First Lines Friday #45

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first (I cheat a little bit here *cough*)
  • Finally… reveal the book!

If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to use #FirstLinesFridays!


Hello, reader!

Happy First Lines Friday! I hope y’all had a good week. If not, let me distract with books! The book I’m featuring in today’s post is one that is on my one of my yearly TBRs. It’s only recently got on my radar, I’m sad to say, but I’m definitely looking forward to reading it!

Now, let’s see if the first few lines can make me even more eager.


The Line(s):

“People who move to New York always make the same mistake. They can’t see the place. This is true of Manhattan, but even the outer boroughs, too, be it Flushing Meadows in Queens or Red Hook in Brooklyn. They come looking for magic, whether evil or good, and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.”


The Hints:

This is a horror novella written by a Black author.

It also has magic and magic-wielders.

And it is set in New York City. As the quote might have clued you into, haha.


The Reveal:

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The Count To 10 With Me Book Tag

Hello, reader!

It’s Thursday which means it feels like a good time for a book tag! I was tagged by the lovely Danni @_ForBooksSake to do the Count To 10 With Me book tag. It looked like so much fun there was no way I wasn’t going to do it! So, of course, I want to thank Danni for tagging me ❤ This tag was created by The Bumbling Blogger’s partner on YouTube, so thank you to them, as well!

Now, let’s get to the post.


First Book In A Series

I feel like it’s been awhile since I’ve talked about Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko. It probably hasn’t been, but this is the first book that popped in my head! This is the first book in an incredible YA fantasy duology that has become an all-time favorite. The first book is definitely my favorite of the two. It’s immersive, engaging, and I found it very hard to put it down. I’ve re-read it so many times in the past two years which is a big deal for someone like me! I adore this book so much.

Two Or More Copies Of The Same Book

Welp, can’t use Raybearer again 😂 I’m gonna go with the book I have the second most copies of: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern! This is also an incredible book and an all-time favorite. That’s why I couldn’t resist when Illumicrate announced their 10th anniversary edition! It’s absolutely stunning and I’m still trying to find an appropriate place to display its majesty.

Three Colors On The Cover

I just picked a random one for this, but I do love how colorful the covers for the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman are. I recently finished volume two, which is why it’s the one I picked, but they are all beautiful! Also, I adore Nick and Charlie and look at how happy they are, I can’t 😭 This is such a beautiful series that always has me in my feelings when I read it. I really need to watch the Netflix show now, I’ve been hearing such great things about it!

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Top 5 Tuesday: Books About Death

Top 5 Tuesday is a fun, weekly meme that asks you to pick 5 books that fit that week’s theme. It was created by Bionic Bookworm and is currently being hosted by Meeghan Reads. You should check out their wonderful blog for more details and the list of prompts!


Hello, reader!

I spent most of this day thinking it was Monday, so imagine how happy I am that I’m doing a Top 5 Tuesday post! The topic this week is can be a bit of a mood killer, though. That’s because I’ll be picking five books that deal with death. Now, the books I’ve pulled from some of my favorites don’t necessary completely revolve around death, but a death is usually the catalyst of the story. I think that works for today’s prompt!

With that being said, let’s get to the post and my choices 💀


#1. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Of course, when the topic of death was mentioned, this book immediately came to mind. It is, after all, centered around a young brujo who accidentally summons the ghost of one of his recently departed classmates. This was such a great read, with touching moments and the sweetest romance between Yadriel and Julian (the ghost boy). It was also scary as hell in some parts, but that’s why I loved it!

#2. Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

I’m picking the first book in this iconic series that blends horror and thriller into one tantalizing read. However, a number of the books in this series would fit the theme! I’m so glad I joined in on with a book club for this because I had honestly not heard of it before it was picked as our next series to read. I love that it’s all based around a true crime podcast and I love that there is always some kind of scary story lurking in the periphery.

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Blog Tour: Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick

Hello, reader!

I have a blog tour post for you today! This one is featuring a spooky middle grade horror novel that is filled with creepy-crawlies: Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick! I had a great time with this fast-paced read and I can’t wait to tell you more about it.

Before we get into my review, though, I want to thank Dave @ The Write Reads  and all the crew, the publisher, Farshore, and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-book in exchange for my participation with this tour and an honest review. It is, as always, very much appreciated and all opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Alright, let’s get into it, shall we?


Book Details


  • Title: Dread Wood
  • Author: Jennifer Killick
  • Publication date: March 31st, 2022
  • Genre: Horror
  • Age group: Middle Grade
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads

Synopsis


Turn the lights on. Lock the door. Things are about to get SERIOUSLY SCARY!

The brand new must-read middle-grade novel from the author of super-spooky Crater Lake. Perfect for 9+ fans of R.L.Stine’s Goosebumps

It’s basically the worst school detention ever. When classmates (but not mate-mates) Hallie, Angelo, Gustav and Naira are forced to come to school on a SATURDAY, they think things can’t get much worse. But they’re wrong. Things are about to get seriously scary.

What has dragged their teacher underground? Why do the creepy caretakers keeping humming the tune to Itsy Bitsy Spider? And what horrors lurk in the shadows, getting stronger and meaner every minute . . .? Cut off from help and in danger each time they touch the ground, the gang’s only hope is to work together. But it’s no coincidence that they’re all there on detention. Someone has been watching and plotting and is out for revenge . . .

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WWW Wednesday: Apr 6, 2022

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday! This is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where bloggers answer the 3 Ws:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.


Current Reads

  • Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica: This will be my second read for the Magical Readathon and I’m glad I picked it as my quick read! I am flying through this thriller and having a great time while doing it. Do I sometimes want to shake some of the POV characters? Yes. Very much so. Kate. But the fact that I’m so invested tells me I’m really enjoying myself. I was thrown off by the use of the r-word near the beginning by a pretty terrible person. I get that this person is the type that would throw that slur around… but we couldn’t find something else to demonstrate they’re awful? In 2021? I dunno, I’m probably being overly sensitive. That aside, I’m having a great time with this read!
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March 2022 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

We made it through another month of 2022! I feel like March went by super fast which was not at all what I wanted, haha. I feel like I got nothing done because the month just slipped through my fingers! At the same time, I’ve been unusually stressed with nothing added to my daily routine that would explain all the stress. It was a weird month, y’all. Here’s hoping April will be a bit more chill.

In the reading department, I read quite a few books but not nearly the amount I was hoping to achieve. I only read a few books from my Magical Readathon and WomenInMyth-Athon TBRs, but I still had a lot of fun participating in both! I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on myself because I still managed to read nine books. Nine books in one month would have made me from a few years ago die of shock! And the quality of those books what top tier. I had three five star reads last month! I gotta remind myself of these things when I’m being too down on myself for how much I read. After all, it’s quality not quantity that counts.

Anyways, let’s get into all the books I read in the month of March!


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page

Book: Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir/illustrated by Myisha Haynes

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: This was such a cute, fun graphic novel! It’s a retelling of Anne of Green Gables, which I haven’t read. Still, I know a bit about the character of Anne and I think this duo captured her spirit to a T! The art is beautiful, the story was touching, and I had a blast reading it. You can read my full review here.


Book: The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: Well, this was quite a thrill to read! From the very beginning, I was invested in Priya and Malini’s stories. They are incredibly well-written and compelling characters that made me want to keep reading. Beyond them, the lush world-building and the intriguing politics had me absolutely captivated. I’m excited for the next book in this series!


Book: The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

Rating: ★★★★★

Thoughts: This book took me by surprise! I got it in my Book of the Month box and signed up for a blog tour simply because I liked the cover. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for the tour, it probably would have languished on my shelves for awhile. I’m so glad it didn’t, though, because it absolutely blew me away! You can read my full review here.

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WWW Wednesday: Mar 30, 2022

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday! This is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where bloggers answer the 3 Ws:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.


Current Reads

  • Scorpica by G.R. Macallister: I was sent an e-ARC of this book through Netgalley because the publisher sent an email asking if I was interested and, after reading the synopsis, I couldn’t say no! It sounds epic in the best way, with lots of moving parts and intricate world-building. So far, it’s living up to what I was imagining. Of course, I’ve only just started it, so who knows if it’ll keep up, but right now, I’m really loving it! Let’s hope that continues.
  • Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick: I’m reading this book for a blog tour sponsored by The Write Reads. It’s a middle grade that promises creepy vibes and, so far, it is delivering! I’m having a great time with this story and am fully invested in what happens to these kids. Also, love the fact that there are pigs, though I am a little worried for their well-being…
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Top 5 Tuesday: Books On Books

Top 5 Tuesday is a fun, weekly meme that asks you to pick 5 books that fit that week’s theme. It was created by Bionic Bookworm and is currently being hosted by Meeghan Reads. You should check out their wonderful blog for more details and the list of prompts!


Hello, reader!

After quite the break, I’m doing another Top 5 Tuesday! I’m bad at scavenger hunts, so I’ve kinda been avoiding the March topics, heh. But today’s hunt is an easy one… I had to find books with books on them! Which, as someone who loves to read books about books, was pretty simple. That’s not to say that all the books I picked have bookish themes. Just four out of the five 😂

Alright, let’s dive into the post, shall we?


#1. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Starting off with an incredible story that was one of my first “book about books” read. I loved this tale about an elusive author who hires a young writer to write her biography. It’s an eerie and intriguing story that had me hooked from the beginning. Just talking about it now kind of makes me want to read it again! But, first, there are other Setterfield novels I would love to pick up.

#2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This is one book on this list that isn’t explicitly a book about a book or one with bookish themes. I’ve heard it’s supposed to be a loose fairytale retelling, though I couldn’t tell you which one off the top of my head, so there’s that. And, if you squint, you can see a teeny, tiny book on the right side, lol. Either way, I really enjoyed this story and I found myself completely enthralled with the world.

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Mini Reviews: Recent Reads Edition

Hello, reader!

Because of who I am as a person, I am, once again, behind on reviews. I thought I’d take a moment to catch up with another edition of my mini reviews! This time, I’m focusing on three recent reads that I still need to put thought to paper (or keyboard) for since finishing them. These books are an eclectic mix, so there might be a little something for everyone here, haha.

That being said, let’s get to the reviews!


Title: Nothing But Blackened Teeth

Author: Cassandra Khaw

Publisher: Tor Nightfire

Genre: Horror

CW/TW: For a list of content and trigger warnings, please check out BookTriggerWarnings.com

Rating: ★★★

Links:
Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads

Well, this was certainly… a book. With words. Lots of five dollar words that seemed a tad bit unnecessary, if I’m honest.

At the heart of this story is a ghostly tale of love and betrayal. Unfortunately, the ghost story is not the focus of this novel. I say “unfortunately” because the ghost/ghost story was the best part about this book! The focus, however, is on a bunch of the most unlikeable characters I’ve come across in awhile. I’m not saying I can’t enjoy a book that has unlikeable characters, but these characters came across as caricatures of their unlikeable traits. They all fell incredibly flat for me which, when the whole book is centered around them, didn’t make for an enjoyable experience.

However, where this book shined was in the atmospheric writing and the beautifully creepy ghostly elements. There are some gruesome scenes in this book that fix themselves in your mind as you’re reading with the way they are written. Definitely check trigger warnings before getting into this one! This author has an incredible talent for building tension and setting the tone of a horror novel. As I mentioned, if we had more of that and less a bunch of horrible people being horrible to each other, I probably would have enjoyed this a lot more.

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WWW Wednesday: Mar 16, 2022

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday! This is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where bloggers answer the 3 Ws:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.


Current Reads

  • Highway of Tears by Jessica McDiarmid: I’ve just started this non-fiction about missing and murdered Indigenous women, so I don’t have a true feeling for how I’m liking it. So far, I’m liking the tone of the story. It doesn’t read like a textbook, which is something I’m always worried about when going into a non-fiction book! As predicted, I’m already angry about the injustices that have been highlighted so far. Initial thoughts? I’m going to love this and also want to fight people after reading it.
  • The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi: I have read a page of this so I truly have no thoughts yet. I’m picking it up for the various readathons I’m participating in this week/month! It’s been on my TBR for what feels like forever and I’m excited to finally give this heist story a shot!
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