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!

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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.

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.