Sunday, May 9, 2021

Julie and the Phantoms Book Tag


Hi everyone! Today I am so excited to be doing a new themed book tag! One of my absolute favorite new comfort shows is Julie and the Phantoms. It's such a cute, cheesy show that has been a perfect relief to the stress of finishing my degree. I was so excited when I saw this book tag floating around and decided I just had to do it! There are a few different tags I found after researching some more but I decided to go with this one as I liked how it didn't focus only on characters but also on other elements of the show! This tag and the prompt graphics were created by The Bookish Skies and are used with permission via their original tag post! 




So for this one I am going with Enne Salta from the Shadow Game trilogy by Amanda Foody. This is a recent trilogy I've been reading and Enne has just been absolutely killing it with the character development. By the end of book two, Enne has undergone so much and changed a lot and it's honestly been such a joy to read about. I will say that I'm scared to see how she fares in the third book, though. 

The trilogy itself is about Enne, a girl about to start her final year of finishing school who has to travel to the City of Sin to find her missing mother. There, she teams up with Levi, a street lord with problems of his own that might be solved if he can help Enne find her mother. However, things aren't always as they seem in this city of debauchery and crime. 




Oh man, this is a tough one. I think I'm going to go with the character who died in King of Fools by Amanda Foody. It's not that it's the character death that has hurt me the most out of all the characters that have ever died in a book. However, this is one of my more recent deaths and when I look back on the series as a whole, it does hurt a lot to see this character dead. In fact, I'm tearing up a bit just thinking of how tragic it was. 




I'm going to go with the second prompt because I genuinely cannot remember the book that introduced me to reading all those years ago when I was seven or eight. So for a book that introduced me to my current favorite genre I'm going to go with Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I had read fantasy before this book, but it was typically fantasy that took place in our own world. Throne of Glass was not only one of the books I credit with getting me back into reading novels again but also the book that introduced me to high fantasy (specifically young adult high fantasy). 

Throne of Glass follows Celaena Sardothien, an assassin who's been imprisoned in a labor camp who gets pulled out by the Crown Prince in order to compete in a tournament and become the King's Champion (aka become his personal assassin). There's a lot of books and the series definitely expands a lot past this general description, but this first book will always be special to me for how much I loved it and what it's done for me. 




This is also a tough one. I would love to one day publish my own novel and have people remember me for that. But for right now I don't think I have a specific book in mind. I just want to help people discover books that they love. Sometimes I'll get messages telling me that they've bought a book and loved it because I recommended it and those messages make me so happy. So I guess my answer to this is that I hope people remember me for introducing them to their favorite books, whatever book that may be. 




Oh gosh, I have a ton of emotional support characters. Lately, I haven't been reading as much but whenever I'm in a slump or not feeling it, I often pick a reread from a selection of my favorite books. The first one that came to mind when I thought of that selection was Willa from the Curse of the Gods series by Jane Washington and Jaymin Eve. 

Willa is such a comedic character that never fails to make me smile. I'm a big fan of this series in general for being so much fun yet still intriguing and badass. It's a reverse harem story set in a fantasy world where the class system is organized around the gods. Willa, what's know as a dweller, is at the bottom of this class system yet refuses to bow to those above her. She's such a badass yet clumsy character who I love a lot.




This is another tough one. If I was the villain in the story, there would have to be good reason for it. I would have to have been wronged in very serious ways or believe that I was doing what was right. I guess what I think would be closest to me if I were a villain would be Nova from the Renegades trilogy by Marissa Meyer.

Now, Nova isn't necessarily an evil villain. But she's not the hero. She fights for the "bad" guys but the good guys aren't that great all the time either. I love this trilogy a lot due to how it tackles the different shades or morality and how your idea of it changes based on what perspective you're getting. In that, I think I identify most with Nova's anti-hero status because she's genuinely fighting for something she believes in even if it's not the best way of going about it.  




I 100% have to go with Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall for this one. There are tons of other books that have made me laugh (I tend to get quite expressive with my emotions when reading books). However, this was the book that popped into my head immediately once I read this prompt. 

This is a mlm adult rom-com set in England. It has some of my favorite tropes: fake dating, rivals-to-lovers, "there's only one bed," and so many more! Not only that, but it there's a complex plot, well-developed characters, and a swoony romance. I listened to the audiobook of this one in just two sittings and had to stop multiple times just to laugh at it. It was such a great experience and I highly recommend listening to the audiobook if you want to read this book! 




Maybe it's just because I haven't been online much this year due to how busy school has been, but it seems like most of my anticipated releases for this year aren't talked about very much. For this prompt, though, I think I'm going to go with Illusionary by Zoriada Córdova. This is a book that is coming out this week and I'm so incredibly excited to get my copy.

Incendiary, the first book in this duology, came out in 2020 and was one of my top reads of the entire year. It follows a girl named Renata who is a working as a rebel spy to infiltrate the palace and complete her unit's mission after their commander is taken captive. But returning to the palace means returning to the place she was held captive for years as a child while her magic was exploited. Let me just tell you guys that this book was phenomenal and I ended up reading it in just one sitting! It was such a good book that had so many twists and deceptions and I cannot wait to dive into the sequel soon! 




I guess I'm going to go with the Veil Diaries series by B.L. Brunnemer. This is one of my absolute favorite reverse harem series and it's a genre I love a lot. In this series, there are numerous love interests and instead of choosing between them like your typical love triangle, the main character doesn't choose and ends up with more than one of them.

The Veil Diaries is one of my top reverse harem series of all time. I've been following it since the first book released and it's been a great time getting to follow the rise in popularity through the years. The series itself follows a teenager named Alexis who can talk to and interact with ghosts. She moves in with her uncle and starts attending a new school where she meets a group of guys who quickly become her friends. But she can't help keeping them at arm's length due to her ghostly abilities. Like I said, one of my favorite series of all time! 




The slow-burn is definitely one that I've encountered many times over the years. I think that I'm going to go with The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. I'm not going to spill who the couple is, but it took the entire trilogy for this to actually happen the way it did. I will say I'm not wholly satisfied with the ending of the trilogy in terms of romances and whatnot, but this is one of the couples that took the longest.

The City of Brass follows Nahri, a con artist from Cairo who one day accidentally summons an ancient djinn warrior. Her life becomes threatened because of this and she has to flee with the warrior to the ancient city of Daevabad where she discovers she's not the normal human she thought she was. Instead, she's the sole heir to a long line of famous healers. But not everyone is happy she's there...




This might be a weird pairing but I think Nova from Renegades and Lou from Serpent & Dove. Both characters sort of rebel against the norm and rules but neither are villains. They're both fiercely independent and driven. I think they'd either absolutely love each other or despise each other. I also think it'd be really interesting to see them put in a room together. 




There are so many books in this category. There's also a lot of books that I didn't finish and just put aside because I see no issue with DNF-ing books. However, I think I've narrowed it down to the perfect book: Crave by Tracy Wolff.

This is a pretty popular book in the book community and I absolutely hate it. I wanted to love it so bad but it was such a struggle for me to read and I seriously did not enjoy 95% of it. I pushed through because I wanted to see if it got better and because I was on a blog tour for it. I wish I was one of the people who had enjoyed it but I despised it so much. To date, I still put this as an answer for a lot of tags when it asks about hated books or the like. Anyway, I hated it and I think I'll just leave it there. 



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Friday, May 7, 2021

April 2021 Book Haul


Hello all! Today I'm super excited to be discussing all of the books that I hauled in April. I got a total of five physical books this past month and I'm excited about all of them! I don't anticipate hauling as many in May but who knows!

The first book I got this month was Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody. I read Ace of Shades in March and absolutely adored it. So, while I was working through King of Fools, I bought Queen of Volts so that I could dive straight in. Unfortunately, with how busy I've been with school and my internship I haven't been able to finish this book yet but it is on my immediate TBR. I will say, though, that after the ending of the second book I am very nervous as to how this final installment could end. I just want all of the characters to be happy and safe! 

The next book I got was the Owlcrate edition of Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody. When I saw this pop up for a super cheap price I knew I had to snag it because it has not only an exclusive cover but also is signed by the author! I loved Ace of Shades so much and I would love to see my Amanda Foody collection grow as well. I can't wait to photograph this copy for bookstagram and display it on my shelves once I actually have bookshelves again. 

The third book I picked up was one that I won in a giveaway from Novl and that is an ARC of Indivisible by Daniel Aleman. I was completely shocked when this showed up on my doorstep since I didn't remember entering the giveaway nor did I get any notification that I won. This book actually just came out this past week so if you're interested in reading it you can get your own copy! I've heard that it's a very important book for the current America we live in. I just know that it's going to teach me a lot and make me feel a lot of things. 

Next, I got the international paperback edition of House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas. I just knew that I had to add this floppy paperback to my collection. It's so soft, floppy, and feels perfect in the hands. Not to mention it was less than a regular US edition despite being an international import. I'm really excited to see my Crescent City collection grow, especially with the release of the next book hopefully within the next year. 

The final book I got this month was The Edge of Great by Micol Ostow. This is the novelization of season one of Julie and the Phantoms. I've binged this show a few times now and I absolutely love it. It's a bit cheesy and it's definitely made for kids but it's a good comfort show and a nice distraction from when I'm stressing about finals or school or various adult things. I just knew I had to add this to my shelf when I saw it was a thing. 

Well, those are all of the books that I got in April! I'm very excited for some upcoming summer releases in the next few months so definitely stay tuned for more exciting book hauls each month!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

April 2021 Wrap-Up


Hello everyone! April was...a month. It had its ups and downs but for the most part I wouldn't say it was too bad. I was mostly focused on schoolwork and my internship but I did manage to get a lot of Netflix binging in (oops). I did read a lot, but the majority of it was fanfiction, reading for school, or online stories so the total number of books I read for the entire month of April is only two. However, now that I'm almost done with the semester and heading into summer where I'll have more time for reading, I hope that I'll be able to get out of my reading slump and smash out some books in May! 


1.
Title: King of Fools
Author: Amanda Foody
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Review TK

2.
Title: Swim for the Little One First
Author: Noy Holland
Rating: n/a -- read for class





Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Friday, April 23, 2021

Book Review: "Ace of Shades" by Amanda Foody

Title: Ace of Shades
Author: Amanda Foody
Series: "The Shadow Game" #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 411 pages
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

*Content Warnings for Ace of Shades: violence, death/murder, addiction and drug use, torture, gambling, pedophilia (it is completely condemned in the novel but there are mentions of it occurring off-page)*

Do you ever have those books that you know you'll enjoy but put off for ages? Ace of Shades is one of those books for me. I've been following the author since her debut novel, Daughter of the Burning City, released and was interested in Ace of Shades from the beginning. Now, three years later the trilogy is complete and I have just now finally started it. 

Ace of Shades was somehow completely unexpected and exactly what I needed and wanted. I didn't really know what I was expecting going into it, but it was not what we got. I loved every single minute of this book and it definitely will on my top favorite books list for this year. 

For me, what makes this book special is the characters. Our main characters, Enne and Levi, are very far from perfect. They make mistakes, are morally gray, and go through a lot of trials throughout this book. I loved both of their developments but I think I loved Enne's even more. She's very much a prim and proper lady who gets thrown into a world of debauchery and sin. It was wonderful to watch her navigate it all.

We also have an eclectic cast of side characters that really added an extra layer of depth to the story that I very much enjoyed. I won't get too much into them, either, but just know I loved how unique and well-written each one was! 

The magic system in this book is another reason why this book stands out to me so much. Magic is currency and everyone has different talents in this story. Magic is also passed down through family and some is more rare than others. I won't dive too deep in because you really do have to read the book to understand fully but I will say that it's one of the most intriguing magic systems I've ever read about.

When it comes to the world and setting, I think Amanda Foody knocked it out of the park. There's gang politics, a corrupt city, a terrifying game, and a sinful feel. In fact, the city is literally nicknamed the City of Sin. I was getting magical Las Vegas vibes if I'm being honest. I'm really intrigued to learn more in later books about how the city came to be the way it is.

Lastly, the story itself was fascinating. There were humorous moments but there was also a lot of tension, action, etc. I loved how we had a bunch of small storylines along the main plot line as well. It was also a lot darker than I had originally anticipated, which I'm very glad for. This book is definitely more upper-YA in my opinion, so make sure to take note of the trigger warnings I added at the top.

Overall, I just really loved this book. I'll also admit that I've already finished book two and am hopefully starting book three soon. I'll refrain from discussing either of those, though, since I will have a full review for the second book coming within the next few weeks. However, I will say that I am so intrigued and nervous for the final book. Amanda Foody truly knows how to write tension and high stakes in her stories.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Saturday, April 10, 2021

March 2021 Book Haul


Well hello everyone! It's a bit late this month but I'm finally here to share my March book haul with you all! I am incredibly excited about all of the books I got and can't wait to have proper shelves to display them on in the future. I got a total of nine books this month, though one was a textbook so we're only going to be talking about eight of them. Let's go ahead and dive on in!

The first book that I got this month was Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare. This is the newest release in the Shadowhunters universe and the second in the Last Hours trilogy. I am planning a giant Shadowhunters binge, hopefully starting in the fall, and I can't wait to be able to dive into this trilogy. I've heard nothing but amazing things about this book and the first from very reputable reader friends. Also, I can't wait to take pictures of these books together cause the covers are stunning!

The next three books I got were all different editions of A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas. This is the newest book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series and I am thrilled to have added these special editions to my shelves. I got the special tour edition that came with your ticket for the virtual tour, the signed Barnes & Noble edition which included a bonus Feysand scene, and a signed Books A Million edition which included a bonus Azriel scene. I'm honestly so excited I was able to get my hands on all the different editions. Not to mention that I actually loved this book so much (you can find my non-spoiler review here).  

The next book I got was The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody. This was sent to me for free by the publisher in exchange for my participation in the blog tour. I absolutely loved this book and had such a fun time reading it. This is Foody's first middle grade novel and it was kind of a mashup between How to Train Your Dragon and Pokemon. I loved it. Plus, the physical book is so cute and I can't wait to collect the rest of the series! You can find my non-spoiler review here

Lastly, I picked up the entire Vicious Deep trilogy by Zoraida Córdova which includes The Vicious Deep, The Vast and Brutal Sea, and The Savage Blue. These recently went out of print and I wanted to snag copies before they become impossible to find. I was really lucky to get all of these for less than $12 total. The last book did end up being a different size from the others, which was confusing, but it's not overly noticeable on my shelf and, if I love these books, I can always search for properly-sized copy in the future.

Those are all the physical books I got this month! I anticipate April being way smaller in terms of what I pick up since this month had a lot of overflow from things I purchased in February or earlier. What did you pick up this month? Let me know in the comments!
 


Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Sunday, April 4, 2021

Blog Tour: "The Accidental Apprentice" by Amanda Foody

Blog Tour Banner featuring the cover for The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody on a photoshopped background with the words: "Blog Tour: March 30-April 5"

Hello everyone! Today I am so incredibly excited to be bringing you my stop on the blog & Instagram tour for The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody. I absolutely loved this book and am so excited that it's out in the world for everyone else to read and love too! Feel free to read through this tour stop and then check out my Instagram stop here


A boy who accidentally bonds with a magical Beast must set off on an adventure in the mysterious Woods in this whimsical and cheeky middle grade fantasy debut—perfect for fans of Nevermoor and How to Train Your Dragon.  

The last thing Barclay Thorne ever wanted was an adventure.

Thankfully, as an apprentice to the town’s mushroom farmer, Barclay need only work hard and follow the rules to one day become the head mushroom farmer himself. No danger required. But then Barclay accidentally breaks his town’s most sacred rule: never ever EVER stray into the Woods, for within the Woods lurk vicious magical Beasts.

To Barclay’s horror, he faces a fate far worse than being eaten: he unwittingly bonds with a Beast and is run out of town by an angry mob. Determined to break this bond and return home, Barclay journeys to find the mysterious town of Lore Keepers, people who have also bonded with Beasts and share their powers.

But after making new friends, entering a dangerous apprenticeship exam, and even facing the legendary Beast of the Woods, Barclay must make a difficult choice: return to the home and rules he’s always known, or embrace the adventure awaiting him. 

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: March 30, 2021


I first would like to say a big thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for hosting me on this tour and providing me with a free copy of The Accidental Apprentice for review. It has been a wonderful time and I'm grateful to have been given the opportunity to read this book early and show early support for it!

You guys, I absolutely loved this book! I read it in one sitting and ended up staying up until 1:30 AM just to finish it because I couldn't put it down. It was cute, it was fun, it was full of adventure, and it even had some plot twists that I didn't see coming. This was a five star read for me and I am so excited to see where the story goes next.

For me, middle grade is hit or miss at this point in my life. I'm just not the target audience anymore and that's okay. I still enjoy reading middle grade books a lot, especially when it comes to rereading my favorites from childhood. Because I'm an adult now, it's generally a 50/50 split on if a middle grade book blows me away or not. Most of the new ones I read are enjoyable but I haven't read a new middle grade in a long time that actually blew me away like this one did. 

I knew from the first line of the book that I was going to enjoy it (in fact, that first line is the first one in my favorite quotes list down below!). I loved Barclay and connected with him almost instantly. He can be insufferable at times but, honestly, that just made me love him more. Reading his journey and getting to watch his character growth was simply wonderful. 

The side characters were all enjoyable as well. I'm not going to name names because of spoilers, but I'm  eager in the next books to find out more about each of the others as we only touched the surface of their backstories in this one. I think a solid cast of characters makes any book better and I am eager to see how these characters grow up and evolve in future books.

The plot itself was so fun. There's a tournament, mystery, and also character journeys that all tie together in a great way. I was a fan of it all and I thought that the author interwove it all in a way that each bit was complemented by the rest. There was a set up for another adventure at the end of the book, though it wasn't a cliffhanger, and I'm so intrigued to see where the plot could go next.

The magic system and world building was amazing. I'm currently reading another of Amanda's books (one of her young adult ones) and I've noticed that her magic systems are all incredibly interesting and fleshed out but aren't complicated to understand. I love the Beasts system and how magic is dependent on what beast a person bonds with. It's just...I'm so excited to explore more of this in future books. 

Overall, I absolutely loved The Accidental Apprentice. I love middle grade but it has been hit or miss for me as I'm no longer the target audience. However, this book greatly exceeded any expectations I had for it and has found its way onto my list of favorite books for the year. I'm so excited to see where the next book and rest of the series go. I highly recommend this book to middle grade fantasy lovers and those who like How to Train Your Dragon and Pokemon


"Barclay Thorne knew almost all there was to know about mushrooms, and there was a lot to know."

"Dullshire was a town of slights."

"Their loyalty is hard to earn, but once achieved, nearly unbreakable." 

"Barclay stalked off down the street wishing that Sycomore could be--if only a little bit--more like home."

"There's a difference between a companion and a monster."

"And when the adventure called, the wilds listened."


Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After a double life as an accountant preparing taxes for multinational corporations, she now spends her free time brewing and fermenting foods much more easily obtained at her local grocery store. She lives in Boston, MA with a hoard of books guarded by the most vicious of feline companions, Jelly Bean.

Her books include The Shadow Game series and more. Her middle grade debut, Wilderlore: The Accidental Apprentice, hits shelves March 30, 2021, and her next YA novel, All of Us Villains, co-authored with Christine Lynn Herman, releases on November 9, 2021.

WEBSITE    |    TWITTER    |    INSTAGRAM    |    GOODREADS


AMAZON    |    BARNES & NOBLE    |    BOOK DEPOSITORY
INDIGO    |    INDIEBOUND



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



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here for more bookish content!

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Thursday, April 1, 2021

March 2021 Wrap-Up


Hello everyone! Another month gone and boy was it a month. I have to be honest, March was a big month of up and down. There were some pretty stressful and horrible moments. However, I got my first vaccine dose and read a lot of amazing books. I enjoyed every single book I read this month and I definitely feel like I'm getting out of my reading slump from the beginning of the year. I read a total of seven books this month (which is more than double January and February combined!) and hopefully I'll be able to continue this reading speed into April. 


1. 
Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
-reread-

2. 
Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
-reread-

3. 
Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
-reread-

4. 
Title: A Court of Silver Flames
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

5.
Title: Stay With Me
Author: Jessica Cunsolo
Rating: 4 // 5 stars

6. 
Title: The Accidental Apprentice
Author: Amanda Foody
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Review/Blog Tour TK

7. 
Title: Ace of Shades
Author: Amanda Foody
Rating: 5 // 5 stars





Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here for more bookish content!

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