Review | The Rose Society

The Rose Society
Title: The Rose Society
Series: The Young Elites #2
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 398

Blurb from Goodreads:

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?

Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites.

My Thoughts-01

Hands down! Hands. Down. I did anticipate a darker sequel after how things ended in The Young Elites. But I haven’t expected it to be this dark and this intense. The first book effectively built and arranged a good foundation for Adelina’s dark transformation in this installment—creating darkness so thick and heavy around her story. It’s also very interesting to see old characters play a bigger role in this book as well as new additions who has all sorts of intriguing things to put in the table. And yes, motives too!

Someday, when I am nothing but dust and wind, what tale will they tell about me?

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Fueled by her avenging spirit and with betrayals, hate, and unpleasant memories in the mix, Adelina continues to fall deeper into the dark side leaving death and destruction in her wake. She finally comes to full power in this book. And while it’s intriguing to see what she would do to her wrongdoers now that she isn’t so powerless, it’s also achingly sad seeing her heart harden like that, turning her into someone so ruthless. It is extremely heartbreaking knowing that such thing wouldn’t have happened if only the world had been a little kinder to Adelina and to all the malfettos. Even with all her power, Adelina still has fears and I really felt it in her narratives.Read More »

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Review | Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy

Because You Love to Hate Me
Title: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
Authors: Ameriie (Editor), Renee Ahdieh, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, Nicola Yoon
BookTubers: Christine Riccio, Tina Burke, Samantha Lane, Sasha Alsberg, Sophia Lee, Zoe Herdt, Benjamin Alderson, Jesse George, Regan Perusse, Catriona Feeney, Raeleen Lemay, Whitney Atkinson, Steph Sinclair, Kat Kennedy
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Anthology, Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Pages: 339

Blurb from Goodreads:

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

My Thoughts-01

Dear Book,

You had me at the Introduction. I’ve always had soft spot for villains especially those with amazing backstories that tells us of their struggles before they became the characters we love to hate. I appreciate the way the Introduction highlights the importance of villains in a story. Being a lover of good “bad guy stories”, I immediately felt like this book was made especially for me.

I checked this book out for two reasons:

  1. The title alone promises darkness being the biggest component in this book. Thirteen stories told from the villain’s perspective!
  2. Three of my favorite authors are in it—Adam Silvera, Victoria Schwab, and Marissa Meyer. And they delivered! Awesomely. I must add.

The team-up of YA authors and popular BookTubers is something I haven’t seen done before so it really piqued my interest. The collaboration didn’t work for me though. Sadly. I feel like the BookTubers’ parts didn’t help with the stories. I appreciate the creativity in each of the prompts—the funny essays, the quizzes, the tips on how to be a good villain—but to me they didn’t feel necessary. I think it would’ve been nice if the space for the prompts were given to the authors instead, so there’s more room for the actual story.

Leave it to the heroes to save the world. Villains just want to rule it.

While the stories from my favorite authors really stood out in terms of wickedness, I wasn’t very impressed with the others. Perhaps I was expecting more evil. There were some that didn’t came out strong and villainous for me, some I find confusing, and others are retellings that sticks too closely to the original fairy tale so it felt flat and less creative. But there were also stories from authors that I haven’t heard of before that managed to captivate and surprise me. Since this is a mix of noes and yeses for me, I decided to do a breakdown review and rating for each story.Read More »

Review | The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites
Title: The Young Elites
Series: The Young Elites #1
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 07, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 355

Blurb from Goodreads:

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

My Thoughts-01

Here’s a confession. I don’t have a big shelf. So when a book doesn’t live up to my expectations I get rid of them by selling them off at half their original price. Why keep a book that I don’t intend to reread when I could pass it to others who might actually love it? But this book? This book has earned it’s place in my shelf and it’s definitely not leaving any time soon.

Everyone has darkness inside them, however hidden.

The Young Elites is one of the darkest book I’ve ever come across. There is a sense of honesty in the pain, the struggles, and the hate that emanates from the characters. It felt real and palpable. The plot held my attention all the way through. It’s very original and it rolled out in such a striking way—from the blood fever that killed thousands, to the idea of malfettos who are disowned by their families and hated by society because of the strange, inexplicable, powers they acquired after coming out of the blood-fever alive. Malfettos are seen as abomination and are unjustly executed because of it. But a few of them choose to fight back and they call themselves the Young Elites. Read More »

Review | One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

one-of-us-is-lying
Title: One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: Delacorte Press
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery & Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 361

Blurb from Goodreads:

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Thoughts-01

What good is a mystery/thriller if you’re not suspecting your favorite character and pretty much everyone mentioned in the book? Brace yourselves YA and mystery fans because One of Us Is Lying is a book set to mess with your brain a little bit and have you guessing all the way to the very end. It’s a very well put together book with a well-constructed storyline and cleverly plotted mystery. I bet many readers won’t guess this right. I’ve had over a dozen speculations about whodunit and who’s the exceptionally skilled liar among the characters. Still, I wasn’t able to hit the bull’s eye in the end.

The mystery was quite intriguing. Four outstanding students quickly turned murder suspects after a fellow student, Simon Kelleher, died in front of them during detention. Simon was widely hated though—being the administrator of a gossip app that has already managed to ruin lives by sharing people’s deepest secrets to the public. Simon’s killer could be anyone from school. And despite being good students it turns out that Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate had secrets to keep and each had a potential motive for killing Simon. Well, I think the lesson from this story is—if you’re smart enough to develop an app, make it something helpful instead of something meant to bring people down so you don’t end up being so alone and hated by everyone to the point that they would wish you were dead.Read More »

Review | The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction, LGBT+, Young Adult
Pages: 513

Blurb from Goodreads:

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.

My Thoughts-01

Finally! Finally, a YA book I could shamelessly give my five star rating to! Because here’s a book that hits all the right notes. Everything came to me as a brilliant surprise. I guess it help that I didn’t read the blurb or any reviews before going into this book. I just checked its average rating and it was high enough that I decided to go for it. Which is a damn good decision, I think. There’s always an added magic to reading a book with completely no hint of what it offers. Just like the characters, I’m oblivious to what would happen next and somehow that gives a “part of the gang” vibes. Like I’m in this adventure with them and knowing only the things they knew. Of course I’m only speaking based on my experience but if you do want to go into this blind, stop reading this now because I’ll be gushing about this book in the next minutes.

Love may be a grand thing, but goddamn if it doesn’t take up more than its fair share of space inside a man.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is everything I could ask for in a historical fiction. It is adventure-filled. It is populated with very diverse characters. It talks about diverse subjects. There’s also a tiny speck of magic in it. And it is abso-bloody-lutely rib-tickling! This one is oozing with humor. The last time a book has made me laugh like this was My Lady Jane and it felt like ages ago. It doesn’t often happen that a book finds and tickles my funny bone but this one did! By far this is the best read I’ve had for 2017. This is the book to beat, YA! Read More »

Review | Reaper by A. Zavarelli

Reaper
Title: Reaper
Series: Boston Underworld #2
Author: A. Zavarelli
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: June 03, 2016
Genre: Adult, Romance
Pages: 260

Blurb from Goodreads:

Sasha.

He’s dark and mysterious. Quiet and lethal.
An Irish mobster.
Pure sin wrapped up in a beautiful package.
But there’s also something off about him.
He doesn’t feel anything. He shows no emotions.
Sometimes I question his humanity.
He hasn’t spoken to me in two years. Not a single word.
But we share a secret, he and I.
And if it ever comes out, I have no doubt in my mind…
He won’t have a problem killing me too.

Ronan.

I’ve slain for her. I’ll do it again.
When it comes to Sasha, there isn’t a line I won’t cross.
I watch her. She doesn’t know it.
She thinks I hate her. Sometimes, I think I might too.
But I’m always there, lurking in the shadows.
Craving her. Trying to keep the beast within at bay.
I’ll keep her safe. I’ll slaughter anyone who tries to hurt her.
The only thing I can’t do… is protect her from myself.

My Thoughts-01

Time for another steamy read! I’ve decided to continue on the Boston Underworld series because I’m in the mood for dangerous mafia stories and dark, lethal, broody, and sexy Irish guys. Reaper is a lot darker than it’s predecessor, Crow. And a lot more brutal, I think, as our hero—Ronan—is the mafia’s appointed reaper. His job is to torture and kill people for information or torture and kill people for betraying the mafia. Either way there’s a lot of maiming and violence in this book, given it’s theme. And most of it is very graphic that there were particular scenes that I find a bit jarring.

This book could pass as standalone but I would still recommend reading Crow beforehand. We already knew Ronan from the first book as Lachlan’s right hand and Sasha as one of the strippers at a club owned by Lachlan’s group. And we knew that there’s this strong unspoken romantic pull between them even then. Well, this book lets us know them in a deeper level. We saw just how broken these two were and how they found the light in each other. Read More »

Review | The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Fate of the Tearling.jpg
Title: The Fate of the Tearling
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #3
Author: Erika Jokansen
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Harper
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 478

Blurb from Goodreads:

In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager into a powerful monarch and a visionary leader.

And as she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, she has transformed her realm. But in her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies – chief among them the evil and feared Red Queen, who ordered the armies of Mortmesne to march against the Tear and crush them.

To protect her people from such a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable – naming the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place, she surrendered herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign from her prison in Mortmesne.

So, the endgame has begun and the fate of Queen Kelsea – and the Tearling itself – will be revealed…

With The Fate of the Tearling, Erika Johansen draws her unforgettable story full of magic and adventure to a thrilling close.

My Thoughts-01

Tell me there’s going to be a book four! No? Well, drats! I’ll just go and drown myself in tears then. Considering how much I disliked the first book of this series, I never thought I’d get so invested in its world and its characters. This book in one word? Irresistible! How can I put it down when it’s spilling all the answers I’ve been dying to know? Spilling it in a riveting way, if I may add. Because there were lots of unexpected cards played in this stunning conclusion to this trilogy. And then everything just interlaced beautifully with each other and connects with a perfect fit.

The Fate of the Tearling definitely outshined the first two books. It was just… more. More growth, more intense action, more problems to deal with. What I enjoyed the most about the whole thing is getting more answers about Tearling’s early history and seeing how it gradually started to move away from William Tear’s ideal of peace. And of course there’s the revelations about the characters I’m most curious about—Row and the Fetch. I’ve had my eyes on the Fetch since the first book so imagine my excitement when this one opened up with his POV. Even if I wasn’t so curious about the Fetch, I think, his would still be the perfect POV to start this story with. That’s because the mystery that surrounds him has a way of reeling readers in.Read More »

Review | When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

when-dimple-met-rishi
Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 380

Blurb from Goodreads:

The rom-com that everyone’s talking about! Eleanor & Park meets Bollywood in this hilarious and heartfelt novel about two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My Thoughts-01

Let me summarize my experience with this book in a few words. This book was like looking at a fancy cake you’ve been waiting to devour for days. And when you finally get to eat it, you find that the cake’s base was tasteless and the frosting was too sweet that it makes you want to gag. But you eat it anyway because you effing paid for it!

I could end my review right there but I was way too disappointed with this book that I couldn’t just keep quiet. I thought this was going to be an amazing read—like, off the charts kind of amazing—given its catchy premise and all those four and five star ratings. But my feelings for this book quickly changed from intrigued to disinterested until I finally don’t care.

The representation of some of the Indian traditions was the only thing that’s noteworthy about this book and one that I really appreciate. We don’t usually get Indian leads in this genre so this book was somewhat refreshing in a way. I may have huge issues here but I love how the author used this book as a platform where she introduced Indian culture to the world through its readers. Not only that, this also promotes their language as the characters sometimes switches from English to their native tongue. I can see how proud the author is of her roots! Read More »

Review | The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

lovely20reckless

Title: The Lovely Reckless
Author: Kami Garcia
Publisher: Macmillan
Imprint: Imprint
Release Date: October 04, 2016
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 374

Blurb from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

My Thoughts-01

Last year I remember this book flooding my Goodreads feed and attached to it were amazing five star ratings. So I promised myself not to let this just pass me by. This is the first time I’m reading anything from Kami Garcia. Maybe I should have picked her other works first before picking this up. Because this, I didn’t fully enjoyed. There was nothing special in this book, sadly. If anything, this felt like a collection of all clichés known to this kind of genre.

The street racing idea was a refreshing touch though. It’s something I don’t usually see in YA books and I enjoyed reading about it. But the rest of the book was so average for me. The storyline was pretty common and basic. I’ve seen it used a hundred times in a hundred different books. It simply lacked the substance that could make it stand-out. Read More »