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! 💛✨

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The Lost Sisters (The Folk of the Air, #1.5) by Holly Black

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1.) The Cruel Prince ★★★★★
2.) The Wicked King ★★★★★

“Fairy tales are full of girls who wait, who endure, who suffer. Good girls. Obedient girls. Girls who crush nettles until their hands bleed. Girls who haul water for witches. Girls who wander through deserts or sleep in ashes or make homes for transformed brothers in the woods. Girls without hands, without eyes, without the power of speech, without any power at all. But then a prince rides up and sees the girl and finds her beautiful. Beautiful, not despite her suffering, but because of it.”

No one weaves words and magic like Holly Black. No one. And I don’t even have words to express how amazing it feels to be back in this world. Not only did it make me appreciate The Cruel Prince more, it also made me emotional because of all the foreshadowing for The Wicked King. This is a pivotal short story that completely immersed me, captivated me, and reinforced that this is my favorite series of all-time.

It was so smart to format this story in a letter, that Taryn is writing to Jude, but in second person. It is eerie, and haunting, and it makes the reading experience feels so much more intimate, real, and unforgettable. Every time I open a Holly Black book, I feel like I’ve stepped right into the realm of fae, and this short story was no different.

“Faeries despise humans as liars, but there are different kinds of lying. Since you and I first came to Faerie, Jude, we’ve lied to each other plenty.”

The Lost Sisters allows you to see small glimpses into important scenes of The Cruel Prince, but we get to see it all unfold from Taryn’s point of view. I see a lot of reviews say that it made them sympathize with her, but it made me feel worse for Jude. This isn’t a redemption arc. This isn’t a happy ending. This isn’t what you’re expecting. This is just an honest look at Taryn’s feelings; and if I’m being honest, they are still really selfish.

“It’s terrible to be a girl trapped in a story. But you can be more than that. You can be the teller. You can shape the story. You can make all of Faerie love you.”

But Taryn really is trying to carve out her own place in a world that she never asked to live in. Vivi, Jude, and Taryn didn’t ask to lose their mother, be ripped from their home, and forced to live among people who will never make them feel like they belong. But all three girls feel and handle things very differently. Vivi feels sadness and wishes to escape. Jude feels angry and wishes for revenge. Taryn feels inadequacy and wishes for love. And all of these things are valid, and none of things are lesser, they are just different.

“His hair was bright in the moonlight, his face as handsome as heartbreak.”

But this book also really shines a spotlight on Locke. And he truly is the gaslighting, manipulative, abusive, royal jerk. This book really shows how easy it for abusive people to be manipulative. How they can twist everything to make it feel like it is all your fault. How they can make you crave their attention. How easy it is to feel like you’re being loved, not abused.

Honestly, the most interesting element of this book for me was the introduction of Edir, and the entire secret party and all the attendees. Again, it really reinforced (to me) that Locke is totally going to end up being the big bad of this entire story. Also, I just have a really soft spot in my heart for bard-like characters. And sometimes we really do need to listen to the songs of the mothers and women that came before us, to know how worthy of a new song we all really are.

“But that night, a pebble struck my window and I saw the shape of a boy standing below, smiling up at me as though he already knew all my secrets.”

My favorite part of the book? A whisper from Cardan. God, I’m so soft and weak and on brand. It’s really pathetic at this point. Seeing Cardan in this book was hard at first, really hard, I’m not going to lie, but seeing how far he’s come? How far him and Jude have both come? Lord, help me. It is almost funny to see them interact in this short story, knowing the storm that awaits them in The Wicked King.

Overall, I loved this. I really was expecting to feel differently after turning that last page, but this was still such an atmospheric ride that I truly never wanted to end. This series, this world, these characters, everything is just a tier above the rest. This is the series of my heart and soul. And Holly Black never ceases to amaze me. I stan one fae queen, and it is her. It will always be her.

“Let’s start with a love story. Or maybe it’s another horror story. It seems like the difference is mostly in where the ending comes.”

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Content and trigger warnings for murder, death, self-harm, bullying, and grey area cheating.

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

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1.) The Cruel Prince ★★★★★

“Once upon a time, there was a human girl stolen away by faeries, and because of that, she swore to destroy them.”

Many of you might not know this but on this day many years ago, Holly Black’s biggest fan was born. Spoiler: it’s me! And I figured what better way to celebrate my birthday than to finally post my review for my favorite book of the year! I read this back in May, and it doesn’t come out until January, but celebrating my love for this book and series on my birthday just felt right. Also, I’m just that extra, but The Wicked King is perfection in every way.

I love so many different kinds of books; fantasy, romance, young adult, new adult, adult, books with lyrical writing, books that are character driven, books with angsty relationships, books with soul crushing emotions, books that make me feel everything. And I’ve read a lot of books; over 800 according to Goodreads. But every time I pick up a Holly Black book, I feel like she wrote the book for me. And I mean that, because she writes exactly the kind of books that I want to read. Not just key elements or parts, she completely encompasses everything I love in literature. And if I could wish one thing for everyone who reads my reviews, I’d wish for you to find an author that makes you feel this way, too.

The Wicked King is the second installment in The Folk of the Air series, the first being my favorite book of 2017, The Cruel Prince! And this book starts off five months after the heart wrenching events in book one. This review is going to be spoiler free, but I will be talking about some key elements that happened in the previous book! So, please do not read this review if you do not wish to be somewhat spoiled for The Cruel Prince!

“I want to tell you so many lies.”

(The most breathtaking fanart by Loweana!)

Okay, so basically a brief summary is that Jude is alone with the new High King of Faerie. Madoc and her parted on bad terms, Oak is in hiding with Vivi, Taryn is to be married to Locke, Balekin is locked up, and Cardan is *clutches pearls forever* the new king. Yet, he must listen to everything Jude says because of a trick she played on him, but all of us know how quickly a year can pass and things can change. Especially since the Queen of the Undersea, Orlagh, is thinking about breaking the treaty with the fae folk on land, since she isn’t too sure about the new ruler. And she plans to use her daughter, Nicasia, any way that she can to help secure her place of power in the fae realm. And all the courts are coming together to see if Cardan really can lead and protect them.

“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”

And everyone is plotting in this book, I swear. The phrase “twists and turns” doesn’t even begin to describe the events that happen in this book. The political intrigue is so strong in this book. You won’t know who or what to believe, and you surely won’t know who to trust. And all these storylines come together to create something so beautiful. This book was a wild ride from page one to the very last page. Actually, especially the very last page.

And I know everyone has already made a very big deal about the end of this book, and they aren’t wrong. You all thought The Cruel Prince cliffhanger was bad? Oh, sweet summer children. And, obviously, I won’t spoil anything, but there are so many different ways to interpret what happened. I’m going to be vague, but when you love someone or something, you will protect it at all costs. Also, the juxtaposition from book one to book two? Probably the best thing I’ve ever read in my entire life.

Okay, I’m going to do a little break down for some of the characters in this book. You know, just so I can gush, fangirl, and truly be the hot mess that this book proves that I am. Also, Roiben plays a huge role in this story, which was such a wonderful surprise and I really wanted to mention it!

(My favorite fanart(s) by PhantomRin!)

Jude Duarte – My heart, my true love, my icon, my queen. Jude is my favorite protagonist and I would honestly die for her. Like, all I want in this life is for Jude to he happy, healthy, loved, and know that she is deserving of that love.

“I’ve wanted this and feared it, and now that it’s happening, I don’t know how I will ever want anything else.”

Cardan Greenbriar – And Cardan is probably my favorite character in literature. There, I said it. Are you happy now? Also, this book has a minor scene that really led me to believe that Cardan is pan or bi and the scream I screamed upon reading. (I’m so sorry, neighbors, if you’re reading this!) I thought I was too old or just completely over the concept of “book boyfriends” until Cardan Greenbriar decided to be created.

Nicasia – I’m not even going to waste my finger strength. Bitch, bye.

Locke – Okay, say what you want, but Locke is like the greatest antagonist of all time. I am not sure I’ve ever loved to hate a character as much as I absolutely love to hate him. I also completely believe that he’s going to be the “big bad” of this series, eventually. The half-brother development is going to come into play.

“I wish he hadn’t used me to test my sister’s love for him. I wish she hadn’t let him.”

Taryn Duarte – Friends, I have a lot of feels. But I’m just going to say that I want few things in life as much as I want the novella, The Lost Sisters, that comes out October 2nd, 2018. I think it’s going to completely shatter everything we know about Taryn, and I’m ready for it.

Oh, and in case I haven’t gushed enough, the romance in this series is my favorite romance of all-time. And like, I don’t say that lightly. I thought in The Cruel Prince that it might have been because I just love fae stories so much. But while reading The Wicked King I realized that it’s just because this is the best enemies to lovers in the history of the trope. I mean, sex is great and all, but have you ever shipped Jude and Cardan more than any relationship you’ve ever personally been in? Because, same. I honestly don’t even know how I’m functioning, let alone sitting at my desk typing this review, after reading the Queen of Mirth scene. Seriously, Holly Black is a fae queen, none of us are deserving, and her words are magical.

“You are my dearest punishment.”

But this is also a book all about power, and the ugly things people are willing to do for it. Yet, it’s also about love, and all the beautiful, selfless, hopeful, hopeless, heartwarming, heartbreaking things we are willing to do for it. I honestly feel like the heart of this story is about sacrifice; the things we do for our family, our loved ones, and for ourselves. There is a lot of good on these pages. And I know this is a whimsical, magical book all about fae, but a lot of themes and messages carry over really beautifully.

“It’s easy to put your own life on the line, isn’t it? To make peace with danger. But a strategist must sometimes risk others, even those we love.”

I’m not sure I’ve ever been as happy reading a book as I’ve been reading The Wicked King. Also, I seriously pretty much reread this while writing this review. Like, I opened my book back up to grab some quotes that I tabbed, and I seriously had to stop myself from consuming the whole entire story all over again. Without a doubt in my mind, I will read this again before release. It’s just that much of a masterpiece, in every single sense of the word.

“He looks at me as though we share secrets, although we don’t. We don’t share anything.”

Overall, this review doesn’t do this book or my feelings justice. I have no word combination for how much this book, this series, and this author means to me. Yet, if you peak inside my heart, you might see my loved ones, coffee, video games, tattoos, Frank Ocean, and The Wicked King by Holly Black. Not only is this my favorite book of 2018, it’s one of my favorite things in life. And Cardan and Jude honestly have the best sexual tension in existence. I could read about them forever, with no pay off even, and I’d just ask for more.

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

Content and trigger warnings for murder, death, bullying, abandonment, captivity, abuse, talk of past child abuse, and for violence in general.

(Thank you so much, Diana. You will never know how much this means to me, but I promise I’ll cherish this ARC forever. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart and soul, thank you! 💖)

April 2018 Book Haul

Hey, loves! I hope the end of your April is going well! I was so very privileged and blessed to receive some amazing books this month, and I’d love to share them with you guys! 💐💕


PURCHASED BOOKS:

The Wicked DeepReview: ★★★★
Dreadful Young Ladies
All Out AnthologyReview: ★★★★
Circe (US)Review: ★★★★★
Circe (UK)Review: ★★★★★


PURCHASED EBOOKS:

The ThiefReview: ★★★★
The Allure of Julian Lefray
Birthday GirlReview: ★★★
The Astonishing Color of After
Prince Charming
Bad Intentions


BOOK OUTLET:

Mapping the Interior
Binti: Home
We Are the Ants
The Tiger’s Daughter
If We Were Villains
The Traitor Baru Cormorant


PHYSICAL ARCS:

The Descent of Monsters
The Black God’s Drums
Mirage
The Wicked King
Girls of Paper and Fire
Worlds Seen in Passing

Yeah, best ARC I’ve ever received in my entire life. Forever so very thankful. I think I still am in disbelief. And this will be my first read in May, so expect a fangirl gush ASAP! 🧚


NETGALLEY ARCS:

All Your Perfects
Empress of All Seasons
Salt


EDELWEISS ARCS:

The Poppy War
For a Muse of Fire
What If It’s Us
Sawkill Girls
Damsel
Salt


BOOK SUBSCRIPTION BOXES:

Ace of Shades


Yeah, I know, I was so desperate for Salt that I requested it on two sites and got approved for both. I feel so bad, but I’m also so happy that I have an ARC of it! Edelweiss for sure showed up big for me in April! Actually, April was just an amazing month for ARCS in general. Hell, I can’t even properly form words to express how thankful I am that I was able to get my hands on a copy of The Wicked King this month. Diana, you’re the best, and I love you. But I hope April was filled with books that made you all feel the way The Wicked King makes me feel. Happy reading, loves! 💖📚

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