January 2019 Wrap-Up

During the month of January I read 5 books! I’m really happy with this number & the books I read, because a lot of them were part of a TBR list I created for myself in my bullet journal!

Fierce Fairytales Poems And Stories To Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill1. Fierce Fairytales: Poems And Stories To Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill

LibraryStarted January 1 + Finished January 2My Rating:★★★★☆ Fierce Fairytales Full Review

Overall Thoughts: I’d never read any of Gill’s poetry before, but after reading this book I definitely want to check out more of her collections in the future! I loved the modern twists and inspiring messages she wove into Fierce Fairytales! Gill transforms fairy-tales/classic fairy tale elements within each piece of the collection to turn it into something wholly unique and I loved that! However, there were definitely some elements that made me take off a star: You can clearly see the message and emotion she’s trying to evoke, but with the plainness in writing, it comes off as very direct and abrupt. The pacing did drag a bit too. However, there we’re definitely some poems & stories that I adored, which I found both showed the strongest writing and imagery: Badroulbadour, Shoemaker’s Son, Rapunzel Rapunzel & Moon Dragon! 

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (The Gilded Wolves #1)

ARC Started January 3 + Finished January 8My Rating: ★★★★★ The Gilded Wolves ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Though 2019 has just started, I know for a fact that The Gilded Wolves is one of my all-time favorite books of the year! The dazzling setting & world-building, phenomenal characters (banter especially), plot, dialogue–I could go on & on–were fantastic!  This book was just too high quality and I’m not sure if I’ll ever recover. I adored this crew so much: Séverin, Hypnos, Enrique, Tristan, Zofia & Laila–I loved each of them so much!! Chokshi really builds their backstories, motvation, growth + vulnerability where you are left truly understanding these wonderful characters! There’s multiple heists, puzzles, a mysterious society, intrigue, and non-stop adventure! The Gilded Wolves is a masterfully crafted historical fantasy & not a book to miss! 

*Another one of my reviews for The Gilded Wolves was also featured on Bookish if you want to check it out! 

i hear the sunspot limit 1 by yuki fumino3. I Hear The Sunspot: Limit 1 by Yuki Fumino ( Sunspot #3)

OwnedStarted January 10 + Finished January 11My Rating: ★★★★☆ I Hear The Sunspot: Limit 1 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: It was great to return to the world of I Hear The Sunspot again! This is the series that got me back into manga again and I fell in love with the story and characters! Suspot centers around college students Kouhei & Taichi who become friends and fall for each other! Kouhei is hard of hearing and this series also goes into great length to discuss and explore hearing disabilities! The introduction to new side characters make the story even more interesting. Though I did find that Kouhei and Taichi’s relationship in terms of development does take a step backwards. But, I am so interested to see where Kouhei & Taichi are headed in this series! I highly recommend this manga because the story is impactful, the two main characters Taichi & Kouhei go through so much development, and there’s a lot of discussion about hearing/ hearing disability! Highly recommend this manga series, its SO underrated!

The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera4. The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera (Their Bright Ascendancy #2)

OwnedStarted December 22 + Finished January 25My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ The Phoenix Empress Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Phoenix Empress is a phenomenal continuation to this epic fantasy series! The Tiger’s Daughter chronicled Shizuka and Shefali’s lives starting when they were born to their unfortunate separation later in life! However, in the end they are reunited, but not for long as we see in The Phoenix Empress–Shizuka is still haunted by events in her past as a soldier during Shefali’s absence and Shefali is attempting to understand the darkness that now runs through her! The detail, insight into the characters, and further development of the world are just some of the many things I loved about this sequel! There’s a cast of dynamic and incredible female characters, expansive lore, politics, and immersive plot made The Phoenix Empress such a fantastic sequel! I can’t wait to read book 3, The Warrior Moon!

planting stories--the life of librarian and storyteller pura belpré5. Planting Stories: The Life Of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise + Paola Escoba

LibraryStarted January 29 + Started January 29My Rating: ★★★★★  Planting Stories Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Planting Stories is a must-read picture book that chronicles the life and legacy of storyteller, librarian, and author Pura Belpré! She uses her power of storytelling to not only spark a love of stories, but also to get more Latinx (& especially Puerto Rican folktales) in the library! The art, with its use of warm colors evokes a sense of magic in this heartwarming story! She moves to New York from Puerto Rico and becomes the 1st Puerto Rican librarian in the city. Both the writing and illustrations bring Belpré’s story to life. From the impact of Belpré’s legacy to the importance of having diversity/representation among stories, this picture book is must-read!

Additional Posts From This Month:

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

January 2019 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi {Reading Diary}

Upcoming 2019 YA Book Recommendations From Book Bloggers
feat. Adriana, Jordan, Marie, & Sil

The Gilded Wolves {Reading Playlist}

YA Book-To-Movie Adaptations Releasing In 2019!

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri Optioned For TV! {Book Blog Discussion}

King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo {Bookish Theories}

Flyest Fables Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

~ It wasn’t until I was writing this wrap-up that I realized how many additional posts I created! If you have time, I’d love if you could give one of them a read–it would mean a lot! ❤❤ I had so much fun creating all my non-review posts this month & January left me inspired to create more! 😭✨📚

~ I also created a new banner for my wrap-ups & I really like how it turned out!

Plans For February:

~ More podcasts reviews! I listened to my first podcast of the year this month and really want to bring back my fiction podcast reviews! 🎙✨❤

~ Stay on track with my monthly bullet journal TBRs!

~ Create more non-book review posts! 😍📚✨

So that was my January TBR! Thoughts on what I read? What books did you read in January? 😍📚🎉🎉

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The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi {Reading Playlist}

Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~💞✨📚 To celebrate the release of Roshani Chokshi’s newest book, The Gilded Wolves, I have a reading playlist to share today!

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani ChokshiIt’s been so long since I’ve done a Reading Playlist and I found that these songs really fit well with the atmosphere, magic, and theme of friendship throughout the book!

The Gilded Wolves is dazzling, incredibly atmospheric, and such an immersive read that I quickly found myself listening to these songs on repeat as I was reading it!

If you have yet to read The Gilded Wolves, I’d definitely recommend reading it alongside these awesome songs!

Tracks featured in today’s playlist are from: Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts 3D, & a track from the film Atonement 🎧📚

Songs:

• Briony (Atonement) • • Working Together (Kingdom Hearts II) •

•La Cloche (Kingdom Hearts 3D) • • Le Sanctuaire (Kingdom Hearts 3D) •

• Black Garden (Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep) •

• Extreme Encounters (Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep) •  • Friends In My Heart (Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days) •

Honestly I’m such a huge Kingdom Hearts fan so creating this playlist was not only lots of fun, but also super nostalgic because the 3rd installment is finally being released this month! 😭💖❤

Hope you enjoyed this playlist & I’d love to know your thoughts! 😍🎧✨📚

If you’ve read or are currently reading The Gilded Wolves what are your thoughts on this playlist? ✨🎧💞

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi ARC Review

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani ChokshiThe Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (The Gilded Wolves #1)

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: January 15, 2019

Pages: 464

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository: The Gilded Wolves

Summary: Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

*Received ARC through Bookish*

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: The Gilded Wolves is a masterfully crafted historical fantasy with heists and puzzles to solve at every turn! This dazzling novel pulls you in from the very beginning with a diverse cast of characters, brilliant heists + schemes, alongside an intricate and immersive plot that’s as epic as it is unique! A must read for 2019!

Honestly I’m not entirely sure where to start with this review because I’m still trying to process all the brilliance that is The Gilded Wolves!

Before going into all the details of this incredible book, I don’t know if I mention it often, but I am obsessed with historical fantasy! It all started ever since I’d heard about & eventually read this stunning book: The Golem And The Jinni!

Since then as I wait for the sequel (that keeps getting pushed back😭✨) I’ve been filling the void with even more historical fantasy,The Gilded Wolves included, and it went above & beyond my expectations!

Those expectations were pretty high considering its a Roshani Chokshi book & I love a good heist (or should I says heists! But more on that later😉). Now that I’ve finished this gem of a book, not only has it already taken the top spot as my favorite book of the year, but I’m not entirely sure how I can wait an entire year for the next one 😭✨

The Gilded Wolves is Chokshi’s newest series which is a historical fantasy set in 1880’s Paris, at the peak of the Exposition Universelle! Right away your sucked into this secret society that is hidden within the shadows of not only Paris, but other parts of the world too and it was so cool to see how Chokshi weaved in different countries and mythology into this story!

It was elements like that which gave a vast look at how the secret society, The Order, Houses, Babel Fragments, and this unique ability known as Forging came to be!

Your introduced to 4-5 different POV’s as you follow this tight-knit crew of thieves who are brought into their latest assignment after a heist uncovers a lead to puzzles & treasure hunts that could bring back the Fallen House!

The crew is made up Séverin, Enrique, Tristan, Zofia & Laila! I can’t put into words just how much I love this clever crew, I love them with all my heart! ❤❤

Séverin Montagnet-Alarie, is the leader and is on a quest to claim heir to his House (House Vanth) again after he was denied and his line was declared dead. Now he works on his own with his crew to take back objects the Order takes in auction or steals (He’s also a hotel owner)! All in hopes that one day, he can have a reputation to get the attention of the Order and have his House back!

There’s Enrique, the witty and hilarious historian! Tristan, a gardener who owns a giant spider and never lets anyone forget it! Laila, a dancer who loves baking & harbors a mysterious secret.

There’s also Zofia, who is a genius with numbers, may be obsessed with fires, & loves a good sugar cookie! And finally there is Hypnos, Séverin’s former childhood friend, who is the Patriarch to House Nyx and while he can be a bit much for the crew to handle–he also just wants a place to belong!

Through the characters your introduced to this ability known as Forging which can take on two different forms: Affinity of Mind or Matter. This can allow a person to have more visible powers like the ability to control elements of the outside world or internal ones such as the ability to read objects and in-turn their connection to person.

I honestly loved every single thing about this book, from the complex story & characters, world-building, the dazzling writing, & non-stop adventure! The way Chokshi weaves so many elements together is just brilliant!

If your a fan of intricate puzzles, treasure hunts, heists and a bit of math–this book is sure to be such a fun read!

Now back to the plot–so after the heist, it leads the group to discovering the Horus Eye and possible location of a Babel Fragment (which is said to be source of Forging power). When it calls to the attention of Hypnos, he tells Séverin if he can do one more “acquisition” which involves stealing those items from the Order, he can give him his title back and Séverin’s future is starting to look clear!

What I love about the multiple POVs so much and is one of the many strengths of this novel is how it allows us to see these characters from their flaws to their moments of triumph. We’re able to look into their talents and moments of growth throughout the story when they are faced with some obstacles along the way!

You learn so much about these characters, their pasts, and hopes for the future and they came to life with each and every page! I can honestly say that its been a while since I’ve been really connected to an ensemble cast such as this one!

Throughout The Gilded Wolves you also see how each of the members has their own goal or objective that will lead them on other paths. My heart broke because you can see how much each of them care for each other and I distinctly remember a line where in Séverin’s POV it mentions that even after the heist he still wants the crew to find reasons to stay! 😭❤✨

I have so much love for this adorable found family Chokshi has created and I’m of course super interested to see where their group dynamic is headed in the sequel ❤❤

Another element I loved about The Gilded Wolves so much was the banter!! THE BANTER– Just-WOW, this is some of the best & funniest banter I’ve read in such a long time! There were also many times I was laughing because this crew was just–hilarious (I love my comedic found family) 😂

Here’s one of my many favorite moments (from Ch. 4):

From Zofia’s POV the crew meet up in the star-gazing room & are waiting for Séverin:

“Tristan followed her gaze and nearly jumped up when he saw Séverin.
‘Must you creep on us like that? I didn’t even hear you come into the room!’
‘It’s part of my aesthetic,’ said Séverin…”

When it comes to the characters as well, this leads me to compare it a little to Six Of Crows! While there are definitely differences between both these books for sure, I have to admit I love Gilded Wolves a lot more than SOC!

Its mainly due to the fact that in The Gilded Wolves, you see so much vulnerability to these characters, but you also see the light that’s still shining within them. I also found that just the way Chokshi develops the Gilded Wolves crew was just done in a way I really loved!

My biggest example of this is when it comes to Séverin! There’s so much emotion & vulnerability to him and we see his struggles as we progress throughout the story, that I loved following his journey! When comparing it to Six Of Crows, Kaz for me seemed to be a very ruthless kind of character and there weren’t many different moments of vulnerability to his character!

There’s moments throughout his chapters where we learn since his parents died, he was moved throughout the different Houses and had 7 fathers (correlating each one to a deadly sin) and with the 2nd one he meets Tristan, so we see how far back these 2 characters go, but also how Séverin grew up impacts his personality and relationships (especially with Laila).

Each of the crew truly came to life and there were definitely moments that had me very emotional when getting into their backstories! 😭✨

Although some can see the comparisons with Six Of Crows, Chokshi’s novel is wholly unique and magical in every way! I found The Gilded Wolves took all the things I love about heists from the lovable crew, elaborate & thought-out plans, the page-turning suspense of an impossible job, and weaved in rich history, puzzles, and phenomenal world-building that all become such important elements to the heist!

Though even with all the complex backstories, sad moments, etc., The Gilded Wolves just left me with this feeling of happiness and empowerment seeing these characters stick through it all, no matter what happens!

Now onto other elements that I adored about this book! So–there are many iconic dynamics & duos and IDK if I’ll ever recover! Of course I was all here for the powerful friendship between Laila & Zofia, the Séverin & Enrique duo, etc. What I also loved was the relationships/romance Chokshi weaved into this book that really sets up for even more interesting dynamics in book 2!

Séverin & Laila are hinted at being together in the past and you see how they carry it with them still, even if they refuse to talk about it–it still impacts how they interact with each other! But overall, I loved how Chokshi made this a different dynamic than just a “first-love.” They were already together, so it was super interesting seeing this after-math to their past relationship and how it develops!

One of my favorite recurring moments in the book was when Laila would call Séverin majnun 😭✨💕

Okay and the dynamic between Enrique & Zofia was the cutest!! (~˘▾˘)~💕💕 I shipped both of these duos so much!!

This is also such a diverse, inclusive & feminist story! From the empowering friendship between Zofia & Laila, and Zofia being an engineer! There’s also diversity to the cast which has Jewish-Polish rep. (Zofia) and explores the autism spectrum, Indian rep. (Laila), Enrique (Spanish-Filipino & Bi-), & Hypnos (dark-skinned), & Séverin (1/2 French & North African)!

I also began annotating Gilded Wolves about 1/2 way through reading it & have used so many sticky tabs–I’m basically tabbing up the entire book at this point! 😂✨ There’s so many funny lines, amazing character moments, and incredible quotes!

I’m so incredibly happy that The Gilded Wolves was my first YA of 2019 because I truly loved it with all my heart!!

Now I want to be vague about how it ends, so I’ll just say those last few chapters really leave you turning the page! Now I have no idea how I’ll wait for the sequel, my heart is just so full after reading this epic book! 😭❤❤✨

I also did a Reading Diary for The Gilded Wolves if your interested in checking that out, where I go into my daily reading progress and go into more depth on spoilers 😍💕✨📚

The Gilded Wolves is a historical fantasy adventure, filled with clever puzzles & even more intriguing heists! There’s a fantastic crew you’ll fall in love with, incredible character development, stunning world-building, all weaved into a brilliant and clever tale! Intrigue, non-stop adventure, heists, puzzles, and mysterious societies, all take center stage as Chokshi delivers a stunning tale set in 1889 Paris! The Gilded Wolves is not a book to miss, highly recommend it!

I also made it a goal in 2019 to promote other book bloggers with my book reviews, so I recommend checking out 😍✨🎉:

The Gilded Wolves ARC Review from Annie over at Blossoms And Bullet Journals 

She divided this book review into sections to discuss the main elements of the story and how they contributed to her love of the book!

And similar to my thoughts she explains that even though its pitched for fans of Six Of Crows she says why its unique in its own way!

The unique style to her format and writing really gives you everything you need to know without revealing too much! I definitely recommend this review if you need anymore convincing to read this book! 🎉✨

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi {Reading Diary}

From January 3-8 I read The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi and while I was reading it, I found myself writing down favorite quotes & moments from the story!

This quickly led to me thinking that maybe I could also track my daily reading progress for Gilded Wolves (sort of like a reading vlog) and that’s exactly what I did!

So today’s post is sharing all my thoughts and reactions as I read this wonderful book! 😄❤📚📝

**There will be some plot-specific spoilers so be aware & my full ARC Review of Gilded Wolves should be up by next week! 😍✨💕

Hope you enjoy my Reading Diary/Journal & this is a new kind of post for the blog, so I’d love to hear your thoughts! 💕✨

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani ChokshiJanuary 3
Reading Progress ✨📚: Prologue to Ch.7

–I received an ARC of this through a Goodreads Giveaway back in August and even though I was SO excited to read it, I thought it’d be best to wait & read it now during release month!

I love Roshani’s books so much! I also adore historical fantasy & have heard many amazing things, so its safe to say my expectations are really high for The Gilded Wolves!

–The Prologue is filled with mystery, I love it! It also wonderfully sets up/introduces the Houses and Rings! I can’t wait to learn more about them.

–Only 2 pages into Séverin’s chapter and I sense a heist coming!!

–Okay I was right! There’s a HEIST within the first 5 pages of this book!!

—As we go a little more into  Séverin’s back-story, I’m getting even Heist Society vibes from this: Apparently now that his status as heir to his House was taken away years ago, he’s now hired to take back objects & return them (which the Order originally stole)

–He used to belong to House Vanth but after his family line was declared dead, his possessions were taken by the Order.

–I’ve just been introduced to Séverin and Enrique & I love them both already (´▽`ʃƪ)💕

–The Séverin and Enrique banter is the best banter!!

I’ve always been a fan of heist/detective shows and knowing there would be a heist or two, I already knew before going into Gilded Wolves I would absolutely adore it! But so far book really is going above & beyond my expectations

–I’ve just been introduced to Laila & Zofia and their friendship is just so lovely

–Séverin’s heist has gone a bit wrong, but this banter is TOO good 😂😂✨

I made this update on my Goodreads and stand by it: I would protect Séverin, Enrique, Laila, Tristan, & Zofia w/ my life (I love this crew❤❤)

–Séverin and Enrique are back from the heist, so the rest of the crew is gathered to see what their “acquisition” (as Sev. calls it) led to! It turns out this compass has some unique symbols  → Horus Eye

–Now this is connecting to the beginning of the book which talked about Babel Fragments and Forging (very interesting ✨)

–This has led them to Hypnos, Séverin’s childhood friend (but now they aren’t anymore)! Hypnos wants Horus’s Eye which can be found in a House Kore vault!

–Made it all the way to Ch.7 on Day 1 which is a success because I was starting to get in a bit of a reading slump before starting this book! The last full-length fiction book I read was Realm Of Ruins back around mid-December!

*While reading I was also listening to some music, so now I’m definitely going to draft a Gilded Wolves Playlist (Hoping to post it shortly after release) 🎧✨😍

January 4
Reading Progress ✨📚: Ch.7 to Ch.11

This section of chapters is where Chokshi’s clever writing, schemes, heists, etc. shine even more!

–I love how Chokshi has developed each character separately so far because each POV is just so real and they truly come to life off the page!

–I honestly love each member of the crew and can’t pick a favorite! The banter between Zofia & Enrique, Lailia & Sev’s chemistry, Tristian & Sev’s brotherly-bond, I adore each of these different duos! (I also love how diverse/inclusive this book is *more about that in my review)

–Even in chapters where certain crew members aren’t together, you still understand their relationship and you can see how much each of them care for each other!

Especially seeing Severin’s fear of being alone after the success of their mission–my heart was broken!! But I’m rooting for him & that the crew will all be okay in the end!

*Minor spoiler but there’s this scene in pg. 80 of my ARC which I won’t explain in detail, but Severin is thinking if they pull off this heist it can benefit them all & not just himself, but from his POV he’s thinking:

“He could give them more than just something to tide them over until the next acquisition…He could give them enough to stay…”

Honestly my heart broke & I was a mess bc I was not expecting Roshani to come at Séverin this way😭💔–it was scenes like that which I loved even though they broke me because you see so much vulnerability to these characters, yet on the next page you see them joking and having witty banter! ❤❤

I don’t know what else to say other than I love the crew with all my heart–The Gilded Wolves I would say is my Six Of Crows!

–Going on a bit of tangent, while reading this book so far, I’m thinking back to SOC and while I did enjoy it when I read it b/c it was fun & shown to be a fantasy heist book…its actually not? It had maybe 1, while Gilded Wolves literally has multiple heists & that’s just one of the many reasons I love it so much😂✨❤

–There’s a magic to Chokshi’s writing and how she develops her characters that has honestly made The Gilded Wolves one of my favorite books of the year & of all-time & I’m not even ½ way done!

Overall super happy with my reading progress today! But my goal tomorrow is to get through Ch.20 & make t to the 50% mark–we’ll see what happens

January 5
Reading Progress✨📚: Ch.11 to Ch.15

–Today I read from about 7a.m. through 11 p.m. w/ some breaks throughout the day

The chapters I read through today focused a lot on the different duos as they solve a couple remaining mysteries before the next heists & schemes begin!

We got more backstory to the characters & I’m just in awe at how Chokshi is unfolding all the secrets and pasts of these characters!

–My 2 favorite characters from today’s sections (if I had to pick, even though its impossible😂) would have to be Zofia & Séverin! There’s so much more revealed about them, not only in regards to their personalities, but also their dynamics with other team members!

–For example in Ch.11 Zofia & Enrique are solving a puzzle and I just loved their banter and how they work together. I won’t spoil why their dynamic is complex, but I just loved seeing them work things out & solve some puzzles!

–What makes me so happy is seeing more of Zofia & Laila’s beautiful friendship & IDK where Séverin & Laila’s dynamic is headed but I can’t wait to see! But also–I utterly adore seeing how much Séverin cares for Zofia is always looking out for her & ensuring she’s okay!

–And also as I’ve been reading this book of course what I’m questioning for the most part is: Would it be accurate to say Séverin is Kaz Brekker w/ good morals & being a “good” morally grey character?

–I love myself a good heist & that’s what today’s chapters were all about (alongside Hypnos–who I have so many conflicted feelings about–in a good way) setting up a plan to get into a House Kore party!

–As they go through with their plan I loved seeing all the different tools/gadgets that are a part of this world! They were all really cool, like:

*Mirror Powder which allows someone to camouflage w/ what ever they touch with the powder for a short amount of time

–And as with the previous chapters, there’s even more witty banter between the crew & I am here for it! 😂😂❤

–Can’t wait to see how my progress goes for Sunday! Hopefully I can make it past Ch.20 into well over the 50% mark! Regardless, I’m truly loving everything about The Gilded Wolves from the brilliant characters, immersive setting, fun & complex team dynamics, and the genius heists & plans!

January 6:
Reading Progress✨📚: Ch.15 to Ch.19

The crew makes their way to Kore’s mansion and they go through with their own separate plans to later meet in the Greenhouse!

–One of my favorite parts about these chapters was seeing each member’s individual assignment & even though there are some unexpected moments that don’t go according to plan I loved seeing how they overcame these obstacles and kept on going!

–Zofia and Laila’s were my favorite chapters to read about in this section because we see them do what they do best & rock their assignment, but also learn more about them (& their past) when they tackle a few hurdles along the way!

–There’s a lot of puzzles (& math 😂) that have to be solved in the last couple chapters & they were all incredibly clever and the way the unfold was so fascinating to read!

Séverin isn’t majorly involved in the last couple chapters, so it was so cool reading about the other crew members & how they worked together!

–I’m loving the dynamic continuing to build between Zofia & Enrique 😍💕❤

–Around the afternoon when I reached Ch.18 I took a break to go buy supplies for annotating b/c there have been just so many memorable lines, moments of dialogue, & just the story itself that I couldn’t not highlight/tab all my favorite parts!

My goal for tomorrow is to get past ch.20 & maybe (possibly?) finish up Gilded Wolves tomorrow!

January 7:
Reading Progress 📚✨: Ch.19 to the beginning of Ch.23

The story is getting super interesting & stakes are getting high! As always, the banter & team dynamics continue to be A+

I’m excited to see where the plot is going now that all the pieces are coming into place regarding the Babel Fragments, the Fallen House & some mysterious figures that have appeared!

–My goal is to finish up The Gilded Wolves tomorrow (we shall see 😂✨) because I have quite a few posts planned as part of The Gilded Wolves Street Team

January 8:
Reading Progress 📚✨: Ch.23 through Ch.40 (The final chapter)

— I didn’t really take a lot of notes while reading these last 20 or so chapters, because I was hooked until the very end! My reading progress wasn’t as big in previous days as much as it was for this last day of reading because I just had to keep on reading to the know where the story was headed!

Okay in these last remaining chapters the story really comes together and the scheming, plans, & banter does not stop for a moment!

–There’s just so much that happens in these last few chapters, I’m still processing it all 😂✨ I’m hoping my crew makes it out okay 😭✨

–Title spot in these last remaining chapters 😂

–I don’t want to spoil what happens, but it was such a great ending that really leaves you wanting the next book! (I know I do!! 😂❤❤)

–Although Chokshi’s Star-Touched Queen books will be books I forever cherish, The Gilded Wolves really captured my heart with the dazzling setting, fantastic crew of misfits, the BEST banter, & an intricate, immersive story that had me hooked from start to finish!

This concludes my Reading Diary for The Gilded Wolves and hope you liked all my commentary! ^_^

Have you gotten a chance to read The Gilded Wolves yet? If not, are you looking forward to it? 🐺✨🌿

Thoughts on this Reading Diary? I’m thinking I’ll probably do more posts like this in the future because it was a lot of fun looking back at all my thoughts in real-time & having something to read through again in the future! 📚💖

January 2019 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

Its been so long since I’ve made monthly book release posts! In 2019, I really want to talk more about the upcoming books I’m excited to read!! 😍💕📚✨So, here’s my list of January releases that are on my TBR! 

January 2019

Contemporary

I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie Nourigat1.I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie Nourigat
Publisher: BOOM! Box (Boom! Studios)
Release Date:
January 1, 2019
Summary: The story of one woman’s quest to move to Los Angeles and got a job in animation…and how you can too.

When artist Tally Nourigat left her life in Portland to move to Los Angeles and pursue a job in animation, she realized that despite her research, nothing truly prepared her for the wild world that awaited in the studios of Southern California. From grinding on storyboard test after storyboard test to getting a job at a major studio to searching for an apartment in…the Valley…this autobiographical how-to graphic novel explores the highest highs and lowest lows of pursuing a dream in animation. Brushed with a dose of humor and illustrated advice about salaries, studio culture, and everything in between, I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation is the unique insider experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi2.Black Enough: Stories  Of Being Young & Black In America edited by Ibi Zoboi; Including Tracey Baptiste, Coe Booth, Dhonielle Clayton, Brandy Colbert, Jay Coles, Lamar Giles, Leah Henderson, Justina Ireland, Varian Johnson, Kekla Magoon, Tochi Onyebuchi, Jason Reynolds, Nic Stone, Liara Tamani, Renée Watson, & Rita Williams-Garcia
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (EpicReads)
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Summary: Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America.

Black is…sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.

Black is…three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.

Black is…Nic Stone’s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of.

Black is…two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland.

Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough. 

The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan3. The Love & Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
ARC Review To Come
Publisher:
Scholastic Press
Release Date:
January 29, 2019
Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

Contemporary Mystery

Spin by Lamar Giles1.Spin by Lamar Giles
Publisher:
Scholastic Press
Release Date:
January 29, 2019
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Paris Secord’s (aka DJ ParSec) career–and life–has come to an untimely end, and the local music scene is reeling. No one is feeling the pain more than her shunned pre-fame best friend, Kya, and Paris’s chief groupie, Fuse. But suspicion trumps grief, and since each suspects the other of Paris’s murder, they’re locked in a high-stakes game of public accusations and sabotage.

Everyone in the ParSec Nation (DJ ParSec’s local media base)–including the killer–is content to watch it play out, until Kya and Fuse discover a secret: Paris was on the verge of major deal that would’ve catapulted her to superstar status on a national level, leaving her old life (and old friends) behind. With the new info comes new motives. New suspects. And a fandom that shows its deadly side. As Kya and Fuse come closer to the twisted truth, the killer’s no longer amused. But murdering Paris was simple enough, so getting rid of her nobody-friends shouldn’t be an issue…

Fantasy

The Girl King by Mimi Yu1.The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Publisher:
Bloomsbury YA
Release Date:
January 8, 2019
Summary: Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this richly imagined, Asian-inspired fantasy!

Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: the eldest, assertive Lu, will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Then their father names their male cousin Set the heir instead, throwing both girls’ lives into chaos.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu is forced to flee, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of the decimated Ashina, nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift–and he has no trust for the Empire that killed his family–but working with the princess might be the key to unlocking his true power.

As Lu and Nok form a tenuous alliance, Min’s own hidden power awakens–a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well turn out to be each other.

Told in three distinct points-of-view, this first book in a sweeping fantasy series weaves a story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye2.Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye (Circle Of Shadows #1)
Publisher:
Balzer + Bray
Release Date:
January 22, 2019
Summary: Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo3.King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher:
Imprint
Release Date:
January 29, 2019
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.

*Because I have so many theories about King Of Scars, keep an eye out for Bookish Theories a new feature where I share all my thoughts & theories for upcoming books!

Historical Fiction

Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden1. Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Summary: As a young black woman in 1880s Savannah, Essie’s dreams are very much at odds with her reality. Ashamed of her beginnings, but unwilling to accept the path currently available to her, Essie is trapped between the life she has and the life she wants.

Until she meets a lady named Dorcas Vashon, the richest and most cultured black woman she’s ever encountered. When Dorcas makes Essie an offer she can’t refuse, she becomes Victoria. Transformed by a fine wardrobe, a classic education, and the rules of etiquette, Victoria is soon welcomed in the upper echelons of black society in Washington, D. C. But when the life she desires is finally within her grasp, Victoria must decide how much of herself she is truly willing to surrender.

Historical Fantasy

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi1. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
ARC Review To Come
Publisher:
Wednesday Books
Release Date:
January 15, 2019
Summary: Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

Mythology

Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard1. Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Release Date: January 3, 2019
Summary: Life as a half-mortal teenager should be epic.
But, for Helen Thomas, it’s tragic.

She’s just moved in with her dorky dad and self-absorbed older siblings – who happen to be the ancient Greek gods, living incognito in London!

Between keeping her family’s true identities secret, trying to impress her new friends, and meeting an actually cute boy, Helen’s stress levels are higher than Mount Olympus.

She needs to rein in her chaotic family before they blow their cover AND her chances at a half-normal social life.

Or is Helen fated for an embarrassment of mythical proportions?

Retellings

The Cold Is In Her Bones by Peternelle Van Arsdale1.The Cold Is In Her Bones by Peternelle Van Arsdale
Publisher:
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date:
January 22, 2019
Summary: Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

What January 2019 Books Are You Looking Forward To? 😍📚✨🎉🎉

 

October 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi1. Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi (TSTQ #2.5)

Library | Started September 12 + Finished October 1 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Star-Touched Stories Full Review

Overall Thoughts: This collection is not one to miss for fans of The Star-Touched Series! They explore love, loss, acceptance, finding one’s inner strength & so much more! The 3 stories within this collection include: Death And Night, Poison And Gold, & Rose And Sword. What I adored about this collection is that even though it supplements the series, there continues to be so much development that adds more to the TSTQ world overall, in such a fantastic way! While I did take my time reading this collection, it was until I got to the last story that I was really savoring each moment with these characters & I still wasn’t ready to leave this world behind (B/c this is the final Star-Touched novel). I’m really going to miss Maya, Amar, Aasha, & my fave duo Gauri & Vikram 😭✨❤ My only minor issue is that there was some slow pacing throughout Aasha’s story. I adored this collection so much and felt it wonderfully wrapped up the series!

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab2.Vengeful by V.E. Schwab (Villains #2)

Owned | Started September 27 + Finished October 8 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½|Vengeful Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Vengeful is the sequel we’ve waited years for! This novel is brilliantly dark, action-packed, & character-driven! What Schwab does that really takes this sequel in a different direction, is allowing the story to focus more on new/side-characters (like Marcella & June) and there’s also the introduction to this mysterious organization called EON. I loved getting more to Eli’s backstory and overall seeing the fate of these characters I loved, 5 years later! Schwab brilliantly incorporates numerous POVs across a varied amount of timelines and with series in particular, masterfully ties everything together. As to why it wasn’t a full 5, the pacing did feel a bit slow when I finally saw where the story would lead. As the book progressed, I actually found myself less interested in June as a character, & I really wanted more scenes of Victor & Eli (b/c I adore these messed up super-villains so much!! ❤❤) Above all, Vengeful was an epic, dark, twisted continuation to the Villains Series, that took everything I loved from Vicious & brought it to an entirely new level!

The Royal Tutor Volume 2 by Higasa Akai3. The Royal Tutor Vol. 2 by Higasa Akai (The Royal Tutor #2)

Owned | Started + Finished October 15 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |The Royal Tutor Volume 2 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Royal Tutor is one of my favorite manga series and I was so happy to be continuing it with volume 2! Heine, the tutor, now begins is introductory lessons with the princes. What makes this volume shine is the focus on the characters (mainly princes) and the strong tight-knit bond they share. Their always there to support each-other & I loved seeing my favorite princes be there for one another 😭❤❤✨ The plot unfolds in a great way (as do the mysteries) and the comedy in this series is fantastic! My only minor issue is that I’m really hoping to get more expansion on the setting & there are 2 side characters who barley have any page time, so I don’t feel like I know a whole lot about them. The Royal Tutor continues to be a great manga series with a main cast you can’t help but adore & filled so much humor. I’m really looking forward to the 3rd volume!

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore4. Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

ARC |Started October 12 + Finished October 25 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |Blanca & Roja ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Anna-Marie’s tales always captivate me and Blanca & Roja is no different. Her latest lush magical realism tale weaves together Swan Lake with Snow White And Rose Red and its such a beautiful story! We follow sisters Blanca and Roja, who have been raised to be rivals involving a generation-long spell where every generation in their family, one of 2 sisters will become a swan! Having grown up to believe they will always be opposites, Roja believes she will be taken by the swans. Even though this conflict exists between them, their bond is so strong & they are willing to keep secrets to help one another. However things change when 2 boys, Page & Barclay, become involved in this game. As with all of McLemore’s books, she explores identity and gender so beautifully! I adored these 4 with all my heart ❤ The dynamics explored between each of them have so many layers and are beautifully developed. The plot unravels in unexpected & magical ways! Family, love, and identity are such important themes in this novel and are explored with such depth! As with all of Anna-Marie’s novels, they are truly unforgettable & will continue to stay with me! I can’t wait for her next amazing novel~

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta5. The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta (The Brilliant Death #1)

ARC | Started October 24 + Finished October 26 |My Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |The Brilliant Death ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: The Brilliant Death was a book I went into with incredibly high expectations and was incredibly happy to see that it exceeded them! Set in a magical 19th Century-inspired Italian setting, we are introduced to Teo(a Strega) who goes on a mission to the country of Vinalia’s capital to save her father (one of 5 heads of the controlling families), when it seems all the families heads have fallen. She must do so, not disguised as a boy, but turned into one! With her Strega abilities, alongside her gender-fluid tutor Cielo, they both embark on this journey & discover so much along the way! The world of Vinalia is detailed, immersive, & given wonderful development + exploration! My only minor issue is that ending did feel a little rushed. However, The Brilliant Death is a wholly unique and fantastic start to a new YA Fantasy series! With exploration of gender & identity, and an adventure filled with politics & intrigue, Amy Rose Capetta’s fantasy debut is not one to miss! I’m expecting so much from this series!

Satoko And Nada Vol. 16. Satoko And Nada by Yupechika (Satoko & Nada #1)

Library| Started + Finished October 27 | My Rating: ★★★★★ | Satoko And Nada Volume 1 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Satoko & Nada is one of those mangas that I think will definitely be loved for fans of YA! Continuing their uni/college studies in America, Satoko and Nada find themselves becoming roommates and the best of friends! What truly shines about this manga debut is the friendship and amazing characters, from Satoko, Nada, Pakeezah, Ameena, Miracle, & Kevin! The characters are so incredibly developed and they really come to life by the end of this first volume! Satoko & Nada also discusses common misconceptions of Saudi & Islamic culture, while also discussing homesickness, etc. Its also really diverse! The pacing is fantastic, the comedy is perfect, & its the kind of story you want to re-read all over again because it leaves a smile on your face! Satoko & Nada is a fantastic manga debut and one I highly recommend if your looking for a comedic contemporary, & slice-of-life story!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Girl In Space Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Author Interview With Janelle Milanes {Analee, In Real Life}

No More Heroes: Hell Or High Water by Michelle Kan {Exclusive Cover Reveal}

Non-Fiction Podcasts I’ve Been Listening To! {Literary Listens}

Book Bytes #16

~ So overall I was pretty happy with the books I read in October & the content I posted ❤🎃✨📚😍 I’m also slowly but, surely getting back on track with my TBR!

Plans For November:

~ As always catch up on ARCs & new releases 😅📚✨ If your interested in seeing more daily reading/bookish updates definitely check out my twitter! & I’ve been in kind of Twitter slump recently, so it’d be so awesome to start bookish conversations on there 😍📚✨❤❤

~ I’ve been working on a new blog feature & I am beyond excited to be debuting it this month on the blog! (Hint: it involves recently released/upcoming fantasy books!!) 😍📚✨⚔

~ I also may have another Literary Listens post up, it could be a podcast review or a podcast recommendation list! (I’m still deciding) 🎙✨

~ I’m also prepping some December & early 2019 posts that will definitely introduce some new bookish content to my blog! ❤❤📚🎉

Thanks for checking out my October 2018 Wrap-Up! What books did you read in October? or Any blog posts you enjoyed creating last month? Are there any that your planning on reading in November? 😍📚✨💕

Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi Review

Star-Touched Stories by Roshani ChokshiStar-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi (TSTQ #2.5)

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Release Date: August 7, 2018

Pages: 388

Summary: Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth? 

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Readers are once again immersed into the world of The Star-Touched Queen through three dazzlingly written stories that explore love, loss, acceptance, and so much more! Star-Touched Stories is not a collection to miss for fans of the series! Chokshi’s storytelling weaves magic and wonder with each page!

Death And Night by Roshani Chokshi: ★★★★★

This first story is set up to be a prequel to The Star-Touched Queen, which follows the past lives of Maya & Amar + how they fell in love! (There’s also some references to TSTQ).

Death wanders the land of Naraka, lonely with only the night sky as his solace and comfort. Then there is Night herself, who sells dream fruit (allowing people to have any kind of dream), and all she longs for is recognition or remembrance for what she’s done!

Both are death & night incarnate, and through Chokshi’s writing we get such thought-provoking passages of the movement of time, connection, longing for love, loneliness…just such moving passages that are delivered through each of them and what they long for!

Death runs into Night after hearing about her & figuring she may be the one, before Teej comes (which Death isn’t looking forward to)! They meet after an evening in the Night Bazaar and there beautiful relationship goes from there!

We see how lonely they both are, but in different ways! As their relationship develops, its so clear that they both have fears that are holding them back from being with each other. However, when they are with each other, they begin to see that each of them understands the deepest secrets + dreams within their hearts.

We learn that Death’s heart was cursed by the Shadow Wife to always lose his love and seeing how it added so much more to his apprehension of finding love at first was so incredibly developed and weaved into not only his story, but the story overall! 

I loved how Chokshi developed their relationship and through the beautiful dual POV 1st person narrative, get immersed in such a beautiful tale.

Additionally, through Chokshi exploring both Death & Night, we see how throughout the story, they unlock each others deepest dreams + wishes as they connect and grow with each other.

The descriptions and overall atmosphere of this novella was phenomenal! I could picture Naraka, Nights dream fruit, Death (who had elaborate horns on his head, which was really cool!), the worlds and place both Night & Death explore, the wondrous imagery of the night sky, dreams, etc.!

What also allowed me to really love this story is that through Chokshi’s elegant writing-style, it made me pause and think with every few lines because of how beautifully and thought-provokingly written they were! The breaks I took while reading this novella really allowed the words to sink in and for me to completely fall in love with the story of Death And Night!

Above all what really stuck with me throughout this story was the exploration of love and when you meet someone who truly understands not only do they help you become your best self, but they also allow you to face the truths that aren’t always easy to say out loud that they can clearly see!

This novella explored love, deeply moving emotions, and through such lyrical, profound writing, The tale of Death And Night, was truly one of my favorites!

Poison And Gold by Roshani Chokshi: ★★★★☆ ½

Poison And Gold is a short-story/epilogue to A Crown Of Wishes, which now follows Gauri & Vikram’s friend that they met briefly during the Tournament Of Wishes, Aasha who is a Vishakanya and has left her life as a poisoner behind to be with Gauri & Vikram in the real world.

Now she’s given an opportunity by Vikram & Gauri to become their Spy Mistress and train with the current Spy, Zahril or risk being sent home and no longer being allowed among Gauri & Vikram, according to the council.

Now as she trains among Zahril, she learns more about what it means to be truly human and how as a Vishakanya, she’ll be able to avoid being found out by Zahril while proving she has what it takes to become Spy Mistress.

With my love for A Crown Of Wishes, I was so incredibly happy to return to this world where Vikram & Gauri are now married and busy with ruling over their united kingdoms of Bharata-Ujjain.

I loved seeing the beautiful friendship bloom even stronger between them & Aasha! ❤

Aasha goes through so much development within this story! First, she is still in fear of Vishakanya abilities and the destruction it brings, but over the course of the novel (even if she does have to keep it hidden) she begins to understand more about how it connects to her past when she was the in harem, but also how her powers are a part of her + how she comes to accept it on her journey to become Spy Mistress!

Her instructor, Zahril isn’t exactly all to happy with her there in the first place (& her hatred of Vishakanyas doesn’t make things much easier), but through her trials and tasks, we find how it not only allows Aasha to become more confident in who she is, but how there’s so many different facets to the role Aasha is training for!

We see how this fear of revealing her abilities also brings an element of intrigue and thought-provoking moments as Aasha questions what it means to be a Vishakanya.

There’s also f/f rep., when we learn more to Zahril’s past and how she was in love with a girl named Samza, but was killed by Vishakanyas + as Zahril begins to accept Aasha as a potential candidate, Aasha finds herself falling for her!

The writing as with all of Chokshi’s stories builds so much depth to the world & what we were already familiar with in A Crown Of Wishes! The little details also build on the emotional depth of each character and their view of the world, its magic, etc.

Overall I loved returning to the world of A Crown Of Wishes & seeing my favorite characters again + getting introduced to one of my new favorite characters Zahril! I loved how this story focused on having Aasha accept her strengths and not letting the fear overcome her!

Poison And Gold is a short story that is all about growth, friendship, love, and forging your own path! I loved it!

Rose and Sword:★★★★★

In the kingdom of Bharata-Ujijain, 10-year old Hira helps her sister on the day before her wedding by packing up her favorite toys and putting them in a chest for Meghana. But, Meghana is nervous and lashes out in anger at Hira. So, Hira heads to her grandmother’s quarters where her grandmother recounts a story of a queen on her wedding night.

From what I gathered this story takes place well after A Crown Of Wishes and I loved reading the hints/references to it, like later in the 1st chapter, its stated that the women in Hira’s family were immune to poison and it hinted at a rumor surrounding a blue star they were born with (like w/ Aasha?) & of course the story revolving around Garui & Vikram’s wedding ❤ ❤ + seeing very early on that Hira’s grandmother is Gauri.

I just loved seeing this past/present/future timeline to see how Gauri & Vikram were doing!!

The story follows Gauri on the day before her wedding and the journey, she’s feeling so many different things (especially uncertainty, maybe fear). So, she is shocked when she realizes Vikram is sick and she stays with him as its revealed that the physicians aren’t sure whats wrong.

When its revealed that a messenger of death may come for Vikram, Gauri knows she will do whatever it takes to make sure he is brought back! So the messenger (which disguises itself as Gauri) tasks her with reaching & retrieving Vikram’s last breath from the Kingdom Of Death by passing many Gates, before sunrise!

The journey to the first gate leaves Gauri remembering her sister Maya & reflecting on an argument she & Vikram had in the past, a reminder to who she could lose if she doesn’t make it in time.

Its so clear the love each other and that they’ve both grown so much, and knowing what’s at stake, my heart broke during her flashbacks.

Next, Gauri makes it to the Gate Of Grief and into an unknown white palace, where she finds Vikram’s voice, but learns something about love, the truth that there will be a day when she loses him, and the bravery of love, (even when you let go)!

Gauri then makes it in time to get back to Vikram! I loved reading about how their wedding turned out and what Hira takes away from the story in the end, when she thinks of the anger (which was actually a sense of fear) that Meghana had before her own wedding!

Now I don’t want to spoil it, but the epilogue that finished off this story was beautiful, there were definitely some tears (I love Gauri & Vikram so much!! 😭✨❤❤)

Overall, though I absolutely adored every tale in Star-Touched Stories, my only minor issue is that the pacing was a bit slow for me as I spent quite a bit more on reading through Poison And Gold!

Also what makes Star-Touched Stories such a great short story collection as a whole, is that it also adds more the world and story itself, while also giving enough time to develop everything so perfectly from the characters, setting, descriptions, plotting, pacing, etc.

What made Star-Touched Stories so incredibly special was spending one last book with the amazing characters like Gauri, Vikram, Aasha, the past selves of Maya & Amar! I hadn’t really thought about it until I began reading Rose And Sword, and that’s when I was just savoring each page with these characters, because looking back, Chokshi’s Star-Touched novels have just stuck with me ever since I first read them and even with the many other books I’ve read, her series has truly stayed with me! I got a bit emotional as I read through Gauri looking after Vikram as he was sick 😭✨

Star-Touched Stories is a collection of three beautifully written tales that take readers back to the world of Chokshi’s Star-Touched Series! Wrapping up the series, the stories explore the complexities of loss, love, finding ones inner strength, and so much more! Chokshi’s beautifully descriptive writing delivers on building even more into the Star-Touched Queen world as a whole and the magnificent characters we’ve come to love from the series!