ARC Review For Trail of Crumbs by Lisa J. Lawrence

 

Disclaimer: This Ebook was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warnings: 

Parental neglect, rape, slut-shaming

My Rating: 

5 STARS

Initially, I requested this ARC on NetGalley due to my misconception that it was a Hansel and Gretal retelling. While it certainly does contain some noticeable elements found in the classic fairy tale we all know and love, I definitely wouldn’t deem it a “retelling”.

Because it’s honestly so much more than that.

Trail of Crumbs follows young Greta and her twin brother, Ash, as they deal with the aftermath of their neglectful father and cruel step-mother leaving them. As they struggle to come up with the funds needed to provide for themselves, they find an unlikely companion in their eccentric landlord along with his strong-willed daughter. At the same time, Greta finds herself trying to come to terms with what actually happened during a party where she presumably “had sex” and blacked out… She wants the justice she deserves, but will anyone believe her when she reveals how that night really played out?

This beautiful book surpassed my expectations by a landslide.

I loved everything about it, starting with the characters. Greta was a likeable protagonist from the beginning, with her thoughtful narration and her relatable experiences. I loved how she had such a close-knit relationship with Ash, for most siblings in YA literature are portrayed as cold, distinct, and often cruel towards the main character. Ash and Greta were constantly helping, protecting, and looking out for each other. Their connection was so heartwarming to read about!

Additionally, I really enjoyed getting to see Greta’s character grow and develop as the novel progressed. Throughout the book, Greta is constantly thrown into tragic and heartbreaking situations that no teenage girl should have to endure… But, fortunately, because of these experiences, Greta becomes a stronger individual and proves that it is possible to recover and rebuild yourself after hardships.

Not only did I like the primary characters in this novel, but I also appreciated the supporting ones. Elgin, Alice, Noah, and Priya were all unique secondary characters that managed to be just as fleshed out as the main ones! Personally, as an avid reader, I believe that supporting characters should be just as interesting to read about as primary characters. Lisa J. Lawrence did an excellent job of creating a complex and diverse cast of characters, so kudos to her!

Moving on, might I just mention how much I love the author’s writing style? Ms. Lawrence has managed to weave a beautiful and lyrical story that will have you compelled until the very last page. Her writing is so unique and refreshing to see amongst many of the poorly paced, trope-filled novels you see on shelves today (No shade or anything)!

All in all, I really enjoyed Trail of Crumbs and would recommend it to anyone who appreciates a well-written contemporary read that tackles significant issues found in society today.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Orca Publishers, and Lisa J. Lawrence for providing me with this book! It’s been a pleasure working with you!

Rip it or Ship it Book Tag!

Hi everyone! Today I have a very exciting post that I’m quite eager to share with you! It’s something I’ve been wanting to for a long time, which is…

The Rip it or Ship it Book Tag!

As I’ve grown more invested in the book blogging community, I’ve noticed this tag pop up in my feed more and more frequently. So, it’s about time I join the fun and do it!

The rules for this tag are fairly simple:

1. Write down the names of characters from different books on scraps of paper. You can do as many as you like, but I did 18 (10 girls, 8 boys).

2. Put them in a container of your choosing. Hats, bowls, and bags work well.

3. Pull out two names at the time (without looking!!!).

4. Decision time! Do you ship them or do you want their relationship to die a peaceful/painful death? Tell the world!

With that being said, let’s begin!

Round 1: Nina Zenik and Chaol Westfall

So I know they say opposites attract, but let’s face it: THIS WOULD NEVER WORK OUT!!! Chaol is far too serious and prickly to be compatible with Nina. Unfortunately, I am going to have to…

RIP IT!

Round 2: Nesta Archeron and America Singer

Hmm… This is interesting. For this pairing, I kind of wish there was an option in between ‘rip it’ and ‘ship it’. Cause, like, I kind of ship it??? I mean, this could work out because I think Nesta’s fiery spirit needs something (or someone *winkity wink*) to keep it under control, and I think America would be the perfect person to do that. So, I think I’m going to…

SHIP IT!

Round 3: Prince Elian and June Iparis

Let’s be clear about one thing: I will never ship June with anyone as much as I ship her with Day. But, Elian and Day do sort of have overlapping personalities, so this might actually be a decent pairing. I guess I…

SHIP IT!

Round 4: Juliette Ferrars and Levana Blackburn 

Nope, nope, and nope. There are very few characters with whom I ship Leavana, just because she is a very… interesting character with a lot of… unusual personality traits (if you know what I mean). Unfortunately, Juliette does not make an exception. She’s too much of a Gryffindor, and sorry, but isn’t she like 15 years younger than Leavana? Alas, I think I’m going to have to…

RIP IT!

Round 5: Jace Herondale and Lucien Vanserra

When I drew these two names together, I literally started laughing uncontrollably. Jace and Lucien? Now that’s a fictional ship I have yet to hear of! Seeing these two characters’ names side by side, my initial reaction was, Wait, what?! This would never work out!! Jace and Lucien are polar opposites! But then I pondered the possibility of these two being a couple, and I thought, hey, why not? I think this is sort of similar to the Nesta/America situation. Big, strong, tough-guy Jace needs someone to soften him, you know? Lol, I think I…

SHIP IT!

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I hope you guys enjoyed reading this tag as much as I did doing it! Let me know down below if you would like me to make more posts like this one! And if you want to join in on the rip-it-or-ship-it fun, then consider yourself tagged!

Wishing you the best of Sundays!

-Octavia

 

 

November Wrap-Up

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I feel like I say this about every month, but November really flew by! I literally feel like I was typing up my November TBR just yesterday! 

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Anyways, I’d say November was a pretty successful reading month! I read most of the books of my TBR and managed to post quite regularly! 

Books Read:

Here is a quick overview of all of the books I read this month!

1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: 

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4 stars

I’m pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this one! I admit, I’m usually not too fond of classics because they bore me and often trigger reading slumps. But Frankenstein did neither of those things! So yay!

2. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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4 Stars

I’m so glad I picked this one up! It was such a fun read that had me guessing until the very last page! And holy catfish, I did not expect that ending!

3. The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg

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2 Stars

Unfortunately, this was not my cup of tea at all. I know this sounds harsh, but I feel like Mallory Ortberg completely butchered some of my favourite fairy tales. Sadly, this was not the book for me. 

4. Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir

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4 Stars

This book was great! Nothing better than an interesting part of history told in the form of a fictional story!

5. What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard

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5 Stars

I have no words. This book was absolutely outstanding. You can find my review for it here. 

6. Flashback by Shannon Messenger

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While Flashback was certainly an enjoyable read, it had far too many Fitzphie moments for my liking! #TeamFosterKeefe for the win!

7. Bright We Burn by Kristin White

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4 Stars

While it wasn’t as good as Now I Rise, Bright We Burn was still a fantastic read! I’m so sad that this series has come to an end! ):

8. Wildcard by Marie Lu

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2 Stars

Heh heh… Unpopular opinion time! I’m honestly just not a fan of this duology, mainly due to its pace. I tried soooo hard to enjoy it, but it was SO BORING. Definitely my least favourite Marie Lu series. 

9. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

5 Stars

HOW HAVE I MANAGED TO HOLD OFF FROM READING THIS BEAUTIFUL BOOK UNTIL NOW?!! Honestly, though, how? This was such a cute, delightful, feel-good read!

10. Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

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4 Stars

I absolutely loved this book and the way it tackled depression and anxiety found in many teens! This is definitely a hidden gem that deserves more attention! (:

11. Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge

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4 Stars

This beautifully illustrated biography of Mary Shelley was absolutely breathtaking. I read it in one sitting!

12. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

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4 Stars

I’m so glad I read this book! Not only does it tackle the brutality of sexism, discrimination, and rape culture, but it also incorporates a complex and diverse body of characters, earnest portrayal of female friendships, and Alzheimer’s representation!

13. Renegades by Marissa Meyer

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4 Stars

While it doesn’t compete with the Lunar Chronicles (MY FAVOURITE SERIES EVER!!), this was still a fun, enjoyable read! Can’t wait to get my hands on Archenemies!

14. Roar by Cora Carmack

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1.5 Stars

Nope, nope, and NOPE. Roar was not my cup of tea. You can find my review for it here.

15. Geekerella by Ashley Poston

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5 Stars

Geekerella was SOOOO adorable! It’s one of those books that leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, you know? Ahhh, I can’t wait for The Princess and the Fangirl!

16. Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake

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4 Stars

Now I finally understand why this book is so hyped up! It’s an action-packed tale set in historical Ireland with a strong, capable female protagonist! A thumbs up from me!

17. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

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4 Stars

I received this novel in my November BOTM box and I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed it thoroughly! It’s a historical take on the sexism, discrimination, and inequality found in society.

18. Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi

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3 Stars

This book was bad… but good. Sure, it was jam-packed with tropes and cliches, but there was something about it that made it weirdly addicting… Well, needless to say, I will be reading Shatter Me’s sequel, Unravel Me.

19. East by Edith Pattou

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4 Stars

This is now definitely one of my favourite retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon! Find my review for it here.

20. Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror by Rachel R. Smith

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3 Stars

This novel wasn’t anything special, but it certainly wasn’t bad. I’m still debating over whether or not I will continue the series… Thoughts?

Quick Statistics:

Amount of Books Read: 20

Average Rating: 3.5 Stars

Percentage of Nov. TBR Read: 65% (13/20)

November Archive:

Here is an archive of all this month’s posts!

Why I Hate Rowan Whitethorn Galathynius From Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass Series

Beauty and the Beast Book Tag

November TBR/Goals

Review for What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard

November Book Haul

Greek Mythology Book Tag

Most Anticipated Reads of 2019

Thanksgiving Book Tag

Review for Roar by Cara Carmack

Review for East by Edith Pattou

Monthly Reflection:

I’m pretty pleased with my reading this month. I feel like a read a sufficient amount of books without falling over myself to do so. Not only that, but I also discovered several of my new favourite novels! I absolutely fell in love with What I Lost, Geekerella, and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda! 

However, I will say that I feel like most of the books I read were of the YA fantasy genre. In December, I plan to dip my feet into some different genres (Classics and Mysteries perhaps?) and try to limit the amount of YA fantasy I read (which will be no easy feat!)

Was November a good reading month for you?

Let me know down below in the comments!

But regardless of how much you read or how many books you enjoyed, I hope you had a wonderful month!

Who’s ready for December? I am!

I’m wishing you all the best!

-Octavia

 

 

Review for East by Edith Pattou

Book: East
Author: Edith Pattou
Page Count: 502
How I Found This Book: Goodreads
My Star Rating: 4.25/5

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Wow!! How have I held back from reading this delightful work of fiction until now?

East follows the story of Rose, a young teenage girl, who has always felt like an outsider among her family due to her free spirit and abundance of curiosity. Rose has always longed for an adventure, so when an enormous white bear mysteriously shows up and asks her to come away with him, she readily agrees. The bear takes Rose to a distant castle, where each night she is confronted with a mystery. In solving that mystery, she finds love, discovers her purpose, and realizes her travels have only just begun.

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I adored nearly everything about this beautiful book! Starting with…

  • The involvement of family. It made my heart swell up with joy when I realized that family was a very significant theme in this book. Throughout her life, Rose makes numerous sacrifices for her family members and shows just how much she loves and cares for them. This was very refreshing to see, for in most YA novels parents are portrayed as cruel and abusive and siblings are viewed as cold and distant. And let’s just take a moment to appreciate Rose’s AMAZING dad, Arne. Honestly, if I were to pick my favourite fictional parent ever, it would definitely be him… hands down. He was so loving, tender, and devoted to Rose… AHHH it just warmed my heart!! (:

        Other things I liked…

  • The POV’s of the White Bear and the Troll Queen: I found it so interesting that these two were given 1st Person POV chapters in this book! Even in the original East of the Sun and West of the Moon, I always found these characters to be the most complex and fascinating.
  • The Supporting Characters: I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that the supporting characters in this novel were just as fleshed out as the primary ones! They all had very distinct personalities and behaviours which added a great deal of richness to the story. Tuki and Thor, for instance, were both very fun characters to read about!
  • The Whole Idea of One’s Birth Being Associated With a Certain Direction: I honestly thought that it was genius of Edith Pattou to set her story in a world where characters are spiritually linked with certain directions! The concept of being “east born” or “west born” (etc.) was just so freakin’ cool! I’m wOwEd!

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While I really enjoyed this novel, there were a few things that kept it from being a 5-star read. Those things were…

  • The Pacing (In the Middle of the Book): For the most part, East had sufficient pacing. It was pretty fast most of the time. But the 200 pages in the middle were rather slow. Not tediously slow, but slow all the same. 
  • The Rushed Ending: The conclusion of this novel hit me like a ton of bricks! Things started happening all at once and I couldn’t keep up! Needless to say, I prefer to have endings that are natural and make sense. 

But anyways, disregarding those minor details, East was a great read! I am looking forward to reading its sequel, West, soon! 

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Last day of November! Whoo-hoo! I promised myself that I would write three reviews this month and I’m pleased to say that I did! Horrah! See you in December, everyone!

-Octavia

Review for Roar by Cora Carmack

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Synopsis:

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honourable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. 

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough. 

Rating: 2 stars

Review:

The idea behind this book is brilliant.

Seriously, though.

Beings who reincarnate in the form of vicious storms? A black market dealing in storm magic? A headstrong female protagonist determined to claim her crown? Sign me up!

Or don’t…

Unfortunately, my high expectations for Roar weren’t met.

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For starters, this books was SO. TERRIBLY. SLOOOOOOOW. I found myself unconsciously skimming over pages, and then having to retrace my progress to see what I had missed… Not that I missed much. The plot was so driven by the romance (more on that later) that there was hardly any action! And in most cases, that results in a dry, boring book. Which (surprise, surprise!) was exactly what Roar was. 

Moving on, I also found all the characters in this novel rather uninteresting. Aurora/Rora/Roar/GEEZ CAN WE JUST SETTLE ON ONE FREAKIN NAME/Our MC was a very bland protagonist. Contrary to what the praise for this book proclaims, Aurora was not a strong, independent female character.

Throughout the book, she’s often labelled as “feisty” and “strong-willed”, but she really doesn’t do anything worthy of being described in such a manner. She constantly allows her man to do all the fighting and battling and doesn’t seem to mind when she’s treated like an incapable damsel in distress. Seriously, she willingly lets some big strong dude carry her up a flight of stairs because its “just impossible for her to walk without tripping over her gown”. Sister, PA-LEEZ. Woman up a bit. 

Okay, now let’s talk about the romance. 

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I don’t even know where to begin.

In this book, there are two potential love interests for the MC… Long story short, they both suck. Cassius (Deadbeat Love Interest No. 1) and Locke (Deadbeat Love Interest No. 2) are both overly possessive and downright forceful characters! Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some of the things these wonderful dudes have to say:

“‘You don’t deserve someone like me,’ he said. She clenched the fist hidden beneath her pillow. ‘But you are mine all the same.'” -Cassius to Roar, Page 64

“His hand seized her elbow, and he spun her around forcefully. He growled, ‘No, I can’t.’ And then his mouth collided with hers. For a moment, Roar did not understand what was happening. She knew his lips were on hers, pushing hard enough to be a punishment, and his fingers threaded through her hair, and an arm wrapped tight around her waist… He kissed his own fury into her, melting and reshaping her again and again with each stroke of his tongue over hers.” -Locke kissing Roar WITHOUT CONSENT on Page 234

*several minutes of uncomfortable silence*

Answer me this, Cora Carmack… WHY ARE YOU GLORIFYING KISSING WITHOUT CONSENT?! WHY??? Am I missing something here?!

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So, as you can see, this novel’s romance is, to say the least, VERY PROBLEMATIC. 

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Overall, Roar just wasn’t my jam. With pacing that rivalled that of a snail, abusive love interests, and bland characters, it was a pretty unfavourable read.

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Thanks for checking out this review, everyone!

Have you read any good fantasy books lately? If so, share them with me down below! 

I hope you had a wonderful Sunday! (:

-Octavia

Thanksgiving Book Tag

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Happy Thanksgiving, American followers! Since today is a day of thanks and gratitude, I decided to do this fun Thanksgiving book tag, originally found on Book Coma Blog!

Let’s begin!

1. Bread: What book is pure fluff, and has no real plot line?

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A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas. While I’m aware that this book’s main purpose was to provide a smooth transition from ACOWAR to its spin-off series, it was SO. BORING. It had no real premise and primarily consisted of the main characters celebrating the holidays, sending each other suggestive messages telepathically, and decorating Christmas trees while drunk. As you can imagine, it was not my cup of tea. 

2. Turkey: What book made you want to fall asleep?

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I hate to feature another SJM book, but… Heir of Fire. Compared to the other books in the ToG series, HoF was soooo slowwwww. Yes, I know, Sarah J. Maas was trying to flesh out Aelin’s character more, but she didn’t have to strip the book of all its action to do so!!

3. Gravy: What book makes the whole series worth reading?

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Now I Rise by Kiersten White. I enjoyed And I Darken, but it could be rather boring at times. I think this was mainly to provide well-written world building and character development so we could have a deeper attachment to the next book… WHICH I LOVED!! Now I Rise had plenty of action, but it still managed to focus on the setting, characters, and their relationships just as much. 

4. Stuffing: What book is stuffed full of DRAMA scenes?

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The Selection by Keira Cass. I loved this book, but it could be so extra sometimes! Gotta love the drama, though!

5. Mashed Potatoes: What book looked good, and then wasn’t?

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Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. When I first picked it up, this book looked so epic. You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that it was actually a bland story lacking action and character development. 

6. Cranberries: What book has the sweetest romance?

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I thought that the relationship between Simon and Blue was soooo swoon-worthy! I’m usually not a fan of cheesy contemporary romances, but this book makes an exception!

7.  Corn: What’s the corniest book you’ve ever read?

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Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley is BY FAR the corniest book I’ve ever read. It’s literally the epitome of corny. Pull out any sentence or phrase from this book and you will physically cringe. 

8. Green beans: What book is too long and needs to be shortened?

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Oof. Yet another SJM book: Kingdom of Ash. I know the entire ToG fandom is about to come after me, but guys, this book was a whopping 992 pages long. THAT’S NEARLY A THOUSAND PAGES!! This book could have been much more enjoyable if it were shortened to 600, even 500, pages.

9. Pumpkin Pie: What book did you read to get out of a reading slump?

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Sadie by Courtney Summers. This book is so reading slump-relieving that I actually mentioned it in this blog post: check it out here. Anyways, Sadie is no ordinary murder story, despite what its synopsis might lead you to believe! I’d definitely recommend picking it up if you are interested in reading a gripping book with unexpected twists and turns that you’ll never see coming!

That’s it!

I’m wishing all who celebrate it a happy Thanksgiving! If you don’t, have a splendid Thursday!

-Octavia

Most Anticipated Reads of 2019

This post is brought to you by the Book Valkyrie

So… I know this is something bloggers usually do in late December, right before the new years begins. BUT… I’ve decided to do it now because honestly, I can’t think of anything else to post. So, without further ado, here are my most anticipated reads of 2019 (In no particular order)!

1. Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

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I know I’m in the minority, but I wasn’t a huge fan of this book’s predecessor, Children of Blood and Bone. In my opinion, the first 75% of the book was terribly slow, and almost caused me to fall into a reading slump (*gasps*). But I suppose I can appreciate this because I know that the slow pace was due to world building and character development, both of which are elements that end up being extremely significant in this book. I’m hoping that this will be a case similar to that of And I Darken and Now I Rise–Where the first book helps set up the events for the sequel, and the sequel ends up being totally AWESOME!

2. Finale by Stephanie Garber

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I LOVED Caraval. Like, really loved it. Legendary… not so much. But I’m still super hyped for Finale because it will be told in the alternating POV’s of Donatella and Scarlett (our two MC’s). I think I enjoyed Legendary less than Caraval because of the irritation Donatella’s character inflicted upon me. Which is why I can’t wait to be thrown back into Scarlett’s narration for the upcoming book. *sighs* I suppose I’ll just have to force myself through the chapters told in Donatella’s perspective. Who knows, maybe we’ll see some character development!!

Look at me being optimistic! *pats self on the back*

3. Of Ice and Shadows by Audrey Coulthurst

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When Of Fire and Stars came out in 2016, I liked it a lot. After all, who isn’t drawn to a f/f fantasy where, as said by Cait (A Page With a View), the princess gets the girl? After a three year wait, I’m super excited to get my hands on Of Ice and Shadows next August!

4. Romanov by Nadine Brandes

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Romanov looks like a really awesome depiction of Anatasia Romanov’s magical tale! I’ve requested an ARC of this one on NetGalley, but I probably won’t get it, so see ya in May!

5. Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

While some might argue otherwise, Alexandra Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom was an absolutely magnificent piece of literature! I fell in love with the plot, characters, and, of course, the ships (Lelian?)!! So, since I adore her writing, I am most certainly looking forward to Ms Christo’s Into the Crooked Place!

6. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

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Like most readers, I loved Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. It was such a significant novel that dealt with the horrors of police brutality in a raw, heartbreaking way. I can’t wait to see what Angie brings to the table in her next book, On the Come Up!

7. Slayer by Kiersten White

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I couldn’t be more excited to venture into the BTVS world to read this amazing-looking book from one of my all-time favourite authors!! I’m excited to announce that I was generously sent an ARC box for this novel, so I’ll be reading it soon! Technically, I can’t consider it a 2019 read, but what the heck? I’m still including it on this list!

8. The Cerulean by Amy Ewing

The Cerulean

Does this book not look totally AWESOME? Just look at that gorgeous cover!! I am super hyped for this dark and mysterious sci-fi read!

9. The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown

This book tackles many tough subjects such as grief, depression, and constant anger. I’m always open to a book that represents mental illness in an honest and realistic way, so this is definitely being added to my TBR. (-:

10. Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake

I’ve yet to read to read any of Jessica Leake’s writing, but so many have recommended it to me that I can’t help but add this book to my 2019 TBR! Its synopsis looks very promising, and its cover is so beautiful! Can’t wait to get my hands on this one!

And… That’s it! For now… (:

Chances are I’ll add twenty more books to this list by the end of the month… Oh well.

What books are you looking forward to reading in the new year? Let me know down below in the comments!

Have a fantastic Friday!