King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo {Bookish Theories}

I’ve been wanting to create more book features for the blog to talk about all the wonderful books I’ve read or am planning to read, so that’s why I’m so excited to share Bookish Theories today!

Bookish Theories is a feature I was inspired to create which came into my mind while scrolling through twitter, seeing all the upcoming books people were excited for, and thinking about my own TBR for the upcoming year!

The idea is that I list my thoughts or theories about the book before I read it & spark conversation with those who are looking forward to it too 😍📚✨

With Bardugo’s King Of Scars being such an anticipated YA Release just a week away now and already forming theories about it myself, I thought her book would be a great one to start off the series! (*SPOILERS AHEAD for Ruin & Rising & Crooked Kingdom)

Let me know what you think of my theories & list yours in the comments below! 

King Of Scars by Leigh BardugoKing Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (Nikolai Duology #1)
Available for Pre-Order through The Book
Depository (Paperback)

Release Date: January 29, 2019

Pages: 528

Summary: Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

Bookish TheoriesBookish Theories

1. I’ve already read a couple pages of chapter excerpts, so I do know its written in 3rd person, but I haven’t read past Ch.1! So, I’m guessing the book will have multiple POV’s similar to Six Of Crows & Crooked Kingdom.

2. From the summary we know Nikolai is now king and looking to help improve Ravka’s finances & gain allies! So, I believe there’ll be a lot of traveling in this book!

3.Zoya! I think this one may be obvious because she was with Nikolai in Crooked Kingdom, but I think she’ll have an even bigger role in King Of Scars compared to previous books! (Even a POV)

4.Because Nikolai was originally from the Grisha Trilogy, I think we’ll be getting a good amount of backstory to catch us up on what happened in between its end to now!

5.With the events that happened in Ruin And Rising, Nikolai will probably still be recovering mentally. With the summary stating a Grisha Squaller will help him, I think this plot point will appear before the 50% mark, maybe shortly after!

6.Nina! With the reveal earlier last year of her POV, I think there’ll be a lot of exploration of her evolved power as a Heartrender and the grief she feels for Matthias! But, its obvious she’ll pull through!

7.I also think Nina will have a big hand in helping the Grisha army against the “big threat”

8.This one is a bit out there & I’m positive it’ll unlikely happen, but I feel the Dregs will have some sort of cameo? Whether its in a brief flashback, description or maybe a quick appearance! (My bet is on either Inej or Kaz?)

9.With this being Nikolai’s book there’ll be a lot of world-building when it comes to the inner politics and history/development of the setting!

10. Even though there’s a lot that Nikolai will be going through, I think overall the atmosphere and feel in King Of Scars will be hopeful! Because the previous books had a very dark atmosphere and story, this book feels like it’ll be a welcoming light & represent the change/growth to the world & characters since the Grisha Trilogy!

11. *The Darkling will for sure be included one way or another! There’s no doubt in my mind that Bardugo is going to weave him somehow into the “rising threat” or Nikolai’s increasing dark magic!

12.As a big Kingdom Hearts fan & having compared the series to the Grisha Trilogy, I’m pretty certain there’ll be a lot of discussion about the light vs. dark!

13.Back to Nina, our Waffle Queen✨👑! With the loss of Matthias, I think there’ll still be echoes of him that we hear from her POV! Like her still hearing his voice or her thinking about him in little moments of the story!

14.I think the story will have an interesting split in tone/setting! What I mean is I feel the first 50% or so will focus on Zoya, & Nina in Ravka helping Nikolai & Nikolai doing his work as king (with continuous action, etc.)! But I feel after, the story will go in a more “quiet” direction as Nikolai goes to the Squaller for help with the dark magic inside of him!

15.I mean it can’t be a Grishaverse book without the Grisha! So, I’m guessing there’ll be more in-depth discussion of Grisha powers! Even how they’ve changed since Ruin & Rising!

16.I’m also absolutely certain there’ll be a reference to Alina + Nikolai! I also theorize that Zoya will also mention Alina & fill in gaps on whats happened to her!

17.This one I’m not to sure of now that I’m writing it, but I think there’ll be a couple references to both the Darkling & Alina when they were together in the Grisha Trilogy!

What are your theories for King Of Scars? 👑✨⚔

Are you looking forward to Leigh’s next book in the Grishaverse? 🤩🎉🎉✨⚔

2018 Wrap-Up & 2019 Book Blog Goals {Bookish Goals}

Bookish Goals 2019Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ 💞✨📚 Today’s blog post is all about my 2019 Book Blog-related goals & wrapping-up some bookish accomplishments/surprises in 2018!

2018 came and went, but there were so many amazing things that happened last year on the blog such as: 

Getting ARC’s for new releases such as: Love Hate And Other Filters, To Kill A Kingdom, The Poet X, Legendary, & many others of books I loved or am really looking forward to reading!

Having the opportunity to interview some amazing YA Authors such as Maura Milan (Ignite The Stars), Astrid Scholte (Four Dead Queens), & Janelle Milanes (Analee, In Real Life) 😍💞📚🎉

Still shaking because of this, but I was mentioned in the acknowledgements of Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter Of The Siren Queen!! 😭❤❤📚🎉 (Thank you so much Tricia)

Alongside that, I was also mentioned in FeedSpot’s Top 100 Young Adult Book Blogs!

Teamed up with HMH Teen to promote Grim Lovelies & got a really cool book box!

There were so many wonderful + spectacular bookish things that happened in 2018 and I can’t wait to see what’s in-store for 2019! 

With that said, I’m also excited to be sharing some 2019 Bookish Goals today! 😍🎉📚

1. Reading Goals

The main ones are highlighted in my 2019 Reading Goals Post! But above all, I just want this year’s reading to be memorable and also challenge me to read differently!

In addition to that, I also really want to try & keep up with reviewing ARCs early!

2.Expand On Blog Features

Literary TravelsI’ve had so much fun creating blog posts for my features such Literary Listens and my newest one Literary Travels (where I create a fictional guide to fantasy worlds)!

I want to continue posting for them in 2019 because they are some of the most creative features on my blog that I love & have so much fun writing for!

*I also have some upcoming bookish features I’m bringing to the blog in 2019 & I can’t wait to share them! 😍🎉📚

3. 2019 Bullet Journal

Around Thanksgiving break in 2018, I started planning out my 2019 Bookish Bullet Journal and I want to keep up with it in the new year!

I plan to fill it with bookish collages, track my book buying, podcasts, library book loans, & so much more!

If you’ve done a bookish bullet journal I’d love to hear any page ideas or tips you have!! 😄💞✨

4.Keep Up With Bookstagram

I noticed near the end of 2018, that I hadn’t really been having as much fun with my bookstagram as I had in the past!

I began to see it as a chore, but in 2019 I really want to find my bookstagram “theme” which will hopefully motivate me to post more & keep up with it!! (Maybe weekly?)

5.Continue Reading Diversely

Now at the end of each year, I track how many books by authors of color or diverse books I’ve read! I love supporting diverse books & #OwnVoices authors and want to continue that even more in 2019!

As of 2018, I read 43 books out of 63 books by authors of color, books that feature diverse characters, or are #OwnVoices! I’m incredibly proud that over 50% of the 2018 books I read were diverse books! 😍💜📚

In 2019 I want to continue to do that not only by reading/reviewing diverse books, but also promoting them as much as I can!

6.Writing

There’s an #OwnVoices YA Fantasy Idea of mine that’s been explored and written in fragments here and there for about 2 years at this point and I really want to try and get it written in 2019!

To help, I also have 2 other ideas on the back-burner that I’ve started and will hopefully inspire me to get back to my main idea when I can! 😄💞✨📚📝

7.Review More Critically

This one is something that I’ve really been thinking about in 2018! My reviews are mainly positive because I know what kinds of books I like/love and stick with those kinds of stories. However, in 2019 even with books I know I’ll enjoy I want to be able to review with a more critical lens because I feel its not only important to me as a reader, but also aspiring writer!

8. Be More Social On Twitter

After creating a blog post about engaging more in bookish content this past year and seeing my own Twitter feed throughout 2018, I noticed that while its kind of hard for me to be social on twitter, I really should try more!

There’s honestly so much book news & interesting discussions that go on in the bookish community that I know of, but am just kind of shy to comment on! But I really want to make more of an effort to communicate more on my platform!

If you follow me on twitter too, please feel free to chat with me! I know there’s more I can do to spread more bookish love on Twitter, but some days its just not all that easy for me 😅😭✨

I’m making it a goal to talk more about upcoming books, create interesting bookish threads & just chat more!

9.Feature More Author Interviews

As I mentioned above in my 2018 bookish wrap-up, I had a lot of fun interviewing authors about their books and writing!

This year I really want to take the opportunity to interview even more YA authors (debut or non) about books, their craft, and other book-related things! 😄💞📚📝

10.Change My Book Reviewing Style

This is something I’ve also had on my mind for a few months! I’ve been thinking about how I can change my review style to go beyond just the plot of a book! In 2019 its my goal to bring a unique exploration/depth to reviews with each book I read! It may take some time, but I’m hoping to really accomplish this goal with at least a couple books!

And those are my Bookish Goals for 2019! What are your bookish goals for the new year? Any similar to mine? Let’s Discuss! 😍📚🎉✨

If you’d like to support me & my content, I also have a Ko-Fi

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Realm Of Ruins by Hannah West ARC Review

Realm Of Ruins by Hannah WestRealm Of Ruins by Hannah West (The Nissera Chronicles #2)

Publisher: Holiday House Books

Release Date: December 4, 2018

Pages: 464

Available Through The Book Depository: Realm Of Ruins

Summary: Valory’s power is different . . . it’s dangerous, unruly, and destructive. But can she channel it to crush a cunning enemy and save the realm from chaos? 

Welcome to Nissera, land of three kingdoms and home to spectacular magic.

A century after her legendary ancestors overcame a bloodthirsty tyrant, seventeen-year-old Valory Braiosa attends a training academy for elicromancers, immortal beings with magical gifts. Yet Valory’s immense power seems impossible to tame, and she faces imprisonment by the Nisseran authorities. Then a forbidden resurrection spell awakens a long-dormant evil, and Valory may be the only one who can vanquish this terrifying villain. Together with a band of allies—including an old friend; a haughty princess; and a mysterious, handsome stranger—Valory must learn to harness her power and fight back.

*Requested an ARC from the publisher*

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Readers are back in land of Nissera in Realm Of Ruins, the spin-off/companion to West’s 2016 debut, Kingdom Of Ash And Briars!  Valory Braiosa is sent on a quest to not only clear her name, but take down a darkness that threatens to ruin her world! This YA Fantasy melds so much from action, magic, fairy tales, quests, dark powers, royalty, & so much more! If your also looking for wholly unique twists on the classic fairy tales, West’s books are the ones to check out!

*Before I get into my review–just want to say I’m so happy to be back posting on the blog! 😍💞✨📚🎉 Finals are coming up and that’s why this book took me a bit longer to finish than expected! But happy to be posting my first review (finally) in December!

Back in the early days of my blog, I fell in love with West’s debut, Kingdom Of Ash And Briars! So, of course I just had to get an ARC of it!

Realm Of Ruins takes place generations after KOAAB! To start, I loved that the story was plotted that way because throughout the novel we explore this idea of those who came before us, legacies, how history plays a role into our future, & so on!

Now the plot itself has a lot of different elements to it and weaves in a lot throughout this single book–so sorry if my review is all over the place!

Valory Braiosa, descendant of Bristal & Anthony from KOAAB is a royal, but not exactly an Elicromancer–unlike her other cousins and family members.

As a student of a magical academy, she’s joined by her best friend Knox, and cousins such as Melkior (who isn’t exactly nice to her) and Ander!

There’s a scene in which Val is in classes and we learn about the school, history and how its shaped the ways of magic in her time now and the way West makes it such a seamless, but integral part of the story was one of my favorite elements when it comes to the world building!

On a quick side-note, often times in YA fantasy books (when it comes to future books in series or spin-offs) there isn’t always much explanation or exploration from previous installments and how they really shape numerous aspects of a world from its politics, magic system, beliefs–and I felt West really made it clear how important that was to the world!

Especially reading about the academy in general, because in KOAAB Elicromancers are somewhat on their own and guide each other. But, seeing how the world has grown to meld elicromancy into the everyday and train new generations was so fascinating to read about!

But of all her family members, her cousin Ivria is practically her best friend and they are always honest with each other–or so, Valory thinks!

During Val’s birthday dinner, she finds Ivria having run off and head towards the Water through a magical portal.

The Water is what allows an Elicromancer to get their fully harness their abilities. It chooses them and with that, they get an Elicrin Stone which also symbolizes their power.

Ivria has the ability to sense danger and fears she will never fully grasp her powers. So, she heads to The Water alone to see for herself.

However, Ivria is set on getting to the Water & as Val jumps into save her, she realizes Ivria didn’t make it & the Water has disappeared!!

Now being seen as a murderer and forced to go to trial by the Conclave to the Realm Alliance. This requires a journey away from her kingdom and with those she though were on her side, now against her. Also, a neutralizer (by the name of Brandar) to keep her powers in check, doesn’t help either!

When Valory’s grandmother joins and mentions something about people in white cloaks & masks, they also learn of a mysterious (possibly looming threat) known as the Summoners!

As stops along the way allow Valory to visit her cousins (Gliselle, Perrenia, & Ambrosine) they convince her to talk to their brother Deovrian–there we learn of a mysterious tablet & how the Summoners may be involved?

When the tablet unleashes a dark force, Valory learns more about what the Water left behind (that now resides within her–some dark & dangerous power) and the journey she will have to undergo to clear her name.

I love how this story really takes on an anti-hero vibe through Val as we see the extent of her powers near the end!

Val goes through so much in this book where it looks like the world is stacked against her, but with her cousin Glisette, fellow princess friend Kadri, & mysterious Mercer who we learn time-traveled from generations in the past!

Now they team up to help Val on her journey to learn more about the mysterious force known as The Summoners which are spreading illness and death wherever they go!

We soon learn that Mercer may have the answers as he has the ability to see visions! This leads to even more being uncovered about the Summoners, Mercer’s past (like his brother Tilmorn) & how this all ties to a mysterious elicromancer known as the Moth King!

Similar to West’s debut, fairy tales are twisted in such unique ways that really bring even more magic to the world of Nissera! From The Little Mermaid (seen through Kadri’s boyfriend who’s a prince who loves sailing & becomes interested in finding a mermaid who saved him), even Beauty & Beast (when Devorian’s cost of unlocking the tablet turns him into a beast).

The fairy tales are uniquely woven, but also into the story and have such distinct details mentioned that really make them their own. For ex. there’s mention of Devorian keeping mirrors closed to not be in contact w/ his sisters, even a sea witch & mermaid who are reminiscent of The Little Mermaid)

The characters all have their own flaws and secrets that make them feel real and I love how their imperfections or fears really allowed me to see their growth by the end!

I love how this journey isn’t exactly linear! While it seems that way in the beginning, the way West plots her stories allows for the story to go in so many directions, yet all tie together as it progresses. From numerous royal families, fairy tale homages, dark magic, quests–West packs so much into this standalone tale!

Also what made the magic so interesting was seeing how Val, a person who wasn’t born with magic, inherits this magical ability from the Water which we learn has the power to destroy, but also create! The Water itself becomes a pretty major part in the magic system as the story progresses and I love how it was explored! This also allows for her to explore, throughout the book both before and after she touches the Water, the legacy her ancestors left behind and how she questions whether she’s even capable of such things that family members who came before her managed!

Also there was one particular thing that really surprised me and that just brought back all the memories from KOAAB! We meet a very interesting Elicromancer who has ties to Bristal and I loved how that story line tied into the major plot! The references and ties to West’s first book was just something I did not see coming in the way that it did-but I loved how it was explored!

Time-travel was explored so well in this novel and I loved how it tied into the main story.

The world itself is incredibly vast and you sense that through the journey Val takes and just the way West describes the little details of the kingdoms. However, there were a few moments where a lot of the locations did get a bit confusing & could have had differing explanations when it comes to their depth. But overall, you can tell West has built such a vast world!

Now on to some of things that did lower my rating! Personally, I found the pacing to be rather slow for me and it dragged quite a bit from the middle on-wards. There were also some plot points explored when some time passes & Val returns home, which I wish had a little more explanation (b/c while it does make sense with the story) I found for me personally it came a little out of nowhere and I was a little lost as to how all that happened in that amount of time!

There were also some side characters, one’s that take on a villain role & at times the villain himself, that I wish had some more development b/c they become so important later on–that I found there character at times just needed a little more!

Returning to the plot, as the story continues I loved how it becomes clear what the goal is (to destroy the Moth King), but the uncertainty as to if Val & her friends could do it, made it all the more interesting to figure out!

Another element which made this fantasy book so unique too, was how it concludes after the battle (which I won’t spoil). Just seeing how characters naturally go their separate ways and explaining all the work left to do after all that’s happened really left it on a note where your satisfied with the ending, but still know there’s much more to explore! ( Valory’s ending was really epic & kind of ambiguous, but I loved that).

Realm Of Ruins is a YA Fantasy that weaves in classic fairy tales, while also delivering a wholly unique story all its own! From journeys across magical lands, dark magic, royalty, & the importance of self and how you can shape your own destiny! West’s spin-off continues to build on her magical world of Nissera and leaves opportunity for future installments!

This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada Review

This Cruel Design by Emily SuvadaThis Cruel Design by Emily Suvada (This Mortal Coil #2)

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: October 30, 2018

Pages: 394

Summary: The nightmare of the outbreak is finally over, but Cat’s fight has only just begun.

Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat is at a breaking point. Camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben, she’s working day and night, desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity. But she’s failing—Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns.

When news arrives that the Hydra virus might not be as dead as they’d thought, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Their search takes them to Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert that could also hold the answers about Cat’s past that she’s been searching for.

But when confronted with lies and betrayals, Cat is forced to question everything she knows and everyone she trusts. And while Lachlan is always two steps ahead, the biggest threat to Cat may be the secrets buried in her own mind.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: This Cruel Design is a sequel that will keep you guessing till the very end! Suvada’s latest book delivers even more twists, new characters, intrigue, action, and a complex plot that changes everything you thought you knew about This Mortal Coil!

Okay–so I loved This Mortal Coil when I read it last year, was on the edge of my seat till the very last page and I wasn’t entirely sure how I’d even manage to wait for This Cruel Design!

So, its safe to say I went into this book with extremely high expectations.

Sequels aren’t easy, but the way Suvada builds on the world and technology all while making the plot go in such unexpected directions is what really surprised me!

It goes into even much more depth and exploration in such a more centralized way (focusing more on Cat) than in This Mortal Coil which made it incredibly unique!

Cat and the crew find themselves in Cartaxus’s grasp and still have hope they can find a solution to the virus that keeps on mutating faster than they expected. So, they find a lead that sends them on a journey to a city of genehackers in the Nevada desert!

They are given 3 days to seek out Regina, the leader of Entropia (city of genehackers) and continue their search for Lachlan and find an antidote!

Cat is coming to terms with the secrets she uncovered in This Mortal Coil, but isn’t losing hope that humanity can still be saved!

There’s new characters and even more development on the fascinating technology explored through the panels and what they are capable of!

The panels from what we know in This Mortal Coil, can be home to a variety of apps and code that can manipulate a person’s appearance and abilities! However, what Suvada does in This Cruel Design is that that she seamlessly introduces numerous hidden facets to these panels that leave us questioning this idea of power and the capabilities of what people can do with them, but also how it can also link people together!

Suvada leaves you thinking about the ramifications of this advanced technology, even with all the benefits it has and I loved how it showed both the dark and light side to the tech she introduced in This Mortal Coil!

If your looking for even more exploration to the intriguing technology–this sequel delivers on that and so much more!

What also makes This Cruel Design such a fascinating sequel is how it explores so many different sides to the characters and world in ways you don’t really expect.

As memories begin to resurface, Cat is coming to terms with a past she barley knows, but that’s inevitably forcing her to question all her choices that’s led her there and what it means for her and those who knew her as Jun Bei.

That conflict was explored through different moments and characters throughout the story, really builds a past we can fully see and realize as This Cruel Design develops.

Which leads me another one of my favorite parts of this book–Mato (aka Somata Watson)! He’s one of Cartaxus’s soldiers who joins the team because he actually used to work in Entropia and knew Cat as Jun Bei!

With his knowledge of Entropia, he’d be able to try & get them a meeting with Regina!

He was such a fascinating character–the development between him & Cat was one of my favorites throughout this book! He’s mysterious, witty, but also kind as he also tries to help Cat better understand her past and what he can do to help her now!

Overall, I really loved Mato, he’s definitely one of my new favorite characters in this series and I won’t spoil anything, but his development throughout the book really surprised me and I’m so interested to see where his story is headed in book 3!

We see him as a friend Cat can really rely on as she’s figuring out the glitches in her tech and as she begins to feel this sense of loneliness as she soon sees that her past as Jun Bei now mostly gone, she can’t really connect with the people that once saw her as a close friend. So I loved seeing how Cat knew she wasn’t entirely alone as she spends her time in Entropia!

There’s also even more development given to basically the entire main cast in ways I really did not see coming and I loved how their depth goes just beyond what’s necessary to the plot and they just felt so real!

The intrigue of this novel is present as Cat meets Regina, learns more about Entropia, her panel tech, and the mutating virus. Overall, there’s this complex web that develops and it just builds till the very end!

Speaking of Regina, I don’t want to spoil too much, but as she takes Cat under her wing we learn more about her and the connection she has with Cartaxus and even some of the main characters!

Even though I adored Cat & Cole + their dynamic in This Mortal Coil, Suvada really leaves the reader thinking of where their relationship is headed when secrets are uncovered and Cat finds herself feeling unsure of being able to trust him!

This leads to a very interesting dynamics that Cat develops throughout the book, not only with Cole, but the other main characters and I really loved that.

Onto the world-building! Where with This Mortal Coil, I felt the world could have used just a little more development, this sequel delivers even more than I was expecting! Not only is there more expansion to the dynamics of this technology in another state, but also the government as a whole and the different view we have of it now that we know Cat has a mission to complete while being sided alongside (but also not?) with Cartaxus!

There’s so much intrigue as Cat is learning more about her past and people who knew her as Jun Bei–so, we are left filling in the gaps alongside with Cat as to what happened between those 6 months of her as Jun Bei and when her life as Cat began!

As I mentioned above, this leads to very interesting dynamics that really build between Cat throughout the book that really build into Cat as a character and the loneliness/grief she feels for not remembering and wanting to find that connection with those that knew her!

The intrigue allows for this really unique and more personal atmosphere to develop as we read from Cat’s 1st person POV! Its more character-driven and especially driven by Cat’s struggles with all that she knows now and still has yet to learn as she uncovers more of her past!

While my rating in no way takes away from my absolute enjoyment of this book and how much a fun read it was, I did want to get into and discuss why I rated This Cruel Design lower than Book 1 (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)(;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)!

With the fact that This Mortal Coil its an entirely new world, we don’t really know what to expect and because of that the pacing is really quick. Sadly for me personally, because we know the end goal–the crew finding Lachlan and looking for a way to eradicate a mutating virus before the end of their deadline set to them by Cartaxus–it felt like a lot of the story itself was already laid out, so I was just hoping for the pacing to be much more gripping, even though I truly did love the story!!

So hopefully what I’m saying makes sense??–But basically because we have a goal and know all the things we do after first book and through the first few chapters of This Cruel Design, it made this novel feel much more different in terms of pacing, which I wasn’t really expecting.

There’s also one character (which I don’t want to spoil) who is present later in the book and while it was great to see this character, I found that they took away from the route the book was already taking because they didn’t get too much development & came in somewhat late into the story!

Aside from what I said above however, I truly did have fun reading this book and those last few chapters–just wow!! I’m still in shock and cannot wait for book 3!

This Cruel Design is a fantastic sequel! Suvada delivers on a page-turning and intriguing story! Weaving in continuous development to the world, technology, and cast of characters, even more than in This Mortal Coil, this sequel leaves you with so many answers & even more questions, wondering when Book 3 will arrive!

Pre-Order Book Swag, Using Libraries, & Why Libraries Matter To Me As A Book Blogger {Book Blogger Discussion}

Book Blog Discussion BannerIts time for a bookish chat! Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~💞✨📚 Today I wanted to talk about libraries & pre-order swag!

In this discussion, because I’m from the US, I’ll be focusing mainly on the U.S. in regards to libraries & book swag!

I’d been scrolling through twitter a few weeks ago and saw upcoming pre-order campaigns for Tara Sim’s Firestarter and Joan He’s Descendant Of The Crane!

Right away I noticed that for their campaigns, they’d be accepting library requests as part of their preorders, that made me so happy.

Thank you! Thank you!! 📚📚✨

We’re still given the opportunity to support anticipated books, even if we’re not able to purchase before release!

+I also want to shout-out Emily Suvada for her amazing thread during the release for This Cruel Design about libraries, supporting her book by reading it from the library & understanding that readers can’t always order right away!

joyce-mccown-791673-unsplash booksI feel like the push for library pre-orders should be encouraged more from publishers, because regardless, readers are still ordering in advance to support a book or author. It shouldn’t matter how a reader chooses to pre-order, I’m positive readers (especially teens) want to feel included in this!

I do know that Penguin Teen launches pre-order campaigns this way too, where people can send in a postcard w/ their addresses and still get swag without having pre-ordered the book! I do hope other publishers (especially more of the Big 5) take note and strive to do this because that makes the opportunity available to readers to get some cool swag, even if they aren’t ordering right away!

Overall, my point is there can be so much more support for libraries & library readers from publishers and that’s something I feel we should take note of!

I’ve been reading YA since about 2012 & in the beginning, the way I was able to keep up with these new releases and expand on my reading, was by checking all of these out through none other than–libraries!

Sure I bought a few books now & again, but a good 90% of the books I was reading, came from my local library!

The same applies to me today as a book blogger, while I am buying a few more books than before, I am constantly utilizing my library by requesting anticipated upcoming releases! (Starting this year, I’ve even added how I read each book in my wrap-ups, whether its from the library, owned, or an ARC).

I would have never had the opportunity to read so many new and amazing authors I now love, had it not been for being able borrowing and checking-out their books from the library!

As a university student, reader & especially a blogger, I wouldn’t be where I am without my local library and now I’m going to discuss a little more on ways you can utilize your library more & save money if you still want to support your most anticipated books!

Unsplash_Books_Roman-Kraft1. Talk to your librarians: They are always there to help and if you notice there’s a book you really want to read that’s not on the catalog, tell them! I talk with my local librarians weekly and if there’s a new release I haven’t seen on our inter-loan system they’ve told me they’re more than happy to talk to their supervisor + are always interested in new books I’ve recommended them.

2.Checking-out books: I still do this–but even if I’ve read and reviewed an ARC of a book, I still check it out from my local library to show my support!

The more a book is in demand at your library, the more copies they’ll purchase for readers (not just physical copies but e-books too), which can definitely support the author!

As I was looking more into libraries & how they support authors, I also came across a couple quotes and articles that I found to be super interesting reads:

“…if you are able to put a hold request on a book before it’s available, that might help libraries make a decision of whether or not to purchase more than a single copy. Books which are showing a lot of activity, like multiple holds on a single copy, suggest that the popularity and interest is there and the library should consider purchasing another copy or two to fulfill the interest.”–Book Riot, How To Support A Book

How Do Authors Make Money From Library Books

Now I’m sure there’s more ways your favorite authors/books can be supported by libraries, but those are just a couple I could think of regarding this specific topic! Feel free to share more in the comments ✨📚

In regards to pre-orders & libraries like I’ve discussed here, Vicky from Vicky Who Reads also touched on this a bit in her “How YA is Isolating Teens Discussion, that teens aren’t usually the one’s pre-ordering, because they are more often than not, getting it from the library! Though I’m not a teen, I agree 100% because that’s exactly what I’m still doing!

I can’t always afford to buy these new books right away, but that’s what makes libraries so awesome, I’m saving money & still supporting my favorite authors & new upcoming books!

Now I also asked on Twitter why others think libraries are important to them as readers & here were some responses:

 

 

 

So above all I just wanted to share this post on why libraries matter so much to me as a book blogger, reader, & supporter of authors!

And why library pre-order incentives are such an important & amazing way for readers to show their support!

I really hope you enjoyed this post & I would love your feedback! 😍✨📚

Also with this discussion of libraries & authors, I’ve compiled a list of YA authors who have books releasing, either late 2018 or coming up throughout 2019 and announced they are accepting library pre-orders in their campaigns (Will add more as they become available +be aware some end early before release day):

The Disasters by M.K. England (Releases December 18, 2018)

Even If I Fall by Abigail Johnson (Releases January 8, 2019)

Firestarter by Tara Sim (Releases January 15, 2018)

One Year Of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon (January 15, 2019)

The Love & Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan (Releases January 29, 2019)

All The Walls Of Belfast by Sarah Carlson (Releases March 12, 2019) (Pre-Orders not announced yet)

Descendant Of The Crane by Joan He (Releases April 2, 2019) (Library request pre-order form not yet available)

White Rose by Kip Wilson (Releases April 2, 2018) (Pre-Orders not announced yet)

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen (Releases July 30, 2019) (Pre-Orders not announced yet)

Do you think more authors/publishers should include library requests in their pre-order campaigns? 📚📚🎉✨

As a book blogger, do you utilize your library to read and review for your blog? 💻📚✨

Anything you’d like to add to the discussion? 🎉📚💕✨😍

Empress Of All Seasons by Emiko Jean ARC Review

Empress Of All Seasons by Emiko JeanEmpress Of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers

Release Date: November 6, 2018

Pages: 384

Summary: Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku.

*Received ARC through Yallwest*

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Empress Of All Seasons is a character-driven YA Fantasy inspired by rich, deeply woven Japanese mythology, great cast of characters, a plot filled with intrigue, politics, action, & adventure!

Empress was a book that had such a unique premise and what really made it shine, was the characters and their development!

Set in the country of Honoku, there’s strict rules against yokai, or those who have the ability to transform in to monsters or other supernatural creatures. They are treated as a lesser class and for those that are caught, are enslaved and forced to wear an iron collar that subdues them and their powers. More importantly, if any are found anywhere near the palace, they are either tortured or killed.

Mari is a Yokai. She lives in the all-female village of Tsuma, hidden away in the mountains of Honoku. She has been trained all her life by her strict mother, who along with all the other women in the village, are Animal Wives!

Animal Wives are women who use their Yoaki abilities to trick men into marrying them & take their fortunes.

Because Mari is assumed to never have the capability of becoming an Animal Wife, her mother has trained her in combat to ready herself for the competition that takes place in the Imperial City, mainly the Palace Of Illusions where all female contestants must battle within the 4 seasonal rooms for the prince’s hand in marriage!

Though she has never felt quite at home in her village, she does have one friend who she cares for deeply, Hissa! She is reminded of what it could mean for her and the yokai, but more importantly herself if she wins the title of empress.

Now a part of the competition, she must lie and deceive the court, pretend she is human and win the competition.

Within Mari’s village, we learn of a boy named Akira, who’s mother was a ghost yokai and father was human, he is known as the Son Of Nightmares. He has the ability to disappear and is one Mari’s other best friend!

They both care for each other, but its clear Akira really loves her!

When he learns she’s left for the competition, he takes charge to ensure she’s safe and tries to convince her to run away with him. He gets told to find a Weapons Master, which quickly leads him towards a new path and fate when trying to look after Mari!

Little does he know, he gets caught up in a rebellion, where there is a secret Yokai resistance, ready to destroy the system that keeps them enslaved. The rebellion is led by Hanako, aka Snow Girl, a yokai who has gathered a rebel army in secret + hiding to free the yokai!

Prince Taro, doesn’t want anything to do with the upcoming competition and spends his days in his workshop, creating and inventing. One of his favorite inventions is a mechanical bird! However, when Mari finds herself hiding behind a palace wall, she without knowing, ends up meeting prince Taro.

He becomes intrigued by her and the two have this almost unsaid crush on each other. What I loved about Jean’s development to the “romance” is that its never really a central aspect to the story. Mari is focused more on herself and where her goals will lead her & those she loves throughout the competition. Though its clear that Taro & Mari are interested in each other.

Akira becomes part of the rebellion to bring about a better world for Yokai, while with Prince Taro we are shown that he is not okay with how the yokai are treated (which started with his father, the Emperor), but still wants nothing to do with the throne.

I loved how these characters are so different than when the book begins and seeing them develop in such unique ways really kept me invested!

Empress is presented as a single and linear story focusing on a competition within seasonal rooms, but its so much more than just that! The summary really leaves out the different sides to this story, but it works so well, because you don’t really expect it!

Now I don’t want to spoil the end, but it really weaves together all these different plot threads and leaves on such an unexpected, but overall really satisfying note!

This novel is told through 3 POVs: we have Mari, Akira, & prince Taro! I loved how the differing POVs were not only distinct, but explore the world of Honako and the incredibly layered story.

I loved all 3 povs equally! Each character goes through so much development and undergo such unexpected journeys throughout the book.

There were also so many great side characters, like Asami who is alongside Mari w/ the other competitors to win title of Empress. She was so incredibly developed and I loved the interesting friendship they form when they both agree to be allies in the competition.

Asami is a character who is a bit of an enigma, but I love how there’s so much more to her reasoning for entering the competition + overall just her personality shines so much in this book. She was definitely one of my favorites!

Also aside from this novel being #ownvoices for Japanese rep./culture, was also the hint to Hanako being a lesbian (& that she loved Asami). 

Now as to why I’m rating this 4 stars, is due to the uneven pacing, a couple elements to the writing-style, & development in regards to the seasonal rooms!

  *TBH though, I find the rating on this to be super difficult for me to state because on an enjoyment scale its a 4.5, but if I’m looking at it overall, 4 seems to make the most sense? Ratings can be super difficult for me! 😂📚🌟

As the story progresses, the pacing becomes a bit slow especially throughout the middle and nearing the end. Yet, its also fast-paced near the end. So, above all the pacing fluctuated all throughout.

I did read an ARC so, this may have changed a bit, but the writing-style at points was rather direct and simplistic? So a lot of what what was introduced (in regards to characters, what they were feeling/development) did seem more like it was being told rather than shown.

I also loved the seasonal rooms within the palace, but I wish there was more even more development and inclusion of them with the overall story. Though with the background we do learn about them, it was fascinating– the rooms have a mind of their own and the extreme weather or obstacles the girls encounter within them, are a way of bringing balance to the rooms (which was so interesting!).

But, what I really loved about Empress Of All Seasons is that it accomplished what I expected more of in Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns, in terms of delivering a morally grey main character & the world-building!

Mari, to me seemed to be a bit of an anti-hero, there’s this dark side to her because she’s on this journey not just for her village, but along the way she learns its okay to go after things for yourself! She is showing these two differing sides and with the palace intrigue, its a mystery whether she’ll be able to keep her secrets!

Same goes with the world-building! The world isn’t just stated by the names of places, many elements to the world are explored, developed, and its incredibly immersive! I found myself picturing the world each and every moment I picked the book back up!

Overall, Empress Of All Seasons surprised me in many ways I was not expecting and ends on a note that really subverts tropes and expectations.

Empress Of All Seasons is a unique YA Fantasy, which is very character-driven, filled with intrigue, action, and adventure! If your looking for a standalone YA Fantasy with Japanese mythology, a competition, politics, & a rising rebellion, this is a fantasy you definitely want to check out!

Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 by Jeff Heimbuch Review

Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 by Jeff HeimbuchInterludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 by Jeff Heimbuch

Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing

Release Date: January 4, 2018

Pages: 108

Available Through The Book Depository: Interludes From Melancholy Falls Volume 1

Summary: How much do you really know about the town of Melancholy Falls, NJ? Its citizens, its history…it’s all probably a mystery to you. Peel back the curtain and crack open an interdimensional portal into this book to learn more about the things that inhabit this strange place.

Based on the serialized audio drama RETURN HOME, Interludes from Melancholy Falls: Volume 1 contains 16 tales that will make you laugh, make you cry, make you scared, and make you hungry for more.

Whether you’re a long-time fan of the show or a new visitor in town, there is something in here for everyone. But be careful…you may not want to leave.

Isn’t it time for you to return home?

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 is a collection of 16 short stories based on the audio drama podcast, Return Home! Centering around different characters and the setting within the show, Melancholy Falls, NJ, this is perfect for listeners of the podcast looking to get more background on the world of  Return Home!

If you’re unfamiliar with this fiction podcast, Return Home centers around Jonathan Barker who is told to ‘return home’ to his town of Melancholy Falls, NJ. From there he reunites with his best friend Buddy & former girlfriend Ami, as they solve the supernatural happenings of their town! Within each episode they meet new characters, discover new creatures, and secrets about Melancholy Falls, additionally the interlude episodes tell the stories of characters besides the main cast, and allow you to learn a little more about the creatures and odd occurrences of the town!

If you’ve never listened to the podcast, I definitely recommend checking it out! Its got a great cast of characters, unique story that’s filled with mystery, comedy, fantasy/the supernatural, & if your a fan of small town supernatural mysteries, this is definitely a podcast to listen to!

Considering it had been a while since I listened to the podcast, I did re-listen to a couple episodes for some of the short stories, (I think the book covers up to Interlude 6). However, you don’t have to! This is an immersive short story collection that gives more insight into side characters and the town of Melancholy Falls!

Heimbuch delivers these short stories through various mediums which build on the world of Return Home. Speeches, first/third person narratives, poetry, transcripts, excerpts, etc. will allow you explore the world of Melancholy Falls from a different perspective!

One of my favorite aspects of these stories was getting more on the history of Melancholy Falls, because throughout the series it’s clear this town has quite a past! However, through Interludes, it’s great to be able to have additional tidbits of info that build more into the show!

With each story you’re automatically immersed into a new character or setting of the world!

Because these stories are more character-driven and are very quick-paced, within the ones focusing on characters specifically, the setting and world-building description is a bit minimal.

What I really enjoyed about Interludes was that even though Jonathan, Ami, & Buddy were mentioned from time to time (ex.  Jonathan + Buddy were included in story 4: The Day After), it was great to get more background and backstory on just the characters and places we maybe aren’t too familiar with from Return Home!

I also loved that some stories built up to episodes from the podcast or added to the ending of certain episodes! It really added more detail to the podcast and I was immediately thrown back into the world of Melancholy Falls, but through different perspectives!

Some of the short stories that I really loved include:
– “Big Joan” Which centers around Big Joan, the owner of Big Joan’s diner (a popular hang-out spot in the series) and what led to her running it!
“Here Comes…” which focuses on how The Raggity Man came to be!
– The Woman At The Falls, which explores a legend of Melancholy Falls
+ – The Melancholy Falls Visitor Guide!

Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 is a must read for fans of the Return Home podcast, looking to get more info on the interesting characters and places of Melancholy Falls, New Jersey!