on it and start playing!


A lavishly illustrated card game set during the events of Kingdom of Ash, the epic climax to the best-selling Throne of Glass series from Sarah J. Maas, with two players working together over the course of multiple games to overcome the challenges faced by Aelin Galathynius.

[Redacted Spoilers]

Embers of Memory: A Throne of Glass Game is a two-player co-operative card game set during the events of Kingdom of Ash, the epic climax to Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series. Working together, you must delve into the memories of the young queen and help her face her inner demons before she is overwhelmed. Be warned--each challenge you face is more complex than the last, testing the bond between you and your partner to its limit.

~

Up next, also releasing October 1st, is Supernova by Kass Morgan. I read an arc of the first book last year and I really enjoyed it. It was a super quick read and the ending had me absolutely shook! I've been highly anticipating finding out what happens next and I'm super excited for this release. Like Steel Tide and many others on this list, I won't be getting a copy on release day as I'll be studying abroad but I'm beyond excited nonetheless for when I finally will. Here's the synopsis for book 1, Light Years:


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

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

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

~

October 8th sees three more releases that I'm really excited about, the first being The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L. Armentrout. This is the second book in her Origin series--which is a spin-off series to the Lux series. I haven't yet read the first book but I am super excited to hopefully read it this summer so that I can continue onto this series! Here's the synopsis for book 1, The Darkest Star:


When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen...but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she'd only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head...

~

Up next is The Beautiful by Reneé Adieh. This has been pitched to me as a vampire murder mystery romance set in historical New Orleans. Everything about that appeals to me and I'm super lucky to have an advanced copy of this book that I'll actually be reading very soon! Here's the synopsis:


New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

~

The last October 8 release that I'm looking forward to is the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I absolutely love collecting these illustrated editions and this one looks absolutely beautiful. I can't wait for the day when I have a complete set sitting on my shelves to admire and read to my niece when she's older.


~

On October 15th releases one of my most anticipated books and that is the collector's edition of An Ember in the Ashes. I'm so excited about this one simply because it's releasing in hardcover with the new covers that match the rest of the series! Not only that, but there will be bonus content, fan art, and they will be signed by Sabaa! I'm just so excited about this release that I can't even contain myself. Here's the description for the collector's edition:


A hardcover, must-have collector’s edition of the instant New York Times bestselling An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, signed and hand-stamped by the author and featuring exclusive content, fan art, and more!

This exclusive edition of book one of the Ember Quartet features never-before-seen content including:
-custom fan art drawn by an artist hand-picked by Sabaa Tahir
-redesigned case
-two chapters annotated by Sabaa Tahir
-a letter from Elias
-and more!

Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Laia and her family do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do. But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, she is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy. There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

~

I also am super excited about Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and illustrated by Wendy Xu which is releasing on October 15 as well. This sounds like a super cute witchy graphic novel that I am beyond excited for. The cover is stunning and I've seen a few sneak peeks at the artwork inside and it has me really excited. Here's the synopsis:


A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers' bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

~

The last release of October that I'm looking forward to is The Name of All Things by Jenn Lyons. This is the sequel to The Ruin of Kings which I read earlier this year and enjoyed. I am eager to do a reread of the book so that I can get a deeper understanding and see what I missed before diving into this sequel! Here's the synopsis for book 1, The Ruin of Kings:


There are the old stories. And then there’s what actually happens.

Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn't what the storybooks promised. Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family's power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin isn’t destined to save the empire.

He’s destined to destroy it . . .



November

In November I have some Sarah J Maas-related releases that I am pumped for. Up first we have the collector's edition of A Court of Thorns and Roses. I'm beyond excited for this and I can't wait to see what the collector's edition covers will look like and what bonus content is going to be included! You know my SJM-loving heart is definitely going to be getting herself a copy of both the US and UK editions!


Experience Feyre Archeron's journey all over again with the beautiful collector's edition of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the seductive first book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series by Sarah J. Maas, featuring a deluxe new package, an updated map, ribbon pull, and more!

When nineteen-year-old Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever.

All of the magic of Feyre's epic journey and romance is reflected in this enchanting, collectible edition of A Court of Thorns and Roses, which comes complete with a cloth slipcase featuring unique foil art on the case and book cover, ribbon pull, brand-new interior page designs, metallic endpapers, and a newly illustrated map.

~

Additionally, on the same day, there is a set of mini editions for the Throne of Glass series coming out. All eight books are being published in a miniature book and each will have bonus content focused around a different character. For more information you can find the official release here. I am so excited to add these to my collection and I just can't wait to hold them in my hands.




Well, there you have it! I am so excited about so many releases during these upcoming months and I just know my collection is going to look even better with all of these beauties on my shelves! I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe even found some new books that you're looking forward too as well!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Book Review: "When the Dead Have it Easy" by B.L. Brunnemer

Title: When the Dead Have it Easy
Author: B.L. Brunnemer
Series: "The Veil Diaries" #7
Genre: NA Paranormal RH
Page Length: 380 pages
Publication Date: April 27, 2019
Date Started: June 6, 2019
Date Finished: June 6, 2019
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
(Previous book reviews for this series are at the bottom of this review)

It's been a few days since I finished this book as I wanted to let the story really sit in my head and to give myself a chance to digest all that happened. I really liked this installment--it wasn't my favorite, but I loved all the angst and character relationship development.

In terms of plot, this book doesn't add much to overall plot themes we've been dealing with in other books. The book before this one was very plot and world-building heavy whereas this one kind of pulled back a bit. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, because I love reading about my favorite characters just interacting, but for readers who really love a fast-moving plot it might pose an issue.  There are two or three key plot developments, however, but these also aren't explored in depth in this book and were more placed there to set up events of the next book, I'm assuming. Where the focus of this book is is on the relationship developments between characters.

This book had angst plentiful. There were plenty of fluffy moments but also a lot of moments of characters struggling internally with things going on around them. In this book, we really see the core group dynamics of previous books have been shook up. The characters are struggling to come up with a new way of interacting which was definitely fascinating. I will say, a few moments in this book frustrated me to no end in a good way.

Honestly, there's not much in this book that happens past character and relationship development. It focuses primarily around the main characters going on a camping trip and fixing their group dynamics instead of any of the big supernatural and paranormal issues they've been dealing with for most of the series. I'll just end this by saying that something finally happened that I've been anticipating for a very long time.

I'm honestly very excited to see where the next book goes. We have to wait at least six more months (which is fine since I had to wait two years for the final installment in my favorite series) and I do think that this was a natural stopping point to allow for a longer break between books. That doesn't mean I'm not eagerly anticipating the next one, just that I can take a breath and not be too stressed about what will happen next.

I have so many theories about what could happen in upcoming books, but for now, I think I'm just going to end this review here and say that this is still one of my favorite series and I can't wait to reread it soon.

Book ReviewsVeil Diaries:
Book 1: Trying to Live With the Dead
Book 2: When the Dead Come A Knockin'
Book 3: When to Fear the Living
Book 4: Whispers from the Dead
Book 5: When Evil Comes to Play
Book 6: Secrets From the Grave

Books of Stone:
Book 1: Found



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Book Review: "Secrets From the Grave" by B.L. Brunnemer

Title: Secrets From the Grave
Author: B.L. Brunnemer 
Series: "The Veil Diaries" #6
Genre: YA Paranormal RH
Page Length: 344 pages
Publication Date: October 31, 2018
Date Started: Jun 6, 2019
Date Finished: Jun 6, 2019
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
(Reviews for previous books in the series are at the bottom)

I'm writing this the moment that I finished this book because I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep from immediately diving into the next book and I wanted this review to be focused on this specific book and not influenced by what happens after.

Y'all. This book was great. I won't say that it's my favorite in the series but I've noticed that when I reread these books, I always love them more the second or third or even fourth time around. My love for these books grows the more I reread them and I honestly think this is one of my favorite series of all time. While this wasn't my favorite in the series, this is still the sixth book so there's a lot of competition for favorite. I still loved it.

What really got me this book was, as always, the characters. Tensions are increasing, things are starting to move at a faster pace, relationships are starting to change, and it's all coming to a head. I feel as if I've been waiting for years for one of the moments in this book (though, I guess I have since I found this series in 2017). I honestly am just so excited to read the next one so that I can know how everything is going to turn out.

The world and lore was expanded so much in this book, which I enjoyed. We finally moved out of the state into other cities and things started happening. I don't want to talk too much about it because I don't want to give any spoilers for this series, but each book slowly adds on a new layer of world-building and knowledge that I love.

I will say that my heart hurt during this book when different scenes were playing out. My heart also soared at other scenes. I think this book was realistic, once you get past the whole talking to ghosts thing, in terms of the characters and normal human emotions.

I don't even really know what to say about this book just because I'm still processing and I don't want to spoil anything. Overall, it was great and I can't wait to read the next one.




Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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