Review: The Poppy War – R.F. Kuang

The Poppy WarTitle: The Poppy War
Author:
R.F. Kuang
Publication Date: 1 May 2018
ISBN: 0062662597
Pages: 544
Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism
Format: Hardcover
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

Review

I really really loved this book. I initially picked it up about 20 minutes before work, got almost 25-ish pages in and then had to scramble to work. I had exactly zero intention of buying any book (being a broke college student at the moment) and I was so close to leaving my job without running back to Barnes & Noble to pick it up. But, you guys,  this book was so good that I couldn’t imagine not having it and devouring that day. So I sped walked all the way back to B&N to buy this book and read it that night.

Let me just say, it was well worth the run and the very pronounced decrease in my checking account. It was such a great read! It was unexpected at every single turn and the amount of character development between Rin and all the other characters was so incredibly well done. Every character was multi-dimensional and backstories that seemed to have no significance ended up being extremely important.

Continue reading “Review: The Poppy War – R.F. Kuang”

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Review: Dangerous Women – 21 Authors

Dangerous WomenTitle: Dangerous Women
Authors:
 George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, Carrie Vaughn, Joe R. Lansdale, Megan Lindholm, Lawrence Block, Brandon Sanderson, Sharon Kay Penman, Lev Grossman, Nancy Kress, Diana Rowland, Diana Gabaldon, S.M. Stirling, Sam Sykes, Pat Cadigan, Caroline Spector, Joe Abercrombie, Megan Abbott, Cecelia Holland, Jim Butcher, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Melinda M. Snodgrass
Publication Date: 3 December 2013
ISBN: 076533206X
Pages: 736
Genre: Anthology
Format: Hardcover
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Writes Gardner Dozois in his Introduction, “Here you’ll find no hapless victims who stand by whimpering in dread while the male hero fights the monster or clashes swords with the villain, and if you want to tie these women to the railroad tracks, you’ll find you have a real fight on your hands. Instead, you will find sword-wielding women warriors, intrepid women fighter pilots and far-ranging spacewomen, deadly female serial killers, formidable female superheroes, sly and seductive femmes fatale, female wizards, hard-living Bad Girls, female bandits and rebels, embattled survivors in Post-Apocalyptic futures, female Private Investigators, stern female hanging judges, haughty queens who rule nations and whose jealousies and ambitions send thousands to grisly deaths, daring dragonriders, and many more.”

Review

This was such a mixed bag of stories. Twenty one different stories from vastly different genres with vastly different types of “dangerous” women.

From the title Dangerous Women, I assumed that this was going to be about warrior type women. Essentially, your Katniss Everdeen’s, Celaena Sardothien’s, and Hermione Granger’s of the world – women who weren’t afraid to fight in battle. But that isn’t the only type of dangerous women that this anthology focuses on. Of course there is your fair share of the strong female protagonist type of women, but there are also the mentally ill type of women represented in this collection, alongside some calculating, historical type of women. It isn’t all killing and death and destruction like the title may suggest. Rather this anthology is more about portraying the variety of strengths that women can possess. So I can’t fault the majority of the stories themselves for not meeting my personal expectations for a dangerous woman.

Continue reading “Review: Dangerous Women – 21 Authors”

Review: Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author:
 Laini Taylor
Publication Date: 28 March 2017
ISBN: 0316341681
Pages: 536
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

Review

I borrowed this book from my cousin almost 6 months ago and I’m so disappointed I haven’t gotten to it until now. It was such an amazing read!

Laini Taylor’s writing style is pretty close to what I would consider ideal, an almost perfect blend of description and dialogue. Every once in a while it would get description heavy but it never felt out of place or like it was filler. Rather, every piece that Laini offered to us as readers fit into this intricate world that she built.

And I have to say, the world was intense and beautiful. Everything from Weep itself to the lands that Lazlo lived in before traveling to Weep. She didn’t focus on Weep alone, every place that Lazlo visited was intricately described and had a place. It’s some of the best world building I’ve seen in a single novel. While there is still some mystery shrouding the history of Weep, the portions that were critical to the continuation of the plot were revealed in interesting and thorough ways.

Continue reading “Review: Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor”

2018 New Year’s Resolutions – Bookish Edition

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I’m almost a month late to the party but January isn’t over yet so I’m gonna talk about my New Year’s resolutions anyway.

This year I tried something a little bit different than I normally do. I liked the idea of having a central feeling or action that I’m working towards throughout the year and throughout all my goals. So this year I chose a word of the year and it is:

BALANCE

I’m pretty excited to see whether or not my book goals are going to create a feeling of equilibrium in my life because I definitely need it. Let’s jump in to 2018 Bookish New Year’s Resolutions!

Books

Read 30 Books

Last year I was pretty disappointed in the number of books that I read. But here’s the thing, I don’t have the time to read 50 books every year. Reading is, unfortunately, not that high on my list of priorities right now. But I still like the notion of challenging myself to read more than I usually. So this year, instead of making it a goal, I’m using this as more of a challenge.  Still, I’ve already got a pretty good start because I read 3 books this month. If I keep that up, I might actually tick this of.

Read a Book Every Day

Because I was so disappointed in myself last year about how much reading I got done, I’m making a resolution to get a little bit of reading done every single day. I know I have 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to spend doing something I really and truly love. I haven’t done such a great job this month but I’m getting into the grove so next month will be better.

Don’t Stress About Reading the Latest Book

FOMO is real y’all and I was feelin’ it last year. I think the only new release I read last year was The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (it’s so effin’ good!) and I felt so bad about it. But this year my goal is too be less judgmental of what I read. Because reading is reading regardless of how new the book is.

Blog

Write One Blog Post a Month

I really don’t have time to blog every single week. My semester is packed with super difficult and time-consuming courses and that is more a priority than anything right now. But I like blogging and I like writing reviews of the books I’ve read. So I’m going to do my absolute best to get at least 1 post out a month.

Do Some Updating

The About Me page is no longer accurate. I have so much updating that needs to be done on this blog, so the goal is to make that happen. Maybe we’ll even see a change in theme but I honestly wouldn’t hold out hope on that right now.

Bollywood Book Tag – Song Edition

And here we are with part two of the amazing Bollywood Book Tag created by Shouni @ Through the Book Portal and Empress @ The Empire of Starlight. The first part (created by Shouni) was the movie edition and you can check out my responses right here. This week, I’ll be choosing books that relate to various songs chosen by Empress. So let’s get right in to it!

Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna
Favorite Star-Crossed Lovers

Sam and Braeden from Paladin by Sally SlaterPaladin is an incredible novel that got its start on Wattpad. Slater is simply a phenomenal writer and it’s especially evident in how she wrote Sam and Braeden’s very difficult and tumultuous relationship.

Kamli
Favorite hero/heroine

I really, really, really wanted to go with my all time favorite YA series by my all time favorite YA author. But I refrained (it’s the Throne of Glass sereis by Sarah J. Maas, btw).

Instead, I’m going with Nemesis from The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid. Nemesis is one of the more unique heroines for two reasons: she’s not entirely human and she was genetically engineered to be a killing machine. She isn’t exactly the typical protagonist and yet her entire story is fascinating.  Continue reading “Bollywood Book Tag – Song Edition”

Bollywood Book Tag – SRK Edition

Well hello there! It’s been a while but I’m glad to be back and writing. A lot has happened, a lot of reading has been done, and I’ve missed quite a few fun tags. So to remedy that fact, I’m going to do part one of a tag created by my great friends Shouni @ Through the Book Portal and Empress @ The Empire of Starlight: The Bollywood Book Tag. It’s a two part collaboration, the Shah Rukh Khan edition was created by Shouni and the Song Edition was done by the Empress. So a big thank you to both of them for tagging me and for creating such an awesome tag. Definitely make sure to check out their answers to the questions.

In this post, I’ll be doing the Shah Rukh Khan edition and next week I’ll finish up the tag with the Song edition. Now let’s get right into it!

ddlj17years

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge – Favorite Classic

My all time favorite classic is easily the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I absolutely love the symbolism and language throughout the entire book. And the characters are as dynamic and interesting as the plot. I love this book and I recommend it to literally everyone.

kuch-kuch-hota-hai-movie-poster

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai – Favorite Romance

I always say I’m not super into romance, but in the past two years I’ve been reading a lot of them. Out of all the ones I’ve read, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is definitely my favorite. Simon is so great and the plot is so much fun, the perfect mix of silly and realistic.

kabhi-khushi-kabhie-gham_1000x563

Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham – Great in All Aspects

Ooohh, this is a hard one. I can find faults with every book I’ve ever read. But if I had to pick one, I’d go with The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Trials by Oliver Sacks. It’s definitely a book that’s for people who are into psychology but, even if you aren’t, it’s still so interesting. Continue reading “Bollywood Book Tag – SRK Edition”

BookTube-A-Thon 2017 Wrap Up

BookTube-A-Thon is over *cries*. It was a great time and I got to read a couple really wonderful books. I’m so glad I got the chance to participate again this year, and I hope I’ll be able to do this read-a-thon next year.

This year I read – drumroll please – two books. Well… actually… it’s more like two and a half books but I’ll explain later. I know it’s less than the four that I read last year but I am working this year and it was a special weekend at my job which meant I spent more time there than usual. Regardless, the two books that I did were great.

Before I get into the books, let’s check out the stats

Number of books completed: 2

Total Number of page reads: 750

Challenges completed:
– Read a book with a person on the cover
– Finish a book in one day
– Read about a character that is very different from you

Now on to the books. Continue reading “BookTube-A-Thon 2017 Wrap Up”

BookTube-A-Thon 2017 Overzealous TBR

Y’all, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a blog post. And, naturally, when I do get back to blogging, my first post is a day late. I’m really sorry to have missed so much time but I had an awesome trip in Kenya.

But I’m back and it’s time for one of my favorite read-a-thons of the year: BookTube-A-Thon! If you don’t know, BookTube-A-Thon is a week long read-a-thon that started yesterday and ends on Sunday the 30th at 11:59 pm. The main goal is to read as many books as you can in seven days but there are also challenges that you can complete, if you wanna. These are this year’s challenges:

  1. Read a book with a person on the cover
  2. Read a hyped book
  3. Finish a book in one day
  4. Read about a character that is very different from you
  5. Finish a book completely outdoors
  6. Read a book you bought because of the cover
  7. Read seven books.

So here is my TBR. It’s a mix of ARCs and other published books I got during the RT Booklovers Convention back in May.

Continue reading “BookTube-A-Thon 2017 Overzealous TBR”

Tag: Mid Year Book Freak Out

Yay tags! It’s been a few months since my last. And this one seemed especially appropriate because of last week’s 2017 checkup post. Special thanks to Shouni @ Through the Book Portal for tagging me! If you’re not reading her blog, you’re definitely not doing life right. So go check her out. But first, the tag.

BEST BOOKS YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2017?

BEST SEQUEL OF 2017 SO FAR

23766634The third in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, no question.

First and foremost, it’s the only sequel I’ve read thus far.

Second, it’s Sarah J. Maas and I adore her.

And third, there was so much depth to every character in this book and so many surprises. 

All around, one of my favorite reads so far. And definitely my favorite sequel.

NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET, BUT YOU WANT TO

Can I cheat? I’m going to cheat because I have three for this question.

Almost a month ago now, I had the pleasure of meeting Renée Ahdieh and Julie Murphy at the RT Booklover’s Convention which was held in Atlanta this year. Both of them were absolutely amazing people. It was an amazing convention and I’m working on getting some amazing pictures of the books I picked up so I can write a post about it.

Regardless, both of them were amazing and they told me about their up coming books and I fell in love. I already love Ahdieh because of The Wrath and the Dawn (which I loved). And I think I’m going to like Flame in the Mist even more. Although I’ve had Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy on my list for a while, I’m definitely more interested in reading Ramona Blue.

To Catch A Killer by Sheryl Scarborough hasn’t been on my TBR for very long but the premise sounds amazing. Basically a girl trying to find her mother and her biology teacher’s killer. Sounds pretty interesting, if you ask me.  Continue reading “Tag: Mid Year Book Freak Out”

The 2017 New Year Checkup

Y’all, I had completely forgotten that we already halfway into 2017. This year feels like it’s flying and I’ve been loving it. My first year at college was absolutely wonderful, I made some really amazing friends, and so many other things. And right now, we’re going to see just how much work I’ve done towards my 2017 resolutions.

Read 50 Books

I don’t really want to talk about this goal. Like, it’s so bad that I’d rather pretend that this isn’t an actual goal of mine. We can pretend that I never said this, right? No? … Fine.

I’ve actually only read 10 books this year. *Hides in shame*

I know, I know, I should be at about 22 books (according to Goodreads). But in my defense, I have been reading a lot of comics through Line Webtoons. Most of them aren’t completed but I like to think it still counts. And I’ve gone through a ton of Wattpad stories which also aren’t counted by Goodreads but I still feel should count in my list. If we are counting these, I’ve read/ am currently reading 28 books and that’s pretty great.

Read at least 2 Classics

This is probably the one goal I’m most proud of. I finally made it through Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin! I really didn’t enjoy it but I am glad that I read it. Now I can have actual conversations about it and I won’t feel like an idiot when I do.

I’m currently reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and I’m actually having a great time with it. I hope that I’ll finish it by the end of the month, but I’m giving myself until next month for certain. And I might even get a third classic in because I have every intention of reading The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

Read at least 1 Book of Poetry

I haven’t actually started with this one but I think I’m going to read Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire. I’ve picked this one for several reasons, the first being that Shire has a connection to Kenya (where my family is from) and the second is that it’s short, only 37 pages. And the third is definitely because it sounds like it’s going to be about serious and thought provoking stories, rather than nature and flowers that I typically associate with poetry. I’m really looking forward to this read.  Continue reading “The 2017 New Year Checkup”