A Curse so Dark and Lonely Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“I’m always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.” 

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Published: January 29th 2019 by Bloomsbury YA

Pages: 484

Rating: 4/5

GoodReads

Ok. That ending had me shook! OMG!! It’s going to make an interesting set up for the next book and I will definitely be reading the sequel! It took me some time to get used to the characters, but after a few pages, I found myself glued to the book eagerly anticipating what’s going to happen next. If you have not picked this one up, I highly urge you do because it was an awesome twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale!

Summary (from GoodReads):

Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Characters

Harper – Expressive; Compassionate; Strong; – What can I say? I really enjoyed reading Harper’s perspective. She is a strong character but I liked her since she was different from the typical YA leads since she exhibits a balance of strength and emotion. She loves her family – her brother and mother  – and is persistent to find them. Despite having Cerebral Palsy, she is still a determined individual and that’s what makes her so inspiring.

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Rhen – Strategic; Disheartened; Trapped – Rhen was just the sweetest. In the beginning we see him to be a tortured soul whose glimpses of hope are constantly being depleted and we can’t help but feel for him.

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Grey – A character who slowly grew on me. Initially, it was hard to discern his qualities due to his stoic personality; however, as time went by he slowly started to reveal layers of his character and it made me appreciate him even more.

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Final Thoughts 

I will admit that it took quite some time for me to get into this novel. I am not sure why but it did progress quite slowly in the beginning. However, within the 100 page mark, I noticed a lot of interesting dynamics and plot elements being introduced and this caused me to grow more intrigued. Since this book was described to be a Beauty and the Beast re-telling, I already had preconceived notions on how the plot would play out but I was surprised to see the different elements which were being introduced into the story. I found it to be refreshing since it offered a new look into a world which was build within this fairy tale backdrop.

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I also appreciated the hilarious banter between the characters! It brought a lighter atmosphere to the novel’s dark ambiance. The novel also intertwines the themes of inner strength and resilience against the most overwhelming and gruesome tribulations. It was amazing to see these characters go through this incredible journey to become the best version of themselves. The romance was a slow burn and I loved seeing the progression of their relationship and how they grew to be bit more open with each other. It made everything quite believable. The only reason why I could not give this book a complete 5 star rating was because I ended up questioning a few plot details here and there and I did have a couple of questions on certain issues. But overall, I really enjoyed it and I personally think this is the best Beauty and the Beast re-telling out there!

Have any of you read A Curse so Dark and Lonely? What did you think of it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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WWW Wednesday – July 3rd 2019

Hello everyone! Hope you all are having a fabulous week! I’m here to share with you all my current reading status through a WWW Wednesday which is a weekly meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

 

Currently Reading:

acursesodark

I finally managed to pick this one up and I am so excited! From all the positive reviews on GoodReads and bookblogs/booktube, I knew I just had to start this ASAP. Plus, it incorporates my favorite genres – Fairy Tale Re-tellings/ Fantasy. I also heard that there is a representation of the main character with Cerebral Palsy so I am really interested to see how the author incorporates this into the novel. Have any of you read A Curse so Dark and Lonely? What did you think of it?

Recently Finished:

queen of ruin

A stunning conclusion to an awesome duology of sisterhood, feminism and strength. If you are looking for something to get you out of a reading slump, I highly suggest that you try this series. It is really fast paced with an amazing character development that is sure to capture your attention! I recently finished a review post for this book and you can check it out HERE

Read Next: 

Well, is quite obvious at this point that I cannot have just one book for this answer HAHA I need some choices 🙂 For now, these are the books I am really looking forward to read next. I have a feeling it might be either The Cruel Prince (ahem . . let’s face it, I am way behind LOL) or Sorcery of Thorns (the summary is just too intriguing).

How about you guys? Have you read A Curse so Dark and Lonely? And what are your next reads?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post! 🙂

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Queen of Ruin ARC Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Tracy Banghart

Publication: July 2nd 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 336

Rating: 4.5/5

A huge thank you to NOVL./Little Brown Young Readers for providing me copy of this novel at BookCon! As soon as I finished reading the first book, I automatically jumped into the second! Talk about a major cliffhanger ending HAHA

Summary from GoodReads:

A fierce sequel full of sisterhood, heart pounding action, betrayal, and intrigue in the royal court in a series that “breathes new life into the feminist story of oppression and resistance” (Publisher’s Weekly).

Banished by Asa at the end of Grace and Fury, Nomi and Malachi find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. Their only hope is to find Nomi’s sister, Serina, on the prison island of Mount Ruin. But when Nomi and Malachi arrive, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina–polite, submissive Serina–is its leader.

Betrayal, grief, and violence have changed both sisters, and the women of Mount Ruin have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of their island prison. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they’ll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.

Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, and build something better in its place.

The stakes are higher and the battles bolder in Tracy Banghart’s unputdownable sequel to Grace and Fury.

Characters:

Serina – Strong, Caring, Supportive; It is stunning to see Serina’s growth from the beginning of the first novel to the second. I love how she blossoms into a strong leader who cares for the women of Mount Ruin.

Nomi – Determined, Helpful – With the results of the first book, it is understandable to see the internal struggles within Nomi and we can sympathize with her. What I appreciated was that she was willing to help to correct her mistakes and learn from them since others could have been blind to their faults and fail to fix them.

Final Thoughts:

WOW. I will definitely say that this was a satisfying conclusion to the duology! While the first book dealt more with the characters trying to understand the world around them, the sequel dealt with “the fight back” or the characters coming to terms with the restrictions placed in society and how they can hopefully create a better world.

Serina is a very different character from book one. I loved seeing her transformation into someone of strength and level-mindedness. She has the characteristics of a leader which one may not have expected from her introduction in the first book. This is primarily one of the reasons I found this series to be intriguing. The character growth was very well done! 

I really felt for Nomi in this novel. Although her story was a bit slow moving in the first book, I think we really get to see how she deals with the aftermath in a deep and personal level. The amount of excruciating pain and guilt flows through her but nevertheless she is still persistent on setting things right. 

The themes of feminism and sisterhood were interlaced beautifully throughout the novel. I love the relationship between Serina and Nomi. Having a younger sister myself, I can definitely understand the turmoils that Serina was going through and I appreciated that they were willing to support each other despite their differences. The novel goes even beyond the relationship between the blood relationship within sisters and focuses on the relationship between all women in general. I love that it places strong emphasis on being supportive of other women and encourage their growth and potential. I feel like this is a message which needs to be fully grasped and understood in order to move past the conventional ways of harboring competition and negative tendencies on those who are successful.

All in all, I thought this was a solid duology with interesting themes and dynamic characters and if you have not picked this one up, I highly recommend it 🙂

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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BookCon 2019 Haul + Experience

BookCon

EXPERIENCE 

My first ever BookCon! I will say that part of me found it to be quite overwhelming since there were times when I was super intimidated by the crowd and wanted to crawl into a cave being the introvert that I am. HAHA But at the end of the day, it was definitely a great experience and I ended up walking away with a ton of books which I am super excited to share with you in this post!

So for some highlights – I managed to randomly bump into Sasha Alsberg and Stephanie Garber! AND OMG i WAS FangIrling So Hard! Ahem . . . thankfully my coffee kept me steady and I was able to speak coherently. Sasha was so sweet and I made sure to let her know how her channel actually sparked me to dive into my passion for reading, start blogging, instagram, etc. Stephanie was amazing as well! I rambled a bit on how Finale wrapped me in a bundle of emotions and that the series now become one of my favorite series of all time! I honestly can’t wait for her project! i am sure it will be fantastic!

ARCs/ Book Signings

*All Summaries below provided by GoodReads*

Cursed by Frank Miller and Thomas Wheeler From Simon Teen/ Riveted

Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.

But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?

Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave…

That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.

Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.

But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade.

SuperNova by Kass Morgan From NOVL

(Sequel to Light Years – Summary may contain spoilers to the first book)

The 100 meets Ender’s Game in the captivating and romantic sequel to Light Years from New York Times bestselling author Kass Morgan!

With a galaxy on the brink of war and loyalties divided, the friendship of four Quatra Fleet cadets will be tested as their greatest enemy closes in.

Arrested for espionage, Orelia’s future is looking bleak . . . until the Quatrans make her a surprising offer that could save her life — and the lives of everyone in the galaxy. Reeling from a betrayal, Arran finds comfort in a sympathetic boy from Loos, someone who understands how hard it can be to fit in. But is it enough for Arran to forget his heartbreak? Meanwhile, Cormak’s position at the Academy is in jeopardy when someone discovers his own treasonous secret, putting everything he’s fought for in peril. And Vesper is on the brink of becoming the superstar officer she always dreamed she’d be . . . until she uncovers a conspiracy that shakes her faith in the Quatra Fleet to its core.

As secret machinations come to light, these cadets will be forced to overcome their differences and band together to restore peace to their worlds.

Kass Morgan, the bestselling author of The 100, once again delivers pulse-pounding action and glittering romance in this sequel to Light Years.

Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart From NOVL

(Sequel to Grace and Fury – Summary may contain spoilers to the first book) 

A fierce sequel full of sisterhood, heart pounding action, betrayal, and intrigue in the royal court in a series that “breathes new life into the feminist story of oppression and resistance” (Publisher’s Weekly).

Banished by Asa at the end of Grace and Fury, Nomi and Malachi find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. Their only hope is to find Nomi’s sister, Serina, on the prison island of Mount Ruin. But when Nomi and Malachi arrive, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina–polite, submissive Serina–is its leader.

Betrayal, grief, and violence have changed both sisters, and the women of Mount Ruin have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of their island prison. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they’ll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.

Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, and build something better in its place.

The stakes are higher and the battles bolder in Tracy Banghart’s unputdownable sequel to Grace and Fury.

A Match Made in Mehendi From NOVL

Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers-with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.”

But Simi is an artist, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with relationships, helicopter parents, and family drama. That is, until she realizes this might be just the thing to improve her and her best friend Noah’s social status. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course.

But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.

Into the Crooked Palace by Alexandra Christo From LitJoy Crate

Into the Crooked Place begins a gritty two-book YA fantasy series from Alexandra Christo, the author of To Kill a Kingdom.

The streets of Creije are for the deadly and the dreamers, and four crooks in particular know just how much magic they need up their sleeve to survive.

Tavia, a busker ready to pack up her dark-magic wares and turn her back on Creije for good. She’ll do anything to put her crimes behind her.

Wesley, the closest thing Creije has to a gangster. After growing up on streets hungry enough to swallow the weak whole, he won’t stop until he has brought the entire realm to kneel before him.

Karam, a warrior who spends her days watching over the city’s worst criminals and her nights in the fighting rings, making a deadly name for herself.

And Saxony, a resistance fighter hiding from the very people who destroyed her family, and willing to do whatever it takes to get her revenge.

Everything in their lives is going to plan, until Tavia makes a crucial mistake: she delivers a vial of dark magic—a weapon she didn’t know she had—to someone she cares about, sparking the greatest conflict in decades. Now these four magical outsiders must come together to save their home and the world, before it’s too late. But with enemies at all sides, they can trust nobody. Least of all each other.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (Book Signing) – Joan He is so down to earth and awesome! I always love reading novels with an Asian setting and she made sure to recommend me some – Spin the Dawn, Tiger at Midnight and The Candle and the Flame. Will definitely be adding those to my never ending TBR!

Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.

Queen of the Conquered by Kheryn Callender (Book Signing)

An ambitious young woman with the power to control minds seeks vengeance against the royals who murdered her family, in a Caribbean-inspired fantasy world embattled by colonial oppression.

Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik. When she was a child, her family was murdered by the islands’ colonizers, who have massacred and enslaved generations of her people—and now, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.

When the childless king of the islands declares that he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney uses her ability to read and control minds to manipulate her way onto the royal island and into the ranks of the ruling colonizers. But when she arrives, prepared to fight for control of all the islands, Sigourney finds herself the target of a dangerous, unknown magic.

Someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. As the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers… lest she become the next victim.

Queen of the Conquered reckons with the many layers of power and privilege in a lush fantasy world—perfect for readers of V. E. Schwab, Kiersten White, and Marlon James.

The Tenth Girl From Fierce Reads – I happen to receive this book by chance since this was a mystery ARC that Fierce Reads announced on twitter. I did not know about it until one of my fellow book readers advised me and I was so fortunate that they still had a copy. And its a paranormal thriller, so I am super excited for this one!

Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

Eight Will Fall From Fierce Reads

In a land where magic is outlawed, eight criminals led by seventeen-year-old Larkin are sent on a mission to kill an ancient evil that plagues their kingdom. Descending into an underground realm full of unspeakable horrors, Larkin and her party must use their forbidden magic to survive what lies in wait, teeth sharp and jaws deadly. 

As she fights for her life, Larkin finds a light in Amias, a fellow outlaw with a notorious past. Soon Larkin and Amias realize their fates are entwined. The eight of them were chosen for a reason. 

But as the dangers multiply and her band of felons are picked off one by one, Larkin must confront a terrible truth: They were never meant to return. 

Sarah Harian crafts a thrilling, high-octane fantasy adventure that explores the often-thin line between light and darkness, good and evil.

Beyond the Black Door From Fierce Reads

Kamai was warned never to open the black door, but she didn’t listen …

Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.

But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.

When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.

A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom …

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco

Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends. 

And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….

Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau

Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin’s Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.

Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins…not even to save the woman he can no longer live without.

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TIPS AND ADVICE

Plan Ahead – You have no idea how planning ahead actually helped me with my first trip to BookCon. When I initially started researching about other reader’s experiences, nearly everyone had planned out a full itinerary but trust me, it helps so much. When you first arrive to the Showfloor, it can be overwhelming since there are so many publishers, vendors, and exhibitors who have booths throughout the show. Therefore,  one of the most strategic things you can do is plan ahead. So for a lot of first timers, you may ask – How can I? I would suggest following your favorite publishers on social media such as Twitter, Instagram, etc. They will most likely release their schedule within 2 weeks before the show starts and sometimes even earlier so it is within our best interest to compile a schedule of all the events and arc drops which we want to attend. In addition, BookCon would also release a schedule of all panels and autograph sessions as well so make sure to include them as well.

Autograph Sessions – The autograph sessions at the main Autographing stage will be revealed online a couple of weeks before the show. BookCon enables one general ticket holder to sign up for two autographing sessions per day. These tickets tend to go fast so if you really want to meet an author I would advise that you try to sign up for them as soon as you can.

Ticket Information – There are 3 type of tickets: Weekend, Saturday and Sunday. There are also VIP tickets available as well. Tickets will need to be purchased online and if you are able to purchase them early, they will be mailed to you a few weeks before the show. I highly suggest that you purchase your tickets as soon as you can so you can avoid the Will Call Line in the morning of the show and that can take up time.

Earlier the Better – I am pretty sure a lot of other bookbloggers have stated this before but depending on your schedule and what you specifically want to do at BookCon, try to arrive early so you will be able to attend these events. Each year, the convention grows and grows so it is best that we keep this mind and prepare ourselves when attending the show.

Pack Snacks – With the time you spend waiting for ARC drops, autographing lines or simply strolling through the show floor, I guarantee that you will loose track of time there. I most certainly did since I had a pretty packed schedule! Therefore, I highly suggest that you pack some snacks to keep you energized throughout the day just in case some events may run longer than expected.

Take a Light Jacket/Sweater/ Comfortable Shoes – The convention center can get quite cold so I would suggest that you bring a light sweater. In addition, it is highly advisable that you wear some comfortable shoes. I made sure to go in with some flats and I was so thankful that I did. But even with the amount of walking and standing in line, my legs were still screaming at me by the end of the event HAHA

Choose ARCs which you are interested in – ARCs are meant to serve a promotional purpose for authors so when you are waiting for an ARC, please try to get ones which you are interested in and are willing to provide a review on GoodReads, BookBlog, Amazon etc. This would even help newer authors to gain recognition for their work and it would overall help in the actual release of the novel.

Be Polite – This one is pretty self explanatory but please be polite while waiting in line. I did not have too many issues during the ARC drop lines but I have heard some unpleasant accounts from other attendees so please be courteous to one another and be polite. We are all book lovers here and we all want to have a good time in the event. So even if  you are unable to receive the book you want, then no worries – You can always get it when it releases! Hakuna Matata! 🙂

I hope you all enjoyed this post! Have you ever been to BookCon? How was your experience?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post! 🙂

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Grace and Fury Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Tracy Banghart

Publication: July 31st 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 320

Rating: 4/5

GoodReads

Since I managed to get the ARC of the second book (Queen of Ruin) at BookCon, it’s about time I picked this one up! I was actually surprised on how this book turned out! While I do feel that there were some YA tropes which I recognized from previous books, I think author did a great job in moving the storyline in a different direction which overall delivers the main theme of feminism and strength. In addition, this is also a great novel to pick up if you are ever in a reading slump since its very fast paced and I ended up enjoying it! 

Summary (From GoodReads)

In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace – someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

Characters:

Serina – Patient, Submissive (at first) – Serina’s character growth is phenomenal and I think she was my favorite part of this entire novel. She is initially very accepting to all the societal rules around her and believes that as a woman, that’s how she is supposed to be but then later develops a boldness and courage which I really appreciated.

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Nomi – Strong, Determined, Outspoken – While Nomi’s story was not as dynamic as Serina’s, we still see developing tension and court politics moving into play. She faces a lot of struggles as well and takes a powerful blow to her inner strength with her experiences.

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Final Thoughts

While I do feel like there were similar tropes such as the Cinderella fairytale and the Hunger Games dystopia setting, I liked that it focused on feminism and the sister relationships which I love to see in books mostly because they remind me of me and my sister. At first,  I was not able to connect as deeply with these characters and it could be because it moved too fast but with the progression of the story and the character growth, I found myself developing a connection with them over time. I will also say that there was one instance which I found to be predictable but I think this is also because of the amount of YA novels I have read so it was not much of a surprise to me. 

But let’s talk about the positives! The main points of interest is that we follow these two sisters who are placed in situations which are completely out of their comfort zone and they endure serious challenges which overall contribute to their character growth.  We do have to two perspectives (one for each sister) and I ended up preferring to read Serina since her plot dynamic suddenly flips to the most extreme and I was so curious and interested to see how her journey would progress! I think she is faced with so much challenges which push her to her limits and she develops into a strong leader and I loved seeing that growth! Nomi is also a character I admired. She is already strong in her values and beliefs from the very beginning but she finds herself caught in a web of court politics and it is interesting to see her navigate through this web which she has never come across before.  

In terms of plot, I think the story only gets interesting about halfway through the novel. We see plot lines growing more intricate and dangerous. We see the stakes being raised even further. While the beginning does incorporate a lot previous YA tropes we have seen before, I do believe that the author only started to differentiate the storyline about midway through the novel. One of my favorite scenes (not a spoiler) is the cliff scene where we see a build up of a lot emotions and it was handled very well: “You fight back. Always.”

Overall, I definitely think this was a satisfying opening to a series. While there were some similar tropes used, we do end up receiving a different storyline by the end along with a dynamic character growth which I loved seeing unfold. BUT THAT CLIFFHANGER ENDING THOUGH!!! 😦

Have any of you read Grace and Fury? What did you think of it? And stay tuned for my review of the second book coming soon!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon in another bookish post!

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Finale Book Review (Spoiler Free)

finale

“A true Queen’s power isn’t in her crown.” 

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publisher: May 7th 2019 by Flatiron Books

Pages: 496

GoodReads

Rating – 5/5

OMG FINALLY!!!

Every time I pick up one of the books in this series, I’m whirled away to another realm drenched with magic, thrill and enchantment. There is no clear way to describe the magic of Caraval and I think that is what makes this series so unique and special. Its riveting, whimsical and dangerous but also grounded by themes of love and sisterhood.

Summary from GoodReads: (Since this is the final book in the series, there are some minor spoilers to the first two books in the summary below):

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…all games must come to an end.

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything. . .

Characters:

Scarlet – Scarlet now takes control and takes risks – something she never done before and it was refreshing to see that. While we do know that Scarlet has an inner strength to her in the first book, she expands on it with a touch of boldness in this one.

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Julien – Lord. This man. Confidence. Carefree. Jovial. And Witty AF. What’s not to love about him? I swear as soon as he appeared the amount of post it tabs I used increased exponentially!  I was living for the ScarletxJulien moments in this novel since they were all so satisfying. We do see an dynamic change in Julien from the first book and I liked seeing that growth. OMG and I absolutely adore the way he calls Scarlet “Crimson” LOVE IT!

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Tella – Well we all know that Tella is quite the firecracker! She is bold and sometimes rash in her decisions than her cautious sister which is probably why it gets her into some troublesome situations. Nevertheless, I have always appreciated her character for her fearlessness since its a trait that I wish I had!

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Legend – Hmmm what can I day about Legend? He is borderline dangerous with his manipulative nature but his charm, explosive magic and devious schemes have a way of entrancing us. I will say I was not a huge fan of the push and pull between Tella and Legend and I preferred the relationship between Scarlet and Julien but that’s just me 🙂

Final Thoughts:

Stephanie Garber really grew with her writing. The imagery is spectacular. The growth of the story and world is brilliantly done. The dialogue is amazing. The pacing is perfect that you can’t help but fly through the pages. Within the first chapter I was hooked! I also loved the abundance of quotes in the novel which are hard hitting!

“Occasionally, there are minutes that get extra seconds. Moments so precious the universe stretches to make additional room for them.” 

“She looked the way Love might have looked if Love in a mirror, infectiously happy and radiantly beautiful.” 

The concept of utilizing the Deck of Destiny and providing characterization for each of the fates/cards was such a phenomenal idea. Stephanie Garber continued to build on the story from the previous novels and as a reader you can feel the story lines intertwining and building upon one another. With the added intricacy of the story, it is clear that the author spent an enormous amount of effort devising the plot lines and developing a seamless flow to the story. There are just so many twists and turns which keeps you on the edge of your seat and I have to say that this series has now become one of my favorite series of all time! 

Side Note –  I also randomly bumped into Stephanie Garber at BookCon this past weekend and OMG I was FanGirling so hard HAHA She is just the sweetest person ever! And Stay Tuned for my BookCon Haul and Experience post coming soon!

Have any of you read Finale yet? What were your thoughts on it?

Until next time, keep reading and i will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Characters That Remind Me of Myself

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A lot of authors take pride and commitment into creating diverse and vibrant worlds filled with characters of various personalities and throughout my reading journey, I have found that there are a lot of characters who share multiple similarities with me. For that reason, I am very much excited about this week’s writing prompt: Characters That Remind Me of Myself

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

So without further ado, let’s get on with the list!

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Laia (An Ember in the Ashes Quartet) 

I loved that Sabaa Tahir took a different route with Laia’s character when compared to other female protagonists in YA Literature such as “Katniss” or “Celena.” Laia is quite different from them since she is fearful and naive in the beginning but we also grow attached to her spirited and determined characteristics. What I found the most intriguing about her character was her phenomenal growth within the novel. I think this was the aspect which I related to the most since I definitely think I am a completely different person than who I was 5 or 10 years ago. And not only were the character traits similar but also the physical traits since it was not until recent years when authors included characters of color as their main protagonists and I really appreciated that.

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Audrey Rose Wadsworth (Stalking Jack the Ripper) 

When I first read Stalking Jack the Ripper, I knew Audrey would be become one my top favorite female leads of all times! She has a level of intelligence and dedication to her forensic work which makes her so appealing. I love that she takes pride in what she does which does resemble myself in some cases, since I am goal oriented and dedicated to my  classes and work.

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Nehemia (Throne of Glass)

Being a princess, Nehemia has a huge responsibility on her shoulders. Nevertheless, she carries this weight effortlessly and handles all tribulations in her path with grace and dignity. While I may not have that level of maturity, I definitely can relate to having to deal with pressure especially since I am the first-born and there are expectations which are placed upon me. Nehemia also has the capability to look after other characters  and since I do have a younger sister, I can relate to that aspect of her personality.

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Cress (The Lunar Chronicles)

I definitely saw myself within Cress while reading the Lunar Chronicles since (1) I do spend way too much time online and (2) I can have my head stuck in the clouds sometimes! Cress does start off as a shy, sheltered girl who eventually learns to be the hero of her own story. I also liked the fact that she was quite a fangirl over Captain Thorne and that I can almost positively relate to!

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Scarlet (Caraval)

Being the eldest of two, Scarlet is definitely the most cautious having taken ownership of leading the family. While it can be overbearing, she can’t help but act this way due to her troubling past and present. But with the sole purpose of helping her sister, Scarlet soon goes through a dynamic character growth and becomes a stronger person. What I liked most about Scarlet was her appreciation for her sister despite their differences and that was something I could relate to since I have a younger sister who I care for a lot.

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Amari (Children of Blood and Bone)

Amari resembled Laia in the beginning since she was fearful of her mother who raised her in strict manner. While it is true that she was a scared princess, her character develops into a strong leader/warrior. She stays true to her values and morals despite having to face various obstacles thrown in her path and this was the essence of her personality which resembled by character. While her strengths are underestimated and overshadowed by her older brother, she still manages to persevere and show her capabilities.

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Hermione (Harry Potter)

OMG Hermione has got to be the first book character who I ever felt close to! Growing up, I was mostly to myself with a heavy focus on school and studying. While I may have not fit closely with my other peers due to this aspect, having read about a character like Hermione whose knowledge became her strength truly helped me to overcome those insecurities. I loved that J.K Rowling wrote a character who took pride in learning since it serves as a great motivator for the up and coming generation.

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Veronica (The Doon series)

A major reason why I immediately connected with Veronica or Vee was her love for reading. I think this is primarily why she is quite a dreamer and yearns to escape her domestic life for adventure. Who wouldn’t want to travel and explore the world?

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Cath (Fangirl)

I think the title says it all! FANGIRL 🙂 There was definitely a period of time in our lives (past or even present) where we had an idol/group who we were very passionate about. As readers, we may be a fan of a certain author’s work since their stories and characters could inspire us. Due to these reasons, I believe Cath was a character who I found to share many similarities with. We both tend to avoid social situations but we can be snarky or sarcastic should the occasion arise 🙂

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Inej (Six of Crows)

Till this day, Inej is probably one of my favorite characters of all time! She has her morals which she abides by and she strong despite her past. In addition, she was the “glue” of the group and truly cared for everyone around her. I found that maybe since I am one of the eldest of my family, it brought about the responsibility to look after others.

What characters do you relate to the most? Let me know!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post! 🙂

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