Thursday, April 30, 2020

BLOG TOUR: "Incendiary" by Zoraida Córdova + GIVEAWAY


Hey all! Today I am super excited to be bringing you on my blog tour stop for Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova! I loved reading this book and am so excited that it's out in the world for everyone to enjoy. This tour stop has a bunch of fun things such as my review, an excerpt, an exclusive playlist, and a giveaway among other things! 



SYNOPSIS

I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King's Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata's ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King's Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred--or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned "hollow" during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez's top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom--and end the war that has cost her everything.

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: April 28th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy



MY REVIEW

4.5 // 5 stars

I would first like to start by saying a big thank you to FFBC and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book and letting me participate in the blog tour. I was excited about this release prior to it so when I saw that there was going to be a tour, I jumped straight on signing up! 

The book picks up from page one with action. We're thrown right into an intense scene and I thought it was the perfect beginning. It sucked me in right away and I was very engrossed throughout the entire book. Some parts did drag at times in the middle, but I feel like, for the most part, the book was paced pretty well. The way the plot moved was so unexpected for me--so many things happened that I wasn't expecting going in. It was very intriguing and, even when the action was less, the tension and high stakes kept the story moving. I will say the ending seemed a bit rushed and confusing, but maybe that's because I stayed up until 1 am finishing this because I could not put it down!

The world itself was very interesting but the magic is really what I want to focus on. The magic! I've never actually read a book with magic like Ren's before. She can steal people's memories from them and even take their entire minds so that they're a empty inside. I thought it was really interesting, especially because of her struggles with guilt for using it but it being a necessity.  

I really loved the characters. I loved Ren from page one and I knew that she was going to be a character I loved reading from. However, all of the side characters were all so well-developed that I loved each of them as well. Plus, there were betrayals and twists and big reveals that I didn't see coming all in regards to the characters and I loved every moment. I'm so excited to see what happens to all the characters in the next book. 

I think what speaks the most highly for this book to me is the fact that every time I think about it, I like it even more. Sometimes I'll really enjoy a book in the moment but whenever I look back on it I don't like it as much, but I look back on this book and love it slightly more each time. 

Overall, I loved this book more than I expected and I'm so excited to get my hands on a finished copy and to read the sequel when it comes out next year. These characters truly have my heart and I can't wait to see what happens in the next book to them since there were so many twists at the end of this book. I highly recommend it to all fantasy lovers! 



PLAYLIST

YouTube

Ashes - Celine Dion
Let You Down - NF
Don't Give Up on Me - Andy Grammer
I Will Follow You Into the Dark - Death Cab for Cutie
Legendary - Welshly Arms
Alive - Sia




MEET ZORAIDA CÓRDOVA

Zoraida Córdova is the author of many fantasy novels including Star Wars: A Crash of Fate, the Brooklyn Brujas series, and The Vicious Deep trilogy. Her novel Labyrinth Lost won the International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel in 2017. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. Her upcoming books include Incendiary, book one in the Hollow Crown duology (Hyperion 2020) and she's the co-editor of Vampires Never Get Old (Imprint 2020). Zoraida was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she’s planning her next adventure.


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GIVEAWAY

Prize: a copy of Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova
US Only
April 28 - May 12
Direct Entry Link

a Rafflecopter giveaway



EXCERPT

You can read an amazing exclusive excerpt for the Prologue & Chapter 1 here!





Follow along with the rest of the tour and giveaways here!




Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Book Review: "Their Fractured Light" by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Their Fractured Light (Starbound, #3)
Title: Their Fractured Light
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Series: "Starbound Trilogy" #3
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Romance
Page Length: 428 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Book 2 Review

I binged this entire trilogy (plus a novella) over the course of four days and loved every second of it. I really enjoyed this installment and thought the ending was very fitting, though I still think book 2 is my favorite of them all.

Like with the last book, the action starts from the very beginning in this book and keeps going. There was a bit of a lag towards the middle/end in action but the very strong beginning and the character development throughout more than made up for it. I think that the pacing was rather good overall even if some of these scenes did lag.

I also think I was a bit confused still on the whole issue with the other-universe beings. I don't think I understood it well-enough in the first book so that by the time I finished this one, I understood it more but definitely not as much as I'd hoped I would have.

I also liked how this book ended. I think that it could have gone so many different ways but not only do I love this ending, but it also just makes sense within the world and characters. I think that while everything in this trilogy was wrapped up nicely, there's also definite potential for future novellas or spin-offs dealing with the aftermath. I don't know if that would happen, but I would like it!

What really drove this for me were the characters. Not only do we have to new amazing characters to read about, but we also have the other main characters from previous books making an appearance and coming together with our new characters. I'm a big sucker for a group of characters who have to come together when the odds are stacked against them. Also, this book felt to me like the beginnings of a found-family situation and I loved it. I would honestly love to see more of these characters in the future and I'm excited to go back and reread one of the novellas I haven't read yet.

Overall, I really enjoyed this final installment and this trilogy as a whole. It's been sitting on my bookshelves for years and I'm both happy and proud that I've finally read it and that I enjoyed it. When I get actual shelves again I can't wait to have these on my Kristoff/Kaufman/Spooner shelf along with all the other great sci-fi novels they've written.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Sunday, April 26, 2020

Book Review: "This Shattered World" by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)
Title: This Shattered World
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Series: "Starbound Trilogy" #2
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Romance
Page Length: 394 pages
Publication Date: December 23rd, 2014
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Book 1 Review

Okay so I really enjoyed book 1. I thought it was a solid start to this trilogy and I was definitely invested in the world and characters. However, book 2 was so much better! I loved this installment and I'm so glad that I read it right after book 1 so that everything was fresh in my mind.

This installment follows a new pair of main characters, though characters from book 1 do make an appearance. We're also on a brand new planet dealing with different plot lines, though the big overarching reveal from book 1 is expanded upon in this book a lot.

From the very first page there's action. We don't mess around with any info-dumps or long expositions and the action is pretty much instantaneous. The pace is set and the authors run with it. I really enjoyed this storyline and thought it was way better than the last book's storyline (even if I enjoyed book 1, it was lacking in some areas). A lot happens and there's many sub-plot lines from the overarching trilogy plot. Just the amount of action and plot development in this book raised it above book 1 immensely.

Like with the last book, the big thing that drove my enjoyment of this one was the characters. I loved the characters in the last book and I loved these characters as well. I was so happy when Tarver and Lilac showed up in this book because just getting to see them again helped connect me to the story. But the main characters were Jubilee and Flynn and they were just wonderful to read from. This was a classic case of some of my favorite tropes (forbidden romance, enemies-to-lovers, etc) and I loved how it was done. I'm quite fond of these characters and how their story was told, not to mention all the side characters that were added in!

I'm very happy with the plot twists and the ending. I think that this book played out in a really good ways and I didn't always see what was coming which made for more impactful twists. Overall, I really thought that the ending was good and both tied back in with the first book as well as set up the third book.

To finish out this review, I really liked this book and thought it was a lot better than book 1. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next and final book just so that I can be reunited with these characters as well as see how everything wraps up.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Friday, April 24, 2020

Book Review: "These Broken Stars" by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)
Title: These Broken Stars
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Series: "Starbound Trilogy" #1
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Romance
Page Length: 378 pages
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Rating: 4 // 5 stars

When I originally picked this book up, it was because I'd just read Illuminae and loved it, so when I saw Amie had another sci-fi trilogy with beautiful covers, I knew I had to pick it up. I'm a bit ashamed to say that it took me years to finally read it but that I have finally done so and really enjoyed it!

From the first page, there was something that felt so familiar about the writing, which I no doubt attribute to the fact that I've read other books by Amie. The writing was easy to fall into and I read this book rather quickly in only two sittings across an afternoon. There is just something so light about the writing in this book and I really enjoyed it.

The characters themselves were what drove this story. I really enjoyed reading from Tarver and Lilac's POVs. I liked the alternation between each and I also liked the little transcripts of interview in between each chapter. More so, I liked the characters themselves. They were just really fun to read from and I really enjoyed reading about their character and relationship growth.

I will say it was the characters that primarily drove the story for me. There were a lot of things in the plot I liked, but there was a bit of drag in the repetitive-ness of their journey and I was a bit confused on the big plot things at the end. However, I am excited to read the next books so that I can get a better understanding of what all is going on.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. I definitely had some feels but I felt like one of the big feel things wasn't as big of a deal since I kinda knew what the outcome was. But I did like this book and I'm excited to see what happens next in the series!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Book Review: "Crave" by Tracy Wolff

Crave (Crave, #1)
Title: Crave
Author: Tracy Wolff
Series: "Crave" #1
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Page Length: 592 pages
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: 2 // 5 stars

*I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and participation in a blog tour. All thoughts are my own and spoiler-free*

I really wanted to like this book. I wanted to like it so much that I pushed through and read the entire thing even when I was considering DNF-ing after 200 pages. By the time I finally got to the end, I was rejoicing. I'm sad to say that there's more I disliked about this book than I actually enjoyed.

For starters, this book did not have to be almost 600 pages long. For a book about the main character going to a school filled with vampires & other paranormal creatures, it took forever for her to actually find out that they existed. I'm talking over half the book. Additionally, what's described in the synopsis as the plot didn't start happening until almost halfway in the book either.

So what happened for the first 300 pages? Absolutely-freaking-nothing. There was a lot of pining over the love interest, complaining about the cold of living in Alaska, and the main character acting like an idiot. But in terms of plot? Nothing of value. I was so ready to DNF once I hit 300 pages if nothing had happened and then things finally started to pick up a bit, only for them to drop off for a while before the big climax at the end. In terms of plot, this book had one of the messiest plots I've ever read.

I think one thing that did this book a disservice was the constant marketing of this being the next Twilight. Even if it wasn't specifically over-marketed as that, a lot of blurbs, praises, and early reviews included in emails and informational sheets and whatnot were calling it the "next Twilight" or the "feminist Twilight you always wanted" and it just...wasn't. Maybe I'm biased because I did read Twilight when I was quite young and it's been one of my favorite series ever since, but the only similarity between this and Twilight is that the main character moves to a cold town, meets a possessive vampire love interest, and happens to be clumsy.

As for the two main characters, I feel like our two main characters are what would happen if you took Edward and Bella from Twilight, stripped them of any interesting qualities, and then amped up the possessiveness of Edward and sheer dumbassery/clumsiness of Bella. I swear, I just did not understand these characters. Jaxon (the vampire love interest) was angsty, possessive, and rude yet Grace immediately fell for him. Grace was an idiot, but a likable idiot. I enjoyed Grace but I was so frustrated at her actions most of the book that I wanted to reach into the pages and strangle her. For example, she had this internal gut feeling telling her not to do things and she would be like "oh it's fine I'm going to do it anyway" and then find herself in a bad situation. Like what did you think would happen?

The insta-love in this book was painful to read. I didn't understand the romance at all and the insta-love just made it that much worse. We had a lot of the love interest acting bipolar and suddenly they were in love, but we didn't get to see any actual relationship growth between them. It was 0 to 100 real quick. I didn't connect to the characters which meant I didn't care about the relationship.

Most of the side characters were also pretty one-dimensional. I think the only one that I actually enjoyed was Macy, Grace's cousin. Everyone else with significant page time pretty much drove me insane throughout the book or didn't do anything meaningful to make me care about them.

The writing itself wasn't terrible and it did make the book move rather quickly. However, between the writing and the distinct lack of significant depth in both the characters and plot, I was expecting this to be targeted towards younger teens who just want an enjoyable read. But later in the book, there were some steamy make-out scenes that definitely made me think otherwise. I'm just overall very confused on who this book is supposed to be for, because I don't feel like it was for me.

I think I'm going to end this review here, even though there's more things I could rant on. I'm not saying that this was the most terrible book written. I did enjoy some parts, especially in the back half of the book, but I feel like there was a lot missing from this book to truly make it great and something that I would be excited to read. I'm sure that this book will be loved by some, but I don't think it's a series that I'm going to be continuing.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Monday, April 20, 2020

Book Review: "Losers Reap Her" by Hayley Stumbo

Losers Reap Her
Title: Losers Reap Her
Author: Hayley Stumbo
Series: "Hide and Seek Her" #1
Genre: Adult Romance Suspense/Thriller
Page Length: 318 pages
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Goodreads
Book 1 Review
Book 2 Review

This trilogy will always hold a special place on my bookshelf and I can't believe that it's finally complete. I started the first book over four years ago and, after the cliffhanger ending of book two, it's been a long wait for this final book. I have to say, it was worth it.

I flew through this book. One thing I've always loved about Hayley's books is her writing because it sucks me in and I read so fast. Not only that, but the story itself was addicting too. I hadn't yet read the synopsis until right before I started it and the plot itself went a completely different direction than I expected. But I liked it.

One thing that I really liked was the flipping between timelines. It's sometimes not done well but I thought the way Hayley wove them together was quite well done. And the more I look back, the more I'm glad it was done this way because we get to see a lot more of these characters and their growth.

I really loved reading more of these characters, though there was a new POV that, while I enjoyed reading from him, I thought my connection to some of the other characters was lessened because of it. Still, I enjoyed the characters and seeing their growth and how they've come out of the events of the previous books.

And that ending! I don't know why I expected Mrs. Stumbo to have anything other than a shocking ending considering all of the other books I've read of hers! I did not see it coming but it does make a lot of sense and, the more I think about it, the more I actually like how things ended. Obviously I don't want to go into too much depth because of spoilers but I really liked the ending.

Overall, I thought this was a fitting conclusion to this trilogy and well worth the wait. Everything has been wrapped up and it's over but I also wouldn't mind if there were spin-offs or more sequels set in the future. But, in the end, I really enjoy this trilogy, it holds a special place in my heart, and I highly recommend it to everyone!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Friday, April 17, 2020

15 Bingeable Book Recommendations (& Free Reading Resources)


Hello all! Wherever you are, whether it be sequestered at home or working an essential job, I hope you are doing okay during the current state of the world. If you're like me, you've been stuck at home for a while now (one month exactly for me!) and have started to grow bored of different things. I personally have way too much homework but I also have a lot of extra time on my hands. I also thought that since some people might have a lot of extra reading time on their hands, I thought I would recommend some bingeable books! 

I have tried to make this a list of books varying by genre and age range. Additionally, I thought I would provide a few resources to help you all read during this time. I will start this post by recommending the books but all information and resources will be discussed and linked down below!



15 Bingeable Book Recommendations

She's With Me (She's With Me, #1)1. She's With Me by Jessica Cunsolo
YA Contemp. Romance

Jessica Cunsolo's She's with Me is a kaleidoscope of modern day teen romance, revenge thriller, and over-the-top excitement. Its Mean Girls meets Gone Girl meets The Client, as the story twists and turns around its fierce female lead, leading to a heart-racing cliffhanger . . .

Telling the truth is sometimes harder than keeping a secret…

Standing out as the new girl is hard enough, but add in Amelia Collins’s dangerous past, and her life depends on sneaking through senior year unnoticed. But when she crashes into the school’s most infamous heartthrob, Aiden Parker, on her first day, she’s suddenly on everyone’s radar, and as Amelia becomes immersed in a new group of friends, keeping a low profile won’t be an option—even if it’s a necessity.

~

Red, White & Royal Blue2. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Adult LGBTQ+ Contemp. Romance 

What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with an actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex/Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of the family and state and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: Stage a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instagrammable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the presidential campaign and upend two nations. It raises the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to ben? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? , how will history remember you? 

~

Her Royal Highness (Royals, #2)3. Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
YA LGBTQ+ Contemp. Romance

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can't believe her luck when she's accepted into one of the world's most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

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

She's also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

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

~

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)4. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Adult Historical Fantasy

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for...

~

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)5. House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
Adult Fantasy (with some romance)

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

~

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)6. Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
YA Fantasy Romance

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.

~

Wicked (A Wicked Trilogy, #1)7. Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout
YA Urban Fantasy Romance

Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.

~

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)8. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
YA Science Fiction
(told in a super unique way--I highly recommend the audiobook too)

Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she'd ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But the warship could be the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their biggest threat; and nobody in charge will say what's really going on. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking to get to the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: Ezra.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents--including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more--Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

~

The Host (The Host, #1)9. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Adult Science-Fiction Romance

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

~

The Power10. The Power by Naomi Alderman
Adult Dystopian

In THE POWER, the world is a recognizable place: there's a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power--they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.

~

The Song of Achilles11. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Adult Mythology Retelling

Achilles, "the best of all the Greeks," son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods' wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

~

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)12. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 
YA Historical Crime Fiction

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

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.

~

Sadie13. Sadie by Courtney Summers
YA Thriller

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she's left behind. And an ending you won't be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

~

Check, Please! Book 1: # Hockey14. Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
YA Contemporary Graphic Novel

Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here!

Y’all... I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.

~

Saga, Vol. 115. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Adult Science Fiction Graphic Novel

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.



Reading Resources

I am now going to get into some of the resources and tips for reading and book-buying during this time. There's information not only on how you can support the book industry at this time, but also how you can read and listen to books for free in what is no doubt a financially unstable time for many. 

To start, if you have the extra funds to purchase physical books at this time, a lot of independent bookstores are struggling during this pandemic and could really use support. Many bookshops that I follow are offering online orders with free shipping, curbside pickup, or other options to still support them such as purchasing a gift card to use later or by preordering upcoming releases. These options will vary by location, but if you can support your local indie it will help a lot against making sure they don't go out of business (for more information on why we need indie bookstores and larger bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, Indigo, and Waterstones, check out this article here). 

There are three other ways you can help independent bookstores. The first is by ordering through Bookshop. It's similar to Amazon in pricing and ease of ordering, but most of the profits go to independent bookstores, authors, and publishers in a different way than Amazon orders. The other way you can help is by listening to audiobooks through Libro.fm. Most independent stores will have links specific to that store to get them commission so be sure to check if your store offers Libro.fm subscriptions. Lastly, you can donate to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC) which is providing assistance to booksellers not just during COVID-19 but all the time. 

Scribd, one of the leading digital libraries out there, is offering 30-days free with no commitment during this pandemic (you don't even have to put in your credit card--just make an account and get free books). They have thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more. There are even some of the books on this list available there!

Audible is also hundreds of audiobooks available to stream for free right now at this link. There are audiobooks for all ages and across multiple languages (especially awesome if you're trying to improve your multi-lingual skills). There's also a ton of amazing Kindle ebook deals everyday for bestselling books. You can check each day to see 

Lastly, if you have a library card a lot of local libraries have digital collections full of ebooks and audiobooks. Not only that, but a lot of libraries also have music streaming services and learning options for younger kids. This varies by library, of course, but a lot of libraries have been hosting these collections for years and this is an easy way to show support to a local library during this time. 

I hope that these recommendations and all the extra information has been, at the very least, interesting and helpful to you all. Books are a wonderful way to escape the real world and I think that is needed now more than ever.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Stay Home Reading Rush TBR


Hey all! I am super excited because, for the first time ever, I am participating in a readathon! Reading Rush (formerly Booktubeathon) is hosting a stay home version of their longer readathon that starts tomorrow. I've never been able to participate in a readathon before due to work, school, familial obligations, etc but now that I'm stuck home due to COVID, I am going to try and participate! I will still have a bit of homework to do on some of the days, but I'm hoping to read at least four books in these next four days!

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)There are four challenges for the next four days and I am hoping to get through all of them. The first of these challenges is to read a book with the house on the cover. This was a bit of a tough prompt for me because I don't really have books with houses on the cover. In the end, I'm deciding to reread  and annotate House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas. The word "house" is in the title and on the cover, so it technically counts for this prompt. This is a rather long one and it took me days to read it when I read it earlier this month, so I'm not going to be too upset if I don't finish it. As long as a I read four books total, I'll be happy!

Finders Keep Her (Hide and Seek Her, #2)The second challenge is to read a book in the same room the whole time. I'm actually going with two books for this because I wanted to binge them this month and I don't want to wait until after the readathon is over to do so. The two books are Finders Keep Her and Losers Reap Her by Hayley Stumbo. I've read the first of these two but want to reread so that I can finally read the last book! They're gripping stories with easy writing so I'm confident that I can read them in one place and possibly both in one day!

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)The third challenge is to read a book set somewhere you wish to go. I decided to go with These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner for this one because I kind of want to go to space. Plus, this book has been on my shelves for so long and I figure it's time I finally start reading through a lot of my backlist books. If I love this book, I also would like to finish the trilogy this month once the readathon is over!

She's With Me (She's With Me, #1)The last challenge is to read a book that will make you smile. For this one, I am going with She's With Me by Jessica Cunsolo. I did read this in March but I wanted to reread it from the moment that I finished it. It's such a fun, addicting book and it doesn't take that long to read so I figured it would be an easy book to finish out the readathon. 

So my goal is to read five books but if I only read four then I am happy with that number and will consider my first readathon a success! As long as I get quite a bit of homework done today I think I'll be able to devote most of the next four days to this readathon and relaxing. Are you participating? 



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Sunday, April 12, 2020

BLOG TOUR: "Crave" by Tracy Wolff + GIVEAWAY


Hello everyone! Today I'm bringing you another awesome blog tour in collaboration with Fantastic Flying Book Club and Entangled Teen. Today we're going to be focusing on Crave, the new YA vampire romance story from Tracy Wolff. There's a lot of awesome stuff jam-packed in this post so let's go ahead and dive right in!



SYNOPSIS

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

by Tracy Wolff
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Release Date: April 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal



PLAYLIST

1. Because You Live - Jesse McCartney
2. Bad Blood - Taylor Swift
3. Cool Kids - Echosmith
4. Cold Water - Cold Water
5. Cover Your Tracks - A Boy and His Kite
6. Danger Zone - Kenny Loggins
7. Everytime We Touch - Cascada
8. Falling Over Me - Demi Lovato



FAVORITE QUOTES

“One glance and I know this dark boy with the closed-off eyes and the fuck-you attitude isn’t the hero of anyone’s story. Least of all mine.”

“He who lives in stone towers should never throw dragons.”

“If this kiss is going to start a way, it may as well be worth it.”




MEET TRACY WOLFF

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tracy Wolff wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—in second grade, around the same time she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. A one-time English professor with over fifty novels to her name, she now devotes most of her time to writing romance and dreaming up heroes. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family.

WEBSITE     |     GOODREADS     |     TWITTER
FACEBOOK     |     INSTAGRAM



PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON     |     BARNES & NOBLE     |     ITUNES
KOBO     |     GOOGLE BOOKS



GIVEAWAY

Prize: One (1) copy of Crave by Tracy Wolff
US Only
April 7 - April 21, 2020
Direct Entry Link


Follow along with the rest of the tour and giveaways here!




Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Monday, April 6, 2020

Book Review: "House of Earth and Blood" by Sarah J. Maas

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)
Title: House of Earth and Blood
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: "Crescent City" #1
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Page Length: 803 pages
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

This was my most anticipated release of 2020 and I have to say...it didn't disappoint. I had very high expectations going in and, while it was still different than what I expected, I'd say that overall this book did what I wanted it to.

Before I get into the bulk of the review, I also want to say that I got spoiled for a major plot point very early on in my reading of this book. I'd like to say that knowing that didn't impact my enjoyment, but I think a lot of the tension from this book comes from the murder investigation and the question of who committed all the murders. However, since I was spoiled for who was behind it all, I noticed that I felt like a lot of the tension and stakes in the book weren't hitting me as hard as they would have if I hadn't been spoiled. And it makes me mad because this was my most anticipated book and I didn't get to find everything out on my own.

But other than being spoiled, my experience reading this book was very good. This is Sarah's first official adult book and it definitely felt like it. While her others books have dealt with mature things, they've always been less descriptive in terms of cursing, violence, and sex. This book didn't hold back on any of those things and I loved it! Say what you want about Sarah J. Maas but she built a readership with Throne of Glass and a lot of those original readers are now adults and she's provided more content for them (aka me) throughout the years that ages with us. Despite the content she wrote about being different, this still felt like a Sarah J. Maas book to me.

Alright let's get into the actual book. So the world itself was a bit confusing at first, understandably, as it's an entirely new city, time period, magic system, etc. The world-building was pretty good throughout most of the book but the front end felt very info-dumpy to me. Looking back, I was a bit overwhelmed with all of the details and names being thrown at me that I just kinda skimmed most of the info-dumps at the beginning. Throughout the rest of the book, I was able to get a better understanding of what all was what so I definitely think that I would have been fine without the info-dumps.

The world itself is fascinating. It's a modern fantasy world with technology mixed in with magic and different non-human beings. It felt very much like an urban fantasy, which I enjoyed since I don't really read much urban fantasy. We got a lot of looks at different magic and I'm excited to see the magic system explored in more depth in the upcoming books. Not to mention, I really want to know more about all of the Vanir (non-human magical beings) and their systems, magic, etc.

The plot itself was interesting. Like I said, I did get spoiled for the outcome of one of the biggest questions of the book so that was a bit disappointing. I enjoyed everything else and there were plenty of smaller plot lines that I was thrilled to read about. The plot twists were also quite good. What really drove this story for me, however, (like all of Sarah's other books) was the characters.

We follow a pretty solid cast of characters and I think that's my favorite thing about all of Sarah's books--the ability to write solid characters and friendships. In this book, the importance of friendship is very much emphasized from page one and I'm glad that we got to see that continue throughout the book.

My favorite character was obviously Bryce. I feel for her and I'm so excited to see where her story goes. There were a couple things that I felt were a bit too easy plot-wise with Bryce's character, but overall I loved Bryce and I'm excited to read more about her.

As for the main love interest, I won't say who it is, but I liked him. I liked him and I really connected with him as a character. I liked how his and Bryce's relationship developed, though I do think I need another book for them to be cemented as one of my top ships. I've noticed in Sarah's books it usually takes me until the second book with the pairing to fully ship it.

I liked all the side characters as well. We've got a lot of characters who are on Bryce's side but not necessarily after the same things and there's a lot of interesting characters in the mix. Sarah made each of the side characters stand out from each other and I was able to form connections to them all very easily.

That being said, because I connected to well to the characters, I had a lot of feels throughout this book. From the beginning all the way to the end, I was emotionally invested in Bryce but, as the story grew, I became attached to other characters as well. The last 60 pages of the book involved me just crying the whole time. There were happy tears, sad tears--just so many tears! I love that Sarah can bring out such emotion in me, though, because it's a sign that I really connected with the book.

I am very interested to see where book two goes. This one wrapped up well and there wasn't a big cliffhanger, but there were a lot of open plot lines and questions I had at the end. I think there's so many ways that Sarah could take this book and I'm not quite sure where the next ones are going to go. Either way, I'm excited to explore more with these characters and world.

I'm not sure how coherent this review was, but overall my thoughts boil down to this: I really enjoyed this book. I think being spoiled made me enjoy it a little less than I would have if I could have experienced all the tension and mystery like I was supposed to, but I still loved it. We have a very solid beginning to Sarah's new series and I'm excited to see what happens next!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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