A Beautiful, Magical, Hard-Hitting Debut // ARC Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Title: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1)
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publication Date: March 6th 2018
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 1/3 in the Legacy of Orisha Trilogy
I Got A Copy Through: Pan Macmillan India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || Infibeam || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Kobo || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.
I’m staring at the blinking cursor, unable to understand HOW to start talking about this MARVEL of a book, because I finished it a week ago and I’m STILL unable to collect my thoughts?

Reviewing books you love REALLY is the hardest. I find it hard to fit into five hundred something words EVERYTHING that a 600 something page book made me feel, but let’s try anyways.

Children of Blood and Bone is a GROUND BREAKING magical book that makes you feel grief, oppression, love, family and most of all, magic. It has all the right elements, realistic characters that you root for from page one, a GORGEOUS cover and basically the epic black protagonist book we’ve all been looking for.


1.       I took this book on a photography trip with me, up North, and through the most hectic week of my life, all I could think about was going back to the bus/ room and reading more of this BEAUTY.

2.       I am OBSSESSED with books that are obsessed with magic and Children of Blood and Bone had it ALL. Magical artefacts, different kinds of power, the repercussions of using magic, the beauty within magic and the fight to bring magic back. I LOVED IT SO MUCH.
3.       Tomi Adeyemi’s characters are STUNNING, but especially Zelie. I fell for this broken, magical, headstrong girl instantly and reading about the world through her eyes, and experiencing her grief was breath taking and I loved every second of it. Her hate, her hope and her need for change was so raw, and she clawed her way into my heart. I also ADORED Roen, and I hope he has a much bigger role to play in books to come.

4.       I also LOVED Inan, the prince and Tzain, Zelie’s brother. I was a little disappointed that Tzain didn’t get a viewpoint in the book, because he was such an important character. Inan, however, HOLY WOW. His character development and his thought process and responsibilities were so well written that I craved more from this tortured Prince.

5.       Amari was definitely my least favourite character among the four. While I liked her growth, I simply failed to connect with her.

6.       THE PLOT AND WORLD BUILDING IS INSANE, AND DEFINITELY #1 NYT BESTSELLER WORTHY. There was always something happening, always another plot twists or characters surprising you and it kept me on the edge of my seat!

7.       My favourite part of this book, however, was the parallel that Tomi Adeyemi drew to the Black Lives Matter movement in her fantasy world. Just like Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, I felt everything – the pain, the oppression, the need for justice, fairness and compassion. It was a beautifully written book.

A stunning, beautiful, hard-hitting, magical debut novel, with badass women that will remind you of Black Panther, set in the fantasy world of your dreams. 4.5 stars. 
Tomi AdeyemiTomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. Her debut novel, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, comes out March 6th, 2018 and the movie is currently in development at Fox with the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner attached. 

After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 3,500 subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.

HAVE YOU READ THIS MARVEL OF A BOOK YET? What do you think of it?
Tomi compares her debut to Marvel's Black Panther. Which is your favourite Marvel movie?
Are you excited for Avengers: Infinity War?

ARC Review: Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

Title: Isle of Blood and Stone
Author: Makiia Lucier
Publication Date: April 10th 2018
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 1 on 2 of a Duology
I Got A Copy Through: HMH Teen (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon US || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || Kobo || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: Ulises asked, "How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers."
Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. "It's bound to be a goose chase. You know that?"
"Or a treasure hunt," Ulises countered, "and you've always been good at those."
Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar's oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way...until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.
The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias's father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king's beautiful cousin by his side-whether he wants her there or not-Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried...and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.
It’s been a while since I read anything an adventure/ mystery type of book that didn’t focus so much on a rebellion but more on a quest and a riddle, which is also why I was so excited about this book going in!

In all honesty, it took me forever to connect with all of the characters. On top of the main characters and the plot, there were also so many secondary characters, and LOCATIONS and well, it took me a while to connect and care about this world.

As soon as I did, however, Isle of Blood and Stone suddenly became a whole lot better. There was one clue after another coming to light, a fearless girl and hints of romance, actual political problems and betrayals and murder and I really liked it.
Image result for Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier
Let’s break it down:


I’ve never actually read a book about a cartographer, especially one set in a fantasy world, and I was SO INTRIGUED by the idea behind it all. I’ve loved books about solving clues and cases since I first read Nancy Drew and I was really looking forward to this book.

Like I said, it was a little difficult to connect with the world, despite the fact that I was excited to read the book. I find this happening so much more often with fantasy novels these days (Am I reading too much? Is there such a thing?) but after sticking to the book, I did manage to come out on the other side.

I really liked the plot structure, and all the secondary characters. I loved how Elias uncovered the conspiracy that started a war eighteen years ago, the map-making elements and the personal growth every character went through. I especially loved mundane things that built up the world in the book – small, political things that made everything so much more real.


While I liked the characters (specifically Lady Mercedes and Lady Reyna) I didn’t fall in love with them. I liked their stories, and felt happy at their ending and liked the way they were grown, that essential spark was just missing.

I definitely liked Elias’ curious mind and kind soul, and his relationship with Lady Mercedes was adorable.
Image result for Isle of Blood and Stone

I don’t know if it was the characters or the writing, but while I find no real fault with this book, it lacked something that kept me from falling head over heels in love with it.

I, in a nutshell, liked this book fine but I didn’t love it, and I don’t know why.


It was a different book, with amazing world building and ended up being a great one time read. It’s just not the kind of thing I loved so much to pick up again.
Makiia LucierMakiia is the author of historical fiction and historical fantasy for young adults. She grew up on the Pacific Island of Guam (not too far from the equator), and has degrees in journalism and library science from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Her debut novel, A Death-Struck Year, was called a "powerful and disturbing reading experience" by Publishers Weekly. It was a finalist for Germany's top book prize for children, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, as well as Japan's Sakura Medal, and was named an ABC Best Books for Children Selection by the American Booksellers Association.

Her second novel, Isle of Blood and Stone, will be available in Spring 2018.
What are some of your favourite adventure novels?
I feel like we don't see NEARLY enough of the genre and I'd love to hear your recommendations!

BLOG TOUR: The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk - Review + My Musical Journey

Hello Book Humans, and welcome to my stop on the International Blog Tour for Ashley Woodfolk's brilliant debut novel, The Beauty That Remains. A huge thank you to PRH International for putting this tour together, and for inviting me to be a part of it. 

The Beauty That Remains is a beautiful portrayal of how music can heal. It's told through three different teenagers, with numerous secondary characters and I absolutely loved it. 

Since the book focuses on music, apart from my review, I'll also be talking about my musical journey so do read until the end!
Title: The Beauty That Remains
Author: Ashley Woodfolk
Publication Date: March 6th 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: PRH International (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon US || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || Kobo || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.
Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.
But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.
Despite the odds, one band's music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.
“If someone asked now, “What does love look like?” I’d tell them it was the lies in your eyes.

Books centred on tragedies usually fall in one of three categories for me – either the fall completely flat, or they leave me curled up in under my blanket sobbing my eyes out or they devastate me, and still leave me with hope.

The Beauty That Remains definitely left me in the last category. Ashley Woodfolk’s deep and haunting debut novel reminded me of Adam Silvera’s writing, along with one of my favourite elements in books (that we rarely see) – music – and I fell in love with it.


1.       I love way this book was told. We had three narrators, and some incredibly developed secondary characters, each of whom were experiencing the devastating loss of a friend, ex or sister and it was their journey to reaching some kind of acceptance, through music.
2.       I struggled to keep up with all the characters in the beginning of this book. All of them were equally important from each narrator, to the person they each lost, to their support systems, but THERE WERE TOO MANY PEOPLE thrown at me in the beginning.

3.       Ashley Woodfolk’s writing was spectacular.  It was slow paced, but really dove into the unbearable grief each teenager felt. It was heart-breaking, poignant and I am A HUGE FAN.

4.       The cast was diverse and inclusive and I LOVED IT. Just off the top of my head, we had Asian rep, Hispanic rep and Gay rep and it dealt with depression, coping mechanisms, therapy and panic attacks with such finesse.

5.        I honestly connected with Logan and Bram’s story right from the get go, and I was desperately craving more.

6.       The only reason this book isn’t receiving a five star rating from me was that there was no definitive ending. I understand that you never truly finish grieving, but this book felt unfinished in a way I can’t fully explain.

A spectacularly written book on loss that will make you feel. 4 stars.
Image result for piano photographyI first laid my hands on a grand piano when I was nine years old. I had seen my older sister practicing for years before that, and I was so excited to meet her teacher and play a real piano. It took me four years of grueling practice under that yeacher before she thought I was ready for an actual graded examination - the Trinity College of London Examination. 

Before I move on, I should inform you that I was not a natural at playing the piano. I struggled to find any sort of rhythm, make my fingers move across the keys and jump from one octave to another without staring down at each key and, just in general, understanding the beat of a song. 

It took years of practice before I had an understanding of how putting together music worked, which was when I took up my Grade One Trinity Examination. I went on until Grade Five (there are 8 grades) 

Image result for piano photographyI worked on each piece for months on a row, purely because Trinity prescribed pieces from Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin. It was grueling work, learning part of a piece, playing it again and again until it became muscle memory to you, until a point where you weren't reading the notes of looking at the keys, but listening to the music you were creating and knowing what came next to make the melody.

It's hard to describe what music means to me. It's not something I can't live without, but working on a piece from a famous composer part by part and bringing it to life in a flurry of music in a cold examination room that smells suspiciously of maple syrup and makes you think God, I am HUNGRY, is honestly something I can't believe I did. 

Music, or learning an instrument like the Piano and it helps you understand that there are things more than yourself and your life. It's about re-creating art and melody and putting some life into black marks in a paper. 

Because of my ten years of piano lessons, I LOVE books that have music in them. The Beauty That Remains was a beautiful book on grief and music and I can't recommend it enough!

Ashley Woodfolk
Ashley Woodfolk graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in English and her life-long love of books led her straight to the publishing industry. She's a member of the CBC Diversity Committee and markets books for children and teens. In her abundance of "spare" time, she writes contemporary YA. Indie movies, beer, books, and burgers are a few of her favorite things. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and pit bull puppy, Winnie. THE BEAUTY THAT REMAINS is her debut novel.

Have you ever played a musical instrument? Which one?
What are some of the best books you've read that handle grief?
What are you currently reading? 
I'd absolutely love to hear from you!

BLOG TOUR: This Tiny Perfect World by Lauren Gibaldi - Review + Giveaways

*waves animatedly*
Welcome to my stop on the This Tiny Perfect World Blog Tour. The minute I saw this cover, I knew I HAD to read this book, and I was so excited when the FFBC picked me for it!

Do scroll down to read my review, and enter the TWO giveaways down below!

Title: This Tiny Perfect World
Author: Lauren Gibaldi
Publication Date: February 27th 2018
Publisher: Harper Teen
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Harper Teen via Edelweiss
Buy Links: Amazon US || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || Kobo || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: A contemporary “clean teen” coming-of-age story about a small-town girl who opens her eyes to life’s endless possibilities
When Penny wins a scholarship to a prestigious theater camp, she thinks it’s the start of a perfect summer. But when she arrives at camp, Penny is thrust into a world of competition and self-doubt. And as she meets new friends, including Chase, a talented young actor with big-city dreams, she begins to realize that her own dreams may be bigger than she ever imagined.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” they say.

Honestly, this ‘they’ don’t sound like they know what they’re talking about. Book covers are smol, precious things that need to be cherished and admired and when I see covers that are absolutely beautiful like this one, I JUDGE THE BOOK AND EXPECT GREATNESS.

Which is what brings me to the three star rating I gave This Tiny Perfect World. It was good, but it wasn’t anything special and there was nothing I hated about it either. It was one of those one-time reads, and I neither LOVE it nor do I HATE it.


1.       This Tiny Perfect World is a story about a small town girl who is content and thinks she already has everything she wants, until she goes to acting camp and suddenly realises that she might be missing out on everything out there. There’s a boyfriend, another sort of romantic interest, two friends and acting ‘camp’ and that’s pretty much it.

2.       This story was VANILLA. I don’t have anything against vanilla, but there was NOTHING new or interesting about it. The entire 300 or so pages had what the description promised and nothing else. In fact, there wasn’t even any ‘competition’ that I expected. It was a one track book, and I didn’t feel much JOY reading it.

3.       At the same time, there was nothing I didn’t like either. The characters were OK, the plot was OK and the twists weren’t really twists, but were obvious plot developments.

4.       I did like the female friendships in the book that Penny had with both Sam and Faith. I also really liked her relationship with her father.

AND THAT’S IT. While This Tiny Perfect World was a book I didn’t mind reading, it wasn’t one I’ll be reading again. It was mediocre, at best. 3 stars.

Lauren GibaldiLauren Gibaldi is a public librarian who’s been, among other things, a magazine editor, high school English teacher, bookseller, and circus aerialist (seriously). She has a BA in Literature and Master’s in Library and Information Studies. She lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and daughter. Her books include THE NIGHT WE SAID YES, AUTOFOCUS, and the forthcoming THIS TINY PERFECT WORLD.

       Prize: 1 copy of THIS TINY PERFECT WORLD by Lauren Gibaldi. INT as long as the Book Depository ships to you

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PRIZE 2: Win a This Tiny Perfect World Swag Pack (US)

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