Friday, May 21, 2021

Book Review: "King of Fools" by Amanda Foody

Title: King of Fools
Author: Amanda Foody
Series: "The Shadow Game" #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 602 pages
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Rating: 4.5 //5 stars

*Content Warnings for this series: 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)*

It's been a while since I finished King of Fools so I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on my feelings surrounding this book. I alternated listening to the audiobook and reading the physical copy and I'm 100% happy that I did it that way. If I'd had the time I would have loved to listen to the entire novel in audiobook, if I'm being honest, because I felt like I got such a better understanding of the characters and connected with them so well. 

King of Fools, the sequel to Ace of Shades, takes everything from the first book and multiplies it by ten. Ace of Shades was a wild ride on its own, but King of Fools was something else. It was darker, the stakes were higher, and I was terrified the whole time. 

We get a ton of character development in this book. It was actually amazing seeing how much these characters grew in this book from the start of the first. Hats off to Amanda Foody because the range and growth has been amazing and so interesting to read. These characters also aren't perfect and they're very morally gray. They make a lot of mistakes, both in terms of personal relationships and when it comes to the overall plot, and they're literal gangsters. I just love them all so much.

I will say, a big part of why I loved the first book was the character interactions between our main leads. While we got a bunch of exciting new side characters in this one, I wish we'd gotten just a bit more interaction between our main characters (if only because the angst would have been supreme). 

I did get a massive spoiler for this book before I went into it. I will say that probably made me disconnect a little bit because my subconscious was like "don't get attached when you know what happens at the end." However, even if in the moment I wasn't devastated, when I looked back on the book as a whole, I cried a lot over that ending. 

The plot itself was also really interesting. There was a lot more politics in this book than the first one and it helped open up New Reynes and the world a lot. I will say there were times I was a bit confused, but that could be because I'm not great at remembering names of people or groups. But overall I thought the addition of politics (both governmental and in the street gangs) was great to dive into. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this second book. It was a lot grittier than the first one but there were still some moments of humor in them. The ending devastated me and I'm so scared for the final book but also hopeful for how it will turn out. 

Thanks for reading!

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Monday, May 17, 2021

Book Review: "Shadow and Bone" by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: "The Shadow and Bone Trilogy" #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 358 pages
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Well finally happened. I finally read Shadow and Bone. In some ways, I wish I had read it sooner. But in other ways, I think this was the perfect time for me to read it. 

I will admit, part of why it took me so long to read it was because the hype is extreme for any of Leigh Bardugo's books. I'd read Six of Crows previously and, while I enjoyed it, I didn't love it. I had to read it for class and that dampened my spirits. So when everyone was saying Six of Crows was a million times better than Shadow and Bone, I'll admit it put me off for a while.

However, with the release of the show in April and all of the hype surrounding it, I started getting more excited. I had been gifted the boxset years ago and I told myself I'd read all the books before the show came out. Obviously, that did not happen. But between the trailer that looked amazing, the hype around the show, and just my own personal interest, I started being drawn more and more towards reading Shadow and Bone.

As I write this, it's only been a few hours since I picked Shadow and Bone off my bookshelf and randomly started reading it out of the blue. If I had not had a night class, I would have devoured the entire book in one sitting. It was exactly what I needed and I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to.

The characters were interesting and I really enjoyed our main protagonist. I will say that I wish I'd seen more depth to a lot of the other characters, though I can't tell if I just read it too fast or not. I think that with future books this will happen though, so I'm not too worried about this.

One thing about having waited so long to read these books was that I have gotten small spoilers over the years regarding different characters. Combined with trailers and clips from the show that pop up on social media, I had some vague expectations for what things were going to happen. That's why, even though I don't know exact plot or story details, I wasn't surprised when the big plot twist came because I was expected a certain character to do something like that.

As much as I enjoyed this book, I will say that having been exposed to so much discussion about the characters and why people like/dislike different ones definitely impacted how I read it. I subconciously pulled back from connecting with certain characters because I'd heard things about them. I do think it would have been reader if I'd read these years and years ago when I could have avoided spoilers, but I also really enjoyed reading this book at this time in my life.

I have high hopes for the next book. Now that a lot of the stuff I was expecting has been dealt with, I truly have no idea what will happen plot-wise and between most characters (though I still have some suspicions on a few of them). I'm starting the second book today and hopefully will enjoy it even more than I did the first. Hopefully, I'll read these quickly and be able to jump into the show ASAP! 

Thanks for reading!

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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Blog Tour: "Shadow and Bone" & "Six of Crows" by Leigh Bardugo Netflix Tie-In Editions + Book Tag

 Blog tour banner featuring the two book covers for Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows as well as the title of the tour

Hello everyone! Today I am so excited to be bringing you along on the blog tour for the Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone Netflix tie-in editions! If you are unaware, the Grishaverse now has a TV show on Netflix! But before you go binge the show, did you know that you can pick up and read the books that showcase these gorgeous new covers from the show? 

I want to say a big thank you to Terminal Tours and Fierce Reads for sending me an epic package for these new releases! In today's post, you can find a bunch of information about the books and how to purchase them but I've also created a super fun book tag that you can replicate on your own bookish platform! Then, don't forget to check out the rest of the tour here

Calligraphy reading Shadow and Bone
Image of the Shadow and Bone Netflix tie-in cover, featuring a girl with swirling sunlight held between her hands against a dark green background
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.


Calligraphy reading "Six of Crows"
Book cover for the Six of Crows Netflix tie-in edition, featuring Inej, Kaz, and Jesper in a dark green theme
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.


Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse (coming to Netflix in April) which spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Ninth House (Goodreads Choice Winner for Best Fantasy 2019) which is being developed for television by Amazon Studios.

Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Southern California, and graduated from Yale University. These days she lives and writes in Los Angeles. For information on new releases and appearances, sign up for Leigh’s newsletter.

WEBSITE     |     TWITTER     |     INSTAGRAM     |     GOODREADS

In honor of these gorgeous new Netflix editions releasing, I decided to create a new mini book tag inspired by the books and new show! I tag anyone and everyone who wants to participate on their own bookish platforms!

1: Would You Rather /  Live in Ketterdam or Os Alta? 

2: What's a book even Kaz Brekker would love? 

3: Which popular book boyfriend could take The Darkling in a fight? 

4: Who is your favorite Grisha character?

5: Spinoffs / the Grishaverse has lots of books and series. What's a bookish world you wish had more books set in it? 

6: What's your favorite book to screen adaption? 

Don't forget to check out the show on Netflix after you're done reading!

Thanks for reading!

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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!

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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!

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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! 

Title: King of Fools
Author: Amanda Foody
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

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

Thanks for reading!

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