Pandemonium

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

pandemonium by willow anderson
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Author: Willow Anderson

Published: April 27, 2020

Pages: 360

Goodreads Rating: 4.55/5

For fans of: Fantasy, Caraval, and the Night Circus

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author. I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Lace Ashburn was only twelve years old when she witnessed a murder behind Pandemonium’s grandeur – a strange, magical traveling show where admittance is hard to gain. With a dead Ringmaster and his murderer in jail, Pandemonium packed up and fled in the middle of the night, remaining missing for five years.

When Lace’s older brother steps up to take the throne of Falhaven, he announces not only the return of Pandemonium but an arranged marriage for her with their neighboring country’s prince. With less than a week to discover a way to keep her freedom from her fiancé, Lace finds her way back into the heart of Pandemonium.

With a new Ringmaster heading Pandemonium, Lace is pulled into a competition run by the strange show with an invaluable prize at the end should she win. Paired together with a mysterious partner, Lace fights through the contest to keep not only her independence but her heart safe.

Come one, come all, to the show that will enthrall…welcome to Pandemonium where in order to win, you must lose it all.

My Review:

This was a great story. It was a surprisingly good mix of the competition trope (one of my favorite tropes) and a love triangle (one of my least favorite tropes). Thankfully, the romance aspect was subtle and did not take center stage. The ring master was a morally gray character which I always find enjoyable. Lace was a strong female character, but without an aggressive disposition and not afraid to show some vulnerability at times.

I enjoyed the strong friendship between Lace and her sister, they had a bond I don’t see too often in Fantasy books. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of sibling rivalry and sisters being pitted against each other, and this change was refreshing.

The plot developed with a sense of urgency, but without sacrificing any details or descriptions. There is a mysterious undertone to the story which I enjoyed. As a reader I was able to compete and solve the riddles and clues alongside Lace. I do love a good twist and Anderson definitely delivered. I highly recommend this book to all Fantasy fans!

Bookstagram Guide

bookstagram the ultimate guide by taylor mack
Picture taken by me. Get the Guide Here.

I was fortunate enough to have come across Bookstagram: The Ultimate Guide by Taylor Mack, and I want to shout about it. This guide has been a great resource as a bookstagrammer and has helped me grow my Bookstagram account exponentially since I read it.

Disclaimer: You can purchase the Guide or the flipbook by clicking on the pictures or links and I will receive a small percentage. The price will be the same for you whether or not you use my link. If you are planning to buy it please consider using my link and helping a fellow book blogger 🙂

The guide is divided into five parts:

1. A Bookstagram Back Story

This part explains what Bookstagram is (an amazing bookish community that you should join if you haven’t!). My favorite part about this section was the tips on how to Bookstagram on a budget.

2. The First Impression

This part explains what engagement is, and whether a business account or a personal account is the right one for you. My favorite section here was the instructions on creating the perfect Instagram Bio, which was extremely useful.

3. Content Creation

There are some great photography tips in this section, as well as a guide on what your feed should look like. My favorite part here was all the advice about where you can get creative inspiration when you need it.

4. Dynamic Strategies for Growth

This part includes information on hashtags and how they work, posting and tagging, and engaging with your audience. My favorite part here was the information on how to use Instagram stories and what to share on them.

5. Publishers, Partnerships, and Brand Deals

This is the part that I was most interested in learning about when I first got this guide. I really wanted the details on how to get Publishers to want to send me books to read and review, and how to get companies to partner with me. Taylor shared all her knowledge without holding anything back, and she also included some quotes from other successful Instagrammers with great advice.

Get it here

Taylor also designed this Bookstagram Planner and Hashtag Flipbook that I found super useful. You can purchase this flipbook and the Bookstagram Guide, or the guide alone. I use the planner to plan out my posts for the week, keep track of my challenges, and keep a list of the books I plan to read. I love that I can flip through the hashtag list and select the ones I want to use for my post that day. I highly recommend getting both the Guide and the Flipbook if you want to take your Bookstagram account to the next level!

If you want to follow me on Instagram click on the link, I could always use more Bookstagram friends 🙂

booktag image

I Should Have Read that Book Tag

book I should have read book tag picture
Pictures from Goodreads

I saw this tag on Nikita’s Prose and Pancakes Blog, her blog is amazing and you should follow if you aren’t! Everyone who reads this is welcome to participate, and remember to tag me back so that I can read your answers. Okay, moving on to the books!

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

ninth house book alex north series by leigh bardugo
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A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read

Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo. I actually made a friend try this one out before I did, because I had heard it has some triggers which included rape. My friend has much tougher skin than I do, and she said the rape scene was not very explicit and that it was necessary to the story. This book has been sitting on my TBR ever since, and she still tells me to read it every once in a while.

love and other words by christina lauren
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A book that has been on your TBR forever and you haven’t read it

I love books by Christina Lauren, but somehow I’ve been putting off reading Love and Other Words. It has been sitting on my TBR forever. I tried the audio book at some point, but the narrator’s voice really annoyed me so I stopped. I will definitely have to read this one soon!

thunderhead by neal shusterman
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A book series you’ve started and haven’t gotten around to finishing

I’ve read Scythe, the first book in this series (you can read my review here). But since the book had some closure at the end and it wasn’t really a major cliff-hanger I didn’t feel like immediately picking up the second book in the series right away. Now I still have to read Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2), and The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, #3).

moby dick by herman melville
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A classic you like the sound of, but have never read

I had a college Professor who would talk so passionately about Moby Dick by Herman Melville, he could talk about it for a whole lecture. Ever since then I ‘ve been curious about reading it, but it’s so massive and intimidating that I just haven’t wanted to dedicate the time to it.

A popular book that everyone but you has read

ask again yes by mary beth keane
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I heard Ask Again, Yes, is about forgiveness. Holding a grudge is one of my biggest character flaws, so I thought I should definitely read this. EVERYONE except me has read it, and they all have such great things to say about it.

the maze runner book by james dashner
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A book that inspired a movie/tv adaptation that you really love, but you haven’t gotten around to reading yet

I liked the movie The Maze Runner, but I’ve never read the books. I recently added this one to my list of Dystopian books I need to read, and I hope to get to it soon.

the dutch house by ann patchett
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A book you see all over Instagram but haven’t picked up yet

I’ve seen The Dutch House everywhere, especially on Instagram. I heard a sample of the audio book and I love that Tom Hanks is the narrator. Can he just narrate EVERY single book from now on please? I love his voice. I can’t wait to finally read this one!

Books I’m Rereading

a reaper at the gates book three in an ember in the ashes series by sabaa tahir
Picture taken by me. Buy book on Amazon

So many books, so little time. I haven’t found a lot of time for rereading any books lately. There are some books I need to read before the sequels are released so I can get a refresher and hype myself up. Others are some of my favorite series that I haven’t read in a long time. Any books you love to reread every once in a while?

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

a sky beyond the storm an ember in the ashes book four by sabaa tahir
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An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir (click on the link for a Synopsis of the first book)

I’m really excited about the release of A Sky Beyond the Storm the fourth book in this series, on December 1 of this year. It will be like Christmas coming early 🙂 I’ve also been looking for an excuse to get the audio books for this one, so this is the perfect time to do that.

illuminae files book by amie kaufman and jay kristoff
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Illuminae Files Series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (click on the link for a Synopsis of the first book)

I’ve been waiting for my husband to finish reading the Harry Potter series so that he can get started on this one. I might reread it at the same time that he does just for fun. I love this series, and if you haven’t tried the audio books you definitely should! It’s like listening to a very descriptive movie along with all the sound effects that make for a very immersive reading experience. You can read my review of Illuminae here.

serpent and dove book by Shelby mahurin
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Serpent and Dove (#1) by Shelby Mahurin (click on the link for a Synopsis of the first book)

I’m super hyped up for the release of Blood and Honey, the second book in this series, on September 1 of this year. I really enjoyed the first book in this series. You can read my review here.

the red scrolls of magic by cassandra clare
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The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses, #1) by Cassandra Clare (click on the link for a Synopsis of the first book)

Magnus Bane is my favorite character in all the Shadowhunter series, and I was so excited when I read this book where he is the main character. The second book, The Lost Book of the White, will be released on September 1 of this year and I absolutely cannot wait! Meanwhile, I’ll have to settle for rereading the first book 🙂 You can read my review of that one here.

Recent Additions to My TBR

the shadows by alex north the vanishing half by brit bennet the book of longings by sue monk kidd books book of the month subscription july
My July Book of the Month picks. Click on link to subscribe for $10! (I get a free book if you do)

I recently received a book cart for my birthday, and I am seriously not sure if it has been hindering or helping my book buying situation. It has definitely helped me tackle my TBR though! There’s something about seeing those books just sitting there on that cart that makes me want to read them…maybe so that I can fill it with more?

tbr book cart
Picture taken by me. Add me on Instagram

I have been loving my Book of the Month subscription, but I do admit it’s not helping the TBR situation. I have been trying to prioritize those, but I almost never get them read on the month that I got them. This subscription has helped to open my mind to so many new genres and authors though, and I really look forward to picking the books I want, and then seeing my little blue box on my door step every month 🙂

Have you added any new books to your TBR recently? Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

the shadows book by alex north
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The Shadows by Alex North

Goodreads rating: 4.13/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The haunting new thriller from Alex North, author of the New York Times bestseller The Whisper Man

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…

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The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Goodreads rating: 4.33/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.”

Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’s public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.

Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Goodreads rating: 4.47/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From The New York Times -bestselling author of The Mothers , a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

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American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Goodreads rating: 4.29/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

También de este lado hay sueños. On this side, too, there are dreams.

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

YA Dystopian Binge

stack of dystopian ya books
Picture taken by me.

When I was little, I would walk around my neighborhood with a notebook “solving crimes.” I would write down my suspect list, interrogate the neighbors, and use ground up pencil lead to “fingerprint” the neighbors’ dogs and cats. I thought I wanted to be a detective, but what I was really doing was writing stories and doing research. It took me about 28 years and a Forensic Degree later to realize that I wanted to be a writer.

I’ve been recently trying my hand at writing. My work in progress is potentially a YA/Dystopian book, so I decided to read this stack of highly recommended books in this genre for research and inspiration purposes. I probably won’t ever end up publishing it, but the idea popped into my head and I just had to write it. Any other YA/Dystopian books you would recommend? Which one of these should I read first? Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

unwind book one by neil shusterman
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Unwind (Unwind, #1) by Neal Shusterman

Goodreads Rating: 4.18/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

the maze runner book by james dashner
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The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner, #1) by James Dashner

Goodreads rating: 4.02/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

under the never sky book one by veronica rossi
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Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1) by Veronica Rossi

Goodreads rating: 4.00/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.

DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other’s best hope for finding answers.

enclave book by ann aguirre razorland book one
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Enclave (Razorland, #1) by Ann Aguirre

Goodreads Rating: 3.92/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters–or Freaks–who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight–guided by Fade’s long-ago memories–in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.

Ann Aguirre’s thrilling young adult novel is the story of two young people in an apocalyptic world–facing dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

the fifth wave by rick yancey
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The Fifth Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1) by Rick Yancey

Goodreads rating: 4.05/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

the house of the scorpion by nancy
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The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Goodreads rating: 4.10/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

With undertones of vampires, Frankenstein, dragons’ hoards, and killing fields, Matt’s story turns out to be an inspiring tale of friendship, survival, hope, and transcendence. A must-read for teenage fantasy fans.

At his coming-of-age party, Matteo Alacrán asks El Patrón’s bodyguard, “How old am I?…I know I don’t have a birthday like humans, but I was born.”

“You were harvested,” Tam Lin reminds him. “You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her.”

To most people around him, Matt is not a boy, but a beast. A room full of chicken litter with roaches for friends and old chicken bones for toys is considered good enough for him. But for El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the U.S. and what was once called Mexico—Matt is a guarantee of eternal life. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself for Matt is himself. They share identical DNA.

the program book one by suzanne young
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The Program (The Program, #1) by Suzanne Young

Goodreads Rating: 4.05/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

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Steelheart (The Reckoners, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads rating: 4.15/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

Darkdawn

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

dark dawn by jay kristoff
Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

Author: Jay Kristoff

Published: September 3, 2019

Publisher: Thomas Dune Books

Series: The Nevernight Chronicles, #3

**If you are considering buying this book, please click on my link to support a fellow blogger**

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A ruthless young assassin’s journey for revenge comes to a stunning end in the conclusion of this acclaimed epic fantasy trilogy.

The Republic of Itreya is in chaos. Mia Corvere has assassinated Cardinal Duomo and rumors of Consul Scaeva’s death ripple through the street of Godsgrave like wildfire. But buried beneath those same streets, deep in the ancient city’s bones, lies a secret that will change the Republic forever.

Mia and her brother Jonnen must journey through the depths of the ancient metropolis. Their quest will take them through the Godsgrave underdark, across the Sea of Swords, back to the library of the Quiet Mountain and the poisoned blades of Mia’s old mentors, and at last the fabled Crown of the Moon. There, Mia will at last discover the origins of the darkin, and learn the destiny that lies in store for her and her world. But with the three suns now in descent, and Truedark on the horizon, will she survive?

Fear was Can’t. Fear was Won’t. But fear wasn’t ever a choice. To never fear was to never hope. Never love. Never live…Part of having is the fear of losing. Part of creating is the fear of it breaking. Part of beginning is the fear of your ending. Fear is never a choice… But letting it rule you is.”

Darkdawn

My Mini Book Review:

I’m doing a mini book review on this because there is no way I can put ALL my thoughts about this series into coherent sentences. How do I review a series like this one? These books made me cry tears of happiness, of sadness, frustration, and despair. In short, they made me feel everything a good series should.

I did pick Darkdawn up a couple of times to read it in September, but I ended up putting it down twice. First, I did not expect the religious aspect of the books to take center stage in the story, and that is always a turn-off for me. Second, I read so many dark books in September that I felt like I needed some happiness in my life. I finally got my hands on the audio version (the narrator Holter Graham does an amazing job), and this helped me get through it. Once I got through most of the setting up part, I could not stop listening.

I loved all the characters in these books. I fell in love with all their stories and I was proud of their growth throughout. I came to respect Mia and her strength and perseverance, and how she was set on revenge, but not willing to cross certain moral lines. I liked the side stories, the humor, the colorful cursing, and yes even the footnotes. I’m sad that this series has come to an end, and I cannot wait to see what Kristoff comes up with next. If you are a fan of dark Fantasy, read these!

The Bride Test

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the bride test by helen hoang
My bookstagram

Author: Helen Hoang

Series: The Kiss Quotient, #2

Publication Date: May 7, 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

My Review:

I was a little cautious about reading this book. I enjoyed the first one (The Kiss Quotient) so much and I didn’t want to ruin that feeling. I shouldn’t have worried, this book was just as enjoyable as the first one, and it could even be read as a stand-alone book. Hoang’s highly descriptive writing is phenomenal. Her stories are full of humor and had me laughing by myself at times. Her analogies and metaphors are hilarious and very unique. Thankfully, this was another buddy read so I was able to talk about the funny parts with my friend and I didn’t feel like a complete maniac.

The characters in this story had such big hearts (even if Khai did think his was “made of stone”). Hoang provided great insight into the mind of a high functioning autistic man, and she is able to switch back and forth from his character to the eccentricities of Esme, his immigrant “fiancée.” I really liked Esme, she was such a strong hard-working female character, and a great role model. I also liked that some of the characters from the previous book made appearances, especially Quan. I’m very much looking forward to Hoang’s next book which features his story.

If you need a funny and lighthearted read, then look no further! I highly recommend these books to all Contemporary Romance fans. Only negative for me was that the ending felt a little rushed, almost like she crammed a lot of important things at the end. Also, be warned once again about very explicit sex scenes. For those interested, her next book comes out May 5, 2010. I can’t wait!

Book Subscription Box Comparison

These past few months I’ve been trying out a few book subscription boxes. I didn’t want to clog up this post with a bunch of pictures, so if you want to see pictures of everything go check out my Instagram page.

*Disclaimer*

I paid for all of these myself and I’m not paid in any way by these subscription boxes for sharing my opinion

Owlcrate $34.99

I ordered the May 2019 box, and it arrived May 18th. This subscription auto-renews and I have to cancel it every month that either I don’t like the theme or I cannot afford it. I liked how fast the box arrived, and I really liked that it included useful and practical items as well as collectibles. This box included:

-We Hunt the Flame book (exclusive silver cover edition) by Hafsah Faizal along with a pin designed by the author herself.

-A Court of Mist and Fury sleeping mask.

-Howl’s Moving Castle inspired vinyl sticker.

-A passport wallet featuring a quote from the Hobbit.

-An exclusive edition water bottle featuring a quote from Stardust.

-A pillow case featuring a quote from A Darker Shade of Magic.

-Some character design cards.

Faecrate $41.65

I ordered the June 2019 box, and it arrived July 11th, I didn’t like that it arrived the month after, but I did appreciate the very unique items that were inside; like a puzzle and car coasters. This box included:

-The Red Labyrinth book by Meredith Tate special faecrate edition, with a signed plate and a note from the author.

-Two Gilded Wolves car coasters.

-A Six of Crows bracelet that says “Trickery is my native tongue.”

-A Ready Player One puzzle.

-A drawstring cloth bag that says “TBR level 1000.”

-A globe with a map of Prythian -A Court of Thorns and Roses world.

-A collectible metal coin from the Raven Cycle.

-A Warcross collectible polaroid of Emiko.

Illumicrate 41.99 euros

I ordered the June 2019 box, which arrived June 25th. This one also had two books, which I appreciated. I loved the color for this box, it has been my favorite one so far, but it was also the most expensive. It included:

-This time will be different book by Misa Sugiura, with signed plate and yellow sprayed edges.

-Birthday book by Meredith Russo, with signed plate, rainbow edges, and bookmark.

-TBR Jar (one of my favorites).

-Goddess of reading tapestry, illustration by Carol G.

-Page flags (another favorite).

-Tea and books booksleeve.

-Reality bookend part 1. (Part 2 comes in the July box).

-Collectible coin, featuring Hermione Granger.

Shelflovecrate $39.98

I ordered the May 2019 box, and it arrived May 24th. I liked that this subscription does not auto-renew and I don’t have to worry about cancelling it every month. I loved that this box brought two books instead of one. It included:

-We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal book, signed special edition with reversible dust jacket.

-Romanov by Nadine Brandes, signed special edition with navy blue and gold cover.

-The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare first chapter sample.

-ADSOM -Kell and Lila chess pieces.

-Ready Player One bookmark.

-Strange the Dreamer moth pin.

-Harry Potter portkey water bottle.

-Chronicles of Narnia plastic pouch (note: this is the only item I’ve had an issue with since it broke after a few uses).

Have you tried any other boxes you would recommend or advise against?

Rapid Fire Book Tag

I saw this tag on the For Book s’ Sake page and it looked like so much fun. So without anything further here are the questions and my answers.

E-book or physical Book?

Here is the thing, there’s nothing like holding a physical book in my hands, being able to turn the pages and seeing how far I’ve come, and the smell of a book is one of my favorite scents. BUT, I do have two kids under four and it’s much easier for me to read an e-book while I watch them than to read a real book.

Paperback or hardback?

This is a hard one. Paperbacks are so much easier for me to hold and carry around everywhere. Hardbacks are so pretty and look much better on my shelves. I always have to remove the dust cover so that I don’t damage it while I take it everywhere, and then when I’m done with the book I put the dust cover back on and put it on my shelf. If I really had to choose, I think I would choose paperbacks.

Mother’s Day bookhaul

Online or in-store book shopping?

Books are so much cheaper online, but there’s nothing like walking through a bookstore for me. It’s actually one of my favorite things to do in the world. This year for mother’s day that was actually my only wish, going to the bookstore. My husband was such a trooper, he handled the kids while I spent some uninterrupted time browsing for books. As you can see on this picture, I really spoiled myself.

Trilogies or series?

As long as the book is good, I don’t really care if it’s a trilogy or a series. As long as I like the author and the story still holds my interest I will read all the books they write, even if it’s an 18 book long one (Black Dagger Brotherhood anyone?).

Heroes or villains?

Heroes all the way. Give me heroes I can root for the whole time. Once I start liking the villains and wishing they would kill the hero already, that’s when I know I’m hating the book.

harry potter and the sorcerer's stone book, jk rowling
My bookstagram

A book you want everyone to read?

Hands down the Harry Potter series. I could read those books over and over. I’m in love with that whole world, and I always hope I can pass my love on to others. You can read all about how I grew up with this series here.

Recommend an underrated author?

Is Julie Kagawa considered underrated? I’m not sure, but her Immortal Rules series was one of the best I’ve read and I never see it talked about anywhere. You all already know I loved her Shadow of the Fox and Soul of the Sword books.

The last book you finished?

Call it What you Want by Brigid Kemmerer. It was a four star out of five for me, and you can read my review here.

Weirdest thing you’ve used as a bookmark?

*Cringes* …a banana? Okay, hear me out. I was really busy at work multi-tasking, I was reading and eating, and then I got a phone call…so what do I do? I stick my banana in my book to hold my page. Don’t judge me.

Used books: Yes or no?

I love all books, definitely yes. I like imagining where the book has been and how many people have read it. I don’t sniff them like I do new books, but still used books are great.

Top 3 favorite genres?

Fantasy, YA, and does New Adult count? I occasionally delve into Contemporary, but I really try to avoid it because it makes me cry.

Borrow or buy?

I try not to borrow books, when I do I warn the owners that it might not come back in the same condition. Like I said, I have two kids. I love buying books. My bank account not so much though.

Character or plot?

Plot. If the plot goes downhill, then it doesn’t matter how good your characters are. For example, I really loved the Divergent series, an I loved the characters, but once the plot started slipping I hated the whole thing. Also, I hate bad endings.

Long or short books?

Size doesn’t matter! Okay, but for real if you can tell me everything you need to tell me, if the characters are well developed, and so is the plot, then I don’t really care what the size of the book is.

Kingdom of Ash, Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas
Throne of Glass (#7)

Name the first three books you think of?

Throne of Glass

Lunar Chronicles

Shatter Me

Three of my favorites 🙂

Books that make you laugh or books that make you cry?

I hate crying, I love books that make me laugh. I’m currently listening to an audio of Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff, and I love the humor they use.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Picture taken by Me

Our world or fictional worlds?

Depends on the world. I would love to live in the Harry Potter world, but would not like to live in the post Apocalyptic Shatter Me world.

Audiobooks: Yes or no?

A month ago this would’ve been a no, but recently I have developed a liking for audio books. I only listen to them on my work commute, in the shower, and while I’m doing chores around the house. It has been a good way for me to stay productive. I always listen to a sample first before I get the book though, because if I don’t like the narrator’s voice then the whole thing is ruined.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

Too many times to count, although I have learned from my mistakes. I now read the reviews and usually a sample before I commit to buying a book now. I’m a sucker for pretty covers, and thanks to Bookstagram my TBR is full them.

Game of thrones series, books, George rr martin
Picture form Goodreads

Book to movie or book to TV adaptation?

It depends on the book? I recently was so disappointed by the Game of Thrones TV show 😦 But I did love most of the Harry Potter movies, they really made the whole world come alive with only a few minor flaws and omissions.

A movie or TV adaptation you preferred instead of the book?

None, I always like the book better.

Series or stand alone?

I like series. Stand alone books always leave me feeling empty and with no purpose after. At least with a series I can delay that feeling until the last book 🙂