Book Review: The Girl in The Tower by Katherine Arden

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This book has my whole heart.

I mean,  how can something so amazing as this book exist without the rest of the world loving it as much as I do? This book is truly a hidden gem.

I read The Bear and The Nightingale earlier this year and I really liked it. I decided not to read the sequel right away because I tend to have really bad experiences with binge reading a series, especially fantasy.

I am really glad I put it off till now, because I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much if I had read it then. Also I have to wait less for The Winter of The Witch to  release!

If you haven’t already read the books, you should. It is so, so worth it.

SYNOPSIS:

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

 

This book starts right where The Bear and The Nightingale ended, with Vasya running away dressed up as a boy towards a new future. A future where ,as a boy, she may do as she pleases and explore the world as she wishes.

However, the world is a dangerous place and Vasya must go through much hardship, and she will be tested.

I really loved Vasya in this book, maybe because the book was about her journey to the world beyond her village. She was so brave and flawed and just wanted tonbe loved and accepted as who she was, without having society decide it for her.

It really was empowering to see her choose for herself, and the book doesn’t force feminism and equality on you, to the point where it is just too overwhelming and you’re feel like you’ve heard this a thousand times before. It just fit into the story.

I don’t think this book could be what it is, if it  wasn’t for Katherine Arden’s writing which was lyrical and just pure magic. It reminded me so much of Laini Taylor, the way it flowed.

I really, really need more people to read this book, this series. It’s like hot chocolate for your soul. I need the next book to come out as soon as possible!

 

More reasons to fall in love with Laini Taylor: Daughter-in-law of Smoke and Bone

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This book… was incredible! 

I mean, I started it expecting a love story, which i got, but also this was so much more than that.

This book was about war and peace and colonialism and also about  loneliness , which is equally as important.

This book is about Karou an art student in the city of Prague. She draws monsters, gossips with her best friend and constantly has to avoid her ex. But that’s just the normal part of her life. The monsters she draws are real, and they raised her. She also happens to run errands collecting teeth for them. 

No Big Deal. 

But then Karou meets Akiva, an angel and they are both drawn to each other, a connection neither can explain. Karou begins to learn more about who she really is and the truth of her past

The best part of this book is the writing. Laini Taylor truly has a gift. She makes you fall in love with every single letter. I mean, I don’t think I would have loved this book as much if it hadn’t been for the incredible writing. Everything from the characters, who all just fit perfectly with each other ( Zuzana 😍) , to the world building, I could picture all of it happening in front of me, and the plot, were just so well done! 

I usually don’t have a good experience with binge reading a series, but I might just make an exception for this one.

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!

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. 

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.

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.

 

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale

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What a beautiful book! After I was finished, i felt so… dreamy. I want to live in a world where I can live with a frost demon and ride a stallion. Also this book just increased my obsession with horses and my undying love for them . It was so atmospheric and honestly like reading one of those fairy tales.
THE PLOT:
Vasilisa is a young girl, the last child of her dead mother, who also happened to inherit a gift for being able to see creatures not otherwise visible to man. This sets her apart from a young age and she is labeled a witch for being different from other girls. She refuses to be treated like an object or as though she had no worth beyond being a wife and a mother. She is wild, independent and brave. She is an outcast. However, after a new priest begins to cause fear among the people, dangerous creatures begin to awaken that cause death and wreak havoc, and only Vasilisa can save them.

THE CHARACTERS:
The characters are written really well and each have more to them than you first assume and there is a story behind each of their choices and how they all came to be who the person they are. A villain isn’t just born a villain, they aren’t evil from the moment they were born. There is a reason for their actions, their parents, their upbringing, their personal experiences.They are each distinct and memorable.

THE WRITING:
My favorite part of the book . It was so beautiful and perfect and i just wanted to have this story read to me as while i sat, wrapped in a blanket, in front of the fire, while it snowed outside. It was perfect for this type of story and complemented it perfectly. It was lyrical and it was so…romantic.

OVERALL:
I loved it and thought that it was just perfect. I am definitely going to read the sequel

Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

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This book in my opinion is Courtney Summers best book yet. I don’t think any of her other books left me in such a state after the ending as this one did. I honestly have no words to express my emotions. All i want to do is place a cover of protection over all children to save them from the terrible thing that happened to Sadie, her sister and a lot of other little girls who had no way to protect themselves. I also want to kill every person who has ever tried to sexually abuse, assault or rape anyone. I know my religion doesn’t condone violence, but i am just so angry. 

The story is about Sadie whose sister has been murdered and her journey to not just gain vengeance for her sister, but for anyone else who has been harmed the same way. 

The story alternates between the podcast The Girls which is the journey that is narrated by Wes McCray, who tries to find the truth about what happened to Sadie after getting a call from her grandmother and Sadie’s POV. It gives the reader more information about the people that Sadie left behind and how they dealt with her disappearance and gives more insight into her relationship with her sister, her mother and others 

The relationship between Sadie and Mattie ( her sister) broke my heart. As a girl with an older sister, it made me want to pull Sadie close and envelope her in a big hug. Her love for her sister had no limits and it wasn’t always appreciated, but it gave her a purpose and also someone who loved her back, something that her relationship with her mother lacked. In my opinion it was the most important part of the book. I could go on about for pages but I won’t. 

The characters were all complex and so… human. That stood out. How aspects of them are so alike to you and I. Even Claire, Sadie’s mother who I disliked at first, I grew more sympathetic towards when i heard her point of view. 

The writing was amazing and the idea of including the podcast as well is a great idea. It was engaging and I really cannot think of anyone better than Courtney Summers to write this story. 

Please don’t make the mistake of leaving this book on your ever growing pile of tbr books. Pick it up. Read it and try and prevent such things from happening. Especially women, as we are the most likely victims.