The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel PRince

goodreads-synopsis

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

commentary

Ten years ago, a 17 year old Michelle bought a copy of Tithe by Holly Black at Borders. This version of myself was excited for this book, and I hated it. I vowed to myself to never read another Holly Black book ever again. Yes, I was immature. And here I am now, finding myself finished with The Cruel Prince. 

Perhaps it was the hype and bookstagram that led me to read The Cruel Prince. This book has received phenomenal love and praise, but I found it to be problematic. Let’s just say that I am not the biggest fan of Jude and Cardan’s romance. I can see why others may love it since it is a slow burn romance.

Beginning with what I did enjoy from this book. Each character was flawed, and it was hard to like anyone, but it works well for this book. Jude was a bit irritating, but endearing for me. Jude has ambitions and goals, and she knows that she is limited as a mortal in the fae world. Jude seeks power in order to overcome the challenges of being human. She knows that in order to best the fae, she has to become better than them. Jude does love the fae world, while in the mortal world, she does not fit in. Jude has been shaped by her childhood growing up in a different world. Though Jude and Taryn do not belong with the Fae, they do not have a home to go back to in the human realm. Whereas, their older sister Vivi, she loves the mortal world more than anything else, even though she is half fae and is supposed to have a stronger bond with her fellow faeries. Though the story is told in Jude’s pov, I would say that Vivi is the rebel of the family because she longs to be in world with humans and does not comply with the traditions of her people. Taryn seeks assimilation to the faerie world by trying to be in her best behavior with others. Taryn wants to fit in, and does not seek trouble unlike her sister Jude.

Reading this book, I liked the relationship of the twins. Jude is tough, strong, and does not back down. She is emotionally driven, especially when it concerns the safety of Taryn. While Taryn is softer, and kinder. I did like how both sisters were mirror image of each other. Though, I would have liked to have read some of Taryn’s pov. My favorite non-romantic relationship had to be the dynamic between Jude and her adoptive father Madoc. Madoc murdered her parents, but Jude still loved him. Due to his beliefs, he shaped Jude to be fully a good adversary. He trained Jude, but he loved her back. He had his own interests that he sought for himself, and yet, he thought about the safety and concern for his family. Madoc wanted the best for his daughters despite having no blood relation.

What I really loved was the scheming royals and their political plans. Let’s just say that the buildup to the coronation and the events that take place afterward is the stronger half of the story. The first half of the story is not as great as the second half. Let’s just say that it’s dark, intense, and reminds me a bit of Game of Thrones. Ha ha. Honestly, I feel that the title of the Cruel Prince belongs to Balekin rather than Cardan.

My issue with The Cruel Prince is the constant bullying that Jude endures coming from the entourage of Cardan. The romance between Jude and Cardan is not the best. I would have love if Cardan was more of the stoic type that ignored Jude rather than allowing his friends to have free reign to torture and nearly kill Jude. Honestly, it was really difficult for me to root for Cardan and Jude. Jude was placed under a lot of danger especially when dealing with Cardan’s friends. I get that Cardan is a victim of abuse, but that does not justify his behavior towards Jude. I am a bigger fan of Jude getting the power she deserves. I like Cardan as well, but shipping him with Jude, I am not seeing it. Since this is the first book, my opinions can change with The Wicked King. 

Anyways, Locke was a trash character. I had a feeling that he was manipulating the romances between him and Jude. I don’t like that Locke was the figure that was tearing the relationship between Jude and Taryn. Learning about Taryn in the later half of the book changed my view on her. I did like her, but after finishing the book, not a fan. In a way, it can be argued that Taryn sought her own power to marry a fae. Though, I don’t like the message that she chose a boy over her sister.

My last issue with The Cruel Prince was the pacing. I felt that some parts needed to be fleshed out more such as Jude’s training under the Court of Shadows. Because The Court of Shadows does play a big role in Jude’s life, I would have at least liked there to be more interactions between her and the other members. It felt that she instantly became this fully equipped spy. I felt some areas could have been explained more. The pacing felt odd. For example, it was implied that Jude was strategic throughout the book, but the author could have written how Jude was strategic to begin with. It did a lot of telling, but not showing. Though, it was not my favorite book, it was entertaining. I want to see how the events will play into The Wicked King.

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5)

ARC: Mirage by Somaiya Daud

miragegoodreads-synopsis

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

commentary

When I first picked up Mirage from my tbr pile at home, I had no idea what I was expecting. I can best describe this book as the female version of The Prince and The Pauper in Space with hints of forced colonialism and imperialism. The first chapter had me hooked on the story, and normally, it takes a couple chapters before I become invested in a book.

Mirage was quite different from what I have read. To begin, it seems like not much happened, that was my original thought when I first finished the book. After letting my thoughts marinate for a couple days, this book does not bring the action, but it builds up to potential conflict that the characters will encounter in the upcoming sequel.

To begin, Amani is not the chosen one, nor is she a Mary Sue character. Amani dreams of having her life with far less restrictions, she and her family live in a village. She has a passion for reading books, especially poetry. She and her brothers live in a society where the Vathek Empire has subjugated other planets into submission, and Amani’s planet is one of them. When Amani’s village is celebrating a special cultural practice, robots serving the empire take Amani by force away from her people and family. Amani is forced into a position in which she has no control over her body, nor her fate.

Amani shares a close resemblance to Princess Maram. Amani is presented as a fragile when compared to Maram’s vicious nature. Amani becomes the Empire’s puppet in order to protect the princess from any danger. Given the tough situation, Amani does get agency. Though being Maram’s body double did give Amani fright at first, she learns that she can wield her own power given her position. Amani obeys and listens to her orders, but, she also learns to manipulate her situation.

The relationship between Maram and Amani is complicated. The princess is shown to be as a morally grey character. As a reader, you question Maram’s ideals. Was she influenced by her nature, or her nurture?  At the same, you can’t help but feel sorry for the princess. She was been raised by her Vathek family, and it has served as a factor to why she behaves in a cruel, and unjust manner.

As for the love interest, I will admit, it was definitely a insta-love situation, and usually I loathe insta-love relationships. But, I found myself digging the relationship between Amani and Idris. It was a forbidden love, and both characters are forced into positions that they have to comply to. Though, I am interested to know how Idris and Maram are in a relationship, because it’s vague and left to the imagination. The ending left me craving for the next book immediately. The very last chapters has the suspense and action that it was lacking in the first portion. I came with little to no expectations when it came to Mirage, but I wholeheartedly love it. It’s science fiction, fantasy, has the drama you need, and I think I might ship Amani and Maram more than Idris and Amani!

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

the darkest corners

goodreads-synopsis

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

commentary

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas was possibly the book with  the slowest buildup to a plot. The story revolves around Tessa, a teen who lives with her grandmother in Florida. She is forced to return to her old hometown because her father in prison is dying. Almost a decade ago, Tessa was abandon by her mother. Left with no relatives in Pennsylvania, her grandmother takes her out of state, and away from her best friend Callie. Tessa did not have a normal childhood growing up. Her father was arrested, her sister may have possibly been involved with a murder, and her mother had abandoned her.

When Callie’s cousin Lorrie is murdered by a high profiled murderer, Tessa and Callie help incriminate Wyatt Stokes into jail. Tessa has felt the guilt over the case as she grew up. She is still effected by the case, and looks to forums to see what people are talking about it on the internet. When she returns back to Fayette, Tessa is forced to confront her past, and people she has left behind.

It was difficult to trust characters due to several red herrings! I listened to this book as an audiobook. I have to say, that the premise of the story was interesting, but I felt that the pacing took forever. It was slow, but the buildup to the story and the crazy events that unfolded was the best aspect of the book. Yes, there were many twists that I did not see coming. I was gagged!

One issue I had was connecting with the characters. It felt like Tessa had a detached personality. There was something about her personality that threw me off. She did try reconnecting with people from her past, but I didn’t get emotions from her. I am basing this on what I heard on audio form rather than reading the physical book.

This book did get dark, and I liked the many characters that seemed unreliable. I liked that the mystery behind the murders did not get resolved till the very end. It was enjoyable, but I wished that I were able to really get into this book, especially concerning Tessa. The friendship between Callie and Tessa was possibly the best part of this book. It was presented as a fragile, and broken. Callie and Tessa were completely different individuals, but most of all, Tessa failed to realize how much Callie was broken. Solving the murders of the Ohio River Monster brought the girls together. It was good. If you are looking for romance in this book, there is none.

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 1/2)

DNF: Wicked Like A Wildfire by Lana Popovic

wicked like a wildfire.jpgGoodreads Synopsis:

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

Commentary:

I TRIED READING THIS BOOK FOR OVER A MONTH. I AM FRUSTRATED WITH IT. BEAUTIFUL COVER. TRAGIC STORY.  (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━

So, Wicked Like A Wildfire by Lana Popovic has been difficult for me to read. I am not indicating the writing style or grammar, I can’t get into this book. It has been such as a ride. I attempted to read this book back in June…and July is almost over…

I can say that I give too many opportunities for books that I never really like. For example, The Beau and The Belle was HORRIBLE, and I finished it. As for Wicked Like A Wildfire, I couldn’t.

Iris is the MC, she is wild and cannot be contained. She is unnecessarily extra with her attitude towards her mother. She acts like a Queen Bee, and doesn’t give her mother a break. She has a twin sister named Malina, who is portrayed as the perfect child, whereas Iris is the rebellious one. Though the two girls are twins…it seems like they are strangers/roommates living together.

Though this book does have a murder…this book moves at a snail’s pace. It felt like nothing was happening with the characters or the attempt to resolve the conflict. All I know is that Iris and Malina, and their family are witches…they can’t do their magic in public life. They have to conceal their magic in order to blend with society. Iris has fallen for a tourist with a bad boy personality. She is romantically linked with the tourist, despite having major feelings for her best guy friend…

I honestly can’t remember much of what I read. I really had hopes for this book, but I should have read reviews, and I felt I wasted my time. 

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Other than that, the characters weren’t memorable. I love reading books about witches…but please consider not reading this one. There are other memorable books, but I don’t know why this book is getting a sequel to it. Not giving it a second chance. I’m done. (╬ಠ益ಠ)

Feel like reading a book about witches? I recommend Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova.

ARC: Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Darius The Great is Not Okay Goodreads Synopsis:

Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this unforgettable debut introduces a brilliant new voice in contemporary YA.

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understand that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.

Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.

Commentary:

tumblr_inline_niyn5ntHcI1ry72eo I received the arc for Darius The Great Is Not Okay when I attended Yallwest, all opinions are my own. tumblr_inline_niyn5ntHcI1ry72eo  ʕ灬→ᴥ←灬ʔ

I am trying to read as much as possible before going back to my fall semester of my senior year at university. I picked up Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram for my July book of the month. I was immediately drawn to the cover, the colors and details are by far my favorite.

Darius Kellner is a biracial teenager who suffers from depression. He fells outcasted in his school, and his family, especially by his father. Darius understands that he is not normal. He is a bit on the heavy side, nerdy, and doesn’t socialize with people. His father has his own ambitions for his son in order for Darius to fit in with the normal boys in school. In addition, Darius is a victim of being bullied often by the popular boys. I felt quite sad for Darius due his illness, and how it seem like nothing was going his way.

Darius also suffers from an identity crisis because he is biracial. Though he looks Persian on the outside, he is far more Americanized. Darius could hardly speak to his grandparents in Farsi. He feels socially awkward with his Persian family because he does not fit in, and mental illness is not spoken of. He compares himself with his younger sibling who speaks Farsi like the pro.

A family trip to Iran shakes Darius’s world. He is introduced to his mother’s homeland and experiences an overall change because of it. Due to unfortunate circumstances, Darius’s grandfather is slowing dying. The family trip is supposed to connect the family together, and bring Darius closer together to his Persian history. Darius experiences different events in his short trip abroad. He becomes best friends with Sohrab, who immediately accepts him, though Darius completely does not understand why. Darius feels he has multiple flaws, despite being surrounded by people who love and support him. (灬♥ω♥灬)

If you go into this book thinking it is a romance, that’s not the case. For me, I did feel that Darius had feelings for Sohrab because of their connection, and their trusting friendship. What stood out for me was the relationship between Darius and his father, Stephen Kellner. Though both have depression, each character handles their depression differently. Stephen Kellner expects Darius to be masculine, and be normal. He does not want his son to be a victim of bullying. There is miscommunication and tense conversations between Darius and his father. It was hard for both of them to come to an understanding. Another aspect that shone in the book was how older generations treat mental illness. Darius tried keeping his depression a secret from his grandparents. It is hard to communicate with family members when it comes to mental illness. This caused a lot of awkward moments.

The writing was quite interesting to say the least. I was not the biggest fan of the writing style, and it took me a while to get used to…and it honestly seemed there was going to be a romance between Darius and Sohrab. I was expecting it for the very last chapters of the book…and it left me disappointed. I would have loved if the author had explored Darius sexuality more. Some scenes did feel that Darius was flirting, but it was a bit frustrating that this never led anywhere. It also felt that Darius kept reminding readers that he is not fully Persian, nor will ever be. I understand his identity crisis, but it was a constant reminder in most chapters…it did get really annoying. (╬ Ò ‸ Ó)

Honestly, this was a fast read for me. Darius deserved the world and more, he was really sensitive, and he really needed love. Let’s say, I can relate with Darius when it comes to mental illness. It was good, but I am sure others will love it more than me. ٩(๑•◡-๑)۶ⒽⓤⒼ❤

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.75)

 

ARC: The Similars by Rebecca Hanover

the similars.jpg

Goodreads Synopis:

When six clones join Emmaline’s prestigious boarding school, she must confront the heartbreak of seeing her dead best friend’s face each day in class.

The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn’t care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver’s exact DNA replica and one of the Similars.

Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted…not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver’s face.

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Commentary

“Darkwood might be progressive, but your society on the whole has a long history of classifying people by their race or religion or sexual orientation or gender and using those classifications to subjugate particular groups. It is surprising that a bunch of small-minded government leaders think cloning is the first step onto a slippery slope of Armageddon and the demise of the human race as we know it?”

Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for The Similars for an honest review. All opinions are my own. This contains a lot of spoilers!

The main protagonist of The Similars is Emma Chance, who has a difficult time adjusting to her best friend’s suicide. Her school life changes when six clones are enrolled in her school. Though Emma does not have prejudice against the clones, there is one clone that stands out of the six. Levi is the clone of her best friend Ollie, and it shakes Emma’s world. It is clear that Emma is still processing the death of her friend, and having Levi at her school, does not allow her to heal mentally. She is reminded of Ollie, even though he is not alive. Though the physical similarities of Levi and Ollie are the same, their personalities are different. Emma goes through a wild school year with the Similars and the dark secrets in her school.

This world is an alternate future where clones barely have rights in the United States, and the rest of the world. This book reminds me of immigration due to the prejudice and discrimination that the Similars encounter. The subject of the book was the most unique aspect that I really liked, but as for the rest of the book, I didn’t like the execution.

I thought Emma Chance was an okay character. Emma is vulnerable, especially the scenes involving her getting emotional over Ollie.

“If I’ve learned anything these past few months since Oliver died, it’s that pills don’t take away your grief and pain on their own. They mask it, briefly. But it’s all worse when you emerge from the pharma haze and realize your best friend is still gone.”

Emma tries adjusting in her school year, and depends on medicine to get her by because the pain is raw. She loved Ollie, and as for Levi, she gives him a hard time. Levi’s presence makes it hard for Emma to move on because he is a reminder of what she lost. I have to admit, that Emma is lucky person given that she eavesdrops and uncovers so many secrets without getting caught. There were no high stakes in the book because Emma was able to get away without getting hurt. Emma’s curiosity leads her to ask many questions about the clones and her surroundings, but no one wants to reveal the truth.

As for Levi, he is a bookworm and treats Emma with some disdain. Emma mistreats and criticizes him, and he does not allow himself to be a pushover. It would have been great to know Ollie’s personality to compare the two. The romance of Emma and Levi was a slow burn, love hate relationship. Though I do want to categorize it into a insta-love relationship since Emma is drawn to Levi because of his similar appearance to Ollie. But, I was not amazed. I would have preferred no romance to be honest.

I felt that most of the clones had dull personalities. I hoped that the author does expand their personalities in the next book because it seemed like all of the similar were the same…just different names. Levi was the only one to have a personality, and I didn’t care for the other similars.

A lot of events of the book were highly predictable for me, and these are some of the reasons:

  • Mean girls and cliques…
  • Love triangle between Ollie, Emma, and Levi…
  • Petty drama and 20-year grudge…
  • The school using the clones for medical research…
  • Surprise…not really Ollie is alive
  • The clones were created to get revenge for this 20-year grudge…
  • It was obvious who the villain was at the halfway mark…
  • Emma is not she is…she in fact is a similar

This book tried being a lot of things…and left me unsatisfied. The twists and turn were too predictable. It was hard for me to read the book because I made a lot of guesses that came out being true. It was a bit frustrating to read, the world building could have been better, and I don’t want to pick up the next book.

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Publishing Date: January 1st 2019

Final Rating:  

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ARC: Furyborn by Claire Legrand

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goodreads-synopsis

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

commentaryHey guys, it has been nearly a year since I last wrote a book review. Sounds crazy? I know. I’ve been busy with my undergrad education and I occasionally read on the side, but didn’t have enough time to read as I used to. My finals are over, and I am attempting my first book review of the year. I have been reading a lot more, and felt inspired to write once again.

My good friend had an extra copy of Furyborn by Claire Legrand that she recieved in the Fairyloot Novemeber 2017 box. I traded her a couple books for it because I was highly looking forward to reading Furyborn. For my list of 2018 books, Furyborn was high on my list. I took Furyborn to the Philippines spring break vacation, but I never managed to pick it up. Returning to the States, and readjusting to my school schedule, I manange to find time to read Furyborn.

Darn it! I was hoping that Furyborn was going to have a lot of action and kickass female protagonists, but I am highly disappointed with what I read. Actually, extremely disappointed. I wanted to drop the book so badly.

What went wrong? Despite the prologue being the best written chapter in the book, it gave so many spoilers away! Especially concerning Rielle. The book is about two prophecized queens. One queen is told to bring destruction, whereas the other queen is the opposite. The prologue lets the reader know that Rielle is the Blood Queen. I wanted some buildup to this story. It sucks that as a reader, you know that Rielle becomes the queen to bring destruction to the world. In addition, the prologue gave away the connection Rielle has with Eliana despite the two characters living in two different time periods.

Which storyline was better? In Furyborn, there are two storylines to follow. One is Rielle and the past events that led to the decline of magic. She undergoes trials to prove that she is the Sun Queen, but you would already know that she becomes the Blood Queen. Reading her chapters were a bit frustrating because you know the fate of Rielle. You know that she will pass the trials and betray her people. I wanted to skip her chapters. Finally, the villain was revealed in the prologue! THERE WAS NO BUILDUP TO THIS STORY.  When it comes to Rielle, she is easily manipulated by those around her. She has the ability of all 7 powers in her kingdom. When Rielle starts hearing voices, she accepts doesn’t question it! Rielle converses with the voice in her head that happens to be a guy who she doesn’t know. Instead of worrying about her mental state, she falls in love with the voice…and converses with her new voice…and seeks advice from this voice…never having met this person….ugh. The story presents a frustrating love triangle in which Rielle is stuck between loving her childhood friend Prince Audric, and the voice in her head, Corien…I hated this love triangle so badly. 

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When it comes to Eliana’s pov, she was a frustrating character as well. She is known as The Dread of Orline. Eliana is supposed to be a badass assassin, but the story presents a character with wishy washy mentality. It was hard understanding the plot of Eliana’s chapters. I can’t take Eliana seriously. At least, I was spared from reading about a tedious love triangle. But once again, this story is filled with insta-love. The guy characters are not well developed. Prince Audric was okay. He was understanding of Rielle, and never questioned her motives. As for Simon, you find out who he is in the prologue as well. I would have placed the prologue near the end of the book to have a shocking revelation, but I guess that there is more to be told about Rielle later on in the series…

What Furyborn lack was introducing the folklore of the land. Angels are the villains of the book, and they have been locked behind a gate. But you don’t know what they did? This book hardly mentions the mythology, which would have been a great addition. I would have rated this book higher if I need more details about the angels. As for the magic system, everyone gets their power from the empirium, which is not explained. I’ll assume its an omnipresent power activator or a god that existed in the world. Where was the world buidling in this book? The stakes were high, but I did not find myself attached to the charactesrs.  Furyborn was a hot mess for me, and it is such as shame. The cover is gorgeous, the synoposis sounded amazing, but the delivery was not there. As for other books in the series, I might check out the following book to see what happens. Hopefully the author improves the story, but you can only hope.

Tokyo Tarareba Girls Vol. 1 by Akiko Higashimura

“I spent all my time wondering ‘what if,’ then one day I woke up and I was 33.” She’s not that bad-looking, but before she knew it, Rinko was thirty-something and single. She wants to be married by the time the Tokyo Olympics roll around in six years, but…that might be easier said than done! The new series by Akiko Higashimura erupts with sharp opinions on girls and tons of laughs!!

Add to Goodreads

When I heard that the creator of Princess Jellyfish had another manga she was working on, I had to check it out. Princess Jellyfish is an amazing manga that I fell in love with. I got Tokyo Tarareba Girls Volume 1 for free when I went to Anime Expo at the Book Walker booth. Unfortunately, Tokyo Tarareba Girls is only available as an ebook file for English readers. I would have to continue buying the ebook if I want to continue to read Tokyo Tarareba Girls, which I don’t mind. I would love having a physical copy of the book instead, but oh well. Also, there is a Japanese Drama adaptation.

biological clock ticking

Tokyo Tarareba Girls is extremely relatable for women that are getting older and have stayed single. The story’s protagonist is Rinko. She is a career woman that has not dated since her last boyfriend proposed to her ten years ago. She is 33 years old and realizes that her biological clock is ticking. Rinko has spent her life focused on herself and knows her youth is fading. She and her group of best friends gather to drink at a pub and complain about life and marriage.

When people want to set you up with someone

I found Tokyo Tarareba Girls to be a hilarious take on the pressures to get married by a certain age, especially if you are a woman. This manga tackles social norms of society. Society wants women to be a certain way. You have to settle down and have kids. Rinko knows that younger women in their 20s are her competition when it comes to dating and her career. Rinko is also pure of heart. She has the innocence of girl, though she is a woman. What I love about Tokyo Tarareba Girls is how anyone can read this manga and relate. The comedy was by far my favorite aspect of the story, especially the situations that Rinko was involved in. As for the love interest, I am really interested to see how it is going to be developed since the guy is younger than Rinko. I can’t wait to continue reading Tokyo Tarareba Girls because I see the potential in this story. I really want the story to focus on Rinko’s friends and their potential romances in further volumes!!

Feeling Hollow

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book Themed Wedding

I’ve mentioned on my blog that I married earlier this year. I wanted to share a few snapshots from my wedding. Though not all of them of course since those are dear to my heart. Ha ha. Prior to the wedding, I had several ideas for the theme. I was very indecisive when it came to it. Though I looked on Pinterest and wedding magazines, I was overwhelmed by all my choices! I changed my theme depending on season and color, but somehow I knew that those ideas I had were not for me. My sister-in-law became my wedding planner and coordinator, and she helped me decided on a book themed wedding. The answer was simple and right in front of me. A book themed wedding for a bookworm like me!

A book themed wedding was very simple and aesthetically pleasing. My favorite part during wedding planning was shopping for several thrift books to be centerpieces. Specifically hardcovers. I know that Etsy and Ebay sell books, but I found those books to be a tad for more expensive. I felt that books from thrift stores was far more inexpensive. As for my bouquet, my sister-in-law made it for me. I had a lot of tremendous help which I am thankful for to this day!

When it comes to locations and finding the dream place can often be quite pricey. Trust me, I’ve been to several wedding venues to find the place. I was more invested in finding the perfect venue for the reception rather than the church. My husband and I traveled a lot to find the venue. I felt we travelled all over Southern California. There were some places that did not seem costly, but in fact were tremendously expensive. We did settle for a banquet hall because it was more budget friendly than having it at a restaurant or a country club. As for banquet halls, we found our place in Panorama City, CA. I don’t want to stereotype, but I’ll stereotype: I am Mexican and I have a big family. I needed a place that was going to big enough for all my relatives, without it being too costly. Platinum Banquet Hall in was the most economically friendly for us. What sealed the deal was an all you can eat buffet for all the guests. My family and I love to eat, so a buffet had won our hearts! The Church was the easiest one to find! I fell in love with Congregational Church-UCC immediately. It was so beautiful on the inside. I loved how it had a vintage feel to it. Anyways, I am sure you want to see the pictures.

Locations: 

  1. Congregational Church-UCC
    • 9659 Balboa Blvd, Northridge, CA 91325
  2. Platinum Banquet Hall
    • 8704 Van Nuys Blvd, Panorama City, CA 91402

Photography: Cinestory Films

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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goodreads-synopsis

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

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I received Three Dark Crowns in my October Owlcrate box. I didn’t have an opportunity to read it back then, but I finally got around to reading it and well, it was an interesting story…Most people loved it, but I felt it was okay.

Alright, so Three Dark Crown is about three identical sisters who have been separated for years and each one has an equal claim to the throne. The catch is that only one can be queen, and the other two sisters have to be eliminated. Each sister has a unique magical gift, so the readers are led to believe. Mirabella is the strongest rival for the throne. She controls the elements, and she has a strong following of priestesses. Though she seems most likely to become queen, she cannot bring herself to depose of her sisters because she is the only one to have childhood memories of her two sisters. Then there is Katharine who is a poisoner. She can handle any poison…or so readers are led to believe. She’s the most fragile compared to the other two sisters. The poisoners group wasn’t well explained…but what I got is that before they (the poisoners) were healers. It makes sense. For example, removing poison from patients. Maybe I’m reading too into the book. Anyways, moving on. Lastly, there is Arsinoe who does not have a gift at all. She’s supposed to be a naturalist. A naturalist is someone who controls both plants and animals. She constantly admits to other characters that she won’t make it when it comes to the tournament.

The world building was weak. I had many thoughts when reading this book since the author didn’t explain much. There were references to the mainland, though the story takes place in the island of Fennbirn. All that I know is that the people of the mainland don’t have magical gifts. Other than that, I want to know if the islanders of Fennbirn were exiled into the island, and what type of mythology they have to explain the gifts. There were some references to a goddess, but the author didn’t elaborate on it. Yeah, I know I’m going a bit off topic, but I honestly want to know what type of world the characters are living in.

Moving on to the three queens. I was initially drawn to Katharine because she’s the most physically weak, but she’s sweet. I really liked how she started becoming more confident throughout the book. As I kept reading, I ended up liking Arsinoe much more than Katharine and Mirabella. Here are the reasons why Arsinoe is the best from the three sisters.

  1. She is very supportive of her best friend, Jules.
  2. She is hardworking
  3. She is tough and brave

Other than that, I wasn’t a big fan of Mirabella. Now, one of the most interesting characters is Jules. She’s the strongest naturalist on the island. I really love how Arsinoe respects her friend, and doesn’t have jealously at all. There is something special about Arsinoe, but I’ll just wait and see for the next book.

As much as I liked the book, it did have its faults.

  • Information overload during the beginning: Since there are multiple povs in this book, it took me a while to get used to all the characters. So many characters were introduced.
  • Weak world building
  • THE WORST LOVE TRIANGLE: I’m just going to leave this gif here…

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  • It was boring: I understand that this is the first book in the series, but there were several dull moments. A lot of flirting happened during most of the book. I felt the book focused a bit too much on the romance. I assumed the sisters were going to be far more scheming…but the minor characters took care of that. The book finally got exciting near the end with an awesome cliffhanger.

Three Dark Crowns had moments of creepiness, which I highly enjoyed. If you are in the mood for a spooky book, I’d say go with this one. Have patience for Three Dark Crowns…a lot of patience till you get to the second half. That cliffhanger was really good!!! After finishing the book, I’m not sure who will become the next queen. I’m not sure how many books will be in this series, but I am looking forward to the next installment.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️