Seven-Sided Spy by Hannah Carmack

seven sided spy.jpgGoodreads Synposis:

In the midst of the cold war, the CIA’s finest and most fatal female agent, Diana Riley, vanishes. Kidnapped by the KGB and taken to the backcountry of North Carolina, she and her team of unsavory partners are forced to undergo illegal experimentation.

But, when the experiments leave them horribly deformed and unable to reenter society without someone crying monster, the previously glamorous and high-maintenance spies must escape KGB captivity and avoid recapture at the hands of Nikola, a ruthless KGB agent with an intense and well-justified grudge against her former flame.

flower border

Commentary:

Historical Fiction is my favorite genre, I don’t read as much anymore, but I get highly invested in periodic pieces. So, this is a LATE review…I was asked to review this book way back in 2017…like I said…I have been busy with my job and school, I don’t get many opportunities to really take the time and blog. So, here is a short and ranty review.

side eye.gif

Initially, I thought this was going to be an epic spy drama set in the Cold War Era. I agreed to review this book because of the synopsis. The author really sold her pitch. This has been the weirdest book I’ve read in early 2018.

I don’t know how to explain it to you….I didn’t even know what I read. This was definitely a spy drama. It involved government experimenting, and mutations…a lesbian relationship, and hardly any action.

So, the romantic relationships were random..and not well thought out. There was a love/hate relationship between Diana and the Russian Nikola. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the women..nor did I suspect that they had a history with each other. The relationship wasn’t fleshed out. Nor was the other one between the interracial couple.

Seven Sided Spy had far less action…the stakes were high, but it took me a good WHILE to finish this book. This book was not as how I imagined it to be. There were some creative choices that hindered this book from being a 3 star for me. I have no idea who this book is aimed for, what audience? Even to this day, I am still confused about what I read, and can’t understand the rave reviews for this story. The plot is confusing, and the synopsis makes the book seem far more exciting, when that is far from the truth. This book was a choice…

choices

Final Rating: ⭐⭐

ARC: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

blood rose rebellion.jpg

goodreads-synopsis

The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

he-he1

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me an ARC of Blood Rose Rebellion. All opinions are my own.

Let’s talk about Blood Rose Rebellion. What a book. I literally don’t have any words to describe this one. My first warning sign should have been for fans of Red Queen, but I did not want to immediately judge the book. I was in the mood for historical fiction. I saw Blood Rose Rebellion on NetGalley and it had a unique synopsis. Now, I’ve never read a YA fantasy/historical fiction book set during the Hungarian Revolution. It was something new. Something exciting. Something fresh. Blood Rose Rebellion was not. Well, once again I have no words to describe how I about this book.

What I appreciate is that the author took a lot of time educating herself with Hungarian history. Kudos to her. But though her hard work was put into her book, I cannot say this book was terrific. It was very underwhelming.

Anna Arden is manipulated easily. People tell her what to do and she does it! She does not think for herself! Throughout the whole story, she was manipulated by her peers and friends. It was frustrating reading about a character who could not make up her own mind. She was foolish when to came to deciding on who was right or wrong. She did not take time to analyze the situations presented to her. I really had a difficult time warming up to Anna because she was so reckless and destructive to everyone around her.

Folks: EVERY DECISION ANNA MADE RESULTED IN HORRIBLE EVENTS TAKING PLACE!

A lot of tragedy could have been avoided if the girl had used her reason. Besides having a puppet mentality, she was driven to do certain things because of boys. Not saying that being boy crazy is a bad thing, but she put any guy she liked on a pedestal over her family. In the beginning she is head over heels for a man named Freddy. Though Freddy is a jerk and an irrelevant love interest, Anna would do anything for Freddy. She even sabotaged her sister’s magical debut. I found myself not liking the relationship Anna had with her sister. No sisterly love whatsoever. Instead, both sisters competed for a guy who did not chose either of them. As I mentioned Freddy is irrelevant compared to the other love interests.

Talk about boring love interests. By the way, one of Anna’s love interests is her second cousin. So yeah, there’s incest in this book. I was not a fan of both love interests. The love interests were not fleshed out. It seemed like all the boys were attracted to Anna, and I was shaking my head. No, no, no, no. Another case of a special snowflake that everyone loves, but I just hated. The romance was pointless because the guy characters were as bland as toast. Neither guy was great for Anna. And she was not great for them.

Many characters are introduced throughout the book. Luckily there was a glossary at the end of the book that served as a reference guide when I felt lost. The only likable characters from Blood Rose Rebellion were her cousin Noemi and her grandmother who were the voices of reason. Those two characters wanted to keep Anna in check from committing dumb decisions. Yeah, they tried in keeping her safe, but did not succeed. Unfortunately.

By the way, this book starts off really slowly. Nothing was happening and then everything became extremely dark near the end. The book had great concepts such as introducing demonic monsters and incorporating true historical events into the story. The mythology was cool as well just because it was new to me. But even though all those story elements were great, it did not work with Blood Rose Rebellion. Too much information and explanations that dragged on and on. Oh my goodness, I had to put this book down several times. I felt that I was mostly skimming through some of the chapters.

The most entertaining sections were the overly dark chapters that were added too late into the game. After reading Blood Rose Rebellion, I am not picking up the other books in the series. I can see potential of more books, but after reading this book with no plot and flat characters, and a pointless romance, I would just stop and move on with my life. I did not like it, but maybe anyone else will.

Final Rating:⭐️⭐️

Why I Dropped The Empress Of China (Drama)

Hey, and good day! In all the years of blogging, I have not reviewed an Asian drama yet on this blog. I occasionally watch Asian dramas, mostly Korean and Japanese. I’ve never watched a Chinese drama until now. The Empress of China has been on my radar for a couple years, and I finally decided to watch it. I made it halfway through the drama and let’s just say that I am highly disappointed.

Alright, this drama is based on the first and only female emperor, not empress, of China. Her name was Wu Zetian. I haven’t had the chance to read any historical books on her, and I’ve only watched a documentary based on her life. I’m not an expert on her biography, but she is an interesting historical character. From what I’ve learned, she was suppose to be evil and cruel as described by historians. Clearly, she’s painted in a bad light. She’s also a controversial figure.

empress of china.jpg

With a title like The Empress of China, I expected that the drama was going to focus on her Wu Zetian’s reign as emperor. This drama is very  long, and it’s not till the very end of the drama when she finally gets that position. I made it to episode 54 and then I skipped to the last episode. At first, I didn’t mind the length, but I wanted Wu Zetian to become an emperor already. I can understand why some time was spent on her concubine days, but I had enough.  Most of the drama was filler and it focused on the relationships Wu Zetian has with both emperors. The drama focuses a lot on her time as a concubine rather than her reign…which is rather unfortunate.

Now, I would call this drama something else: Scheming Concubines would be a far more accurate name for this drama. So the emperor’s consorts are so evil towards each other and to the concubines. Wu Zetian is a special snowflake for most of the drama. She is clever and intelligent, good and kind, and she is overall perfect in the eyes of the emperor. The other concubines are extremely jealous of her. Wu Zetian is a victim and most of the time the other women are trying to kill her. Though Wu Zetian is not alone in her struggle. She has a best friend named  But because she is so perfect, it causes jealously towards  This drama is far more fictional and it focuses far more on the romance. I’ve read this this drama was very costly to produce, and it is one of China’s most expensive dramas, but was this drama any good?

The beginning was entertaining, but I felt it became repetitive for me. Far too much time was spent of Wu Zetian the concubine than Wu Zetian the emperor. What I really liked about this drama was the costumes. The gorgeous costumes everyone was wearing. Absolutely amazing. This drama is very pleasing towards the eyes, but the storyline kills me.

empress of china costumes.jpg

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️ (2.5)

T5W: Gateway Books For Historical Fiction

Top 5 Wednesday was created by GingerReadsLainey and has passed down the torch to Sam from Thought On Tomes, our current host for T5W.  Go join the group on Goodreads. °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

rem.gif

This week’s topic is Gateway Books. I mostly review Young Adult on my blog, but one of my favorite book genres is historical fiction. I’m a history major, and I’m a sucker for historical fiction. Trust me. When someone asks for a book recommendation, I will recommend these five books. You’ll need tissues for all these books. Here are my picks:

  1. Snow Flower and The Secret Fan by Lisa See –  This book has a special place in my heart since it was the first book I’ve purchased from Barnes and Noble when it came out. I read it in one sitting. I cried. The friendship is strong in this book.
  2. Honolulu by Alan Brennert- Honolulu was such a such a lovely read. The main character was strong and she endured so much! It has a happy ending, but I did shed a couple  of tears when I read it.
  3. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini  My english teacher from high school let me borrow her copy of A Thousand Splendid Sun. This is the book that destroyed me. I read it in a day and I was bawling my eyes out. Just thinking about it, makes me feel a bit sad.
  4. In The Time Of The Butterflies by Julia Alvarez -This is a powerful tale about sisters who rebelled against the Trujillo dictatorship. I loved reading each pov and it was beautifully written.
  5. Atonement by Ian Mcewan – The movie and the book had me crying. It takes place in one of my favorite eras which is during WWII. I kept picturing the cast of the movie when I read the book.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Love But Haven’t Talked About In A While

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. If you want to join, please check out the blog!!

sawako.gif

This weeks theme is Books I Love But Haven’t Talked About In A While. Usually I talk about the same books all the time such as the Lunar Chronicles, Harry Potter, The Wrath and The Dawn, The Winner’s Trilogy, and so on! These books on my list are part of my favorite books, and its a darn shame that I don’t talk about it here on my blog! I recommend all my books on my list, and most of them happen to be historical fiction.

  1. A Thousand Splendid Suns – After 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and with four million copies of The Kite Runner shipped, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today.Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

    Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them—in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul—they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

    A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

  2. Honolulu – The story of a young immigrant bride in a ramshackle town that becomes a great modern city

    “In Korea in those days, newborn girls were not deemed important enough to be graced with formal names, but were instead given nicknames, which often reflected the parents’ feelings on the birth of a daughter:  I knew a girl named Anger, and another called Pity.  As for me, my parents named me Regret.”

    Honolulu is the rich, unforgettable story of a young “picture bride” who journeys to Hawai’i in 1914 in search of a better life.

    Instead of the affluent young husband and chance at an education that she has been promised, she is quickly married off to a poor, embittered laborer who takes his frustrations out on his new wife. Renaming herself Jin, she makes her own way in this strange land, finding both opportunity and prejudice. With the help of three of her fellow picture brides, Jin prospers along with her adopted city, now growing from a small territorial capital into the great multicultural city it is today.  But paradise has its dark side, whether it’s the daily struggle for survival in Honolulu’s tenements, or a crime that will become the most infamous in the islands’ history…

    With its passionate knowledge of people and places in Hawai’i far off the tourist track, Honolulu is most of all the spellbinding tale of four women in a new world, united by dreams, disappointment, sacrifices, and friendship.

  3. Peony In Love – “I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to passion; in autumn only regret.”For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few females have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony is the cloistered daughter of a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own.

    Peony’s mother is against her daughter’s attending the production: “Unmarried girls should not be seen in public.” But Peony’s father assures his wife that proprieties will be maintained, and that the women will watch the opera from behind a screen. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a cave–and is immediately overcome with emotion.

    So begins Peony’s unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrow–as Lisa See’s haunting new novel, based on actual historical events, takes readers back to seventeenth-century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed.

    Steeped in traditions and ritual, this story brings to life another time and place–even the intricate realm of the afterworld, with its protocols, pathways, and stages of existence, a vividly imagined place where one’s soul is divided into three, ancestors offer guidance, misdeeds are punished, and hungry ghosts wander the earth. Immersed in the richness and magic of the Chinese vision of the afterlife, transcending even death, Peony in Love explores, beautifully, the many manifestations of love. Ultimately, Lisa See’s new novel addresses universal themes: the bonds of friendship, the power of words, and the age-old desire of women to be heard.

  4. Fahrenheit 451 – The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

    The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

    Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.

  5. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan – In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men.As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.
  6. In The Time Of The Butterflies – Set during the waning days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1960, this extraordinary novel tells the story the Mirabal sisters, three young wives and mothers who are assassinated after visiting their jailed husbands.From the author of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents comes this tale of courage and sisterhood set in the Dominican Republic during the rise of the Trujillo dictatorship. A skillful blend of fact and fiction, In the Time of the Butterflies is inspired by the true story of the three Mirabal sisters who, in 1960, were murdered for their part in an underground plot to overthrow the government. Alvarez breathes life into these historical figures–known as “las mariposas,” or “the butterflies,” in the underground–as she imagines their teenage years, their gradual involvement with the revolution, and their terror as their dissentience is uncovered.

    Alvarez’s controlled writing perfectly captures the mounting tension as “the butterflies” near their horrific end. The novel begins with the recollections of Dede, the fourth and surviving sister, who fears abandoning her routines and her husband to join the movement. Alvarez also offers the perspectives of the other sisters: brave and outspoken Minerva, the family’s political ringleader; pious Patria, who forsakes her faith to join her sisters after witnessing the atrocities of the tyranny; and the baby sister, sensitive Maria Teresa, who, in a series of diaries, chronicles her allegiance to Minerva and the physical and spiritual anguish of prison life.

    In the Time of the Butterflies is an American Library Association Notable Book and a 1995 National Book Critics Circle Award nominee.

  7. Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World – ‘A narrative particle accelerator that zooms between Wild Turkey Whiskey and Bob Dylan, unicorn skulls and voracious librarians, John Coltrane and Lord Jim. Science fiction, detective story and post-modern manifesto all rolled into one rip-roaring novel, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is the tour de force that expanded Haruki Murakami’s international following. Tracking one man’s descent into the Kafkaesque underworld of contemporary Tokyo, Murakami unites East and West, tragedy and farce, compassion and detachment, slang and philosophy.’
  8. Flowers For Algernon – With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie’s intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance–until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?
  9. Where The Red Fern Grows – A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn. Little Ann had the brains, and Billy had the will to make them into the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. Where the Red Fern Grows is an exciting tale of love and adventure you’ll never forget.
  10. The Outsiders – According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.

 

Risuko by David Kudler: Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis: Can one girl win a war?

My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.

Risuko.

Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan — or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.

Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.

Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn’t possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?

YOUNG ADULT HISTORICAL ADVENTURE

Commentary: This book is available as Read Now on NetGalley.

When I saw this book on NetGalley, I just knew I had to pick it up! The synopsis is what won me over and I love the cover.

This book was an excellent introduction to the series, it was very entertaining. Risuko is sold from her family, not out of spite, but for Risuko’s own good. Along the way, Risuko learns about the politics in her country, and there are hints of the war to come.

Risuko focuses on the journey of the protagonist. If you are expecting a romance, this is not the book for you. This book is about Risuko’s personal growth and accepting her faith as a kunochi. A kunochi is a female ninja. What I loved about this book was that the author researched his topic. I really liked that there was a glossary at the end of the book, served as a good reference guide. Another aspect that I loved was the school at Mochizuki. I loved how the women from the school had to undergo miko training before becoming a kunochi.

Risuko is a great character! I loved her misadventures and I love the way that her character stayed consistent throughtout the book. I was hoping that she and Lieutenant Masugu were going to develop feelings for each other. I can still hope that happens in the second book. Now as for the villain, I’ve seen my good share of anime, and when that character revealed, I was right.

I really thought Risuko was going to be young adult, but it is more of a middle grade book. Not that I have a problem with it, but the protagonist is much younger than I’d imagine her to be. Secondly, I thought that the war was going to play a major role in this book, but that’s not the case. I’ll keep my hopes up for the sequel. Also the length was too short! I would have liked it much more if there were more chapters!

I love learning about Japanese history, and this book was welldone. By the time I finished the book, I was sad. Why is that? Well, I want to read the second book already! This book gets published all the way in June, and I’m buying my physical copy when it comes out. I am hoping that the sequel gives backstories on certain characters. This book was fast pace and I really liked the author’s writing style.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Release Date: June 15th 2016

November Uppercase Box

I really wanted to try a subscription box out and I know that there are many out there. I did some research on the boxes before I ended up purchasing one. Uppercase is a monthly book subscription, you can renew every month or purchase any other plans depending on what you want. I ended up getting the Expert Box which seems to be the most popular one. Anyways, I made a video of my unboxing!!!

 

The BookWolf by Wolf book cover

Goodreads Synopsis: Code Name Verity meets Inglourious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

Look at all the neat things I got! I can’t wait for December’s box!!

Processed with VSCO with a1 preset

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley: Book Review

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.

Gorgeously written and based on the Brontës’ juvenilia, Worlds of Ink & Shadow brings to life one of history’s most celebrated literary families.

Commentary: I received this book on NetGalley to review!! This is my honest opinion on this book!

Overall, this book was very fun to read. I liked how the siblings created their worlds that they could alter by being in the story. Seriously, they would jump inside their stories! How cool is that! From the beginning, Charlotte and Branwell are very competitive when it comes to writing. Charlotte pays careful attention to the plot of her story and alters any mistakes immediately while Branwell goes with the flow and has very little control on the story’s plot. In Verdopolis, Charlotte often disguises herself as Zamorna’s younger brother while Branwell has an alter ego and lives out his life as freely as he wants too. Anne and Emily are allowed to read the stories, but are not permitted to enter Verdopolis. Emily resents her older siblings, but she does not understand the price her siblings paid for their abilities.

Now, what I really like about the book is that each sibling has a unique personality trait. Charlotte is the perfectionist, Branwell is arrogant, Emily is romantic, and Anne is the quiet genius. If I had to choose my favorite sibling, it would be Emily because she is the most unpredictable and emotional. Emily is the hopeless romantic with a wild imagination, and I really enjoyed her chapters. I also liked how close she was with Anne. Anne is my second favorite character! Anne is really clever and loves her siblings dearly. Even though Charlotte is the oldest sibling, Anne is the wisest and the most responsible. Leave it to Anne to save the day! ٩(๑❛ワ❛๑)و

I did find the book to be a bit creepy at times especially when the siblings were being haunted by some of the characters they created. Charlotte and Branwell experienced the worst of it. They couldn’t abandon their writings otherwise Old Tom would torment them. Charlotte was being haunted by a twisted version of her older sister Maria while Branwell was haunted by his least favorite sibling Elizabeth. I did find it sad how Branwell only wanted to see Maria instead of Elizabeth. ( ˃̶͈ ̯ ̜ ˂̶͈ˊ ) ︠³

There is romance in this book and no love triangles! There is only one couple though there is supposed to be two couples. Emily and Rogue get together while the other couple does not. I liked how their relationship was built up. At first, I thought Emily was attracted to the Duke, as I kept reading, it was revealed that she has always been in love with the bad boy. Emily was a bit foolish with her actions, but she saw something in Rogue that the others did not see. I love how Rogue started slowly falling for her as well! At first, Rogue felt indifference towards her and almost killed her and by the end of the book, he wanted to protect her.

As for the villain, I was not surprised when the big revelation came. There were tiny hints that the villain was not created like the rest of the characters in Verdopolis. From the moment he was introduced, I knew he was going to play a major role in story and I was right. The villain was more of trickster than someone malevolent and evil. Now, the book could have been better if there were epic fighting scenes against the villain, but that was not the case. The ending was really bittersweet. ᵟຶᴖ ᵟຶ

What I did dislike was the writing style, but I did enjoy the story! I wished it could have been a bit longer. Also, I wished there was more action scenes because this book hardly had none. Lastly, I wish Charlotte and Zamorna had more scenes together since Emily and Rogue’s relationship did overshadow theirs. Other than that, this was a very fast read and I enjoyed it! o(*≧□≦)o

Available January 5th, 2016

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

 

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski: Book Review

“You don’t, Kestrel, even though the god of lies loves you.”

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love… 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Commentary: Oh my gosh! This book was so good! There is so much I want to discuss! First of all, this book is very political and complex. The book starts off several years after the Herran War. The Valorians were the winners of the war and forced the Herrani into slavery.

Kestrel Trajan, what a character. She isn’t your typical fighter, she’s a strategist. She is cunning, smart, manipulative, and caring. She is the General’s daughter and is constantly pressured into joining the military for her skills. Her father sees how much good she can bring to the empire if she joins. One of my favorite scenes, had to be when Kestrel won her duel against Irex when she blackmailed him, even though he was far more superior when it came to fighting. Kestrel doesn’t want to be in the military, she wants her own independence. She is far more compassionate towards the slaves compared to any other Valorians.

Arin, is a slave and spy. He is just as intelligent as Kestrel. He works under Cheat, the leader of the Herran Revolution. He and Kestrel have a complicated relationship. They think they know what is best for each other. It did feel that both of them kept playing a game to get the upper hand in their relationship. What I really appreciate about this story is that both protagonists don’t instantly fall in love with each other. Their love slowly grows and I love the theme of forbidden love so much. I loved how much he tried protecting Kestrel. He protected her from taking the poison, he protected her from Cheat’s advances, and he protected her from becoming a slave. Secondly, I loved the two alternating pov. (۶ꈨຶꎁꈨຶ )۶ʸᵉᵃʰᵎ

Praise the Lord! No love triangles! Sorry Ronan! Kestrel and Arin are perfect for each other. Ronan tries really hard to gain her affections, but she always ignores him and falls for Arin instead.  ੧| ‾́︶ ‾́ |੭

I did not like Cheat at all. He was corrupt and creepy. I, for one, am glad that he is dead.  Man, he was definitely my least like character next to Irex.

Kestrel and Arin have conflicting ideals, and they have to overcome their issues. Arin wants his people to become a nation, while Kestrel doesn’t want any more deaths for both sides. While reading, I felt sad for the people who suffered on both sides. I was rooting for the rebels to take back their lands. I was not that ending of the book! It was so good!!! I was shocked that the she was forced into a loveless marriage, just so the Arin and his people would have their independence, but at a price. I am really excited to see what’s in store for the second book cause I am hooked!! ╰(◉ᾥ◉)╯

Quotes: 

“Arin smiled. It was a true smile, which let her know that all the others he had given her were not.”

“The truth can deceive as well as a lie.”

“My soul is yours”, he said. “You know that it is.”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon: Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis: What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he’s a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.

Commentary: I won Illusionarium at the Epic Reads tent. They were giving out ARCs of many books. I fell in love with the cover in contrast to the other book I won. I haven’t read an arc since last year, so I was beyond excited. This is my honest opinion, for anyone interested in this book. This book did not remind me of The Night Circus at all, I felt that this story was better than that. Jonathan Gouden, the protagonist, was one of my favorite characters. Though some of his actions were quite idiotic, he won my heart. I loved his comments (there are footnotes on certain pages). He was determined to get to find the cure, no matter the cost. The beginning was a bit confusing, but as I kept reading, the story made more sense. There wasn’t much romance as I thought there was going to be. I feel the cover is a bit misleading, I felt that romance was going to be a big part of the story, which it isn’t. As beautiful as the cover is, I hope it gets a new one. This story focused more on Jonathan and the journey he had to take to make things right. I did feel some parts were rushed in the book. One moment Jonathan couldn’t illusion and next moment, he becomes almost like a master when illusioning. Captain Lockwood was an amazing character. I really shipped him and Anna (parallel version of Jonathan’s sister: Hannah). When he was first introduced, I was a bit annoyed at his attitude, but I grew to love the daring warrior. I liked the villain from the story. I liked how it was revealed that she wasn’t who you thought she would be. I don’t want to spoil much, but I loved this book.The actions scenes did move a bit too quick, but I enjoyed reading it. I loved the bromance between Jonathan and Lockwood, their friendship was the best. The ending ended on a happy note. This book was such a quick read for me, and it was refreshing. I do feel this book is geared more toward a younger audience. It felt more middlegrade to me than young adult. I do recommend this book.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Release Date: 05/19/15