Cast In Wisdom – Winter 2020 Blog Tour : Science Fiction & Fantasy

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@Harlequin @MiraBooks #NetGalley #blogtour #Fantasy

 

Hey, hey I’m back again with another Blog Tour post!! So I apologize that I don’t have an actual review for this book yet. When I signed up to read it I was not aware that it’s actually the 15th book in a series, and although it sounds like it would be fine to be read as a standalone novel I have this thing where I absolutely do not read books out of order. Cast in Wisdom by Michelle Sagara is actually the 15th book in The Chronicles of Elantra, and it sounds absolutely amazing!! I’m looking forward to reading it eventually, so I’m making plans to start the series in the next couple months. However, I still want to share this fantastic sounding book with you, as I’m sure many of you will want to add it to your TBR!! 🙂

 

 

CAST IN WISDOM

Author: Michelle Sagara

ISBN: 9780778309383

Publication Date: 01/28/20

Publisher: MIRA Books

 

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

 

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @msagara

Facebook: @MMSagara

Goodreads

 

Author Bio: Michelle Sagara is an author, bookseller, and lover of literature based in Toronto. She writes fantasy novels and lives with her husband and her two children, and to her regret has no dogs. Reading is one of her life-long passions, and she is sometimes paid for her opinions about what she’s read by the venerable Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. No matter how many bookshelves she buys, there is Never Enough Shelf space. Ever.

Book Summary:

In the aftermath of the events in the High Halls, there are loose ends. One of those loose ends is the fieflord, Candallar. In an attempt to understand his involvement—with the Barrani, with the High Court, and with the much hated Arcanum—Kaylin has been sent to the fiefs.

She has mixed feelings about this. There’s nothing mixed about her feelings when she discovers a very unusual building in the border zone between two fiefs, and far more questions are raised than are answered. Her attempt to get answers leads her back to the Imperial Palace and its resident Dragon librarian, the Arkon.

Things that were lost in the dim past were not, perhaps, destroyed or obliterated—and what remains appears to be in the hands of a fieflord and his allies—allies who would like to destroy Kaylin’s friends, the Emperor, and possibly the Barrani High Court itself. This is bad.

What’s worse: The librarian who hates to leave his library has a very strong interest in the things that might, just might, have been preserved, and—he is leaving his library to do in person research, no matter what Kaylin, the Hawks, or the Emperor think.

He is not the only one. Other people are gathering in the border zone; people who believe knowledge is power. But power is also power, and it might be too late for the Empire’s most dedicated Historian—and Kaylin and her friends, who’ve been tasked with his safety.

 

Excerpt –

“You are such a coward,” Bellusdeo said when they’d reached the relative safety of the street. The roads in and around Helen were sparsely populated at the busiest of times, which this wasn’t. They would soon join roads that were crowded at the slowest of times, but Kaylin was dressed for the office. The Hawk emblazoned on her tabard encouraged people to make space. 

Had Bellusdeo hit the streets in her Draconic form, she’d have cleared far more of it—but some of that space would be created by panic, and panic could cause both accidents and the type of traffic congestion that caused the Swords to investigate. Also, it was illegal. 

“It’s not cowardice,” Kaylin replied, scanning the windows of the buildings above ground level. 

“What would you call it?” 

“Wisdom.” 

“Oh, please.”

“There’s no point in arguing with them now. Sedarias thinks it’ll be months before this ridiculous command performance occurs. We have months to attempt to talk her out of—” 

“Out of expressing any appreciation or gratitude?” 

Ugh. “You know they’re grateful. This isn’t about gratitude. It’s about rubbing that gratitude in the faces of the Barrani who attempted to brand you a—an army. An attacking army.” 

“I believe the term you want is Flight.” Bellusdeo’s eyes were orange. 

Hope squawked at the Dragon. Kaylin didn’t understand what he was saying. Bellusdeo did, but her eyes didn’t get any lighter. 

“You know as well as I do,” Kaylin said, emboldened by Hope’s entry into the discussion, “that this is not the time to visit the High Halls. I’m not sure the Emperor has ever been a guest there.” 

“We visited the Halls—more or less—when they came under attack, and the Barrani needed our help.” 

“From the outside. No one invited the Dragon Court in.” 

The chorus of Barrani voices that sometimes offered entirely unasked for opinions on the inside of her head maintained their silence for half a beat. The first person to break that silence was the fieflord. His words were tinged with amusement. 

You cannot expect that the cohort would suddenly cease to cause any difficulty, surely? 

I’m almost certain that the cohort understands why inviting a Dragon—any Dragon—to attend the High Halls would be a disaster. 

For the Dragons? 

For everyone. 

I believe some of the more conservative High Lords might be surprisingly supportive of such an invitation. 

Of course they would. It would be their best shot at killing Bellusdeo. If Bellusdeo died, there would be no new Dragons. No hatchlings. 

There’s no way the Emperor would give her permission to attend. 

Nightshade concurred. In his position, I would not. But I would be prepared, should I refuse to grant that permission, for all-out war. My brother has grown inordinately fond of her; living with you has made him reckless. 

He’s not— 

He has known Bellusdeo for even less time than you. He is willing to trust her in a fashion no one older would. And do not cite the Consort, please. 

Kaylin hadn’t intended to. The Consort seems to like her. 

Kaylin, the Consort “likes” me. But she does not trust me. 

She does. 

“Stop making that face, or it will freeze that way.” Kaylin reddened. 

I understand that you are attempting to avoid the Emperor’s ire. I consider this wise on your part. It is not, however, the ire of the Emperor that will be your most significant problem; he will do nothing to harm Bellusdeo. 

I know that. 

It is the ire of the High Lords. Sedarias is, I believe, genuinely grateful for Bellusdeo’s intervention. She does wish to honor her. But gratitude can be expressed privately—and in most cases, it is. Only rulers feel obliged to make that expression public because the public expression elevates those to whom one feels gratitude. It makes clear to witnesses that the aid tendered—in whatever fashion—is important and significant. The Emperor has codified such significance in public ceremonies and public titles, has he not? 

Kaylin shrugged. 

For Sedarias, however, genuine gratitude is not an impediment to political displays. She can be genuinely grateful and simultaneously, extremely political. She wishes to highlight Bellusdeo’s aid and import to Mellarionne. Why do you think this is? 

Kaylin thought about this. After a long pause, she said, She wants to thumb her nose at the rest of the High Lords, many of whom weren’t helpful at all? 

Nightshade’s silence was one of encouragement. 

Bellusdeo’s a Dragon. So…her presence means that even Dragons—with whom you’ve had a war or two— 

Three. 

Fine, a war or three, were more helpful, or at least more of a genuine ally, than any of the Barrani. 

Yes. I believe that is some part of Sedarias’s intent. That’s not going to help Mellarionne any. 

Perhaps, perhaps not. She will do so as An’Mellarionne. It would be considered a very bold move—but there are those who would assume that Sedarias is confident in her own power, and they would hesitate to challenge her. 

“If you are speaking about me,” Bellusdeo said, her voice almost a whisper of sound, “I must insist that you include me.” 

Hope squawked. 

“Well, yes, that could cause some difficulty,” the Dragon replied. “But I dislike Kaylin’s worry. She is mortal.” Squawk. “The marks of the Chosen don’t matter. She’s mortal. I may be a displaced person in these lands; I may no longer have a home or lands of my own. But I am a Dragon.” 

“I’m not exactly worried about you,” Kaylin said. When one golden brow rose in response, she added, “Not about you specifically. But—there’s no way for Dragon and High Halls to combine that isn’t political. Explosively political. On your own, you can survive more than any of the rest of the cohort—or me. But you won’t be on your own. The cohort won’t abandon you.” 

It was the Dragon’s turn to snort. 

Kaylin reconsidered her words and chose better ones. “Most of the cohort wouldn’t abandon you. Annarion wouldn’t. Mandoran wouldn’t. I don’t believe Allaron would either, from what I’ve seen. And you know what the cohort is like. The minute one of them enters combat to save you, they’re all going to rush in. It doesn’t matter if they’re there for your sake or their friends’; they’ll be there. But this is political, and anything political is far above my pay grade.” 

“You don’t seem to find this insulting.” 

“I consider it one of the biggest advantages of my rank. Which is the lowest rank I could be given and still be called a Hawk.” 

“One of? What’s another one?” 

“I’m not in command. I don’t need to make decisions that might cost the lives of other Hawks. No matter what happens in an action, large or small, I won’t have their deaths on my hands.” 

“But you don’t like being a private.” 

“Well, I could be a corporal, and it would still be mostly true. And the pay is higher.” 

“It’s not much higher,” a familiar voice said. It was Mandoran’s. Of course it was. Kaylin didn’t miss a step. 

“I don’t suggest you try to enter the Halls of Law looking like that.” 

“Like what?” 

“Like thin air.” 

“Oh. That.” Mandoran caused other people some consternation as he materialized to the side of Kaylin that Bellusdeo wasn’t occupying. To be fair, most of the street didn’t notice; people always had their own problems and their own schedules. “I was going to follow Teela into the office, but Teela’s not heading there directly.” 

“So you followed us?” 

“Not most of the way, no. I decided to head straight here to wait, but I caught up because you’re doing the Hawk-walk.” He glanced at Bellusdeo. “For what it’s worth, I think insisting on your presence on the inside of the High Halls is suicidal.” 

“Oh?” The Dragon’s voice was cool. “For who?” 

Mandoran grinned. “Mostly Kaylin.” 

Kaylin watched as flecks of gold appeared in Bellusdeo’s eyes. Mandoran had, once again, managed to set Bellusdeo at ease. Kaylin wondered if that was why he’d chosen to speak when he had. He never treated the Dragon with respect; had the Emperor been present for most of their spats, she wasn’t certain Mandoran wouldn’t be a pile of bleeding ash. Well, ash, because ash didn’t bleed, but still. 

“You left the rest of the cohort behind?” Kaylin asked. 

“We had a vote, and Helen decided it was safest to send me.” 

“She was the tie-breaker?” 

“Ah, no. She didn’t consider the first choice viable. But— we can all see what I see anyway, so unless there’s an attack, having more than one person here is superfluous. If Teela had been coming directly to the office, someone would have followed Teela.” 

“Not you?” Bellusdeo asked. 

“I had to live with Tain for a few years. Compressed into a few weeks, I might add. He’s stuffy and remarkably straightforward. Also, he hates fun.” 

“He hates mess,” Kaylin said, as they approached the stairs that led into the Halls of Law. 

“Define mess. No, wait, don’t. The problem with Tain—at least for me—is that Teela might actually kill us if we’re indirectly responsible for his death. He’s not like the rest of us; we can’t speak to him without shouting, and even if we can, he doesn’t listen half the time. So…it’s a lot less safe to tail Tain.” 

“I imagine it’s safer to tail Tain than it is to tail Kaylin if you’re worried about Teela’s reaction,” Bellusdeo said, frowning slightly. 

“You need a better imagination.”

 

Excerpted from Cast In Wisdom by Michelle Sagara, Copyright © 2020 by Michelle Sagara. Published by MIRA Books.

 

I hope this book intrigues you as much as it does me! If you’ve read any of the books from The Chronicles of Elantra please let me know what you thought of them! Or, if you know that this absolutely 100% can be read as a standalone novel I’d love to know.

 

Happy Reading! 🙂

 

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Binti Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor

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#Binti #NnediOkorafor #YAscifi #scifi #ownvoice #amazingreads #booknerd #scifinerd

Hello friends and welcome back! As promised I’m posting more than just ARC and Blog Tour reviews!! This past weekend in the facebook group that I help Admin, The Reading Corner Book Lounge, we held an 8 in 48 Readathon. For those who don’t know what 8 in 48 stands for or what a Readathon really is I’ll provide a little breakdown. A Readthon an event set for a specific length of time, 24/48/72 etc, that you forget all of your adulating and just read!! There are some that are more strict and involved and some that are more lax (like in my facebook groups) and you can read as much or as little as you’d like. So, an 8 in 48 Readathon is where your goal is to read at least 8 hours in the 48 hour Readathon span. These tend to be a bit more popular than the others as we all have our own busy lives and can’t always spend every waking moment reading for 48 hours straight, even though I try my damndest!! LOL. Where was I? Oh yeah, so we held an 8 in 48 Readathon over at The Reading Corner Book Lounge facebook group and it was focused on reading diverse authors. I took it as a great opportunity to finally finish the Binti Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor and I’m so glad I did!! Shout out to my book bestie Danny for recommending this trilogy to me.

 

Trilogy Summary –

In her Hugo- and Nebula-winning novella, Nnedi Okorafor introduced us to Binti, a young Himba girl with the chance of a lifetime: to attend the prestigious Oomza University. Despite her family’s concerns, Binti’s talent for mathematics and her aptitude with astrolabes make her a prime candidate to undertake this interstellar journey.

But everything changes when the jellyfish-like Medusae attack Binti’s spaceship, leaving her the only survivor. Now, Binti must fend for herself, alone on a ship full of the beings who murdered her crew, with five days until she reaches her destination.

There is more to the history of the Medusae–and their war with the Khoush–than first meets the eye. If Binti is to survive this voyage and save the inhabitants of the unsuspecting planet that houses Oomza Uni, it will take all of her knowledge and talents to broker the peace.

 

My Review – 

I thought it unique that the first book was less than 100 pages, and each book after that got bigger by about 100 pages or so and each had very strategic endings. They made for incredibly quick but powerful reads. Not like anything I’ve read before! I was really intrigued by the familial structure of Binti’s family, and the concept of “the root” which is the name for their home, and the tribal communities. The Medusae are a very intriguing species and I loved everything about them from their jellyfish like bodies to the relationship they develop with Binti. I’d have loved to get to know more about them though, just not enough of the Medusae in the books to satisfy me. Although, it would be a great spinoff idea!

Some of the other aspects of the books I enjoyed were the bio-ships that transport Binti to and from the infamous Oomza University, where the brightest of all species come to study and learn and become great scientists and such in the galaxy. The whole concept of a Master Harmonizer is incredibly brilliant and the mathematical basis behind it far exceeds my math skills! In the third book we see Binti go on her pilgrimage that initiates them as women into their tribe. I loved the idea of this, in Australia it is known as a walkabout, in the Amish belief system known as the Rumspringa. Most cultures have a sort of “coming of age” celebration or ceremony and I thought the version in Binti was very creative, spiritual and full of self-awareness.

Overall each book got a 4 star rating from me. They were creative, exciting and had a very unique viewpoint. For anyone who loves #ownvoices reads, Scifi and strong female characters then this trilogy is 100% something I suggest you read. I think the story of Binti will most definitely stick with me throughout the years, and even will warrant a reread down the road.

 

 

Thank you to all who took the time to check out this review. If you’ve read the Binti Trilogy please share your thoughts on it in a comment. I’d love to hear what you thought of it. If you have other book recommendations you think I might like based off of enjoying the Binti books feel free to share those as well!  Like I mentioned in a previous review post, I’m trying to read more Sci-fi as it’s a genre I really enjoy but need to read more of on a consistent basis.

 

Until next time, Happy Reading! 🙂

The Night Country by Melissa Albert – Review

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#NetGalley #TheNightCountry #HazelWood #YAFantasy #FlatIronBooks #review #darkfantasy #fairytales #favoritereads

Hi friends and Happy Sunday!! It’s been a snowy weekend here in Rochester, NY!! The perfect winter weather for staying, snuggling up and reading a good book. So many of you have heard me talk about The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. It was one of my absolute favorite reads in 2018 and I’ve continuously recommended it to everyone I know who loves a good fantasy read with a dark twist. Well, I got super lucky and got approved for an advanced ebook copy of the sequel, The Night Country by Melissa Albert!!! Thank you #NetGalley and #FlatIronBooks for the chance to read The Night Country prior to it’s release date. It is out in stores and available to purchase now, and I highly recommend you scurry to get a copy, or both books if you haven’t read The Hazel Wood yet either!! Also, the covers are absolutely BEAUTIFUL so they make great books to display on your shelves.

 

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Description –

The instant New York Times bestseller! The Night Country is the highly anticipated sequel to Melissa Albert’s beloved, bestselling debut The Hazel Wood.

In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors of The Hazel Wood. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Wood was just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang.

With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors—and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and—if he can find it—a way back home…

 

Review –

 

I cannot tell you how excited I was to get back to Alice three times, Ellory Finch and the Hinterland Ex-Stories. I am a big sucker for dark fairy tales and twisted characters and this series is chock full of it. The start of The Night Country felt so smooth and like it picked right up from where we left off in Hazel Wood. Sometimes it takes a while for a reader to get into the sequel and figure out the chain of events, but this one was seamless.

We get to meet more of the Ex-Stories who followed Alice out of the Hinterland when she left and broke out of her story. I loved that they all lived together, and had meetings kind of like AA meetings. It was interesting to see how Alice interacted with them, and her struggle to decide if she was going to keep her life with them or forsake it all and run away with her mom Ella. The absence of Finch in Alice’s life was written so beautifully, and I loved how the chapters started to intertwine and we really got a great look at Finch’s character now that he’s found his own story.

The ending left me with a million questions, but in a good way!! It’s torture having to wait for the next book. I’m a sucker for torture though and love this feeling. The ending really picked up and was so action packed that I flew through the last 80 or so pages. I don’t think I even blinked! There wasn’t really any dull parts in the book, as any lulls were well written and enough to keep you moving along so as not to lose interest. My only grievance is that I didn’t love it more than Hazel Wood, but this isn’t a bad thing! I did rate The Night Country 4 out of 5 stars (Hazel Wood was a 5 star book for me), and definitely recommend all lovers of Hazel Wood to not skip this book!!

 

 

Thanks for tuning in for my review! I’ve got quite a bit on my agenda Today, but most importantly I do need to get some reading done. So I’m going to sign off for now, but stay tuned for my next blog tour posts and reviews!

 

Happy Reading! 🙂

A Beginning in the End by Mike Chen – Review

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#AbeginningAtTheEnd #NetGalley #Harlequin #HarperCollins #BlogTour #scifi #postapocalyptic #booknerd #scifinerd #goodreads

 

Hello friends, It’s me, the book obsessed food loving Lauren! I’m back with another fabulous line up for a Blog Tour. I know, I know you’re probably thinking that I’m insane with all of these events I’m doing. Sometimes I think I am too, but I just can’t help it because I’m having so much fun! This will be the first of three reviews/excerpt posts for Harlequin’s Winter 2020 Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tours. I’m so excited to share my review with you, as I haven’t shared many reviews for Post-Apocalyptic or Science Fiction novels with you yet. There will be more coming, I have a lot of Scifi in my 2020 reading plans (tentative). Let’s get started with some information about A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen, and then I’ll wrap this post up with my review. Enjoy! 🙂

 

A Beginning at the End  

Mike Chen

On Sale Date: January 14, 2020

9780778309345, 0778309347

Hardcover

$26.99 USD, $33.50 CAD

Fiction / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic 

400 pages

 

Summary:

An emotional story about what happens after the end of the world, A BEGINNING AT THE END is a tale of four survivors trying to rebuild their personal lives after a literal apocalypse. For commercial readers who enjoy a speculative twist, or their sci-fi with a heavy dose of family and feelings.

Six years after a global pandemic, it turns out that the End of the World was more like a big pause. Coming out of quarantine, 2 billion unsure survivors split between self-governing big cities, hippie communes, and wasteland gangs. When the father of a presumed-dead pop star announces a global search for his daughter, four lives collide: Krista, a cynical event planner; Moira, the ex-pop star in hiding; Rob, a widowed single father; and Sunny, his seven-year-old daughter. As their lives begin to intertwine, reports of a new outbreak send the fragile society into a panic. And when the government enacts new rules in response to the threat, long-buried secrets surface, causing Sunny to run away seeking the truth behind her mother’s death. Now, Krista, Rob, and Moira must finally confront the demons of their past in order to hit the road and reunite with Sunny — before a coastal lockdown puts the world on pause again.

 

Author Bio:

Mike Chen is a lifelong writer, from crafting fan fiction as a child to somehow getting paid for words as an adult. He has contributed to major geek websites (The Mary Sue, The Portalist, Tor) and covered the NHL for mainstream media outlets. A member of SFWA and Codex Writers, Mike lives in the Bay Area, where he can be found playing video games and watching Doctor Who with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter

 

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.mikechenbooks.com/

Twitter: @mikechenwriter

Instagram: @mikechenwriter

Facebook: @mikechenwriter

 

Buy Links: 

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9780778309345_a-beginning-at-the-end.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Beginning-at-End-Mike-Chen/dp/0778309347

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-beginning-at-the-end-mike-chen/1131202168

Books-a-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Beginning-End/Mike-Chen/9780778309345?id=7715580291810

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778309345

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-beginning-at-the-end/id1459367026

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-beginning-at-the-end

Google Play: https://books.google.com/books/about/A_Beginning_at_the_End.html?id=nq-RDwAAQBAJ

 

My Review

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and a honest review and then some it shall receive! I cannot tell you enough how much I enjoyed reading A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen. I loved the world he built with the attention to detail to show what life in the US was like after the first global flu pandemic hit, and how believable it was. I’ve never read an apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic novel that isn’t focused on death and destruction with crazy human mutations, zombies or other fictional creatures. The fact that this book focused more on the surviving people and how they try to cope with what happened and find a way forward in life was a really refreshing outtake. It was a bit of a slow burn, but then again what fantastic science fiction read isn’t? I did not find it difficult to keep track of the four main characters and how the storyline bounced between them. You can tell that there was a lot of thought and planning put into the creation of Rob & Sunny, Krista, and Moira to develop their stories pre and post pandemic. It actually had a really great flow to it, and I love the flashbacks and intermingling point of views to provide you all of the characters though processes at certain plot points. I’ve heard that this book has a similar feel to how Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel was written, which I unfortunately haven’t read yet (but will soon!). The ending felt like it wrapped up nicely so I don’t expect there to be a sequel, but I wouldn’t complain if there was!

I will definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good Scifi read, especially of the apocalyptic kind or to anyone who read and enjoyed Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I’ve already raved about it to some close bookish friends and they’ve added it to their TBRs!!

 

I’d like to give another big Thank You to Harlequin for inviting me to participate in this blog tour, and for partnering with NetGalley to provide me with a free ebook copy of A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen in exchange for an honest review. I can’t wait to read the next two books in the Winter 2020 Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour line up.

 

Until next time, Happy Reading! 🙂

My 2019 in Books!

Hi friends, I hope you’re all having a great day! I meant to get this post out shortly after the New Year, but I’m a little behind. It’s filing season and that means work is insanely busy. We’re almost done though!! Before I get too far into my 2020 reading adventures, I’d like to share my recap of 2019 with everyone!

At the start of 2019 I set my Goodreads Reading goal to 150 books, and I met my goal with exactly 150 books read! I surprised myself by reading that many books, but I read some really wonderful books! That being said, I’ve prepared my Top 10 favorite reads of the year and my 5 least favorite reads of 2019.

My Top 10 is sorted by 5 YA and 5 Adult, I tend to read more YA books than Adult. One of my goals this year is to read more of a mix. So here they are, my Top 10 reads of 2019!! 😊 Most, is not all, were ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ reads for me!!

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Top 5 YA of 2019 (In no particular order)

  • Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan
  • The Folk of the Air Trilogy by Holly Black
  • Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford
  • The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare

Top 5 Adult of 2019

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
  • Turn the Other Way by Stuart James

Honorable mention to some other books that I wanted to put in my Top 10 but shared slots don’t always work….

  • Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
  • Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan
  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Next, my Least 5 Favorite of 2019. I disliked these books for many different reasons. Mostly they were just not my kind of book, didn’t wow me, or just had me confused the entire book. I don’t want my dislike of them to sway anyone from reading them, as there are many positive reviews for all 5 of these books.

Least 5 Favorite of 2019

  • Rising (A Mystical Slayer Prequel) by Michael W Huard.
  • The Last 8 by Laura Pohl
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
  • Slenderman by Anonymous

It was more difficult than I though it would be making these lists. I loved so many books, and really didn’t want to give a “bottom 5” to any books. I’m not one to bash books, but to just say not for me. I am so excited for the bookish adventures that 2020 will bring. I’ve read 6 books already and have quite a few more on deck! Keep an eye out for my upcoming Blog Tours, Reviews and other adventures!!

Until then, Happy Reading! 🤓

Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin- Harlequin Winter 2020 Blog Tour

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Hi friends!! I completely thought I had written my last blog post for the Winter 2020 Tour when I wrote my review for Husband Material by Emily Belden, but I was wrong!! Oopsies! This is my last and final review for the Harlequin Winter 2020 Romance & Women’s Fiction Blog Tour train. Thanks again #Harlequin and #NetGalley, I’ve had such a great time reading my selected books. This review is for Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin, and without further ado let’s dive in!!

 

 

THE LITTLE BOOKSHOP ON THE SEINE

Author: Rebecca Raisin 

ISBN: 9781335012500

Publication Date: 1/7/2020

Publisher: HQN Books

 

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target 

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

 

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @JaxandWillsMum

Facebook: @RebeccaRaisinAuthor

Instagram: @RebeccaRaisinWrites

Goodreads

 

Author Bio: Rebecca Raisin is the author of several novels, including the beloved Little Paris series and the Gingerbread Café trilogy, and her short stories have been published in various anthologies and fiction magazines. You can follow Rebecca on Facebook, and at http://www.rebeccaraisin.com

 

Book Summary:

 

It’s The Holiday on the Champs-Élysées in a great big love letter to Paris, charming old bookstores and happily-ever-afters!

When bookshop owner Sarah Smith is offered the opportunity for a job exchange with her Parisian friend Sophie, saying yes is a no-brainer—after all, what kind of romantic would turn down six months in Paris? Sarah is sure she’s in for the experience of a lifetime—days spent surrounded by literature in a gorgeous bookshop, and the chance to watch the snow fall on the Eiffel Tower. Plus, now she can meet up with her journalist boyfriend, Ridge, when his job takes him around the globe.

But her expectations cool faster than her café au lait soon after she lands in the City of Light—she’s a fish out of water in Paris. The customers are rude, her new coworkers suspicious and her relationship with Ridge has been reduced to a long-distance game of phone tag, leaving Sarah to wonder if he’ll ever put her first over his busy career. As Christmas approaches, Sarah is determined to get the shop—and her life—back in order…and make her dreams of a Parisian happily-ever-after come true.

 

 

– My Review –

 

I immediately felt connected to the main character Sarah Smith when I found out that she is a huge bibliophile and owns her own bookshop!! It’s always been a dream of mine to either work in Publishing or to own my own Bookshop. Sarah and I are similar in more ways than just books though, we are both from a small town and we withdraw into fiction when we aren’t feeling a social connection in the real world. I absolutely LOVE that Sarah’s boyfriend is HQ material though, as I felt that it proves that any two people can fall in love regardless of their looks or professions.

The bookshop swap made for such a fun story, as a person’s assimilation into a foreign culture is an adventure within itself even without running a friend’s bookshop. The diversity of the characters was fun, quirky and endearing. The description of all the french foods Sarah tried had my mouth watering. I was ready to hop on the next flight to Paris! The ending of the book had my heart warmed and a smile on my face! It really was a very cute story. One that I would recommend to anyone looking for a happy read.

 

 

Until next time, Happy Reading! 🙂

The German House by Annette Hess – NetGalley Review

#NetGalley #GermanHouse #historicalfiction #worldwar2 #booknerd #readingislife #bookreview #goodwinterread

 

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Description (from NetGalley)-

Set against the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials of 1963, Annette Hess’s international bestseller is a harrowing yet ultimately uplifting coming-of-age story about a young female translator—caught between societal and familial expectations and her unique ability to speak truth to power—as she fights to expose the dark truths of her nation’s past.

If everything your family told you was a lie, how far would you go to uncover the truth?

For twenty-four-year-old Eva Bruhns, World War II is a foggy childhood memory. At the war’s end, Frankfurt was a smoldering ruin, severely damaged by the Allied bombings. But that was two decades ago. Now it is 1963, and the city’s streets, once cratered are smooth and paved. Shiny new stores replace scorched rubble. Eager for her wealthy suitor, Jürgen Schoormann, to propose, Eva dreams of starting a new life away from her parents and sister. But Eva’s plans are turned upside down when a fiery investigator, David Miller, hires her as a translator for a war crimes trial.

As she becomes more deeply involved in the Frankfurt Trials, Eva begins to question her family’s silence on the war and her future. Why do her parents refuse to talk about what happened? What are they hiding? Does she really love Jürgen and will she be happy as a housewife? Though it means going against the wishes of her family and her lover, Eva, propelled by her own conscience , joins a team of fiery prosecutors determined to bring the Nazis to justice—a decision that will help change the present and the past of her nation.

 

My Review –

This story peaked my interest as soon as I read the description. It’s not your usual World War II historical fiction story. What interested me was that this takes place many years after the war and involves the Frankfurt Trials. The multiple sub-plot lines keep the story moving forward, and intertwine in the most creative way. I really enjoyed the personality of the protagonist, Eva Bruhns. At times, I felt like giving her fiancé a piece of my mind. I couldn’t stand how controlling he came across, but then I have to remind myself that this was how men acted back in the 60s. The time period was so well written, with mentions of The Beatles on their claim to fame. Ironically, this book takes place around Christmas time, and that is when I ended up reading it. That I think that definitely helped me relate more to the story, and had me in the mood for it. I highly recommend reading The German House during the winter, it has a lot of snowfall mentioned, so if you’re somewhere snowy and you love historical fiction then read this!!! 🙂

I tend to get tired of WWII historical fiction, it’s a very heavy time period and can wear on one’s soul. This was a refreshing perspective, and I enjoyed it! I’m so thankful to have been approved for an ARC of The German House through NetGalley, and thank you to HarperCollins Publishing as well. I will definitely be looking to read more books by Annette Hess, especially if she writes more historical fiction with unique perspectives. It’s a genre I’d like to read more of, but also a genre that has so many set during WWII and not enough set during different periods in time.

 

 

Until next time, Happy Reading! 🙂

Husband Material – Harlequin Holiday Blog Tour – Winter 2020

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#HarlequinPublishing #NetGalley #HusbandMaterial #romance #lovestory #booknerd #blogtour #reallifestruggles

 

Hey, hey book nerds!! I’m back with my final review for Harlequin’s Winter 2020 Holiday Blog Tour and I just have to say, this has been so much fun! Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing for this opportunity to be a part of the Blog Tour fun! I’ve read some pretty cute stories from this tour and they were all books that took me outside my comfort zone. I never believed myself to be a fan of romance reads, I think I had a stigma that they were always sicky sweet like Hallmark movies. But, since I’ve started this Blog Tour I’ve changed my opinion, especially with this last read. I felt that it focused so much more on women’s real life struggles than just another love story. So without further ado, here we go!!

 

Husband Material : A Novel 

Emily Belden

On Sale Date: December 30, 2019

9781525805981, 1525805983

Trade Paperback

$15.99 USD, $19.99 CAD

Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy 

304 pages

 

Summary:

Told in Emily Belden’s signature edgy voice, a novel about a young widow’s discovery of her late husband’s secret and her journey toward hope and second-chance love.

Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she’s a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she’s faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it.

Yet Charlotte’s algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband’s ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband’s best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not.

But soon a shocking secret surfaces, forcing Charlotte to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at new love arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.

 

Author Bio:

EMILY BELDEN is a journalist, social media marketer, and storyteller. She is the author of the novel Hot Mess and Eightysixed: A Memoir about Unforgettable Men, Mistakes, and Meals. She lives in Chicago. Visit her website at http://www.emilybelden.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @emilybelden.

Advance Praise for Husband Material

“Tackling thorny questions of widowhood and dating after trauma, Belden’s second novel is witty, full of heart, and blindingly au courant. Packed with pop-culture references, it will appeal to fans of Sophie Kinsella, Rosie Walsh, and Plum Sykes. Belden writes twists and turns to keep readers hooked.” Booklist

“Charming.” Publishers Weekly

“Sensitive, thoughtful, and touching.” —Library Journal

“In this touching, witty, and timely book, Emily Belden deftly explores the complexities of human relationships in our increasingly tech-obsessed world. By turns heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny, Husband Material beautifully demonstrates that you can’t reduce love to a bunch of 1s and 0s.”

—Kristin Rockaway, author of How To Hack a Heartbreak

 

Buy Links:

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781525805981_husband-material.html

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Husband-Material-Emily-Belden/dp/1525805983

 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/husband-material-emily-belden/1129908343?ean=9781525805981#/

 

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781525805981

 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/husband-material-12

 

Google Books: https://books.google.com/books/about/Husband_Material.html?id=0sR6DwAAQBAJ

 

Social Links:

Author website: http://www.emilybelden.com/

Twitter: @emilybelden

Instagram: @emilybelden

Facebook: @emilybeldenauthor

 

– My Review –

I picked Husband Material by Emily Belden as my first read of 2020. I wanted to start the year off with something fun and light, and I am so glad I did because I really enjoyed it. Husband Material was such a dynamic story with heartbreak, heart melting moments, and humor. Within the first couple pages I was close to spitting my drink out from a funny line I read. Those are my favorite moments in books, where something is so funny you can’t help but physically react. There were a couple twists that threw me off (but in a good way!) and kept me intrigued needing to know what happened next. I loved the characters, especially the roommate Casey who had a totally opposite personality from Charlotte and added great character dynamics, as well and Charlotte’s Mother-in-law who actually surprised me by the end of the book.

I really loved seeing how Charlotte grew from the first page to the last. She overcame some really big life struggles that were completely relatable, and I felt that the ending was all wrapped up beautifully and tied with a bow by the end. It’s never fun when a book has a sloppy ending leaving you with questions, which this wasn’t one of those. The writing was easy flowing, almost to a point where I felt like I had a movie playing in my head. I love when that happens, don’t you? I will definitely be adding Emily Belden to my list of top authors to read! I can’t wait to read more of her books this year. If you’re looking for a lighter, endearing read then I definitely recommend Husband Material!!

Thank you for tuning in for my latest blog tour installment here at booksnbites! I have a review for another NetGalley ARC posting tomorrow, as well as my 2019 year in books.

 

Happy Reading! 🙂

 

Ruthless Gods by Emily A Duncan – Review

Hey there friends!! I hope everyone had a safe and joyful Holiday, and that you aren’t working too hard. I’m finally back in my humble abode and going back to work tomorrow. It was a long and short 6 days off, if that can even be a thing. LOL! I didn’t get as much reading done as I’d hoped, but I finished the important book… Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2) by Emily A. Duncan! I’ve almost finished an audiobook as well, but that will come in a later discussion!! So without further adieu, here is my review!!

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#NetGalley #ruthlessgods #stmartinspress #wednesdaybooks #darkfantasy #yafantasy #booknerd #awesomereads #somethingdarkandholy #readgoodbooks

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2) by Emily A. Duncan

Description –

The stunning sequel to instant New York Times bestseller, Wicked Saints

Ruthless Gods opens the door to a world of fallen gods and eldritch horrors… Gruesome, grotesque, and so, so glorious.” – Erin A. Craig, New York Times bestselling author of House of Salt and Sorrows

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. Their paths are being orchestrated by someone…or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.

In her dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in her Something Dark and Holy trilogy, Emily A. Duncan paints a Gothic, icy world where shadows whisper, and no one is who they seem, with a shocking ending that will leave you breathless.

Ruthless Gods will leave fans demanding the final installment in the trilogy.” – Christine Lynn Herman, author of The Devouring Gray

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MyReview – 

Gruesome, grotesque and glorious is such a perfect way to describe this outstanding sequel to Wicked Saints, and Erin A Craig (author of House of Salt & Sorrows) couldn’t have said it better! Wicked Saints set the scene perfectly and left you needing to know more, all while nursing a broken heart. I immediately started Ruthless Gods because I needed to know what happened to Nadya and Malachiasz, Serefin, and the rest of their unique group of travelers. Immediately I was drawn to the darkness surrounding Malachiasz, the leader of a Tranavian heretic cult known as the Vultures. His attempt to ascend from mortal to god was such an intriguing subplot, intertwined with Nadya’s struggle with her duties as a cleric and her belief in faith vs what her heart desires.

The character development was so intricate in Ruthless Gods, as we learned more about some of the secondary characters and met some new characters. The progress of the paths of the divine trio, which is what I like to call Serefin, Malachiasz, and Nadya, is so full of tension and action packed that it’s nearly impossible to pick which one to root for, let alone pick a favorite. There is never a lull in the plot line which can sometimes happen in sequels, but not in this one! The scenes in the divine forrest were absolutely horrific in all the best ways! Remind me never to go walking in the woods and especially at night, even if I’m with a group of people or not. The folklore included in the story was spooky and created the perfect mood. I don’t know about you, but monsters that scream and can impersonate those close to you with a single strand of hair are absolutely terrifying!!

I have so many questions after that ending, but I’m confident they will all be resolved in the third and final installment of the Trilogy. I hate that it’s so far away for the third book to come out, but that’s the downside to reading ARCs. It’s really not a bad thing at all though! Ruthless Gods has definitely left me heart broken, or rather absolutely shattered, and I LOVE it!! Having the emotional reaction to fictional characters in this way is always a sign of an amazing book in my opinion. I highly recommend that everyone who has read Wicked Saints reads Ruthless Gods, I promise you’ll like it more than the first book!! If you haven’t read either of these books yet then chop, chop!!! Go on, get it now!!! These are the perfect YA Dark Fantasy books in a series built around Russian cultural influences, Gods and monsters.

 

A HUGEEEE Thank You to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for approving my request for this eARC!!! I had an absolute blast reading this book and have been talking it up to all of my friends and facebook book groups!

 

Until next time, Happy Reading!!

Dec 2019/End of Year Wrap Up

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Hi friends! It’s nearly Christmas and I just can’t believe how quickly time has flown. This has been quite a month, and a year, but all full of good things! With just about a week left I’ve been reflecting on what an amazing reading year I’ve had. Of course, the year isn’t over and I still have some books that I need to finish, and some I would like to finish.  Taking a look at my stats with the 2019 Goodreads Challenge goal I set for myself, I’ve read a total of 146 books so far this year, which leaves me with only 4 more to complete my challenge of reading 150 books. In 2018 I set myself the goal of reading 60 books (double my 2017 total) and I surprised myself by reaching that by midyear. I ended up bumping it to 100 books and completed the 2018 year with a total of 102 books read. I thought 150 books in 2019 would be a stretch, but it’s proven to be fairly easy. I probably would have exceeded my goal by now, but I had quite a reading slump starting around the end of September and stretching into early November. I only just got my groove back! I’ve also taken on a few bookish projects these past few months, having been accepted as an Ambassador for Celadon Books to review early ARCs, as well as being invited to participate in a lot of Blog Tours for Harlequin Publishing and all associated presses. It has been quite a blast!

 

Here is what I’ve read so far this month….

  1. Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs by Jennifer Finney Boylan – 5 stars
  2. Tater Tot at the Chase: A Happy Helper by Laura Holman Byrne (gift for my nephew) – 4 stars
  3. Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev (gift for my nephew) – 4 stars
  4. An Alaskan Christmas (Wild River #1) by Jennifer Snow – 4 stars
  5. Christmas in London by Anita Hughes – 3 stars
  6. Shark’s Edge (Shark’s Edge #1) by Angel Payne & Victoria Blue – 4 stars
  7. The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater – 4 stars
  8. The Secret Zoo (The Secret Zoo #1) by Bryan Chick (gift for my niece) – 4 stars
  9. What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera – 4 stars
  10. Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan – 5 stars

 

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These are the books I still have in progress and hope to finish….

  1. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry – 5% in
  2. Patterns: Rise of Gods (The Patterns Trilogy #1) by Dark Ashton – 10% in
  3. The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman – 4% in
  4. The German House by Annette Hess – 50% in – Plan to review for NetGalley**

If I finish these I will meet my goal!!! Yay!!

But….. I have a couple books I haven’t started yet that I still need to read this month.

  1. Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2) by Emily A. Duncan – ARC from NetGalley for a review **
  2. Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva – a group read for a facebook group I help Admin
  3. A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro –  a group read for a facebook group I help Admin

 

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I have set some high goals for myself for the last 9 days of the year, but I’ll be on Christmas Vacation starting Tuesday and it’s going to be a nice low-key vacation. I’ll have plenty of reading time! I’m really looking forward to spending the holiday with my family and getting some rest and relaxation before I come back to work to complete the crazy season!! These last couple weeks have been tough between being very sick, and working overtime.

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Holidays! My wish for you is that you are able to spend time with family and friends, have a hot meal and get to put your feet up for even a little while. Remember to take some time away from social media distractions and cherish time spent with those around you, as we quite often take it for granted. Merry Christmas!!

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Coming Soon in 2020….

  • Blog Tour Review for Husband Material by Emily Belden
  • 2020 Reading Goals
  • Review for Net Galley ARC of The Night Country by Melissa Albert
  • Blog Tour Review for Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebeca Raisin
  • Reviews for The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
  • Review for Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw
  • Review for Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
  • Blog Tour Review for A Beginning At The End by Mike Chen
  • Blog Tour Review for Cast in Wisdom by Michelle Sagara
  • Review for NetGalley ARC of Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine
  • Review for NetGalley/MacMillan ARC of Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long
  • Blog Tour Review for Don’t Read The Comments by Eric Smith
  • Review for NetGalley ARC of Sparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson

 

Happy Reading!!