Posted in 5 Stars, Adult Fiction, Amazing Heroines, Book Reviews, Reviews

The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R. F. Kuang // Dark, Brutal, and My New Favorite

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Synopsis:

When 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.


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.

War doesn’t determine who’s right. War determines who remains.

The Poppy War is a book that’s set in a world based off the Second Sino-Japanese War. And like all wars, many of its realities are frightening. The world is developed so vividly and realistically through the brutalities and injustices mentioned that it’s never too hard to suspend your disbelief and lose yourself in the story.

And. This. Story. Doesn’t. Pull. Its. Punches. Continue reading “The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R. F. Kuang // Dark, Brutal, and My New Favorite”

Posted in 3.5 Stars, Book Reviews, Reviews, Young Adult Book Reviews

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


39863498Synopsis:

Set 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.


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”

Posted in 3 Stars, Book Reviews, Reviews, Young Adult Book Reviews

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater // I AM CONFUSION

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Synopsis:

From bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater, a gripping tale of darkness, miracles, and family. Saints. Miracles. Family. Romance. Death. Redemption.

Here is a thing everyone wants: A miracle.

Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.


My Rating: ★★★ – 3 stars

After much deliberation, I have decided that Maggie Stiefvater is a damn goddess.

The entire book had an ethereal atmosphere, with beautiful writing to accompany it. But I’m at war with myself, even as I write this review, because I’m trying to figure out how I feel about it.

Other than REALLY CONFUSED. Continue reading “All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater // I AM CONFUSION”

Posted in 3.5 Stars, Book Reviews, Reviews, Young Adult Book Reviews

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta // A Beautiful Book with a Beautiful Romance Between Genderqueer Characters

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Synopsis:

For Teodora DiSangro, a mafia don’s daughter, family is fate.

All her life, Teodora has hidden the fact that she secretly turns her family’s enemies into music boxes, mirrors, and other decorative objects. After all, everyone in Vinalia knows that stregas—wielders of magic—are figures out of fairytales. Nobody believes they’re real.

Then the Capo, the land’s new ruler, sends poisoned letters to the heads of the Five Families that have long controlled Vinalia. Four lie dead and Teo’s beloved father is gravely ill. To save him, Teo must travel to the capital as a DiSangro son—not merely disguised as a boy, but transformed into one.

Enter Cielo, a strega who can switch back and forth between male and female as effortlessly as turning a page in a book. Teo and Cielo journey together to the capital, and Teo struggles to master her powers and to keep her growing feelings for Cielo locked in her heart. As she falls in love with witty, irascible Cielo, Teo realizes how much of life she’s missed by hiding her true nature. But she can’t forget her mission, and the closer they get to the palace, the more sinister secrets they uncover about what’s really going on in their beloved country—and the more determined Teo becomes to save her family at any cost.


My Rating: ★★★ 1/2 – 3.5 stars

The Review:

Do you know what I hate? The stereotypical YA heroine. The one that’s stoic but badass and has a haunting past and is “destined to bring about change.”

Fortunately, Teodora di Sangro isn’t one of these heroines. Continue reading “The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta // A Beautiful Book with a Beautiful Romance Between Genderqueer Characters”

Posted in 3 Stars, 5 Stars, Amazing Heroes, Amazing Heroines, Book Reviews, Reviews, Tween Book Reviews

Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews feat. Crush and Amulet #1-2

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 TBR is suffering. But it’s okay, I enjoyed 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 romance in YA (because let’s face it, YA romance usually sucks).

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

  • Crush (Awkward #3) by Svetlana Chmakova
  • The Stonekeeper (Amulet #1) by Kazu Kibuishi
  • The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Amulet #2) by Kazu Kibuishi

And they were awesome! Especially Crush!

Continue reading “Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews feat. Crush and Amulet #1-2”

Posted in 3.5 Stars, Book Reviews, Reviews, Tween Book Reviews

Awkward (Awkward #1) by Svetlana Chmakova // Cute but Not As Good As Brave

23657454My Rating: ★★★ 1/2 – 3.5 stars


Synopsis:

Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids.

Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

On her first day at her new school, Penelope–Peppi–Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she’s already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the “nerder girlfriend.” How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!

Falling back on rule two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can’t help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he’s a member of her own club’s archrivals–the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!


The Review:

Compared to the second book in the series, this one is average. (Brave (the second book) is one of the best graphic novels I’ve read – honestly, it’s amazing READ IT NOW.) Awkward actually – well, the storyline is cliche. I got occasionally bored while reading it, but it was overall fun and a huge mood-lifter. Continue reading “Awkward (Awkward #1) by Svetlana Chmakova // Cute but Not As Good As Brave”

Posted in 2 Stars, Book Reviews, Reviews, Young Adult Book Reviews

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings #1) by Mackenzi Lee // Don’t Hurt Me, I Didn’t Like It! *hides*

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Image and Synopsis via Goodreads

★★– 2 stars


Synopsis:

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.


The Review:

Alright, now that a few weeks have passed and I finally forced myself to make time, I’m writing this review. And, as you can tell, I didn’t like the book.

There are reasons! So please hear me out before hunting me down and murdering me, because I’m aware this is a well-liked book. But there were also very big holes in the plot and the characters were…well, we’ll get into it.

Continue reading “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings #1) by Mackenzi Lee // Don’t Hurt Me, I Didn’t Like It! *hides*”