Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Title: The Hating Game
Author: Sally Thorne
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Paperback, 384 Pages
Published August 2016


Summary: Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude. Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

OMG, you guys. OMG. I usually try to write really professional, calm, collected reviews here, but I am so close to losing my cool that it isn't even funny. It may only be the first month of 2019, but I can confidently say that The Hating Game is one of the best books that I have read in a long, long time. So please bear with me through this totally fangirl-y review as I try to keep it together and put together a coherent review for you all...but GAH, GUYS, THIS BOOK.

Okay, okay, let's get into it. As the summary explains, Lucy and Josh both work at a publishing house, assistants to the co-CEOs. The only problem? They absolutely cannot STAND each other, under any circumstances whatsoever. Lucy spends her days making petty jabs at Josh and trying to one-up him from across the room, always determined to be the better assistant. So when the company announces a massive promotion -- and the fact that both Josh and Lucy are up for it -- things get even more lethal than before. The only problem? They start to realize that their spat isn't entirely fueled by hate...some of it is fueled by lust -- and maybe something even more than that -- which makes things very, very tricky.

You guys, oh my god. This book. THIS BOOK. I seriously haven't been addicted to a book like this in a long time. This book was literally the perfect recipe for me. A contemporary romance? Check. Slow-burn? Ooooh, that's a definite check. Enemies to lovers? Yep, another check! This book was a perfect storm that kept me turning the pages so quickly that I covered almost 200 pages in a single day. I stayed up until all hours of the night, always reading the next chapter and wanting to know what would happen next. Our good friend Dana from DanaSquare recommended this book to me, and I'm so glad that she did, because we have such similar reading tastes that I knew if Dana loved this book, I would too -- and she was, as usual, completely right!

I really loved both Josh and Lucy's character's, and how they paralleled each other. First you have Lucy, who is bright and bubbly and adorable and wants everyone to love her. And then you have Josh, who is dark and brooding and all hard lines and sharp angles. In a lot of ways, they were completely different -- but in others, they were exactly the same! As they started to warm up with each other and joke (and flirt) more, I fell more and more in love with their relationship. All I'm saying is that I definitely wouldn't mind me some of Josh, LOL! (Jk. If my boyfriend is reading this, that was a joke. You're still the greatest man I could ever have the privilege of knowing♥.)

The slow-burn aspect of this story was also really amazing, even if it was slowly torturing me inside. The way Josh played with Lucy's emotions and dragged out their relationship had me basically drooling by the time that things finally came together. Sally Thorne has definitely mastered the art of a slow-burn romance, that's for sure -- it felt like it dragged enough to torture me, but the pace was also fast enough that the story didn't feel like it was lagging too much and starting to lose me! 

(Major spoilers in this paragraph, so please skip to the next paragraph to avoid them!) OH MY GOD, I have to talk about that ending for a second. As soon as Josh finally admitted that he loved Lucy, I actually started to tear up. It was so dang adorable. And the thing about the job? Oh my gosh. The entire thing just made my heart all fluttery and happy inside. My heart absolutely couldn't take it and I had to text Dana and swoon to her immediately upon finishing this book.

Overall, I absolutely loved The Hating Game, and I know you will too as soon as you add it to your TBR. (Yes, this means you!) This book hooked me from the beginning up until the very end, and I never wanted it to end. Sally Thorne is excellent at spinning a dramatic, swoon-worthy web with tantalizing characters and shocking plot points that will make you laugh, cry, gasp, swoon, and definitely -- DEFINITELY -- blush. If you're looking for a rom-com like no other that you'll absolutely fall in love with, then look no further than The Hating Game. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go order Thorne's next book, 99 Percent Mine!




Waiting On Wednesday: Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read! 

~
Title: Aurora Rising
(The Aurora Cycle #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 7th 2019
Hardcover, 384 pages


Summary: 
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch… A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder An alien warrior with anger management issues A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy. They're not the heroes we deserve. They're just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

"They're not the heroes we deserve. They're just the ones we could find. Nobody panic."

The cover. The authors. The synopsis. This book is going to be amazing. Illuminae destroyed me in the best and worst ways and I don't expect anything less from Aurora Rising. May please hurry up!




What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so we can stop back!

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between!

This weeks theme: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

My TBR list is growing by the day. Currently I have over 600 books on my Goodreads TBR shelf and the list keeps growing. Today's TTT was set up on 12/12/18 so these aren't the *most recent* anymore but they were when I made the list! 


    


   


Honorable Mentions (They have no covers yet!):


What was the most recent book added to your TBR list? Leave the link to your TTT below so we can stop back! 

Debut '19 Interview: Kelly Coon the Author of Gravemaidens!


In 2019 our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. Follow us this year as we pick the mind of the 2019 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, twitter chats and more! 
About Kelly!

YA author Kelly Coon is an editor for Blue Ocean Brain, a member of the Washington Post Talent Network, a former high school English teacher, ACT test prep book author, and a wicked karaoke singer in training. She adores giving female characters the chance to flex their muscles and use their brains, and wishes every story got the happy ending she's living near Tampa with her three sons, dashingly handsome husband, and a rescue pup who will steal your sandwich. GRAVEMAIDENS is her debut novel.
Keep up with Kelly: Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Website


Interview!

The Book Bratz: How does it feel that GRAVEMAIDENS is debuting this year? 

Kelly: It feels absolutely surreal. I started writing fiction as a kid, and always dreamed that I’d have a novel coming out, but now that the year has arrived, it feels like I’m still dreaming a bit! I think I’ll believe it when I’m holding my book in my hands!

The Book Bratz: In the length of a tweet (280 characters!) can you give us an overall summary of GRAVEMAIDENS?

Kelly: In the walled city-state of Alu, 16-year-old healer Kammani must save the dying ruler, or her beautiful little sister, Nanaea, will be buried alive to be his bride in the afterlife. The problem? Nanaea wants the honor. 

(Hi! Doesn't this sound awesome? I know I'm not suppose to butt in on interviews and I know Jessica is going to kill me but doesn't GRAVEMAIDENS sound amazing!? -Amber) 

The Book Bratz: Where did your inspiration for GRAVEMAIDENS come from?

Kelly: It was inspired by real Sumerian history of ancient sacrifice. As a little girl, I heard the stories of ancient sacrifice in my studies as part of the middle eastern history I gleaned seven days a week attending a fundamentalist church and school. My sequestered little life was filled with one story after another centered in the land in the Jordan River Valley, in Palestine, and extending from Mesopotamia down through to the Nile river in Egypt. 

Though I am no longer a fundamentalist, the city of Alu kind of grew and blossomed and pushed through my mind because it’s the history in which I was raised. When I first heard about the Sumerian Queen Puabi, who’d been buried with three teen girls as attendants, I wondered who those girls were, what they had been promised about the afterlife, and what might happen if one of them had a sister who didn’t want her to die.


The Book Bratz: Is there anything from your personal life that you used as inspiration in GRAVEMAIDENS?

Kelly: Yes. I, too, have a sister who has needed my protection over the years. A sister I’ve tried to save from time to time.


The Book Bratz: Was GRAVEMAIDENS always meant to be a duology or was that decided after you finished writing GRAVEMAIDENS?

Kelly: I first planned GRAVEMAIDENS as a trilogy, but both my agent and I believed the story would be better received as a duology. So, I narrowed my focus and came up with a killer character arc that would drive Kammani through both books.


The Book Bratz: Can you share a secret about GRAVEMAIDENS that not many people know yet? 

Kelly: There may or may not be a kissing scene where one of the characters tries to slit the other’s throat while they kiss. There may (or may not). ;-)

(Hi all, Amber again. I'm so ready for that scene and this book and these characters. December 2019 where are you!?)

The Book Bratz: If you had to create twitter or instagram handles for your characters, what would they be?

Kelly:
Kammani: @GreatestHealerOfAllTime
Nanaea: @dancergirlforlifeordeath
Dagan: @KammaniLover4EVA
Iltani: @nobodyaskedyoutotalk
Nin Arwia: @LonelyAtTheTop
Nasu: refuses social media on principle
Lugal Marus: @LionAndBlooms


The Book Bratz: Do you have any ideas you plan to visit after GRAVEMAIDENS?

Kelly: Yes! I just wrote a YA sci-fi that’s with my agent right now. We’re fixing it up before we figure out what we want to do with it. It’s THE SCARLET LETTER meets Westworld in space and I was incredibly inspired by the religious sect in which I was raised. There’s lots of #resistance, lots of revenge, and maybe some crimson carnivorous birds. Maybe.

AH! I love West world and sci-fi and the sound of this! *enthusiastic shrieking that Jessica and Emily are gonna roll their eyes at me about* -Amber)


About GRAVEMAIDENS!

*CHECK BACK SOON FOR NEWS ON THE COVER*

Title: Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens #1)
Author: Kelly Coon
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Delacorte
Publication Date: December 3rd 2019
Summary: The Lugal is dying, and that is everything. Because if he dies, Kammani’s little sister, Nanaea, dies, too. She’s been chosen as one of three Sacred Maidens who will be buried alive to serve the king in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A sacred tradition. And Nanaea is thrilled to have been chosen. But Kammani, a 16-year-old healer’s apprentice, who’s been healing the sick with her father for the past ten years, recognizes the “honor” for what it really is: a death sentence. A trip across the river in the arms of the Boatman, the skeletal conduit between this life and the next. And she cannot let her little sister go. That would be yet another failure in a family riddled with regret. Her mission? Heal the Lugal in her father’s stead, since he has gone missing. The problem? She is determined to right her past mistakes alone, but doesn’t recognize that accepting the help of those who love her and being helpless are not the same thing at all.


Thank you so much Kelly for stopping by the blog and answering some of our questions! We are super excited for GRAVEMAIDENS and what you have in store for readers. December can't come soon enough!  

Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Title: Crazy Rich Asians
Author: Kevin Kwan
Publisher: Anchor
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Paperback, 527 Pages
Published June 2013


Summary: When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor. On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

This book has been on my radar for awhile, and then once I found out that it was becoming a movie, it quickly got bumped up onto my TBR. It's been a chaotic few months with starting my junior year of college and everything, so I didn't get a chance to pick up the book until now -- or see the movie, because I was stubborn and I don't like watching bookish movies until I read the books themselves. So at the start of 2019 I finally treated myself to a copy of this book and curled up to lose myself in the high society of Singapore. And let me tell you...I definitely wasn't disappointed!

As the summary explains, Rachel Chu gets invited to go to Singapore for the summer with her boyfriend Nick, who tells her that it'll be an exciting trip where she gets to meet his family. What he doesn't tell her, however, is that Nick is perhaps one of the richest heirs in Singapore, and that his entire extended family is filthy rich. Even worse? None of them want Nick to be with Rachel, thinking that she's a low-life gold digger. So when Rachel finally gets off the plane, she finds herself dropped into this world of money, secrets, drama, fake kindness, and lots and lots and LOTS of backstabbing. What's a girl to do?

You guys, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK. It was over 500 pages and I still tore through it in just a few days because it was so dramatic that I definitely couldn't put it down. It basically reminded me of Gossip Girl with all of the secrets and scheming and couture and all of the intense drama. There are so many moments in this book where I gasped and totally hadn't predicted where the story was going. I was so intensely excited by this book that as soon as I finished it I knew I was going to be picking up the other two books in the trilogy as soon as possible, because this is too good of a story to not keep up with. 

My favorite character in this book was definitely Nick, but I also really loved Rachel as well! Nick was super sweet and attentive and caring, and it was definitely pretty obvious how much he loved Rachel. I also really loved Rachel, especially in the moments where she didn't let anyone intimidate her and she stood up for herself. I was definitely cheering her on in those moments! And perhaps one of my favorite things about Rachel and Nick as a couple is how they don't let anyone, no conniving family members, come between their relationship. They are truly a match meant to be and I shipped them so hard throughout the whole story.

Something else that I really loved about this book was how often the plot twists would grab you and completely shock you to your core. There were plenty of moments where I would exclaim out loud because I was so shocked about a particular plot point. Something that's really great about this story is the way it ties together so many different threads from so many different families and specific characters, meaning the amount of drama and scheming multiplies. There's seriously so much ground to cover in this book that if I tried to address every single shocking plot twist or dramatic moment, this review would definitely be just as long as the novel itself! 

Overall, I absolutely loved reading Crazy Rich Asians, and I'll definitely be reading the next two books in the trilogy soon! This book was filled with so many secrets, so much drama, and all sorts of sneaky backstabbing and events that kept me hooked until the very last page. If you're into high-society dramas and you're looking for another triology to grip you from start to finish, I'd definitely recommend checking this one out. Now if you'll excuse me -- it's time to finally treat myself by watching the movie! *heart eyes*



Tag-Team Q&A with Sadie From S.B. Book Blog!


Hi everyone! Today on the blog, we have something a little different -- a tag-team Q&A with our friend Sadie from S.B. Book Blog! We sent Sadie a list of ten questions to answer, which she replied to below, and she also sent us ten totally DIFFERENT questions to answer, which you can read on her page! So without further ado, let's get into Sadie's answers!

What book are you currently reading right now? What do you think of it?
I’m currently reading THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi. I think it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while, and it’s all I can do not to finish it in one sitting! Plus, the cover is simply beautiful. 

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
My favorite ice cream flavor would either be mint chocolate chip or cookie dough! 

What's your dream bookish job?
Well, my dream bookish job would be a published author. That’s been my life dream since I was little, and I plan to do everything possible to accomplish that goal (and maybe soon)! If author wasn’t possible, I would love to work as an editor for a publishing house or as an agent!

What's one band or artist you've been really interested in lately?
Well, my WIP is a YA futuristic fantasy, and I always listen to music when I type. I think New Rock really fits with the vibe that my book gives. Lately, I’ve been listening to Imagine Dragons, Twenty One Pilots, Panic At The Disco, Fall Out Boy, and other New Rock bands! I think my WIP could be set to an Imagine Dragons soundtrack, though. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Who is a new-to-you author that you discovered recently and loved?
I just discovered Tracy Banghart (GRACE AND FURY), and I really love her! I also like Makiia Lucier (ISLE OF BLOOD AND STONE) and Claire LeGrand (FURYBORN). I can’t just pick one! ๐Ÿ˜‚ But, these are all authors I’ve discovered in the past few months. 

Are you more of a planner, or more of a "winging it" type of person?
Oh, I plan *everything.* Except for blog posts, it seems. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I can never seem to get a proper schedule for any posts expect my book reviews. Honestly, I just write one whenever I get a good feeling about an idea!

A bit basic of a question, but what is the best book you've ever read? 
Well, I think the *best* book I ever read is different from my favorite book. For best book, I’d have to choose THE GOBLET OF FIRE by J. K. Rowling. It’s my favorite Harry Potter book, and I’ve read it so many times I can’t count! I would consider it the best book because it’s the book that we start to see Harry transition from immature child to mature teenager, so the writing style of the book seems more fit to match Harry’s age. Plus, Dobby’s in it, so he always makes a book better! ๐Ÿ˜‚

What are some non-bookish hobbies that you enjoy?
I really love classic and vintage cars of all kinds, and I go to car shows often! I also run a photography business that solely focuses on car photography, so I get to do what I love *while* looking at cars! ๐Ÿ˜„ I also enjoy playing video games when I have spare time, hiking, visiting historical sites, and playing *a lot* of instruments. 

What's one genre that you don't read much of that you want to get more into?
I used to like to read historical fiction, and I haven’t read much of it lately. I’d love to start reading that again! Any recommendations? 

What's one TV show or movie that you watched recently and would recommend?
Hands down, Seinfeld. I love that TV show, and it’s hilarious! For a movie (even though it depresses me), Avengers: End Game. That movie is really well-done, and the cast is *spot-on.*

We hope you all enjoyed reading Sadie's answers to our questions! If you have anything else that you'd like Sadie to answer (or anything that you want us to answer!), comment down below! And of course, check out our answers to Sadie's completely different questions on her blog!



ARC Review: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Title: Four Dead Queens
Author: Astrid Scholte 
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery 
Source: BookCon 2018
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: February 26th 2019

Summary: 
Get in quick, get out quicker. These are the words Keralie Corrington lives by as the preeminent dipper in the Concord, the central area uniting the four quadrants of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quarter. For in the nation of Quadara, each quarter is strictly divided from the other. Four queens rule together, one from each region: Toria: the intellectual quarter that values education and ambition Ludia: the pleasure quarter that values celebration, passion, and entertainment Archia: the agricultural quarter that values simplicity and nature Eonia: the futurist quarter that values technology, stoicism and harmonious community When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them.

Has it really been almost 5 months since I posted my teaser review and wrote this actually review!? Wow, time flies.




  


I really hope you are ready to sit down abandon all your responsibilities because from the moment you pick up this book you will not be able to put it down. The action starts from the first page and doesn't stop until the last page. A story that has something for readers of all kind and with out a doubt this is going to be a book loved by readers upon release.

 

The world of Quadra reminds me a lot of Divergent and it's factions. Which absolutely worked for this book and was an interesting concept to set a world up around. The four quarters of Quadra: Toria, Ludia, Archia and Eonia are ruled by four separate queens who enforce and live by the queenly laws and the law of their territories. But the nation of Quadra is about to be disrupted when a dipper, Keralie uncovers comms that hold a plot that will end with all four queens brutally murdered. Keralie teams up with Varin, the messanger she stole the comms from to save the four Queens and Quadra from an unknown villian. 


I'm typically not one for books with a lot of POVs and Four Dead Queens has six POVs. Yes, you read that correctly six. But before you get all overwhelmed it really isn't that had. The queen each has a chapter or two, and those are used to show how they will be murdered and the internal conflicts with in Quadra and the Queens lives itself. Each Queen had their own unique battle that makes your heart ache for them and then splinter at their deaths. I loved that Scholte gave the murderer (or planned murderer) their own POV towards the end of the novel, it answered a lot of the questions on why and who wanted the queens dead. 


The only thing I really struggled with in Four Dead Queens was the romance. I don't necessarily believe it was needed, though enjoyable to read it was a little rushed. But it was cute and added to the plot. Especially considering how opposite in upbringings and personalities that Keralie and Varin were. The romance is not a deal breaker for me though and I still loved this book with it! 


Overall I really love Four Dead Queens and I am sad that it is a standalone. I would love to see more of Quadra and how its society is going to continue on after the events of the novel. Scholte created a world that is going to be loved by fantasy, mystery, thriller, sci-fi and romance readers a like. 


Blogging 101: Why Sometimes Book Reviews Aren't Enough


So, you want to start a book blog and you don't know where to start. This is completely normal. Starting a blog is an overwhelming feeling, there is so much you need to know that you don't. We are hoping with this new series that we will be able to help new bloggers navigate the blogging world!

Previous Posts: PlatformsWebsites Essential for Running a Blog | Staying Organized | When, Why & What To Post | How to Write a Banging Book Review | What NOT To Do in the Blogging World


In the years since we created The Book Bratz we learned one big lesson: Blogging isn't just writing book reviews. Sure, book reviews are a part of having owning/running a book blog BUT they aren't part of your blog as a whole. To be quite blunt with you: Book reviews sometimes don't cut it. This post isn't about me telling you to cut down orn reviews or cut them out all together. Book reviews are fun to write and they are how we express our like or dislike for a book! This post is just to give you some ideas on other things to post and some things to keep in mind! 

I've noticed a trend of the years that the post that end up getting to most engagement (views/comments/retweets/ect.) are posts that aren't book reviews. Occasionally a review will surpass other posts in engagements for the week but I find it to be super rare. Sometimes discussions posts, memes and bookish lists are more interesting then a book review. That is 100% okay and there is nothing wrong with that. 

On The Book Bratz we aim to post 2-4 reviews a week and then use the other days for discussion posts, author interviews, weekly memes, tags and other bookish posts. With the three of us we often post almost everyday of the month and sometimes even twice a day. I know this isn't possible for many bloggers for the fact that you run your blog on your own. There is no right or wrong amount of times to post on your blog per week/month. You only got two posts up this week? That's awesome! That's two more posts. My point is: Your effort doesn't go unnoticed. Running a blog is a huge responsibility and you are doing it! 

A book blog doesn't have to strictly be book reviews! It's an outlet to share your love for books. You can talk about anything you want on it. Here are some examples of post ideas:

  • Discussion Posts - Have something bookish that you want to talk about? Write a post on it! Want to give advice to new bloggers and older bloggers on things you learned? Write a post! The sky is your limit. 
  • Book Tags - There are so many Book Tags floating around and you can find a bunch of them on Pinterest. They are really fun to do. 
  • Weekly Memes - There are so many weekly posts that bloggers participate in: Stacking the Shelves, Top Ten Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday! There are more that I didn't list but they are fun way to compile book lists to share with your followers. 
  • Book Lists - I love making book lists. I've done so many over the years and they are so much fun to make. I love when we compile lists of our favorite spooky reads for Halloween and our favorite romances for Valentines day. We even compile a list at the end of the year with all of our favorite books! 
  • Own Voices and Diverse Reads - This is such a huge and important topic and so many people have their own thoughts and opinions on it. Write a post sharing yours! You can even talk about some of your favorite #ownvoices and #diversereads

The post opportunities are endless and the above are only a few *ideas.* I've said this in some other posts but: No one can tell you what you can and can't post on your blog. It is your own and you can do what you want with it. Have fun! Be creative! Your blog is your outlet. 

Let's gear away from your blog now and talk about other social media platforms. Another big part of blogging is following the community and taking part. Twitter is a huge way to connect with readers/bloggers/authors/publishers and the book community is massive. I know that sometimes it seems intimidating but everyone is super amazing and we are all there to support each other. I've found so many blogs that I love through twitter that I probably wouldn't have found otherwise. But there isn't just the twitter community, you have Instagram (Bookstagrammers), Pinterest, Facebook. There is so many different places for you to connect with you followers and engage with the community. 

I love writing book reviews and I love reading book reviews. It will always be my favorite part of blogging (besides all the amazing friends I've met through blogging.) This post is simply about something I noticed and ideas of other things to post besides reviews. I hope this helps in some way for you! 


Do you like writing bookish posts more or book reviews? Do you find this to be true as well? Let me know below! I would love to hear from you :)

ARC Review: Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastain

Title: Lady Smoke
(Ash Princess Trilogy #2)
Author: Laura Sebastian 
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Physical ARC via Publisher
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: February 5th 2019
Hardcover, 512 pages

Summary: 
The sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that was "made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir" ( Bustle ), Lady Smoke is an epic new fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people. The Kaiser murdered Theodosia's mother, the Fire Queen, when Theo was only six. He took Theo's country and kept her prisoner, crowning her Ash Princess--a pet to toy with and humiliate for ten long years. That era has ended. The Kaiser thought his prisoner weak and defenseless. He didn't realize that a sharp mind is the deadliest weapon. Theo no longer wears a crown of ashes. She has taken back her rightful title, and a hostage--Prinz Soren. But her people remain enslaved under the Kaiser's rule, and now she is thousands of miles away from them and her throne. To get them back, she will need an army. Only, securing an army means she must trust her aunt, the dreaded pirate Dragonsbane. And according to Dragonsbane, an army can only be produced if Theo takes a husband. Something an Astrean Queen has never done. Theo knows that freedom comes at a price, but she is determined to find a way to save her country without losing herself. "A darkly enchanting page-turner you won't be able to put down." --Bustle on Ash Princess, Book 1 in the Ash Princess series

“Friends, enemies, I don’t think it matters anymore. The chains are just as heavy, no matter who holds the key.”

I loved Ash Princess and the ending had left me hungry for more, so I was super excited when Delacorte sent me a copy of Lady Smoke in the mail for review. I didn't not like Lady Smoke, I enjoyed seeing some of my favorite characters and seeing what they are up too. But I didn't love this book as much as I hoped too. I see so many five star reviews for this one, so I can tell that I am already the black sheep. 



I think my biggest problem was that even though I do love these characters I couldn't connect with them on a personal level like I did in Ash Princess. In the first book I was super invested in Theo and Soren and Blaise and their quests. In Lady Smoke I was very bleh about my connection with them. To be brutally honest I really didn't care for the giant quest they had to go on. If I can't connect with characters I am going to have a hard time reading the book. I felt like I spent a majority of Lady Smoke dragging myself through the pages. 

I really didn't like the fact that Theo has to find a husband in order to defeat the Kaiser. I get that it is a plot point to the story can move forward. But #girlpower! (Plus, I ship Theo and Soren still so the whole "Theo having to find a husband that isn't Soren" wasn't my favorite thing in the world.)


“Still, there is something to be said about someone seeing your darkest parts and accepting you anyway.”

Overall I just really didn't love Lady Smoke as much as I hoped. It did end on a cliff hanger so I am slightly intrigued on what is going to happen next. I hope the conclusion for the Ash Princess trilogy is going to be just as kick ass and amazing as the first book was.