Dragons and Tea Book Club | December Pick

dragons & tea

Hey, loves! We are finally on to the last pick of 2019! I can’t believe it! Me and Amy really wanted to pick a holiday book, and I was kind of craving a reread of my favorite holiday read from last year! 🎄

And we hope that you all will join us in our Goodreads Group, too! 🐉☕

But we also will be celebrating and talking with you all on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


Our December pick is:

Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert 

 The Dates & Breakdown:
December 9th: Chapters 1 – 5
December 10th: Chapters 6 – 10
December 11th: Chapters 11 – 15
December 12th: Chapters 16 – 19
December 13th: Chapters 20 – 23

 Content and Trigger Warnings:
talk of cancer, talk of past domestic violence, talk of past child abuse, and talk of past statutory rape.


And if you’d like to be friends with me and Amy on any other platform:
🐉☕ MelanieBooktube | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ AmyBooktube | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

1.) The Cruel Prince ★★★★★
1.5) The Lost Sisters ★★★★★
2.) The Wicked King ★★★★★

“By you, I am forever undone.”

I can’t believe it’s over. I feel like I’ve been in love with Holly Black’s fae stories my entire life and seeing this series finally close means more to me than I have words for, truly. This series, this world, these characters, have brought me so much unconditional happiness, and I truly am not ready to say goodbye, but I do think this was a very perfect ending.

Also, a few things before I start this actual review: 1.) I vlogged this entire reading experience (and how I wrote this review) and I hope you enjoy! 2.) Jess’s playlist is perfection and you should give it a listen! 3.) This review will talk about events that happened in The Cruel Prince, The Lost Sisters, & The Wicked King, so please use caution while reading! And I will have a spoiler section for QoN later!

After the very heartbreaking end of The Wicked King, Jude is now exiled from Faerie and a crown that no one knows she wears. Madoc is ready and willing to do anything to put Oak or himself on the throne, regardless of what Oak wants while living in the mortal realm with Vivi. Taryn is now married to Locke, for better or for worse, and regardless of what Jude thinks on the matter.

“We have lived in our armor for so long, you and I. And now I am not sure if either of us knows how to remove it.”

Everything feels like it is chaos, and at the start of this book we see Jude slowly accept her fate, while also learning the pain of her anger and betrayal. She is taking side-jobs from the fae residing among humans, and she just takes on a job that is about to really test her skills. Especially when she comes out of the job realizing that things might really not be going that great for Cardan in the realm of the fae. But Jude doesn’t care, right? But she gets an opportunity to go to faerie and see for herself, regardless of her exiled status, and the situation is a matter of life and death.

It’s hard to say anything else without going into spoiler territory, but I truly loved this book so much. I can’t believe how much Holly Black was able to surprise me, especially with the amount of theorycrafting I truly believed I did. From the cover, to the title, to the sneak peaks we were given; I was truly not ready for the twists and turns of this book and this entire trilogy is just masterfully crafted.

“I spent much of my life guarding my heart. I guarded it so well that I could behave as though I didn’t have one at all.”

And at the heart of this book, I just really enjoyed the theme and discussion of all the different and complex relationships we will have in our lives. We see Jude constantly battling with herself and her feelings; from her past to her future, from her family to her crown, from her feelings to her heart. There are so many wars in this book, but most of them truly are from within Jude, and Holly Black really expertly talks about the human experience and existence.

“But for one final night, he’s the father I remember best, the one in whose shadow I have—for better or worse—become what I am.”

Relationships can be so very hard and so very not pretty. Obviously we get to see Jude and Cardan, obviously we get to see Jude and her sisters, but seeing Jude and Madoc? That’s what kept breaking me. How do you love a father who became your father by killing your own? A father that loves you so very much, but loves power more? Jude and Madoc are truly the kings of this book and this chessboard, and their dynamic is truly unlike one I’ve read before. So heartbreakingly beautiful, truly.

This next section of my review is going to have SPOILERS! Please do not read on if you have not read The Queen of Nothing and all the rest of the books in this series! Also, like always, I’m going to do fangirl breakdowns because it warms my heart.

“It feels good to be fighting someone other than myself.”

Jude Duarte – My actual queen. Seeing Jude realize not only her worth, but that it is okay to hurt and to be angry, yet also that it is worth the risk to let people in sometimes; I don’t even have words, friends. Jude’s pain just resonated so much inside my heart and soul and I truly think she is one of the best literary characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about.

“He’s so beautiful, so perfectly, horribly, inhumanly beautiful that I can barely breathe.”

Cardan Greenbriar – My entire heart. All of Cardan’s lines truly broke and healed me throughout this entire book. Seeing him be the king of his people’s dreams, but also the king of his own dreams? Forever crying. Also, we stan an otp power couple for life. Truly, for life; Jude, please never leave faerie again.

Nicasia – We love a good redemption arc, wow.

Grima Mog – Nothing but love and respect for my war general.

Taryn Duarte – Oh Taryn. Listen, her pregnancy was expected, but her actually killing Locke was not. I will say that I think this was the weakest part of the story, and I truly wish we could have seen more, but maybe Holly Black is going to give us another few novellas or something. Especially with a certain bard boy? But seriously, I need so many more answers.

Vivi – My 2019 bi-icon. I was rooting for Vivi and Heather so damn hard, and I was so scared at what Vivi was going to do this book, but she was amazing through and through. When she told Madoc to bring his entire army? The biggest flex in all of 2019 literature and I was quaking.

Oak – Wow, I’m going to love me a good spin-off.

Madoc – Madoc was the character that probably made me cry the most throughout this entire series. Loving people can be so very hard, and each journey is so very different, but Madoc just really amplifies these statements and it hurts (in the best way possible) to read. The parallels between him and Jude, both truly born in blood, and seeing the different paths they take to fight each other, while always loving each other, it’s really something that I don’t have words for, but it is truly heartbreakingly beautiful.

Locke – Wow, he actually did die and Taryn actually did kill him. The biggest bamboozle of the entire book, and please call me boo boo the fool from now on while I apply my clown makeup.

Okay, let’s talk about some of the big things in this book while we are in this spoiler section, too. Let’s just get the snake out of the bag (end me). You know, with all the buzz about the 2019 YA book snake, I really didn’t expect for Cardan to turn into her. Wow, truly wow. I love a good fairytale twist in my fae stories, and it was truly one worthy of ballads. Seeing Jude realize that she would rather not have Cardan than only being able to have him controlled? I will be forever crying. So beautiful. Also, the sword she did it with? Truly forever crying.

I will forever and always be so surprised that Locke was not the big bad of this series and honestly? He deserved a better death and storyline ender. Like, I couldn’t believe Madoc was truly the endgame villain. This book was still so perfect to me, but this was what truly let me down the most. I wanted a satisfying Locke death and a true villain story, but it felt bad that we didn’t get that.

“Tell me what I must slay, what I must steal, tell me the riddle I must solve or the hag I must trick. Only tell me the way, and I will do it, no matter the danger, no matter the hardship, no matter the cost.”

I also didn’t love how Cardan told everyone that him and Jude got married. I mean, trust me, I screamed and rolled around in my bed like I was thirteen, but I still wanted something more. Also, the exiled scheme he made up? Baby, that’s not it. But whatever, because when he told her that he loved her it was truly the best thing my eyes have ever read for all of 2019 and you won’t hear me complaining. Truly OTP status worthy and the best enemies to lovers I will probably ever read.

I’ve had a few people tell me that they thought I’d find the ending a bit cheesy (no, this isn’t a pizza dad joke), and that’s valid, because it is a bit cheesy. But I just love these characters so much and they deserve so much happiness that I just felt really blessed to be able to experience that with them for an epilogue. Also, I have really high hopes for what is to come with Oak, because there is no way that Holly Black set that up to not masterfully tell what is to come for Faerie.

I will also be honest and say that this was probably my least favorite in the series. Also, these books are always split up in two parts (or books), and the first half of this was six star worthy. Truly better than anything I’ve read this entire year. It was the last half (and cheesy epilogue) that didn’t quite live up to my expectations. But again, this series just means so much to me and it truly feels once in a lifetime to me.

Overall, I just believe this is the series of my heart. Holly Black and her fae stories have truly shaped me into the reader and reviewer I am today. I owe her so much, and this concluding novel just felt like lifeblood to me. No other book has made me as happy reading. No other book has had me spam refreshing my kindle app to make sure it downloads. No other book has ever been more my brand. And I’m not sure if any book series ever will. It is a truly honor to read and review this book, and it’s more of an honor that some people correlate it with me. I know that no amount of words that I string together will ever adequately do justice to how much these books mean to me, but I promise to shout about them forever, and keep them in my heart always. And I hope that every reader has a series that makes them feel the way The Folk of the Air has made me feel.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: death, murder, war themes, gore, blood depiction, talk of cannibalism, and torture.

Bonus – Park Jimin, forever and always my Cardan. Bye.

(Bless Annaveeart/Kuhleesee for the best art piece I’ve ever seen in my entire life!)

 

Life Update | My November Booktube Break

I’ve had a really shitty fall, full stop. From having my privacy invaded by someone on goodreads, to losing a pet who I’ve had since I moved away from my family, to just missing my family every second of every day, to not knowing where I want to set up roots, to losing friends, I’m just sad. I feel like I live my life in extremes; from pure happiness from escapism, to pure sadness from feeling like I’m letting everyone down.

It’s so pathetic that I feel like I’m not good enough, when I have so many people supporting and cheering me on. Why do I let those few negative voices be louder than the so many positive ones? Why do I constantly feel like I could be doing better or producing more? Why do I correlate my worth with my productivity in every aspect of my life? I know I’m human, and that I will grow, and I will be better, and that I will be happier, but sometimes it just feels so fucking heavy carrying the weight of everyone else’s expectations of me. I’m not perfect, I’ll never be perfect, and I’ll never be the perfect book reviewer or content creator, but I promise I am always trying my best with everything I produce, and it comes from my whole entire heart every time.

I just feel like these spaces that I’ve carved out online with my whole entire heart just bring me sadness lately. It’s not even just BTS and Kpop, it’s ASMR, it’s video games, it’s anything that isn’t book related. And I understand this community is so small, and I understand that people do correlate the name meltotheany with books, but the name meltotheany is just a part of my soul and who I am as a human and I think a lot of times people forget that content creators are human beings with so many feelings. Also, content creators have offline lives, and some people feel very scared to let people in on their offline lives, while also really struggling with setting boundaries and limits for people respecting your privacy. (it me.)

But I’m behind on reviews, I’m behind on wrap ups, I’m behind on reading, I’m just behind. I don’t know what to do moving forward because all the spaces that have brought me so much happiness for so long just feel tainted. From favorite books, to favorite bands, to favorite places. I’m not sleeping enough, I’m not eating enough, all the while this hole in my chest just keeps getting bigger and bigger by also not feeling like I’m enough.

I love you all so much and most of the time that love feels all encompassing. I know I’m so privileged and so blessed and I promise you I’m so grateful. Yet somehow, those facts don’t equate to me not being heartbroken over so many things while constantly pretending like everything is okay. I truly am so very sorry if I’m letting you down. I promise I’ll be better, and I promise to be better for all of you too, but right now I just need a break. The whole point of this blog post is to just tell you that I think I’m going to take the month of November off of everything except for Goodreads and Instagram so I can relearn to love some of my passions, while also (hopefully) relearning how to be kinder to myself.

Also, maybe it will make you feel better to know that just randomly typing all of this out really felt cathartic. It is a good reminder on why I love books and reading and reviewing and just words in general, and how I never want to lose this love. Hopefully I can come back happier and stronger for the both of us. Happy reading, friends. I love you.

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Dragons and Tea Book Club | November Pick

dragons & tea

Hey, loves! Are you all ready for the November pick for #DragonsAndTeaBookClub?  November is Native American Heritage Month, so we wanted to pick an ownvoices book that helped celebrate that! And this one is extra beloved among so many of my friends! And it is an SFF Dystopian all about a monster hunter who is very gifted when it comes to killing said monsters! And in this world, gods walk among humans, but, again, so do monsters, but our main character uncovers some disappearances that are scarier than anything else in this world thus far. 💗

And we hope that you all will join us in our Goodreads Group, too! 🐉☕

But we also will be celebrating and talking with you all on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


But without further ado, our November pick is:

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

 The Dates & Breakdown:
November 18th: Chapters 1 – 8
November 19th: Chapters 9 – 16
November 20th: Chapters 17 – 24
November 21st: Chapters 25 – 32
November 22nd: Chapters 33 – 38

 Content and Trigger Warnings:
Death, blood, gore, violence, murder, death of a child, death of a loved one.
(From K’s amazing review!)


And if you’d like to be friends with me and Amy on any other platform:
🐉☕ MelanieBooktube | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ AmyBooktube | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Blog Tour | The Never Tilting World (#1) by Rin Chupeco

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

ARC gifted to me by Olivia! Thank you!

“When the dead find words, the goddess and the Devoted son will meet atop a fish not a fish, on a sea not a sea. It is she who travels to the endless Abyss, and it is he who guides her.”

It’s no secret that Rin Chuepco is one of my favorite authors of all time. I have supported and loved every book I’ve picked up by them, but I was still apprehensive how they were going to top The Bone Witch Trilogy, which is one of my favorite series of all time, but friends, The Never Tilting World might be my new favorite Rin Chupeco book. And this was such a perfect start to this duology.

This book was originally pitched to me as Mad Max meets Frozen, and even though that sounds like the wildest of comparisons, it totally is true. The world of Aeon is separated into two cities after “the breaking”. Two goddesses have raised these two girls, while keeping secrets and never allowing them to know that they are twins and that their sibling is alive. Yet, monsters are breaching both shores

Two Dying Cities:
Aranth – Never ending night, cold, and frozen everything.
The Golden City Never ending day, heat, and chaos.

Two Powerful Girls:
Haidee – Has a love for mechanical engineering and is expected to marry soon.
Odessa – Lesbian, chronically ill, and I will protect at all costs.

Two Traveling Companions:
Arjun – Disabled (missing a hand), a rogue rebel, and likes Haidee.
Lan – Bi, has PTSD, healer and bodyguard for Odessa. (Also, best library meet-cute ever!)

Honestly, Lan is probably my favorite character and seeing their journey to love and heal was really so beautiful that it makes me cry just thinking about it. Truly one of the best fictional characters I’ve had the pleasure to read about in a really long while. Rin also always gives their readers the best romances, and this book was no different. I was in love with both romantic subplots in this book, but Lan and Odessa’s f/f relationship meant everything to me (who is surprised?). Also, Rin confirmed they are Gryffindor and Slytherin and *chef kiss* you all know that’s the best pairing. But Haidee and Arjun are the best Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw m/f to probably ever exist, too.

But both of these two pairings go off on separate journeys, trying to uncover secrets that have been hidden from them their whole lives, while also willing to do anything to save their people.

This book is for sure a metaphor for how the time is truly ticking until our own world becomes uninhabitable, while we all live in opposite ends of the spectrum of constant day and night. There are monsters in this book, but the most terrifying aspect is the waters rising too fast and the ice coming in too quickly, which threaten to erase an entire city. While another city cannot provide for their people because nothing will grow, therefore they have to be sealed away hoping to gain more time before everything dies. Rin also always celebrates the Filipino culture in all of their books with all their themes. Also, I always view all of Rin’s characters as Asian, unless stated otherwise.

“We’re chasing a dying sea under an endless sun that kills us with a thousand little cuts every day. There’ll be nothing left soon. Nothing but sand and bone.”

This story also is truly a love letter to womanhood, motherhood, and sisterhood, and how those powerful bonds can scare men. The feminist undertone is constant in this story, and the parallels to our world is also impossible to not see. Again, the world doesn’t deserve Rin Chupeco and their stories, and please protect them at all costs.

“A demoness is what they call a goddess that men cannot control.”

I will say that I know this magic system, world, and world building isn’t going to be for everyone. Just like Rin’s other works, people are going to say that it is too complex and the learning curve is too steep, and that’s valid. I will be the first to say that I always just feel instantly connected to Rin’s work and their stories, but I know that is not the case for everyone, so here is your warning.

But overall, this was really just the perfect book from me. From the goddesses, to the deities, to the themes, to the Filipino culture blended in beautifully and seamlessly it was all just perfect for me and everything I look for in literature.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and Trigger Warnings: PTSD depiction, violence, gore, mention of sexual assault, talk of death, and war themes.

Buddy read with Alexa! ❤ (This buddy read meant so very much to me and I just really love Alexa so much and I’m so thankful for her friendship and her voice!)

And thank you so much Shealea for putting this amazing blog tour together! (You’re the best, bb!) ❤


Rin Chupeco has written obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people out of their money at event shows, and done many other terrible things. She now writes about ghosts and fantastic worlds but is still sometimes mistaken for a revenant. She is the author of The Girl from the Well, its sequel, The Suffering, and the Bone Witch trilogy.

Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.

Find out more about Rin over on: websiteGoodreadsInstagramPintrest and Twitter!


10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston (& Bookstagram Giveaway)

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I’m partnering with Disney Book Group for a 10 Blind Dates giveaway!

“I don’t expect to meet the love of my life but maybe, just maybe this will help heal the pieces Griffin broke.”

I promise you, so many people are going to be checking this one out from their library this holiday season, and with good reason, because I read this book with a constant smile on my face. This was such a heartwarming story about family, and love, and finding out about yourself and your happiness when you are in that weird transition period when you are getting ready for college. This book really was a delight to read, and I am actually excited to see how well received it’s probably going to be in the book community soon!

10 Blind Dates stars a girl named Sophie who is planning to spend the holidays with her grandparents (and her huge extended family), while her parents celebrate with her sister who is a few hours away and on bedrest with her pregnancy. Sophie thinks that she might also be able to sneak away and finally get a little alone time with her longtime boyfriend, but things don’t work out the way she envisions when she finds out that he is having second thoughts about them staying together since they will both be going away to college soon.

She goes to her grandparents’ house feeling rather heartbroken, but her entire family who are all celebrating Christmas under the same roof, decide to try to cheer her up by setting her up on *looks at book title* ten blind dates! Sophie is for sure having her doubts, but when the first date goes alright, she thinks that maybe she can do this, and maybe she can get closer to some of the family members she has drifted a little apart from in the process.

Overall, this just really is a perfect, heartwarming, hopeful holiday read. It really puts an emphasis on the importance of (healthy) family, and how the love of family can be so unconditional. This book also puts a very big emphasis on sibling relationships, which you all know is something I love reading about in books, and I truly think siblings who are best friends have a power unlike any other. I just really think this book is perfect for December, and I recommend it with my whole heart if you’re looking for a cozy, Christmas story that will make you smile throughout. Also, this has already been picked up by Netflix, and I feel so much joy thinking about what a wonderful adaptation it will make!


About the Author:

Ashley Elston is the author of several novels including: The Rules for Disappearing (a finalist in the Best Young Adult Novel category of the International Thriller Writers Thriller Awards) and This Is Our Story. She has a liberal arts degree from Louisiana State University in Shreveport and worked for many years as a wedding photographer before turning her hand to writing. Ashley lives in Shreveport with her husband and three sons.


Giveaway:

I am currently running a giveaway for this book on MY BOOKSTAGRAM!
Please make sure you head over there and comment to enter!
The giveaway is US only, and I’m so sorry! But good luck, friends!


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Cover Reveal | The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson

Goodreads | Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

“A storm is here.”

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

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

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


➽ Cover by: @mynameistran

➽ Excerpt:

(Warning: Spoilers for The Storm Crow!)

With a flash of his wings, Res leapt onto the back rail of the ship. The sky darkened. Clouds began to form, gray and heavy with impending rain. They materialized from the air and spread outward like a ripple of water. Our bond hummed, a steady beat of magic that danced along my skin like the brush of a charged wind.

The clouds crackled with power. Beside me, Samra muttered a prayer that I couldn’t make out over the rising winds, one hand clenching the rope knots at her belt.

The Illucian sailors seemed to have realized something was happening. People scurried across the deck, adjusting sails and—my breath caught. Two massive harpoon launchers were fastened to the front of the ship, the spears loaded.

Doubt crept onto my shoulders like a hissing snake. This was my plan. My call. If this failed, if Res’s storm broke atop us—I caught Kiva’s gaze, and the steadiness behind it centered me. There was no time to second-guess myself. This was happening.

The sails caught the wind, and the ship lurched forward. Res let out a shrill cry. His wings lifted slightly, as if eager to catch the draft. I felt my excitement mirrored inside him, felt it sling across the connection between us in a flurry of energy.

Rain began to fall, heavy and full.

Attack the ship! I sent an image of lightning striking the Illucian ship from above. Energy crackled around Res’s body. It sparked in the sky, the clouds set alight. Thunder boomed, breaking across the sky like an earthquake.

Our sails strained, but even with the increased speed, we were too close to the Illucian ship. We’d be in range of their arrows.

“Res!” I called above the wind.

He cawed back, and a bolt of lightning struck the sea feet from the Illucian ship. “Again!”

“She’s going to get us all killed!” A sailor’s voice snapped. He threw a hand at the gathering storm. The clouds had spread, blanketing the sky in darkness. The lightning crackling around Res’s body had grown, sparking and gnashing like a pack of vicious hounds.

We were losing control.

Something snapped. A rope came loose below. It cut through the air like a whip, nearly catching a sailor around the throat. He stumbled back, avoiding it, but at the same moment a heavy wave struck the ship, careening over the edge and across the deck.

When it pulled back, he was gone.

Another boom sounded, deeper and more resonate than the crack of thunder. Wood splintered as a harpoon arrow pierced what remained of the mainmast, sending sharp fragments raining in all directions. Boom. A second harpoon bore through the mizzenmast.

As the ropes retracted, the wood groaned and the space between the ships closed. The rolling waves tossed us together, turning The Aizel so we ran parallel to the Illucian ship. Soldiers stood along the topsails. Another held a hooked board to create a walkway. As the board fell, linking us together, and the soldiers leapt from the sails with rope in hand to swing across the roiling sea, my eyes found one figure among the rest.

Razel stood a mere few feet away. The edges of her moonblades stretched from her shoulders like wings. She met my gaze and smiled.

Then everything erupted into chaos.


➽ About the Author:


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Kalyn Josephson is a fantasy writer living in the California Bay Area. She loves books, cats, books with cats, and making up other worlds to live in for a while. She is also the author of The Storm Crow. Visit her at kalynjosephson.com.

➽ Bookstagram Cover Reveals:

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