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 // Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1) by Tara Sim

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25760792I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.

A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.

A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.

A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.Middle of Post Regal Divider

Oh my gosh. 😭😭😭

Everyone, I’m warning you beforehand: I’m not in a state where I can be coherent. I was up until 2:00 a.m. last night (a school night, no less) because I started reading this book and felt this visceral, desperate need to finish. And the feelings it gave me wasn’t something I was prepared to handle that late (or is it early?) a time, so I went to bed, stewing. And when I woke up, my thoughts immediately returned to this book, just to process everything that was happening.

And after a whole day, I’m still at a loss for words. And even though putting all these thoughts down is a struggle, I’ve started typing something – anything – because a book like this doesn’t deserve to go unacknowledged and the least I can do is write down a few things about it. Continue reading “Book Review // Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1) by Tara Sim”

Book Review // The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

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Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Abby knows it’s a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes.

Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique. She’s somehow managed to befriend Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro type who needs help in a project that involves eating burgers across L.A.’s eastside. Suddenly, she doesn’t feel like a sidekick. Is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story?

But when Jordi’s photography puts Abby in the spotlight, it feels like a betrayal, rather than a starring role. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image that other people have of her?

Is this just Abby’s summer of fashion? Or will it truly be The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles)?

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My Rating: ★★★ 1/2– 3.5 stars

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Everyone, this book was such a fun, cute read, that caught me entirely by unawares. I’ve never read a rom-com before (at least, not one that I remember – I know I’ve watched plenty though) so, being as averse to change as I am, I was a little on the fence about this book and I didn’t know if I would like it. Which, I know, I say about pretty much every book. And then my trepidation always ends up being unfounded and I end up liking those books a lot, which was exactly the case with this one. Continue reading “Book Review // The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding”

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”

ARC Review: The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi // A Fun Heist Novel with Six of Crows Vibes

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39863498Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

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My Rating: ★★★ 1/2 – 3.5 stars

I’m back! I got the flu and so fell off the face of the Earth for a few weeks, but I’m back!

And it would be very very bad if I broke my New Year’s resolution to post 10 times a month on this blog literally the first month of the New Year, so I decided to get my butt up and write this post. I was fortunate enough to get an ARC of this book – which releases today actually! – through BookishFirst. And without further ado, the review: Continue reading “ARC Review: The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi // A Fun Heist Novel with Six of Crows Vibes”