November 2020 Book Haul

Please tell me that I’m not the only one who has been buying wayyyyy too many books during quarantine! It’s always been a sort of coping mechanism for me (buying books = happiness), but these past few months have taken my book buying obsession to a whole new level. To put it simply, I purchased A LOT of books this month. I swear I didn’t mean to, it just sort of… happened. And you know what, I feel NO SHAME. These past few months (THIS month in particular, if I’m being honest) have been sooooo stressful, so I’m gonna cut myself some slack. I’m actually very good at reading the books I buy instead of letting them sit unread on my shelves, so I know that these purchases were worthwhile. In fact, I’ve already read some of the books in this haul!

I’m so excited to share all of these marvelous books with you all, so without further ado, let’s begin!

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Fable by Adrienne Young

Synopsis:

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

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In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Synopsis:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

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Crave by Tracy Wolff

Synopsis:

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

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

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

(Alexandra… Don’t hate me if I end up loving this book 😂)

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The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

Synopsis:

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil – and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara’s homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home – a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas – and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

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Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Synopsis

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger-management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

NOBODY PANIC.

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Finale by Stephanie Garber

Synopsis

A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end.

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A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Is Love Stronger Than Vengeance?

A Betrayal… Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.

A Choice….Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.

A Secret…But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.

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Oath Taker by Audrey Grey

Synopsis:

After the Prince of Penryth saved her from captivity, seventeen-year-old Haven Ashwood spends her days protecting the kind prince and her nights secretly fighting the monsters outside the castle walls. When one of those monsters kidnaps Prince Bell, Haven must ally with Archeron Halfbane and his band of immortals to rescue her friend. Her quest takes her deep into the domain of a warped and vicious queen where the rules are simple: break her curse or die.Lost in a land of twisted magic and fabled creatures, Haven finds herself unprepared, not just for the feelings she develops for Archeron, but for the warring powers raging inside her. Her rare and forbidden type of magic may be their only hope . . . but mixing light and dark comes with a steep price. Haven’s soul.Faced with impossible love, heartbreaking betrayals, and a queen intent on destroying the realm, only one thing remains certain. Haven must shatter the curse or it will devour everything she loves.

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I am SO excited to read all of these books! I PROMISE I won’t buy any more until I finish these ones… At least I’ll try?

Have you read any of the books on this list? If so, what did you think of them? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Well, I suppose that’s it for now! I hope you all enjoyed this book haul 🙂

Until next time,

October 2020 Wrap-Up

I feel like these monthly updates are starting to get super repetitive, because like all of the recent months, October wasn’t very eventful for me. Election day is coming up, which is exciting/scary, but within my own personal life, nothing much has happened!

Well, I did make the impulsive decision to tell one of my non-bookish friends about my blog… Shout out to her if she’s reading this right now. That might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but my blog is really personal to me, so hardly anyone offline knows about it! Telling my friend about this blog was so big for me, but I’m happy I did, because it’s something I’m really proud of!

Besides that, though, not a lot has changed. These past few months have all felt the same, so they really just blur together.

But on the bright side… It’s finally Fall! The season is halfway over, and the temperature has started to cool down AT LAST. September and most of October were so hot where I live because… global warming 🙂 US folks, if you care about the future of our planet… Please vote for Biden!

Anyways, October as a whole has been a lot panicking and worrying about the election, school, life, and just 2020 in general if I’m being honest. Speaking of which, I can’t believe the year will be over in two months! Like I said, it’s all been such a blur.

To escape from everything going on right now, I read quite a few books in October! I fell into a bit of a slump in the middle of the month, but I still managed to get a lot of reading done:

Total: 9 Books

Amazon.com: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel)  eBook: Collins, Suzanne: Kindle Store

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins: So here’s the deal: I didn’t hate this book, but it just felt like such an unnecessary read. The plot was extremely uneventful, and it lacked the nail-biting action that made me fall in love with the Hunger Games trilogy. None of the characters were all that interesting, and I had so much trouble connecting with them. Again, TBOSAS wasn’t terrible, but I certainly wouldn’t have missed out on anything if I hadn’t read it. Make sure to check out my review to see my full thoughts!  Rating: ★★.5☆☆

Amazon.com: Onyx (Lux) (9781620610114): Armentrout, Jennifer L.: Books

Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout: Onyx was just as entertaining as its predecessor, Obsidian! How have I put off reading the Lux series for so long??? I will say, I liked Obsidian a tad more than Onyx, simply because it was more fun and playful, and… I hate Blake. But since he’s now *kinda* out of the picture, I’m looking forward to the third installment in this series, Opal! Katy and Daemon are amazing together, and I can’t wait to see how their relationship continues to develop.  Rating: ★★★★☆

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A Bigfoot's Quest: A Coming of Age Story (Alice's Shapeshifting Adventure  Book 2) - Kindle edition by Braxton, Mel. Children Kindle eBooks @  Amazon.com.

A Bigfoot’s Quest by Mel Braxton: I really enjoyed this exciting follow-up to A Bigfoot’s Gift! The characters were as charming as ever, and I loved seeing their relationships with one another grow and develop. Some interesting new plot elements were introduced the story, and it was amazing to see them all unravel! This series has been wonderful so far, and I’m so stoked to read what I think will be the final book once it comes out! Rating: ★★★★.5

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One to Watch eBook by Kate Stayman-London - 9780525510437 | Rakuten Kobo  United States

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London: The Bachelor/Bachelorette is a HUGE guilty pleasure of mine, so of course I loved this book! Though it contained all of the drama I love seeing on The Bachelor, it also contained more diversity and feminism! I loved how the story was partially told through emails, text messages, news articles, and blog posts… It was so entertaining! I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a light and fun read! Rating: ★★★★★

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The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3) by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski: Marie Rutkoski is no ordinary author… she’s an artist. All of her books are beautifully written, and her characters feel so raw and real. The Winner’s Kiss was such an emotional finale to an amazing trilogy, and it literally tore me to shreds. Not many books have succeeded in making me cry, but this one had me tearing up at least five times. That last chapter… Oh god, it wrecked my soul 😭 Rating: ★★★★★

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Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell: I don’t read a ton of classics, but I really enjoyed this one. It was told in a very simple way, but it was still so powerful and effective. It’s an allegory for a very complex event, but the writing itself didn’t feel very heavy (which I liked). Orwell’s ideas are reflected in his writing in such thought-provoking ways, and I definitely saw the importance of all the themes that were discussed in the novel. I’m really glad I read this book! Rating: ★★★★☆

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Amazon.com: Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel (9781250316776): McQuiston,  Casey: Books

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston: This book was sooooo adorable! Alex and Henry are literally the CUTEST COUPLE EVER. Throughout the book, I found myself falling in love with both of them, until I realized… Oh yeah, they’re gay 😂 (well, Alex is bi and Henry is gay, but I’m pretty sure neither of them would love me as much as I love them… rip). I mean yeah, this book was definitely cheesy at times, but it was so sweet! How could I not love it??? All I can say is this: The hype is well-deserved, you guys. Rating: ★★★★☆

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne | a review – RemiVFoliage

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne: Yuck. I don’t get the hype. This was definitely my worst read of the month. It was cringey, problematic, and incredibly boring… Definitely not my cup of tea. I have A LOT to say about this book, so I definitely encourage you to check out my full review for it if you’re interested! Brace yourselves… It’s a very passionate rant! Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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From Blood and Ash: Armentrout, Jennifer L.: 9781952457005: Amazon.com:  Books

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout: This book was pretty great! Maybe a tad overhyped, but I still really enjoyed it. I found the world building so compelling, and it made up for the slow pacing of the first half of the book. I liked the romance, and I think that Poppy and Hawke have great chemistry, but if I’m being honest, their relationship has a lot of problematic aspects. For example… My boy Hawke really needs to work on asking for consent :/ And ummmm… ogling someone’s boobs is not flattering, Hawke. (Also, I feel like I should mention that the big “plot twist” was soooo predictable) Rating: ★★★★☆

September 2020 Wrap-Up

Review: The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Blog Tour: Welcome to Superhero School by Gracie Dix

ARC Review: A Bigfoot’s Quest by Mel Braxton

Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Halloween Book Recommendations

Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Reading-wise, I don’t have anything planned for November! I’m a big mood reader, so I don’t think it would be worthwhile for me to set a fixed TBR for the month 😂 Hopefully I manage to read around 10ish books!

There are quite a few bookish related things I’m excited for this month! How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories is finally being released, and my signed/personalized copy is on its way! Eek! My first Fairyloot box will be shipped this month as well, and I’m beyond excited to see what’s inside of it! Let me know if you’d be interested in me posting an unboxing for it!

I’m honestly dreading November… This is a big month for the US, but let’s pray some positive change occurs!

I hope everyone had a fantastic October, and I hope you have a good November as well! What are your reading plans for this month? Let me know down below in the comments!

I’m wishing everyone a great November!

Bye for now,

Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (The Most Problematic Book I’ve Ever Read)

Nemesis (n.)

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.

2) A person’s undoing

3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

No hyped up book has never disappointed me as much as The Hating Game did. After reading nothing but positive reviews for it, I went into it expecting to love it, but instead, I ended up hating it.

The Hating Game had the potential to be a cute, wholesome, swoon-worthy rom-com, but unfortunately it was quite the opposite: It was bland, cringey, and EXTREMELY problematic.

Where do I even start?

First of all, both of our main characters, Lucy and Josh, absolutely suck. Lucy, our narrator, is one of the most annoying, obnoxious, and overall TERRIBLE protagonists I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading about. She’s childish and immature, and everything she did gave me major second hand embarrassment. Most of Lucy’s characterization was just descriptions of how short and tiny and cute she was… I swear, I’m not exaggerating. Sally Thorne had to remind us EVERY SINGLE PAGE that Lucy was oh so small. *sigh* Plus, Josh’s weird obsession with Lucy’s size reinforces the internalized misogyny that gives so many women the idea that they need to be “small” to feel beautiful and desirable in a relationship. Ugh.

Speaking of Josh… I hated him almost as much as I hated Lucy. He had WAY too much influence over Lucy’s confidence and self-esteem. Just take a look at this quote said by Lucy when she has a full-on mental breakdown in the bathroom due to Josh’s douchiness. (To Josh):

“‘You’ve broken me down so completely, I can’t even handle it when a guy tells me I’m beautiful… That’s why I’m crying. Because Danny told me I’m a beautiful girl, and I nearly fell off the barstool. You’ve ruined me.'”

See what I mean by problematic??? It doesn’t matter who you are: If you’re in a relationship where someone is making you feel this way, LEAVE THEM. I have no idea why this disgustingly abusive behavior is being romanticized.

But guess what? Josh isn’t the only one making this “romance” so problematic. Lucy’s actions are equally, if not MORE, horrible. You see… Lucy is a outright PERVERT. Throughout the book, she constantly sexually harasses Josh, but of course it isn’t viewed as harassment because she’s a woman and he’s a man. But harassment is exactly what is it. Want some examples?

  • As they make out, Josh repeatedly tells Lucy to slow down, but she ignores him.
  • Lucy orders Josh to “take off his shirt” continuously.
  • Lucy constantly pressures Josh to have sex with her.
  • Lucy creepily ogles Josh’s body and makes him feel like an object.

Is that not enough to prove to you that Lucy’s treatment of Josh is deeply wrong? Allow me to present to you yet another quote, said by Lucy, that demonstrates just how blatantly sexist she is:

“Isn’t being wanted for his body a man’s dream?”

Um… HELLO. I’m seeing a lot of double standards here. How is this NOT problematic?! Imagine if a man said that about a woman: Isn’t being wanted for her body a woman’s dream? People would freak out if a man said that, right? So why is it okay for a woman to say it? Guess what? It’s not.

Even if you ignore all of its problematic aspects, the romance still sucks. Lucy and Josh’s relationship always felt so cringey and bland. As I read the book, I couldn’t have cared less if the two of them ended up together or not.

The book became somewhat interesting at about page 300 (aka… over 75% through) when Josh’s family came into the picture. Everything still kind of sucked, but at least I didn’t feel like throwing the book across the room anymore.

But that in no way makes up for all of cringing, sighing, and face palming I did while reading this awful book. I’m truly baffled by all of the hype it gets. I can’t even name one good thing about it! And that’s such a shame, because I was so certain that it was going to be a five star read for me! Well, we can’t love ’em all!

If you haven’t read The Hating Game yet, but you’re looking for a delightful rom-com that will make you laugh, cry, and swoon, I highly recommend The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren as an alternative!

Trust me, it’s a billion times better than THIS dreadful novel.

111 Snack at Le Touquet, Ostend | The Bruges Vegan

Halloween Book Recommendations: Witches & Vampires & Ghosts, Oh My!

It’s no surprise that this year, Halloween season won’t be as fun as it usually is… for obvious reasons. Damn you, COVID! But that doesn’t mean we can’t embrace the holiday anyways by snuggling up with blankets, a piping hot fall beverage, and, of course, a book!

If you’re struggling to find the perfect Halloween read, don’t worry! I got you.

I’ve read many books that feature creatures that are popular during Halloween season… witches, ghosts, demons, vampires, you name it! And I’m thrilled to be sharing them with you all! These Halloween reads are sure to lift your spirits (get it… spirits? I know, I know, I’m hilarious). This is gonna be a long list, so buckle up, everyone!

Vampire Books:

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden Series #1) by Julie Kagawa, Paperback |  Barnes & Noble®

The Immortal Rules is a mash-up of dystopian and paranormal, making it quite different from other popular works of vampire fiction. It follows a morally grey heroine who will do anything to survive, even if it means becoming the thing she hates the most: a vampire. Suspenseful and eerie, The Immortal Rules is a book that will have you on the edge of your seat until the very last page!

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy: Richelle Mead: 9781595141743: Amazon.com: Books

Vampire Academy is easily my favorite vampire book on this list! It’s fast-paced, entertaining, and just so much fun to read. The characters are great, and so is the setting! If you’re into books set at boarding schools, you’ll love Vampire Academy. It’s simply fang-tastic! (I’m sorry you guys. All of my vampire puns SUCK. *wink wink* Get it?).

The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black

Amazon.com: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (9780316213103): Black, Holly:  Books

Fae Queen Holly Black is most well known for her Folk of the Air series (which is incredible btw, go read it now if you haven’t), but very few people have read her vampire novel, The Coldest Girl in Cold Town. This book was so fantastic, and it sucks that no one talks about it. The atmosphere of the story was downright creepy, which I absolutely loved, and if you’re looking for a spooky Halloween read, this is the book for you!

Witch Books:

The Graces by Laure Eve

The Graces may be a lesser known book, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good one! This book is dark, mysterious, and downright disturbing at times… perfect for Halloween! The atmosphere is very eerie, and there is a very suspenseful air surrounding many of the characters in the story. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, I encourage you to read this book!

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent & Dove by [Shelby Mahurin]

Possibly my favorite witch book of all time, Serpent & Dove is a wild ride from start to finish! I’m sure you’ll see this book on literally every single Halloween book recommendations list, but trust me, the hype is well deserved! Full of charming characters, dark magic, and addictive romance, Serpent & Dove is a book that you simply MUST read this October!

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Sea Witch is an incredible Little Mermaid retelling told in the perspective of… you guessed it! The Sea Witch! I’m not exaggerating when I say that Sea Witch is one of the eeriest books I’ve ever read. The setting is deliciously creepy… A small, coastal town full of dark secrets? Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Well, I can tell you from personal experience that intriguing doesn’t even begin to describe this gem of a book! It’ll suck you in with its mystery and suspense, and I can promise that you’ll be captivated until the very end!

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

This book had me under a spell (yup, another shameless Halloween pun)! Not only does this book have witches, but it all contains demons! Very hot ones, might I add (bonus points for that 😏). If you liked Kerri Maniscalco’s Jack the Ripper series, you’ll love Kingdom of the Wicked, the first book in her newest series! It’s an enthralling murder mystery full of deadly romance, heart-stopping plot twists, and stunning world-building. The story is wired with Maniscalco’s Italian culture, so expect many HEAVENLY descriptions of Italian food in between all of the suspense, tension, and magical intrigue!

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

The witchy element of the Stolen Songbird trilogy doesn’t really come until the later books, but book one sets up all of the witchiness so well! It also contains trolls and fae… how awesome is that? Stolen Songbird is one of my all time favorite books, and its uniquely magical setting makes it perfect for Halloween. It’s actually set in an underground city… What could be more appropriate for the spookiest day of the year?

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

Bloodleaf is a dark and enchanting book that will have you hooked from the first page! It has a very captivating storyline that is full of magic, betrayal, action, and romance. There’s never a dull moment in this luscious tale, and it’ll keep you reading long into the night! I highly recommend this book, especially for Halloween!

Circe by Madeline Miller

This book is a gripping take on the myth of Circe, daughter of the god Helios. If you love Greek mythology like I do, you simply must pick up this beautiful novel. It is lush, enchanting, and magical, and it will make you feel every emotion, whether you want to or not. Grab your tissues, my friends, because this book will have you SOBBING by the time you finish it!

Ghost Books:

Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Storm and Fury (The Harbinger Series Book 1) by [Jennifer L. Armentrout]

While Storm and Fury is fantastic, it should be noted that it is a spin-off book to JLA’s Dark Elements trilogy! I suggest you read that before starting this book. But getting back to the point, Storm & Fury is absolutely amazing, just like all of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books are! The main character, Trinity, can see ghosts, so that’s were the Halloween-ish element of the story comes into play. Trinity narrates this book with so much wit, and because of that, it’s tons of fun to read!

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Amazon.com: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, Book 1) (Anna Dressed in Blood  Series, 1) (9780765328670): Blake, Kendare: Books

All you need to do is look at the cover and title of this book to know that it is spooky as hell! It simply SCREAMS Halloween (that qualifies as a Halloween pun, right?)! One of the main characters is a GHOST, for crying out loud! If you’re searching for something dark, scary, and atmospheric to read this Halloween, look no further! Anna Dressed in Blood is the book for you.

Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

Bone Crier's Moon by Kathryn Purdie, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

Bone Crier’s Moon is a very spooky YA fantasy novel that’s wonderful for Halloween! The undead beings in this book are never outright referred to as ghosts, but that’s basically what they are! The sequel to Bone Crier’s Moon comes out in March, and I’m already DYING to read it (I really crack myself up, you guys)!

Demon Books:

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

The Shadows Between Us by [Tricia Levenseller]

This book features a mysterious shadow king… I’m not exactly sure if he’s an actual demon, but close enough, right? Anyways, this book is simply amazing! It was plotted out so brilliantly, and it was filled with constant twists and turns that I never saw coming. The characters in this book are selfish, evil, and downright wicked… in the best way possible! Nothing says Halloween like a morally grey character! I highly recommend this one if you are looking for a quick read that will captivate you with its dark characters and dangerous romance.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Legendborn by [Tracy Deonn]

Legendborn is an amazing fantasy novel that brings so much diversity to the genre! This book is full of demons, witchcraft, and, of course, tons of Black girl magic. The plot is so fascinating, and the magic system is simply incredible. This book is PERFECT for Halloween, so if you haven’t read it yet… what are you doing with your life???

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe Book 1) by [Rosamund Hodge]

I’m a huge fan of fairy tale retellings, and this reimagining of Beauty and the Beast is PEFECTION! Not only that, but it’s also a great book to read during spooky season. Cruel Beauty is dark, lush, and sexy, and I especially recommend it to fans of ACOTAR (imagine a darker, more sinister version of ACOTAR… that’s Cruel Beauty for ya!)

Others:

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Burn Our Bodies Down by [Rory Power]

Burn Our Bodies Down was a wonderfully mysterious book that I was unable to put down! It’s not your typical “jump scare” horror novel… Its subtle creepiness is really what made my skin crawl while reading it. Something about the atmosphere had me unsettled and intrigued at the same time. Disturbing, heart-stopping, and mesmerizing, Burn Our Bodies Down is a book that you definitely won’t want to miss.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by [Kiersten White]

If you LOVE Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein like I do, you simply must pick up this book. It tells the story of Elizabeth Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein’s childhood best friend and eventual wife. Elizabeth was such a compelling character to read about, and Kiersten White’s storytelling was refreshing, well paced, and original. I can’t recommend this book enough!

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Amazon.com: Heartless (9781250044655): Meyer, Marissa: Books

Like any good villain origin story, this book is DARK. Like, really dark. And I loved every second of it! Marissa Meyer is one of my all-time favorite authors, making it hard to decide which book of hers is my favorite, but Heartless is definitely one of my top three. It’s such an incredibly crafted story, and its ending will literally rip your heart right out of your chest! If you’re planning on reading this book soon, GRAB YOUR TISSUES. You’ll need them!

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Amazon.com: Crimson Bound (9780062224774): Hodge, Rosamund: Books

Yup, another Rosamund Hodge book! That woman is the QUEEN of deliciously dark fairy tale retellings that are super fun to read during spooky season. Like Cruel Beauty, Crimson Bound is an eerie, mysterious story full of dangerous magic and complicated characters. It’s one of my favorite fairy tale retellings of all time, and I highly recommend it!

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows by [Erin A. Craig]

I’m concluding this list with one of the spookiest books I’ve ever read… that book is House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig! It’s yet another retelling, but it’s an especially unique one, as it is a reimagining of the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses! That’s a fairy tale that you don’t see retold too often! This book has such a somber and eerie atmosphere that will literally send chills down your spine… I absolutely loved it!

And… There you have it!

All of my Halloween book recommendations!

Guys, I don’t think I’ve ever spent this much time on a post. I expected this list to be somewhat short, but now I’m realizing just how many spooky books I’ve read!

Have you read any of the books on this list? Or are any of them on your TBR? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to chat with you about all things spooky!

Even though it’ll be a little different this year, I hope you all still have a fabulous Halloween!

Until next time,

Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue : Casey Mcquiston : 9781250316776

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

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

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

I literally finished this book with the stupidest grin on my face… THAT is how freaking adorable it was.

Red, White & Royal Blue was an instant mood-booster for me. It’s fun, playful, cheesy, and, of course, very gay. 😘 Is it the finest piece of literature out there? Nope. But it made me so inexplicably happy, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters, right? Right.

Our main character, Alex, the First Son of the US, is headstrong, determined, sometimes a little immature, and SOOOO sassy! He kind of has no filter, but hey, I’m not complaining! So much of his dialogue had me cackling with laughter! Next, we have our love interest and second main character, Prince Henry of Wales, who is the DEFINITION OF SWOON-WORTHY. As I read the book, I simply fell in love with Henry’s cuteness, thoughtfulness, and adorable awkwardness, until I remembered… Whoops, he’s gay!

In all seriousness though, Alex and Henry are PERFECT together and I shipped them right from the get-go. Their sizzling chemistry is just incredible, and their charming banter is equally amazing! My only complaint about their relationship is that they got together far quicker than I expected them to. A lot of people describe Alex and Henry’s relationship as a slow burn romance, but in my opinion, it’s really not. Yes, their relationship grows and develops throughout the book, but since they become a couple very early on in the story, there isn’t a ton of romantic tension or will-they-won’t-they. This was a teeny bit disappointing, as I love my romance books to be slow and full of tension. This book is also said to contain the enemies-to-lovers trope (which is my favorite trope, might I add), but again, the two boys become lovers about 100 pages into the book, so unfortunately, the enemies stage of the relationship doesn’t last very long. I expected a gradual, slow-burn shift from enemies to lovers, but sadly that’s not what occurred. Fortunately, though, I still love Alex and Henry as a couple, even if they got together so fast… Honestly, how can I blame them? They’re PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER!!! I just wish there had been more bullying, bickering, and insulting before all of the lovey-dovey stuff.

I’ll say it again: this book is by no means perfect. There are some cringe moments, and sometimes I felt like Casey McQuiston went a tad overboard with all of the sex scenes (seriously, though… whenever Alex and Henry managed to meet up, it was just sex, sex, sex. I much preferred Alex and Henry’s adorable, heart-felt emails to one another over their sex scenes). And for all of my politics lovers out there, just know that the political aspect of this book is wildly inaccurate. But honestly, who cares? Red, White & Blue is a fun, adorable, and entertaining read that will be a big smile on your face! If you’re looking for a sweet m/m romance that contains wonderful characters, I highly recommend picking up this book!

All I Need Are Books and Tea: Review of Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay  Cummings

Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Ambition will fuel him.
Competition will drive him.
But power has its price.

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

So, here’s the thing: Despite the fact that I gave it a low rating, I’m not disappointed by this book, because I honestly didn’t expect it to be all that good in the first place. Then why did I read it, you might be wondering? Well, as someone who has been obsessed with the Hunger Games books and films since middle school, I sort of felt obligated to. Knowing that it was about President Snow, I didn’t go into it with high hopes… I would have much preferred a Finnick novel, a Haymitch novel, or a Johanna novel. President Snow… no thanks. I hate the guy, so why would I want to read about his privileged upbringing in the Capitol?

To be fair, this is NOT a Snow redemption book. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes made me feel ZERO pity for him… I think it says a lot that Suzanne Collins wrote Snow’s perspective in the third person rather than the first person. It sends a message that she doesn’t want us to empathize with him like we empathized with Katniss in the original trilogy. I’ve heard so many people complain about how this book is meant to make us feel bad for Snow, and as someone who has just read it, I can confidently tell you that that is NOT the case, and that Suzanne Collins did NOT write this book with a Snow redemption arc in mind.

Why DID she write this book then? Well… I really don’t know. Because the biggest flaw of A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is that it is extremely uneventful. Nothing of any importance happens. Throughout the book, we’re not shown anything that foreshadows the corrupt and power-hungry person Snow will eventually become. Sure, he’s privileged, ambitious, and somewhat self-serving, but despite that, he’s just an average guy. It’s hard to connect the normal, slightly morally-grey Coriolanus Snow portrayed in TBOSAS with the cruel, heartless President Snow from the original trilogy. It’s irritating because even though I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of a Snow prequel novel, I was still intrigued to see how he became such an evil dictator. But in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, I saw no such thing! The whole book takes place over one year (Snow’s 18th year, to be exact), so if you think you’re going to get a glimpse at Snow climbing his way up to presidency, you’re in for a big disappointment. There was no political intrigue at all. The “plot” just revolved around Snow’s boring life in the Capitol and his lackluster romance with Lucy Grey, the female tribute from District 12 in the 10th Annual Hunger Games.

Lucy Grey, fortunately, made the book worth reading. Even though I didn’t ship her with Snow, her songs were such a pleasure to read, and it was so fascinating to learn that SHE was the creator of the infamous Hanging Tree song. Lucy was a really interesting character to read about, and I wish that the story had been told from HER perspective, not Snow’s.

Don’t get me wrong, the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is not a bad book… I don’t think anything written by Suzanne Collins could ever be BAD. The problem with this book is that it’s pointless and unnecessary. The was no reason for it to be written, and again, I would have rather read a book from the point of view of a character who had to go through hardships that Snow would never even be able to fathom… Finnick, Haymitch, and Johanna would have all been SPECTACULAR contenders. I would even support Suzanne Collins if she decided to pull a Stephanie Meyer and rewrite The Hunger Games in Peeta’s perspective! That would have been amazing! I just don’t understand why Collins chose to write about Snow, especially if she wasn’t even going to show us how he became a dictator.

Like I said, this book didn’t disappoint me, because after seeing so many negative reviews, I didn’t have very high expectations. Truth be told, I never had high expectations in the first place because… Well, it’s President Snow for crying out loud!

Even if this book had some enjoyable aspects, it doesn’t even begin to compare to the original trilogy. I’m glad I read it, because if I hadn’t, a part of me would always wonder if I was missing out on something great. And if you haven’t read this book yet, and you’re wondering the same thing, trust me, you are missing out on NOTHING.

In short, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is boring, bland, and, to put it bluntly, completely pointless. It adds nothing to the Hunger Games series, and if anything, it just makes me hate President Snow even more, because he wasted my time with his snooze-fest of a backstory!

I hope Suzanne Collins writes more prequel novels in the future, but can they PLEASE be from the perspectives of characters we actually care about??? Thanks.

two-and-a-half-stars | The Outlaw Urbanist

ARC Review: A Bigfoot’s Quest by Mel Braxton

A Bigfoot's Quest: A Coming of Age Story (Alice's Shapeshifting Adventure  Book 2) - Kindle edition by Braxton, Mel. Children Kindle eBooks @  Amazon.com.

Alice accepts a mission from the Fae: help her ma return to the Bigfoot village. But nothing is as it seems, and soon Alice begins a different quest. This time it’s in search of the truth.

Through months of hard work, Alice has learned to be both human and Bigfoot. She’s ready for rest, and spring break has arrived! But when Jaria shares new information, they begin a new adventure—one that yields more questions than answers.

Frustrated and confused, Alice takes it upon herself to uncover the truth. But when someone she loves follows her into danger, she must find a way to protect them. If she fails, she’ll never forgive herself.

What price is Alice willing to pay for the truth? Read A Bigfoot’s Quest to find out!

I really loved A Bigfoot’s Gift, but to my astonishment, its sequel, A Bigfoot’s Quest, was somehow even better!

In this book, Mel Braxton does an excellent job of crafting deep and complicated characters that you simply can’t help but root for. Our protagonist, Alice, definitely matures a lot throughout the story. I loved her in book one, of course, but it was wonderful to see a new side of her in A Bigfoot’s Quest as she grows up and gains strength, wisdom, and maturity. Alice is definitely a character that snuck up on me… In book one, I rooted for her, but in book two, I connected with her and empathized with her as well. I felt all of her emotions so very deeply, and by the end of the book, I found myself loving her more than ever. There’s a big difference between liking a character and connecting with a character, and I’m happy to tell you that I both liked Alice AND connected with her in A Bigfoot’s Quest!

Alice’s relationships with other characters in the series also went through some incredible development. Take her relationship with Jaria, for example. The two started out as frenemies, but as they grew and matured together, they slowly became friends. It was beyond beautiful to see tension and coldness turn into understanding and warmth. Alice and Jaria’s friendship is definitely a special one, and it’s come so far from their strained relationship in book one!

Another relationship that I enjoyed getting to see unravel was the one between Alice and her mother, Evie, who had previously been absent from her life for years. Obviously, Alice’s feelings towards Evie were, and still are, very complicated. When she reunites with her mother after years of detachment, Alice feels a dramatic range of emotions. She feels angry at her mother for abandoning her, but she loves her unconditionally as well. It’s a complex dynamic, one that I’m looking forward to seeing more of in future books!

With all of these beautifully developing relationships, the tone of this story is much more emotional than it was in book one. Yet, it’s written in a way that young readers can easily connect with, as this IS a middle grade novel! I just know that my elementary/middle school self would have DEVOURED this series, just like I’m devouring it now! And that’s the thing… even if you’re not a middle grade reader, you’ll still enjoy this book. I myself typically gravitate towards YA and NA, but regardless of that, Alice’s story is one that I absolutely loved!

This series has been wonderful so far, and I’m so stoked to read what I think will be the final book, once it comes out that is! Reading about Alice and all of her adventures has been such a pleasure, and I can’t wait to see how her story comes to an end… Even if I’ll be sad that the series is over!

In sum, A Bigfoot’s Quest is an absolutely fabulous book that you won’t want to miss! If you like lovable characters, beautiful friendships, a fascinating magic system, and a fast moving plot, this is the series for you! I can’t recommend it enough!

Overview – Meridian Home Mortgage

Blog Tour: Welcome to Superhero School by Gracie Dix (Review + Giveaway!)

Today I’m beyond thrilled to participate in the Creative Blog Tour for Welcome to Superhero School by Gracie Dix! Thanks so much to MTMC Tours for hosting this amazing blog tour!

Welcome to Superhero School is the first book in The Vork Chronicles, a Middle Grade Fantasy adventure released on April 28th, 2020 from Toast Industries! Join Oliver, Jess, and all their friends in an action-packed journey of friendship, hardship, and humor to destroy the power-hungry, evil villains of Vork.

Welcome to Superhero School! Join Oliver, Jess, and all their friends on a mission to destroy the power-hungry, evil villains of Vork.

From subterranean sewers to lush jungle, from dinosaurs to dragons, our heroes will be pushed to their limits in ways they’d never imagined. Will their collective Powers—Flight, Morphing, Invisibility, Mind Reading, and more—be enough for them to overcome the malevolence of Vork? Or will they stumble over their own doubts and painful histories?

This action-packed journey of friendship, hardship, and humor will take our heroes to thrilling new heights and a deeper understanding of their own place in the world. But will that be enough—or will Vork always be one step ahead?

I had such a blast reading this lovely little book!

Full of magic, friendship, fun, and hilarity, Welcome to Superhero School is a fabulous book that I’m so happy to have been given the opportunity to read! It targets middle grade readers, but trust me, it’s a book that can be adored by readers of ALL ages. As someone who typically gravitates towards YA and NA, I can confidently tell you that you’ll have so much fun reading this book, regardless of your age!

Everything about it is simply wonderful. For starters, the characters. They all have unique, individual qualities that make them stand out in different ways, but they’re united by the power of friendship, teamwork, and bravery. All of these characters are uniquely lovable, and their personalities never EVER blend together. A trope I commonly see in the middle grade genre is this: characters that are underdeveloped and basically the same in regards to their personalities… But don’t worry, the characters in this book fall under neither of those categories! Like some of my all time favorite middle grade series, the Keeper of the Lost Cities series and the Percy Jackson series, Welcome to Super Hero School contains a plethora of incredible characters who each have different hopes, fears, dreams, desires, and aspirations.

Beyond characters, there are many other things that make Welcome to Superhero School such an awesome read. For one thing, the action literally never stops. I’m the type of reader who needs an action driven plot in order to enjoy a story, and Welcome to Superhero School has just that! The pacing is super fast, making for very light, quick reading! I also just really enjoy Gracie Dix’s writing style. It’s upbeat and bubbly, so in other words… tons of fun! Gracie’s dialogue, in particular, is expertly written! It is full of so much thought, wit, and hilarity!

All in all, I had such a great time reading Welcome to Superhero School! Gracie Dix is a talented young author whose writing sparkles with lively characters, non-stop action, and lovely themes of friendship, courage, teamwork, and unity. I highly recommend this book to anyone who longs for a fun, fast-paced read that will keep you on your toes until the very last page!

Premium Photo | Four out of five stars rating

My Creative Bookstagram Post:

View this post on Instagram

BLOG/BOOKSTAGRAM TOUR FOR WELCOME TO SUPERHERO SCHOOL BY GRACIE DIX • • QOTD: If you were a superhero, what would you want your power(s) to be? • • AOTD: I would love to have the ability of flight! Come on, who wouldn’t want to be able to FLY?! • • I’m beyond thrilled to be participating in MTMC Tour’s Blog/Bookstagram tour for Welcome to Superhero School by teen author Gracie Dix! Join Oliver, Jess, and all their friends in an action-packed journey of friendship, hardship, and humor to destroy the power-hungry, evil villains of Vork. • • My review: Full of magic, friendship, fun, and hilarity, Welcome to Superhero School is a fabulous book that I'm so happy to have been given the opportunity to read! It contains a plethora of incredible characters who each have unique qualities that make them stand out in different ways! Beyond characters, there are many other things that make Welcome to Superhero School such an awesome read. For one thing, the action literally never stops. The pacing is super fast, making for very light, quick reading! I also just really enjoyed Gracie Dix's writing style. It's upbeat and bubbly, so in other words… tons of fun! Gracie's dialogue, in particular, is expertly written! It is full of so much thought, wit, and hilarity! All in all, I had such a great time reading Welcome to Superhero School! Gracie Dix is a talented young author whose writing sparkles with lively characters, non-stop action, and lovely themes of friendship, courage, teamwork, and unity! • • Visit my blog for my full review! Link in bio! • • Thank you so much to Gracie Dix and MTMC tours for sending me a copy of Welcome to Superhero School and giving me the chance to participate in this tour! Make sure to check out my blog post, where you’ll find the schedule for the rest of the tour stops and an awesome giveaway for a paperback copy of this book! • • @gracie.dix.author @mtmctours #graciedix #welcometosuperheroschool #mtmctours #books #book #bookish #bookreading #reading #read #reader #reads #readbooks #ilovebooks #ilovereading #lovebooks #lovereading #bookhangover #bibliophile #yabooks #bookstagram #bookstagrammer

A post shared by ✨🧜🏼‍♀️Octavia🧜🏼‍♀️✨ (@the_book_mermaid) on

About the Author:

Graceanne “Gracie” Dix is a high school author. She has been writing since she could hold a pencil. When Gracie isn’t writing, she can be found singing, creating art, in the theatre, volunteering, or playing tennis. She loves to travel and is a loyal friend. Gracie lives in Dallas, Texas with her parents, Richard and Jennifer, her brother, Nate, whenever he is home from college, and her beloved dogs, Snowball and Sandcastle “Sandy.”

Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for the chance to win a copy of Welcome to Superhero School by Gracie Dix!

Rafflecopter link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2aeeb25b75/?

Let’s Play a Game!

My super hero power is telekinesis and my mission is to get an A in superhero class and I’m totally going to deserve a vacation after this!

What is your superpower? What’s your mission? Let me know in the comments!

Buy the Book:

Make sure you check out all of the remaining tour stops!

Tour Schedule:

October 12
Book Briefs

October 13
#Bookish – A Librarian’s Literary Journey

October 14
Books, Tea, Healthy Me

October 15
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

October 16
Books and Bookends

October 17
Mermaid Reads

October 18
Krisha’s Cozy Corner

October 19
A Beauty & Her Books

October 20
Katherine Loves Books

October 21
Endless Pages

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Thank you to MTMC Tours for Hosting!!!

Review: The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

The Other Side of the Sky by [Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner]

Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines, powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the Surface, responsible for providing answers, direction—hope.

North’s and Nimh’s lives are entwined—though their hearts can never be. Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.

It truly is an incredible feeling when your most anticipated book release of the year not only meets your very high expectations, but EXCEEDS them!

I loved everything about The Other Side of the Sky, from its lush and breathtaking atmosphere, to its beautifully complex characters. Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have been my favorite author duo since I read their Starbound trilogy several years ago, but with this book, their writing has reached new heights. And I think it’s because this gem of a story is just so uniquely magical.

The way Amie and Meagan blend science fiction and fantasy in The Other Side of the Sky is beyond beautiful. It sounds like a difficult thing to do, but these two ladies weave these two genres together so effortlessly (at least it seems that way!). The setting, containing elements of both sci-fi and fantasy, was so atmospheric… The imagery used to describe the beauty and vividness of this world just blew me away and made me want to get lost in it forever. And that’s the thing… The breathtaking world Amie and Meagan have crafted has reminded me of the true cost of being a reader. You get to visit all of these enchanting, beautiful places, only to get thrust back into real life as soon as you put your book down. It’s a little bit sad, but also beautiful, don’t you think? Fantasy books (or, in this case, fantasy-and-sci-fi-in-one books) are the best type of escapism there is, and if you’re looking for a new one to sweep you off of your feet, you simply must pick up The Other Side of the Sky.

Another aspect of this gorgeous novel that left me totally breathless was the romance. A big barrier in Nimh and North’s relationship is their inability to touch one another due to Nimh’s divinity. One would think that creating a beautiful romance would be impossible with this obstacle in the way, but I believe that it actually served in Nimh and North’s favor. The lack of physical touch made the romantic tension all the more palpable, and it also made Nimh and North’s emotional connection so much stronger. Amie and Meagan have created something truly remarkable with this romance, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in book two.

All in all, The Other Side of the Sky was an absolutely phenomenal book. It was enchanting, lush, and heart-stopping in a way that only a Kaufman-Spooner book can be! I loved it even more than I thought I would, and I’m over-the-moon excited to read its sequel. Speaking of which… how am I supposed to wait A YEAR to find out what happens next?!?! Amie and Meagan… Please write fast!

Overview – Meridian Home Mortgage

September 2020 Wrap-Up

I’m not gonna sugarcoat it… Like every month in 2020 so far, September wasn’t the best. Adjusting to online learning is still as difficult as ever, and the world itself is just a complete mess. But I don’t want to talk about that. Blogging is my ESCAPE from all of that awful stuff, so let’s just pretend it doesn’t exist right now, okay???

I read quite a bit this month! September has been all about knocking off some arcs off my TBR, so I can finally just read whatever I want without those dreadful deadlines! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE ARCS! But it’s nice to be able to just read books without feeling obligated to review them. With that being said, I have a few more arcs to finish up, but hopefully I’ll be done with them by the end of October.

September was ALSO dominated by a bunch of book purchases that I SWEAR I didn’t intend to make. It just sort of… happened??? Well, long story short, I’m definitely going to be going on a book-buying ban soon.

But I’m not the type of person to just leave the books I’ve purchased sitting unread on my shelves for months. I’ve actually already read some of the books I bought! Speaking of which, I read quite a lot this month:

Total: 10 Books

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2) by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski: The Winner’s Crime was a very satisfying addition to the Winner’s trilogy. In fact, I think I enjoyed it even more than book one, The Winner’s Curse. This series is so underrated, and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to pick it up! The war-torn world and political intrigue Rutkoski has crafted are truly astonishing, and I’m beyond excited to see how this story concludes in the grand finale, The Winner’s Kiss!  Rating: ★★★★☆

Everything I Thought I Knew by Shannon Takaoka

Everything I Thought I Knew by Shannon Takaoka: I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of this upcoming release, and I absolutely loved it. Shannon Takaoka’s writing is packed full of beauty, heartbreak, and raw feeling, and I savored every second of it. This book was a rollercoaster of emotions, and it definitely left me with a MASSIVE book hangover. YA contemporary is not my go-to genre, but Everything I Thought I Knew was so good that I might have to considering reading more of it! Rating: ★★★★★

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Amazon.com: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, 1)  (9781619635180): Maas, Sarah J.: Books

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (Reread): It was such a pleasure getting to reread this series in preparation for the upcoming Nessian spin-off novel, A Court of Silver Flames. Rereading this book allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the characters in the ACOTAR universe, even the ones I don’t really like. It was interesting to unearth the many layers of each character, and I think I really connected with them on a whole new level with this reread! This book has its flaws, sure, but it was one of the stories that sparked my undying love for reading, so because of that, I will always hold it near and dear to my heart! Rating: ★★★★☆

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (Reread): It’s rare for a sequel to be better than book one, but A Court of Mist and Fury is by far the best book in the ACOTAR series, and possibly the best book Sarah J. Maas has ever written. In it, we meet many charming new characters who make the story all the more wonderful (Mor, Amren, Cassian, and Azriel to name a few)! We also get to see Feyre reclaim her identity and recognize that no one can control her or tell her what she can and cannot do. ACOMAF contains all of Sarah J. Maas’s typical smut, banter, and dirty jokes, but it also contains beautiful themes that will leave you emotionally wrecked by the end of the book! Speaking of which… that ending. Absolutely phenomenal! Rating: ★★★★★

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Amazon.com: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, 3)  (9781619635203): Maas, Sarah J.: Books

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (Reread): Even though it’s probably my least favorite book in the ACOTAR series, A Court of Wings and Ruin is still a very powerful and heartwrenching conclusion to Feyre’s story. It was filled with so many emotional moments (my favorites being those between Feyre and her sisters), and while I don’t often cry because of books, this one had me tearing up a few times. My big issue with it was that the first half was sooooooo slow. I understand that it was all build up to the emotional finale, but I feel like it could have been condensed into 200 pages, rather than 400. Still, I really enjoyed this book, and it has me SOOOO EXCITED to read ACOSF in February! Rating: ★★★½☆

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One Way or Another: McDowell, Kara: 9781338654547: Amazon.com: Books

One Way or Another by Kara McDowell: I’m not exaggerating when I say that One Way or Another is one of the best contemporary novels I’ve ever read. It was sweet, swoon-worthy, romantic, relatable, and so very meaningful. The book is filled with incredible mental health representation that so many readers will connect with, and its magical Christmas setting will lift everyone’s spirits! Christmas is still a few months away, but it’s never too early to pick up this fabulous book! Rating: ★★★★★

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Amazon.com: Obsidian (Lux) (8601200679809): Armentrout, Jennifer L.: Books

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout: Obsidian was my first JLA book, and I absolutely loved it! It was witty, fast-paced, and incredibly entertaining. I really related to the main character, Katy, because like me, she’s a book blogger! How awesome is that??? I’m beyond excited to read the rest of this series, and after I finish it, you can bet that I’ll be eagerly ordering all of Jennifer’s other books, as I’m sure they’re wonderful! Rating: ★★★★☆

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Once Upon a Book: ¡Lunes de Portadas! | Bone Crier's Moon - Kathryn Purdie

Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie: Oh gosh I LOVED this book! I buddy read it with one of my close (non-blogger) friends, and we both thought that it was a great read. The magic system was simply incredible, and the atmosphere of the story was deliciously dark and eerie. I will admit, some characters were developed better than others, but despite that, I still liked the book a lot! I also think that the author missed a great opportunity to throw a f/f romance into the story, but don’t worry, that doesn’t affect my rating. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the ending, but nevertheless, I’m very excited to get my hands on the sequel when it comes out in March! Rating: ★★★★☆

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Amazon.com: Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove) (9780062878052): Mahurin,  Shelby: Books

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin: I wanted to like Blood & Honey so badly, and I did to a certain degree… but in all honestly, it’s definitely a victim of the Book 2 Curse. There really isn’t much of a plot, and a majority of the book felt slow and boring. There were some amazing moments of character development, but sadly, they didn’t save the book for me. I also wasn’t really a fan of the ending… It was unexpected, but not in a good way, and it kind of felt like a cheap way to make readers want to buy the next book. I’m still invested in this story, but I think that since the plot of Blood & Honey was so stretched out, this series should have just been a duology rather than a trilogy. Rating: ★★★☆☆

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The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman

The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner: Wow. Queens Amie and Meagan NEVER disappoint! The Other Side of the Sky was a lush, breathtaking novel that blended science fiction and fantasy together so beautifully. The characters were wonderful and complex, and I can’t wait to see more of them in book two! This book was my #1 most anticipated release of 2020, so you can imagine how amazing it felt when it exceeded my very high expectations (especially after reading Blood & Honey, which was slightly disappointing)! Rating: ★★★★½

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Here are all of my blog posts from this month!

August 2020 Wrap-Up

The Folklore Book Tag

ARC Book Review: Far From Normal by Becky Wallace

ARC Book Review: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

ARC Book Review: Everything I Thought I Knew by Shannon Takaoka

Most Anticipated Releases of October 2020

ARC Book Review: One Way or Another by Kara McDowell

Book Review: Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen

In October I’m going to try to be more interactive on WordPress! I’ve noticed that my engagement stats have gone down, and that’s probably because I didn’t engage with many other bloggers during September, beyond responding to comments on my own posts. I feel so bad about this, but online learning has really been kicking my butt! Despite that, though, I’m going to make it my top priority to like and comment on all of your posts this month!

In regards to reading, I’m planning on reading and reviewing a couple more arcs, and then catching up on all of the unread books on my TBR! I have so many books on my shelves just BEGGING to be read, and it’s about time that I finally pick them up. Some titles that I’m hoping to get to this month are Fable by Adrienne Young, The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen, and Air Awakens by Elise Kova.

I’m scared/nervous, to see what October has in store for us… If everything goes to hell, at least I’ll still have reading and blogging to turn to… the two best forms of escapism there is!

I hope you all had a good September, but if it wasn’t your best month, that’s okay too! Your negative emotions are VALID, and you shouldn’t feel bad about having them!

I’m wishing everyone a great October!

Bye for now,