Book Review // Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

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“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”

Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex-girlfriend and best friend since childhood, Charlie.

As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.

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My Rating: ★★★★★– 5 stars

[Edit: I rewrote parts of this review, and changed some of my graphics.]

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I’ve read so many reviews of this book, lauding it for how profound it was, but I never could’ve guessed at how truly heartbreaking it is. Girl Made of Stars is like a punch to the gut – it leaves you feeling winded, gasping for breath, and ready to cry all at once.

Continue reading “Book Review // Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake”

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ARC Book Review // Aru Shah and the Song of Death (The Pandava Quartet #2) by Roshani Chokshi

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Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good.

But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone.

Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.

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My Rating: ★★★★★ – 5 stars

*I received an arc via Netgalley, which does not affect my opinion in any way.*

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Sequel syndrome. We’ve all heard of it. The dreaded disease that inflicts itself on most second novels in series, that makes them so terrible and all-around-bad that we’re ashamed to say we’ve even read it.

Suffering from sequel syndrome, this book is not. Continue reading “ARC Book Review // Aru Shah and the Song of Death (The Pandava Quartet #2) by Roshani Chokshi”

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”