Sunday, June 28, 2020

Statement Regarding My Withdrawal of Support for The FFBC

Hello all, I wanted to pop in briefly to address the situation regarding The FFBC, aka Fantastic Flying Book Club. I have worked with them for the past 6 months on various blog and Instagram tours, but can no longer support them or this company. 

Lately, they have been attacking bloggers (a Black blogger after she called them out regarding BLM and many others who came to her defense), threatening to release bloggers' personal information and in some cases actually doing so, threatening lawsuits, and in general just not acting in the professional manner of someone who I want to work with.

I am upset that this company has become one that I cannot support. From now on, I will be withdrawing all support for this company and will be soon editing/deleting any blog posts where they are mentioned. For the books that I have received and were for upcoming tours, I will be pulling off the tour but still posting a review and spotlight to boost these books and authors. 

Lauren G. 

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Saturday, June 27, 2020

BLOG TOUR: "Rebel Spy" by Veronica Rossi

Hello everyone! Today I'm back with a super exciting blog tour for Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi, author of the Under the Never Sky series. This book just released this past week so if you are interested, definitely check the purchase links below and follow the author on all her platforms!


A reimagining of the story behind Agent 355--a New York society girl and spy for George Washington during the Revolutionary War--perfect for fans of Tatiana de Rosnay's Sarah's Key and the novels of Julie Berry.

Rebellious Frannie Tasker knows little about the war between England and its thirteen colonies in 1776, until a shipwreck off her home in Grand Bahama Island presents an unthinkable opportunity. The body of a young woman floating in the sea gives Frannie the chance to escape her brutal stepfather--and she takes it.

Assuming the identity of the drowned Emmeline Coates, Frannie is rescued by a British merchant ship and sails with the crew to New York. For the next three years, Frannie lives a lie as Miss Coates, swept up in a courtship by a dashing British lieutenant. But after witnessing the darker side of the war, she realizes that her position gives her power. Soon she finds herself eavesdropping on British officers, risking everything to pass information on to George Washington's Culper spy ring as agent 355. Frannie believes in the fight for American liberty--but what will it cost her? Inspired by the true "355" and rich in historical detail and intrigue, this is the story of an unlikely New York society girl turned an even unlikelier spy.

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: June 23rd 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction


VERONICA ROSSI is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the UNDER THE NEVER SKY series. She was born in Rio de Janeiro, grew up in California, and graduated from UCLA. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two sons, one of whom just surpassed her in height. Find her online at or on Twitter at @rossibooks.



AMAZON     |     BARNES & NOBLE     |     ITUNES     |     GOOGLE PLAY

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

BLOG TOUR: "The Crow Rider" by Kalyn Josephson + Giveaway

Hello everyone! Today I am SO excited to be bringing you the blog tour centered around The Crow Rider, the sequel to The Storm Crow, by Kalyn Josephson. I absolutely adored these books and I'm so excited for everything that I've been able to bring to this post. A little run down of what you can expect: information about the book and author but also a specially curated playlist based on the series, how to get signed copies and bonus content, a giveaway, and an exclusive excerpt. 


*Spoilers for book 1*

Princess Thia, her allies, and her crow, Res, are planning a rebellion to defeat Queen Razel and Illucia once and for all. Thia must convince the neighboring kingdoms to come to her aid, and Res’s show of strength is the only thing that can help her.

But so many obstacles stand in her way. Res excels at his training, until he loses control of his magic, harming Thia in the process. She is also pursued by Prince Ericen, heir to the Illucian throne and the one person she can’t trust but can’t seem to stay away from.

As the rebel group prepares for war, Res’s magic grows more unstable. Thia has to decide if she can rely on herself and their bond enough to lead the rebellion and become the crow rider she was meant to be.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: July 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


Wings - Little Mix

Alive - Sia

Atlas: Touch - Sleeping at Last

Legendary - Welshy Arms

Foreigner's God - Hozier


Kalyn Josephson currently works as a Technical Writer in the tech industry, which leaves room for too many bad puns about technically being a writer. Though she grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, she graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Biology and a degree in English (Creative Writing). Currently, she lives in the Bay Area with four awesome friends (because it’s the Bay Area and she’d like to be able to retire one day) and two black cats (who are more like a tiny dragon and an ever tinier owl). THE STORM CROW is her debut novel.



AMAZON     |     BARNES & NOBLE     |     ITUNES     |     BOOK DEPOSITORY


Pre-order The Crow Rider & submit your receipt at the link below to receive one of two exclusive bonus scenes! Everyone will be entered to win a The Storm Crow bookmarks & character cards. 

US & CAN only
Submit your receipt HERE


Pre-order signed  copies from Kepler's Books before July 7 and you can get a signed, personalized copy of The Storm Crow (paperback or hardcover) and/or The Crow Rider (hardcover). 

Additionally, pre-order signed copies of either book from EdgedinStarlight on Etsy (in collaboration with Kepler's Books) to received signed & personalized copies with sprayed edges!


The ocean had always reminded me of the sky.

Both were vast, ancient domains that we could never hope to control, and each time we entered them, we placed our lives in the hands of something that could crush us.

Something about that thrilled me.

I stood at the bow of the Aizel dressed in my flying leathers and a thick green cloak the ship’s captain, Samra, had reluctantly lent me. Salt air nipped at my face, the wind running long fingers through my curls and lifting them to dance like ribbons.

A shadow rippled across the water ahead of the ship. I lifted a hand, feeling the brush of feathers a moment before Resyries landed on the railing before me. Wings outstretched against the wind, the crow balanced effortlessly, the gossamer shine of his dark feathers blending into the blue predawn light. The connection between us thrummed with quiet contentment, something neither of us had had much of in recent days.

After our flight from Illucia, we’d headed to the Ambriel Islands but had decided to skirt around them rather than make land, since the islands were likely full of Illucian soldiers searching for us. Their queen was not going to let me escape so easily. Not when I was the only one who could hatch the crow eggs she’d stolen from Rhodaire. Not to mention I was technically still betrothed to her son.

I winced at the thought of Ericen. Unexpectedly, we’d become friends during my time in Illucia. The fingerless leather gloves I wore each day had been a present from him, a symbol of strength when I’d needed it most. But the prince was loyal to his kingdom. Loyal to his mother.

“I have to let him go, Res,” I said into the wind. So why couldn’t I?

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag: 2020 Edition

Hello all! Today I am popping in from a very busy week to do one of my favorite yearly tags: the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag! This is one of my favorite tags because I get to look back on the first half of the year and reflect while also getting excited for the rest of the year! So far I have read 50 books of my goal of 100, so I'm actually a little ahead on my challenge! Fair warning: I am terrible at picking just one book for a category, so be prepared for gushing about many books. Let's jump in! 

1. Best Book You've Read

I've read a lot of really great books so far that have made it onto my favorites list, but the best two books that I've read this year (so far) are House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas and The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty. I don't know if I could choose right now which one I liked more because they were both so different and amazing in their own ways.

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)House of Earth and Blood is the first book in Sarah J. Maas's new adult fantasy series. It's set in a modern world mixed with fantasy and it was so good! I got spoiled for one part of the book so I do think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been spoiled for that, but I enjoyed every other part of the book and am really looking forward to rereading it (hopefully by the end of this year) and annotating! You can find my review here.

The Empire of Gold (Daevabad Trilogy, #3)The Empire of Gold is the final book in the Daevabad trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty. This is a historical fantasy set in the Middle East. I absolutely loved the first two books in the trilogy when I read them last year and was so happy that I was able to secure a trade for an ARC of the final book since it doesn't actually come out for another week. It was a great finale and one that I really want to reread since I already know there's a lot that I don't remember. You can find my review here.

2. Best Sequel You've Read

I've actually read quite a few first books in series or standalones this year but in terms of the best sequel I read, that honor would have to go to The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty. I do apologize because I loved this book so much so it will end up on multiple categories of this list, but it was an amazing sequel. Honorable mentions go to Ember Queen by Laura Sebastian and This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner.

3. New Release You Haven't Read but Want To

The Court of Miracles (Court of Miracles, #1)There are quite a few of these, though I have also been lucky in getting to read a lot of new releases for blog tours and publishers this year so far. The two that are on the top of my list that are either out or I have ARCs for are The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant and Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust. 

Girl, Serpent, ThornThe Court of Miracles was pitched to me as Six of Crows meets Les Mis, which sounded absolutely amazing to me. Plus, the cover is absolutely stunning and I've been hearing a lot of positive feedback from other readers! You can find out more on Goodreads.

I also want to read Girl, Serpent, Thorn. I honestly don't remember much about this except that I was totally hooked when I read the synopsis. This is another book with an absolutely stunning cover and I can't wait to have a copy on my shelves. You can find out more on Goodreads.

4. Biggest Disappointment

Crave (Crave, #1)I haven't really had too many disappointing reads this year which is always a good thing. I've had some that have been just good and not great like I hoped, but the winner of biggest disappointment is definitely Crave by Tracy Wolff.

As a big lover of Twilight, I was very much looking forward to discovering a new YA novel centered around vampires. I was a bit skeptical going in since the marketing surrounding this book definitely seemed to play up the similarities to Twilight, even being pitched to me as, "Is this the new Twilight?!" I really think the similar cover, pitch comparing it to Twilight, and the similarities in characters really did this book a disservice. I absolutely hated it and continue to not like it even more the more I look back on it. On the other hand, it was really fun writing this review because I had so much to discuss.

5. Biggest Surprise

Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy, #2) by Laura SebastianAsh Princess (Ash Princess Series #1) by Laura Sebastian ...I would say the Ash Princess trilogy by Laura Sebastian. I read a digital ARC of Ash Princess back when it first came out and I enjoyed it but I didn't love it. I never got around to reading the sequel when it came out, but when there was a blog tour being organized for the final book this year I was intrigued. I figured this was the best chance I had to read these books and find out what happens next. Ember Queen (Ash Princess Book 3) eBook: Sebastian ...I will say I enjoyed Ash Princess even more the second time around. And then the books just kept getting better! I am so happy that I decided to join the tour for these because I was surprised at just how much I ended up loving them. I'm also excited because I now have copies that I can add to my bookshelf rather than just the digital versions.

Book Reviews: Ash Princess, Lady Smoke, & Ember Queen

6. Favorite New Author

I have so many! Nic Stone, Zoraida Córdova, Adiba Jaigirdar, Adalyn Grace...the list goes on and on! I've read a lot of books this year from new-to-me authors and I'm very excited to see what new ones I read from next and what other books from these authors I still get to read!

7. Newest Fictional Crush

I think I'm an outlier in that I don't really have fictional crushes? I have characters that I love and think are great in their respective relationships, but as I've grown older I've stopped having crushes on characters. I think, for me, a personality has to completely match well with mine and I just don't think that even some of my favorite characters would match well with me. I'm also in a very happy relationship and no fictional character could ever compare to him. That being said, I do ship different characters with each other and I do love characters, I just don't crush on them anymore.

8. Newest Favorite Character

Bryce Quinlan | Crescent City Wiki | FandomWhile I don't crush on fictional characters anymore, I do still love a lot of characters! Some new ones that have really stuck out to me this year have been Bryce from House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas (pictured right, from sncinderart), Renata from Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova, and Thia from The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson, among others. All of these are badass women who aren't perfect and make mistakes but have genuinely good hearts.

9. Book that Made You Cry

I'll admit, I cry in books a lot. I tear up in most books I read when an emotional scene rolls around. That being said, I do have some where there was either a steady stream of tears or full on sobbing.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas made me sob. It had me crying in the first 100 pages and then I was sobbing throughout most of the final 100 pages as well. There were just so many emotions rolling through me and I was so scared for so many characters throughout the book. And, of course, I tend to cry in most SJM books anyway.

The next one was Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova. There were a lot of really emotional scenes, so there were definitely times where tears were just dripping down my face. I'm so excited to see where the next book goes, though, and if the author will get me to cry with that one as well. You can find my review here.

The last one I'm going to mention is The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty. I didn't sob but there was a solid stream of tears for the last 150-200 pages of this book. I was so terrified for this book because I didn't know what would happen to all my favorite characters and was worried they'd all die. No spoilers but I did cry a lot.

10. Book that Made You Happy

She's With Me (She's With Me, #1)There were actually a lot of books that made me happy this year so far. I don't like to leave books feeling upset (past general cliffhangerness and angst) because books are an escape for me. That being said, I really enjoyed She's With Me by Jessica Cunsolo.

This is one that I actually read on Wattpad many many years ago when it was first being published chapter-by-chapter. I'm so happy that it's been released in a newly edited and revised paperback so that I can add it to my book collection. It was just so fun being back in this story with these characters and I had such a good time rereading this. I'm also just very excited for the second book to be edited and released this December!

11. Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation

The Twilight Saga @worldoftwilightsaga Instagram photo | Websta ...
I haven't really watched many this year, but I did reread the first three Twilight Saga books so far (with Breaking Dawn coming in July) and it reminded me of how much I loved the movies. The Twilight movie isn't the best quality but it's still fun and New Moon and Eclipse are wonderfully shot and produced! I honestly want to have a movie marathon soon because I love the stories so much.

12. Favorite Review You've Written

My favorite review I wrote for a book I actually liked was my review for House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas, which can be found here.

However, I also loved writing my Crave review because it's nice to rant sometimes. This is an extensive negative review on the book, so if you enjoyed it, I would recommend caution reading the review since I did hate the book and am mercilessly ripping into it here.

13. Most Beautiful Book you Bought

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1)This is also really hard, but I'm going to go with Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare since I've already talked enough about The Empire of Gold and House of Earth and Blood. There were so many beautiful books that I bought and were sent so far this year but I do have to give a shoutout to the beauty that is Chain of Gold. I am really looking forward to seeing what the rest of the covers in this Shadowhunters trilogy look like. Also, I'm planning on reading the entire Shadowhunters novels in chronological order so that I can refresh myself on the Infernal Devices before I dive into this one!

14. What do you need to read by the end of the year? 

There are so many books that I want to read by the end of 2020 that it would take up so much time to write down. However, here are some that I'm excited about for the rest of the year:

  • Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin (plus a reread of Serpent & Dove)
  • Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
  • the Renegades trilogy by Marissa Meyer
  • Lightbringer by Claire Legrand (plus a reread of Furyborn & Kingsbane)
  • the Nevernight trilogy by Jay Kristoff (reread the first and then binge the trilogy)
  • An Ember in the Ashes quartet by Sabaa Tahir (reread the first two and then binge the last two)

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Saturday, June 20, 2020

Book Review: "The Storm Crow" by Kalyn Josephson

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1)
Title: The Storm Crow
Author: Kalyn Josephson
Series: "The Storm Crow" #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

I'm honestly surprised that I didn't pick this up sooner because I ended up loving it! I got an ARC in my Fairyloot box all the way back in December of 2019 and just hadn't figured out when to read it. Then 2020 hit and I figured I would just wait until the sequel came out so that I didn't have to wait long between books. Well, I got an ARC of the second book and figured it was about time for me to read this one!

This, to me, is the epitome of a great YA fantasy book. I've read a lot of high fantasy YA novels that are super intricate in their world building and magic systems with lots of dense passages and lots of information thrown are way. And don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a dense high fantasy. But I also like a YA fantasy that doesn't throw too much information at you. It seemed to me that the author gave us exactly the right amount of information to understand the world, conflicts, and magic system as we needed.

That being said, I am fascinated by this world. I want to know more about each of the different kingdoms and I especially want to know more about the magic systems at play. I think the idea of the crows is so unique and there's so much room to learn more about them. I'm just overall so interested in exploring this world and the magic systems within it in book two!

This was also a pretty fast-paced book. It's not super long and that felt like a breath of fresh air as well. I do like long books but they can be exhausting at times. I felt that the story moved at a good pace and didn't drag at all. I also just really liked Kalyn's writing style and I found it easy to fall into. I ended up reading most of this book in one sitting and not even realizing the passage of time.

I will say that I've read so many fantasy stories centered around rebellion and "taking back the throne" trope so that didn't feel unique to me but what made me love this book was the characters, the plot, the world, etc. The author took a pretty common trope but has made everything else in the book enjoyable and unique.

Speaking of characters, I really enjoyed the ones in this book. We have our main character with the only POV, Anthia, but we also have multiple side characters who occupy a lot of page time. I loved our main character but I also really loved the side characters. Each one felt developed and unique from the rest--I am very interested to see everyone's development in the next book. We also just had a super strong female friendship at the forefront of the book instead of romance which I absolutely adored!

Additionally, I felt that the struggles Anthia went through with depression were realistic and didn't try to glamorize it. I could feel and relate to her issues. Not even that, but the way she addressed it and dealt with the stigmas from people around her--wonderful. I also liked that the character explicitly stated she had depression and it wasn't just assumed (because now no one can say that it wasn't in there).

Overall, while I know that this isn't the best or most unique book out there, I had an absolutely blast reading it and am so excited to dive into the second book later today. I highly recommend this one to fantasy lovers and I cannot wait to see what happens in the next!

Thanks for reading!

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Friday, June 12, 2020

Book Review: "Eclipse" by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Title: Eclipse
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Series: "Twilight Saga" #3
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Page Length: 629 pages
Publication Date: August 7, 2007
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Book 2 Review

Like with my reviews for Twilight and New Moon, I'd like to preface this one by saying that I've already read Eclipse. I read it for the first time eleven or twelve years ago and it's been at least eight years since I last read it. That being said, this review will be based off of a reread. I know that I love the story but these are going to be my thoughts as a full-fledged adult. Additionally, most of these comments are addressing problematic aspects even though I enjoyed my reread and gave it 4.5 stars.

So I always enjoyed Eclipse when I was watching the movies over the years. I figured I would like reading  Eclipse more than I liked reading New Moon. I was wrong. While I still massively enjoyed Eclipse and it was such a nostalgic time, there were way more problematic things in this book.

For one, the love triangle was dumb. I always thought it was dumb because it was obvious who Bella was going to end up with but after reading through the book where it was most prevalent, I was just rolling my eyes over it most of the time. To be fair, I never feel super connected to Edward more than Jacob and I like them both equally. However, I am vehemently Team Bella and there's a reason why I support Edward more in this relationship.

At the beginning of the book, both Edward and Jacob annoyed me. Edward was being possessive and controlling (even going as far to disable her truck and have his sister kidnap her for a weekend so she couldn't see Jacob). However, after a conversation with Bella (aka her telling him off), he begins to change and actually becomes so much better. Jacob on the other hand doesn't understand consent. He kisses Bella and when she couldn't get him to stop, she just went limp and waited for him to be done. He constantly insults Edward and, at the end of the book, manipulates Bella into kissing him again in a very mean way.

It seems to me that the movie definitely made these two characters a lot better. Edward is slightly less possessive and controlling and Jacob is way less of an ass. However, I am glad to see Edward's development in this book and even some of Jacob's minuscule development. I will say that I like Jacob in every other book and even part of this book, but then he turned into a douche.

There were also a few things with the representation of the Quileute tribe. I am not a part of this community so I cannot comment fairly on how good the representation was, but I felt that there were a few times when a non-Quileute character would say something about a member of the Quileute tribe and it seemed a bit problematic. This book is obviously quite old but yikes.

Other than these issues, I did enjoy my reread. I definitely thought these issues made me like it a bit less, but I still had the nostalgic feelings and strong connection to the characters to make me enjoy it.  If I'd read this for the first time this year, I probably would have given it such a lower rating. But as it stands, I love this series and story too much to be able to give it an unbiased rating. I will say that after this reread, I do expect it to be my least favorite book in the series just because of the problems I mentioned above (though I do think the movie did a much better job of not being problematic).

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Sunday, June 7, 2020

Book Review: "New Moon" by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon (Twilight, #2)
Title: New Moon
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Series: "Twilight Saga" #2
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Page Length: 563 pages
Publication Date: September 6, 2006
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Like with the first book, it has been years since I've read this installment of the Twilight Saga. I can't pinpoint the exact time I read it last, but it's been over eight years. However, I have watched the movie multiple times since then. In the past, I always said I enjoyed the movie more (simply because I didn't remember much of the differences from the book) but that has now changed.

I don't remember much from when I first read this book but I can tell you that for many years I thought of it as my least favorite in the series. I sometimes thought that it was boring and a waste of an installment when the big events could have been incorporated elsewhere. After rereading, I can now say that I was wrong.

Maybe it's just because I've grown older and can relate more to Bella or maybe it's just because I know the story so well that finding details I'd forgotten was so fun. Either way, I really enjoyed this reread. Whereas with Twilight I tried rereading slowly to make it last, I couldn't put New Moon down. I read half of it one night and then finished the rest in the morning.

I definitely think that my personal growth has impacted how I relate to Bella and view these books. I've grown as a person through reading other books and my own personal life experiences. I cannot speak for everyone, but I really thought that how Bella's struggles were portrayed made them actually very relatable (not all of her struggles, of course, but the healing process especially).

I can't make unbiased comments on this book since it's a series that I've loved so much for so long. This story is so well-ingrained into my mind from reading the books, browsing fanfiction, and watching the movies that I can't objectively discuss things like setting, characters, and plot. I think the movies definitely impact how I see the characters because I'm just vividly picturing the settings, scenes, and actors from the movie (which, let me tell you, is actually refreshing because my brain didn't have to work as hard).

One thing that continues to be refreshing on this reread is just Bella's character voice. In the movies, we don't get a lot of her inner thoughts, struggles, or snark but the books let us see into Bella's head. She really isn't that boring of a character and while she's not perfect and definitely has some issues, she is a lot more realistic to me after rereading these books.

I will say that the problematic aspects seemed a lot less in this book. There were definitely still some parts I cringed at or rolled my eyes at, but overall they seemed a lot less. Honestly it was probably because Edward was gone for most of the book (which makes him sound like a bad person, oops). I'm interested to see how my reread of Eclipse goes because I know the love-triangle aspect and possessiveness really ramps up in that one.

Overall, I just have to say that I can't objectively review these books so please take this review as commentary from a die-hard Twilight fan of 12 years. But I absolutely loved this reread and have a new appreciation for New Moon. Now onto Eclipse!

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Saturday, June 6, 2020

May 2020 Book Haul

Hello everyone! Today I am here with my book haul for this past May. I'm pretty happy with my haul for this month...I didn't pay for most of the books and the others I did buy I got for just a few dollars off of ebay. I got a total of 8 books this month and I've also already read 6 of them!

Up first, I have an ARC of Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova. I read a digital ARC of this back in April and absolutely loved it. I knew I wanted a physical copy so I hunted the trading tags on Twitter for an ARC and was lucky enough to find one! If you want to know more about this book and my thoughts, check out my blog tour post here.
Incendiary (Hollow Crown, #1)

The next two books I got were sent to me by Wunderkind PR for a FFBC blog tour. I got a paperback of The Tiger at Midnight and an ARC of The Archer at Dawn by Swati Teerdhala. I read both of these in May and enjoyed them a lot! For my thoughts and a giveaway for both of these books, you can check out my blog tour post here.
The Tiger at Midnight (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy, #1) The Archer at Dawn (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy, #2)

The next book I got was one that I won during Novl's Couchfest event and that was an ARC of Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzpatrick. This one isn't coming out until later this fall and there's not even a cover yet, but I'm very excited to read this one.
Beyond the Ruby Veil (Beyond the Ruby Veil, #1)

Then I picked up paperback copies of New Moon and Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. I really wanted a complete paperback set of this series so that I could annotate them during a reread. I found these for really cheap on ebay and was lucky enough that they were also in pretty good condition.
New Moon (Twilight, #2) Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)

Up next is a signed copy of The Glamourist by Luanne G. Smith. I was sent this by the author so that I can participate in the blog tour run by FFBC in June. I don't know much about this one as it's the sequel to an ebook I have but haven't read yet. However, the cover is stunning and I'm very excited to be a part of this tour.
The Glamourist (Vine Witch, #2)

The last book I got in May was an ARC of The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty. This was such an amazing trade find for me since this is one of my favorite series and the third book didn't have very many ARCs sent out. I was so happy to get this because not only is it helpful for completing my collection, but I also was able to read it early. You can find my non-spoiler review here.
The Empire of Gold (Daevabad Trilogy, #3)

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Thursday, June 4, 2020

Book Review: "The Empire of Gold" by S.A. Chakraborty

The Empire of Gold (Daevabad Trilogy, #3)
Title: The Empire of Gold
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Series: "The Daevabad Trilogy" #3
Genre: Adult Historical Fantasy
Page Length: 784 pages
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Book 2 Review

*This will be a non-spoiler review for this final book but will contain spoilers for the first two books. Disclaimer: I was sent a free digital ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own*

I don't even know where to start this review if I'm being honest...there's so many things I want to talk about but can't for fear of spoiling this beautiful book. I guess I'll just start by saying that this book was amazing, wonderful, and an incredible conclusion to one of my favorite trilogies.

I binged the first two books in this trilogy at the beginning of 2019 and absolutely fell in love with the world and the characters. Then book 2 ended in a huge cliffhanger and I was dying to get this final book in my hands as soon as possible. The release got pushed back a bit but the time finally came when ARCs were released into the world. I was lucky enough to be granted a digital review copy and then I was ecstatic when I was able to secure a trade for a physical review copy on Twitter. The moment that the physical book landed on my doorstep I was rereading the trilogy in preparation for this finale.

I could not put this book down. I finished my reread of The Kingdom of Copper at about 1 AM one night and couldn't help myself from starting The Empire of Gold. I read about 50 pages and then the next day I read 700+ pages in one afternoon. I couldn't help myself. This book was addicting and vivid and fast-paced and everything amazing.

As it always is with this trilogy, my favorite part of this book was the characters. A good book can run on plot alone, but a great book has to have characters that readers can connect to. This trilogy has one of the best casts of characters I've ever read about. Each of the main characters has quite a distinct character voice that makes them unique from each other. Even the side characters who don't have POV chapters in this book are still well-rounded and developed. The characters don't all agree  and they don't all get along and some of them are even trying to kill each other...but I love them all.

The character development in this book was just phenomenal. The journey that these characters go on throughout this trilogy really was quite wonderful to read about and it all came to a head in this finale. I've loved getting to follow Nahri's journey throughout this trilogy and she has really changed while still staying true to herself. She's one of my favorite book characters ever because of this. Ali has undergone so much in the years that this trilogy spans and still cares so much for other people despite all the bad stuff that has gone on. And, lastly, Dara has been fighting an internal moral debate for years now that have led to quite the personal struggle in this book.

The plot itself was addicting to read. The stakes have been rising since book one and, after the insane cliffhanger at the end of book two, this book just picks up and runs with it immediately. We alternate POVs between Dara, who's in Daevabad with Manizeh trying to rebuild the city, and Ali and Nahri, who both have individual POVs but are traveling together after getting transported to Cairo. It seemed to me like Dara's chapters were more bleak and showed the struggles of the situation whereas Ali and Nahri, at least in the beginning, were a lot lighter to read. I liked the contrast and feel like this book was a lot stronger because of the balance between difficult scenes and light-hearted moments.

There were definitely a lot of moments where I was holding my breath because of what was occurring on page. The action in this story was plentiful but when there weren't high-action scenes there was still tension that reminded me of the stakes. Between the characters, tension, and Shannon's writing, I couldn't put this book down.

One of the main things that I love about this trilogy is how vivid the world and magic system is. There were times when I read this where I felt breathless at the descriptions and magic. I even would reread entire pages just to go back and visualize the setting again. I never felt overwhelmed with setting details, though, and I think that Shannon has always been great at striking the balance between enough vivid details and too much information.

The last thing that I've always raved about when it comes to this trilogy is the politics and moral/ethical debates. One thing I've found with these books is that there's usually no easy or simple way out of situations that are presented. This means that even the best case scenario can lead to a lot of death, destruction, or loss of power/money/etc. It's quite fascinating reading about how the characters come to the decisions they do because there's really no easy way out. Not to mention, I like the fact that nothing is black-and-white in this trilogy because that's not realistic in the real world. People make bad decisions, don't think things through, etc and that's shown in this trilogy. I just...I could write an entire review based around just this aspect of the trilogy but, for time's sake, I'll move on.

Overall I just loved this installment and this trilogy. I am sad to see it come to an end and I definitely cried while reading this book but I am very satisfied with how Shannon wrapped everything up. This trilogy is so magical and addicting that I can't help but sing praises as often as I can. I can't wait for it to come out at the end of June so that (1) I can collect all the beautiful finished editions and (2) so that I can rave about it with other readers.

This trilogy will always have a spot on my favorites shelf.

Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

May 2020 Wrap-Up

Hello everyone! I am back today with my wrap-up for the month of May! I can't believe it's already June and that I'm about to start an online summer course next week. Time has been simultaneously flying and going by at a snail's pace.

May was a pretty alright month. I finished up my junior year of university (I'm now officially a senior and the pressure is setting in) and have worked a lot on my mental and physical wellbeing these past few weeks I've been stuck at home. This included watching a lot of Netflix...oops. That being said, I had a pretty intense reading goal for this month and I didn't even come close to achieving it but I'm happy with that. I never want to force myself to read if I'm not in the mood.

That being said, I read 8 books in May, with some of them being long, and enjoyed all of them. Some I absolutely loved and others I simply liked. There was not a single book that I didn't enjoy which signifies a successful reading month to me! That being said, let's go ahead and dive right in!

Title: The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly 
Author: Jamie Pacton
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review/Blog Tour
The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton
Title: The Henna Wars
Author: Adiba Jaigirdar
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Review/Blog Tour
The Henna Wars

Title: Twilight
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Twilight (Twilight, #1)

Title: The City of Brass
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
This was a fun reread for me. I read this book the first time over a year ago and knew that I definitely needed a refresher before finishing the trilogy. It was so nice to be back with familiar characters in a familiar world. I did struggle a bit at times because I'm so unmotivated because of quarantine and there aren't a lot of high-action scenes, but overall it was an enjoyable reread that I finished in just a few sittings. I loved getting to see these characters again and reorient myself in this world as there were a lot of things I had forgotten.

Title: Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria
Author: J.M. Bergen
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria (Book 2)

Title: The Tiger at Midnight
Author: Swati Teerdhala
Rating: 3.75 // 5 stars
The Tiger at Midnight (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy, #1)

Title: The Kingdom of Copper
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
I decided to reread the first two books in this trilogy before going onto the third and final one and I'm so glad I did! I forgot how much I loved this book. I knew I loved it but I forgot how much and why. It was honestly such a fun (aka stressful) ride rereading this book and I am so scared for what is going to happen in the third and final book that I'm so blessed to have an early copy of. 

Title: The Empire of Gold
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
The Empire of Gold (Daevabad Trilogy, #3)