Review | Daughter of the Pirate King

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Title: Daughter of the Pirate King
Series: Daughter of the Pirate King #1
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Macmillan
Imprint: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 311

Blurb from Goodreads:

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

My Thoughts-01

Pirate fans, rejoice! Tricia Levenseller’s debut novel is a wild, perilous, pirate-filled adventure served with snark and wit—plenty of it. There’s a lot of humor to be found in this book so it’s really easy to fly through its pages. I can’t say it was fantastically written but damn if I didn’t enjoy the treasure hunt. Also, it was a bit slow in pace, but it was captivating nonetheless.

I am power and strength. I am death and destruction. I am not someone to be trifled with.

The story kicks off with action as Alosa—daughter of the pirate king, Kalligan—and her crew, staged their capture to one of the most notorious pirates in the sea, for a mission that could easily go wrong and cost them their lives. Alosa is quite a refreshing character to me. There are a lot of feisty, witty, and headstrong protagonists in YA. But I haven’t met a character as cold as Alosa in so long. Even Celaena Sardothien who called herself an assassin wasn’t half as brutal as her right from the very first page of the book. Under her father’s tutelage, Alosa was inured to violence which explains why she has no qualms in killing. The girl could kill an entire pirate crew—if the mission demands—without flinching. But despite being hardened, there’s also a part of her that cares deeply for her crew and those that she loves. Read More »

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Review | The City of Brass

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Title: The City of Brass
Series: The Daevabad Trilogy #1
Author: S. A. Chakraborty
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Harper Voyager
Release Date: November 14, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 533

Blurb from Goodreads:

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .

My Thoughts-01

Do you want a diverse fantasy novel that centers on djinns, ghouls, flying carpets, hidden cities, and flaming swords? One with richly detailed magical world, enthralling storyline, fearsome characters, and huge what-the-eff twists? Do you want dangerous yet good-natured love interests and a romance that has none of those eye-rolling instalove crap? Then read this book.

Welcome to Daevabad—a city hidden from humans—where magic don’t run dry, secrets are aplenty, centuries-old tribal conflicts don’t go forgotten, and with walls offering both protection and chock-full of ways to die.

The first of a planned trilogy, The City of Brass didn’t just take me to a wild and perilous adventure. It had me deeply enmeshed in all its intricacies and intrigues. I’m mesmerized by its beautiful yet deadly world, its people, and their colorful culture. Although there were some confusing parts regarding Daevabad history—I had to practically draw a diagram just to keep track of who came from what clan, who wants to kill who, and who’s allied with who—it’s easy to lose yourself in the complexity and the lushness of Chakraborty’s world. Aside from the different sects fighting for power in Daevabad, there’s also the outsiders like the marids, the peri, the rukh, and other menacing new-to-me creatures that added wonder to the story and threat to our protagonists’ lives. A lot of foreign terms are used freely throughout the book. Thankfully, it has a helpful glossary at the back.Read More »

Review | The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince

Title: The Cruel Prince
Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Imprint: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 02, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 384

Blurb from Goodreads:

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

My Thoughts-01

What a delightfully dark, cunning, utterly addictive, anti-hero story. I’m a shameless lover of villains, especially the devious plotters, the masters of deception, the ambitious, the distrustful, and the cruel. Holly Black has got them all in this book. On top of that, there’s the dangerous court politics, surreptitious relationships, kick-ass spies, familial intrigues, a good amount of morally questionable characters, and a romance sprouting in the slowest yet anticipatable manner. While some of these sounds like familiar tropes, Black had expertly played with those and she successfully made something quite refreshing out of it.

“Nice things don’t happen in storybooks,” Taryn says. “Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.”

Each character is flawed, their world flawlessly painted, and the plot is as thick as my favorite lomi soup. The worldbuilding is so detailed that it didn’t feel like it was just a figment of Black’s wonderful imagination. The Faerieland felt strangely believable in her writing. You’d think it really does exist somewhere, behind the mist in the middle of the woods. It’s a world where nothing is ever easy or simple. Not even for humans raised under a fey general’s protection—the fruits are deadly and even dancing can kill you—or for fey royalties themselves. Black has perfectly captured the darkness expected of a fae world and she masterfully painted it alongside its beauty.Read More »

Review | Shatter Me

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Title: Shatter Me
Series: Shatter Me #1
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Harper
Release Date: October 02, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 338

Blurb from Goodreads:

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

My Thoughts-01

Me before reading this book: Ooh such gorgeous cover, such an intriguing blurb, and an engaging excerpt! This is going to be great! I’m buying this. Actually, I’m buying the three books from this series!

Me while reading this book: Guys, can we stop with the kissing and start with the actual story? Where is the effing plot? I need something to happen. And soon.

Me after reading this book: Well, fuck. I just wasted my money on three books!

I’ll be honest. This was bad awful. Everything is a terrible mess from the writing to the characters to the plot. It was horribly executed. So yeah, I had a problem with a lot of things in this book I hate pretty much everything in this book.

First, where is the effing plot? Aside from the kissing and the blushing, what else happened? None really. Juliette was in an asylum. Warner sent people to take Juliette out of the asylum. Juliette escaped from Warner. Juliette joined a group of people who, like her, has strange abilities—and who also sounds like a pathetic version of X-Men, honestly. And that’s about everything there is in this book. The rest were just Juliette’s metaphoric descriptions of everything—Adam’s eyes, her blushing cheeks, her beating heart, the effing rain…Read More »

Review | The Wedding Date

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Title: The Wedding Date
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
Imprint: Headline Eternal
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Type: Standalone
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320

Blurb from Goodreads:

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew Nichols is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is not something Alexa Monroe would normally do. But Drew’s proposal proves hard to resist.

After their wedding date turns into a whole weekend of fun in San Francisco, Drew and Alexa return to their all-consuming careers – his in LA and hers in Berkeley. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about each other…

It could be the long-distance dating disaster of the century – or Drew and Alexa could be just a flight away from what each of them truly wants.

My Thoughts-01

For a romance book, this wasn’t very romantic. At first it was really cute—because I love meet cutes, and hot “stuck-together-in-an-enclosed-space” stories, and even some good fake-dating tropes, cliché as they may sound. Sue me. All the nice things in this book is in its first quarter. Sadly, it all ended there. A good three quarters of this was painfully flat, forced, uneventful, and immature. I was bored out of my wits.

Everything started on a nice note for me. Drew and Alexa were both intriguing characters thrust into a pretty interesting situation— they were stuck together in the elevator. Shortly after that, they agreed to pose as a dating couple at a wedding. And I honestly find it cute and exciting. But then the wedding is over and everything just stopped being interesting. Everything I read after that was of Drew and Alexa having sex, eating, sleeping, one of them flying back home. Then one of them would fly to visit the other on weekends. Then back to having sex, eating, taking a shower… You can skip a chapter and not miss anything important to the story.Read More »

Review | To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 355

Blurb from Goodreads:

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

My Thoughts-01

I gotta say, this book was surprisingly good and way more fun than I expected. And that’s something coming from someone who isn’t even a big fan of this genre. I admit I only picked this up because after all the dark vibes from my previous read (The Young Elites), I needed something cheerful and fluffy to chase the gloom away. It turns out that this was the perfect book for the job. And now I’m so invested I’m ready to keep reading this series all the way to its final installment.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before doesn’t stray away from your typical teen romance. There were lots of clichés floating around—popular heartthrob meets miss innocent goody two shoes, high school dramas, the gossips and rumors to stir things. Don’t even get me started with the “my parents aren’t home so let’s party all night” scenes. And oh, the fake boyfriend trope.

No, no, don’t run away just yet. The thing is, Jenny Han brilliantly turned those clichés into something fun and enjoyable.Read More »

Review | The Midnight Star

The Midnight Star
Title: The Midnight Star
Series: The Young Elites #3
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 11, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 314

Blurb from Goodreads:

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all she’s gained.

When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

My Thoughts-01

I’ll be honest. After all the emotions that The Young Elites and The Rose Society made me feel—the heartbreaks, the surprising twists, and heart-pounding action—this conclusion seems a little less intense. And it stalled a bit—the first hundred pages were painfully uneventful. We still have the dark and the gritty atmosphere but somehow this one gives a different feel from the first two books in the series. It’s totally not the conclusion that I imagined would happen but I think Marie Lu did well in this. She tied everything neatly, leaving no loose ends behind, giving the series a proper closure. The Midnight Star may not be as awesome as the first two books but it’s still awesome.Read More »

Review | The Handmaid’s Tale

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Title: The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: Vintage Classics
Release Date: October 07, 2010
First Published: 1985
Type: Standalone
Genre: Adult, Classic
Pages: 324

Blurb from Goodreads:

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She has only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful evocation of twenty-first century America explores a world in which oppression of women, and repression of the truth, have become justified.

My Thoughts-01

The future is a harrowing nightmare in Margaret Atwood’s chilling yet compelling masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale. In this book, Atwood painted a future that you surely wouldn’t wish to be in. A future wherein women are only valued for their ability to give birth. So as a woman, and a mother, this has totally been a hard one to read. And disturbing. And scary. Just imagine being stripped off of everything you have—from your possessions, your freedom, your rights, down to your name! Imagine being put entirely in the “care” of men that you aren’t even allowed to walk the streets without their permission. It’s infuriating and frightening, this book. But what’s most terrifying about this extraordinary work of fiction is the possibility of it happening in reality.

A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.

Here we see a country, Gilead, under a totalitarian government run by despotic rulers and religious extremists. Obviously, nothing good came out of that combination. And we witness the injustices and the atrocities of this regime through the eyes of our main character, Offred. Read More »

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 »