May 2018 Wrap Up

Hello, lovelies! Here we are at the end of another month that went by way too quickly! The month of May was a super good reading month for me. I was able to read 16 books, and I ended up five starring 9 of them! (In April I read 20 things and only five starred only three of those; with one being a classic and one being a graphic novel. I’m not salty.) What blessed reading month, seriously! But before I get into everything I read…

A lot happened in the month of May:
➽ It was Asian/Pacific Heritage Month! So, I read some amazing stories to help celebrate, honor, and fill my soul with so much happiness!
➽ I read my favorite book of the year, most likely! (Praise/Bless my fae queen Holly Black!)
➽ This was the last month of the BooktubeSFF Awards, so I got to compile my picks!
➽ Also, as of May 20th, I have received as many blog hits so far in 2018 as I did the entirety of 2017. (Never give up, friends! I promise, growth will happen! Just really unexpectedly sometimes.)
➽ I got nominated for an amazing award, because of all my amazing book friends! And I think that tomorrow, on Joce’s blog, we find out who wins! (And thank you all so much for voting, regardless of the outcome! Forever thankful for this community and you all allowing me to be a part of it!)
➽ I gained an additional 3,000+ followers on Goodreads for some reason this month, and I’ve probably never felt so blessed in my entire life. And it made me the #6th most followed USA user on the website! As of today, I’m sitting between Stephen King and Rick Riordan! (What a weird, but amazing, sandwich!)
➽ And after all these years, I finally hit that number one spot for USA reviewers on Goodreads:
Friends, THANK YOU! I love the book community more than any word combination that I could possibly come up with! I still can’t believe one person reads my reviews, let alone so many! From every bone in my body, from every fiber of my being, thank you! 💛✨

But on to what I read in May…
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 and content warnings.

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas – ★★★★

“The first snow of winter had begun whipping through Velaris…”

A Court of Frost and Starlight starts out a few months after the events of A Court of Wings and Ruin, and Feyre, Rhysand, and the Inner Circle are preparing for the Winter Solstice. The entire gang is also suffering in their own ways with the trauma they are enduring from the events of the war. Overall, I’m not saying this was a perfect book, but I had a lot of fun with it. And I truly am excited for what is going to come next.

Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody – ★★★

“The City of Sin was a game, but not everyone was a player.”

This story starts out with a girl and her guidebook and a city filled with sin and mystery. We get to follow her during the span of ten days, while also seeing if this new town will ultimately make or break her. And Enne Salta was forced to come to New Reynes, because her adoptive mother went missing, but not before she was able to send a letter to Enne letting her know where to go and who to trust. Overall, I really did think this was a fun and different story, it just took a bit of time for me to get into it.

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – ★★★★★

“Kill him before he makes you love him.”

This is a true masterpiece in every sense of the word. This book killed me and then breathed new life into me. This book was the best thing I’ve read this entire year. I’ve already written my review, where I completely pour my heart out. And even though it’s spoiler free, I still feel gross posting it so early because this book doesn’t come out until 2019. So, I scheduled it on my blog for August 27th, my birthday, and I will also post it on here then too. Because I honestly can’t think of a better way of celebrating than sharing my love for this once in a lifetime series. But I promise you this: you don’t want to miss out on this book. Preorder it now. It’s going to be the best book of 2019.

Fresh Ink: An Anthology edited by Lamar Giles – ★★★★★

“It became pretty freaking clear that, book after book, adventure after adventure, the heroes weren’t like me at all.”

This book has so much! Black stories, Asian stories, Native stories, Persian stories, Latinx stories, Muslim stories, Bi stories, Trans stories! Contemporary stories, play acts, fantasy stories, historical stories, sweet stories, heavy stories, superhero stories! And every single one is ownvoices. What a damn blessing in 2018. I loved this anthology.

Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill – ★★★★

“There is, at its center, something immutably miraculous about the substance and process of reading stories. We read because we hunger to know, to empathize, to feel, to connect, to laugh, to fear, to wonder, and to become, with each page, more than ourselves. To become creatures with souls.”

This is a beautiful collection of eight short stories and one novella by Kelly Barnhill. And you will very quickly learn that their writing is lush, lyrical, and absolutely haunting. But sometimes the speculative fiction felt a little too speculative for my personal tastes. But if you like lyrical prose and speculative writing? You will love this collection.

Filthy Gods (American Gods 0.5) by R. Scarlett – ★★★★★

“The only thing I was afraid of was my own mortality in front of him. Gods fell in love with mortals and demolished them piece-by-piece.”

Filthy Gods has the atmosphere and feeling of The Secret History, but the romance and the sexiness of nothing else I’ve read before. Best new adult romance I’ve read all year. And my heart breaks that it’s only a novella, because I need so much more.

Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud – ★★★★★

“On a small moon orbiting a large planet, in a small farmhouse in a small village, there was a box, and in this box was a feather.”

Mirage is a magical, wonderful, important, gift to the YA SFF world. This story is an ownvoices Moroccan inspired story, and from characters I fell in love with, to the messages about the importance of your culture and your family, to the most lyrical and beautiful writing. I loved this story with my whole heart, and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to fall in love with it.

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman – ★★★★★

“We fell in love with all those myths about powerful gods being vulnerable, about humans becoming heroes. Such stories taught us about mythology, about the beauty of folktales and legends, and about how stories of gods and goddesses are also stories about the human heart. But we never found similar compilations that were distinctly Asian.”

Friends, please preorder this and fall in love, too! If you’d like to get me a birthday gift this year, please just preorder this, read, and review this collection. Honestly, it’s the only thing I want in 2018. I’ll beg, I’ll plead, I’ll scream from the rooftops: please preorder this anthology and show the world that Asian stories can not only sell, but can also change lives. I will cherish this book forever and ever. My favorite anthology of all time.

Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2) by Scott Reintgen – ★★★★★

“As the descent begins, I hold on to one truth: I am more than what they would make of me.”

This is such an amazing YA Sci-Fi series that is so beautifully inclusive with some very important themes and discussions. The writing is amazing, I pulled around thirty quotes for this review alone. The characters have completely stolen my heart and soul, and they are a tier above most in all of literature. This series is amazing, and this second installment was everything that I wanted and more.

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan – ★★★★★

“If he looked in my eyes straight on, he would know how he’d pierced me with an arrow, how its shaft was still sticking out of my chest, twitching each time my heart contracted. And maybe he’d see how my mother had sliced up everything else.”

This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read in my entire life. It’s powerful, moving, poignant, lyrical, important, and touched me beyond words. From the discussion about mental health and the stigmas we still have in 2018 (especially in Asian cultures), to the true portrayal of grief, to the heartbreaking truth about depression, to the realistic depiction of what it means to be not only biracial but to be white passing, to the discovery of your identity. The Astonishing Color of After is a book I will cherish for the rest of my life.

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab – ★★★

“Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

I have read one book in this series every year for the BooktubeSFF Awards. And every year I enjoy what I’m reading, I close the book pretty pleased, and then I sit down to write my review and start thinking about how these are such big books with so little happening. And I know they are character driven. One of my favorite books of all time is the most character driven thing out there, but for some reason I just don’t love this series like everyone else does.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend – ★★★★★

“The point is—as far as the Society is concerned—if you are not honest, and determined, and brave, then it doesn’t matter how talented you are.”

I read this so slowly, and I kept having to put it off for other books, but I ended up loving this more than I have words for! And the messages that filled this book? So important. Once I actually sat down with this book, it was such a treat to read. I love this with my whole heart.

Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber – ★★★★

“For it was also said the Prince of Hearts was not capable of love, because his heart had stopped beating long ago. Only one person could make it beat again: his one true love. They said his kiss had been fatal to all but her—his only weakness—and as he’d sought her, he’d left a trail of corpses.”

I know that Caraval was a super polarizing read last year when it released, but I fell on the side of totally loving. From the game, to the mystery, to the lyrical writing, to the compelling characters, I couldn’t get enough. I devoured it in two sittings and never wanted to stop the reading experience. And guess what? Legendary was no different.

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover – ★★★

“The problem is, love and happiness are not concordant. One can exist without the other.”

Okay, so I have written my review for this, but I’m going to wait until publication to post it, just because my review talks a bit about the subject of this book which isn’t even hinted at in the synopsis. I’m going to put trigger and content warning on my Goodreads review, and you all can see my final thoughts come July 17th! But All Your Perfects is a book that made me feel every emotion in the world. I wanted to hug my iPad, and throw my iPad. I wanted to give it five stars, and I wanted to give it one star. I swear, this book made me feel everything. And even though I had problems with some of the content, I still think this book is super important. And the subject matter of this book is something I’ve never read about before, and it’s a topic that we need to be normalizing and start discussing more.

Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas #2) by Zoraida Córdova – ★★★★

“This is a love story. At least, it was, before my sister sent me to hell.”

I loved being back in Zoraida’s story, even though this book very unexpectedly followed a different character than Labyrinth Lost! I loved this, I love all these characters, and I loved this book. And my review will be up before the June 5th release date, I promise!

Even Money (All In Duet #1) by Alessandra Torre – ★★

“I’d always been a gambler, with my money, my time, my safety … but never my heart.”

I really wanted to love this. I mean, Vegas AND Alessandra Torre? It was supposed to be my new favorite combination. But sadly, this one just really let me down. It was a bad way to end the month! But my review for this will be up with the June release of this one!

Okay, my loves! I think that’s everything! Sadly, I do think I’m going to have to carry over my current reads, Spinning Silver and The Bird and the Blade, into June, but that’s okay because I’m loving them more than words! Also, I hope you guys enjoy my June TBR tomorrow. And if you’ve made it this far through this massive wrap up you’ve earned this little secret: I’m reading mostly all queer books this June and I am so damn excited! I hope you all had a wonderful May, and I’m wishing you all the love, happiness, health, and good books this June and for always! Happy reading!

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Also, I just wanted to add a little shout out to my immensely talented friend, H. D. Harris, who blows me away daily with all their amazing art on every medium they bless. This month, he was inspired to created Cilena, Goddess of Books and Reading, and he might have taken a bit of inspiration from a certain book blogger you all know! (Spoiler alert: It’s me!) But seriously, his art is a gift to the world and his friendship is one of the greatest blessings in my life! Check him and his patron out, friends! 💛✨

May 2018 Book Haul

Hey, loves! I feel like I didn’t buy too many books this month! Only six physical, and four ebooks that were all on sale! Pretty good, pretty good. But, I feel like I was really blessed in the month of May from publishers! So many good books, both physical and ebooks! And I’m forever thankful and grateful! 💕📖


Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan
LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike #1) by Jay Kristoff – Review: ★★★★★
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang – Review: ★★★★
Furyborn (Empirium #1) by Claire Legrand – Review: ★★★★
Charmcaster (Spellslinger #3) by Sebastien de Castell
A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas – Review: ★★★★


Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz
Fair Coin (Coin #1) by E.C. Myers


The Mermaid by Christina Henry
Rebellion (Rebellion #1) by Josephine Boyce
Resistance (Rebellion #2) by Josephine Boyce
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
The Queen of Crows (The Sacred Throne #2) by Myke Cole
A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan
Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber – Review: ★★★★
The Legion of Flame (The Draconis Memoria #2) by Anthony Ryan
Season of Storms (The Witcher #0) by Andrzej Sapkowski
Foundryside (Founders #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Grey Bastards (The Lot Lands #1) by Jonathan French


Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – (40% in and completely in love)
Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
Body Positive Power: Because Life Is Already Happening and You Don’t Need Flat Abs to Live It by Megan Jayne Crabbe


A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman – Review: ★★★★★
Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton
Shadow of The Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa


Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young – Review: ★★★★
Catching Stars by Cayla Keenan
(Both from the May 2018 OwlCrate box!)

Okay, I think (and hope) that’s everything! I have a few May preorders that still haven’t came in yet, but those will have to wait until my June haul now! I hope you all are having an amazing end to your May, and I hope this month brought you all the good books and all the good book sales! What did you all buy this month? What was your favorite book purchase? 💖📚

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Top Ten Tuesday | My Favorite Songs from High School

I don’t really talk about this too often, but music is a huge part of who I am as a person. And when I fall in love with a song, I fall in love with it with my whole entire heart, soul, and being. I didn’t really love the Top Ten Tuesday topic this week, and you all seem to like when I’m sappy and show you pieces of myself that aren’t book related, so here we are. And I hope you enjoy!

One night last week, I was listening to music while writing reviews and all my high school favorites kept coming up, and I was getting all emotional because of how much they still impacted me even ten years later. These are ten songs that mean more to me than I have words to express. These ten songs have all quite literally saved me during high school, and I’m so forever thankful for each and every one of them.

Coheed and Cambria – Wake Up

“If morning never comes for either one of us,
Then this I pray to you wherever”

This is the song I consider my favorite to this day. Perfect in every single way. Claudio Sanchez is the biggest gift to this world and the most talented human being in existence. I truly mean that. I truly believe that. No other band has impacted me more than COCA, and I don’t think anyone ever will. Not to come in so heavy on the first song, but I honestly don’t know if I’d be here today if it wasn’t for Coheed and Cambia. Also, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness is the best album in this entire world. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

Kinetic Stereokids – Cold And Tired

“Cover me with a blanket and keep it confidential”

Many of you know that I was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, which has a huge music scene. KSK is my favorite Flint band (Besides Katie Stanley! I love you, babe!), which everyone else was obsessed with The Chiodo Brothers. But whenever KSK played at The Flint Local I would be in a trance the entire set. So many memories, so much love.

Fall Out Boy – Dance, Dance

“I’m two quarters and a heart down
And I don’t want to forget how your voice sounds
These words are all I have so I write them
I need them just to get by”

I’ll be completely honest, what started this entire blog post started getting written when Fall Out Boy started playing. “Alone Together” (my favorite) came on, and then I went down the damn rabbit hole. But holy shit does From Under the Cork Tree have some bangers on it, too, because “Dance, Dance” is still so good!

Jack’s Mannequin – I’m Ready

“I come undone, oh yes, I do
Just think of all the thoughts wasted on you
And every word you say, say something sweet
Cause all I taste is blood between my teeth
As I’m finding the words you’re getting away”

Okay, so this album, Everything in Transit, came out when I got my license and I just remember feeling so free, driving alone or with my best friends, blaring this fucking album 24/7. The whole album is a masterpiece, but this is my favorite track. Also, I didn’t add a Something Corporate song, even though I’ll forever be in love with Hurricane and Konstantine, but Andrew McMahon is my fucking hero and I love him so much.

The Used – A Box Of Sharp Objects

“Do you want a song of glory
Well I’m fucking screaming at you”

I used to listen to this song every morning while getting ready for school and I thought I was so damn cool. This might be the cringiest song on the list, but I knew when I started typing this out that I couldn’t not include at least one The Used song, and this was honestly my favorite of them, off any album they ended up dropping.

Oh My God – February 14th

“You improve me even from a distance. You can move me when I’m heavier than hell. You saw right through me when I wasn’t seeing well.”

Oh My God is another band that played at The Flint Local all the time. They were a Chicago band that would drive up a lot, and every time The Local would sell out. But I was so obsessed with them in high school and I actually had my first kiss while they played this song live after my boyfriend at the time’s band opened for them. So, all the feels.

City and Colour – As Much As I Ever Could

“Give me one last kiss
For soon, such distance
Will stretch between our lips”

I was a huge Dallas Green fan from Alexisonfire (also, shit, I should have put “Boiled Frogs” on this list, honestly. Me and my brother still listen to it whenever we drive together and I let him be in charge of music.), but when he went acoustic and made City and Colour I truly fell in love. So many good songs, I can’t even list them all. I could still spend all day listening to this man play any and everything.

Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into The Dark

“If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied
And illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs
If there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark”

Okay, this will be the last one that reminds me of being sixteen and driving all by myself, late night, contemplating life, I swear. Plans is still such a banger to this day. Transatlanticism was phenomenal too, but Plans honestly got me through some things back in the day. Forever grateful for this album. Also, “Summer Skin” was me and my girlfriend at the time’s song, but I was too dumb to realize that foreshadowing.

Atreyu – Right Side Of The Bed

“I just want to forget and let go
Of all the joy, all of the pain
I took your guilt and placed it into me”

The was the first person I ever loved’s favorite song during high school. And when we turned 18 the summer after we graduated, he actually got Atreyu lyrics tattooed on him while I got my first tattoo alongside. So, this song just gives me such a sensory response become of him, and being in his truck, and being in love. God, my heart actually kind of hurts to listen to this song. Why did I think this would be a cool blog post?

Saves the Day – Nightingale

“I’ll have to walk a thousand miles just to find the ground deserving of your feet.”

This and Hold” were my favorite songs for years and years. They both will always have parts of my heart that no other songs can have. But I have no words for the healing power this band has done for me. All Saves the Day’s songs are perfections, honestly. Forever and always a favorite band of mine. And Stay What You Are is like the most underrated album of all time. Its perfect from start to end.

TL; DR – I’m so emo. And I love beautiful word combinations and quotes in every walk of life, not just books! But I love you all and hope you enjoyed this, even though I think this will hit home for my friends in their mid to late twenties a little more than my younger friends. But I had walking down memory lane with all my nostalgia. But I’m ending this post because I feel really exposed showing you all my little piece of my heart and soul! So, happy reading, errr… listening, lovelies! 🎶💗

Bonus: 2005 picture of me!

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Legendary (Caraval, #2) by Stephanie Garber

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ARC provided by Flatiron in exchange for an honest review.

1.) Caraval ★★★★

“But the best villains are the ones you secretly like, and my nana always said Legend was the villain in Caraval.”

I know that Caraval was a super polarizing read last year when it released, but I fell on the side of totally loving. From the game, to the mystery, to the lyrical writing, to the compelling characters, I couldn’t get enough. I devoured it in two sittings and never wanted to stop the reading experience. And guess what? Legendary was no different.

In Caraval we follow Scarlett and watch her run away from her home, and her abusive father, so that she can try to rescue her sister, Donatella, by winning the magical game of Caraval. Well, immediately after the outcome from Caraval, Legendary picks right up. Except this time, we follow Donatella, and she has stumbled on her own very own mystery and her very own game. And forget everything you think you learned in Caraval, because this trilogy takes a completely new approach, with completely new twists and turns, in Legendary.

“Legend has chosen you to play a game that may change your destiny.
In honor of Empress Elantine’s 75th birthday,
Caraval will visit the streets of Valenda for six magical nights.”

The invitations are distributed and a brand-new game of Caraval is going to begin, in a brand-new empire that is ruled by a very powerful empress. And this time Tella has decided to play so that she too has a chance to locate someone who has disappeared from her and Scarlett’s lives, their mother. Paloma was truly a woman of mystery, but we are able to see a few flashbacks that Tella has of her mother, along with a few of the keepsakes that Tella has kept all these years.

“For it was also said the Prince of Hearts was not capable of love, because his heart had stopped beating long ago. Only one person could make it beat again: his one true love. They said his kiss had been fatal to all but her—his only weakness—and as he’d sought her, he’d left a trail of corpses.”

We also get to see that a magical card prophesied that Tella would be a victim of unrequited love for her entire life. So, a ring that appears to be more than just a ring, and a card (think Tarot cards) that Tella took against her mother’s will, is all she has as clues. That is, until she meets someone who knows much more about that particular card, and the entire Deck of Destiny. And Tella ends up trying to win Caraval for this new stranger, for her mother, for her heart, for her life, and for Legend himself. Because the only way Tella will ever see her mother again is to win this game.

This book also had a bit more romance than Caraval, but I was completely living for it. And I’m still living for it, honestly. And like, we are maybe about to get a love triangle and I’m still totally here for it. And some of these scenes were legit 11/10, and I completely recommend. Also, I’m still swooning over Dante. But I also can’t stop thinking about Jacks and love that good angst. Be still, my heart.

“I’ve never wanted to be someone else until that moment I saw him kiss you on the dance floor.”

Okay, now I don’t want to gush too hard on you all, but you want to know what this book reminded me of? The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King by Holly Black. And chapter thirteen was such a work of art. Probably the best chapter I’ve read in any book in all of 2018.

So, why did I end up giving this four stars and not five with glowing sentences like the paragraph above this one? With so many twists and turns throughout this book, all of which blindsided me and made me fall more and more in love, the ending ended up being so predictable. Like, to the point that I thought it couldn’t be real, and that the epilogue was going to pull the wool from my eyes. But no, the disappointment just stayed. Which is so sad, because this book was so good, and such a treat to read in every single way, but the ending just made this amazing book really end on a bad note.

“Tella would destroy the world before she allowed anything to happen to her sister.”

Also, there wasn’t as much of a positive sibling emphasis in this book. Like, Tella was 100% committed to Scarlett, and we know from Caraval that Scarlett was 100% committed to Tella, but Legendary didn’t do anything to help enforce that percentage. Scarlett was honestly kind of a hot mess in this book, from start to (especially) end. I pray that Finale is either entirely in Tella’s point of view or it switches between Scarlett and Tella’s point of view. I don’t think I can deal with another solo Scarlett book after her actions in Legendary.

But overall, I really did love reading this. Again, I know not everyone does, but I just love Stephanie Garber’s writing and purple prose so much. I completely connect with it, and it completely immerses. I always feel like I’m there for all six nights of Caraval, in the castles, carriages, balls, and cathedrals. Also, these books and their settings are such aesthetic goals, I swear! Plus, this entire series is such a love letter to morally grey characters! I can’t wait to see how this all wraps up in the last book, Finale.

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

Buddy read with Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills! ❤

✨ Receive a custom set of playing cards with four unique suits AND a signed bookplate when you upload your proof of preorder purchase HERE! (US only, I’m sorry)

The 2018 BooktubeSFF Awards

Hey, friends! As many of you may know, I participate in the BookTubeSFF Awards every year and I love it so very much! I always try to pick up some of the books that I haven’t read that have been nominated, and then pick the winner of each category for me, personally. And even though I really slacked this year, I figured I’d still share my favorites with you today!

The voting for the actual winners opens up on June 1st and closes on June 7th! The live show, where all the judges will discuss the nominees and announce the winners, will be held late June!

But here are all of the different categories, with my reviews and star ratings linked if I read, and who I think should be crowned the winner of each category!

Best Fantasy Novel:
💛 The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin ★★★★★
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden  ★★★★★
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence  ★★★★★
A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab ★★★

This category truly guts me, but I have to go with The Stone Sky always and forever. The trilogy is a masterpiece in general, and that final book is one of the most perfect concluding novels I’ve ever had the honor of reading!

Best Debut Novel:
💛 The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden ★★★★★
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames ★★★★★
The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty ★★★★★

Yeah, I five starred ALL three of these. Oh, cruel world! But The Bear and the Nightingale is the best debut novel I’ve ever read in my entire life.

Best YA:
💛 Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor ★★★★★
Windwitch by Susan Dennard DNF @ 50%
Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab N/A

I don’t even feel bad about this one, because Strange the Dreamer was my favorite book of 2017. Obviously, it deserves to win everything.

Best Middle Grade:
Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi / #1 ★★★
Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan N/A
💛 Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend ★★★★★
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken ★★★★★

I’m a little torn on this one, just because I did really enjoy Nevermoor, but it took me forever to read! Plus, I also really loved Prosper Redding, but I just think I’ll carry Nevermoor with me longer.

Best Graphic Work:
💛 Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda ★★★★★
Everyone’s a aliebn when your a aliebn too by Jomny Sun N/A
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris N/A
Paper Girls, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan / Vol. 1 ★★

This is another I should feel bad about, especially because I’ve heard such good things about My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, but Monstress is my favorite graphic work of all time. I couldn’t not pick it.

Best Short Work:
💛 Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire ★★★★★
All Systems Red by Martha Wells N/A
Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor / #1 ★★★★

Few things in my bookish life mean more to me than Seanan McGuire’s novellas. And Down Among the Sticks and Bones is my favorite in this series, to date.

Best Science Fiction Novel:
Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee N/A
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer N/A
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi N/A
Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel N/A

I know, I’m terrible, but I’d pick Yoon Ha Lee because I’m such a fangirl of their work, but I can’t believe I haven’t picked up Raven Stratagem yet!

Okay, there you have it! Those are my picks! Do you guys feel the same? Did you participate in the BooktubeSFF Awards too? Let me know! And I’m wishing you all the happiest of reading always! And if you’re interested in seeing my picks for the 2017 BooktubeSFF Awards – Click here!

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Also, don’t forget to check out the amazing hosts of this event:
🌑 Samantha from Sam’s Nonsense
🌒 Frankie from Frankie Reads
🌓 Kaitlin from Kitty G
🌔 Rachel from Kalanadi
🌕 Thomas from SFF180
🌖 Connor from Connor O’Brien
🌗 Sam from Thoughts on Tomes
🌘 Chelsea from TheReadingOutlaw
🌑 Elena from Elena Reads Books

Book Blogger Confession Tag

This is a super cute tag that I thought was really unique and different! So, I couldn’t resist giving it a try! And I was tagged by the amazing Jasmine @ Jasmine’s Reading Blog! 💗

1. Which book, most recently, did you not finish?

I’m so going to jinx this, but I’ve only DNFed one book in 2018 so far, and that was Moonlight Sins (de Vincent #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout back in January! I got through 8% before I had to tap out.

2. Which book is your guilty pleasure?

You all know I hate this expression, probably because I read so much New Adult that always gets classified as “guilty pleasure” reads, but I guess if I had to pick one I’d go with Corrupt (Devil’s Night #1) by Penelope Douglas, just because it is very much on the problematic side. Also, because a few of my friends recently read this and didn’t love it as much as I did when I picked it up.

3. Which book do you love to hate?

Truly? None. I hate to hate books, and I hate to ever make anyone feel bad ever, but especially for their reading choices, and extra especially if they recognized the problematic content inside the book. But my most controversial dislike of a book that everyone else loves is easily The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

4. Which book would you like to throw into the sea?

You all, to each their own. If Night Film by Marisha Pessl is your favorite book, then I’m truly happy for you. Trust me, I know it’s beloved by many people, including some I consider my best friends. But I’m just sick of constantly seeing it, and people never bringing up the problematic things within this book’s pages!

5. Which book have you read the most?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling, every time. From childhood, to my teenage years, to adulthood, this is the book I pick up every time I’m feeling down, slumpy, or just craving it. Always and forever.

6. Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

Is this really a question? I mean, I guess something offensive would be pretty bad, but I don’t even want to prompt anything like that by even showing an image of it on my blog. But I guess I’ll go with anything by Karina Halle because she’s the only author that I refuse to read or buy anything from that hasn’t done anything “bad” within the book community.

7. Which book could you not live without?

Okay, now I feel like I’m just picking apart these questions, but I truly could live without any one specific book, without question. But my world would be a lot sadder if I was never able to read The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss. Especially since I feel like it has inspired so much of the fantasy I love that has been created in the last decade.

8. Which book made you the angriest?

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) by Amanda Bouchet, without a doubt, but only because the comments on my Goodreads review for it have been so hurtful and malicious. Like, to the extent of people writing reviews just about my review. This book and everything surrounding it has easily been my worst experience in the book community. I wish I never picked it up.

9. Which book made you cry the most?

This one probably has to go to The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson, because I was such a damn mess through 75% of the book, and then I was just weeping at the ending, too. So good, so perfect, so beautiful. Still the best ending of any trilogy ever.

10. Which book cover do you hate the most?

Okay, I can’t really think of an answer, especially for “the most hated” but I truly dislike the US cover for The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. And this is an extra salty answer, because the color is close to my favorite color of all time. But like, I just think the boring illustrated people really do the content of this book a disservice.

I tag:
Lilly @ Lair Of Books
Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages
Justine @ Milkz’ Bookshelf
Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky
Becca @ The Book Eater

Okay, loves! I hope you enjoyed! I also hope you’re having an amazing Friday and start of the weekend! And as always, I’m wishing you all the love, happiness, and good books! 💗

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A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3) by V.E. Schwab

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1.) A Darker Shade of Magic ★★★
2.) A Gathering of Shadows ★★★

“Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

I have read one book in this series every year for the BooktubeSFF Awards. And every year I enjoy what I’m reading, I close the book pretty pleased, and then I sit down to write my review and start thinking about how these are such big books with so little happening. And I know they are character driven. One of my favorite books of all time is the most character driven thing out there, but for some reason I just don’t love this series like everyone else does.

A Conjuring of Light is the third and final novel in this trilogy that surround four different parallel Londons:
Grey London – is like our real world’s London, with no magic. Delilah Bard is from this London.
Red London – is the home of the main protagonist, Kell, where he and his royal family rule. There is an abundance of magic in this London, most coming from a red river which lights up the whole city.
White London – is a city in war with itself. It was ruled by evil twins, but now has a new king. Everyone in this London tries to fight for magic and power within this corrupt city.
Black London – and is still basically a mystery. It is essentially a lost city, since regular people cannot travel between worlds.

And after the brutal cliffhanger ending that was A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light picks right back up after the events! And without saying anything too spoilery, since this is the concluding novel and all, our main character, Kell Maresh, and his home, Red London, are in serious danger. But with the help of a ruthless thief/assassin, Lila Bard, a swoon-worthy pirate, Alucard Emery, the best prince to have ever lived, Rhy Maresh, and a very morally grey Antari, Holland Vosijk, they are trying to save everything they’ve ever known and loved.

“Life isn’t made of choices, it’s made of trades. Some are good, some are bad, but they all have a cost.”

And even the idea of four different color coded Londons, with a handful of magical people who can travel between them, is so damn genius that I don’t even have words for it. Also, V.E. Schwab is such a talented writer. The way she echoes phrases from different books, or even sentences from previous chapters, is so powerful and is able to evoke all the emotions from me. She truly can weave and craft paragraphs together so expertly and I’m constantly impressed with her writing.

I just feel like not a lot happens in her books. Like, a few big, key, important things happen without question, and storylines get completed, but I just feel like it is such a longwinded journey to get there. And these books are so easily consumable that you don’t really realize until after you’ve closed the book. I mean, at least for me and my personal reading experiences. Seriously, go back and look at my other two reviews; I say the same thing. Also, the big bad villain just fell so very short for me. The magic started off so dang well, but the villain really ended up feeling lackluster to me.

But my biggest complaint about the other two installments in this series is that they don’t read or feel adult to me. But you know what A Conjuring of Light reads and feels like? Adult, without question. Also, just a little caveat, if an author says their work is in a certain age bracket/genre, then it is. I am just saying A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows don’t feel or read like adult fantasy to me, but I’m not saying they aren’t. But ACOL did give me those brutal moments that made me go “okay, this isn’t YA” quite a lot.

Also, trigger and content warnings for abuse, torture, abduction, slavery, captivity, talk of suicide, violence, gore, heavy blood depiction, abandonment, and depiction of grief and PTSD. Oh and I guess sexual content, too, but nothing too graphic. (Also, hello, perverted Melanie here to report that that sex scene was 11/10 and was so smooth and sexy and I actually loved it!)

“I have never known what to make of you. Not since the day we met. And it terrifies me. You terrify me. And the idea of you walking away again, vanishing from my life, that terrifies me most of all.”

But my biggest love for this series is Rhy Maresh, who has completely and without question stole my heart. He is easily my favorite character in this series. My beautiful, pure, cinnamon roll, unbreakable boy. I stan one man from this series, and it’s him. And he deserves everything good in the universe.

Breathtaking art meliescribbles

“We don’t choose what we are, but we choose what we do.”

Overall, take this review with a large grain of salt. I am for sure in the minority with not loving these books as much as everyone else. And even though this isn’t my favorite series, I think Victoria is incredibly talented and I can’t wait to see what she does next. And I truly think that these books get better and better, with A Conjuring of Light being my favorite in the series, and the last couple chapters of this book had me smiling from ear to ear in pure happiness. And I ultimately do feel really fulfilled and happy with the ending. Plus, I’m very interested (especially after gushing with my friend Julie) with reading the graphic novel series set around a character from this world. Also, I have the highest of hopes for the spinoff that Victoria is working on. I just hope I fall completely head over heels in love, instead of only just enjoying.

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Buddy read with Julie! ❤

Readalong for the BooktubeSFF Awards which is being hosted by:
🌑 Samantha from Sam’s Nonsense
🌒 Frankie from Frankie Reads
🌓 Kaitlin from Kitty G
🌔 Rachel from Kalanadi
🌕 Thomas from SFF180
🌖 Connor from Connor O’Brien
🌗 Sam from Thoughts on Tomes
🌘 Chelsea from TheReadingOutlaw
🌑 Elena from Elena Reads Books