January 2019 Wrap Up

WrapUp1

Hey, loves! This has truly been one of the wildest months of my entire life. From starting Booktube, to starting a book club, to hitting 40k on Goodreads, to being asked to host Contemporary-a-thon, this month has truly been a dream come true for me. I’m so thankful for each and every single one of you and I can’t believe how blessed I am to call you all my friends. Thank you, with everything I am, thank you.

Also, League of Legends Spring Split started up, so you know my reading was taking a hit on the weekends, but it’s always worth. But I was able to read 15 things on top of this blessed and busy start of 2019. And I was able to reread probably my favorite of 2019, let’s be real! But I also read some other amazing things, too!

What I read in January…
(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.)


The Wicker King (The Wicker King #1) by K. Ancrum – ★★★★★

“Would you do something bad if you knew it would have more good in it, in the end, than bad?”

Okay, I just want to start this review off that this book will forever be sentimental to me, not only because it was the first book I read this year and that I absolutely loved it, but also because it was the very first pick for the Dragons & Tea Book Club and the author came into the group and answered so many questions that made this one of the best reading experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life. This book will just always have a special place in my heart now.


The Legend of the Golden Raven by K. Ancrum – ★★★★

“There is a difference between being nice and being kind.”

Oh my gosh, I am living my best life thanks to this short story! This month, I also read The Wicker King and fell so in love with Jack and August and how they both were able to give the other one what they needed in a world that wasn’t willing to fill their voids. And The Legend of the Golden Raven is a brief retelling of The Wicker King but from Jack’s perspective, where we really get to dive into the fantastical world he was able to see. And friends? I loved this. My only complaint is that I wanted more because I will always want more from these characters. Also, seeing Rina in this? Truly added five years to my life. I love this story, I love these characters, and K. Ancrum is truly a blessing.


My Fake Canadian Wife by M. Hollis – ★★★★

“Why was it so hard to find good mainstream media where you could see two girls falling in love with a happy ending? Even harder if I wanted to find stories with black girls. Brazilian black girls falling in love? Mostly, I’d only found them in indie and self-published books. Maybe it would be easier to enjoy more media if everything I tried to watch didn’t look as white as the walls of my apartment.”

Did I start 2019 off with the cutest sapphic relationship set up, that also featured a pan love interest? Wow, the blessings for this new year already! Friends, I loved this. And if you’re looking for something diverse, something hella cute, something super romantic, and something that’s a really quick read, then look no further.


99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne – ★★★

“Maybe he’s 1 percent mine. That has to be enough.”

Sally Thorne’s long awaited and most anticipated sophomore release, 99 Percent Mine was truly a wild ride for me. I’ll be honest, it took me a while to warm up to this story and especially to this main character, but I ended up enjoying this one for the most part. But, sadly, it is no The Hating Game, or at least it wasn’t for me.


Again, but Better: A Novel by Christine Riccio – ★★★

“If you could go back and do London all over again, knowing everything you know now, would you do it?”

Friends, I wanted to love this so badly. So damn badly. Christine is not only the actual Queen of BookTube, she was one of the first channels I ever watched. She just seems so kind, and genuine, and I always feel like she radiates positive energy, and she was such a massive part of why I wanted to read Shadowhunters in the first place. But this review isn’t going to be about that, nor is it going to be a drag or me spilling the tea; this review is just going to be about why this debut was only okay for me. Even though I very much hope it works for you come May 2019! Also, please keep in mind that I have a very early ARC copy of this book. Many things could be changed upon publication!


A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Arthur Conan Doyle – ★★

“There is a mystery about this which stimulates the imagination; where there is no imagination there is no horror”

Everyone’s favorite original detective is Sherlock Holmes, and I’ve been wanting to see how it all began for a long while now! But I can honestly say that I was not prepared for the last half of this tiny book. Yet, I am still happy that I can finally say I’ve read the source material.


The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees – ★★★

“Let’s start with the Witch in the Woods.”

This is a story that is telling two very different tales with alternating chapters. One is a girl in our world, living in a beach house with her family, and she has suffered from nightmare like dreams her entire life. The second is a witch in the magical woods, who grants children wishes with her heart, and she is being told a story by a very different kind of fox. These tales simultaneously go on and weave together that is actually really beautiful.


A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro – ★★★★

“I felt like I was being pulled through a dark, dank wardrobe into some boozy Narnia.”

This was the most unexpected treat! I thought that I might enjoy this one, but I never expected to fall completely head over heels for it, especially after reading A Study in Scarlet the night before starting this! This is a reimagining of Sherlock and Watson, but told in the perspective of their descendants, Charlotte and Jamie, in modern day! And, oh my gosh, this was just fantastic!


The Hod King (The Books of Babel #3) by Josiah Bancroft – ★★★★★

“The world is full of wolves and lambs, but precious few shepherds.”

I can’t believe that Josiah Bancroft did it again, but he truly did it again. This is such a wonderful installment in a world that I never want to leave. This entire series is such a unique treat that is truly unlike any other fantasy out there. Every paragraph is so smart, every chapter so perfectly crafted, and each book makes me more and more invested. I am at such a loss for words because of this book’s pure magnificence.


Song of the Dead (Reign of the Fallen #2) by Sarah Glenn Marsh – ★★★★

“I’m Odessa of Grenwyr, and the dead answer to me.”

This review is going to be up VERY SOON! But I loved this world, these characters, and this author so much. The ownvoices bisexual representation means so much to me, and I will never get sick of reading about necromancers. I think this duology is a damn gift to the YA genre and I am so blessed that I was able to read it. Also, give me all the dragon companions, please!


The Foxhole Court (All for the Game #1) by Nora Sakavic – ★★★★

“It’s about second chances, Neil. Second, third, fourth, whatever, as long as you get at least one more than what anyone else wanted to give you.”

Holy shit, I didn’t think I’d actually like this. What even is my life? Friends, I couldn’t put this down. I read it in 24 hours and no regrets were had. This was way darker than I expected, but I became so damn invested in this main character and I honestly fell in love with him and his story from day one. I know this is a bit of a polarizing read, but if you enjoyed Fence and The Wicker King then I think this story is for sure worth a try for you! Especially since it’s free on Amazon US!


Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows #1) by Kim Harrison – ★★

“Making a spell is easy. It’s trusting you did it right that’s hard.”

Dead Witch Walking is just a product of its time and it just reads like an early 2000s PNR/UF story. I guarantee if I read this back when I was in love with the Fever series, the Kate Daniels series, and the Riley Jenson Guardian series, then I would have enjoyed this way more than I did. Sadly, we are in 2019, and the true fact is that this didn’t age well, in my opinion. But I still had a lot of fun reading this one!


Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) by Maureen Johnson – ★★

“When you have enough power and money, you can dictate the meanings of words.”

This was just so not what I was looking for. I’ll have a full review up soon, but basically this story alternates from past to present day, but the story never feels like it is moving forward. This was a slog to read, and it continued to just be a worse and worse reading experience while reading. And the cliffhanger ending? It just felt so cheap and so out of left field. I probably won’t be continuing on with this series.


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

“I want to tell you so many lies.”

Even better the second time around. Perfection. Masterpiece. My fucking heart.


King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo – ★★★

“A handsome monster husband who put a crown on her head? It’s a perfect fairy tale to sell to some starry-eyed girl. She can lock you in at night and kiss you sweetly in the morning, and Ravka will be secure”

Okay, friends! Full review to come very soon! But this was just okay for me. And the ending honestly irritated me. But Zoya? Zoya is everything and I’d die for her and her happiness.


Okay, loves! I hope you enjoyed! I am sorry I’ve been so busy, but I really think things will calm down after Contemporary-a-thon! Let me know what your favorite book of January was! And I’m wishing you the happiest of reading, always! 💛✨

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

 

January 2019 Book Haul

Haul1
Hey, loves! I can’t believe it is already the end of the month! Like, how? Honestly? But here we are, and here is another book haul! But this book haul is a little special, because I bought 102 copies of The Wicked King! 💖


➽ PURCHASED BOOKS:

Fence, Vol. 2
Truly Devious (ilysm, Taylor) | Review: ★★★
The Hod King | Review: ★★★★★
The Last of August
The Case for Jamie
In An Absent Dream | Review: ★★★★★
Song of the Dead | Review: ★★★★
The Winter of the Witch | Review: ★★★★★
The Wicked King | Review: ★★★★★
The Wicked King | Review: ★★★★★
The Wicked King | Review: ★★★★★
The Winter of the Witch | Review: ★★★★★
(Del Rey actually sent me this last one, but I accidentally kept it in this stack!) 


➽ PURCHASED EBOOKS:

The Girl with the Red Balloon
Start Here
The Kiss Thief
The Legend of the Golden Raven (free on Amazon US as of today!)


➽ PHYSICAL ARCS FROM PUBLISHERS:

99 Percent Mine | Review: ★★★
The Bride Test
Holy Sister
(Thank you so much, Alexa!)


➽ NETGALLEY ARCS:

The Devouring Gray
Spin the Dawn
Red, White & Royal Blue
Blood Heir


➽ THE WICKED KING:


Just because I’m trash & love this picture



Okay, my loves! There is my first book haul of 2019! I hope you enjoyed! And I hope I enjoy all of the ones that I haven’t read yet! Which one of these are you most excited for? I’m still in disbelief that I have The Bride Test in my hands! It’s going to be so amazing! I can’t wait for Contemporaryathon to actually start it! Ahhhh! Happy reading, friends! 💖

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

 

The Foxhole Court (All for the Game, #1) by Nora Sakavic

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

“It’s about second chances, Neil. Second, third, fourth, whatever, as long as you get at least one more than what anyone else wanted to give you.”

First and foremost, I want to thank May for giving me the emotional support I needed while reading this book:

Secondly, holy shit, I didn’t think I’d actually like this. What even is my life? Friends, I couldn’t put this down. I read it in 24 hours and no regrets were had. This was way darker than I expected, but I became so damn invested in this main character and I honestly fell in love with him and his story from day one. I know this is a bit of a polarizing read, but if you enjoyed Fence and The Wicker King then I think this story is for sure worth a try for you! Especially since it’s free on Amazon US!

Basically, this is a story about a boy that has been on the run practically his entire life. Neil is currently living in a small town in Arizona, trying to stay on the down low, but he can’t stay away from his one love; Exy, which is a sport that is sort of a mix of Lacrosse and Soccer. But Neil is homeless, able to fit all his possessions in a duffel bag and is currently sneaking into his school’s gym to sleep. But his Exy coach notices where he has been sleeping, but he also notices the pure talent that Neil harnesses on the Exy field and sends a video to possible college recruiters.

And the Foxes from Palmetto State University’s Exy team like what they see when they come and recruit Neil. PSU is a newly reformed and up-and-coming team, who are known for taking in kids who normally don’t get second chances, but they are even more hyped this upcoming season because they now have Kevin Day (AKA: The Son of Exy) playing for them. Neil knows the smartest move is to stay out of the spotlight, but he is so very tired of running, especially running from the only thing that brings him happiness.

But friends, I fell in love with these players so damn quickly:

Neil Josten – Ready to fight for and protect at all costs.
Andrew Minyard – Still sus and I’m still not sold on.
Aaron Minyard – No opinion yet, but I know all my friends hate.
Allison Reynolds – Badass princess that I stan.
Nicky Hemmick – The actual best.
Seth Gordon – My fucking face when.
Renee Walker – My chill pacifist who I already adore completely.
Matt Boyd – My heartwarming pure boy.
Dan Wilds – My actual queen.
Kevin Day – My actual king. My favorite Fox. Also, the thing I am most invested with in this entire story is him and Riko and everything that went down and everything that is going to go down.


(Breathtaking art by llstarcasterll!)

But besides these foxes, who I mostly adore, my favorite part of this book was just seeing Neil tired of feeling like he didn’t have a home, and finally not only accepting that fact, but willing to finally carve out something for himself, completely and utterly unapologetically. Again, I’m not saying that what Neil is doing is the healthiest of circumstances, but seeing him realize that he is worthy of a home, of a family, and of love, was just so damn beautiful. And I know that this is just going to increase during the next two books!

“Hope was a dangerous, disquieting thing, but he thought perhaps he liked it.”

Overall, I just really couldn’t put this down. This is for sure a very character driven book. And I’ll be the first to say that these characters are for sure mostly morally grey and they do a lot of sus shit. But… my love for Kevin and Neil just overpowered all the other questionable teammates. But I’ll talk to you all later, because I am immediately picking up The Raven King!

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | WishlistYoutube

Content and trigger warnings for a lot of drug use, talk of overdosing, underage drinking, loss of a loved one, talk of suicide, mention of cutting, drugging someone, jokes about rape, physical abuse, talk of past parental abuse, ableist insults, homophobic slurs (the f word), and use of the r word.

🦊 Also, this film adaption fan-cast by Jamieson added ten years to my life.

Buddy Read with Sol & Amy! 🧡

Top Ten Tuesday | The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

TopTenTuesdayTop Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

This is honestly one of my favorite Top Ten Tuesday topics! I was so happy when I read this week’s prompt! Mostly because I love seeing what people add to their TBRs and for what reason! I have a mix of upcoming releases, things I plan to read in February, a couple booktuber recommendations, and newly acquired trash! 💖


Bingo Love by Tee Franklin

This is going to be everything, and I can’t wait to get to it this round of Contemporaryathon and/or this February!


The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

I’m just a girl, who has disliked the last two Christina Lauren books, asking for punishment, because I know I won’t be able to resist.


Clockwork Boys (Clocktaur War #1) by T. Kingfisher

Rachel from Kalanadi put this on their best of 2018 (and the second book, too) and I knew I immediately had to listen to my SFF queen!


Normal People by Sally Rooney

Mercy from MercysBookishMusings put this on her best of 2018 list and spoke so highly about it that I couldn’t NOT add it to my TBR immediately.


Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

This has my two auto-buy key words: gay and fae.


The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renée Ahdieh

I truly believe with every molecule in my body that this is going to be literally everything I’ve ever wanted. But this author’s lyrical writing? And PoC vampires, living in New Orleans. Just take my entire wallet, please.


The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark

I loved The Black God’s Drums so much last year, and I can’t wait to have more to read from by this author. Also, the font on this book is like my all-time favorite.


Well Met by Jen DeLuca

This cover dropped on Twitter last week, and I went and looked up the synopsis and it pretty much added five years to my life!


The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2) by Brittany Cavallaro

After falling in love with A Study in Charlotte earlier this month, I knew I needed the next book immediately!


The King’s Men (All for the Game #3) by Nora Sakavic

Yeah, what can I say? I can’t believe I’m trash over this series, especially with how god awful this third and final book’s cover is.



Okay, friends! Those are my ten most recently added books! Let me know some of your most recent additions and then (hopefully) they will become my most recent additions!

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, Publication Order #1) by C.S. Lewis

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

“Lucy looks into a wardrobe”

I was feeling rather nostalgic this holiday season for some reason, and I thought what better way to pay homage to my childhood than by rereading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for the first time in a very long time! And, friends, I fell so in love. I actually think I’m going to make it a holiday tradition to read this book every single December for the rest of my life.

And it was so funny, because I was very apprehensive going in, because when I was little, I think the religious themes went over my head, but I didn’t know how overbearing they would be reading this story for the first time as an adult. But it honestly wasn’t too much. I mean, some of the characters in Narnia refer to the kids as “Son of Adam” and “Daughter of Eve” and like I get the parallels with Aslan and Jesus now! But I still think it was very thoughtfully done and didn’t pull me out of the story or anything like that.

But if you are unfamiliar with this beloved children’s tale, this is a story about four children who have been recently adopted by an old professor who lives in a massive house. And one rainy day, while the kids are bored, they decide to explore the house that is now their new home. And the youngest of the children find a portal to a magical land, ruled by the White Witch, who is causing an endless winter.

Lucy – The Best Character.
Edmund – What A Little Shit.
Peter – Good Guy.
Susan – Group Mom.
Aslan – Simba Who?
Tumnus – Second Fave, Even Though He Almost Kidnapped My First Fave.

But there was so much that I forgot about this story: Mr. Beaver poppin’ open a cold one at dinner, Tumnus almost kidnapping Lucy, Everything the professor says to the kids and how he helps them, Edmund being the such a little shit that even my patience was getting tested, Turkish Delights, Father Christmas, and him giving the kids weapons as gifts!

Overall, this was just the perfect winter wonderland to me. From closet, to lamppost, to dam, to forest, to castle, I never wanted to leave this adventure. I am not sure if it is a lot of nostalgia talking, but this was maybe the best thing I read all holiday season. It was exactly what I wanted, and I was truly enthralled from the first to last page. I never wanted to leave this endless Winter.

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

Buddy read with Julie from Pages and Pens! ❤

 

The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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

“Let’s start with the Witch in the Woods.”

This is going to be such a hard book for me to review. Mostly because this debut novel has some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read. I was so positive that I was going to five star this leading up to the half way point, but I feel like things just started to fall apart and the story got harder and harder to follow. So, even though I’m not giving this the highest of star ratings, I still am really impressed by the author’s craft and I can’t wait to see what they do next because their prose was seriously nothing short of magical.

The Waking Forest is a story that is telling two very different tales with alternating chapters. One is a girl in our world, living in a beach house with her family, and she has suffered from nightmare like dreams her entire life. The second is a witch in the magical woods, who grants children wishes with her heart, and she is being told a story by a very different kind of fox. These tales simultaneously go on and weave together that is actually really beautiful.

“What if I told you that there’s a boy in the attic? And he seems to know me even though I don’t know him? And I don’t know where he came from or how he got there?”

Rhea – The sleepwalker, who keeps experiencing these nightmares, and is finding herself more and more close to understanding who the boy of shadows in the attic is, who only she can see.

The Forest Witch – The granter of wishes to different children who visit her each night, but her newest visitor is a fox that is unlike the rest who live in her forest.

“…after my encounter with the Darkness, that if we have secrets, they aren’t juicy at all. I think, more likely, our secrets are bloody.”

Sadly, it is when the tales come together that the story started falling apart for me. I feel like the author has so many amazing concepts, and she was weaving them separately almost perfectly. It is when they came together that I started to get so confused and so uninvested. Like, I take really extensive notes while reading and this story was so damn hard to keep straight. And I felt like my beautiful lucid dream while reading the first half, turned quickly into my own personal nightmare.

But another thing I did really like about this story is that it mentions, on page, many times about living with anxiety and how much it will and can impact your life. A couple of the characters bring it up many times, and really show how you can live a normal and happy life with your anxiety, even if at times it feels like it is something that is constantly holding you back. And as someone who lives with anxiety, it was just something that I really appreciated.

Overall, I really loved the first half of this book, and I am still completely and utterly blown away by the beautiful prose. And I know I’ve talked about the writing in this review a lot, but the atmosphere is actually perfect, too. The descriptions in this book were always equal parts frightening and beautiful and I had goosebumps while reading many passages. And you all know I have a very special place in my heart for stories about entering people’s dreams. And even though I lost interest with the last half of this book, I am still so impressed with the writing quality, and the way that Alyssa Wees wove her words together, that I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | WishlistYoutube

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

Content and trigger warnings for a tiny bit of physical abuse, torture (branding), captivity, slavery, loss of a loved one, scenes with spiders, and blood depiction.

Buddy read with Julie from Pages and Pens! ❤

 

CONTEMPORARY-A-THON ANNOUNCEMENT + CHALLENGES | ROUND FOUR

 Hi, what is my life? No, seriously, 2019 has been such a wild ride just starting a Booktube channel, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be co-hosting one of my favorite readathons of all time! I am so honored, I am so blessed, and I hope you all join us!


DATES FOR ROUND FOUR:
➽ 2/11 – 2/17


CHALLENGES:
➽ 1. Read your most recently purchased or acquired contemporary
➽ 2. Read a contemporary with blurple (blue or purple) on the cover
➽ 3. Read a diverse contemporary keeping in mind its African heritage month and an own voices African author would be a great pick
➽ 4. Read a dark, taboo, or emotional book
➽ 5. Read a contemporary you meant to read in 2018 but didn’t get to
➽ 6. Read a contemporary in a non-traditional format (ebook, audio, graphic novel etc)
➽ 7. Read a contemporary with a picture on the spine (not a color or pattern but an image)

(Double up and make as many of them work for as many books as you want!)


LIVE-SHOW:
➽ 2/16 on Chelsea’s Channel (Time TBA!)


THE BABES:
CHELSEA
JULIE
NATASHA


CONTEMPORARYATHON INSTA



GIVEAWAY(S) INFO:
➽ CHELSEA’S: on the TBR videos
➽ JULIE’S: On the week long vlogs or wrap ups
➽ NATASHA’S: On the daily vlogs
➽ MINE: On the Contemporary-a-thon Instagram!
➽ Go to each of their channels and to their own personal announcement videos for more details about their actual individual giveaways! But mine will go live the on Feb 11th on the Contemporaryathon Instagram, and all the rules will be in the post, and it will last for a week and then I will pick a winner on the 17th!
➽ Winners will be picked at random. All winners will get a book of up to $20 value on either amazon or book depository.


Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube