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

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“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.”

Whenever people compare things to Harry Potter I immediately become wary of whatever they are comparing to it. I know this mostly comes from nostalgia, but still, I feel like saying something is “the next Harry Potter” is not only the highest praise, but also setting that thing up for the greatest fall. It took me a while to pick Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow up, just because of that that. But you know what? I think it deserves that title; not only is it amazing, it actually does feel like the closest thing I’ve ever read to Harry Potter, while also completely and wholeheartedly being its own story. I loved this book.

This book stars a young girl named Morrigan Crow, who has lived her life feeling unwanted by a family who believes her to be cursed. And this curse has also lead everyone, including Morrigan, to believe that she will die on her eleventh birthday. That is, until Jupiter North comes with an invitation to compete to join the Wundrous Society.

Each year, kids compete to enter this exclusive Society, with the help of a sponsor. And all the children have different knacks, AKA: talents, which range from being able to grow hair on a whim, to being able to ride dragons, to being practically invisible, the possibilities are honestly endless. And Jupiter North has never taken a protégée under his wing, until Morrigan. So, everyone is wondering and assuming that she must have a talent unlike anyone has ever seen, but Morrigan doesn’t even know what special powers she possesses.

But to even get into the Wundrous Society, Morrigan must complete each of the four trials. And all the trials are so very different, and so very unique, and such a dang treat to read. The trials were truly my favorite scenes in this book. And that’s saying a lot, because we have a giant, talking cat who is sassy and perfect. And a hotel, where Morrigan stays, with such an amazing cast of characters. And the Christmas scene and competition in this book? Honestly perfection. I truly did love this story with my whole heart.

This book is such a love letter to found families. And I think this book could change so many lives of so many kids out there that feel so unwanted, when in reality they are so very wanted and the family we choose will always be greater than the family we are born into. This is something that took me a long while to figure out myself, but blood will always be just that – blood. Hell, every one out of fifteen people walking around Vegas are likely to have my blood type, and that’s all my blood has to say about me. Yes, this book is whimsical, and fun, but I also think it’s important. And my heart is so very happy just thinking about the message that will touch so many kids picking this book up.

And this book has such an overwhelming message about how we can truly be anything we want to be. That good and bad are in all of us, and as long as you’re striving to do good, you can be good, no matter your past, and no matter who tells you otherwise.

Overall, I can honestly say that each time I opened this book up that I experienced pure joy. From the messages, to the writing, to this fantastic story in general. There is so much to love about this book. If you are on the fence, please pick this one up. It’s honestly such a bright shining light in middle grade. And I cannot wait to see what comes next in Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow!

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Trigger and content warnings for emotionally abusive parents and abandonment.

Buddy read with Sue & Lourdes! ❤

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

Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood by Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda

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Vol. 1: Awakening ★★★★★

“Halfwolf’s daughter has returned.”

In Volume Two: The Blood, We are thrown back into this amazing world that I love so much. We are reintroduced to a girl that is living with a monster inside of her. She is being hunted, but trying to piece together all the parts that make up her past, including what happened to her mother, who taught her at a young age to be strong in a world that will refuse to ever accept you.

Moriko and her sidekicks that she doesn’t want to love, Kippa and Ren, are on a completely new adventure, which involves a ship, a pirate crew, a mysterious island, and maybe some ghosts. The banter is perfection, the art is quite literally a gift to the world, and the story is a masterpiece. This is my favorite graphic novel series of all time.

And the message about never letting anyone control you, about rising to the top of a world that wants nothing more than to drag you down, is so powerful. This graphic novel is a fantasy inspired world that is ownvoices, and this graphic novel is filled with PoC characters. Also, Moriko only has one arm, but shows the world constantly how she should never be underestimated because of her disability. This is a super diverse series, and this story is filled with discussions about fear tactics and hate speech, and shows how easily hate speech can turn into hate actions.

Trigger and content warnings for a lot of blood, a lot of gore, and a whole lot of violence. Slavery, war themes, child abuse, animal cruelty, experimentations on unwilling living creatures, and one pretty dark birthing scene. This is a very dark graphic novel, please use caution.

But this series is so perfect, and I truly believe it is a tier above anything else out there right now. If you feel like you are in the right mindset, I can’t implore you enough to pick Awakening up and give it a try.

I’m now going to just break down each single issue super quickly! Minor spoilers ahead!

We are reintroduced to Moriko, and we get to revisit the monster that is trying to very hard to escape her. Kippa is the best character in all existence. Ren is second best. And I love all the cat people, so much, even when they are bad sometimes. Moriko finds a bone key and procures a ship and a crew to take her to an island that might have the answers about her mother.

Moriko talks about how it has always hurt her that she never received any Goddess-marks to easily show that she is like the other Arcanic children, even though she carries so much power within herself. And then we see a new monster that lurks in the sea below, right before the ship is attacked.

We get to see some flashbacks of Moriko’s mother teaching her, but we see how hard her mother was on her. Honestly? It just made me want to protect her even more. Also, Kippa is smart, perfect, and oh so loyal. I love her more than words.

This issue had some of the most beautiful art I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I could frame something on every single page. Perfection. But Moriko, Kippa, and Ren are on a smaller boat, heading to the island together. And the bone key comes into play, in a pretty amazing way. But once they get to the island, they quickly realize they are not alone.

I loved this issue, because we get to know Moriko’s monster a little bit better through more flashbacks. And I’m loving all these breadcrumbs so much. And Moriko also gets more knowledge about her mother, but for a price.

Oh boy, this concluding issue left me needing the next volume this very instant! Also, I know I shouldn’t, but I love the ferryman. Moriko is able to put on the part of the mask she has in her possession, but someone else senses it immediately; her father.

Again, this graphic novel is everything to me. Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda are a gift to the world, and I will read this series for as long as they create it. If you’re looking for an adult, high fantasy, dark, ownvoices, Asian inspired graphic novel series, please pick this up. From the art, to the characters, to the mysteries, to the messages, this is a masterpiece in every single way.

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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

May 2018 TBR

🌷💐🌹🥀🌺🌸 Hey, loves! I hope you don’t mind me posting twice today! I hate it when the first of the month falls on a Tuesday, because I love doing certain Top Ten Tuesdays so much! But hopefully you all will enjoy both of these! I am trying to keep my TBR kind of free this month, because I know that it is going to be rather strict in the upcoming months! And lately I’ve been mood reading, and spontaneous buddy reading a lot! And… I kind of love it a lot. But here are the ten things that I will definitely read in May!

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black:
ARC – Publication: January 8th, 2019
Yeah, I can hardly believe it myself. My friend Diana was able to get me a personalized ARC of this, and it is now my most cherished possession. This is going to be one of the first things I’ll read in May, because I have no chill and it is taking every ounce of self restraint to not ditch every book on my TBR and inhale read this sequel.

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas:
Publication: May 1st, 2018
Okay, by the time you are reading this, your girl has already devoured, reviewed, and hopefully loved this one! Literally, I’m staying up until midnight to read this highly anticipated novella, set in the ACOTAR world! And even though it is still surrounding Feyre and Rhysand, I’m thinking this is going to let us transition and know who the next series is going to be about! *prays forever for Cassian*

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan:
May is Asian/Pacific Heritage Month, so I’d like to get many ownvoices books in to help celebrate! Life & Lit is doing an entire event, and this is the group book pick! And this is a story about an interracial girl (half Asian, half white) who travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents after she hears about the passing of her mother (TW/CW: suicide, loss, grief). I think this book is going to be very hard hitting, and I think it’s going to have a very important discussion about mental illness, and how some cultures have an even harder time to reach out for help. And I’m buddy reading this with Yusra! ❤

Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud:
ARC – Publication: August 28th, 2018
This is an ownvoices Moroccan YA SFF novel about a girl who is taken from her village, to a powerful kingdom, all because she looks identical to the princess of the kingdom. She is forced to masquerade as the princess, if she ever wants to see her family and home again. This is also a buddy read with Julie from Pages and Pens, Jules at JA Ironside, Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills, & Chelsea at Chelsea Palmer! ❤

Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas #2) by Zoraida Córdova:
ARC – Publication: June 5th, 2018
I don’t believe this is a direct sequel to Labyrinth Lost, which I absolutely loved two years ago. But this is still an ownvoices novel about another bruja in the family! Hopefully I’ll be emotionally prepared! And I’m buddy reading this with Alexis over at The Sloth Reader & Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills! ❤

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover:
ARC – Publication: July 17th, 2018
This is the brand new CoHo book of 2018, and I’m a little scared to go into this, but I couldn’t refuse when Atria gave me an ARC (thank you, you all are the best!) I hope I will love this one, and hopefully it doesn’t give me too much anxiety! Plus, I’m buddy reading this with my bestie, Kayla! ❤

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab:
Okay, you all know I’m not the biggest fan of this series, but I actually have high hopes for this concluding novel! And I hope I can fall in love with this series, like so many of my friends! And I’m reading this for the BooktubeSFF Awards, but I’m also buddy reading this with Julie, Destiny, & Julie! ❤

Fresh Ink: An Anthology edited by Lamar Giles:
ARC – Publication: August 14th, 2018
Friends, I have no words for how excited I am for this anthology! And every single one of these stories are ownvoices from authors of color! What a blessing! Expect a review for this early in the month! And I’m buddy reading this with Destiny! ❤

The Queen of Crows (The Sacred Throne, #2) by Myke Cole:
ARC – Publication: October 16th, 2018
The Armored Saint was one of the best books I read in all of 2017. I loved it more than words, and I can’t wait to see where Heloise’s journey goes next. And I’m buddy reading this with my favorites: Petrik from & Lilly from Lair of Books! ❤

Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2) by Scott Reintgen:
ARC – Publication: July 17th, 2018
Nyxia was one of my favorite books of last year! It meant so much to me, and I loved it so much. This series stars a young black boy from Detroit, who is sent out into space for a once in a lifetime opportunity, game, and mission. And I can’t wait to see what happens next! And I’m buddy reading this with Lilly, Cierra, Scrill, & Solly! ❤

Okay, I think that’s everything! I truly have the highest of hopes for these ten books! What are you guys reading this month? And, as always, I’m wishing you all the happiness in the world, and all the good reads! 🌷🌹💐🌺🥀🌸

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The 2017 BooktubeSFF Awards

I always loosely follow the BooktubeSFF Awards and I always try to read along with the works that interest me. I for sure slacked with a Best Novel and Best Middle Grade this year, but I still wanted to tell you guys my picks before the live show! Voting is open now, so if you’d like to cast your votes before it ends, you can do so HERE!

The hosts of the BooktubeSFF Awards are Adriana from Perpetual Pages, Chelsea from TheReadingOutlaw, Samantha from Novels and Nonsense, Connor from Connor O’Brien, Elizabeth from Books and Pieces, Kaitlin from Kitty G, Sam from Thoughts on Tomes, Elena from Elena Reads Books, and Thomas from SFF180! They are all simply amazing, and truly gems in this community, and I hope you all check them out!

Okay, so the BooktubeSFF Awards has five categories, and in each of these five categories they have three nominees.

Best Novel:
The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin – N/A
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee – N/A
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab – ★★★★

MyPick: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

I feel terrible over this category, because I’ve wanted to read Jemisin’s work for a while now. Knowing what I do about her series, she probably deserves it, but because I haven’t read I obviously can not pick her or her book. I also did not read Ninefox Gambit, but many of my friends very much disliked it, so it made me very hesitant to pick it up. I only read A Gathering of Shadows in this category, so I begrudgingly selected that as the winner. It wasn’t a bad read by any means, it just wasn’t a favorite of mine either.

Best YA:
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab – N/A
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – ★★★★★
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas – ★★★★★

MyPick: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Like, let’s be real here; Leigh Bardugo has mastered the craft of writing, but few books in 2016 brought me the amount of joy that ACOMAF did. And, like, Rhys. Honestly, I love both of these books and it was extremely hard for me to pick. I am most looking forward to the live show just to see what everyone says about this book and the sex scenes honestly. I’m sure it took quite a few of them out of their comfort zones, and I am so very curious about what they are going to say.

Best Middle Grade:
Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – N/A
The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan – N/A
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi – ★★★

MyPick: Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

This is my other terrible category, because I’m a terrible person that has never read Percy Jackson, therefore, I didn’t read either book of the two separate spin-offs that Rick Riordan has going on. Hopefully I get to them eventually, but 2017 wasn’t the year for me to be caught up. Furthermore was okay for me. I enjoyed it more than I didn’t, but it just left a lot to be desired. Yet, lucky for it, and unluckily for Mr. Riordan, it wins regardless.

Best Graphic Work:
Saga Volume 6 by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples – ★★★★★
Monstress Volume 1 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda – ★★★★★
Descender Volume 2 by Jeff Lemire and Justin Nguyen – N/A

MyPick: Monstress Volume 1 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

You guys know how much I love Saga, but nothing can compare to the masterpiece that is Monstress, Volume 1. I’m so happy I partook in this readathon just for the fact that it introduced me to this work of art. It is honestly perfection in my eyes, and I cannot wait for Volume 2 to be released this year.

Best Short Work:
Mistborn: Secret History by Brandon Sanderson – ★★★★★
Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson – ★★★★
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – ★★★★★

MyPick: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

I think Brandon Sanderson is the King of Fantasy, which few can compete with. Yet, as much as I loved both of his short stories, Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway was everything I’ve ever wanted in a book. It’s diverse, with great representation, and so very important. I wish I could place a copy of this book in everyone’s hands. Seriously, I loved it, and its sequel, Down Among the Sticks and Bones is one of my favorite reads of 2017, too.

I know that my picks aren’t perfect, especially since I didn’t read everything on the short list, but I love this readalong and I love participating in it. Did you guys partake in the BooktubeSFF Awards? If so, what were your picks? I can’t wait to watch the live show and see everyone else’s picks! I’m very excited to see the winners and to just spread the joy of reading in the SFF community!

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