2019 First Quarter Book Haul: In My Defense…

This post is a tiny bit late, but you’ll forgive me, right? Instead of trying to figure out exactly which books I bought over the last three months, I have a section of my bookshelf where I put them aside as I buy them. When it comes time to do a book haul, I take them down, snap pics, and then take on the grueling (but enjoyable) task of adding them to my bookshelf (I alphabetize by author, btw). So when it came time to do this quarter’s haul, I glanced over and was stunned that I had accumulated so many books! But as the title says, in my defense, the vast majority of these books were purchases using gift cards. I promise that next quarter will be much smaller. Much. On to the books! Titles linked to Goodreads.

Preorders and New Releases:

2019 First Quarter Book Haul

1. The Wicked King by Holly Black – How could I resist a preorder of this sequel after the way the first novel ended? I did a buddy read with this one like the day after its release, I was so eager. It was fantastic by the way and I am already planning to preorder the third novel.

2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi – I ended up reading an ARC of this one, but had already preordered this one. It is so pretty in person. Hopefully I can squeeze in a reread of this before the sequel comes out next year.

3. The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty – I didn’t have any definitive plans to buy this one right away, but I got a really good deal on it, so I jumped at the opportunity. I still haven’t gotten to this one, but hopefully soon.

2019 First Quarter Book Haul

4. Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers –  I wanted to wait for early reviews of this one because I wasn’t sure I wanted to pick it up considering how much I loved the original series. I’m always apprehensive about spinoffs. But I also got a really good deal on this one and oh my gosh, it’s so beautiful in person. I reread the original trilogy in anticipation, but still haven’t gotten around to it. The guilt!

5. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas – Why haven’t I read this one yet? I have no excuse for not picking up Thomas’ sophomore novel. Hopefully I can have time to do so this summer.

6. Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard – Of course I preordered this third book in the series. Also plan a reread of this one before we get the fourth book.

2019 First Quarter Book Haul

7. The Moon Within by Aida Salazar – I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of this one and completely fell in love. I also think Aida Salazar is one of the sweetest authors, so I absolutely had to support her with a preorder of this one.

8. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia – This book was wonderful and one of the few book purchases I got to almost right away. If you are hesitating to pick this one up, don’t!

9. The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton – I preordered this one and am still so much in love with Clayton’s writing. I can’t wait to see what she puts out next.

2019 First Quarter Book Haul

10. Internment by Samira Ahmed – I am so glad that this one ended up on the New York Times Bestseller’s List. I haven’t gotten to it, but I have it.

11. The True Queen by Zen Cho – I needed this hardcover edition because I have the hardcover of the first and it is one of my favorite books. It’s so pretty in person. I will read this soon!

Books I Wanted Just Because:

2019 First Quarter Book Haul

12. Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri – This was my first book purchase of the year. It was my finally read of 2018 and I absolutely loved it.

13. Mirage by Somaiya Daud – I really enjoyed this novel and as soon as I got a good deal on it, I pounced on it. I need more books in general to be purple. This one is so pretty.

14. Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda – I love this one so much and have been waiting for the paperback of it to come out. I finally have it and am excited for a reread.

15. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black – After reading The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, I knew I wanted to read more Holly Black. I picked this one because I’ve seen lots of bloggers praise it. I’m really curious to see what I think of it.

A Giveaway and ARCs:

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16. The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson – I won this one from Rich in Color. I don’t know much about it, but the cover is so lovely.

17. All of Us with Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil – I was sent this by the publisher and I’m so excited to get to it. I literally fell off my bed when I read I had been approved for it. Literally.

18. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno – The wonderful, the incomparable Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle made all my dreams come true when she offered to send me this ARC. I was so sad when I was rejected on NetGalley, but I am so in love. I am currently reading this and I do not want it to end.

Latinx Book Club: April’s Book Club Pick

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19. The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes – I wasn’t originally planning to purchase this one, but I had a little bit left over on a gift card and since we were going to pick it up for the Latinx Book Club, I thought, why the heck not?

How do you keep track of your book purchases before doing a book haul post? What book purchase have you made in the last three months that you’re really excited about? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Monthly Wrap-Up: March ’19

MonthlyWrap-UPI’ve been trying to get into the swing of things after my hiatus, but I am ashamed to say that I’ve been terribly disorganized this month. You might not have noticed, but I’ve neglected by blogging planner **cue gasps**. ‘I do not like this feeling and was able to devote a little time to said planner this past week. Hopefully I can stay on track. This month I read six novels including one reread. I got to say, all these rereads I’ve been doing lately have made my reading for the month so much more enjoyable. Today also marks the beginning of the Latinx Book Club’s first read. We are reading The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes. If you get a chance to join us, please do. You can find us on Twitter @Latinxbookclub and feel free to ask me any questions. Also, if you didn’t already know (I really must add a button to my sidebar) I recently joined Instagram. You can find me here: @akernelofnonsense. I’d love to follow you! Still don’t know what I’m doing, but I’d love to follow you all.

(Book covers below are linked to my reviews, unless otherwise specified.) 

Favorite Book This Month:

I’m totally cheating and naming my reread of Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhouse my favorite March book. But friends, it is so good and it was absolutely wonderful the second time around. If I ever stop shouting about this one, make sure I haven’t been kidnapped and am being impersonated by someone else.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

No book this month received less than three stars.

Reviews Posted This Month:

 

Read, Review Coming Soon:

(covers linked to Goodreads)

Books I Didn’t Review:

Yes, sometimes I don’t review books. I’m trying to get better at allowing myself the option of not reviewing everything I read. It’s very hard and it feels weird not saying anything, so just leaving a few thoughts for the following books.

Dhonielle Clayton’s The Everlasting Rose turned out to be less enjoyable than the first book. I’m still head over heels in love with Clayton’s prose, but I found this one wanting in terms of characterization and even plot. Rating: 3/5

Soniah Kamal’a Unmarriageable was such an enjoyable Pride and Prejudice retelling. Alys is one of my favorite Elizabeth Bennet incarnations and Kamal’s narration throughout the novel had me chuckling and reminded me of Austen’s wry humor. Rating: 4/5

Notable Blog Posts This Month:

Latinx Book Club: Announcement + April’s Book Pick – As you probably know, I am one of the hosts for the newly minted Twitter-based book club, the Latinx Book Club. We will be reading a book by a Latinx author each month and I am so excited for this project.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhouse – It’s only appropriate that the month I reread Trail of Lightning, I also featured the sequel in a Can’t-Wait Wednesday post. I need this sequel in my possession now.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Spring 2019 Releases – I need all these books in my life right now!

Reading Challenges:

Aside from the Goodreads challenge, I’m only taking part in one reading challenge.

1. The Beat the Backlist Challenge 2019 is hosted by NovelKnight. This month I picked up Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman and American Panda by Gloria Chao.

  • Challenge Goal: 10 books; Current Count: 3 books

April Releases I’m Excited For:

 

What was your favorite March read? Any April releases you are eager to get your hands on? Let me know in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit.

Monthly Wrap-Up: February ’19

MonthlyWrap-UPI’m back from my hiatus! Friends, I missed you a lot. I even cheated a little on my hiatus and came here and read the comments you left. But I didn’t reply and I didn’t work on any posts, so technically I didn’t cheat? While I was away from the blog, I joined a Twitter book club. You might have seen us on your TL, but I am officially one of the hosts of the Latinx Book Club. You can follow us on Twitter @latinxbookclub. I’ll have more info on the blog come next weekend, but if you want to read more books by Latinx authors, we are tackling a book together every month. Keep on eye on our Twitter account tomorrow for a special poll regarding April.

I also ended up making an Instagram account. Who am I? I have no idea what I am doing, but come follow me (@akernelofnonsense) and I will follow you back. I think I know how to do that. Maraia, if you are reading this, you are going to be my first follow! Seriously, joining a social media platform that you’ve never been on can be daunting and it’s like trying to figure out how to speak a different language. I’ve been on Tumblr for so long, I’m still in that mode, but I guess you don’t reblog photos? It’s still a little confusing to me.

So this February I picked up seven books which is pretty impressive for me. I reread Robin LaFever’s His Fair Assassin trilogy because Courting Darkness is sitting on my shelf looking very pretty, but if I dove in without a reread, I’m sure I’d be lost. I have a backlog of snapshot reviews in my drafts for some reason, so March might be filled with more reviews than usual.

(Book covers below are linked to my reviews, unless otherwise specified.) 

Favorite Book This Month:

My favorite read in February was Aida Salazar’s The Moon Within, a middle grade novel that talks menstruation and reclaiming ancestral traditions. This was a really beautiful book and special shout out to the author, who was kind enough to ask her publisher to send me an arc.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

No book this month received less than three stars.

Reviews Posted This Month:

 

Read, Review Coming Soon:

(covers linked to Goodreads)

Notable Blog Posts This Month:

Kernels of Nonsense: 2019 Preorders So Far – I love preordering books and here is a look at all the 2019 books I’ve preordered so far. I might have a problem. I might have preordered more while on hiatus, so look for a part II of this post soon.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia– I finally have this one in my hands and I am currently reading it and it is wonderful and is it on you TBR yet?

Top Ten Tuesday: Deadly Dames I Wouldn’t Mind Switching Places With for a Day – This was such a fun post to put together, the only sad part is it ended up going up while I was on hiatus, so I missed reading your comments and responding.

Reading Challenges:

Aside from the Goodreads challenge, I’m only taking part in one reading challenge.

1. The Beat the Backlist Challenge 2019 is hosted by NovelKnight. I picked up The Girl in the Tower by Katharine Arden toward this challenge this month. I need to pick up the pace.

  • Challenge Goal: 10 books; Current Count: 1 books

March Releases I’m Excited For:

 

Month in Review

Any bookish news you’d like to share? Are you planning a hiatus any time soon? What are you currently reading? Talk to me, I missed you! Let me know in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit.

Taking a Little Hiatus

Super quick announcement. This is a somewhat unplanned, spur-of-the-moment, but-really-it’s-about-that-time-of-year kind of hiatus. I think last year I took a week or two hiatus at the end of March, so this year it’s happening a little early. I will be away from the blog February 25th through March 8th. I really didn’t have the details of this planned out and so I have two Top Ten Tuesday posts and a review in my drafts that need to go up while I’m away. I’ll do my best to catch up on comments with those, but right now I’m not going to make any promises. If I end up with a high volume of comments, I might just let myself off the hook. While I’m away, I won’t be working on the blog (except to cross-post my review and add my TTT posts to the link-up) or responding to comments. I might still blog hop while on hiatus, but I’m not sure yet, so if you see me in you comments, don’t be surprised. You can still find me on Twitter and by email if you need to reach me. I will be back on March 9th with a late monthly wrap-up post for February. See you all soon!

Monthly Wrap-Up: January ’19

MonthlyWrap-UPAfter starting the month kind of sluggish, I feel like January ended up being a really good month in terms of reading and blogging. My Kernels of Nonsense feature feels like its been in hibernation for the last couple of years, but I’ve already done two posts for it with a couple more drafts in the works. I’m really looking forward to all the backlist books I have lined up and am hoping in general to get to more of the books I own. With my Goodreads challenge goal set at 50, I feel like I have more time to spend on the books I’m reading and maybe even some more time rereading. This month I read six books which included two rereads. I did another buddy read this month with Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories. We tackled Holly Black’s The Wicked King which was really good and whose review is already up on the blog. I have three ARCs lined up for February and they are all by Latinx authors. I’m very excited to get started. I introduced a different format for reviews called the snapchat review this month, which might be replacing my mini-reviews. I’ve already done two and am kind of in love with the format.

(Book covers below are linked to my reviews, unless otherwise specified.) 

Favorite Book This Month:

My favorite read in January was Susan Dennard’s Bloodwitch. I’ve been waiting for this one for ages and it lived up to all my expectations. It’s my first five-star read of 2019 and I’m so happy that I made time to reread the first two books before diving into this one. I forgot so much. My review for this one goes up this upcoming week, so be on the lookout. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

No book this month received less than three stars.

Reviews Posted This Month:

 

Read, Review Coming Soon:

(covers linked to Goodreads)

Notable Blog Posts This Month:

2018 Fourth Quarter Book Haul: Is This Self-Control? – My final book haul of 2018 where I actually didn’t spend that much money on books.

2019 Beat the Backlist Challenge TBR – I was a little late getting this out, but here is my list of priority TBR books I’m going to get to this year.

Kernels of Nonsense: I’ve Been a Bad, Bad Book Blogger – In which I showcase all the ways in which I fail at book blogging. Despite the title, this was actually a really fun post to put together.

Kernels of Nonsense: Favorite Four-Star Reads of 2018 – I’m on fire with two Kernels of Nonsense posts this month. Here I highlight my favorite four-star reads that even though they weren’t five-stars, still deserve a lot of love.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read in 2018 – Let’s also go ahead and highlight those 2018 five-star reads though.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019 by Latinx Authors – There are so many amazing books by Latinx authors coming out this year. Here is a peek at some of them.

Reading Challenges:

Aside from the Goodreads challenge, I’m only taking part in one reading challenge.

1. The Beat the Backlist Challenge 2019 is hosted by NovelKnight. I haven’t picked up any books toward this goal yet.

  • Challenge Goal: 10 books; Current Count: 0 books

February Releases I’m Excited For:

 

Month in Review

Did you have a sluggish start to your 2019? Anything new on your blog you’re featuring in 2019? Which January read was your favorite? Let me know in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit.

Blog Tour | ARC Review & Giveaway | The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

I am delighted to be a part of The Gilded Wolves Blog Tour for Wednesday Books. Roshani Chokshi has always been an author who has wowed me with her writing. When I heard of this latest release, I was beyond ecstatic. It’s my pleasure to bring you an ARC review of The Gilded Wolves and an opportunity to win a copy of the book from the publisher. Details at the end of the post.

Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Gilded Wolves, #1
Pages: 464
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: January 4th 2019
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher which does not influence my review**

      “Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.
      Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
      To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.
      Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.”

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     “A creaking sound lit up the silence. Séverin jerked his hand back. Too late. The bear’s teeth lengthened in a blink, forming narrow little bars. Enrique took one look at Séverin’s trapped hand, turned pale, and bit out a single word: ‘Shit.'”

With The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi has constructed a unique fantasy heist novel that also functions as a commentary on cultural theft under the guise of historical preservation. Séverin Montagnet-Alarie thought he knew his place in the world, as heir to House Vanth. But when the other heads of the Houses of France turned him away, denying him his rightful place as the next patriarch of House Vanth, Séverin made it his mission to steal back what had been taken from him. With a team of smart and unusually gifted individuals, Séverin has caused a myriad of trouble for the Order of Babel, the organization in charge of the Houses of France, stealing back artifacts belonging to his own House and returning stolen cultural artifacts to their countries and peoples of origin. When Hypnos, patriarch of House Nyx offers Séverin a second chance at claiming his inheritance in exchange for stealing a mysterious artifact from another House, Séverin’s blind ambition lands him and his crew in the middle of a conspiracy that will test each character’s resolve and pit them against a dangerous organization.

The Gilded Wolves has one of the best casts of characters I’ve come across. I love how each character has their own personality, set of skills, and way of perceiving in the world. Chokshi excels at creating characters whose cultural and sexual identities are incredibly important to them. Identity is the driving force behind all of their motivations and heavily influences how they see themselves. Séverin is obsessed with reclaiming his birthright and isn’t afraid to take dangerous risks in order to do so. Though a natural leader, he isn’t always honest with himself and holds the faulty belief that if he can just become patriarch, he’ll have everything he’s always wanted. Tristan is Séverin’s closest companion, having grown up in a number of foster homes alongside him. Tristan is more interested in his pet tarantula than his adopted brother’s schemes, but they are both fiercely protective of one another. Laila is in her element when she is either in the kitchen baking or taking care of others. Masquerading as a courtesan becomes incredibly resourceful as she is able to gain access to places that would otherwise be closed off to Séverin and his crew. Laila’s past is the most mysterious. Save for Séverin, no one knows of her ability to read memories tied to objects. This gift, or perhaps more aptly a curse, is tied to her origins that even she doesn’t quite understand.

One of my favorite things about this group of characters is the witty dialogue and no one exemplifies this more than the young historian Enrique. From the get-go, he had me in stitches. His humor is always a breath of fresh air and I really like that Chokshi’s doesn’t sacrifice the rest of his character for the sake of comedic relief. Enrique not only has a passion for history, but for his country’s freedom. The Philippines has been under Spain’s thumb for the last 300 years and Enrique wants to be part of helping his country gain independence. Zofia is more adequate when it comes to making bombs than making friends. Some of the most rewarding scenes in this one involve Zofia and Laila. The latter shows incredible patience, slowly helping Zofia come out her shell. The final character is the enigmatic Hypnos, the young patriarch of House Nyx, who was once childhood pals with Séverin. Hypnos is both arrogant and charming. Though regarded as more of an enemy at first, Hynpos feels draw to Séverin and his friends, to their camaraderie, for there’s no denying that Hypnos’s easy smiles actually hide a loneliness underneath.

If you like fantasies rooted in history, Chokshi’s latest novel is the one for you. Chokshi pays close attention to detail, bringing not only her characters, but this world to life. It took a little bit of time for me as a reader to be comfortable moving through this intricate world, but once I did, it was one I wasn’t quite ready to let go of with the closing pages. Forging was an aspect that I really wanted to explore more of. There are individuals in this world able to manipulate matter and the mind, the latter of which is highly regulated as it includes the ability to control minds and create illusions. The former takes on many forms, including the ability to manipulate metal and stone into different forms, even lifelike creatures.

If you like tragic heroes, found families and impossible heists, Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves is one you don’t want to miss. I’ll be spending the next year eagerly anticipating the sequel and reeling from this one’s gut-punch of an ending.

4/5

★★★★

PRAISE FOR THE GILDED WOLVES

“Chokshi has created an inclusive and authentic cast with obvious chemistry and affection for one another and infuses the tale with witty banter and twists. A delectably intriguing adventure for all teen shelves.” School Library Journal, Starred Review

“Evocative writing, sumptuous set pieces, and vividly sketched, authentically flawed characters distinguish this immersive tale of found family and star-crossed romance. Kaleidoscopic narration complements the intricate, high-stakes plot and allows Chokshi to showcase numerous aspects of her richly imagined universe all the way to the closing cliff-hanger.” Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code converge in this dazzling new fantasy… An opulent heist adventure that will leave readers voracious for more.” Kirkus, Starred Review

“Chokshi delivers a thrilling, gritty new fantasy set in an alternate nineteenth century Paris… Chokshi shines as a master storyteller in her newest novel; the setting, world building, plot, and conflict are all staggering. However, the elements that perhaps shine the most are the history, riddles, mysteries, and science, woven together in a world brimming with power and magic.” Booklist, Starred Review

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ROSHANI CHOKSHI is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes, and Aru Shah and the End of Time. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, “The Star Maiden,” was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

It’s time for a GIVEAWAY. Enter to win a copy of The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. Click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter, details below.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Giveaway Details:

  • Giveaway runs from January 16th at 12:00 am through January 22nd at 11:59 pm (PST)
  • Open to US residents only
  • One lucky winner will win one a copy of The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
  • Winner will be selected randomly and emailed (you have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen)
  • You must provide your name and shipping info, so I can send it to the publisher
  • Prize will be provided by the publisher