Book Review: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2)

lady smokeTitle: Lady Smoke

Author: Laura Sebastian

Pub. Date: February 5, 2019

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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.

This will be a spoiler free review.

I almost didn’t finish this book. Not because it was bad per se, I was just struggling to get into it. Probably because it had been well over a year since I read Ash Princess. I remember very little from the first book, except for a few scenes.

I also had other books that I really wanted to read, but I felt guilty since Lady Smoke had been sitting on my TBR for months. I’m glad I ultimately pushed through and finished the book.

I remember really loving the first book, but this one didn’t give me the same feeling. I think it suffers a little bit from middle book syndrome. A lot happened in this book – action-wise, but plot wise, I was bored. Maybe I hyped it in my head too much, since i loved Ash Princess. Then there was the ending, and how that all happened, and I sort of found myself thinking, what’s the point?

I don’t want to spoil, so I’ll be vague, but something happens to a certain character, by the hands of another character, and as the reader I was like “wtf” and felt a bit jilted at what I expected to be the big final battle at the end of book 3. It wasn’t like I was shocked with the outcome, surprised maybe, but my legit first thought was, “really? what’s the point of all of this if that’s the outcome”. I just don’t understand the choices that were made. Maybe they’ll make sense, I’ll have to trust Laura on this one, because what happened was a moment I really wanted Theo to have.

I don’t know, I just wasn’t super impressed with this book. I will say that even though my interest wasn’t 100%, while I was reading the book, I didn’t feel the need to put it down. It was engaging enough to keep you reading, and therefore it was a fairly quick read, once I sat down to really read it.

I’ve already bought Ember Queen and I am looking forward to reading it. It arrived in the mail and maybe I’ll get to it this month, but definitely next. I’ll slip it into my TBR, so I can finally see how this trilogy ends.

OH! I just thought of something. Forgive me, it’s been probably about a week since I read this book. But I kind of got annoyed with Blaise…not really a fan. I just wanted him to go away. I get this vibe that he’s in love with this version of Theo he’s created in his head, and not who she actually is. I’m definitely Team Soren, hands down. For his sake, I need to know what happens next.

The Ash Princess Trilogy is now complete, so if you’ve been waiting to read these books, I say, go for it. Laura is a great writer, and her stories come to life. Theo’s journey is long and hard, and I can’t wait to see how it ends.

Book Review: Chasing Lucky

chasing luckyTitle: Chasing Lucky

Author: Jenn Bennett

Pub. Date: November 10, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is… 

This will be a spoiler free review. Thanks to NetGalley for providing a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to love this book. I thought I was going to love it. My expectations were that I was going to love it. So, I’m really bummed that I didn’t.

I don’t even know if I can really pinpoint exactly what I didn’t jive with in this book. I want to say the characters, because I really didn’t buy into their relationship. I didn’t like Josie, and I didn’t really care for Lucky.

They kind of felt like caricatures of characters and they didn’t feel like teenagers.

Maybe if this book had been NA – even though I would say it’s Upper YA already – their characters would have made more sense to me.

But if I had to think about it, I think maybe my biggest issue were the emotional weights in this book. They felt like they were all over the place. I felt like I wasn’t feeling the right emotions at the right times and that kept pulling me out of the book. The weird emotional weights mixed with the characters just created a mess in my head.

For two teens, Josie and Lucky didn’t have the emotional maturity…immaturity of them. I get that they’ve both been through some stuff and those kind of things can cause you to grow up faster, but they felt juxtaposed doing typical teen stuff, with emotional ranges of adults…or how they thought adults felt, and it just felt wrong to me. For me, it didn’t work.

I also didn’t like how photography was such a huge part of Josies life, and other than a few moments, we don’t see her taking pictures. And Lucky’s whole I’m a bad boy shtick, felt like that, a shtick. Also, I kind of hate his name. Ultimately, I just wasn’t a fan of either of them. I really didn’t care for any of the characters, actually, now that I think about it. None of them made a truly lasting impression.

I will say that the formatting of the eARC I had was atrocious and made it a little difficult to read, so there could be a very real possibility that contributed to my dislike.

I’m so bummed I didn’t enjoy this book, and I think some of my irritation is stemming from that. This book wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t. It just wasn’t for me. While that sucks, I do recommend you check out this book when it comes out in November. This was my first Jenn Bennett book, and I’m definitely going to check out some of her other books. I enjoyed her writing style, and I felt like I was in New England, she brought the town of Beauty to life in my mind. I’m just sad this book wasn’t it for me, and that happens. So, check out Chasing Lucky when it comes out in November!

Book Review: From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #1)

From blood and ashTitle: From Blood and Ash

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Pub. Date: March 31, 2020

Rating: 🧛‍♀️🧛‍♀️🧛‍♀️🧛‍♀️🧛‍♀️

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

This will be a spoiler free review.

How do you write a review for a book when internally you’re like this –

Debut '19 Interview: Katy Rose Pool & There Will Come a Darkness ...

I went into this book freaking excited and already knowing I was going to love it. So, it’s not a shocker that I did love it and having finished it, I’m now dying for book 2. With the way this book ended specifically those last couple pages and especially with that last sentence, I need to know what happens next.

A year long wait is going to be torture.

As torturous as a knife to the chest.

This book had everything I love in a high fantasy – high stakes, bad ass heroines, hot knights, traveling in a dark wood, having to sleep together to share body heat, growing to know each other, allowing yourself to live and have what you want, betrayal, sexy moments, snark, sass and some danger…in this case, in the form of vampires! It also has a few other things I really and truly love, but they’re spoilers, so read the book.

If you’re fans of SJM or Elise Kova, you’re going to absolutely love this book. I also love the freaking resurgence of Vampires in YA/Upper YA. In the last 8 months, I’ve read three new YA vamp books, each bringing something different to the table, and each very enjoyable.

From Blood and Ash does not disappoint and if you’re looking for a high fantasy vamp book, put this on your TBR right now. But, if you’re not necessarily looking for a vamp book, but a high fantasy full of sass, snark, chemistry and some badassery, then you’re going to want to put this book on your TBR.

True to JLA fashion, her characters are full of sass, innuendos, snark, chemistry and honestly chiseled by the hand of a God (seriously, the way I imagine Hawke…phew). I love Poppy so much. She goes through so much, but she doesn’t let the trauma define her. She rises above it, against it and uses her anger to good use. She uses her power to control her life – well, the aspects that she can control.

I think I’ve talked about it before on this blog, but I love it when female characters are tough, are badasses, can whoop any solider in a sword fight. I like it when they curse like sailors, and step into what might be a typical “male role”. I also like when those same female characters have moments of weakness, when they’re more the damsel in distress, when they break down and have these soft, emotional moments.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when the male characters are the same way. Give me soft, emotional moments from the male characters. But I love it when the female character finally breaks down, and stops holding their shit together, stops being strong, and has to be rescued – whether physically rescued, or just held and comforted. I eat that up.

Anyways, I’ve digressed. Let’s talk about Hawke, because holy hell, he might be my new favorite JLA character.

If you liked Roth, if you liked Seth, if you liked Daemon then you’ll love Hawke…though, he puts all three of them to shame. Easily. He’s full of innuendos and dirty thoughts, he’s kind of a glutton for punishment, he pushes buttons unabashedly and he doesn’t let you forget he’s in the room. He’s sexy, in your face and he’s got a thing for Poppy.

I love them.

I will say that I had a little trouble picturing the world – not the specifics, those came to life in my mind – but geographically, I didn’t quite understand the world. I should mention I read an eBook version of this book, so I’m not actually sure if there is a map in this book. I kept having this feeling that it was set in an alternate, or fictitious Europe? I have no idea if that’s accurate, or if it’s a completely made up land. It kind of seemed like it pulled from Greek/Roman mythology, which I’m not complaining about in the slightest, but it made it a little difficult for me to really pinpoint the world. On a whole though, I really liked the world, and the history Jen created. Not entirely sure I’d want to live there, but hey, right now anywhere is better than being stuck at home.

I also really, and I mean really enjoyed the twists in this book. I had my suspicions about a certain character very early on in the book, and when my suspicion proved to be true, I was so damn excited. I was giddy. At no point was I dreading that I would be right. I freaking wanted to be right and I was and now I really, really need book 2 because I really need to know what happens next for Poppy.

So much was brought to light at the end of this book and it flips everything you think you understand as a reader and it was fantastic. I really think Jen outdid herself on this one. I wish I could wipe my mind and reread it for the first time, because omfg. I started this book at like 1:30 AM the other night (because I was tired of waiting to start it, late hour be damned) and I’m pretty sure I stopped reading when the birds started chirping and light was coming in through my window. Then I slept for a few hours, woke up, and went right back to reading. Don’t be like me and start reading at in the middle of the night, but be prepared to read this in one sitting, despite its size because you won’t want to put it down.

This book is already out, so I don’t know what you’re waiting for. You need to read this book; you want to read this book. JLA hits it out of the park with her first foray into High Fantasy, and if you’ve been a fan of her other books, this one isn’t going to disappoint.

Book Review: Onyx (Lux #2)

onyx luxTitle: Onyx

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Pub. Date: August 14, 2012

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.


The Department of Defense is here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.


I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?


This will be a short spoiler free review.

I’m still working my way through a re-read of Jen’s books, and it’s been so long since I’ve read Onyx that, honestly, it almost felt as if I hadn’t read it before. I remembered basically nothing from this book. If I didn’t have an OG review of it – here – I would doubt my memory.

I definitely didn’t remember Blake and that whole situation. It wasn’t until maybe the three-quarter mark that things started to come back. To be fair, it’s been almost 8 years since I read this book, and while I love this series, it’s not my favorite JLA series. Details are bound to slip through the cracks.

I still love Daemon and Katy. I just love how Jen writes her characters so that they feel so real and you end up feeling everything they feel.

Maybe it’s because it’s been 8 years, but I want to say, that this time, it felt so much more vivid…like scenes came to life easier in my mind. I really hope that one day this series gets adapted into a Netflix series or something…though I don’t know who’d you cast. But certain scenes were so vivid. Or maybe they were always vivid, because two of the scenes I’m thinking about right now, are ones that I vaguely remember from my first time reading this book.

A lot happened in this book. Again, I didn’t remember much of what happened in this book, but I definitely forgot how rough Jen is on Katy – no punches are pulled. But I also really like it when characters are thrown into the deep end, no matter who they are, and they have to fight to survive.

If you read and liked Obsidian, you should definitely read book 2, and the rest of the series. You should also check out Jen’s other books. Her most recent From Blood and Ash is fantastic, I just finished it and I need book 2 now. Like, right now. Stay tuned for that review, because omfg, such a good book. But read the Lux series, fall in love with all the sass and snark Daemon and Katy have to offer, and silently wish that hot aliens from outer space will move into that empty house next door. May we all be that lucky.

Book Review: You Don’t Live Here

you dont live hereTitle: You Don’t Live Here

Author: Robyn Schneider

Pub. Date: June 2, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75

Robyn Schneider, author of The Beginning of Everything, delivers a witty and heartbreaking tale of first love, second beginnings, and last chances in this timely and authentic bisexual coming-of-age story, perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera.

In Southern California, no one lives more than thirty miles from the nearest fault line. Sasha Bloom is standing right on top of one when her world literally crumbles around her. With her mother now dead and father out of the picture, Sasha moves in with her estranged grandparents.

Living in her mom’s old bedroom, Sasha has no idea who she is anymore. Luckily, her grandparents are certain they know who she should be: A lawyer in the making. Ten pounds skinnier. In a socially advantageous relationship with a boy from a good family—a boy like Cole Edwards.

And Cole has ideas for who Sasha should be, too. His plus one at lunch. His girlfriend. His.

Sasha tries to make everything work, but that means folding away her love of photography, her grief for her mother, and he growing interest in the magnificently clever Lily Chen. Sasha wants to follow Lily off the beaten path, to discover hidden beaches, secret menus, and the truth about dinosaur pee.

But being friends with Lily might lead somewhere new. Is Sasha willing to stop being the girl everyone expects and let the girl beneath the surface breath through?

This will be a spoiler free review.

I’m going to start by saying that I loved this book. I read it in one sitting, went through a range of emotions. I was reminded why I love Robyn’s books and how amazing she is at crafting a story.

With that being said, I struggled to figure out what to rate this book, hence the 3.75 rating. I usually don’t break my ratings into quarters, because it can get way too convoluted, but I felt like 4 was too high, but 3.5 wasn’t high enough.

Like I said, I struggled.

I’m super glad that I got to read Robyn’s next release early, and I’m glad that I get to write this post telling you what I loved about it. I’m so glad that I get to help raise the hype for this book and her other books. Not enough people – in my opinion – read them, and you really should. Robyn is incredible at writing books that connect to you – the reader. Even if you don’t share the same experiences, she crafts these characters and books in such a way that you will connect, you will feel emotions and you will pull something from the book. On some level you will connect, and I think that I absolutely amazing and such a skill at this craft.

I’ve shared none of the main experiences any of her characters in any of her books, yet somehow, every time I read one of her YA contemporaries, I feel seen. It’s almost like she’s looked inside my head and put a voice to something that I’ve felt or am feeling. Whether they’re big things or just little things, I find them on the page, in the book, the characters going through them.

Her characters feel so normal and real and like someone you’d know in your own life. They’re so ordinary and human (and I mean that in legit the best way possible) that it’s hard to not see yourself, or aspects of yourself in them.

You Don’t Live Here is an Ownvoice, queer, coming of age love story about figuring out who you are, how to navigate the world after loss and learning to accept yourself for who you are, and stand up for yourself. No matter what part of that, that you connect with, you’ll connect to something, because everyone is dealing or struggling with something. Robyn does an absolutely incredible job at telling this story, and I’ll definitely be recommending it to everyone – I already am. If this book isn’t on your radar, TBRs, in your Amazon cart, it should be. You should also check out her other YA contemporaries – The Beginning of Everything, Extraordinary Means, and Invisible Ghosts – you don’t want to miss those either.

I thought that You Don’t Live Here was going to become my new favorite Robyn Schneider book, simply because that’s been the pattern. Each new book becomes my new favorite. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen, and Invisible Ghosts is still my favorite. I just thoroughly love that book, and I’ve read it a bunch of times. I know I’ll be rereading this newest one, multiple times, because I loved the story, the message, the characters…all of it.

But I think what kind of stops me from declaring my undying love for this book is the political commentary. I know I’ve talked about my dislike for political commentary in books on this blog before, but I really don’t like it when I read. I read as an escape, and I can’t do that when modern politics are shoved at me. This is just my preference, the same way I don’t like pregnancies in YA books – yes it happens, and yes both of these things are true to real life, I just don’t care for them in my books.

Now, with that being said, the political commentary didn’t break this book for me. It just made me roll my eyes and groan a few times, but I’m sure there are other readers who don’t like, or don’t care for it either.

Other than the person preference of political commentary, I found this book to be amazing and I wish I could wipe it from my mind to read it all over again. For a long time, one of my favorite literary quotes has come out of another novel, but there was a line at the end of this book that I just absolutely loved – so much so, I almost want to go get a tattoo of it.

“The world shoves into you, but you stand tall anyway.”

If you want to talk about a line that summarizes the feeling, I got from reading this book, it’s this one. The last two pages of this book were probably some of my most favorite out of the whole book. I won’t be forgetting this book and its message anytime soon, and I really hope you all fall for this book as hard as I did. This book is going to be so important to so many people who are trying to find their way in the world. Whether you have the same struggles as Sasha, or something else entirely, the way Robyn tells this story, it hits home.

You Don’t Live Here comes out June 2, so make sure you preorder, and if you haven’t already, make sure you check out Robyn’s other books and fall in love with them as well!

One last thing – I didn’t love the cover when it was first released, I thought her other’s were better. Now having read the book, knowing the symbolism, I love it and I think it’s so clever. I’m really excited for y’all to read this book.

Oh, and as a final final comment, hey, Netflix, pick up Robyn’s books and adapt them please! They’d all make fantastic movies, and it’s about time for a YA book-to-movie takeover again!


Book Collection: Robyn Schneider

img_8694Hey Robyn!

If you’ve been hanging around this blog for some time, you probably have read about how I’m not really a YA contemporary fan, how some authors are exempt and more recently, how I’m rediscovering my love for YA contemporary.

Robyn Schneider and her books are the exemption, since even when I was barely reading YA contemporary, except from a select few authors, I always looked forward to her books.

img_8701I discovered Robyn and her books back in 2013. I know she has written some other works, and sadly I’m not familiar with them. I found her with her first YA contemporary. I was sitting in my local Barnes and Noble, either writing or doing homework…or writing instead of doing homework, and I saw this bright yellow book on an end cap display.

Bright yellow, with orange and blue – causing it to stand out.

I don’t think I even looked at the synopsis, I wanted the book based on the cover alone. It was different and gorgeous, and this was a time I bought books solely because of the covers and it didn’t matter about the story.

(Obviously the story does matter, but at the time I didn’t care)

This book is obviously The Beginning of Everything and I remember loving it. I honestly don’t remember much from it, just bits and pieces – it’s been 7 years. But I instantly became a fan.

img_8700Fast forward about about 8 months and I’m at my first Apollycon – well, the first Apollycon ever.

Now, maybe you’re asking or wondering how Apollycon ties into a post about Robyn Schneider and her books. I’ll explain.

On the last night of the event, we got Swag bags – the first iteration of the ones Sammy and I are giving away in this post, check it out – and they were full of books. My friend and I had met this other girl and her husband at the event, and we were swapping pictures of what we got in our bags, after we’d gone back up to our rooms. In this girl’s pictures of books, I see a familiar name – Robyn Schneider, and I freaked out. I hadn’t heard that she had a new book coming, or that she had been working on one.

This was Extraordinary Means and the girl didn’t know the author and gave it to me. So now I had an ARC of Robyn’s second book and I had zero chill.

No chill to be found.

At all.

I took the book to campus (UMBC) with me and I remember sitting on the top floor of the PAHB (Performing Arts & Humanities Building) reading it, as sun rose, and the morning fog cleared and Baltimore appeared on the horizon.

I’m so annoyed that I read all these books before I consistently reviewed books, because I only have vague memories to look back on – I guess it’s time for a reread. I loved this book. And then I wanted more. I wanted more books written by Robyn.

Little did I know that in a couple more years, one of my all-time favorite contemporary novels would come out.

Somehow, once again, I was kind of blindsided by Robyn having a new book out, and somehow, I managed to snag an early copy. Invisible Ghosts is an absolute favorite. I remember when I read it for the first time.

I was dog sitting for my Aunt and Uncle, and I brought the book with me. I was sitting on their couch, in their living room. I read the book in one sitting, and went through a range of emotions, and I cried. I sobbed through the last part of the book. I had to stop reading because I couldn’t stop crying. I loved everything about this book and the relationships in it are what killed me.

img_8699Now, I do have a full review, with some spoilers at the end, posted on this blog – I’ll link it here – so feel free to check that out. I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s easily my favorite, and I’ve actually reread it a few times since I go the ARC.

Then I learned that Robyn was working on a new book and I knew I needed it. I didn’t care what it was about, I just wanted it.

So, you can probably imagine my excitement when I was able to trade for a copy of the ARC on Facebook.

I’m starting You Don’t Live Here tonight, and I’m freaking pumped. Though, I’m not going to lie, I’m a little terrified that it won’t hold up to Invisible Ghosts, just because I love that book so much. But if the pattern holds, I could have a new Robyn Schneider favorite by the time I’m done. I have no doubt that I’m going to love this book. I’m also kind of terrified to start it, thought that might be entirely on me having built up my excitement for just having an early copy of the book. And if I finish it, then I have to wait for her next book and the waits for her books are always torturous because I just want more.

I have a feeling once I start You Don’t Live Here I’m not going to stop until I finish it, it’s the way I tend to read Robyn’s books.

Now you have some backstory on my history with Robyn’s books, let’s take a look at my mini, but treasured collection.

The Beginning of Everything

Extraordinary Means

Invisible Ghosts

You Don’t Live Here

img_8695I have the standard US hardcovers for each of these books, and I can’t wait to add the hardcover for You Don’t Live Here to this stack. I’ve loved all the covers, and The Beginning of Everything as an embossed blue foil rollercoaster under the dust jacket. I actually forgot that was there until I was taking photos.

Pictured (top to bottom): US HC Invisible Ghosts / US HC Extraordinary Means / US HC The Beginning of Everything



img_8697I have US ARCs for each of the books. I was trying to complete my collection and another blogger was willing to send me a TBOE ARC for the cost of shipping, and the day I received that in the mail I freaked out. You can see the picture I took the day I received in the mail, above. I wish I had the ARC that had the original title, Severed Heads, Broken Hearts on it, but those are super rare. And honestly, I’m happy I just have one to completely the set.

Pictured (top to bottom): US ARC You Don’t Live Here / US ARC Invisible Ghosts / US ARC Extraordinary Means / US ARC The Beginning of Everything



I love these books and I cannot wait to see and read what Robyn comes out with next. I’m super excited and if you haven’t, you should definitely check out these books. They’re so worth it and so good.

Who is one of your favorite authors?

Author Spotlight: Christian Cura

Hey y’all!

This post is going to be a slightly different Author Spotlight – mainly because I haven’t actually read these books. I know, you’re probably wondering why I’m promoting books I haven’t read, but a new to me author. You have a valid point, but isn’t the point to these kinds of posts? To promote smaller authors? Well, it’s what I’m going for anyways! I’m glad that Christian Cura reached out, because his books sound pretty good and something that I could honestly get behind – urban paranormal fantasy, and the first one is set in D.C. which is practically down the road from me? Hell yes.

Christian ultimately reached out to have me post about his upcoming novel, Dreams of Thunder. He recently published his debut novel, Dreams of Fire and wanted some help in getting the word out and the hype up for the upcoming sequel.

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Meet Kara Hartman, a young painter living and working in D.C. She would love to let you believe she is just an ordinary young woman with a dream of sharing her art with the world. But she is hiding an astonishing secret: Kara can wield magic, the most powerful force in the universe. Traumatized by the loss of her brother, she wants nothing more to do with magic. But when an old foe resurfaces, hellbent on destroying all that she loves, Kara has no choice but to embrace the only power that can stop her.

I mean, that sounds pretty good, and like something I would really enjoy reading. * adds it to my ever growing TBR stack* You should all add it to yours as well.

But, before I jump into the excerpt and cover for promoting Dreams of Thunder, let me introduce the author.

Christian Cura is a new author who just recently published his debut novel Dreams of Fire. Ever since he read Lord of the Rings as a teenager, it has been his dream to write and publish a novel of his own. His favorite authors include J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and Robert Jordan. Christian lives in Northern Virginia where he lifts weights at home and creates artwork. When he is not writing, he can be found drawing or getting beaten up at his MMA gym.

Christian was wonderful enough to send me the Goodreads link for Dreams of Fire, as well as the Amazon link, and the link to his Facebook Page. I’ve linked them all below, so make sure you go and check them out!




Now, onto the cover, the synopsis and excerpt from book 2, where the quest for revenge continues in Dreams of Thunder.

DOTfrontback2Magical outlaws roam free on the West Coast. The Enforcers are stretched thin in their efforts to stem the tide of chaos. The Council Headquarters is on the brink of assault and the lives of the Council members hang in the balance. At the center of it all, is Saba Qureshi, a woman scorned by the draconian measures of the Council. They executed her grandfather and robbed her family of their status and fortune. Now Saba is coming for them and she’s not alone…

 I got to say, it sounds really good.


What do y’all think? That synopsis has me wondering what happens next and I haven’t even read the first book yet.

I hope y’all check out this author and his books, and thanks for checking out this post! It means a lot. I also want to thank Christian for reaching out and giving me the opportunity to help promote his books! I was quite surprised when I opened my email and saw that an author was reaching out to me to do this for them. I’m super grateful.

Keep an eye out for Dreams of Thunder and make sure you check out Dreams of Fire!



Most Anticipated 2020: Quarter 2

How are we 3, well 4 months into 2020?

On one hand it kind of feels like it’s flown by. On the other, it feels like it’s been a year already. Though I am glad that we’re only 3 full months into the year. But I’m back with the second Most Anticipated Quarterly Releases.

This is the second installment of this – I guess you could call it a 4-part series – where I tell you about some upcoming releases that I’m excited for.

If you’re like me, and you’ve looked at lists of 2020 releases, you know that there are a ton and to list them all in one post would cause anyone to lose interest.

So, I decided to break them up. This method also lets me add books that might not have been announced when I first made my master list back in December 2019. New books are constantly being announced, and this gives me the flexibility to add them, without feeling like I’ve ignored them in my overarching Most Anticipated list – which you can check out here, as well as my first Quarterly list here.

Since I’m a tad late in getting this post up, a few of these books are currently released. This list is tailored to my interests, so if a book you’re anticipating isn’t on here, it might not be for me, I might have overlooked it, or just might not have heard of it. With that being said, feel free to leave a comment, because I’m always looking for new reads!

Let’s jump into the books.

craveCrave (Crave #1) – Tracy Wolff

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

 My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

so this is loveSo This Is Love (Disney Twisted Tales) – Elizabeth Lim

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

What if Cinderella never tried on the glass slipper? Unable to prove that she’s the missing princess, and unable to bear life under Lady Tremaine any longer, Cinderella attempts a fresh start, looking for work at the palace as a seamstress. But when the Grand Duke appoints her to serve under the king’s visiting sister, Cinderella becomes witness to a grand conspiracy to take the king-and the prince-out of power, as well as a longstanding prejudice against fairies, including Cinderella’s own Fairy Godmother. Faced with questions of love and loyalty to the kingdom, Cinderella must find a way to stop the villains of past and present . . . before it’s too late. 

the best laid plansThe Best Laid Plans – Cameron Lund

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

It seemed like a good plan at first.

When the only other virgin in her group of friends loses it at Keely’s own eighteenth birthday party, she’s inspired to take things into her own hands. She wants to have that experience too (well, not exactly like that–but with someone she trusts and actually likes), so she’s going to need to find the guy, and fast. Problem is, she’s known all the boys in her small high school forever, and it’s kinda hard to be into a guy when you watched him eat crayons in kindergarten.

So she can’t believe her luck when she meets a ridiculously hot new guy named Dean. Not only does he look like he’s fallen out of a classic movie poster, but he drives a motorcycle, flirts with ease, and might actually be into her.

But Dean’s already in college, and Keely is convinced he’ll drop her if he finds out how inexperienced she is. That’s when she talks herself into a new plan: her lifelong best friend, Andrew, would never hurt or betray her, and he’s clearly been with enough girls that he can show her the ropes before she goes all the way with Dean. Of course, the plan only works if Andrew and Keely stay friends–just friends–so things are about to get complicated.

Cameron Lund’s delightful debut is a hilarious and heartfelt story of first loves, first friends, and first times–and how making them your own is all that really matters. 

the notorious virutuesThe Notorious Virtues (The Notorious Virtues #1) – Alwyn Hamilton

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon

A glamorous media darling, a surprise heiress, and the magical competition of a lifetime.

At sixteen, Honora “Nora” Holtzfall is the daughter of the most powerful heiress in all of Walstad. Her family controls all the money–and all the magic–in the entire country. But despite being the center of attention, Nora has always felt like an outsider. When her mother is found dead in an alley, the family throne and fortune are suddenly up for grabs, and Nora will be pitted against her cousins in the Veritaz, the ultimate magical competition for power that determines the one family heir.

But there’s a surprise contestant this time: Lotte, the illegitimate daughter of Nora’s aunt. When Lotte’s absent mother retrieves her from the rural convent she’d abandoned her to, Lotte goes from being an orphan to surrounded by family. Unfortunately, most of them want her dead.

And soon, Nora discovers that her mother’s death wasn’t random–it was murder. And the only person she can trust to uncover the truth of what happened is a rakish young reporter who despises everything Nora and her family stand for.

With everyone against her, Lotte’s last hope is hunting for the identity of her father. But the dangerous competition–and her feelings for Theo, one of the Holtzfalls’ sworn protectors–turns her world upside down.

Incredible tests, impossible choices and deadly odds await both girls. But there can only be one winner.

aurora burningAurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

dark skiesDark Skies (Dark Shores #2) – Danielle L. Jensen

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.

Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.

With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.

dangerous remedyDangerous Remedy (Dangerous Remedy #1) – Kat Dunn

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Links: GR / Book Depository

 Camille, a revolutionary’s daughter, leads a band of outcasts – a runaway girl, a deserter, an aristocrat in hiding. As the Battalion des Mortes they cheat death, saving those about to meet a bloody end at the blade of Madame La Guillotine. But their latest rescue is not what she seems. The girl’s no aristocrat, but her dark and disturbing powers means both the Royalists and the Revolutionaries want her. But who and what is she?

In these dangerous days, no one can be trusted, everyone is to be feared. As Camille learns the truth, she’s forced to choose between loyalty to those she loves and the future.

forged in fire and starsForged in Fire and Stars (Forged in Fire and Stars #1) – Andrea Robertson

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

Ara has always known about the legend of the Loresmith: the blacksmith who served alongside the kings and queens of every generation to protect the kingdom. It was her fate to inherit the title–though she never truly believed it would come to pass since the monarchy’s downfall years before.

But when the lost Princess Nimhea and Prince Eamon steal Ara from her quiet life with a mission to retake the throne–and take her place as the Loresmith–her whole world turns upside down. Their journey will take Ara on a dangerous adventure to discover new truths about her family’s legacy, and even to face the gods themselves. And with a mysterious thief as an unexpected companion, Ara must use all her skills to figure out just who she can trust, and forge the right path forward–for herself, her kingdom, and her heart.

girl serpent thornGirl, Serpent, Thorn – Malissa Bashardoust

Release Date: May 12, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

by the bookBy the Book – Amanda Sellet

Release Date: May 12, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

As a devotee of classic novels, Mary Porter-Malcolm knows all about Mistakes That Have Been Made, especially by impressionable young women. So when a girl at her new high school nearly succumbs to the wiles of a notorious cad, Mary starts compiling the Scoundrel Survival Guide, a rundown of literary types to be avoided at all costs.

Unfortunately, Mary is better at dishing out advice than taking it—and the number one bad boy on her list is terribly debonair. As her best intentions go up in flames, Mary discovers life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction. If she wants a happy ending IRL, she’ll have to write it herself.

house of dragonsHouse of Dragons (House of Dragons #1) – Jessica CLuess

Release Date: May 12, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win?

When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call….

THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death.

THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again.

THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game.

THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free–he must take what he wants.

THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.

NightbornNightborn (The Hollow King #2) – Jessica Thorne

Release Date: May 26, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

Like deep dark water, it pulls them down. The faint fire of magic within them flickers and dies. Their eyes turn black as night. They are nightborn now.

Grace Marchant has been many things: streetwise orphan, rebellious servant, and now beloved companion of Prince Bastien, heir to the throne of Larelwynn. But their sunlit happiness is not destined to last. The golden magic which brought them together in purest passion is threatened by strange and ancient forces. Innocent people are becoming nightborn – cruel, deadly, unrecognisable to their loved ones – and these two young lovers are the only ones with power enough to stop it.

In times of peace, striking a deal with their closest enemy would be unthinkable, but now their only hope is to ally with the neighbouring Valenti royal family: manipulative, cunning, and always with an eye on the Larelwynn throne. The partnership comes at a devastating price… if Grace wants to defeat the nightborn, she must watch Bastien marry a Valenti princess.

Grace knows she must make this heart-wrenching sacrifice for the good of the whole kingdom – but she also fears the magic in her veins, usually so warm and bright, is turning cold as deepest midnight. A beguiling darkness whispers to her from within. Is Grace herself becoming nightborn?

Time is running out. With Bastien promised to another, and a stony distance growing between them, will Grace find the source of the nightborn curse before every last soul is consumed by the darkness?

sunshieldSunshield – Emily B. Martin

Release Date: May 26, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

A lawless wilderness. A polished court. Individual fates, each on a quest to expose a system of corruption.

The desolate canyons of Alcoro—and the people desperate enough to hide there—couldn’t be more different from the opulent glass palace and lush forests of Moquoia. But the harsh desert and gleaming court are linked through their past, present, and future: a history of abductions in the desert to power Moquoia’s quarries and factories, and a bleak, inhumane future built on the sweat and sacrifice of these bond laborers.

But events unfolding in the present could change everything. In the desert, outlaw Lark—known to most as the Sunshield Bandit—has built a name for herself attacking slavers’ wagons and freeing the captives inside. But while she shakes the foundation of Moquoia’s stratified society, she also has to fight to protect her rescuees—and herself—from the unforgiving world around them.

In the Moquoian court, young ambassador Veran hopes to finally make his mark by dismantling the unjust labor system, if he can navigate the strict hierarchy and inexplicable hostility of the prince.

And caught in the middle of it all, Tamsin is trapped within four walls, the epicenter of a secret political coup to overthrow the Moquoian monarchy and perpetuate the age-old system of injustice.

Separated by seas of trees and sand, the outlaw, the diplomat, and the prisoner are more connected than anyone realizes. Their personal fates might just tip the balance of power in the Eastern World—if that very power doesn’t destroy them first.

queen of coin and whispersQueen of Coin and Whispers – Helen Corcoran

Release Date: June 1, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

‘She loved me as I loved her, fierce as a bloodied blade.’

When teenage queen Lia inherits her corrupt uncle’s bankrupt kingdom, she brings a new spymaster into the fold … Xania, who takes the job to avenge her murdered father.

Faced with dangerous plots and hidden enemies, can Lia and Xania learn to rely on each another, as they discover that all is not fair in love and treason?

In a world where the throne means both power and duty, they must decide what to sacrifice for their country – and for each other …

the court of miraclesThe Court of Miracles (Court of Miracles #1) – Kester Grant

Release Date: June 2, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina’s life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father’s fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger–the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh–Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city’s dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice–protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.

hoodHood – Jenny Elder Moke

Release Date: June 9, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

You have the blood of kings and rebels within you, love. Let it rise to meet the call.

Isabelle of Kirklees has only ever known a quiet life inside the sheltered walls of the convent, where she lives with her mother, Marien. But after she is arrested by royal soldiers for defending innocent villagers, Isabelle becomes the target of the Wolf, King John’s ruthless right hand. Desperate to keep her daughter safe, Marien helps Isabelle escape and sends her on a mission to find the one person who can help: Isabelle’s father, Robin Hood.

As Isabelle races to stay out of the Wolf’s clutches and find the father she’s never known, she is thrust into a world of thieves and mercenaries, handsome young outlaws, new enemies with old grudges, and a king who wants her entire family dead. As she joins forces with Robin and his Merry Men in a final battle against the Wolf, will Isabelle find the strength to defy the crown and save the lives of everyone she holds dear?

seasons of the stormSeasons of the Storm (Seasons of the Storm #1) – Elle Cosimano

Release Date: June 23, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

One cold, crisp night, Jack Sommers was faced with a choice—live forever according to the ancient, magical rules of Gaia, or die.

Jack chose to live, and in exchange, he became a Winter—an immortal physical embodiment of the season on Earth. Every year, he must hunt the Season who comes before him. Summer kills Spring. Autumn kills Summer. Winter kills Autumn. And Spring kills Winter.

Jack and Fleur, a Winter and a Spring, fall for each other against all odds. To be together, they’ll have to escape the cycle that’s been forcing them apart. But their creator won’t let them go without a fight.

forest of soulsForest of Souls (Shamanborn #1) – Lori M, Lee

Release Date: June 23, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.

And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.

Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.

sisters of sword and songSisters of Sword and Song – Rebeccaa Ross

Release Date: June 23, 2020

Links: GR / Amazon / BN

 After eight long years, Evadne will finally be reunited with her older sister, Halcyon, who has been proudly serving in the queen’s army. But when Halcyon appears earlier than expected, Eva knows something has gone terribly wrong. Halcyon is on the run, hunted by her commander and charged with murder.

Though Halcyon’s life is spared during her trial, the punishment is heavy. And when Eva volunteers to serve part of Halcyon’s sentence, she’s determined to find out exactly what happened. But as Eva begins her sentence, she quickly learns that there are fates much worse than death.





I’m on an Ad!

This wasn’t my plan for today’s post. I was going to do my Quarterly Anticipated Releases #2, but I have to go back through my list and double check all release dates. With so many books being pushed back and altered, I didn’t want to rush it. I made it through about half of my list, and I don’t really feel like staying up until all hours to rush to finish it. So, look for that tomorrow.

Besides, something really excited and mind blowing just happened. By the time you’re reading this, you might have already seen me screaming about this on various social platforms, but I’m so damn excited.

Last week I received a friend request on Goodreads, and I accepted it, without really paying attention to who it was. Usually I check out the persons page before I accept requests, but for whatever reason, I didn’t this time.

Then, a little while later, I got a message on the site. The person I’d accepted the friend request from had messaged me, and I learned that she is the associate publisher for Entangled Teen, and she wants to quote me for a promotional ad on Goodreads for Crave by Tracy Wolff.

Say what?

Needless to say, I was shocked. I was also a little confused, because I’m way behind in copying over reviews to Goodreads, and I wasn’t sure where she was pulling the quote from.

Y’all, it was a status update from while I was reading.

Anyways, I gave her permission to use it, as long as I was accredited for it. She said of course, and that I’d see a banner on the Crave Goodreads’ page starting Monday, 4/6. I spent so much time refreshing that damn page only for nothing to appear. I was honestly starting to feel a bit dejected, like maybe it wasn’t going to be published after all and I got excited for nothing. I was talking to a friend who had asked if I’d seen the ad yet, and I hadn’t, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to check since it had been awhile. So I opened my MacBook, loaded Goodreads, searched for Crave and


Screen Shot 2020-04-07 at 12.25.58 AM.png



I freaked tf out. Honestly. If it weren’t like 1 AM (yeah, it’s late) I’d actually be screaming. It’s surreal. Part of me had seriously started to believe that it wasn’t going to happen, and yet, there it was. I sent a picture to my friends, and they all started freaking out. Somehow, a handful of my words caught the attention of the right person, and now they’re on a Goodreads ad for one of my favorite reads of the year.

My mind is blowing right now.

I don’t have words because I’m so excited. I hope you all go check out Crave now that it’s out. You want to meet Jaxon and Grace. Ignore all the bums who are calling it “knock off Twilight”. Twilight reignited YA as we know it, liking it isn’t an embarrassment, plus Crave is different, it’s so good and it stands on its own.

I’m gonna go and stare at the screenshot I took because omfg I cannot believe that my words are on a Goodreads ad…which you can check out if you go to Goodreads and search Crave.

ApollyCon 2020 + Giveaway

**Just a reminder: If you want to be entered to win one of the 4 bags or if you’re an International Reader, you NEED to enter and do the tasks via the Rafflecopter. If you do the tasks and don’t track them in the Rafflecopter, you won’t be counted as a possible winner. I just wanted to put a heads up, since what I’m seeing isn’t being reflected in the Rafflecopter entries. I want you to win these items! 

When I sat down in February and started to think about planning March’s and April’s posts, I didn’t expect to not be going to book events. So, this post is going to be vastly different than what I had thought it was going to be.

I’m sure you haven’t been living under a rock, but in the case that you have, ApollyCon was cancelled (just like every other large gathering) due to COVID-19 in order to try and slow the spread of this virus.

While it’s completely logical and understandable as to why Jen ultimately cancelled the event, it’s still a bummer. I know the decisions she had to make were hard and beyond her control and I know that if she had any other options, she wouldn’t have canceled.

I know myself, and others were really looking forward to the event. It’s one of my favorite bookish events that I go to. I was so excited to take a friend for her first time, and unfortunately the world had other plans.

Even though ApollyCon wasn’t a physical event this year, Jen and her team did everything they could to still guarantee swag bag deliveries, and a virtual component. ApollyCon went virtual with Author Livestreams, giveaways and all sort of other events. Virtual Signing orders were filled out and shipped, vendors offered discounts and shipping on items, author’s offered signed bookplates, and swag bags were still mailed out to everyone who had purchased a qualifying ticket.

While, ApollyCon didn’t happen the way it had in past years, I applaud Jen and her team for working around the clock to make anything happen. It’s beyond impressive what they were able to pull together in such a limited amount of time.

I can only hope that ApollyCon is back in full swing come 2021. I understand Jen’s apprehension to announce it too early, because who knows what’s going to happen, but my fingers are crossed that this time next year, we will have found normal again.

Now, onto the Giveaway portion of this post.


This Giveaway is split between my blog Writing the Universe and my friend Sammy’s blog, Lady and Star. We each will post 2 of the 4 ApollyCon Bags. These bags are what were included with the purchase of a Titan ticket for the event, plus extra books and book box swag. These bags are packed completely full of books and bookish items. Each bag is a mix of genres, fandoms and items. Each bag is different but may share similar/same items.

4 winners will be chosen, but you do not get to choose your bag.

There is a list of 10 things you can do to enter this giveaway, 5 of them are mandatory, the other 5 are bonuses – giving you a possibility for 10 total entries.

These are mandatory:

  1. Follow Writing the Universe (My Blog)
  2. Follow Lady and Star (Sammy’s Blog)
  3. Follow Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Twitter (@JLArmentrout)
  4. Follow my Twitter (@lexacourtney)
  5. Follow Sammy’s Twitter (@SuchABadBASS)

*Email followers count as well; you do not need to have a WordPress account to qualify. We just have to be able to determine you are actually following our blogs.

Extra entries:

  1. Retweet Pinned Giveaway Tweet on My Twitter.
  2. Retweet Pinned Giveaway Tweet on Sammy’s Twitter
  3. Follow Sammy’s Blog Twitter (@ladyandstar)
  4. Comment on this post with your favorite JLA Book.
  5. Comment on Sammy’s Giveaway post with your favorite JLA Book.

All of these tasks are listed in the Rafflecopter, as well as all the terms and conditions listed below.

Here is the link:


This Giveaway is going to run from April 6, 2020 8 AM EST, to April 27, 2020 12:00 AM EST. Winners will be announced April 29, and notified via email with a Google Doc to fill out.

***Due to circumstances surrounding COVID -19 and various forms of Stay At Home Directives in place, we will notify you when we are able to ship. Of course, we will do our best to get them out as soon as possible after announcing the winners.



We will be checking, and you will be blocked from any future giveaways.

For the 4 ApollyCon 2020 Bags

img_8651Bags contain a mix of ApollyCon 2020 books and swag, plus a variety of ARCs and Book Box swag. Each bag is different, but there may be some similarities.

– Must be a continental US resident with a US mailing address

– Must be 18+ or have a parent’s permission

All the items will be shipped in a Large Flat Rate USPS box.


I wanted to include an international portion to this giveaway, because I always feel bad when I can’t. While I can’t afford to send boxes full of books and swag internationally right now, I still wanted to give the opportunity for international readers to participate. Since this giveaway is due in part to ApollyCon, I wanted to keep it in theme. Also, since Jen just surprised released a new book at the end of March, I wanted to give people the chance to acquire it.

For the 2 Books – 2 Winners

Screen Shot 2020-04-05 at 11.49.54 PM

* This is for International People Only, please do not enter if you are a US resident! *

– Must be 18+ or have a parent’s permission

– If Book Depository ships to your country, you can choose any Jennifer L. Armentrout Book up to $15 OR get a Kindle version of her Newest Book FROM BLOOD AND ASH.

Screen Shot 2020-04-05 at 11.50.50 PM

All the same rules apply, 10 possible entries, but only 5 are mandatory. If chosen as a winner, you will be notified via email with a Google Doc to fill out.

Sammy and I are thrilled to be hosting this, and we hope you enter! I’m so excited about the sheer amount of stuff we’re including (and quite impressed I was able to fit each bag + contents into one box).

**If/when you head over to Sammy’s blog, you’re going to see a lot of the same information. Know that it doesn’t mean double, the Rafflecopter’s are the same, with all of the same tasks. It does not matter which link you click on, or who’s blog you access it from.

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Here is the link: