April Book Haul: I went a little overboard

(Last Updated On: May 24, 2021)

Greetings friends, long time no see! It’s been about three weeks since my last post and foray onto the Internet — it feels both exciting and weird to be back after a long digital break. My posting schedule for the month is out the window thanks to my unplanned hiatus; my original plan was my April Adventure Log but since it’s now almost June and this month has nothing to report, I’ll just do a combined wrap-up next month.

April was an… expensive month for me. Not only were there a good number of pre-orders, but I also shop when I’m sad and 20/20 hindsight tells me it was my way of trying to cope with the coming mental health downswing. (I’m feeling better now!) Keep on reading to see just how off the rails my online shopping got in April.

As always, I want to reiterate that you do not need to buy and own a lot of books in order to be considered a book blogger or lover. I am quite frugal with everything else so that I can buy books because I love them, but I do not ever want to make you feel bad if you cannot afford to buy books or have poor access where you live.

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Physical Book Haul

As I mentioned in last month’s haul, I order books when I’m sad and a bunch of pre-orders came due this April. My bookshelves are blessed but I sure hope that I can get some reading in soon!

April 2021 Book Haul
My physical book haul for April 2021

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Dustborn by Erin Bowman

Publisher: HMH Teen | Release Date: April 20, 2021 | Pages: 432
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Science Fiction | Sent by HMH Teen

Read my Spoiler-free Review

cover for DustbornDelta of Dead River sets out to rescue her family from a ruthless dictator rising to power in the Wastes and discovers a secret that will reshape her world in this postapocalyptic Western mashup for fans of Mad Max and Gunslinger Girl.

Delta of Dead River has always been told to hide her back, where a map is branded on her skin to a rumored paradise called the Verdant. In a wasteland plagued by dust squalls, geomagnetic storms, and solar flares, many would kill for it—even if no one can read it. So when raiders sent by a man known as the General attack her village, Delta suspects he is searching for her. 

Delta sets out to rescue her family but quickly learns that in the Wastes no one can be trusted—perhaps not even her childhood friend, Asher, who has been missing for nearly a decade. If Delta can trust Asher, she just might decode the map and trade evidence of the Verdant to the General for her family. What Delta doesn’t count on is what waits at the Verdant: a long-forgotten secret that will shake the foundation of her entire world.

Many thanks to HMH Teen for surprising me with a finished copy of Dustborn! I read and adored the eARC of this book and it solidified Erin Bowman on my favorite author list.

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This is How We Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Publisher: Illumicrate Special Slipcase Edition | Release Date: October, 2020 | Pages: 201
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Novella, Science Fiction

Read my Spoiler-free Review

This is How You Lose the Time War coverAmong the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.

(This Illumicrate exclusive edition comes with two naked hardbacks, one red and one blue, inside a grey slipcase. Both books have designed endpapers and come with an author letter printed with both authors’ signatures bound in.)

I’ve been looking at this special edition for literally months and finally succumbed to the need when my will power was low. It’s gorgeous though, so I don’t regret it.

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The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends | Release Date: April 20, 2021 | Pages: 384
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Historical Fiction

cover for Forest of the Stolen GirlsAfter her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, a teen returns to her secretive hometown to pick up the trail in this second YA historical mystery from the author of The Silence of Bones.

Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask.

To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate… only to vanish as well.

Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.

I simply adored June Hur’s debut The Silence of Bones, and am excited to read her sophomore novel!

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House of Hollow by Krystal Southerland

Publisher: GP Putnam’s Sons BFYR | Release Date: April 6, 2021 | Pages: 304
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Thriller, Horror

cover for House of HollowSeventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.

Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.

As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.

The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.
 

This was a last minute pre-order… I think because I saw something on Twitter? I don’t know anymore… I was unhinged, but it sounds good.

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Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing | Release Date: March 1, 2000 | Pages: 329
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction

cover for Midnight RobberIt’s Carnival time, and the Carribean-colonized planet of Toussaint is celebrating with music, dance and pageantry. Masked “Midnight Robbers” waylay revelers with brandished weapons and spellbinding words. But to young Tan-Tan, the Robber Queen is simply a favourite costume to wear at the festival–until her power-corrupted father commits an unforgivable crime.

Suddenly, both father and daughter are thrust into the brutal world of New Half-Way Tree. Here monstrous creatures from folklore are real, and the humans are violent outcasts in the wilds. Here Tan-Tan must reach into the heart of myth–and become the Robber Queen herself. For only the Robber Queen’s legendary powers can save her life…and set her free.

This was recommended to me by someone on Twitter when I was trying to make my list for Independent Bookstore Day, and I am so excited to read this one!

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A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

Publisher: Nyx Publishing | Release Date: January 31, 2021 | Pages: 248
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Horror, Retellings

cover for A Dowry of BloodA lyrical and dreamy reimagining of Dracula’s brides, A DOWRY OF BLOOD is a story of desire, obsession, and emancipation.

Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets.

With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.

I’ve been on a Gothic Horror kick lately, so I had to place a special order for this one when I went shopping at Mysterious Galaxy for the first time in over a year.

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Iron Heart (Crier’s War #2) by Nina Varela

Publisher: HarperTeen | Release Date: September 8, 2020 | Pages: 400
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy, LGBT

cover for Iron HeartCritically acclaimed author Nina Varela delivers a stunning sequel to the richly imagined queer epic fantasy Crier’s War, which SLJ called “perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass.”

For too long, Automae have lorded over the kingdom of Rabu, oppressing its human citizens. But the human revolution has risen, and at its heart is Ayla. Once a handmaiden, now a fugitive, Ayla narrowly escaped the palace of Lady Crier, the girl she would’ve killed if she hadn’t fallen in love first. 

Now Ayla has pledged her allegiance to Queen Junn, who can help accomplish the human rebellion’s ultimate goal: destroy the Iron Heart. Without its power, the Automae will be weakened to the point of extinction. Ayla wants to succeed, but can’t shake the strong feelings she’s developed for Crier. And unbeknownst to her, Crier has also fled the palace, taking up among traveling rebels, determined to find and protect Ayla.

Even as their paths collide, nothing can prepare them for the dark secret underlying the Iron Heart.

One of the biggest sins was my not reviewing Crier’s War when I read it… and then somehow it’s sequel was published without my realizing it last Fall. Excited to re-read the first book and write a duology review.

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That Way Madness Lies edited by Dahlia Adler

Publisher: Flatiron Books | Release Date: March 16, 2021 | Pages: 221
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Retellings

cover for That Way Madness LiesFifteen acclaimed YA writers put their modern spin on William Shakespeare’s celebrated classics!

West Side Story. 10 Things I Hate About You. Kiss Me, Kate. Contemporary audiences have always craved reimaginings of Shakespeare’s most beloved works. Now, some of today’s best writers for teens take on the Bard in these 15 whip-smart and original retellings!

Contributors include Dahlia Adler (reimagining The Merchant of Venice), Kayla Ancrum (The Taming of the Shrew), Lily Anderson (As You Like It), Patrice Caldwell (Hamlet), Melissa Bashardoust (A Winter’s Tale), Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy (Much Ado About Nothing), Brittany Cavallaro (Sonnet 147), Joy McCullough (King Lear), Anna-Marie McLemore (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Samantha Mabry (Macbeth), Tochi Onyebuchi (Coriolanus), Mark Oshiro (Twelfth Night), Lindsay Smith (Julius Caesar), Kiersten White (Romeo and Juliet), and Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (The Tempest).

As a lover of Shakespeare, this was a given purchase once I found out about it.

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These Feathered Flames (These Feathered Flames #1) by Dahlia Adler

Publisher: Inkyard Press | Release Date: April 20, 2021 | Pages: 496
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, LGBT

cover for These Feathered FlamesA queer retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale

When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.

I’m not gonna lie: I was on the fence about this one because I have so many unread YA fantasies and I’m unfamiliar with the source material… but then I saw the pre-order campaign and got myself a copy.

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Victories Greater than Death (Unstoppable #1) by Charlie Jane Anders

Publisher: Tor Teen | Release Date: April 13, 2021 | Pages: 288
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT

cover for Victories Greater than DeathOutsmart Your Enemies. Outrun the Galaxy.

Tina never worries about being ‘ordinary’—she doesn’t have to, since she’s known practically forever that she’s not just Tina Mains, average teenager and beloved daughter. She’s also the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon, and one day soon, it’s going to activate, and then her dreams of saving all the worlds and adventuring among the stars will finally be possible. Tina’s legacy, after all, is intergalactic—she is the hidden clone of a famed alien hero, left on Earth disguised as a human to give the universe another chance to defeat a terrible evil.

But when the beacon activates, it turns out that Tina’s destiny isn’t quite what she expected. Things are far more dangerous than she ever assumed. Luckily, Tina is surrounded by a crew she can trust, and her best friend Rachel, and she is still determined to save all the worlds. But first she’ll have to save herself.

Buckle up your seatbelt for this thrilling sci-fi adventure set against an intergalactic war from international bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders.

This cover is simply stunning — and when it arrived I was in awe, the endpapers! But despite being kinda a cover buy, this sounds hella cool.

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The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2) by Roshani Chokshi

Publisher: Wednesday Books | Release Date: September 22, 2020 | Pages: 416
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Historical Fantasy

cover for The Silvered SerpentsThey are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost — one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumoured to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

Another book I neglected to pick up when it was released last Fall finally on my shelves. I enjoyed The Gilded Wolves so much and was so hyped for the sequel… but the pandemic ruined a lot of things. soon

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Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay

Publisher: Minotaur Books | Release Date: March 2, 2021 | Pages: 368
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Thriller, Mystery

cover for Every Last Fear“They found the bodies on a Tuesday.”

So begins this twisty and breathtaking novel that traces the fate of the Pine family, a thriller that will both leave you on the edge of your seat and move you to tears.

After a late night of partying, NYU student Matt Pine returns to his dorm room to devastating news: nearly his entire family—his mom, his dad, his little brother and sister—have been found dead from an apparent gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI and State Department seem far less certain—and they won’t tell Matt why.

The tragedy makes headlines everywhere because this isn’t the first time the Pine family has been thrust into the media spotlight. Matt’s older brother, Danny—currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his teenage girlfriend Charlotte—was the subject of a viral true crime documentary suggesting that Danny was wrongfully convicted. Though the country has rallied behind Danny, Matt holds a secret about his brother that he’s never told anyone: the night Charlotte was killed Matt saw something that makes him believe his brother is guilty of the crime.

When Matt returns to his small hometown to bury his parents and siblings, he’s faced with a hostile community that was villainized by the documentary, a frenzied media, and memories he’d hoped to leave behind forever. Now, as the deaths in Mexico appear increasingly suspicious and connected to Danny’s case, Matt must unearth the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison—putting his own life in peril—and forcing him to confront his every last fear.

Told through multiple points-of-view and alternating between past and present, Alex Finlay’s Every Last Fear is not only a page-turning thriller, it’s also a poignant story about a family managing heartbreak and tragedy, and living through a fame they never wanted.

This was an impulse purchase when left to my own devices inside of Mysterious Galaxy (oh, how I missed wandering my local indie!). I’ve heard a lot of good things about it so I’m excited to read it this summer.

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Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

Publisher: Wednesday Books | Release Date: March 2, 2021 | Pages: 400
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Gothic, Fantasy

cover for Down Comes the NightHe saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the magic in his darkness.

Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.

The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.

With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.

Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.

Love makes monsters of us all.

Another book purchased because of my Gothic kick and Twitter. I’ve heard amazing things about this one as well!

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Spoiler-Free ARC Review

Electronic Book Haul

I behaved and didn’t succumb to kindle sales!

Physical ARC Arrivals

I’m incredibly blessed and so thankful that publishers send me books to read and review, and am hoping to read these books soon so I can pass them on to other readers*.

* In the coming months, I hope to bring Flapping Pages out of hiatus and pass along some of the books I receive. Be sure to sign up for the mailing list to be notified when the program regains its wings!


Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis

Publisher: Titan Books | Release Date: May 25, 2021 | Pages: 416
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Historical, Fantasy

The Lights of Prague coverFor readers of VE Schwab and The Witcher, science and magic clash in atmospheric gaslight-era Prague.

In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of otherworldly creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – a secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavice, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek find solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischerová– a widow with secrets of her own.

When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady – a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp, a mischievous spirit known to lead lost travellers to their death, but who, once captured, are bound to serve the desires of their owners.

After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavice that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.
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Electronic ARC Approvals

Oops, my finger slipped and requested a few books on Netgalley.


Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter

Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR | Release Date: May 4, 2021 | Pages: 336
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary, Romance

cover for Better than the MoviesIn this rom-com about rom-coms, in the spirit of Kasie West and Jenn Bennett, a hopeless romantic teen attempts to secure a happily-ever-after moment with her forever crush, but finds herself reluctantly drawn to the boy next door.

Perpetual daydreamer Liz Buxbaum gave her heart to Michael a long time ago. But her cool, aloof forever crush never really saw her before he moved away. Now that he’s back in town, Liz will do whatever it takes to get on his radar—and maybe snag him as a prom date—even befriend Wes Bennet.

The annoyingly attractive next-door neighbor might seem like a prime candidate for romantic comedy fantasies, but Wes has only been a pain in Liz’s butt since they were kids. Pranks involving frogs and decapitated lawn gnomes do not a potential boyfriend make. Yet, somehow, Wes and Michael are hitting it off, which means Wes is Liz’s in.

But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz noticed by Michael so she can have her magical prom moment, she’s shocked to discover that she likes being around Wes. And as they continue to grow closer, she must reexamine everything she thought she knew about love—and rethink her own ideas of what Happily Ever After should look like.

This book was an alright read – nothing for me to write home about, but not horrible. You can read my thoughts in my Goodreads review here.

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The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire | Release Date: June 1, 2021 | Pages: 362
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

cover for The Nature of WitchesFor centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.

In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.

In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference.

In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.

In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves… before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.

Practical Magic meets Twister in this debut contemporary fantasy standalone about heartbreaking power, the terror of our collapsing atmosphere, and the ways we unknowingly change our fate.

The first print run of this hardcover will have something special on the naked cover and I am here for that. Also for weather magic.

ARC Mountain Update

… um, let’s talk about this next month in it’s own post, shall we?

Library Requests

I’m back to requesting books at my local library again, and it feels so good! Although the number of holds that came in two weeks ago scares me: I think they’ve bought like 10 titles I suggested in the past lol

Do we have any books in common? What books should I read first? Let’s talk book acquisitions in the comments, friends!

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Let’s go on another adventure together!

14 Comments

  1. thecritiquesofafangirl

    May 24, 2021 at 9:41 PM

    This is how you lose the time war has been on my TBR for a while! I can’t wait to get to it

    1. Kal

      June 9, 2021 at 10:00 PM

      It is such a stunningly beautiful book, but also such an Experience to read. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts when you do read it!

  2. Kristina

    May 25, 2021 at 8:11 AM

    Welcome back!
    Nothing as good as books to help us feel better, eh? Sorry to hear you’ve been feeling so bad this past weeks, but happy you’re feeling better now xx

    Thoses mostly all have pretty covers 🥰 the one i’ve been wanting to read is better than the movies. Enjoy!

    1. Kal

      June 9, 2021 at 10:05 PM

      Thank you, Kristina! It’s good (and overwhelming lol) to be back. Taking it one day at a time but it’s def improved over those 3 weeks last month. I hope you enjoy Better than the Movies if you do pick it up!

  3. Epsita

    May 25, 2021 at 8:37 AM

    So many awesome books!

  4. Veronica

    May 25, 2021 at 9:57 PM

    Welcome back! I LOVED Forest of Stolen Girls. (I’m a little scared to look too closely at the rest of your books out of fear of adding to my ridiculously large TBR 😂) but wishing you some happy reading! Also glad to hear you’re doing better <3

    1. Kal

      June 9, 2021 at 10:06 PM

      Thank you Veronica! I am so happy to hear you loved Forest of Stolen Girls! I loved June’s debut The Silence of Bones and am very much looking forward to this one. I have a break in ARC reading for a bit so it may be my next read

  5. Kate

    May 26, 2021 at 3:24 AM

    This is an AMAZING haul! I absolutely loved Iron Heart and I really want to read Down Comes the Night soon!

    1. Kal

      June 9, 2021 at 10:07 PM

      AHHH I’m so happy that you enjoyed Iron Heart! I am looking forward to rereading Crier’s War and then diving into Iron Heart soon. And Down Comes the Night needs to be read soon… I’ve been on a Gothic kick and it sounds so good!

  6. Louise @ Monstrumology

    May 27, 2021 at 1:21 PM

    I recently got House of Hollow too! I’ve been on a huge scary/creepy kick so it sounds perfect for my current mood 🙂 And I’ve just added Down Comes the Night to my wishlist, that one sounds so good!

    1. Kal

      June 11, 2021 at 9:45 PM

      I’ve also been on a spooky kick, which is so weird for me and summertime! I am really looking forward to reading both of those soon

  7. lauren

    May 31, 2021 at 2:46 PM

    when i tell you that house of hollow is MY VIBE and you’re gonna love it too, I hope you do because I can’t stop thinking about it. it was the first physical book I’ve been able to make my way through this year

    1. Kal

      June 11, 2021 at 10:16 PM

      SCREECHING! this actually makes me so excited because that’s the exact vibe I was hoping the book would have!

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