September 2017 Reading Wrap Up

Hey, lovelies, and happy Autumn! I hope you all had an amazing September! September was a little hectic for me, because I was in Michigan with my family for the first two weeks, but I had an amazing trip seeing all of my loved ones, and once I got home I was able to read a whole bunch of things, including the best book I’ve read in 2017! And out of the ten things I read, nine of those were ARCs! So I was super happy with that, too!

Like always, you can click the links in each of the titles if you would like to read a more in depth review of each book and see the individual trigger warnings.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater – ★★★
Yeah, I started the month of September off with one of the most controversial ARCS I’ve ever owned. All the Crooked Saints is a story set in the 1960s and is about love, loss, hope, fear, saints, demons, roses, owls, and an illegally homemade radio station that brings a small community together! Also, this is Maggie Stiefvater’s take on magical realism. I honestly feel like the story itself is only a two star read, but the writing, in true Maggie Stiefvater fashion, is a tier above most out there, therefore I did end up giving it three stars.

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1) by Alexandra Bracken – ★★★★★
Be still, my heart. This was one of the best things I’ve read all year! Also, this is such an amazing Halloween read that I honestly can’t recommend enough! This book was so unexpectedly beautiful. This is the best middle grade I’ve read since Harry Potter. This is a story about a young boy named Prosper who just happens to be possessed by a very sassy demon!

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas – ★★★★★
Chaol is my favorite character in ToG, well, besides my queen, Manon Blackbeak! I’ve never been the biggest fan of Celaena/Aelin, and I think this story (and the rating I gave it) probably really benefited from that. Tower of Dawn is my second favorite book that Sarah J. Maas has ever written! And it is, hands down, the best installment in the Throne of Glass series, in my honest opinion

The Dark of the Moon (Chronicles of Lunos #1) by E.S. Bell – ★★★★
E.S. Bell is a pen name of romance writer Emma Scott, and the romance bleeds into this fantasy story so very well. I was so impressed with this debut fantasy novel! This unique story stars an Aluren Paladin named Selena Koren, who is also a very rare summoner. Her path soon crosses with a captain of a pirate ship and adventure ensues! This book is filled with secrets, betrayals, mystery, and, of course, romance. I loved this one!

Play On (Play On #1) by Samantha Young – ★★★★
You guys know I’ve just been craving New Adult Romance books all summer long, so I wrote to Samantha Young and she was sweet enough to send me an ARC of her newest book! I ended up really enjoying this story that ends up being about knowing your worth, putting yourself first, and still allowing yourself to love and be loved again. Oh, and it has a Scotland setting!

Bad Reputation (Bad Boys of Sports #1) by Nicole Edwards – ★★
I requested an ARC of this from Netgalley, because I love a good sports romance. Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me at all. It has alternating point of views in the middle of each chapters, and it made for a really disjointed read that I could never fully immerse myself in. But it is a best friends to lovers romance that stars a hockey player and a workaholic.

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel – ★★★★
I participated in a blog tour for this book that released in September! It is a debut standalone paranormal YA romance that reads like a mixture of Candyman meets The Birds meets Twilight. (And I mean that mashup in the best way possible!)

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black – ★★★★★
I have no amount of words for the perfection of this book. This book was, hands down, the best book I’ve read this year, beating both Strange the Dreamer and Tyrant’s Throne. I am so in love with this book, this world, and these characters. If you can only preorder one book for the rest of the year, please pick The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

Dirty Little Secret (Forbidden Desires, #1) by Kendall Ryan – ★★★★
I loved this sex positive adult romance! This was my first venture into Kendall Ryan’s work, and it for sure won’t be my last! This was such a cute romance between a librarian and a sexy, but mysterious, man who comes into the coffee shop at the same time as her every day before work. But be warned: this has a huge cliffhanger, and I need the second book right this second!

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore – ★★★★★
This was a masterpiece about a magical garden estate, that is curated by a family of women who are unable to ever leave permanently. Not only is the writing lush, and lyrical, and whimsical on every single page, but the messages and discussions are important, moving, and life changing. Estrella and Fel have stolen my heart, and I don’t think I’ll get it back anytime soon.

I also participated in #TheReadingQuest in September, too! This readathon that was being hosted by Aentee at Read at Midnight and all of the amazing artwork was created by CW at Read, Think, Ponder and it went from August 13th to September 10th, and this is what my character ended up finishing as:


But that was my September in reading! Because of my trip to Michigan, this month just completely flew by! Hopefully October slows down for me, and I can just enjoy the warm coffee against the crisp air, the oversized sweaters paired with big boots, the vast array of different pumpkins sitting on top of the falling leaves, and lots of new good books! Happy reading, lovelies!

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September 2017 Book Haul

PHYSICAL ARCS:

The Cruel Prince | 13 Minutes | Sand & Malice | The Bloodprint | Kingdom of Ashes

PUBLISHER EARCS:

Beneath the Sugar Sky | The Armored Saint

NETGALLEY ARCS:

Dirty Little Secret | The Ghostwriter

EDELWEISS ARCS:

Zenith | Moonlight Sins

PURCHASED EBOOKS:

Pennies | Full Tilt

PURCHASED PHYSICAL BOOKS:

Warcross | Godsgrave | Tower of Dawn | Wonder Woman: Warbringer | A Discovery of Witches

BOOK SUBSCRIPTION BOXES:

The Hearts We Sold

Before She Ignites

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Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

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ARC received via #arcsfortrade on Twitter!
(Thank you so much, Kendice! ❤)

“Love grew such strange things.”

La Pradera is a magical garden estate, that is curated by a family of women who are unable to ever leave permanently. The Nomeolvides girls are five grandmothers, who had five daughters, who are the mothers of the five young girls, who this story centers around. This land of La Pradera is both blessed and cursed. Blessed, because all of the women can create life in the form of beautiful flowers. Cursed because if they fall in love with someone that doesn’t belong on the land, the land will take them from the women; just vanishing one day.

“There were two kinds of Nomeolvides hearts, ones broken by the vanishings, and ones who counted themselves lucky to have seen the back of their lovers as they left.”

Estrella, Gloria, Dalia, Azalea, and Calla are the youngest generation of Nomeolvides women and, one day, La Pradera gives them back a gift: a boy from the very ground that has taken and given them so much already. A boy, who can’t remember his past, let alone even his name. A boy who all of the girls are scared will steal their hearts, and in return La Pradera will steal back the boy.

“If La Pradera could bring back a boy lost a hundred years ago, maybe it could break this curse they had carried here in their hearts. Maybe it would give them back other vanished lovers. Maybe it would lift the awful legacy from this generation of daughters.”

You guys, this book was nothing short of magnificent. I see reviewers that say this book was slow, but I was teleported and completely captivated from page one. Not only is the writing lush, and lyrical, and whimsical on every single page, but the messages and discussions are important, moving, and life changing. This book is so queer, so brown, and so magical.

“That was the dangerous thing. Not that she and her cousins all spoke the language of loving boys and girls, but that they all shared the legacy of losing them.”

This book heavily talks about immigration and the way we treated, and still treat, immigrants. The unfair work conditions, the prejudices, the blatant racism, the inhumane treatment, the cultural erasure, and how people (even in 2017) want to turn a blind eye and pretend that none of this exists. In America today, we still want to appropriate all the different cultures, but never celebrate them.

This book unapologetically talks about accepting and loving your queerness. There is such a vast array of queerness in this novel, and it is handled very well and very empathetically and there is even a genderqueer side character! This book also has the best representation I’ve ever read surrounding what it is like to be a bisexual female and to be in a relationship with a male. Some like to put levels on queerness, and this book completely abolishes that mindset and made me so very proud and my heart so very full of happiness.

“Because falling in love with a girl who feared nothing in this world had left her ready to love a boy whose heart had been broken before she ever touched him.”

This book actively talks about how your body is your body, and no one ever is owed access to it. I was actually surprised by the amount of feministic elements in this already perfect story. I mean, if I’m not singing this book’s praises loudly enough, maybe this quote will sell you:

“He was a man, and a rich one, and these together made him believe that planets and moons orbited around the single point of his desires.”

This book passionately embraces family, whether it be the blood you share with others or the found family you unconditionally love. This book truly celebrates the idea of family and heritage. The things we are willing to do and sacrifice for the ones we deem are family is something that I will never get sick of reading in books. Yet, this book also celebrates being an individual and having your own identity, separate from your family. Just like flowers, we all bloom differently and at different times.

This book powerfully discusses cultures and the discussion is constant. Probably my favorite thing about this book was seeing the characters not only embrace and accept, but also love where they came from. We could learn so much from people and cultures that are different from us, if only people could check their privilege and see the day to day oppression that people face. If only everyone could open their hearts to learn and to love, instead of to fear and to hate.

Beyond everything else, this story is a love story. It’s a ballad whose prose will make you believe in love again. Love between boys and girls, love between girls and girls, love between boys and boys, love between sisters, and cousins, and nature, and the past, and family. Wild Beauty is one of the best love stories I’ve ever read in my entire life, because it’s the true and realistic love that isn’t sugarcoated, but raw and gritty and never easy, but always worth it.

“Everyone’s broken. The only difference is how.”

Also, I don’t want to throw shade at anyone, but I have to say something, because I also read All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater this month and I really didn’t enjoy it. But I love Wild Beauty, this own voices Latinx magical realism novel, where the culture beautifully bleeds onto the pages seamlessly and unapologetically, and where I actually feel the pain and realness of colonialism. It’s a different experience and it shows, and I couldn’t write this review without mentioning it.

“They would change nothing by picking flowers.
They had to rip out their fate by the roots.”

I truly hope you guys pick this up in October. I really feel like it is a once in a lifetime story that will haunt me for years and years to come, but in the best way possible. Anna-Marie McLemore has made a fan for life. Her writing is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever read, her story has completely stolen my heart, and her messages are some that I won’t forget. Thank you, Anna-Marie McLemore, for writing one of the best things 2017 will ever produce.

Estrella and Fel have stolen my heart, and I don’t think I’ll get it back anytime soon.

“Sorrow was a family heirloom, written into their blood like ink of a will.”

 


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

Buddy read with my favorites: Elise & Destiny! ❤

Dirty Little Secret (Forbidden Desires #1) by Kendall Ryan

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ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

“It started out as a dirty little secret, something to amuse myself with. I lived a boring existence—work, home, bed . . . and Gavin was a distraction. Maybe I should have left it there, but I hadn’t.”

First off, how do I get my hands on the second book of this series immediately? Because that cliffhanger was just cruel, yet makes me want to beg Kendall Ryan for an ARC of book two this very instant. This was my first Kendall Ryan book, and I think she just made a fan for life. I loved this.

Trigger warnings for stalking and depictions of past physical abuse.

The premise is one that any sappy, book loving, kinky, yet hopeless romantic (like me) would love. Our main protagonist, Emma, is a twenty-nine-year-old head librarian who doesn’t have a lot of money, but spends what she does have on fixing up her the old house her grandmother has left for her in the city. On her way to the library every morning she stops at a local coffee shop, where she orders a tea and can’t help but stare at a man that catches her attention every day while he orders his coffee.

“And every morning, promptly at ten to eight, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Sinful strolled inside and ordered a double shot of espresso to go.”

These two constantly come into this coffee shop at the same time, every day, for the past ten months, but they’ve only interacted once. That is, until one September day the sexy mystery man leaves his business card that only says:

“Gavin Kingsley
President
Forbidden Desires”

Gavin and his two brothers, Cooper and Quinn, have a business that is a little on the unusual side, but you will find out the career path they chose to take is very near and dear to their hearts. Forbidden Desires is a company that hires, but also protects, escorts that go on dates with very rich, powerful, and successful people. The escorts are paid very well, and their only job is to go on a date with the men; they are never required to have sex or do anything they feel uncomfortable with.

Gavin is also struggling with something pretty dark and sad, which makes him feel like he is unable to get into another relationship. Once Emma follows up on the business card and meets with Gavin, they strike up a business proposition where she will be Gavin and his younger brother’s escort to high profile events.

“In that moment, I knew this wouldn’t be casual, knew I wouldn’t walk away from this in one piece.”

Obviously, a bunch of tension develops between Emma, Gavin, and Cooper, but it never feels like a love triangle. Emma has been Gavin’s ever since that first day in the coffee shop, even if they both are too stubborn to realize it. And I guess that’s why I’m giving this four stars, because I love Cooper. Like, what a sweet little cinnamon roll angel! I wish that he wasn’t part of the equation, even though I know he was just acting with his heart and trying to heal Gavin’s wounds, while also opening his eyes.

My favorite thing about this book was… Okay, well it was the romance and the sex scenes, let’s be real, but my second favorite thing about this book is that it is super sex positive! Like, this is one of the few books I’ve read that really puts sex workers in a positive light, and never shames them. There are also mini discussions about the importance to donate to campaigns that are trying to end human trafficking and I really appreciated it.

And I’d bet my bottom dollar that this series is going to not only tell all the brother’s stories, but also is going to make us fall a little in love with all of them.

Also, because I know most of you follow me for my fantasy reviews, I always feel it necessary to state that I rate erotic books differently than other books! I know many of the relationships are toxic and problematic and I completely understand that they wouldn’t be the healthiest and/or most ideal of starts for people in real life, but I love steamy reads and I rate them purely off my enjoyment. And Dirty Little Secret was nothing short of pure enjoyment!

I really, really enjoyed this book. And like I said above, I can’t wait to read more from Kendall Ryan now! If you guys are looking for a new steamy read, I completely recommend the start of this amazing series!

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The quote above was taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black

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“He looks like a faerie lover stepped out of a ballad, the kind where no good comes to the girl who runs away with him.”

If you guys ever want to see what my true heart’s desires are on paper, read this book. This book is a piece of heaven that was sent from above, this book is the perfection incarnate, this book is nothing short of magical, this book easily makes my top five books of all-time list, and this book is without a doubt the best book I’ve read in 2017. I’m not sure how I’m even going to attempt to come up with a review fitting for this masterpiece, but I’m going to try.

If you can only preorder one book for the rest of the year, please pick The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

Okay, maybe I should start this review off with a personal story. You know, full disclosure and all that. I was a very young girl, at the mall with my mom, and we walked into a Borders Outlet. I’ve always been a rather ravenous reader, but at that time in my reading life I was reading only crime thrillers. Think things like James Patterson and John Grisham. Well, while I was perusing the new releases on this autumn day back in the 2007, a worker came up to me and started talking to me about her love for books, but more importantly her love for fae books. She was so kind and warm and enthusiastic, I couldn’t help but ask her to pick me one of her favorite fae stories. Well, she ended up handing me two, but one of them was Tithe by Holly Black, and this godsend Borders Outlet employee completely changed me and my reading life forever.

After that day, and after I inhale read that book, Holly Black became one of my favorite authors and my parents couldn’t keep unread fae fantasy books on my shelves. And ten years later, I’ve never looked back. I’ve been completely obsessed with fae stories ever since. And if I ever develop magical powers, one of the first thing I’m going to do is track down that Borders Outlet employee and thank her for making me the reader that I am today.

Okay, sappy and heartwarming story aside, this book was honestly perfection in every aspect. You want fae courts? Bloodthirsty fae royals fighting for a crown? Twists after twists and reveals after reveals? Heartwarming scenes followed by heart wrenching scenes? The slowest and most agonizing but also the most romantic and powerful and rewarding hate to love romance in the world? Pick this book up.

“Because you’re like a story that hasn’t happened yet. Because I want to see what you will do. I want to be part of the unfolding of the tale.”

And the writing? I mean, not only is Holly Black the literal queen of all things fae, she is also the queen at stringing together words that make me feel everything in the entire universe. The amount of sticky notes and highlights I have in this book is ridiculous, but Holly Black’s writing is so poignant and lyrical and honestly the most perfect thing my eyes have ever seen. This entire book reads like one giant tragic ballad, yet it is equal parts heartbreak and hope. This book is so haunting, so dark, and so twisted.

“But I will not stand in front of your happiness. I will not even stand in front of misery that you choose for yourself.”

Jude is a very young girl when she witnesses her parents murder. After that terrible night, she and her sisters are whisked away by the murderer to live in Faerie. Now, ten years later, Jude is trying to live among the fae, while constantly being reminded of her mortal human status. Yet, she soon gets wrapped up in a very elaborate game, from many different sides, which will cause a civil war to break out in the Courts of Faerie if the game isn’t played properly.

The High King has ruled for centuries, but people feel like it is finally time for him to step down and give the royal crown to one of his children. In this world, the king chooses his successor; it doesn’t automatically go to the oldest child. And the High King has six children in line waiting for him to make his choice.

Prince Cardan is the youngest son of the High King. He is wicked, and charming, and smart, and maybe even a little cruel. Oh, and he makes Jude’s life a living hell most of the time. He’s also one of the best characters I’ve ever read in my entire life.

And with Cardan, comes his group of friends: Nicasia who likes power, Valerian who likes violence, and Locke who likes dramatics, but they all love tormenting Jude in very different ways.

“That’s what comes of hungering for something; you forget to check if it’s rotten before you gobble it down”

Even though Jude is the only point of view, and is the main protagonist of this amazing story, her two sisters play a huge part of this story, too. Taryn is Jude’s twin, who must watch all the torment that Jude endures, and Vivi is their older sister and one of the best side characters I’ve ever read. She’s unique and defiant and strong and devoted, and her romance with her girlfriend meant everything to me. Also, Vivi is on the page bisexual and that representation meant even more than everything to me.

Oh, and speaking of adorable queer relationships; Ben and Severin, from The Darkest Part of the Forest, make a cameo in this and I was crying the happiest tears! I don’t think I will ever be over THAT whisper, and I’ve just completely accepted that. Be still, my heart.

But Jude is our main character of this story, and you can tell from everything that I’ve written above that she doesn’t have the easiest of lives. See, the fae in this world are very dependent on humans, even though they remind them of their lower status constantly, because the fae women have a very hard and sporadic time conceiving and bearing children, therefore, they rely on humans reproducing for them. Well, Jude doesn’t want that life, she wants to make a name for herself and be one of the greatest knights that the Courts of Faerie have ever seen!

Jude is strong willed and very determined, but she is also one of the most selfless characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading from. She is a very morally grey character, yet she will completely capture your heart. But she’s young and learning that love comes in very different forms, and sometimes we are unable to control what we feel.

“I stand in front of my window and imagine myself a fearless knight, imagine myself a witch who hid her heart in her finger and then chopped her finger off.”

One of the most beautiful things about this book is that none of these characters are perfect. Jude, Cardan, all of them do bad things, and none of them are ever excused of their crimes, but they learn to deal with them and the other ramifications that come from their actions. I mean, none of us are perfect people, and we all make bad choices at times. But this book accepts that and reflects that, but also highlights the importance of growing, and becoming a stronger person, and picking what battles you choose to fight. It’s a truly beautiful message and I really appreciated having a full cast of nonperfect characters that do nonperfect things.

“But we all want stupid things. That doesn’t mean we should have them.”

Also, this is a spoiler free review, but I just have to yell from the rooftops say that Chapter 26 is the best chapter I’ve read in all of literature. I will fight anyone that says otherwise. Chapter 26 tortured me, broke up, killed me, rebirthed me, and gave me new life. The end of Chapter 25 through Chapter 26 was the most romantic scene my eyes have ever witnessed. I feel so blessed to have even been able to read those glorious paragraphs. Like, I’m a different person after experiencing Chapter 26. When I’m sad or hurt or angry, I’m going to reread Chapter 26 so I know the true meaning of this life.

“…like taking a dare to run over knives, like an adrenaline strike of lighting, like the moment when you’ve swum too far out in the sea and there is no going back, only cold black water closing over your head.”

Also, fair warning, this book has a cliffhanger ending that puts all other cliffhanger endings to shame. Just typing that sentence gave me full body goosebumps, by the way! Oh, and the title of this book is absolute perfection, as well.

This book has touched me in a way that very few books have in my life. This is the type of book that reminds me why I fell in love with reading in the first place. This is the type of book that makes me believe words have the most powerful healing magic of anything in this world. This is the type of book that completely sets my soul on fire and makes me feel utterly enchanted. I just know that The Cruel Prince is a once in a lifetime series, because this first installment was everything I have ever wanted in a book.

Holly Black immerses me, captivates me, and makes me believe in magic. I have no words of gratitude for that, and I’m not sure what the world has done to deserve her stories, but I will forever be grateful. Holly Black helps me forget all the actual cruel princes in our world today, and their terrible choices that they are making for all of us. And honestly, I’d be super surprised if she isn’t an actual fae queen, that just escaped faerie to torture us with real stories that went on while she was ruling.

Again, if you can only preorder one book for the rest of the year, please pick The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. It’s not only my favorite book of the year, it’s one of my favorite books of all time. And then read the rest of Holly Black’s work, because her books are truly the closest thing to magic and each is a tangible vessel of joy that I have an an unconditional amount of love for.

“If I cannot be better than them, I will be so much worse.”

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

(Thank you so much, Diana. You’ve completely made my entire bookish life! This book means more to me than you’ll ever know. I am forever grateful and will always remember and cherish your kind note. Thank you for giving me an ARC of my favorite book! 💖)

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Autumn Book Tag

Happy Autumn Equinox, everyone! The warm coffee against the crisp air, the oversized sweaters paired with big boots, the vast array of different pumpkins sitting on top of the falling leaves. I love this season so very much, so I couldn’t resist participating in a tag that helps celebrate this wonderful time of year.

🍂 This tag was created by: seelieknight
🍁 And I was tagged by my book bff: Bookish Paloma

Best autumnal themed book cover?
– Even though I didn’t love this book, I am going to have to say Uprooted by Naomi Novik! Not only are the colors the perfect palette for fall, but the picture gives me such a haunted autumn feel. It’s one of my favorite book covers still, to date.

Which fictional friend group would you trust with a Ouija board?
– Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, Noah, and the rest of the gang at 300 Fox Way! Seriously, The Raven Cycle gang is Ouija board goals!

Which book setting would you love to be celebrating in during Halloween night?
– As of now, I would totally choose The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding, because that book has given me the mightiest urge to go to Salem, Massachusetts, for Autumn! The Halloween descriptions in this book are beyond perfection and I honestly can’t think of a better real life setting!

Best autumnal food description inside of a story?
– Please, just feed me everything from The Name of the Wind! Stew, fresh bread, apple pie to eat and then wine, cider, and mead to drink! Like, please sign me up for all of this instantly. Also, my life goal is to spend the night at the Waystone Inn anyways, so I’m pretty much killing two birds with one stone for this question!

Which fictional character would you dress as?
– I would without a doubt choose Vin from the original Misborn series. Not only is she completely bad ass, I would give close to anything for a mistcloak. I would have to find some mist or fog and do the best mini photoshoot of my entire life. Now I really want to cosplay as this immediately.

An antagonist you would pledge your allegiance to?
– I will gladly pledge my heart, soul, mind, body, and allegiance to the Darkling from Shadow and Bone! Best. Villain. Of. All. Time. Don’t @ me.

The creepiest book you’ve ever read?
– I probably have to say that Captive in the Dark by C.J. Roberts is the creepiest thing I’ve ever read, just because the story is ultimately about sex trafficking and I truly loved it. It’s sick and completely twisted, but it’s really well done and is something that I’ve never been able to forget.

A book you’ve yet to read but will read this October?
Without Merit by Colleen Hoover, which releases October 3rd! I know a new adult contemporary romance probably doesn’t sound like the best autumnal pick, but I won’t be able to resist this book upon release AND it does star a family living in an old abandoned church. I mean, that does sound pretty spooky!

Which fictional character would you put in charge of the decorations for a Halloween party?
– Without a doubt in my mind, Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter! I mean, for one, she has magic! And secondly, I have the utmost faith in her style and talent to present the Hogwarts themed Halloween party of my dreams!

🎃 And I tag:
Raven
Cal
Lourdes
Destiny
Drew
Elise
Solly
Poulami
Maria

I hope you all have an amazing season filled with loved ones, happiness, cozy aesthetics, and good books! Happy reading, lovelies!

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Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

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📖💗: You can win an exclusive Book Nerd T-Shirt by being one of the first 100 people to leave a review of Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel on Amazon! Enter to win Here!

📖💖: Three people can also win a Black Bird of the Gallows canvas tote bag (11“x14”) which includes a custom made crow pendant and ball chain, bookmark and stickers, $10 Amazon Gift Card (INT) Enter to win Here!

📖💕: And check out the rest of the reviews, interviews, and more from this blog tour Here!

“Stay away from the bees.”

Black Bird of the Gallows is a debut standalone paranormal YA romance that reads like a mixture of Candyman meets The Birds meets Twilight. (And I mean that mashup in the best way possible!)

“The energy flows over me, fills me, and none of it feels tainted, contaminated by the darkness of my mother’s mistakes.”

Angie Dovage lives in a small town in southwest Pennsylvania and is counting down the days of her senior year of high school, so she can finally graduate and escape the small town that won’t let her forget her childhood. She is living with her father, making music with her two best friends, and trying to ignore that past that still haunts her. That is, until a new boy moves in next door and makes her realize there may be more to her small sleepy town than anyone realizes.

Reece is not your regular human boy, but is also harboring a secret that will change Angie’s world forever. Together they are trying to uncover the fate of their small town, while also learning to trust one other and overcoming their own personal fears.

“If you had asked me a few weeks ago, I’d have said magic is impossible. Irrational. Just considering its existence in this world is insane. But I saw bees crawl out of a man’s mouth. I saw him change faces like pages of a book.”

This book has a dark and spooky vibe throughout its entirety. The writing is beautiful and for sure helps create this haunted aesthetic vibe, which I loved. This book feels and reads very much like a mystery thriller, even though it is for sure a paranormal romance. Also, I feel like the story itself was just super unique.

“I endured two centuries of horrors, and maybe it was all so I could be here with you. If my unnatural existence means nothing else, it means this. I get to be here, now, with you.”

I had a little problem with the romance in this book, and how fast and instant it seemed to be. The story later addresses this with more back content, but that addition just made me feel a little creeped out. I also felt like the ending was a little too easy and convenient for my liking, as well. But those were the only two issues I really had. Besides those, this was a really enjoyable read.

I do think it’s important to note that this book centers around death a lot. So, trigger warnings for talk of death, child abuse, and a minor plot point that surrounds a school shooting. Yes, this is a YA novel, but the nature of this book definitely deals with some dark subject matters, so please go into this book knowing that.

I completely recommend this, especially for a fun Halloween paranormal read! I really enjoyed Angie’s friendships with Deno and Lacey and then her parental relationship with her father. Also, I love that this is a standalone, because those are so unheard of nowadays, especially in the paranormal genre. This is a quick and easy read that would be super enjoyable for the fall season. And I will definitely read future books by Meg Kassel, because of this wonderful debut.

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

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