Air Awakens by Elise Kova Review

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Book: Air Awakens

Author: Elise Kova

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: ALL OF THE STARS

Goodreads Blurb

The world was alive around her, and each gust of air was like the whisper of a lover upon silk.


Let’s do this!

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Air Awakens… Where to start…

This follows the life of Vhalla Yarl, a seventeen-year-old library apprentice who has been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers and all of those who belonged in it, and she’d been happy to oblige and keep to the quiet of her books. But when she unknowingly saves the life of Crown Prince Aldrik Solaris, which is to say, one of the most powerful sorcerers of all, her life takes a drastic turn, and she’s forced to decide to embrace her true nature and leave all that she’s ever known, or ignoring this newfound part of herself, as she discovers that she herself has a power of her own; the rare elemental magic of a Windwalker.

This book was great. So, so, so great.


The World and the Magic Within Its Pages:

I love the way this world and the magic in it has been built. How, while having its own unique complexity like most Fantasy books, it keeps a certain type of simplicity that allows readers to take it all in and grasp every concept quickly, creating a bond between the reader, the book and the author from a very early stage in the reading experience with this book, and thus allowing this bond to get stronger and stronger as the pages turn, as well as facilitating the establishment of a stronger connection to the characters.

The world in this book works in the way of a compass. It is divided by four regions, North, South, East and West, and each region means a specific affinity for every sorcerer. The people of the North tend to have an affinity with Earth, the people of the South tend have an affinity with Water, those of the West generally have an affinity with Fire, and finally, those of the East, like Vhalla, tend to have an affinity with Air.

That means that Waterruners are most likely to be Southerners, Firebearers are almost always Westerners, Northerners tend to be Groundbreakers and Easterners tend to be Windwalkers.

Learning about this world was a pleasant experience; I learned along with Vhalla and Aldrik was as much my teacher as he was Vhalla’s.


Vhalla Yarl:

Vhalla Yarl is a very human character.

Here’s why:

You see, when presented with the fact that she had this amazing, unique ability and the chance to learn more about it, to nurture it, and to train to become a skilled Windwalker, Vhalla… Refused. She refused and she hesitated again and again, and she wouldn’t accept not being given a choice. And this, I feel, is a very human characteristic.

We, humans, don’t like being used, don’t like being controlled, and we don’t like being told that we’re wrong. We don’t like to be faced with facts that are a complete contradiction to everything we’ve known, and thus it takes us time to grasp and accept these facts, or we just don’t accept them, no matter how much truth they may hold. In addition to this, it affects us greatly when we extend our trust towards towards someone that ultimately ends up abusing of it, and losing it.

It felt completely real, Vhalla’s reluctance to trust the Tower of Sorcerers because 1) she’d been taught to fear these people, and to stay as far from sorcery as possible, thus the possibility of anything good coming out of it seemed scarce, and 2) because she extended her trust to “her Phantom,” and he didn’t value it enough to keep it the first time around.

Ultimately, Vhalla was looking out for herself. She was smart, and strong, and brave, because throughout all of it, she thought of herself. She learned to embrace herself as a sorcerer and as someone who has the power to make a difference, and she made sure that this was her choice.

This, combined with her wittiness and her undying love for reading (which I obviously found incredibly relatable), was what made me feel so connected to her character, and what made her into one of my favorite literary characters.
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Crown Prince Aldrik Solaris, an Outcast on the Spotlight:

*dreamy sigh*

How do I even form coherent thoughts about my dear, fiery,
temperamental prince?

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Yeeeeah, about that…

Prince Aldrik is misunderstood, and I’m glad we got a main character who could see that, and understand that (even if it took her, and me, a while), regardless of the perceptions of him that next to everyone had embedded into her mind.

Aldrik is what you could call… An outcast on the spotlight.

It’s hard to be a sorcerer in a world in which these are outcasts, but it’s even harder to be a sorcerer when you’re constantly on the spotlight. And even harder, you might say, when you happen to be the Crown Prince.

It’s quite an odd combination.

It was little more than the corners of his mouth curling up, but it lit his eyes in a way that Vhalla had yet to see. It made her wonder if she had ever really seen him before. It made her wonder if anyone had ever really seen him before.

That, right there, is one of my favorite quotes from this book. Just like Vhalla, I admit I failed to understand Aldrik at the beginning of this book, to see him, and it was little details like these that allowed me to truly see him, and to grow fonder and fonder of him.

A little too fond, you might say. Hehee.

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At first, I thought he was a complete asshole.

Then I understood why.

Then, I learned that he cares for those of his kind and those he loves, even if it’s in his own way. I learned that he’s passionate, and feels very deeply and very strongly. I learned that he’s simply a misfit under a microscope whose reputation has already been decided without reasoning, and is constantly reminded of this shallow, false perception that follows him around, wherever he goes, inevitably.

*sigh*

The rest is history.

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Indeed.


Vhalla and Aldrik, the definition of OTP:

Look, I don’t have much to say about Vhalla and Aldrik’s relationship except, I SHIP IT.

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It was pleasantly subtle and yet almost palpable, and I love that it was comprised of little significant moments, that slowly built their relationship.


Supporting Characters That Added a Little Something More to This Story:

 Roan and Sareem:

I think… That the presence of these two characters in Vhalla’s life made it clearer for me to see how lonely the life of a sorcerer could be. They were a nice asset to the story, presenting a stark contrast between Vhalla’s past as a library apprentice, and Vhalla’s future as a sorcerer.

Sareem was kinda giving me some Gale vibes though, trying to escape the friend-zone and all. I loved him as her best friend, and he truly was sweet towards Vhalla, if a tad bit cheesy, but I’m kind of glad their relationship ended the way it did. I couldn’t take him as a love interest, and even less after his reaction to Vhalla’s sorcery.

*clears throat*

Sorry?

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Larel:

Larel holds a dear place in my heart. She was the constant that Vhalla needed in the midst of the mess that her life had become. She didn’t pressure Vhalla into making a decision, she simply presented her with facts, with the truth, and more importantly, she was there. Vhalla needed a friend and a guide, and Larel provided her with her friendship and guidance without asking for anything in return.

I genuinely feel that there is a lot more depth to her character than we get to see in this book, and I do hope I get to see more of her in the next books.

(Fritz)nangle:

Fritz is, and I’m quoting Elise on this one, “such a cinnamon roll. Too Precious. Too pure.”

Even though he didn’t appear in this book as often as I’d liked him to, he gave me so many Kenji vibes (I’m a sucker for Kenji), and I just… *struggles for words*

FRITZNANGLE MUST BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS, OKAY?

Prince Baldair:

Oh, Prince Baldair, why must you be so charming?

I admit I thought I would strongly dislike Baldair, since he’s such a flirt and all. I was wrong.

There’s something so disarmingly good-natured and easy-going about his character, and he’s so sweet too, how could anyone not like him?

It was as though the golden prince wore everything on his sleeves, and his cerulean eyes promised nothing but the truth.

Master Mohned:

Do you wanna know how I imagined Master Mohned?

Are you sure?

Well, you asked for it.

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*cackles*

oOPS!


The Magic of Simplicity in Writing:

I talked a little about this on my last reading update, and I mentioned it earlier on this post, but I really, really enjoyed the simplicity in the way this book was written. I enjoyed it a lot. It allowed me to quickly fly through it, and it almost made me feel as if I was being presented with some sort of reality, instead of a fragment of fiction.

I’d most definitely recommend this book to any new reader, or non-reader (or avid reader), as the way this book is written allows readers to get a full grasp of this world fairly quickly, and thus keeping you at the edge of your seat.

Props to Elise Kova for being such a fabulous writer.


Overall Thoughts:

This. Book. Was. Phenomenal.

I loved every single part of it and, quite frankly, it’s going right up on my favorites shelf. The world was flawlessly put together, the characters were rich and believable, the romance was just right, the story was so simply, and yet intricately, carefully woven, and the ending was fantastic, giving way for this series to grow into something far, far greater.

I 100% recommend that EVERYONE give this book a try aaaaand that concludes this review.

I hope you enjoyed it, and that it made you want to pick this book up.

Happy reading!

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Reading Update: Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Let’s talk Air Awakens, shall we?

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I’ve been juggling between reading Air Awakens on my phone, Six of Crows (because yes, I’m a little shit that didn’t finish it last month like I was supposed to) whenever I’m home and have the chance to grab my copy and read peacefully, and school work, so I haven’t read as much as I’d like to read of it, but what I HAVE read, I’ve liked.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the way this book is written is very simple and easy to read, and I like that because, apart from the fact that it’s a book that everyone can read (even a non-reader), it’s very easy to dive into and get a whole bunch of reading done in a decent amount of time.

At first, it kind of irked me a bit that Vhalla was so whiny and kept denying her powers instead of embracing them, but as I kept reading, I warmed up to her character. And when I really thought about it, if I were in Vhalla’s situation I would’ve whined and denied just as much as she does, and maybe even more. It just makes her more human, and real, I guess, because we all know that perfect, seemingly fearless characters that can take on anything without complaining or doubting themselves aren’t believable.

I really like how the magic is explained in this book, and how, just like with the writing, it’s very easy to understand.

Fire = West
Water = South
Earth = North
Air = East

Like I said, very easy to understand!

I loved the whole exchanging letters thing with “the Phantom,” hOWEVER, Aldrik is an asshole.

I’m almost POSITIVE that he’ll get better and he’ll end up being a member of my never ending list of fictional boyfriends but I just… HE’S SUCH AN ASS RIGHT NOW! *sobs*

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I’ve only read about 8 chapters, and I can already feel myself getting attached to this story and the characters (Vhalla, Larel, the Minister, Fritz, nOT ALDRIK, THOUGH).

I can’t wait to keep reading, and hopefully Aldrik will… You know… Not be an asshole.

Remember to leave any questions you have for Elise down below in the comments and keep in mind that they can be about anything you’d like, just don’t get too personal!

In the mean time, I have 2 questions of my own!

My first question is: Is the world in Air Awakens based on our world or is it an entirely different world? I’m very curious as to what a map of this world would look like.

And my second question is: What Hogwarts house do you belong to? I personally haven’t read the Harry Potter books but I’ve always loved learning what house others belong to.

Farewell and happy reading!

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Read-Along Book of the Month: Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Hey, readers!

We’re stoked to tell you guys that our December Book of the Month is Air Awakens by Elise Kova, BUT we’re even more stoked to tell you that Elise Kova, author of our Book of the Month recently contacted us and guess what? She’s going to be a part of this read-along!

I feel like it’s a great thing, when authors are involved in the reading process somehow, because it makes the reading experience a whole lot more personal and dear to our hearts, so we were thrilled when Elise told us she’d like to be a part of this.

(and we may or may not have fangirled a bit, but don’t tell anyone)

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She’s going to be answering your questions all month long, right here on the blog, as well as on Elise’s videos on our blog’s Instagram! You can ask about anything and everything. Her writing process, her books, future projects,  or even the  randomest of things like her favorite ice cream flavor, or if she’s Team Peeta or Team Gale. Feel free to get as creative as you want, just don’t get too personal!

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Now, since this is our read-along’s announcement post, I was planning on giving you guys a brief description on the book buuuuuut, the lovely Elise was nice enough to write you guys a little message, giving you a brief intel on what the book is about and the type of reader she hoped to reach when she wrote these books and those kinds of things, so, without further ado, here’s what she had to say!


  I found this read-along completely by chance. It popped up on my Instagram feed and, as authors can be, I was curious as to what people were saying about my work. I noticed that Air Awakens had been chosen by majority vote by the readers here for the December read-along and was completely floored. I finished hosting my own read-along of Air Awakens leading up to Fire Falling and it was so much fun to watch people interact with the book for the first time, answer questions, and discuss everything from the character motives to the world.
  When I sat down to write Air Awakens I wanted to make it a high fantasy that could appeal to readers who maybe have never picked up a high fantasy before. In line with this thinking, I tried to make decisions and put in characters, settings, and magic that would be familiar and easy to understand, while still adding my own spin and making it my own. One of the first decisions out of this was to base the magic system on elements: Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. Elemental-based magic systems have been used in dozens of works throughout time and they’re simple to “pick up and go” for someone who isn’t used to the extensive and time-consuming world building of high fantasy novels.
(For the record, I don’t intend any of this in a negative way! Just that everyone has their “type” of book and if high fantasy isn’t your type it can be hard to get into.)
  I’ve had reviewers describe Air Awakens as many things, like: Avatar meets Throne of Glass, or Cinderella meets Phantom of the Opera in a high fantasy setting. Overall, I’ve been really lucky to have amazing readers enjoy my story and I hope anyone who picks up Air Awakens now or later does as well. But, if you don’t, there’s always another book on the proverbial shelf!
  I can’t wait to see what questions people have during this read-along!

On top of that, we’ll be posting video updates by Elise herself, every week or so, on our Instagram, so be sure to check those out!
As per usual, we’ll be updating you guys on our bookstagrams (Camila’s and mine) and I’ll, personally, be updating on my reading on Twitter and Snapchat (booksthetics), as well as on my Goodreads.
I think that’s all for now soooooo, farewell and happy reading, guys!
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Which (magical) book would you like to read along with us on the month of December?

Before we get onto business, I want to excuse myself, as well as Camila, for doing this so late. We’ve been extremely busy and caught up on other things, hence the reason we haven’t posted much these last couple of weeks, so we completely forgot we had to get this done.

BUT BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, RIGHT?

Since we still wanted to try and read SOMETHING with you guys, I asked Cam for a theme or genre that we could read and you guys would like and she suggested magic.

And so we started looking for options and managed to narrow it down to these four books:


Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

12954620I’m sure you’ve heard about this book a thousand times, and seen it around a thousand more times, but in case you haven’t, I’ll tell you a little bit about it.

This book is part of a six book series (I believe) about three kingdoms in which magic has been long forgotten and and who had managed to keep peace between them for centuries. Or at least until a sort of deathly disruption breaks that hard-won peace.

As every kingdom and ruler fights for power, the lives of their subjects take a complete turn, including the lives of our protagonists, Cleo (a princess), Jonas (a rebel), Lucia (a sorceress) and Magnus (an heir), who suddenly find their fates inevitably intertwined, aaaaand that’s pretty much all I know about it. But you get the point, right?

(In case you DON’T get the point, THIS BOOK IS BOUND TO BE AN AMAZING RIDE.)

The premise of these books just seems like the perfect thing for fantasy lovers, and quite a lot of booktubers have been talking about it, including Jesse from Jessethereader (link to his review), Sam from Thoughts on Tomes (link to her review), and Laney from gingerreadslaney (link to her review), so in conclusion, it MUST be good.


Bell Weather by Dennis Mahoney

Bellweather REDO author sendNow, this book was kind of a wildcard from my part.

I’d barely seen this book around, or heard anyone talk about it, for that matter, but I randomly found it on Goodreads and was immediately drawn to the cover, and shortly after, found out it was a fantasy book. Being the fantasy lover that I am, I was sold!

(It’s a beautiful cover, don’t even deny it.)

So, as I said, I know very little about it but I will tell you what I know.

This book is set in a world called Root, a magic infused world in which the people are very closely tied to nature. It’s said to be a very unique world in which sometimes right things, like rain falling from the sky and light shimmering down on the world, tend to happen…upside down? Reversed? Seemingly (and amazingly) wrong?

I like to think of it like Wonderland, in which what is normal is not normal and what is right is actually wrong, and vice versa. I mean, I haven’t read the book (YET) but I find that to be an easy way to wrap my head around the concept. Does that make sense?

The story begins with a flood of FLOWERS (how freaking cool is that?), following the life of owner of the only tavern in Root, Tom Orange, and of Molly, the mysterious woman whom he finds unconscious amidst this flood, who wakes up to find that she remembers nothing of her past, save for her name.

This book is said to have incredible world-building, and is supposedly hilarious too. It’s described as a unique, strange take on fantasy and magical realism, and like I said, I’m sold.


Stardust by Neil Gaiman

0061689246-originalI knew nothing of this book until Cam suggested we read it and apparently it’s a movie?!??!??!? *prolonged gasp*

So yeeeeah, you probably think I’m a noob now, but it’s a thing, okay?

Anyways, the description up on Goodreads is not very long or elaborate but I think it covers everything and seems easy enough to understand, so I’ll just put that down here, as I had no idea of its existence before today and haven’t done much research on it.

Goodreads description: Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.

Now that sounds pretty cool, if you ask me, and as I was looking through reviews on it on Goodreads, I found that Ariel Bisset (you should totally check out her channel) read it and gave it a 5/5, and her reviews are usually accurate and always seem to hold true, so I trust her input.

She described it as “more adult,” “slower and whimsical,” and “more p162796_p_v7_aagrounded in reality,” in comparison to the movie, which she describes to be more “family friendly,” and “wittier and funnier and sillier and faster paced.”

That is preeeeetty much all I know about it, and I may or may not be checking out the movie later on.

(that’s the movie poster, by the way. and LOOK! ROBERT DE NIRO IS IN THIS MOVIE!)


Air Awakens by Elise Kova

air-awakens-cover-cover-reveal1This is probably the one I’m most excited about, not gonna lie.

This book is set in a a place called the Solaris Empire, and follows the life of seventeen year old, library apprentice, Vhalla Yarl, who was taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and who had been more than happy to stay immersed in her quiet world of books.

Now, this obviously takes a huuuuge turn as she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers, she discovers she has magic of her own. The rare elemental magic of a windwalker. The last windwalker.

Sooooooo, she has to decide between embracing her sorcery and leaving behind all that she had known, or getting rid of it and remain as she was before.

I’d seen this book quite a handful of times on Goodreads (I’ve barely seen it around on instagram) while searching for books to buy, but I never seemed to ACTUALLY buy it.

Let’s just say that now I feel like I NEED this book. Right now. RIGHT NOW.

As I was doing my research on this book, I felt like I needed reassurance. So, searched for a review on le YouTube and found that Caden, from @athousandbookstoread on Instagram, had reviewed it aaaaaaand she just about finished convincing me.

She described it as Throne of Glass meets Avatar: The Last Airbender and if that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. On top of this, she just seemed so invested and enthusiastic and excited about this book, and just… If you’ve watched her videos, you know what I mean when I say that her excitement and enthusiasm is contagious.

(link to review)

So yeah, I’m literally gonna buy this book the next time I go book shopping, regardless of if it gets chosen or not. It sounds too good and I’m weak, I can’t help myself.

Oh, and you don’t have to wait long for a sequel because it’s already out! The first book in this series came out on August of this year, the sequel came out just a few days ago, and the THIRD book in this series will come out sometime around February of this next year.

(Not to mention that these books have stunning covers.)


Those are all the options we have for you guys! Again, we’re sorry it took us so long, but we’ll be back on track for the next time around.

The poll closes some time around Friday of this week (it’s the 27th, I think) so we can at least announce it before the month ends. As soon as we find out which book is our Read-Along Book of the Month, I’ll upload a reading schedule so you can join us and we can discuss it as we go!

So yeeeeeeeeeah, vote, VOTE, VOTE!

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Read-along Update: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

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SOOOOOO… It’s been a while…

In the time I’ve been gone I’ve managed to get almost all the way to the end of our October book of the month, The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd. It’s been one hell of a ride…

Where do I start?

Oh yes, let’s start by stating that this book is horrifyingly disgusting, although fascinating at that.

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I said this on my other update but if you have a weak stomach, I wouldn’t recommend reading this book. SPECIALLY if you’re sensitive to animal torture and abuse.

I had my suspicions regarding what Dr. Moreau was doing, but that didn’t change the fact that I literally gagged when I learned what he was doing (and whenever it was mentioned). It’s a pretty shocking to learn, even if you think you expect it. And even more so when it’s described in such vivid details.

I never thought this book would be so abhorrent and revolting when I suggested it for us to read.

And I’m most definitely trying not to talk directly about what Dr. Moreau does, even though the whole plot revolves around it. I’ll save that for the actual review, thanks.

If you’re reading along, or you’ve read this book, then you surely know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t… Then just know that it’s quite lovely. And by lovely I mean gruesome and nauseating.

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Now, let’s move on to more enjoyable subjects.

Montgomery.

You see, no matter what “crimes” he’s committed, even if they’re not his fault, I can’t help but prefer him over Edward. Don’t get me wrong, Edward’s a total sweetheart and he cares for Juliet, and I do definitely enjoy his little moments with Juliet. *cough* The waterfall. *cough* BUUUUUT, Montgomery wins the whole thing.

I’m not going to go into much detail about it, I’m obviously saving that for my review, but just know that I really, reeeeeally love Montgomery’s character.

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Now, as far as plot and story goes, I’m completely infatuated with this book. I wasn’t much of a fan of thrillers or these types of book, but lately I’ve grown fond of that tense, uneasy, on edge, sort of panicky feeling that these types of books give me. I can’t get enough of them, and the fact that I just can’t get enough of this book just proves that.

There are so, so many things happening at once and just when I think everything’s solved, that we’re on the other side, SURPRISE! Something else happens, something significantly worse than the last thing. And just the constant wondering of if it’s finally over, and then finding out that it’s not, and that there are so many things that need to be resolved, it makes me so excited. I love that.

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I also really love Juliet’s character, specially the fact that she knows her faults and flaws, inherited or not. I think it’s good that she’s aware of them. And that just leaves more room for improvement! I mean, she could go all Adelina, down the wrong path, but I really feel like her character has an incredible potential to improve.

And yeeeeeah! Again, I won’t go into much detail because I’m saving everything for the revieeeew, so if you want to get a full look into my opinions, thoughts and feels about this book, keep an eye out for my full review. I’ll be posting it sometime between tomorrow and Monday, as I’m planning to finish this book tonight!

Happy reading, guys!

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November Book of the Month: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

23437156You guys voted, we oblige. The winning book is…

*drumroll* SIX OF CROWS BY LEIGH BARDUGO! I’ve heard nothing but amazing things of this book, and I don’t know if you’ve seen pictures of it around Tumblr or Instagram, but this book has black pages, and it’s so, so, so stunning. I couldn’t be any more excited to get to read this with you guys.

Later, by the end of this month, I’ll have posted a sort of reading schedule, so we can all read together and discuss it without spoiling one another.

I was also told that this world was set in the Grisha world, so I might just (FINALLY) read the Grisha trilogy as well. *mischievous grin* But that’s not the point!

The point is, that you should definitely join us! We love talking with all of you guys, and what better topic of conversation is there than a book?

If you’re interested and wish to know a little bit of what this book is about, click on this link to read the Goodreads blurb.

Remember to keep your eyes open for the reading schedule, happy reading!

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Which book would you like to read along with us on the month of November?

Aaaaaaaaand we’re back, asking you guys to help us choose our November read-along book! Here are our three potential read-along books, and all you have to do is vote for the one you’d most want to read with us! Easy, right? So, which one will it be?

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