Book Review // Aquicorn Cove by Kate O’Neill

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When Lana and her father return to their seaside hometown to help clear the debris of a storm, the last thing she expects is to discover a colony of Aquicorns—magical seahorse-like residents of the coral reef. As she explores the damaged town and the fabled undersea palace, Lana learns that while she cannot always count on adults to be the guardians she needs, she herself is capable of finding the strength to protect both the ocean, and her own happiness.

 

 

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My Rating: ★★★★ – 4 stars

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Ever since I’ve read The Tea Dragon Society and Princess Princess, both by Kate O’Neill, I fell in love with O’Neill’s art style and the stories she told. Both The Tea Dragon Society and Princess Princess were filled with these adorable illustrations and wonderful, light fantasy elements along with LGBT+ rep that just felt so wholesome and natural. Aquicorn Cove was no exception to this trend. It wrapped a touching story about a girl finding her voice with the more serious topic of how we need to save our oceans and how even a small village can help. Continue reading “Book Review // Aquicorn Cove by Kate O’Neill”

Book Review [Rewritten] // The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R. F. Kuang

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35068705When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

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**Quick note: I’ve rewritten parts of this review and given it some updated graphics. Hope you all enjoy. 🙂

My Rating: ★★★★★ – 5 stars

TWs: violence (a LOT – please don’t take this lightly), classism, racism, rape (not actually described, but extremely graphic descriptions of horrors leading up to it), animal death and cruelty, drug use and addiction, self-harm (by main character), sexism, death (very graphic descriptions of it), maiming

This is a very brutal and very dark book. Please make sure you’re in the right head-space to read this. These are all the trigger warnings I found, but I know this list is incomplete, so I recommend checking both Melanie’s and Fadwa’s reviews to see more complete lists of trigger warnings.

Thanks to The Poppy War, I got an average of three hours of sleep over the course of two days. Because I made a mistake. That mistake was reading the first few pages the day before I had to take two tests, turn in a bunch of homework, and try not to die. And then I added reading this book to the pile because it was so. Amazingly. Addicting. And thus the aforementioned lack of sleep happened.

So. It appears I have a new favorite book.

Continue reading “Book Review [Rewritten] // The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R. F. Kuang”

Book Review // The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo #1) by F.C. Yee

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30116958Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code.

But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tale and penchant for peaches.

Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance.

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My Rating: ★★★★ – 4 stars

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After attempting to start this review many different ways, and deleting every single one of them, I’m going to start this with the only way I seem to be capable of:

*claps very loudly*

I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. In fact, I expected to be kept vaguely interested throughout the story, but not really get involved in it.

But guess what happened?? My expectations did not become a reality, and I could not be happier! <– The one time I’ll ever say this. Continue reading “Book Review // The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo #1) by F.C. Yee”

Mini-Reviews // The Stonekeeper (Amulet #1) and The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Amulet #2) by Kazu Kibuishi

As I said before, I’ve been in a graphic novel mood this month and I don’t regret a thing!! Even if not one of them was on my TBR! (I regret it a little actually, my poor TBR is suffering.) But it’s okay, I liked them! 🙂 They were all middle-grade, which might be why I enjoyed them so much. Middle-grade fiction is the best, mostly because they usually avoid the pesky, cringey romances of YA.

Anyway, I read these two books in one day. Which normally I’d consider impressive, but they were graphic novels so they took much less time to read. The books were:

  • The Stonekeeper (Amulet #1) by Kazu Kibuishi
  • The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Amulet #2) by Kazu Kibuishi

And I enjoyed them! Very much

Continue reading “Mini-Reviews // The Stonekeeper (Amulet #1) and The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Amulet #2) by Kazu Kibuishi”