Hope you are all doing well and staying safe. It’s been ages since I’ve updated this blog. So much has changed, it feels like a lifetime ago.
This blog has had a good run, and thank you for being one of my readers. I love books and I always will. But sometimes, a “book blog” feels a little more limiting, and I’ve always wanted to start my own personal blog with my own domain (instead of the many free ones like this!) so I did and wanted to share it here.
I have a new blog, my first personal blog, itsmepeachy.com, and there I hope to talk not only about books, but about experiences, insights, and other things and people that make up my life. I hope you check it out and join me on that journey as you have joined me in this one. But if not, thank you for being a Book Dragon Lair reader. I really really appreciate how you’ve welcomed me so warmly in this book blogging world.
Also, if I am following you on this blog (and your blog is still active), I hope to re-follow you over the next few weeks as I completely transition into my new WordPress account.
Another thing to mention is that there are several posts on here that still seem to be helpful to a lot of people, even years or months later, so I’m going to keep this blog open even if I’m no longer going to be updating it.
Sending you love and joy, wherever you are in the world.
He makes me think about stuff differently. When I’m talking to him, it feels like I can kind of imagine the future, you know? And not even a future with him, necessarily – but, like, a future for myself.
My synopsis: Meg from Philadelphia and Colby from Ohio – two young people on two very different paths. When one phone call leads to another then another, the two realizes their connection may be worth beyond just a series of phone calls.
Published June 16, 2020 by HarperCollins [Balzer + Bray]
Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Romance
Themes: politics, activism, feminism, human connection, friendship, long-distance friendship, social status, suicide, grief, divorce, apathy, family, expectations, hope, plans, future
*As an Amazon Associate, I get a mini % of sales price every time you use my link to make a purchase. Thank you! ^_^
To be honest, the pastel tones making up the color palette of the cover is what first attracted me to You Say It First, but much like its characters, the book is certainly more than just a pretty face.
Surprisingly political and intellectual, and fraught with heavy themes, You Say It First is not the lighthearted read I expected to find. The often heated discussions between Meg and Colby felt natural and unrestrained – a definite plus on the dynamics between the two. To each other, they voiced out opinions, thoughts, and feelings that weren’t necessarily hashed out even inside their own heads and thus left unsaid to everyone else.
Colby: I know you had a sucky night; I’m not trying to fight with you. I’m just playing devil’s advocate; you know that.
Meg: Oh, come on. The devil can advocate for himself, don’t you think?
Meg and Colby formed an unlikely bond, considering their differing backgrounds. I enjoyed how they challenged each other, one often playing the devil’s advocate to the other. Although their outlook differ greatly on the surface, they found in each other what both ultimately craved: attention.
Everyone wants attention.
I found myself completely taken in while reading the conversations between Meg and Colby. Their discussions are thought-provoking without being contrived.
What makes up the outstanding rapport between these two characters is that the author took the time to develop a believable background for both that provides a sort of lensfor the readers to understand where Meg and Colby are coming from – their motivations, so to say. Meg’s seeming indecision, her avoidance of conflict. Colby’s apathy and cynicism.
She didn’t like this version of herself, the one who was too afraid to tell her friends when they were being sort of dickish for fear of starting an argument. The one who held a little bit of herself back all the time.
Nobody’s calling you a moron. Least of all me. I just…think the prescription on your rose-colored glasses is very strong to think that’s an effective use of your time.
There are so many things I can talk about, but I think these two characters can speak for themselves – whether you want to know more about them or not is something only you will be able to determine, with this type of read.
Overall, although generally more serious in tone, You Say It First is not at all lacking in endearing moments or charming characters. More than it is about a long-distance romance, it is about finding the light at the end of the tunnel, reaching out to that last hope you’ve given up on finding, and discovering that when you least expect it, there comes “that stupid headlamp glowing like a beacon calling you home.”
Thank you HarperCollins for my review copy!
And thank YOU for reading!
Have you read You Say It First? What did you think?
After several months of delay and waiiiiiitttinnnng, at loooooong last, here is the DELUXE INTERSTELLAR SQUAD box.
The Illuminae Files and Aurora Rising most definitely occupy a very special place in my universe, so I had no second thoughts on whether to get this box or not. And now that it’s here, I’m even more glad I did.
By far my favorite out of all the lovely items. It’s nothing like I’ve received in a box before and something I can’t just easily buy somewhere. It’s sort of a wooden frame that stands up by itself but also comes with a hook so you can hang it on the wall. Lit up or not, it looks marvelous and pictures can’t do it justice! Stella’s designs never fail to amaze me.
The other side is actually the same as Stella’s art on the pillow. And the other is of Auri and Kal. I’m not a super fan of this ship, because I was hoping it was going to be Tyler and Auri or at least a love triangle (one of my favorite YA tropes). I just lost interest when they started liking each other and it felt like end game.
The Illuminae Files & Aurora Rising enamel pins designed by @jezhawk
He’s almost begging her when he says, “It’s your soul I want.” That scene makes a lot more sense to me now than it did before. I’ve never met a soul that I was so desperate to know. Until now.
Synopsis: Sonnet Cole wants nothing less than absolute poetic devastation at the hands of a broken heart. After all, how else will she know that hers is beating? There is one very important thing missing from Sonnet’s life, though. She’s never been in love. More importantly, she’s never had a broken heart, and that’s what she craves most as a poet and as a human being. And what better way to confirm that she is alive than to have her heart ripped from her chest? But when Sonnet finally gets what she wants, well, we all know how that is going to end. Or do we?
Published August 22, 2017(self-published by the author)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Themes: first love, best friends, rockstar, music, poetry, soulmates
*As an Amazon Associate, I get a mini % of sales price every time you use my link to make a purchase. Thank you! ^_^
First and foremost, congratulations to one of my favorite book bloggers, Bree, for publishing her first book! I picked up the book because Bree definitely knows romance novels (don’t let me just tell you, head on over to her blog to see for yourself!!) and I now know she DEFINITELY can write them, too. Also, can we take a moment to admire that BEAUTIFUL cover? It’s so poetic.
This is a super belated review – I’m so sorry, Bree!! – because of my book-blogging hiatus, but to make up for it, this also comes with an EXCLUSIVE interview with the author (WARNING: may have SPOILERS).
Without further ado… here goes my review.
What I loved most of all in A Soul Full of Stars is the friendship between Sonnie, Vaughn, and Connor – it’s equal parts sweet, hilarious, and admirable. It’s the kind of love story you don’t expect to find, but end up loving even more than the main one you came for. The scenes between the trio are the ones I found myself enjoying the most, ranging from laugh-out-loud funny to so sweet you feel protective of them. It’s a friendship that’s so organic, it leaps off the pages – it took no time at all for me to think of them as people instead of simply characters.
Vaughn clapped me on the shoulder and said, “You still are, but thanks for whoring yourself out for food tonight, Sonnie. I knew we kept you around for something.
One of the elements in the novel that I particularly enjoyed were the poetic sexts. It’s probably the single element that helped me read into Sonnie a little more, because they’re so intimate but at the same time, they’re so open and vulnerable. I think I appreciated how the poems were both subtle and intense. And also, I just generally love well-written poems – and these ones, are WELL-WRITTEN.
Above me, you are the moon to my tide, the shore to my trembling waves, coursing through my veins with each ebb and flow. Break against me, inside me, like the crash of sea on rock.
This review won’t be complete without any mention of music. I’ve rediscovered songs I love but also discovered new songs. Brendon Urie (who primarily inspires Hunter’s character – read the FULL INTERVIEW!) is a gem who I didn’t know existed until this book, which is why I was so excited when Taylor Swift first released her song ME! featuring Brendon. When I saw him in the music video of ME! I fell in love. One of my favorite scenes is probably when Hunter plays “Fix You” for Lyra, and what he said after.
All I can tell you is this: right now, how you are feeling in this moment and the next few weeks, is the worst it will get, but that just means that later, if you give it some time and let yourself feel what you’re feeling, it will actually get better. So much better. And maybe… maybe you’ll find someone a thousand times better than that person you lost. Someone you’d be willing to risk it all for, someone you’d wait months and months for, when you thought you’d never feel that way again.
Lastly, it’s worth reading through the development of Sonnie and Hunter’s relationship. It’s predictable, but that’s what make their slow-burn romance so enticing – that you know the destination but you don’t know when or how they’ll get there. It’s worth witnessing how much they fit together, but also how much work it still takes to stay that way.
So if you’re looking for your next romance read – I think you’ve found it 🙂
Doesn’t he just look adorable? Scar-free and googly-eyed, this is the first Nikolai we all came to know and love. I also love that his coat is removable (I’d like to say I have indecent thoughts about the plush, but thankfully I’m not THAT creepy, it just brings me back to those days when I love dressing up (ahem, undressing) my Barbie and non-Barbie dolls.
Awww, don’t you just want to curl up beside that fox? He’s so beautiful. I’ve always found foxes to be stunning and graceful in manner and looks. It’s more like a little throw, but the size is probably perfect as a reading blanket…. it’s sooo soft and warm it’s almost like the fox is actually curled up next to you.
Considering I’ve already pinned the Lantsov one on my Nikolai plush, I don’t have to tell you which one’s my favorite out of the set!
Sunburst eyepatch (inspired by Genya) coin purse, also designed by Fable and Black
What I absolutely love about Illumicrate’s special edition boxes. No matter how many big items there are in the box, they don’t compromise on the quality of any of the items. Velvet-lined and has a saffiano leather exterior, you can easily tell they didn’t spare any coin on this coin purse.
I love those candle layers – even the colors represent Nikolai so well! Much like my last candle from the Magic & Mayhem box, I have a feeling I’ll just keep this one intact.
Gilded mug, also desiged by Fable and Black
And I thought it’d be nice to see Nikolai sitting beside his elegant mug. I must say, it suits him quite perfectly.
One could plot violent espionage and still hope for dessert.
I love this mug so much. It’s probably the only mug I can actually bring to work and still match the gold theme on my desk, but I’m just afraid it will break and I can’t buy another one. That would break my heart into tiny million pieces more than it would have broken the mug itself.
Anyway, I love the delicate shape of the mug. Oh, and that golden handle contrasting the white is just perfect. I’m probably going to use it for hot chocolate sometime this weekend.
Mustard socks featuring the Grishaverse crest, also designed by Fable and Black
I’m not a socks person, but I’ll probably use it occasionally just like my Vengeful socks from Owlcrate because… I’m a fan. That’s what fans do. Even socks are a big deal.
I just wish the graphics perfectly align away from the creases, but it’s okay. I won’t see it anyway when I’m wearing it. It’s probably just my slight OCD kicking in?
Bookmark set featuring Grishaverse women drawn by Monolime
Honestly, I can recognize a couple (maybe?) but it’s been so long since I’ve read the Grisha trilogy…. That’s Alina with the white hair right? And Genya, of course, with the eye patch (another confession: I only know that because of the coin purse) but which one’s Zoya? HELP!
If you haven’t noticed, here are the other two pins up close:
Book sleeve featuring an all-new King of Scars quote, designed by Chatty Nora
Hope was the wind that came from nowhere to fill your sail and carry you home.
Leigh Bardugo, King of Scars
I like the button enclosure (it’s my first book sleeve that has that) but I’m not particularly fond of the waterproof fabric because it reminds me of an umbrella but I’m sure it will keep my book safe and cozy… and probably dry!
I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour (my first this year!!) for one of my most anticipated 2019 reads. Karen McManus’ debut novel, One of Us Is Lying, was such an enjoyable read – so I was really excited when I found out about this book.
It’s the second week of the tour – you can click on the banner above to see the full schedule. Don’t forget to scroll all the way down for the giveaway!
Synopsis: Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows. The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing. Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.
Published January 8, 2019 by Delacorte Press
Genre: YA Thriller, YA Mystery, YA Contemporary
Themes: murder, mystery, thriller, siblings, trust, best friends, friendship, parenting, trauma, recovery, mental health, journalism, extramarital affairs, family, serial killer
I was really really really happy I got to read Two Can Keep a Secret in advance of its release date – I love suspenseful reads, but I don’t appreciate the suspense as much when it comes to waiting for the books I already want to read. I WANT IT. NOW. RIGHT NOW.
One of Us Is Lying is one of my favorite reads in 2017. It quickly established Karen McManus as one of my auto-read authors. And I didn’t really have one in the suspense/thriller genre, so that was a first. But I’m not going to lie, I loved Two Can Keep a Secret even more.
I don’t how she does it, but Karen McManus managed to keep me guessing the whole time. I’m the type of person who usually ruin my own enjoyment of the unraveling part of movies and/or books by mostly, if not completely, guessing the plots. Although I enjoyed One of Us Is Lying, I did guess the ending about halfway through.
Two Can Keep a Secret hooked me and never let go. I was so suspicious about everyone. I ate all the inception that Karen fed me. I suspected every single person she wanted me to suspect, and I ignored every single person she wanted me to ignore. It was a crazy ride and I enjoyed every suspenseful moment of it. And guess what? The ending TOTALLY blindsided me. Up until the last bone-chilling sentence.
About the author
As a kid I used to write books when I was supposed to be playing outside, and not much has changed. I’m a marketing and communications professional who also writes Young Adult contemporary and fantasy fiction in Cambridge, MA.
When not writing or working I love to travel, and along with my nine-year old son I’ve ridden horses in Colombia and bicycles through Paris. A member of SCBWI, I hold a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University. Which I have never, ever used professionally.
Happy Monday, everyone! I’m here today with a blog tour post – please click the banner above for the full tour schedule! And don’t forget to scroll all the way down to enter the giveaway!
Take two American teen chefs, add one heaping cup of Paris, toss in a pinch of romance, and stir…
Pub. Date: November 27, 2018 by Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Rosie Radeke firmly believes that happiness can be found at the bottom of a mixing bowl. But she never expected that she, a random nobody from East Liberty, Ohio, would be accepted to celebrity chef Denis Laurent’s school in Paris, the most prestigious cooking program for teens in the entire world. Life in Paris, however, isn’t all cream puffs and crepes. Faced with a challenging curriculum and a nightmare professor, Rosie begins to doubt her dishes. Henry Yi grew up in his dad’s restaurant in Chicago, and his lifelong love affair with food landed him a coveted spot in Chef Laurent’s school. He quickly connects with Rosie, but academic pressure from home and his jealousy over Rosie’s growing friendship with gorgeous bad-boy baker Bodie Tal makes Henry lash out and push his dream girl away. Desperate to prove themselves, Rosie and Henry cook like never before while sparks fly between them. But as they reach their breaking points, they wonder whether they have what it takes to become real chefs. Perfect for lovers of Chopped Teen Tournament and Kids Baking Championship, as well as anyone who dreams of a romantic trip to France, Love la Mode follows Rosie and Henry as they fall in love with food, with Paris, and ultimately, with each other.
Stephanie Kate Strohm is the author of It’s Not Me, It’s You; The Taming of the Drew; Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink; Confederates Don’t Wear Couture and the upcoming The Date to Save and Prince in Disguise (Fall 2017). She grew up on the Connecticut coast, where a steady diet of Little House on the Prairie turned her into a history nerd at an early age. After graduating with a joint major in theater and history from Middlebury College, she acted her way around the country, performing in more than 25 states.
Although she was born in New York, she currently lives in Chicago, and doesn’t discriminate against any type of pizza. When she’s not writing, she loves baking, walking her dog Lorelei, taking dance cardio classes too seriously, and playing board games with her husband.
Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…all games must come to an end.
It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.
Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.
Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything.
Although I’m a little bit excited about this, I am also just a little bit ashamed to say I still have not finished Legendary.
Hope you had a terrific day. Early this week, I unboxed the Illumicrate MAGIC & MAYHEM: THE V.E. EDITION first thing in the morning!
This is my first lllumicrate box and I couldn’t be more impressed! I don’t even know how a box could be this PERFECT! Needless to say, next time Illumicrate does a special edition box of a fandom I’m a part of, there will be non hesitation on my part!!! (Also, I cannot wait for my Muse of Nightmares & Strange the Dreamer limited editions)
First… an overview!
I know right? I’m impressed too… how did I even manage to fit them all in one pic?? It’s a mystery.
Probably my least favorite by far out of all the items in this box… not because I don’t like it (not at all the case) but just because if I have to choose. I just feel like it’s got more of a Disney vibe than the darker vibe characteristic to the ADSOM series.
I love that it’s full-size and in a jar (even with all these other high-quality goodies with it) and I know I’ll never light it up because… it’s too pretty! Each layer represents one of the Londons, but I’m sure you’ve noticed (you can admire the beauty below!)
The details on these are staggering. I love the set so much and I don’t think I can ever bear to part with them…. so good luck trying to make me use these as postcards.
If I have to pick a favorite between the four, I’ll pick the one for Red London – for the enchanting shot of the bridge, the bright and eye-catching red, and for the quote featured in the back. It’s one of those quotes I remember jotting down when I was reading the series:
Love and loss are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.
It kind of reminds me of Aciman’s quote in Call Me By Your Name: “But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!”
Hyperventilating – can’t believe how gorgeous these three items are and they’re all from Fable & Black! I’ve never even heard of them yet in the book box world but I’ll remember them from now on. SO IMPRESSIVE. The workmanship is top-notch!
It didn’t actually say, but I’m guessing the characters are: Kell, Rhy, Holland, Alucard, Lila, and Athos & Astrid Dane. It’s a cool collectible, but I’m not really a fan of the interpretations except for Lila Bard and the Dane siblings. I do love the borders though!
I’m just amazed that all of these items are high-value!!!! I have so many mugs, but I love these enamel tin mugs, they don’t feel as fragile. I’ll probably just end up using it as a decorative piece more than an actual mug because I have so many mugs already… even though I might end up using it at least once during fall/winter! We’ll see!
Black-out poetry book sleeve by Illumicrate
At this point, I’ve run out of compliments for the box. This is yet another amazing thing that I can’t believe is in this box. I just remember all the book boxes I’ve subscribed to and whenever they announce that they’ll have a mug or a book sleeve or a scarf, it’s immediately thought to be well worth it – but this box has all those AND MORE!
I even forgot it’s signed! V.E. signature is sooo cute and cool!
More EO figures…
BONUS: This is my cat Missy and I just had to include her because she made it just a little bit of a challenge to take pics – LOL she loves either lying down on my fur background or on the items (she creased my spoiler card BTW, bad Misssyy!)
Heeeyyy, readers! I’m back this Sunday with a fun unboxing for you all: Owlcrate‘s first Limited Edition box in collaboration with a beloved author, V.E. Schwab, featuring her newest book VENGEFUL – the highly anticipated, 5-years-in-the-making sequel to VICIOUS.
Looks-wise, I love the design for the ELI candle… scent and character-wise, I’m very partial to the VICTOR candle. There’s no official description of the scents though…all I know is I don’t like the scent of the ELI candle at all – reminds me of the suffocating scent that hits me whenever I enter a Kirkland store or some arts & crafts store. On the other hand, the VICTOR candle is a very clean and shall I say manly just-got-out-of-the-shower smell? Anyway, I likeeeyyy.
I remember Mitch and he was one of my favorite characters in Vicious, because he was just so unexpectedly nice… and smart. I don’t remember him loving chocolate milk though, but that sounds like him, alright!
This lip balm smells and tastes sooooo yummmy (yep, once again, I kind of ate it…)
Wouldn’t say I was thrilled about the socks exactly, but it’s kind of cool. Hopefully my mom would like it… haha! I don’t wear socks, it’s too hot for me (even during the winter)… my feet feels suffocated lol.
The design was apparently inspired by the new Vicious cover (redesigned by Wil Staehle, artist of the ADSOM trilogy covers):
And now we come to my favorite item from the box! I love stationery items! And I think black-out poetry’s pretty cool… if I’m not mistaken, the UK covers look like this. Can’t wait for my Illumicrate box that should include an exclusive UK cover for VENGEFUL. But, wait.. I’m getting ahead of myself.. let’s finish this unboxing first.
Let’s all just take a step back and appreciate the all-black Owlcrate Limited Edition box… I don’t have a pic for you guys, but the interior is red so it matches the black and red theme of VENGEFUL’s cover.
And that concludes today’s unboxing! Thanks for reading!