Series Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Once upon a time, an angel and a demon fell in love. It did not end well.

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

When a stranger – beautiful, haunted Akiva – fixes his fiery eyes on her, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past.

From National Book Award finalist and Printz Honor author Laini Taylor comes a sweeping and gorgeously written modern fantasy series about a forbidden love, an ancient and epic battle, and hope for a world remade.

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And the Award Goes To: Reading by Starlight 2020 Book Awards

Let’s start off by addressing the enormous elephant in the room – the fact that this post [which I’ve been teasing for ages] is WAY overdue. As in two months overdue. Whoops.

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a weird year and by the end of it, I just needed a break.

But, despite the fact that 2020 was an actual dumpster fire, today we’re taking a look back at all the books that saved everything. Because let’s face it, while the world went to shit, we were graced with some truly amazing books. Some got me through quarantine, others through post-lockdown exhaustion.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s celebrate the best books of 2020…

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An Unplanned Hiatus: January 2021 Wrap-Up

Another month, another completely unplanned hiatus. Whoops.

Okay, so here’s the thing: I actually had every intention of being super active this month. True story. I had a whole lot of reviews lined up, a post about my summer reading plans and some fresh new content. And then, life got in the way. You know, as it does.

Anyway, after a suffering through a post lockdown burn-out and an exhausting Christmas period in retail, January came at me fast and, if I’m being honest, I really struggled with staying motivated.

Here’s what I got up to this month…  

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Setting Goals: 2021 Bookish Resolutions

Happy New Year to my extended bookish family!

I can’t even tell you how good it feels to be finally putting 2020 behind me. Fuck you 2020! Talk about a complete and utter dumpster fire of a year. And while I’m not so naive to believe that everything is suddenly going to get better, I can’t help but feel a surge of hopeful energy.

And so, because it’s that time of year and your girl loves setting new goals, let’s get into my 2021 bookish resolutions.

Oh, and some good news: ~technically~ the new decade started yesterday so we can officially put 2020 to rest and wipe the slate clean moving forward. Phew!

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Getting Back on the Beers: October 2020 Wrap-Up

It began just like any other month. Melbourne was still in the midst of Australia’s strictest COVID19 restrictions and we were feeling that lock down fatigue. Then, after one hundred and eleven days living in stage four lockdown, the shackles were finally lifted as our Premier Dan Andrews announced that we could, in fact, get back on the beers. I cried.

October has been the single most exhausting month of 2020. It’s also been emotional – what with Halloween, coming out of lock down and then getting back to work. I struggled mentally as well as physically, which is why this wrap-up is super late and why I’ve been MIA for the most part of November.

So, because I’ve been procrastinating over this for the past three weeks, this wrap-up’s going to look a little bit different. Here’s what I got up to:

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The Black Ghost of Mount Victoria Pass

Having been born in Katoomba and raised in the shadow of the Blue Mountains, folklore and history have become a passion of mine. Especially because the sprawling mountains are rich in myth and legend. There’s the three cursed sisters, long turned to stone who stand watch over the Jamison Valley, large black cats that stalk the undergrowth and a ghostly figure who wanders Victoria Pass at night.

In keeping with the spooky tone of October, I wanted to share my favourite ghost story. Not only is this story spine tingling and seriously creepy, but it’s also heavily rooted in Australia’s colonial history. I’ve been extensively researching this post for the past two weeks and I’m so excited to be finally sharing it with you. That being said, this story may evoke disturbing images and might be particularly triggering to some readers.

So huddle close, turn out the lights and settle in for the true story of the Black Ghost of Victoria Pass…

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Deja’s Butternut Pumpkin Soup [Inspired by Rainbow Rowell’s Pumpkinheads]

I just recently finished my second read through of Rainbow Rowell’s Pumpkinheads and was reminded of why it’s still my go-to festive read for Spooktober. Pumpkinheads gives me all the feels and all the vibes. A nostalgic celebration of the American fall, Pumpkinheads follows seasonal best friends, Deja and Joise and they prepare to leave their days at the pumpkin patch behind forever. It’s wholesome and deeply sentimental – like pumpkin spice goodness on a crisp autumn morning. 🍂🎃

Anyway, to capture the cozy fall aesthetic of the pumpkin patch, I wanted to share my personal recipe for a classic [and easy] butternut pumpkin soup. It’s comforting, hearty and packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. So, grab your apron and let’s get cooking!

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Review: Blood and Honey by Shelby Mahurin

Til death do us part.

40550366 The hotly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and IndieBound bestseller Serpent & Dove—packed with even steamier romance and darker magic—is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven. 

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50 Things To Do During Spooktober

I think we can all agree that the holiday season’s going to look a lot different this year. But perpetual lock down and social distancing won’t stop me from fully relishing in the spooky month!

Image result for halloween gif

So, because we’re all feeling that quarantine fatigue, let’s celebrate Spooktober with yet another nifty list of seasonal actives. Not only is this feature post 100% social-distance-approved but it’s guarantied to keep you busy and spread some much needed cheer this Halloween.

Let’s get into it…

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Review: Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

The stage is set. The Spectacle awaits…

40144224In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed. 

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