Author Interview: R. F Kuang talks about her best selling debut, The Poppy War.

If you guys don’t already know, i loved The Poppy War by R. F Kuang. It was one of the best books  i have read in a while, and now has a place amongst my favorite books ever.

So, I was so excited when given the opportunity to interview Rebecca. I hope this interview answers some of your questions about the book if you are planning on reading it, or if you already have!

1. The Poppy War was inspired by The Second Sino Japanese War and the events that took place such as the Rape of Nanjing. Was this book the product of the fact that you wanted more people to be educated about such events?

Partly, yes.

2. Rin is such a well written character! Was she based on a certain historical figure? Were some of her experiences, especially at Sinegard, taken from your own life?

Rin is based on Mao Zedong–at least in trajectory, if not in personality. She’s a peasant nobody on the up and up. No spoilers for Book Three.
Rin and I don’t have very much in common. I’ve definitely had a much easier life. I’ve certainly dealt with sexism, racism, and classism at elite educational institutions, but never in such overt and devastating forms. I’d like to think I also have better anger management.

3. This book doesn’t really have any romance. Why did you decide  not to include any romance? Will there be any in the second book?

I’d argue that there actually is romance, it just doesn’t follow conventional storylines, nor does it overshadow the rest of the plot. Rin’s definitely not aromantic or asexual. She has strong romantic or sexual feelings towards a variety of characters–see Altan, Nezha, the Empress, etc. They’re not necessarily reciprocated.

4. Reading about Altan was so heartbreaking. But it’s so realistic.  Was he also inspired by a historical figure or was he something you created? Was it difficult to write about some of the things he went through?

I’m not answering any questions about Altan, sorry.

Ok, rapid fire:

Ship or No:

* Rin  &  Altan – Haha
* Nezha &  Kitay – Oh, definitely not.

*One YA book you would recommend as a must read-

GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE! It come out on November 6 th

*Your favorite  read this year-

Definitely N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy

*Most anticipated 2019 release-

Way too many to count. Pop over to my Twitter–I recently asked for a roundup of works by Asian writers coming out next year and I’m excited for all of them! I try to review books by Asian writers the week they come out, and you can find all my writeups and Q&As over at Journey2theBEST.wordpress.com!

Thank you so much, Rebecca for agreeing to do this!

BOOK BOYFRIENDS: The lucky few who have won my heart.

So, as bookworms, especially those of YA, i think having a crush on a fictional character is probably something you’ve experienced with pretty much every book you’ve read and loved.

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I am not going to lie, there have been so many times when all i wanted was to be the person they were in love with. Especially the ones that are cold and cruel at first but then… slowly start to soften up. Then there is absolutely no doubt about it- i am probably going to spend the next few hours post-reading the book, fantasizing about them. I am not even embarrassed.

So without further ado, here are the men that have won my heart:

1.KAZ BREKKER:

If you don’t know who he is, i recommend that you stop reading this immediately and pick up a copy of Six of Crows. If you have already read it, who are you kidding? I am pretty sure you’re already in love with him and THAT QUOTE! That quote killed you. Admit it.

The reason I loved this romance and all of the romance in this book really, was that it was not overdone. It was realistic. Every Kaz and Inej moment had me breathless, and I am usually not the biggest fan of majority of the romance in books. Kaz truly has my heart, and I can’t wait to see where the third book takes him.

2. WILLIAM DARCY

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Ah, Mr. Darcy. He probably inspired a lot of book boyfriend memes as well as a lot of male love interests. His intial behavior towards Elizabeth and cruel remarks are probably not the best introduction, but towards the end… I was totally in love.His botched proposal, saving the day at the end and his overall improved behavior, makes him just that much hotter.

I think Elizabeth Bennet is one of the fictional characters i related to the most, and her and Darcy are a couple i wholeheartedly ship.

*Also i think BBC’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is probably the best. Colin Firth as Darcy was perfect

3. PETER KAVINSKY

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Yeah, i know. Peter Kavinsky is everybody’s boyfriend. He is a cliche of the “popular guy that is not everything he seems at first thing”. But i can’t help it. Like millions of others out there in the world i am in love with Peter Kavinsky. I mean Lara Jean totally doesn’t deserve him. I do.

 

4. GILBERT BLYTHE

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Gilbert Blythe was probably one of my first crushes ever. He was so…perfect. Smart, funny, loyal and just so romantic. Also, very important, handsome.

We all need a Gilbert in our lives.

 

SO WHAT ABOUT YOU GUYS? WHO ARE YOUR BOOK BOYFRIENDS OR GIRLFRIENDS? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.

 

Review: A Muse Of Nightmares ( Strange the Dreamer #2)

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“For an instant, at least, they seemed one and the same, as though all anguish exists in the same deep well, no matter what loss or misfortune leads us to it. We might be at odds, hate each other, and desired each others destruction, but in our despair, we are lost in the same darkness, breathing the same air as we choke on our grief.”

I honestly can’t think of the appropriate words to describe my feelings after reading this book. It is an absolute masterpiece. I don’t think that i have ever read a book that left me reeling, like this did. There are books that after i was finished i was left in shock by the plot twists and all the drama. This was not one of those books. After finishing it, i felt like i was in love. All i could think about was this book and how i never would be able to get over it. At some points I just wanted to go rip my heart out of my chest, because it is so full of emotions and feelings and other things i can’t even describe.
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This book starts right where Strange the Dreamer left off, with the fates of Sarai and the people of Weep being in the hands of Minya. If Lazlo wishes to be with Sarai, then he must be willing to let the people of Weep face Minya’s fury.
The first book, was mostly the story of Lazlo and Sarai and the world as they saw it. However, this book gives us a look into the lives of the other characters as well.
It ‘s a story of gods and humans, of love and hate, of hope and pain and family. But mostly, it was a story about love.
The love between siblings, the love between family and the love between two people. It was also a story about hate and pain and how it can consume you, like love, and make you capable of things you never thought possible.

“People are our safe places. I have one: a person who’s a home and a world to me.” 

I loved how Minya’s story was told. Not the one that we see through the eyes of Sarai and the others. But her story, told by her and through her mind. I honestly can’t imagine living in so much of fear as a child, and then at the age of five , going through what she did. She raised four children, not that much younger than she was. She had every right to be angry. However, it consumed her until it became a part of her. I really did feel for her and just wanted for her to find happiness in some way or another.
The writing in this is just incredible. It just flows . Its just so unique and pulls you in and never lets go until the end. Half of the reason that I loved this book was the writing. It was so beautiful and tragic and felt like i was reading poetry. I don’t think that anyone

writes like Laini Taylor does. It’s so unique and is an experience all on its own.

I really ashamed to admit that this wasn’t one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I decided to pick it up because-why not? I am so glad i did, because after finishing it, i am in an utter state of bliss. This book does leave room for a third installment and i really hope it happens!

Also, i just wanted to add some pictures of my gorgeous babies here:

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Ruby

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Minya

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Feral

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Sparrow

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Sarai

 

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Lazlo Strange

Go here to find out which godspawn you are!

Vengeful by V. E Schwab

There are good books, and there are really good books. This is a really good book. 

I finished  Viscous a day before starting this and i loved it. I thought it was good. This on the other hand, i LOVED! I was gripped from the very first page, something that recently, very few books have been able to do to me. 

This story starts five years after the events of Viscous. Victor Vale is alive and well, and also dying. After his resurrection, something is wrong with him and so he goes on a search for a way to heal himself. However, he still hasn’t forgotten about Eli and his need for vengeance. 

Eli Ever on the other hand is held captive by EON, an organization that captures EOs. He works with them, in helping them finding EOs 

Enter Marcella, the newest EO and also the most bold, daring and has no sense of things in moderation. If she wants it, you better believe she will get it. Working alongside her is June, who is an EO with the ability to change her appearance.

This book did one thing, I never thought was possible: it made me feel sorry for Eli Ever. Yeah, i know. The author gives us more of his backstory and it explains a lot about his behavior.

Eli didn’t know how he was broken, but he wanted to be healed.

He wanted to be saved.”

Which is what annoys me, since i just wanted to hate him in peace. 

At least she gave us Marcella and June, who take being ruthless to another level. They give new meaning to the word badass. They are the definition of it. 

 How many men would she have to turn to dust before one took her seriously?”

Women shouldn’t be underestimated, especially when they have been wronged. You may as well do yourself a favor and die. Because if they want you dead, you’re probably going to be pretty soon. True Icons. 

Victor, Victor, Victor. I don’t think he will love me back as much as i love him. I just wanted to heal him myself and every time that he was hurt, I felt it. I know i am going all schoolgirl gushy over him, but whatever. I really and truly have a crush on him. 

The one complaint about this book would be Sydney. I wish we had more of her. She seemed like a side character that came in every now and then, and I really needed more of her and Victor. 

I really hope there is another book and that we won’t have to wait five more years for it.

It is definitely a book I would read. 

My experience :first month of blogging!

I have officially finished a month of blogging and honestly, i never thought i would enjoy it this much! Since i finished my o/ls ( sorta like the SATs but not?) i was began to read more again, and since i was bored, i decided why not start a book blog?

Honestly, i was expecting no one to read my reviews or anything. I told myself before i started that i was doing this for me and it didn’t matter. I was so surprised when a couple of people started following my blog and reading my posts. You would not believe how excited i was when i got my first view or like or comment! People cared about what i had to say!

I also loved of interacting and learning from other bloggers. I loved being part of the “book community”. There are people from so many different countries and backgrounds. It is amazing! There were so many different opinions and also other people that geek out about my favorite books!

I am still establishing my blog and learning and i am so grateful to all of you that follow me and took the time to read this post as well others. It means the world to me and i cannot thank you enough.

I am really enjoying this and hope to keep going at it!

 

Author Interview: Elana K. Arnold

Damsel is the perfect book for anyone willing to read a dark, feminist, gripping story. It is a such a beautiful book that takes hold of the trope that we know and love so well -the prince saving the princess, they fall in love, they live happily ever after, the end- and twists it so that the princess is the one who has to save herself, and nothing is what you believe at first.

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This week, i was fortunate enough to receive a chance to interview the incredible Elana K Arnold, author of  Damsel.

1. What inspired you to write this book? Was it the original story of Sleeping Beauty? 

This book is the result of many books I ate growing up—original Grimm fairy tales,The Princess Bride, Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon, and Anne Rice’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, to name a few. The book was inspired by my friend Martha Brockenbrough, who asked me, one evening on a rooftop in San Francisco, a question that sent me on the journey of writing this book. I can’t tell you the question, because that might spoil the plot, but I attempt to answer it through writing DAMSEL.

2. This book isn’t a light, easy read. It’s bound to make many people uncomfortable. Why write a book that many would choose not to read? What would you say to those who aren’t sure if they should read it?

I don’t write books with readers in mind. I write to please myself, to better understand my insides and my outsides, and the world around me. I write to scratch an itch. I write to create. As I write, I remind myself that it’s none of my business who reads my book—it’s my business to write the best book I can, and then write a better one, next time. In answer to what I would say to people who are unsure whether they should read my book, I would say this: A book is a wonderful place to practice being uncomfortable, and to practice saying “No.” If, when reading a book, a reader feels dis-ease, she has the power to set the book down and walk away, and either come back to it later, or not. This is a great power.

3. The characters, especially Emory, were so different from the usual stories of princes and princesses. They were nothing like what we grew up believing. Were they inspired by particular figures in history or did you feel the need to write them differently?

I don’t know where the characters came from. They just came. Probably from real, lived experiences in my life, and from an amalgam of characters I’ve seen and read, that I’ve absorbed in any number of ways, from the cultural myths we perpetuate about the way men and women “should” be.

4. Some of the scenes in this book are so graphic, especially towards the end. Was it difficult to write them? 

There are definitely scenes in this book that were difficult to write, and that may be difficult to read. As a writer, I tell myself when I get to these passages, “Blinders on.” That means, I pay very close attention to exactly the next sentence that I must write, one after the other, without allowing myself to step further back. I immerse myself in the flesh of the story, and then, when it’s done, I walk away and do something deeply, physically pleasurable, like cuddling with one of my animals or taking a walk outside.

5. Are there any other YA books that you would recommend as a must read? 

There are many. I will make you a short list of some:
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                                                Erica Lorraine Scheidt’s Uses For Boys
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                                                        Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X
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                                                       Ibi Zoboi’s American Street
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                                                        Brandy Colbert’s Little & Lion
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                               Martha Brockenbrough’s The Game of Love and Death
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                                            Sarah McCarry’s All Our Pretty Songs
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                                           Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel
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                                     Lilliam Rivera’s The Education of Margot Sanchez
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                                                    Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels
There are more! Some of the most shocking, exciting work currently being produced is in the YA sphere.
Thank you so much to Elana for agreeing to do this. Damsel should definitely be one of your top reads for this year. It releases October 2nd.
If you are planning on picking this up or currently reading it, let me know!

BOOK REVIEW: VISCOUS by V.E Schwab

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“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”
This book is so cool.
i mean i really have no idea why i kept putting this off for some reason, but i am glad i finally decided to pick it up. It was so worth it. I can now add Victor Vale to my characters-who-just -want-to be-loved-and -i -will-love-them bookshelf.
This book focuses on Victor Vale and Eli Ever who as college students decide to test their thesis on EOs and it goes wrong when Victor kills Eli’s girlfriend by accident. This leads to Eli turning Victor in and deciding that all EOs were damaged and needed to be killed. Victor on the other hand, plans his revenge on his best friend to get revenge for what he did. The book alternates between the events of the past and the present day, where Victor is about to make Eli pay.
(worst summary ever, i know)
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Victor Vale is bent on getting revenge on Eli and probably spent every second, of everyday in prison picturing the day he finally did. However, he can’t do it alone and gathers a crew consisting of Mitch, who is a huge, convict, with bad luck and hacker and Sydney. Sydney is a 12 year old, who has necromancy powers and was picked off the road by Victor after she was betrayed by her sister.

Eli on the other hand, is someone i wouldn’t mind punching in the face a couple of times. He makes it his mission to kill all EOs because he thinks they’re “wrong” , despite the fact that he himself is one. He is self righteous, and though i usually love a good villain, i really hate him. WHO GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO DECIDE OTHER PEOPLES’ LIVES FOR THEM, ELI? WHO? JUST DIE.
Eli’s “side kick” Serena, also Sydney’s sister, is probably the best thing that ever happened to him. She is just such a goddamn queen. She is feisty, smart and beautiful. She needs to have a statue.

I honestly don’t know how you guys survived the wait for the second book because i would have been six feet under by now. If you haven’t read this, please make sure you do. You can thank me later.

Most Anticipated YA Releases of 2019

2018 has been a pretty good year so far for the YA genre. We have had amazing releases from debut authors as well as veterans. So many amazing books that we have read influenced by the world we live in today. Themes such as feminism, rape, sexual assault, mental health and suicide. Books like which we have never read before. Books that are more realistic and that we can relate to our own experience. Here are  some of my favourites so far. However 2019 is looking to be pretty good too. There seem to be so many amazing new releases from debut authors and additions to your favorite series and in some cases the end of  series.

So without further ado, here are some of my most anticipated releases of 2019:

THE WICKED KING by Holly Black

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Release date: January 8, 2019

Pre-Order: AmazonBook Depository,Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

IF you haven’t read the Cruel Prince already, your’e missing out on a lot. Off the top of my head?  Bad ass protagonist, sexy love interest, deadly romance, amazing plot and so many secrets. What more could you ask? If you have read the Cruel Prince however, this book is the perfect sequel. Much better actually, more mystery, plot twists, secrets and the romance gets deadlier. AND THAT ENDING!!!.  This book is just so good. Go ahead and pre-order it now. You won’t regret it.

Check out my review here!

Sneak Peek!

THE GIRL KING by Mimi Yu

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Release date: January 8th

Pre-order: Amazon,Barnes & Noble,Indigo

Synopsis:

All hail the Girl King. 

Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead—a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally—and an army—if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved…

Alone in the volatile court, Min’s hidden power awakens—a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.

I mean come on! All hail the Girl King? A Girl King? Wow. This looks amazing. This is the author’s debut novel and I really hope it is as good as it sounds. I am loving the number of Asian inspired fantasies coming out such as  The Poppy War by R.F Kaung which was also one of my favorites this year. I love politics and  betrayal in fantasy so this seems like a perfect fit.

WE HUNT THE FLAME by Hafsa Faizal

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Release date: May 14th

Pre- order: IndieBound,Book Depository ,AmazonBarnes & Noble , Indigo

Synopsis: 

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing in Arawiya, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine

A fantasy based in Arabia! I haven’t read one of those in a long time. I really think this series has potential and could be the next Ember in the Ashes. This looks like another amazing debut for the YA genre. I can’t wait!

WICKED SAINTS by Emily A. Duncan

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Release date: April 2nd 

Pre-order:Amazon , Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: In this stunning Joan of Arc inspired debut, Nadya—a peasant girl who can speak to the gods—must find a way to work with a deadly adversary to turn the tide of the war and assassinate the mad king. When their scheme leads them straight to the royal family, Nadya must decide whether to trust the High Prince—her country’s enemy—or the boy with powers that may ignite something worse than the war they’re trying to end. 

A GOTHIC JOAN OF ARC?!? I am sold. I love dark, political books with magic and from the reviews that i have seen, this seems like one. This is also another debut book and looks like it could be a bestseller.

THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi

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Release date: January 15th

Pre-order: Amazon , IndieBound

Synopsis: 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.

A dark paris with gangs. A gang that reminds me of one of my favorite books ever: Six of Crows ( if you haven’t read that yet, please go do that now). Actually i am getting major Six of Crows vibes from this and that can only mean good things. Definite pre- order.

Sneak Peek!

NINTH HOUSE ( ALEX STERN #1) by Leigh Bardugo

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Release date: June 4th

Pre order: Book Depository

Synopsis: The new series centers on Alex Stern, a 20-year-old California high school dropout with a criminal past who is mysteriously offered a second chance as a Yale University freshman. Ninth House, the first book, follows Stern’s freshman year, where she is charged with monitoring Yale’s secret societies, who engage in sinister occult activities.
Leigh Bardugo writes a book. I read it. That simple. You should definitley pre order this one.

ON THE COME UP by Angie Thomas

 

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Release date: February 5th
Pre order: Amazon , Book Depository
Synopsis:  Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
After the masterpiece that was The Hate You Give, Angie Thomas can do no wrong in my eyes. This sounds amazing and I cant’t wait to read it.

THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT by Swati Teerdhala

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Release date: April 23rd

Pre order : Amazon

Synopsis: Esha is a legend, but no one knows. It’s only in the shadows that she moonlights as the Viper, the rebels’ highly skilled assassin. She’s devoted her life to avenging what she lost in the royal coup, and now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.

Kunal has been a soldier since childhood, training morning and night to uphold the power of King Vardaan. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has been growing only more volatile.

Then Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross—and an unimaginable chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces. As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both rebel and soldier must make unforgivable choices.

This was one that i really enjoyed reading ( check out my review ). Such a great blend of fantasy, romance and politics. Also it is a pretty good debut and i can’t wait to read the sequel.

Sneak Peak!

KING OF SCARS by Leigh Bardugo

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Release date: January 29th

Pre order : Amazon

Synopsis: Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

Those of you who have read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, this is probably the best thing that ever happened to you. I, however am yet to read it. But i have heard so much about Nikolai and i love a sexy, witty male protagonist, so i will definitely pick this one up!

 

These are my top most anticipated releases of 2019, you can check my other anticipated reads here.

Is the wait for any of the books listed slowly killing you as well? Are there any other books that you can’t wait to read in 2019? Tell me about it in the comments!

ARC REVIEW: THE WICKED KING by Holly Black

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I’ve been played. 

How could Holly Black do this to my weak mortal heart? How can she live with herself after this? I feel like my heart has been ripped out my chest and will only be returned at the end of the series. So basically my life depends on The Queen of Nothing. That’s great. 

THE PLOT: 

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto.”

Jude now has control of Cardan but it’s slowly slipping away. She needs to make sure that the throne is ready for Oak when he is of age, but to do that she must take power from where she can and must figure out who has betrayed her before it’s too late. 

THE CHARACTERS: 

Wow. If you thought they were complex in the first book, then you should be happy to find out that they become even more so in this one. Everyone is unpredictable. Everyone has a secret. Everyone needs power and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. 

I loved Jude even more in this book just because there was a bit more of vulnerability and maturity. She is so determined to get what she wants and will let nothing stand in her way, let it be the whole of Faerie. She is not your typical protagonist and is doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty. She is stubborn and brave and cunning and makes you feel for her. 

“The three of you have one solution to every problem. Murder. No key fits every lock.” Cardan gives us all a stern look, holding up a long-fingered hand with my stolen ruby ring still on one finger. “Someone tries to betray the High King, murder. Someone gives you a harsh look, murder. Someone disrespects you, murder. Someone ruins your laundry, murder.”

Cardan obviously remains my favorite. He is just everything i need from the “villain “ of the story. I honestly feel things for him that I haven’t felt for anyone in real life so far. He is just so vulnerable and needs to be told that he is loved and needed. My heart broke at multiple points in this book and won’t recover until he gets the happy ending he deserves. 

Our eyes meet, and something dangerous sparks.
He hates you, I remind myself.
“Kiss me again,” he says, drunk and foolish. “Kiss me until I am sick of it.”

Also the sexual tension between Cardan and Jude, had me squealing the whole time. I just wanted them to confess their feelings for each other once and for all. I needed them to. I usually can’t handle romance in a fantasy because i find it too cheesy. This was nothing like that. They were both aware that it was a toxic relationship. They hated one another as much as they desired  each other.

I think that this is Holly Black’s best book yet and I can’t wait for you guys to read it and go through the same torture that I am facing right now. (Yes, the book is rubbing off on me). There really are no words to describe my love for this book and how good it is. It makes you think that you’ve got the plot all figured out and you’re a genius. Well guess what? You didn’t guess it, not even close. Holly Black is the only one here with a storytelling IQ of 200. This book is a masterpiece and that is the only way to describe it. Go ahead and pre order it. It’s going to be the best book of 2019.

REVIEW: The Poppy War by R.F Kaung

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“Great danger is always associated with great power. The difference between the great and the mediocre is that the great are willing to take the risk.”

I really don’t know why, but i kept putting off reading this one for sometime. I saw the gushing reviews and recommendations, but i just didn’t pick this one up. Then finally, i decided: why not? I am so glad that i did that, because i needed this book in my life. Everyone does. i cannot elaborate on how much i loved it. I felt like i had finished a workout after reading this, the adrenaline rush was real. I loved all the characters and was so emotionally involved in this, that if they died(spoiler alert!), i died.

SYNOPSIS :

A powerful epic fantasy novel with roots in the 20th-century history of China.

Opium runs through the heart of the Nikara Empire, a constant reminder of the war with the Federation of Mugen that brought it to the empire’s shores. A war that only ended thanks to three heroes – the Vipress, the Dragon Emperor and the Gatekeeper – known as the Trifecta. They were legendary figures, each bestowed with god-like powers, who united the warlords of the Empire against the Federation.

Decades have passed. The Trifecta is shattered; the Dragon Emperor is dead, the Gatekeeper is missing, and the Vipress alone sits on the throne at Sinegard. Peace reigns, yet the poppy remains.

War orphan Fang Runin grew up with it. Her adopted family smuggles it throughout the Rooster province, making a living on the misfortune of those addicted to its smoke. But when Rin’s parents force her into an arranged marriage, Rin refuses to accept her fate and fights her way to the prestigious military academy at Sinegard.

There she will learn of drug-fuelled shamanic powers thought to be myth, powers which might defeat the Federation during its third invasion. But the cost of some power is too great to pay, even if it means winning a war that threatens to destroy an entire nation.

This book is about war. The horrors of it , the effect it can have on people decades later, centuries even. It is a book about how people are used and treated like animals when they cannot be understood. When we cross the boundaries of humanity, into a place where man has disregard for the life of another, for the lives of thousands.

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

The book starts off light, with Rin determined to get into Sinegard and away from her foster family who are trying to marry her off. She works hard for it and that is something i respect about this book. There is actual struggle to study and earn her place.  However, being a dark skinned, poor girl at Sinegard is not easy. She has to constantly prove herself and make sure that she doesn’t lose her place. She is bullied and treated unjustly, but that doesn’t make her back down. She earned her place here and she wasn’t going to lose it.

“Children ceased to be children when you put a sword in their hands. When you taught them to fight a war, then you armed them and put them on the front lines, they were not children anymore. They were soldiers.”

The book depicts the actual war that took place in China in the 1930 and the author does not skip the details. The pain suffered, physically and emotionally. The anger, the hate and the loss of hope. This book is not an easy read.

I loved Rin, her bravery, her determination and also her vulnerability-which she turned to strength. She was such a strong character and she did not let other people define her or put her down. She did not let the prospect of having to work hard stop her. She grew, she learned and her character development was amazing throughout the book.

i felt so many things while reading this: anger, pain, sorrow, happiness. This book makes you feel things. It makes you go through the pain as well as the happiness. It should be read.

If you didn’t already get this from the review- i loved it. I couldn’t stop until i was done. It is definitely a one of my favorite books of all time and i can’t wait for the sequel.