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Renegades Recruitment: Week 2

It’s time for week two of the RENEGADES Recruitment read along! We’ve been (re)reading RENEGADES in preparation for the ARCHENEMIES release along with the Fierce Reads team and few other helpers! Fierce Reads recapped chapters 1 – 10 last week and this week I’m sharing a recap and some FEELS on chapters 11 – 21!

Week 1 — October 4 
Chapters 1-10: Team Fierce Reads
Week 2 — October 11 (Todayyy!)
Chapters 11-21: Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide
Week 3 — October 18
Chapters 22-32: Alexandra @ Twirling Pages
Week 4 — October 25
Chapters 33-end: Emma @ EmmmaBooks

Obviously with a recap, I’m sharing some major spoilers for these chapters so if you haven’t read these chapters yet, beware!! Pluuuus there’s a super awesome giveaway at the end of the post so trust me, it’ll be worth reading!

RENEGADES RECAP: CHAPTERS 11 – 21

This section kicks off with Nova getting all set up with her new *gasp* Renegades identity! With plans to infiltrate, Nova Artino changes to Nova McLain complete with a new uncle a some new digs (which seem less than stellar, but I guess it’s better than the sewers… maybe). Because of all this, Nova also needs a new set of fingerprints which doesn’t seem to be anyone’s super power (that seems like it would only be used for evil anyway) so she gets them burned off with… acid. Yikes!

With all of this established, Nova heads off to the Renegades trials, which is such a fun part of the book! All of the current Renegades host trials to see if any new prodigies are worthy of officially joining the renegades. With this chapter kicking off from Adrian’s point-of-view, we get all kinds of fun anecdotes from Adrian, Ruby, and Oscar about their own trials (well, minus Adrian since he didn’t have to try out) and the trials of their other friends. They even get snacks and the atmosphere kind of reminded me of the Triwizard Tournament, which is always a fun feel to have!

As soon as Nova enters the ring for her tryout, Adrian recognizes her as the girl with the bracelet and the reader’s spidey senses start tingling, wondering if, when, and how Adrian will make the connection from Insomnia (which is now Nova’s new superhero name) to Nightmare. Nova in turn recognizes Adrian’s name because of his mother, Lady Indomitable, and of course because he’s the son of the two biggest Renegades out there. Not surpringisly, Nova gets immediately rejected when she shares that her power is the inability/lack of need to sleep and she can’t even demonstrate it in the ring. Snooze. Buuuut of course we have smitten Adrian who accepts her on his squad without even consulting his friends. Renegades bad-attitude Genissa challenges this acceptance since no one can even see proof of Nova’s ability, and a sudden death sort of challenge is initiated!

Nova actually gets to pick whichever person she’d like as her opponent and we know Nova has something up her sleeve here but she ends up picking Gargoyle… the biggest and toughest guy there, but Nova does know what she’s doing. She already boasted about her physical training and cunning and she proves it by defeating the biggest guy she can, both with endurance and with brains. Her only weapon is a knife and after a few minutes battle, Nova trips up Gargoyle with a banner and the help of Adrian’s sketched toy cannon. Nova wins and Adrian and friends welcome her to the team! SPARKS FLY.

The team gets a tip on the “Librarian” who is rumored to have all kinds of weaponry and it might be where Nightmare gets her weapons. We see Adrian messing with some new tattoos, inking in some permanent additions to his skin, which is the foundation of his Sentinel persona. Adrian’s ability to draw and bring things to life work on his own body since it’s based off intent, so we get the backstory of some of his older tattoos and the history of the Sentinel, which was based off of an idea for a story Adrian had as a kid.

Adrian is desperate to work on the Nightmare case, the tip on the Librarian being a big next step, and he begs his dads to let him go on the surveillance mission. They’re very hesitant, naturally, but he wears them down and finally Simon agrees, telling Adrian that he’s allowed to take his team to go watch, but if ANYTHING happens, he needs to call for back-up and not to engage, because his team isn’t ready or equipped for that yet. Adrian is thrilled and the tension is palpable with the audience knowing that Nova is now a part of his team and she’ll be going on a mission that may set her against the Anarchists and set up an opportunity to really damage the Renegades, serving the first blow.

READER’S NOTE: One thing not in the book here but my general observations while reading is just how complicated all of this really is! Nova seems like a person with a good heart. She’s a part of the Anarchists but I still felt like it would take a lot for her to fully sabotage the Renegades on a real level. She doesn’t seem super evil and it seems like once she gets to know them, she may have a hard time hurting them, especially Adrian.

BACK TO THE RECAP: So Nova enters headquarters for the first time and she wants to see EVERYTHING. She immediately feels like a fraud upon entering (especially with messages ringing out about Nightmare… awkward), sure someone’s just going to rush in and grab her, but it all goes really smoothly! She starts mingling, meeting more Renegades, and feeling out the possibilities she’ll have to thwart this giant operation. She speaks to her team and grabs her uniform, all without a hitch. There’s a very detailed tour of every room she can access, basically, and Nova starts to realize how much the Renegades really do and points out that regular people (not prodigies) could really do a lot of these things, but the Renegades take it all on.

Nova takes a chance and asks when the Sentinel trains and Ruby steps in to reply that he’s an impostor and isn’t actually a Renegade, clearing that up for Nova’s suspicions. They watch Danna train and there’s TENSION with Nova being a new member of Danna’s team, because she worked with Adrian & Co before she got injured in the Nightmare confrontation. Nova shows off her prowess, especially in her observation skills, and Danna decides she’s not so bad.

Adrian takes Nova to meet Max aka Bandit, who’s locked up in a glass enclosure. I mean, it’s his home and where he stays, but it’s basically a big glass quarantine. Adrian’s says he doesn’t know why, but he is dangerous and it’s highly classified…. but really Adrian knows because of his dads. Nova gets her communicator, knowing that it probably has some tracking implement as well, and now has to figure out how she’s going to get around that when she goes places she can’t be tracked. Adrian fills Nova in about the surveillance plan and Nova has a hard time walking around in the Renegades uniform because she feels so NOTICED when she usually blends into the background.

Nova arrives back at her new home (the crappy one, remember?) and DUN DUN DUN, someone’s there! Turns out it’s a squatter and Nova gets rid of him before her fellow Anarchists show up to check out the place. Nova had noticed Adrian’s nervousness about the Sentinel, but she credits it back to his dads and there being an awkward pressure there or just knowing more than he should. She tells the Anarchists about Cronin (The Librarian) and how they connected Nightmare’s gun back to him. Ingrid volunteers to warn him when Nova suggest someone should and Nova recounts the plans for the surveillance team and what might happen. The Anarchists think the Renegades might plant something there to capture Cronin (which hey, that’s an Anarchist way of thinking) and Ingrid says to try to get the Renegades to ACTUALLY go in and search so they can really prove that there’s nothing there, that she will go clean up ahead of time and make sure there’s nothing at all to find.

The surveillance starts and Nova, Adrian, Oscar, and Ruby decide they’ll take turns who has the main watch. Nova makes fun of their watch snacks since it’s all sugar so it’s a good thing Nova doesn’t have to sleep because they’re all going to crash. A fun part here is that we get the origin stories of each of the team members! Oscar tells a story about how he was saved from a burning room. He passed out, had a dream about the fire and smoke, and when he woke up, he was breathing smoke! Ruby’s grandma had hidden all kinds of jewels after her jewelry store closed up and the house was raided by villains. Ruby swallowed  some jewels — you guessed it. Rubies — and when she wouldn’t vomit them back up upon demand, the villains stabbed her. Her power manifested and her wounds spouted rubies that she used as weapons from there forward. Adrian was born with his power. Boring story, but seems pretty cool! And Nova was also born with her power (which she can’t tell the group since that power is putting people to sleep) so she tells her actual history about the murders of her family and how she gained the power not to sleep from that event.

AND THAT’S IT FOR CHAPTERS 11 – 21!

Check back with Twirling Pages next week on 10/18 for the next quarter of the book!!


GIVEAWAY

I also promised a giveaway and here it is! One luck winner will receive a prize pack consisting of: Renegades paperback, Archenemies ARC, tote bag, and lenticular! I have my own giveaway here on the blog but you can check out this tweet from @fiercereads to see what this prize pack looks like (and what a lenticular is if you don’t already know)! This giveaway is only open to US/Canada residents. Check out the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter! Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour: Wildcard by Marie Lu | Reasons to Read the Series

Welcome to the blog tour for
WILDCARD by Marie Lu!

WILDCARD was one of my favorite reads of 2018 so far and I’m so honored to be on the blog tour for this amazing book! I loved this duology and it was such a great way to close out the series.

On today’s blog tour stop, I’m sharing reasons why I think readers should pick up this amazing set of novels, so if you need any convincing, here are some excellent reasons to read WARCROSS and WILDCARD!

  1. IT’S A TWO BOOK SERIES. I love duologies. It’s so great being able to have more than just one book but it’s not unnecessarily stretched out into three books when it doesn’t need to, and readers aren’t left hanging forever to find out what happens in the rest of the series! WARCROSS set things up beautifully and WILDCARD packed the rest of the punches to deliver some more excitement while still winding things down.
  2. IT’S JAM-PACKED FULL OF EXCITEMENT. Warcross in itself is a game, so each book has action of the plot itself, game scenes, and all of the drama that comes with both!
  3. TWISTS, SAY WHAAAAT! It takes a great author to pull off a great twist and Marie Lu has plenty within these pages. The twists are well-timed and shocking, but not over-the-top and fit right into the feel of the book while still being able to upend the entire plot.
  4. EMIKA IS AMAZING. Main character Emika Chen really brings the book to life! She’s sort of an outsider and misfit, making a living as a bounty hunter and is a self-proclaimed hacker when she ends up entangled within the world of Warcross. She’s confident, fierce, loyal, innovative, clever, adjust all-around amazing. She’s a wonderful character to follow throughout this journey .
  5. MORALLY GREY CHARACTERS ARE THE BEST. The Warcross duet has a few morally grey characters that make for interesting antagonists as well as protagonists. The characters who come to known as villains still have personal, positive sides and some of the protagonists end up making some decisions that put other characters in bad places. Neither side is all good or all bad, and it makes the series even better seeing this attention to each character and how many layers everyone really has.
  6. THE ROMANCE. Without giving anything away, there are also so many layers in the romance as well. It develops just perfectly with the right amount of infatuation, growing to a crush to a mutual attraction to more.
  7. YOU WON’T WANT TO PUT IT DOWN. These books are fun, easy to read, and you won’t want to stop reading! I listened to WARCROSS as an audiobook (which was also a wonderful experience) and read the WILDCARD ARC and I just didn’t want to stop reading either one. They both earned spots in my top reads of the year, respectively.

Have I convinced you to read these books yet? Hopefully just by saying that they were both in my top reads of 2017 and 2018, respectively, will have you interested! They’re such fun reads with some awesome sci-fi technology and so many amazing concepts all around. If you need more info, check out my review for WARCROSS and read more about WILDCARD below!

Blog Tour: Wildcard by Marie Lu | Reasons to Read the SeriesTitle: Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu
Publishing Info: September 18, 2018 by Penguin
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes, ALAAC18, BEA 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: August 12, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Legend (Legend #1), Warcross (Warcross #1), Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2)

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo's new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she's always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo's grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone's put a bounty on Emika's head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn't all that he seems--and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?


ABOUT MARIE LU

Marie Lu is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Young Elites series, as well as the blockbuster bestselling Legend series. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry as an artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing games, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles with her illustrator/author husband, Primo Gallanosa, and their dogs.

BLOG TOUR STOPS

I’m one of the last stops on the WILDCARD blog tour so make sure you stop by all of the other blogs & instagram pages of the other tour hosts!!

WARCROSS

WEEK ONE

September 3 – Read Voraciously – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 4 – Finding Wonderland – Reasons to Start Reading the Series
September 5 – Jo Loves to Read – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 6 – The Blonde Bookworm – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 7 – Velvet Spade Reads – Review + Favorite Quotes

WEEK TWO

September 10 – The Fandom – Character Appreciation Post
September 11 – Librarycutie – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 12 – Mike the Fanboy – Listicle: Read Warcross if you like the following
September 13 – Upon The Pages – Review
September 14 – _livelaughread – Creative Instagram Picture

WILDCARD

WEEK THREE

September 17 – The Life of a BookNerd Addict – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 18 – Hey Atlas – Creative Instagram Picture
September 19 – That’s Normal – Review
September 20 – Reading Forevermore – Creative Instagram Picture
September 21 – Lovely Loveday – Review

WEEK FOUR

September 24 – Chapter_Break – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 25 – Fan-Girl-Tastic – Favorite Quotes
September 26 – Lisa’s Lost in Lit – Creative Instagram Picture
September 27 – The Book Addict’s Guide – Reasons to Start Reading the Series
September 28 – @xenatine – Creative Instagram Picture


Thanks so much for checking out my stop on the blog tour today! Have you read and loved these books? Are they on your TBR?? Happy reading!

As Seen on Bookstagram | Adult Fantasy Reads

After five years of blogging, sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ideas. So much has changed over the years, including my blogging style, many times over, and I’ve gotten so much more into taking photos and posting on Instagram as a part of my love of books and bookish merch!

In an attempt to keep things interesting and fun, I wanted to started a little something new for me where I take a post that I had originally shared on Instagram — or “bookstagram” for those in the book community — and took it a little further in a blog post. There’s a limited  number of characters that you can share on Insta and the point of those posts is more to get to the point, rather than writing a whole narrative, but sometimes each post deserves a few extra words, and “As Seen on Instagram” is a fun way for me to do that!

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

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I’ve been in a little bit of a YA slump and trying to read more adult-focused novels, especially fantasy!

I’ve been having a great time reading fantasy/urban fantasy series this year like the October Daye series and the Alex Verus collection, as well as trying out some other adult fantasy series like PROMISE OF BLOOD, which I picked up on a whim at a used book store. Some I’ve loved and some were just okay, but it’s been a really fun change of pace from the usual YA reads.

I’m not sure if I’ve read so much YA that I’m getting sick of the themes or if some of these books really just need some more editing, but I’ve been finding that I’ve needed to branch out and away from YA for a little bit, which I also think is a good thing. I get into reading binges where I’ll read all YA or all adult or all of a specific genre so it’s been really nice to try to step out of that little box of reading and pick up something new.

I’ve had some deep loves for adult fantasy authors like Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Scott Lynch and ever since I fell in in with their works, I’ve been on the hunt to find something like those reads. It’s difficult because I don’t know where to start and some of my attempts, even books that these authors have blurbed, just don’t live up to the expectations I’ve set for them. It’s not entirely their fault — these are huge names that I’ve pitted them against (well, not against but you know. Looking for something to give that same feel) so hopes are high and sometimes they just don’t quite meet what I’m looking for, but I’ve been loving trying things based on recommendations as well as selecting some random books based on description.

I did recently love FOUNDRYSIDE which was a really neat fantasy read with an original universe and magic system. I just love the heist/misfit concept and things really came together for me in that book with that particular feel. I also adored Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series and that got me picking up a lot of sci-fi too.


What are some of your favorite adult fantasy reads? How about sci-fi? I’d love to hear your recommendations!!

If you want to read the original post, check it out above or head to my Instagram page where you can follow for all kinds of bookish photo updates! 

As Seen on Bookstagram | To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

After five years of blogging, sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ideas. So much has changed over the years, including my blogging style, many times over, and I’ve gotten so much more into taking photos and posting on Instagram as a part of my love of books and bookish merch!

In an attempt to keep things interesting and fun, I wanted to started a little something new for me where I take a post that I had originally shared on Instagram — or “bookstagram” for those in the book community — and took it a little further in a blog post. There’s a limited  number of characters that you can share on Insta and the point of those posts is more to get to the point, rather than writing a whole narrative, but sometimes each post deserves a few extra words, and “As Seen on Instagram” is a fun way for me to do that!

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on

All the internet can talk about lately is the Netflix release of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before!

Even the Netflix Twitter account agrees Peter Kavinsky is goals and people are just loving this movie! I’ve watched the movie three times now and I still think it’s just adorable. Where so many fantasy, dystopian, or simply drama-filled novels have been hitting the big screens, this romcom was exactly what we needed and Netflix was the perfect place for it! This easy, happy, fun romcom is the perfect kind of movie to watch and love, and in the age of the Netflix binge, when you only have one of them, what do you do? Watch it again! So many fans have watched the movie multiple times and I think Netflix was exactly the perfect places for this sort of feel-good movie.

With all the hype of the movie, I finally decided to read the series for the first time! I listened to the audiobook for all here and plan on posting reviews for the series, but I’m actually super thankful for the movie and maybe feel a little blasphemous saying that I loved the movie so much more. While some things are lost from page to screen (as it is with literally any adaption), I think the movie made Lara Jean and Peter easier to relate to no matter your age. Their relationship is something to appreciate and the movie amped up the “romcom” factor, adding in more humor and taking out some drama, just changing the tone slightly, in my opinion. I actually really enjoyed this change because I had a hard time with some of the unnecessary drama.

One issue I had throughout the whole series was Lara Jean’s narration/stream of consciousness. She was very young for her age and I found myself annoyed with a lot of her immaturity. I’m not sure if that was me reading this series for the first time as an adult and being more sensitive about that, but that aspect really did hinder how much I enjoyed my reads. I still read a lot of YA books but I’ve been having issues with some immaturity lately and I can’t tell if it’s the actual book, the writing style, or just me growing out of some of these YA level books. I felt like the movie still got Lara Jean’s character right and she is still naive, a dreamer, and young, but not being in her head 100% of the time really helped and it was more fun to see a lot of things unfold rather than hearing them in Lara Jean’s own voice.

I personally hope that Netflix ends up taking on some other YA adaptations! I know I’m not the only one hoping for a Stephanie Perkins Anna/Lola/Isla adaptation and of course, I still want to see the rest of the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series hit the screen because there’s still a lot left to tell in this story! With its success, I feel like it has to happen! Hopefully this craze will bring us the rest of the series and will open the door for other adaptions to come through!


How many times have you watched the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie? What other books would you love to see adapted on Netflix?

If you want to read the original post, check it out above or head to my Instagram page where you can follow for all kinds of bookish photo updates! 

As Seen on Bookstagram | Anticipating Kingdom of Ash

After five years of blogging, sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ideas. So much has changed over the years, including my blogging style, many times over, and I’ve gotten so much more into taking photos and posting on Instagram as a part of my love of books and bookish merch!

In an attempt to keep things interesting and fun, I wanted to started a little something new for me where I take a post that I had originally shared on Instagram — or “bookstagram” for those in the book community — and took it a little further in a blog post. There’s a limited  number of characters that you can share on Insta and the point of those posts is more to get to the point, rather than writing a whole narrative, but sometimes each post deserves a few extra words, and “As Seen on Instagram” is a fun way for me to do that!

 

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As we all know, KINGDOM OF ASH, the finale to the Throne of Glass series, is almost here!

I’ve been a complicated jumble of thoughts regarding this series conclusion and the Throne of Glass series has been such a roller coaster of feelings for me! I really enjoyed THRONE OF GLASS and then positively loved CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, HEIR OF FIRE, and QUEEN OF SHADOWS. QUEEN OF SHADOWS was even my top, top favorite book of 2016.

Then came the downward slide, for me. I had also adored A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES and didn’t quite feel the love for A COURT OF MIST AND FURY, despite it being nearly everyone’s favorite sequel ever. I was very disappointed in EMPIRE OF STORMS and couldn’t believe how bad A COURT OF WINGS AND FURY felt and now I’m still struggling to even finish TOWER OF DAWN. I’m so disappointed still that Chaol’s story was shoved aside in EMPIRE OF STORMS and that TOWER OF DAWN was even “necessary”. I’ve been told it’s important but I’m about halfway through and so far, it really doesn’t feel like it.

It’s so sad to feel so apathetic about a series I once told people they must read, something I bragged about and shared, and now I don’t know what to feel! I really am interested in seeing how the series will end and how everything will wrap up. EMPIRE OF STORMS and TOWER OF DAWN aside, one thing I really liked was how the whole series kept folding in on itself and things from the first books were constantly brought up again, now known to be important. I’m hoping she knew how the series would end the whole time, so I’m hoping to see a lot more of that in the final book and I’m hoping it will bring back those feelings!

After the conclusion of A Court of Thorns and Roses with ACOWAR, well…. it makes me really nervous. You’d think a series conclusion would have ended a lot better than that but since Throne of Glass is a much longer series, I’m hoping there will be a lot of things ready and waiting to wow us.


How are you feeling about the upcoming release of KINGDOM OF ASH? Are you excited? Nervous? Apathetic? I’m such a jumble of feelings!

If you want to read the original post, check it out above or head to my Instagram page where you can follow for all kinds of bookish photo updates! 

BEA & BookCon 2018 Recap

After missing BEA last year, I was excited to be back again for 2018! This year was totally different from my previous years attending in many ways, starting with the fact that it was kind of a last-minute decision!

Now that Novelly Yours has become my main focus, I knew I wanted to attend BookCon to meet up with my candle reps, meet customers, and say hello to other bookish shops that were attending as vendors! My regular crew wasn’t attending BEA this year so I didn’t really have plans to attend but I still really wanted to. I managed to sneak in the last day of Book Expo with friend and rep Brittany (@bookswrotemystory) by my side and then we both hit BookCon with the rest of the rep crew!

BOOK EXPO (BEA)

    

In previous years, I focused a lot on all of the things that we did day-by-day and this year, I think I’m switching that up a bit because things felt very different this year. I noticed that there weren’t as many bloggers in attendance, which could be for a number of things. I know that the BookExpo team switched some things around and changed blogger/media attendance fees. I don’t know if this was to cut down on/discourage blogger attendance in actuality or if the community just kind of felt like it was (those were the rumblings we all heard within the last couple years), but it did seem like there were fewer people I knew there… But there’s also the fact that there are a lot of newer bloggers on the scene now and a lot of the veterans that I know have taken a step back from blogging, or at least to the extent where BEA is not a priority. In that sense, it did seem a little less familiar.

Meeting Kerri Maniscalco at BEA18

The pace of the conference is quite different from previous years as well. There are far fewer galley drops and books laying about the floor, free for the taking. Everything was much more scheduled and we had to line up for pretty much anything we wanted to do. I’m no stranger to standing in lines at BEA but I was also really looking forward to just walking around and trying to find some new, interesting reads this year and I couldn’t really even peep at any books. Everything was very protected, lots of secret drops that you had to be watching for on social media or things that were announced but the title kept a secret, and even more ticketed signings than in previous years. It’s not a bad thing — ticketed signings and and scheduled drops can help the organization process and keep things orderly, which I know was a concern among to blogging community if not all of the BEA attendees. It did make it difficult to do anything without a schedule and I was trying to be a bit more casual this year so those two concepts didn’t really work together, but I did manage to meet a few authors and grab a few ARCs that I really wanted to! I was surprised that there just weren’t really a lot of things to go and browse like there had been in previous years, not even with some of the smaller publishers. It was rare to see ARCs around on the floor to look at or take.

With Leigh Bardugo at the Macmillan blogger party

Another perk of attending the one day of BookExpo was that I was in town for the Macmillan blogger party! They’re one of my favorite publishers and I still treasure our working relationship and how well I’ve grown to know the team and even the authors! I somehow always manage to get there late (this time it was because Laini Taylor was the last signing of the day and we needed MUSE OF NIGHTMARES and then we had to check into our Airbnb after moving out of our hotel) so I was rushed again getting there, but I stayed until the very end! I got to say hello to Marissa Meyer again (though I neglected to get a photo with her) and chat with Leigh Bardugo! I saw the lovely faces of the Macmillan team, spent time chatting with bloggers, and even got to meet a couple new friends that I hadn’t met before! It’s always such a fun time and it’s one of my favorite parts of the conference!

BOOKCON

  

This was the first year that I attended BookCon since its inception so I had no idea what to expect!! The first year was kind of a hot mess and they seemed to have it down to a science now this year. It was nice having it on the same floor as BookExpo and I already knew where everything was. The upsides of BookCon were taking the time to meet some other vendors like OwlCrate, The Bookish Box, Book Beau, North Ave Candles, and Beacon Book Box. I’ve met some of the owners before but it was nice to say hello to people for the first time and make some new connections as well!! I had also made some candles to hand out around BookCon and that was really fun to be able to meet some people that way and hand out some fun goodies!

Other than attending as a vendor, I can’t say I’d ever go to BookCon as a regular attendee again. Every signing in the regular autographing area was ticketed and since I had a press pass and didn’t receive a BookCon badge ahead of time, I could register for any of them and a representative of BookCon didn’t get back to me to see if there was a way for me to do that. I didn’t push it because I knew I was going to BEA, plus I’ve attended many book events, so I didn’t want to take that opportunity away from someone else who really wanted to meet their favorite author! Most things on the floor were ticketed as well and I didn’t have desire to wait in a lot of those ticket lines so I just ended up walking around and hanging out with my friends most of the time, as well as making the time to chat with the aforementioned vendors!

Nearly everything at BookCon is something that’s available for purchase, as well, meaning that unless I was buying books, I likely wasn’t picking anything up. Knowing how many books I’d have to tote back home, I didn’t feel like it was necessary to buy something all the way out in NYC and take it back to IL. A lot of people purchased books for signings but since I own all of the books from my favorite authors and I didn’t attend that many signings at BookCon, there was no reason for me to buy those either. I guess when you’re spoiled by BEA and ALA, getting books at BookCon felt silly (as weird as that sounds) but I also think the event is designed much more for consumers and the general public and not so much someone who can attend BEA or other book conferences like ALA. I think I ended up with 2 or 3 books from BookCon vs the other stack that I was able to obtain from BEA.

 

I definitely had fun meeting the people and hanging out with my friends at BookCon but I don’t think I’d pay to attend just for me. Hopefully in years to come, I can participate in more of a vendor fashion, whether that’s having a booth or collaborating with another vendor!

Did you attend BEA or BookCon this year? Have you attended in previous years? What did you think?

Looking for more BEA news? You can check out my recaps from previous years I attended!
BEA 2013 | BEA 2014 | BEA 2015 | BEA2016

Top Ten Tuesday – July 3, 2018: Books With Red, White, and Blue Covers

TOP TEN TUESDAY
July 3, 2018

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader GirlThis week’s topic was a love freebie so I chose Books I Could Re-Read Forever

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday but I really liked this Red, White, and Blue theme! There aren’t a lot of covers that have strictly red, white, and blue in the true sense of the colors so some of these are a touch stretched, but I do love how these colors right brighten up a book cover!

BOOKS WITH RED, WHITE, AND BLUE ON THE COVER

I’LL MEET YOU THERE by Heather DemetriosReview


WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo | Review


 

WIRES AND NERVE by Marissa Meyer | Review


CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber | Review


ALL FALL DOWN by Ally Carter | Review


THE GEEK’S GUIDE TO UNREQUITED LOVE by Sarvenaz Tash | Review


TRULY DEVIOUS by Maureen Johnson | Review

(I actually think that’s orange and not red but I’ve committed to it now and I like the bright blue)


the fixer jennifer lynn barnes

THE FIXER by Jennifer Lynn Barnes | Review


SIZZLING SIXTEEN by Janet Evanovich | Review


Do you have any favorite red, white, and blue books? I do like how these colors look together but I’m extra fond of blue books!

As Seen on Bookstagram | Pin Pals, Pin and Button Storage/Display

After five years of blogging, sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ideas. So much has changed over the years, including my blogging style, many times over, and I’ve gotten so much more into taking photos and posting on Instagram as a part of my love of books and bookish merch!

In an attempt to keep things interesting and fun, I wanted to started a little something new for me where I take a post that I had originally shared on Instagram — or “bookstagram” for those in the book community — and took it a little further in a blog post. There’s a limited  number of characters that you can share on Insta and the point of those posts is more to get to the point, rather than writing a whole narrative, but sometimes each post deserves a few extra words, and “As Seen on Instagram” is a fun way for me to do that!

 

I recently made an excellent purchase to display all of my buttons and pins!

It’s called a Pin Pal and it’s from a shop called Ardent Adornment! These Pin Pals come in various sizes and have the option to include a pocket for your bookmarks too! It’s just exactly what I needed to display my pins and buttons because they’ve just been sitting around in mugs and balance on shelves and I never got to admire them!

I really love the quality of these hoops too. April, the owner of the shop, hand makes each one and they’re quite sturdy! The fabric is wrapped tightly within the hoop and the back is reinforced so if you ever need to move your pins and rearrange, there won’t be glaring holes in the fabric and it helps keep everything stable.

I have one Pin Pal with a pocket where I’ve tucked some bookmarks in and stuck pins on the front pocket, and I have another that doesn’t have a pocket (seen here) so I can fill it up with as many pins as possible!


How do you display your pins and buttons? Do you have anything like a Pin Pal? Don’t forget to stop by Ardent Adornment to check out her shop and Instagram!

If you want to read the original post, check it out above or head to my Instagram page where you can follow for all kinds of bookish photo updates! 

The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3) – Lev Grossman

The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3) – Lev GrossmanTitle: The Magician's Land (The Magicians #3) by Lev Grossman
Publishing Info: August 5, 2014 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: March 6, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Magicians (The Magicians #1), The Magician King (The Magicians #2)

Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose, he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic, but he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him.

Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, and a new Fillory--but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrificing everything.

bookreview1

I have a hard time with endings so this was a little bittersweet! I enjoyed the first half of the book a lot more with the set-up but I actually appreciated how well the beginning set up the ending without the reader knowing it. I always really love when authors have everything come full circle and this book did that for the book itself and also for the series. It really shows how well an author can craft plot and really know where the series it headed right from the beginning.

I actually also really appreciated that we get to see exactly why Quentin is the main character of this series. Up until 75% of the way through the final book, it still seemed like this series could have been about Julia or even Eliot or Janet, but we finally get to see in the end why this is Quentin’s story and what made this so magical and a perfect fit for him, so I’m really glad we got to that point! It’s interesting to see how the series follows all of the main characters but then how the focus really comes back to Quentin in the end.

It was quite interesting starting the TV show after this book and having finished the whole series. Obviously this review isn’t about the show, but watching something that’s inspired by the series and doesn’t follow the exact storyline also gave me more appreciation for how things wrapped up in the end and put things into perspective. The show really focuses on all of the characters and since I read the series, I already have that feeling that Quentin is the main focus but he’s really not in the show — it’s everyone. Actually, I guess the series really still spotlights Julia, Eliot, and Janet (who is Margo in the TV show) and they have their own stories as well but it’s just so interesting to note the similarities and differences.

The TV show was actually the inspiration for me to read this series (so I could watch the show) but there was something that I really connected with in terms of the whole feel here. I wouldn’t say it’s one of my all-time favorite series but there really is something that tugs at my feelings and it has that sort of obsession quality, so even though it’s not the greatest and best, I still have so much love for it!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult fantasy that’s not high fantasy. Is this low fantasy? Urban fantasy? What do you call it? I’m horrible with genres like that. But I loved that this was magical and fantastical but it wasn’t a WHOLE fantasy world. It has that sort of Harry Potter feel that takes you away to a magical land but the real world is still there, and I really loved it in an adult setting instead of children’s or YA.
Left Me Wanting More: Character interaction. I’m actually thinking back on this having read it months ago but I feel like I wished the characters had been together a little bit more for some of their timelines… But there were other character reunions that I also loved!

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I just really enjoyed this series and the TV show honestly made it even better. They’re different but really great in their own ways and I loved the original story of The Magicians.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE MAGICIAN’S LAND

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    ALEX VERUS

The Magician King (The Magicians #2) – Lev Grossman

The Magician King (The Magicians #2) – Lev GrossmanTitle: The Magician King (The Magicians #2) by Lev Grossman
Publishing Info: April 9, 2011 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: March 4, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Magicians (The Magicians #1), The Magician's Land (The Magicians #3)

Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.
Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off—only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they'd hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly-learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.

bookreview1

THE MAGICIAN KING was absolutely a better book than THE MAGICIANS. I felt like THE MAGICIANS was just pieces of a story all cobbled together and didn’t really follow one long thread to make it feel like a cohesive novel and THE MAGICIAN KING actually feels like a story, moving with purpose. It’s an interesting series to get the hang because it’s not like there’s one obvious conflict that carries throughout all three books, as is often the case with trilogies, and yet they’re also not independent of each other. I did like the developments here and where the story went, delving further into the magical world and the elements of Fillory.

I think the thing I enjoyed the most about this book was Julia’s story. Honestly, it was much more interesting the Quentin’s and if you read any review of THE MAGICIANS, you’ll probably read how whiny and unappreciative Quentin is of his time and experiences at Brakebills. It really didn’t bother me as much as it could have but I felt like Julia’s story was much more interesting. THE MAGICIAN KING introduces Julia right off the bat as a completely changed person. There’s something much more unearthly about her and the book spends its time going through flashbacks of Julia’s life after that fateful day when she was presented with the Brakebills entrance exam, working its way forward to explain how she got the way that she is. She has many more hardships, a much more developed personality and story, and the more interesting side of the magical developments. That was really the biggest draw to me and this book.

I also liked the reappearance of several characters, plus a few new ones along the way. I had actually forgotten a few of them with the show clouding my memory and I enjoyed seeing them again! I’m also looking forward to seeing what they do with the TV show. I already know it doesn’t follow the books closely since we started getting way into Julia’s story right away and it doesn’t follow the events from THE MAGICIAN KING either, but I definitely wanted to read the books first and get a feel on the “real” story before moving on to an adaptation. Both are interesting and I’m appreciating both in their own ways!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Book-to-TV adaptations. I’ve really enjoyed seeing how the book and the TV show differ here! I really appreciated both individually and I’ve also enjoyed comparing the two.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection to the first book. I actually preferred THE MAGICIAN KING to THE MAGICIANS and I liked how much more it developed, but I wish the books really flowed together more.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I thought this was the best book in the series. I think if you hated THE MAGICIANS, you may still not enjoy this series as much but I do think this book got better!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE MAGICIAN KING

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    ALEX VERUS