GIVE ME ALL THE LAZLO: Muse of Nightmares Review

Since Muse of Nightmares is the sequel to Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer, I will not be giving a MoN summary. If you want to learn more about Strange the Dreamer, check out my non-spoiler review here.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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**Warning: There will be spoilers for Strange the Dreamer below**

My Thoughts:

Laini Taylor’s Muse of Nightmares was one of my unicorns (advanced copies that can be hard to come by) of Book Expo 2018. I can now say that waiting in line for over two and a half hours for Muse of Nightmares was worth it—and so was getting to meet Laini, who is easily one of the sweetest authors I’ve ever met!

MoN picks up right where we left off in Strange the Dreamer, and the stakes are high from the get-go. And no worries, I was once again scared of Minya. However, I think MoN does make readers build more empathy for Minya, as we learn more about what really happened during the Carnage fifteen years ago. In my opinion, Sparrow and Ruby play a larger role in this installment, and honestly, our six main godspawn had so many fantastic one-liners! While I’d say that the focus is more on the citadel individuals, we do get interaction from Thyron and Calixte, the latter also had many humorous moments. I won’t share my favorite for now because of spoilers, but here’s one that made me run and grab my post-it tabs:

“Sarai shrugged and vanished it, feeling a little wicked. ‘Nothing special just sweet.’ She looked to Lazlo with a secret smile. ‘Like eating cake in dreams.’

He smiled back, and they all could see that there were memories shimmering between them. ‘What dreams?’ asked Feral.

‘What cake?’ demanded Ruby”. (85)

That moment when you realize that you love a series so much for all of its mentions of cake and sugar.

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And no worries (for now) for my Lazlo and Sarai shippers, there are plenty of moments featuring the couple. As the title suggests, while Lazlo remains as one of our main characters, MoN is more Sarai’s story.

Once again, MoN is filled with Laini Taylor’s gorgeous writing style. I think one of the reasons why I quickly fell for this duology is because of Laini’s immersive style and plot. Like its predecessor, MoN has such an imaginative world and characters you just don’t want to let go (similar to how we don’t want a certain character to let go of a certain someone..).

One thing that I did have trouble with was following some of the past god/godspawn history. While I absolutely loved Kora and Nova’s story, I did get a confused about their history and who was who in the different stages of their lives. However, I did like how they came to play in the overall plot.

Overall, I really enjoyed Muse of Nightmares for its character development, and I’m really satisfied with the ending of this story (even though I could see some sort of spin off or novella). If you’re in need of an amazing high fantasy or beautiful writing in general, make sure to pick up this duology. Not to mention the fact that their covers own the fantasy cover game.

This review is based off an advanced reading copy. By no means did receiving this ARC affect my thoughts or opinions.

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Have you read Strange the Dreamer? Share in the comments!

Being Bloggish & School Blues:September Wrap Up

Oh September, you’ve brought a lot of lovely things, but also a lot of stress to this fangirl. September was a great month for me as a blogger—I finally starting sharing reviews of SO many of the amazing books coming out this fall (sorry not sorry for the review overload) and I participated in a campaign for two of my all-time favorite books, Vicious and Vengeful. Regarding my personal life, September was busy and quite stressful. I began the fall semester of my junior year of college- is it me, or is junior year of anything (I’m looking at you high school) insanely stressful?- and I had someone very close to me have some health struggles. Thankfully, they’re doing much better now. I always appreciate this space and you, but I especially loved blogging this month as a way for me to de-stress and remind me of love for blogging and reading!

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Bonjour Girl by Isabelle Laflèche (ARC)| 3/5 Stars

Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (ARC)| 5/5

Rule by Ellen Goodlett (ARC)| 4/5

Vicious by V.E. Schwab (Reread) | 5/5

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab | 5/5

Odd One Out by Nic Stone (ARC )| 4/5

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden | 5/5 

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I definitely watch more TV during the school year and I definitely craved light-hearted and sweet TV shows this month.

Sugar Rush- I went on bit of a Cake Wars binge before I left home for the semester, so Netflix’s Sugar Rush seemed like the next best thing. AND IT WAS. Sugar Rush is a three-round challenge baking show. I enjoyed how it was a little different than most challenge shows, and it gave me plenty of bakers to follow on Instagram.

Zumbo’s Just Desserts- Since I couldn’t get enough Zumbo on Sugar Rush, his own challenge show on Netflix came at the perfect time. This Australian baking show has the perfect combination of American baking shows and The Great British Baking Show. A little bit of flash and drama with really sweet people and really sweet desserts.

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Reviews

BEST FALL THRILLER: Sadie Review

REAL WORLD YA: People Kill People Review

HELLO AGAIN HIDEO: Wildcard Review

TWO OF MY FAVORITE THINGS: Check, Please!: #Hockey Review

CUTEST YA COVER: Unclaimed Baggage Review

Bonjour Girl by Isabelle Laflèche

BACK TO SCHOOL REVIEW: The List by Siobhan Vivian

Meeting Modern Darcy: Pride Review

FAVORITE HISTORICAL FICTION: The War Outside Review

Bookish Things 

Top Five Wednesday:  2018 Contemporary Covers

WHY YOU NEED TO READ VICIOUS

Monthly Recommendations: Binge-Worthy Series

Summer Reading Wrap-Up & Favorites

READING & REWATCHES: August Wrap Up

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Finished my first full month of school- I’m sure many of my fellow college bloggers can understand, but it feels SO GOOD to say that I survived the first full month of being back to school. While it’s been really awesome to be back with my friends and I’ve been actually enjoying my classes, my workload this year is much more intense compared to my first two years.

Reorganizing my bookshelves- I decided to reorganize my bookshelves on a somewhat whim this past Friday afternoon. My shelves definitely needed some love and I’m so happy with the results. Below is what my floor looked like when I laid out everything from my shelves.

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Going to the MET- I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time ever on a school field trip. While I admit that I am not the biggest art person, I’m so happy I was able to visit the MET with the Heavenly Bodies exhibit was still on display. I loved seeing both the old and new couture fashions. Also, isn’t the outfit below SO Lila Bard (Shades of Magic)??

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What did you read & watch in September? Share in the comments!

FAVORITE HISTORICAL FICTION: The War Outside Review

Summary: It’s 1944, and World War II used to feel so far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado. Until they were forced to go to Texas because of where their parents came from: Germany and Japan. Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a “family internment camp” for those accused of working with the enemy. The polar opposites form a secret friendship, where they can share most of their worries with each other. Haruko fears for her soldier brother’s life and just ca’nt figure out the secret her father is harboring from her. Margot is doing everything to keep her family together, as her mother’s health declines and her father’s distrust for America increases. As everything around them falls apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, how much can they really trust each other?

 My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Monica Hesse’s The War Outside was one of most anticipated releases of 2018, especially after loving Girl in the Blue Coat . I absolutely love historical fiction set during the World War II era and The War Outside is no exception. This beautifully-written book is easily one of my favorite 2018 reads and has solidified Monica Hesse as one of my favorite authors.

The War Outside is the only book I’ve read about one of the US interment camps. While I learned about them in school, especially when it came to the interment of Japanese citizens, I never knew that German citizens were also imprisoned. I appreciated both Haruko and Margot’s perspectives for their stories and cultural backgrounds. Like many, it made me sad to think that these girls were American citizens but were imprisoned just because of their ethnicity and their parents’ actions.

As I’m sure you can assume by now, I absolutely flew through this book because I needed to know more about Haruko and Margot. I don’t think I preferred one perspective over another because they were so different, yet they obviously have the connection of  living in Crystal City. Haruko’s story often left me heartbroken, over her fear for her brother and the uncertainty surrounding her father’s actions. Margot is quite unsure of herself, something that I feel like I haven’t seen in YA in a while. I really liked learning about her family, even when in their darker moments.

Without too many spoilers, the only aspect of the story that I wasn’t a major fan of was the potential romance. I don’t even know if this was really a romance, considering the emphasis on friendship and family, but I don’t think it was necessary for this story. AND THAT ENDING! I’m definitely going to have to go back and read the girl’s in-the-future excerpts to get a better sense of their ending.

Overall, Monica Hesse’s The War Outside is an emotion-filled, important read that will leave you wanting more of her stories, as well as Haruko and Margot’s.

 This review is based on an advance reading copy. By no means did this affect my thoughts and opinions. 

Is The War Outside on your TBR? What are some of your favorite historical fiction novels? Share in the comments!

Top Five Wednesday:  2018 Contemporary Covers

Today’s Top Five Wednesday is all about our favorite covers, but I decided to (pumpkin) spice it up a bit by talking about my favorite covers for 2018 contemporary releases.

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Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky- While Mammoth has not come out yet, my bookshelf is already screaming for a finished copy because of it’s GORGEOUS COVER and GORGEOUS STORY. I really love how the blue and pink work together.

Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll- EXCUSE ME BUT IS THERE A THRIFT STORE LIKE UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE WHERE I CAN FIND THIS SQUIRREL? Unclaimed Baggage is a great example where the cover game compleltely influenced me to pick up the book. Plus how could you not love a book about three teens working in an unclaimed baggage store?

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon- While When Dimple Met Rishi and From Twinkle, With Love follow different characters, I love how their covers correspond with one another. Like Mammoth, From Twinkle, With Love has such a beautiful color scheme, along with its blue and yellow Owlcrate edition. I’ve definitely grown to love models/actual people on covers (I think I like this more in contemporary than fantasy).

Save the Date by Morgan Matson- I definitely have a thing for authors’ books having the same aesthetic style because I love ALL of Morgan Matson’s covers. Even though I’d love to see Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer have a refresh to meet her other three books’ style more. While The Unexpected Everything is my favorite, I love Save the Date for how much it matches its plot. Plus how could you not love a cover with a dog and cake??

Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian- Like Save the Date, Stay Sweet’s cover wraps around the front and back of the jacket. I’ve noticed this style  with many of Simon & Shuster’s contemporary books-Lara Jean’s bedroom on the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before covers, anyone? While it’s always fun getting to picture characters in your head or even find their celebrity matches, I love how Stay Sweet gives us an impression of best friend, ice cream-scooping duo, Amelia and Cate.

Bonus Cover Round

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett – Jenn Bennett’s covers are a little similar to Sandhya Menon’s, in the sense that her latest two books, Alex, Approximately and Starry Eyes, and her 2019 release, Serious Moonlight have a similar aesthetic. Starry Eyes’ cover particularly suits the book itself really well, giving me camping and summer romance vibes all around.

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood- The Last Summer of the Garret Girls’ cover truly captures each of the four Garrett girls.

Love à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm- Again, covers that have anything to do with cake are right up my alley. AND PARIS.

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West- This cover makes me wish for summer days by the pool instead of drowning in coursework in my college library. Where can I find those heart-shaped floats??

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Top 5 Wednesday is a collaborative group of book bloggers from various platforms who love sharing lists on Wednesdays. The T5W group can be found here on Goodreads.

What are some of your favorite 2018 covers? Share in the comments!

TWO OF MY FAVORITE THINGS: Check, Please!: #Hockey Review

Summary: (From the publisher): Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It is nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking (anything that hinders the player with posession of the puck, ranging from a stick check all the way to a physical sweep). And then, there is Jack—his very attractive but moody captain.

 My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

As many of you know, I often fangirl about books, film, and my favorite fandoms here at Fangirl Fury. One of my favorite things that I rarely fangirl about here?Hockey! I love watching hockey, and I’m a huge New York Rangers fan. So when I heard that Fierce Reads had ARCs of Ngozi Ukazu’s much-loved webcomic, Check, Please!, at Book Expo/Book Con, I knew that I needed the perfect graphic novel for me.

Check, Please: #Hockey met my expectations and more. I only read some of the first few updates online before jumping into the book. I love Ngozi Ukazu’s art style throughout, and I like how she changed it when exploring characters’ pasts. My favorite example is Chapter 6: The Hockey Prince, where we get some of Jack’s back story. Obviously, Bitty is the heart (and king baker) of Check, Please, but I think my favorite character was Jack! I totally fell the dreamy star hockey player trope (PSA FOR THIS TO BE MORE OF A TROPE IN YA), and I loved seeing his relationship expand with Bitty.

What gives Check, Please even more heart is its side characters, aka the members of the Samwell Hockey Team. Ransom and Holster added the perfect comic relief, and like Jack, Shitty (well maybe not his name) was a bit of a dreamboat. I also loved Lardo for her female perspective.I may or may not be shipping Shitty and Lardo even harder than a certain couple..

And while I can read an entire graphic novel about Bitty’s baking, Check, Please completely delivers on the hockey. From strategy meetings to games, what connects all of our characters is their love for the sport and the ice.

I admit that I was disappointed that the book ends with year 2/the end of Bitty’s sophomore year. Which means that I am more than ready for the next book, Check, Please!: Sticks and Stones. However, I like how the end of the book includes some extra comics, including a hockey terminology session with Ransom and Holster, and Bitty’s tweets. 

This review is based on an advance reading copy. By no means did this affect my thoughts or opinions. 

Do you read the Check, Please! online? What are some of your graphic novel recommendations? Share in the comments!

CUTEST YA COVER: Unclaimed Baggage Review

Summary: Doris, a liberal teen in a conservative town, hasn’t made too many friends since the waterslide incident. Nell hasn’t been so successful in the friend department either, since she’s just moved to small town Alabama from the Chicago surburbs. But what do the two have in common with each other, let alone fallen-from-grace star quarterback Grant? All three have summer jobs at Unclaimed Baggage, a store where lost luggage goes to find a home. Working together for the summer, Grant, Doris, and Nell learn that while everyone has some extra baggage weighing them down, true friendship and love will help you find your home.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Cover Lust: Unclaimed Baggage is one of the cutest YA contemporary covers! Can I find that squirrel in Unclaimed Baggage?

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My Thoughts:

Jen Doll’s YA debut novel Unclaimed Baggage sounded perfect for my contemporary-loving heart. Thankfully, this summer contemporary about three teens who work in a lost luggage story was right up my alley!

I think what really makes Unclaimed Baggage such an enjoyable and unique read was its setting of the same namesake, Unclaimed Baggage. I think it’s safe to say that most readers have never read a book with the main setting as a lost luggage store, let alone where three teens work for the summer. It was so fun to see Doris, Nell and Grant bond over their job and the bits of personality they each brought to the table. Doris is an organizational and finder of lost things extraordinaire- does she want to help me with my overflowing bookshelves?

I’ve been getting better about enjoying books with multiple first person perspectives, with many thanks going to Unclaimed Baggage. Jen Doll gives each character their own voice, so it’s not easy to lose track of who’s narrating what and when. Doris was my favorite perspective for her storyline and familiarity with small-town Alabama and the store. Throughout all three perspectives, the book tackles some heavy subjects including discrimination, religion, sexuality, alcoholism, and death. I think Jen Doll covered a wide array of subjects well while balancing more heart-lighted matter, like first loves, Krispy Kreme, and hot air balloon festivals.

Unclaimed Baggage is also filled with plenty of hysterical moments between Doris, Nell, and Grant, and the not-so tech savvy adults in their lives. I loved how Unclaimed Baggage’s owner referred to Twitter as Tweetster, and while I’m thankful that Nell didn’t end up getting a job at Waffle House, I loved this gem from her mom:

“ ‘You don’t have to work at a Waffle House, honey,’ she says calmly. ‘Though I think they’re pretty hip nowadays! I hear they have a hilarious Twitter account’ ” (28).

Overall, I really enjoyed Unclaimed Baggage for its unique, funny, and heartwarming story. Any book that leaves me wanting more has a special place on my read pile!

This review is based on an advance reading copy. By no means did this affect my thoughts or opinions.

Is Unclaimed Baggage on your TBR? What are your favorite books with unique settings? Share in the comments!

Review: Bonjour Girl by Isabelle Laflèche

Summary: Clementine Liu is ready to take on New York City and most importantly, the Parsons School of Design. Everything seems to fall into place: meeting her fashionista soulmate and fellow student, Jake, and dreamy fashion photographer, Jonathan. Between schoolwork and exploring the city, Clementine launches her blog, Bonjour Girl, and her originality and flair quickly gives her a big following. With her success, however, comes online abuse and bullying and a classmate who is not what she seems to be. Clementine has to find a way to save her and her friends’ reputations before they go out of style.

 My Rating: 3/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Isabelle Laflèche’s Bonjour Girl immediately caught my attention for its fashion-focused story, as our main protagonist, Clementine, takes on the Parsons School of Design in New York City. I think fashion-forward protagonists and stories are slowly making a comeback in YA, like Jill Baguchinsky’s Mammoth (which I loved) and Kelly deVos’ Fat Girl on a Plane. Bit of a throwback, but one of my first YA series was Melody Carlson’s On the Runway series, so I was really excited to read a book taking place at one of the world’s top fashion and design schools. NOT TO MENTION THAT CLEMENTINE IS A BLOGGER!

Having New York City and Parsons as our main setting was really fun. I enjoyed seeing Clementine taking on the city and school. Clementine definitely lives a privileged life, coming from Paris and moving to the city with her fashion superstar of a cousin, and it was fun delving into the extravagance that is her life. Before going into more details, I will say that Bonjour Girl does dive into diversity. Clementine is half-Chinese, her best friend is gay (more on Jake’s character, however, later), and Clementine and Jake tackle social injustice in the fashion world. For example, Clementine’s blog focuses on untold and diverse individuals in the industry, and Jake designs clothing for people with disabilities.

As a reader who is a blogger, it’s always fun reading about characters who run blogs.  Clementine’s blog was really unique and it was cool seeing her planning stages, like hiring a graphic designer and talking with interviewees. But aside from one detailed instance, we never see Clementine, you know, BLOG. While her blog deserves all the views and comments, thanks to its diversity, it felt so unrealistic that her blog got thousands of views after her first post went live.

But Clementine’s life is definitely far from perfect. Bonjour Girl features intense cyber bullying from one of her competitive classmates, and like most people, Clementine has a hard time dealing with the bullying. However, I do think Clementine could have taken other steps to lessen the problem, and there were times were the plot became too unrealistically dramatic. 

The book is told from Clementine’s first person POV, which often includes her internal reflections, from blog planning and her crush on the attractive and up-and-coming fashion photographer Jonathan. These reflections often referred to pop culture, and while I appreciate the incorporation of real-life TV shows and literature, Clementine often pulled us out the plot when she referenced these subjects. Like when she thinks about her OVERUSED IN SO MANY BOOKS favorite Emily Dickinson poem. Regarding the characters, I’ve seen some negative reviews about Jake being a stereotypical gay guy in the fashion world, but I frankly just didn’t like Jake. Yes, he was nice comic relief and support for Clementine at times, but he was just SO LOUD and really didn’t read social situations. I also thought Clementine pointing out his eating habits in relation to his weight felt weird.

Overall, I enjoyed Bonjour Girl for its fashion-focused story and extravagance, but I do not think its plot and characterization were well executed. Bonjour Girl is the first in a trilogy, and I’ll likely pick up the second book to see how the story continues when Clementine takes on another county known for being a major part of the fashion industry…

This review is based on an advance reading copy. By no means did receiving this ARC affect my thoughts or opinions.

Is Bonjour Girl on your TBR? What are some of your favorite YA fashion-inspired reads? Share in the comments!