Monthly Wrap-Up: September 2020

Morning, everyone!

I wish September was a better month for me and my family, but it hit more bumps than anything else. So I hope the new month is better!

At the end of last month, I took some time to deal with everything, so I hope that blogging gets back on track. I’ve missed you all.

I hope you enjoy the post.

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Most Anticipated Reads of October 2019

Morning, bloggers!

You’re glad a new month has arrived, yeah? I am. I think the last one killed my bank account and any savings I had left. Now October isn’t as bad as September with new releases, so at least we bloggers and readers can easily take a collective sigh and breather.

Thankfully, this month doesn’t have many titles I’m interested in. But I thought you might like these. Enjoy reading, everyone!

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Review | Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh

Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh

Published by: G. P Putnam’s Son

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Historical

Page Count: 415

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


The highly anticipated sequel to Flame in the Mist—an addictive, sumptuous finale that will leave readers breathless from the bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn.

After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice—to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor’s ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead.

With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and very the safety of the empire.


“Ours is a love stronger than fear and deeper than the sea”

I’ve been waiting to come back to this beautiful, rich, and detailed series. Renée combines fantasy, historical touches, and romance that will make her readers swoon. Smoke in the Sun doesn’t disappoint.

I’ve been putting off this review for awhile. Now, I’m still not sure if I can express the thoughts I feel about this book. When I started reading it, I was anticipating high action and deadly battles. And while we do see that more toward the end, Renée offers a story that creeps up on you, draws your attention, then attacks your every emotion. By the final book, I’m invested in these well fleshed out characters who I adore and who bring a different perspective to the novel.

Women who seem to play more of a background role are truly the hidden force and the backbone of the series. I’ve been craving a book where women will risk everything, even their own lives, to fight for a better world. And Renée beautifully illustrates that the power they have to offer.

The worldbuilding relies much more on court politics. And that is where Renée’s writing shines. Betrayals, deceptions, an unstable leader, and familial bonds intertwine to make a complex and layered storytelling. I wasn’t sure what to expect from one chapter to the next. And I loved living in the thrill of finding out. And I enjoyed how she spines her intricate tale. But her characters may just surpass her writing though. Each one adds to the depth of the story itself, and I can’t help but rave about them.

Mariko—who survived an assassination attempt, fell in love with the enemy, and outwitted even the Black Clan—is a well-developed main character. Along with persuading her betrothed and her brother, she must protect Okami and discover who wants her dead. I adore her development in Smoke. Sometimes, you need to read of a quiet yet forceful character who surprises you.

Okami, oh my heart, suffers so much. And yet his strength and determination are what make him an outstanding character. He doesn’t let the empire or the emperor break him. I thought I loved him in Flame, but I was wrong. I don’t always comment on secondary characters, yet I feel that they deserve at least a mention. Each one brings a new dynamic to the story.

I knew coming into this duology that I would want more sequels, more storylines, and frankly more everything. Yet Renée offers a satisfying conclusion to an already thrilling series. You need to read it.

“Our deepest truths are usually the hardest to conceal.”

Monthly Wrap-Up | June 2018

Seriously?! June is over? I cannot believe it is. I’m kind of freaking out at how fast this year is going. So I needed to take some time away from blogging. My life has been too hectic. And just for the sake of doing so, I didn’t want to publish something half ass. But you’ll be seeing me around much more though!

Let me know how your June has gone! I’d love to check up with all of you.

 

Yeah, last month, reading took a back seat. I couldn’t decide which book to read, which one to hold off on, and which one to finish. I went back and forth from one book to the next. Don’t you hate you that? I know I do. I can’t stand it when indecisiveness rules my every choice.

But with the books I did read, I enjoyed. And I was finally able to read two of my most anticipated reads of this year!

 

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

⭐⭐⭐⭐½

I need to find my fellow Dantella groupies because I need to squee about this book. Caraval is one book that snuck on me when I didn’t expect it. And I’ve been eagerly waiting to read Legendary. But like other readers, I was hesitant to read a book solely on Tella’s POV. Tella is a tricky character for me. She bothered me in Stephanie’s debut novel, but I loved her in this one. Stephanie blends magic, intrigue, and politics and creates an enchanting experience.

I cannot wait to read Finale.

 

Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book is GORGEOUS. It rivals Flame in the Mist, and I thought that book was too beautiful for words. Smoke brings on a rollercoaster of emotions for me. Going in, I knew my favourite characters, Mariko and Okami, would suffer, but I was not anticipating the need to punch a wall and scream, “don’t hurt my babies!” at 2 in the morning.

Renée beautifully crafts a historical fantasy you’ve been hoping to read. And while the book is a slow burn, it will satisfy her dedicated readers. I’m hooked.

 

Winter by Marissa Meyer

This book is BEAST. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m enjoying it. Even though I’m late to the game, I don’t want this series to end. Finally, the entire crew joins forces to take down the evil bitch queen we call Levana (bless my swearing skills). I feel the story starts off slow and then builds off of that. I enjoy seeing how each character interacts, and I hope to finish this monster off shortly.

I cannot wait to find more sci-fi books. I don’t want to miss any great series. So shoot me some of your favourite picks! I’d love to discover more!


Give it to me to buy more books than I read for the month. Okay, I can’t put the blame on that. I had several pre-orders, so don’t judge. What am I saying?! I’m talking to fellow book nerds.

I wanted to keep my book haul short for June since I wasn’t sure if I’d read this all (I’m glad I decided ahead of time, or I’d be kicking my butt right now). But I was able to pick up books I’ve been dying to read. And hopefully, I’ll get to them soon.

Who am I kidding? I’ll just keep adding to my pile. 😂

 

So what was your most anticipated book for June? Did you get into a reading slump like me? Let me know in the comments!!

Reading Wrap-Up: May 2017

May Wrap-Up.png

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

MY HEART IS BLEEDING. And I don’t know how to stop it. Can someone just hug me? Please? I’m serious. This book has emotionally drained me. Anyways. I’ve been living in this fae world for several months now (clearly not enough time for me), and I’m sad to see Feyre’s story end. If Feyre and Rhys weren’t enough to break my heart, then all the others in the Night Court would. I adore Sarah’s complex world, and I just hope her next instalments will live up to this past one!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½

Hello, morbid nerd alert. How do you capture my attention? Bring in a character who possesses death. I think you had me at the word “death.” I cannot stop reading Gena’s Lords of the Underworld series. I’m trying to catch up to my friend, who just loves to give me tidbits from the next books (book tease, anyone?!). The series hooked me from the beginning. You get tortured immortal warriors who are doomed to house demons, fast-paced action, and even faster love stories.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I have found my spirit animal…in a comic strip. Sarah captures who I am: the slight social introvert who cannot get enough books, the awkward nerd who lives in hoodies, and the odd cat lover. I’ve been following some of her work for several years but haven’t got the chance to read her debut strip until now. I love it. Highly recommend!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ahhh, this book is to die for. Obviously the sequel hits just the right notes. I finished these two comic strips in under an hour. If you think Sarah’s first strip was good, then definitely pick this one up. The sequel has a stronger cohesive flow to it. But she doesn’t scrimp on the social awkwardness. And I love how she brings humour to social anxiety.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Gena finally gives us Reyes and Danika’s story. She has hinted at it from the first book, Darkest Night and strung us along for awhile. I love these two. Reyes, keeper of Pain, has intrigued me from the first time he met Danika. Gena adds in a bit of forbidden love, and she has me hooked.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You know, I’ve wondered how I’d like reading about Sabin, the keeper of Doubt and the leader of the Greek faction. In previous instalments he sometimes got on my nerves, but with this sequel, I’ve grown to like him more. And he just gets more adorable when he find Gwen, a kidnapped harpy even his demon is afraid of!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

I’ve been waiting to read this book for about a year. And Flame in the Mist doesn’t disappoint. I wasn’t expecting to love it this much, but I do. It is a beautifully written and lyrical fantasy that I’m sad to put down and is definitely one of my greatest reads for this year.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Surprisingly, I enjoyed reading this new Shadowhunter series. I’ve been always gone back to Cassie’s work, since her last two series have been my guilty pleasure for years. Cassie introduces the Blackthorns and Emma Carstairs in City of Heavenly Fire, and since then I’ve wondered how they’d survive after a devastating lost and heal. She plays with the parabatai and forbidden love storyline, so I wonder what what she has to offer in the sequel.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Book Haul: May 2017

I’m spoiled. I wasn’t expecting a large book haul last month. But I finally received my two most anticipated books of 2017! What did you get? Let me know in the comments.

 

25487124Missing by Kelley Armstrong

YA novel with a mystery/thriller twist and a Kelley book? I’m in. Honestly, I don’t need to read the synopsis; I’ll just add the book to my ever growing TBR on Goodreads and pre-order it. I’m turning desperate, I swear.

Every teenager dreams of leaving Reeve’s End. Winter Crane hopes to do the same. But when she finds a boy left for dead in the forest she loves, she wonders what has happened to the other teenagers.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

ACOWAR is my most anticipated book of the year, and I cannot stop looking at it. Obviously Sarah is planning to write more novels from the ACOTAR world, but I’m rather sad to see Feyre’s POV end, since I believe Feyre has more stories to tell.

ACOWAR (ominous acronym, don’t you say?) quickly starts off from ACOMAF. Feyre is back in the Spring Court and hopes to find everything she can about the coming war and the King of Hybern. But with betrayal and deceit at every turn, Feyre must find who she can trust and who will be her ally.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Here’s my second most anticipated book of 2017. I’ve been waiting to read this book for a long time! And I’ve bee drooling over that cover equally as long.

Mariko, a daughter of a samuri, survives an attack while she was on route to her betrothed. To discover why she marked for death, she infiltrates the Black Clan. But what she soon learns will change her life.

I’ve recently finished it, so I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

Beth, you are a godsend. And naturally you continue to supply my book addiction you created. 😂 I love you, woman.

Determined to find ancient artifacts that may lead to the Lords’ freedom, Lucien, Keeper of Death, is ordered to kill Anya, the Goddess of Anarchy. What he doesn’t know that she’s hellbent on hooking him.

The second instalment of the Lords of the Underworld series will capture the attention of any paranormal romance reader.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

Danika Ford has been on the run for months, since Aeron, the Keeper of Wrath is tasked to kill her and her family. Finally, I get to read Reyes’ book. Reyes, the Keeper of Pain, can’t help but protect her. But their undeniable attraction may just doom them both.

Gena has been hinting at Danika and Reyes’ story since the first book, The Darkest Night. And I’ve been eagerly waiting to read their book since my friend gifted it to me.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

Sabin, Keeper of Doubt, prefers the battlefield over the bedroom. And I don’t blame him. His demon will shatter any woman’s confidence. But Gwen, a harpy oddly nicknamed the Timid, is up for the challenge, even though she fears Sabin may spark her inner harpy. He takes her under his wing once he and the other Lords set her and other supernaturals free from the Hunters.

But the Lords’ hunt for the artifacts leading them to Pandora’s Box may just become increasingly dangerous than the warriors thought.

Keep your eyes open for my review!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Review: Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

23308087Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Publication Date: May 16, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 416

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.


“I’ve never been angry to have been born a woman. There have been times I’ve been angry at how the world treats us, but I see being a woman as a challenge I must fight.”

Wow. Plot twists don’t always surprise me or catch me off guard, but Flame in the Mist has taken me for a magic-filled journey that I wasn’t expecting. Renée creates a culturally rich story I don’t want to leave. And I’m not sure how to express my love I have for this book.

After surviving a botched attack, Mariko, daughter of a samuri who seeks a higher station in life, infiltrates the Black Clan, a ruthless gang hired to kill her on her way to meet her betrothed. A hidden alchemist and inventor dressing as a peasant boy, she is determined to discover why she was almost murdered and who paid the Black Clan to go forth with her death. But when her plan goes awry, the clan takes her prisoner. There she meets the leader of the clan, Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, Okami, and realizes that secrets and lies enshroud these two and the life she has always known isn’t what she thought it was.

 

“Sometimes we must fall forward to keep moving. Remain motionless—remain unyielding—and you are as good as dead. Death follows indecision, like a twisted shadow. Fall forward. Keep moving. Even if you must pick yourself up first.”

Renée throws in touches of Tahir’s Ember in the Ashes and a dash of Robinhood. I’m not convinced of the Mulan connection though. But I easily fell in to her book and couldn’t get out. The only things keeping me from it were sleep and, well, life. I’m not always a fan of fast-paced fantasy novels. Sometimes some scenes are lacking what I crave. But she paces this book beautifully. She captures the setting in such a way that I could immediately imagine what I was reading and adds just enough magic to spark my interest. I love her writing. It isn’t grandiose. It is straightforward, but it also takes you a magical adventure. Hidden agendas, political deception, secrets, lies, plot twists, and slow burning romance will captivate readers who look for a story that stands out from the rest.

Do you know what I look for in the literary world? More women empowerment. But more importantly, I look for male characters who aren’t afraid of women who fight back and are willing to support them. In some stories, you get women tearing down others. Why? Tell me how women shaming helps us. It doesn’t. Now that we have that issue behind us, Flame in the Mist exudes women empowerment. Renée’s book had me dancing in my chair and quietly yelling, “Yes!” Bless Renée for incorporating it into her book.

No, I cannot say I am an expert on Japanese mythology, culture, or traditions. I feel that Renée has honoured them though, and she certainly brings them to the forefront of her writing. You see the attention to detail she weaves in, and I enjoy how this culture stands on its own. She also puts in Japan-inspired creatures that kept my fangirl screaming. The jubokko, a vampire tree, may just be my favourite. A VAMPIRE TREE, people. Have some respect for an author who writes that in.

But what shines above all else are her characters. I rarely say that I enjoy all characters. I usually find a flaw I can’t stand or a character development that doesn’t make sense, but I love hers. No characters were needlessly added for a filler. Each one adds to the story. Mariko’s quiet demeanour and resolve allow her talents to be through life. But don’t let them fool you. Behind them, Mariko‘s a force no one should go up against. Her family members underestimate this alchemist, and in doing so, they set her on a track to prove her worth. I adore her. The odd calls to odd, I say. She refuses to let the world bend her and to change her to what she family wants her to be.

Okami, the Wolf of the Black Clan, creeps up on you. Authors will always grab my attention when they write a tortured, silent, yet argumentative man who likes nothing more than to test the main character. Lord help me if I find this kind of man. I’ll be done for. He moves the story along and adds intrigue to it as well. You get glimpses of Takeda Ranmaru. But what you see interests me. Both men—hell, all these men live by a code—are connected by their father’s past. They have untold stories, and I hope Renée explores them further in the sequel.

Flame in the Mist may be my first story I’ve read from Renée’s repertoire, but I hope to read her previous work and truly hope to read more from her. She has developed a beautiful craft that will take her far. I cannot wait to see what she will do for the sequel!

Spring 2017 Recent and Upcoming Releases

This little bookworm needs to stop being shy around other bloggers. Bloggers mean friends. And friends are good (not food [I had to throw that in 😂]) So let’s talk books! What are you looking forward to for this season? What’s on your pre-order list? What’s your instant buy? Let me know in the comments. Here’s my list for recent and upcoming releases I’ve been waiting for.

 

Missing (April 18)

Another Kelley book? Come on, it’s me. Kelley publishes a book, and I’ll buy it. This YA has an interesting twist. The kids in Reeve’s End always leave town, but when Winter Crane discovers a boy left for dead, she wonders if all the children who have left are missing. Sounds interesting? Yes, indeed. I can’t wait to jump into another one of her mystery/thriller books. She hasn’t written many YA mysteries, so I wonder where she’ll go with this one.

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin (May 2)

I’m slipping more into the YA genre. And I admit that I’m completely and entirely hooked. Just twelve more days. TWELVE DAYS. I haven’t anticipated a book this badly. And we get 720 glorious pages! Okay, calm yourself, Sib. Now A Court of Wings and Ruins may just kill me, but I want it more than any other book (fighting words, yes?).

I can’t get enough of this series. The fanfiction doesn’t satisfy me, the illustrations somewhat stave off my anticipation, but I need the book. And my little bat babies. Hello, wingspan. 😍 Cue the fangirl screaming now. Cauldron help me.

 

Flame in the Mist (May 16)

Look at this cover! I’m in love. For months, I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about the Flame in the Mist. Betrayal, murder, Feudal Japan, and a kickass woman who infiltrates a male-only gang? I’m in. I haven’t read any of Renée‘s other work, but her book certainly piques my interest.

Waiting on Wednesday: Flame in the Mist

WoW4_edited-3

Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, is a weekly meme that showcases upcoming book releases readers are eagerly awaiting.

23308087.jpegFlame in the Mist

Renée Ahdieh

Publication Date: May 16, 2017

Extent: 368 pages

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Why Am I Waiting?

Flame in the Mist is a retelling of Mulan. MULAN, I REPEAT, MULAN. What more can I say? I’m slowly getting into retellings. But this one, set in Feudal Japan, is just the book I’m looking for. Since childhood, I’ve adored her story. This year, I hope to find more stories focusing on POC protagonists. I’ve heard a lot of Renée’s previous series. So I look forward to see how Renée incorporates the Japanese culture into her book.

And  I can’t get over that cover.