ARC Review: The Tiger’s Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency #1) by K. Arsenault Rivera

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Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

review

 

**** Huge thank you to Tor for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!****

This book was very unique and I feel like my mind is still processing the sheer amount of world building in it as well! It’s also a diverse read featuring two Asian women and a F/F romance which was amazing!

PLOT

First things first, this is a slower paced book and not the action-packed, fast-paced adventure I thought it was going to be. This is more of a character-driven story which was fine because they did an excellent job with it. However, once I got about half way through it slowed down significantly and while I was still interested I wasn’t AS interested anymore. This is pretty much the only reason I’m giving it 4 stars instead of a full five.

Another reason I can’t give a full five is that when I started reading I was drowning in information and incredibly confused. Major info dumping and it took me a ridiculous amount of time to figure out how the names worked because each main race, Hokkran and Qorin, has a different style of naming and therefore each character was named differently according to who was addressing them. It added a lot to the world building but like I said it took a while to get used to and figure it out.

The world building was absolutely kick-ass, this was my favorite part of the book to be honest. It was all very unique and interesting, I was craving more answers concerning the mythology and world building especially after finishing the book. There’s just so much content and it’s all fascinating and pretty immersive. I need more!

The POV and narration was also really unique as it jumps between the current timeline and from Shizuka’s 3rd Person POV to her reading a letter from Shefali told in the 1st Person POV. It also skips around in time starting with the birth and childhood of the characters into the current time where they are in their 20’s. Once again this took a little getting used to but I thought it was a really distinctive way to tell the story.

The writing was amazing as well, one of the other things I really enjoyed. It was beautifully written and easy to immerse myself in.

The ending was pretty solid and tied everything up neatly but still leaving room for more in the sequel. I would definitely love to see more of the world building explored especially since we essentially know EVERYTHING about the characters now since reading about them from birth. Definitely excited to see a little more demon-slaying!

characters

As I mentioned earlier this is a very character driven book and therefore the most important happenings in the story focus around the characters, their drives, and their emotions more so than any straightforward plot line.

I really liked the main characters Shizuka and Shefali, mostly Shefali though! They’re both incredibly headstrong girls with incredible talent but they also have their flaws and if there’s anything I love it’s a flawed heroine who knows their faults. I love how they both admit to their strengths and weaknesses both and rely on each other.

They were definitely well developed and very complex.

I also loved the strong, positive female friendship that is represented between them that blossoms into a romance.

The secondary characters were also done well especially O-Shizuru and Alshara, Shizuka’s and Shefali’s mothers respectfully. Seriously, their mothers are total badasses and if they grow up to even be an ounce like their mothers the next book in the series will be fantastic! I also really liked Shefali’s cousin, Otgar, and her brother Kenshiro. Shizuka’s uncle, the Emperor, made for a good sort of antagonist too.

romance

This was a nice slow burn romance and as mentioned it’s a diverse F/F romance as well. I loved how the girls grew from a friendship into a romance.

They were so sweet, adorable, and passionate. I don’t ever want them to be apart! I will go down with this ship!

in conclusion

Overall I really did enjoy this book but I would have liked a bit more action, more answers for the world building, and less info dumps! Still I will anxiously be awaiting the sequel just to see where they will go now since we have done the past and will move onto the character’s futures!

What I Loved:

  • The world building and mythology
  • Unique narrative style
  • Beautiful writing
  • Complex, developed, and likable characters
  • Slow burn and sweet F/F romance

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Pacing got very slow after 50%
  • Would have liked a bit more info on the world building
  • Not a lot of action
  • Major info dumps

RECOMMEND

I definitely recommend checking this book out as it’s a very unique fantasy book with a really neat premise and beautiful writing. It is inspired by Asian culture and includes a F/F romance, however, if you’re looking for something action packed this may not be for you.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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ARC Review: The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

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Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late.

review

**** Huge thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review! ****

After reading and enjoying Cook’s other novel “With Malice” I knew I was going to be in for a treat with “The Hanging Girl” and it definitely did not let me down! I can’t go into too much detail because I really don’t want to ruin anything but it really is a thrilling, fast-paced book!

PLOT

The focus of the story is the main character, Skye, who fakes being a psychic and is enlisted to help the police find a missing girl. She has some inside information on the kidnapping though in exchange for getting money she desperately needs, but things don’t exactly go as planned. That’s all I’m going to tell you!

This is a pretty fast paced book with never a dull moment and also one that will grab your attention immediately. Our protagonist, Skye, is shown as a liar and manipulator right off the bat and therefore a bit of an unreliable narrator, which is always intriguing to me. There are quite a few plot twists throughout the story and I didn’t see hardly any of them coming at all! I also thought it was great that major plot twists occur in the story pretty early on too, definitely keeps things interesting! If you’re already a suspicious reader, like myself, you may guess a few things but I think it’s safe to say you’ll still get surprised.

The psychic portions of the story were also really interesting and perfect for Halloween if you’re looking for a great, non-spooky thriller to read!

I was a little disappointed with the ending, I just felt it wasn’t as shocking as a lot of the other twists were and it was slightly more predictable. I felt like it was abrupt and unfinished, it wasn’t a BAD ending by any means but it left me a little unsatisfied.

I’d also like to mention that the protagonist, Skye,  has anxiety and having anxiety myself I thought it was represented well. She is constantly dealing with the threat of a panic attack throughout the story, and considering the situations it’s not surprising for someone with anxiety. I thought the way the anxiety was described was also fairly accurate such as Skye picking at the skin on her fingertips or biting her nails, that’s something I do because of my anxiety as well and it was extremely relatable.

characters

There really isn’t much to discuss as far as characters go, there’s Skye and as I already mentioned she’s manipulative, a bit unreliable, and also suffers from anxiety. I did really like her character though because she’s doing things for a good reason and found her to be very relatable.

As far as secondary characters go they are there to drive the plot and not much else. The only other moderately interesting character’s would be Skye’s mom, her best friend Drew, and another character whose name I won’t mention due to spoilers but they were……interesting.

romance

One of the best parts about this book is that there is no romance to distract from all the plot twists and thrills!

in conclusion

Overall this was a fun, quick read!

What I Loved:

  • Fast pacing
  • Mindfuckery/ great plot twists
  • Good anxiety rep
  • Relatable main character

What I Didn’t Love:

  • The ending was a little disappointing and felt unfinished

RECOMMEND

I recommend checking this one out especially for Halloween coming up or if you just enjoy a really good, fast-paced thriller!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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ARC Review: Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

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Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen’s personal assassins named for the rings she wears — Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal — their world changes. They know it’s a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.

review

****Huge thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for sending me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!****

There seem to be a lot of mixed feelings on this book with people either DNF’ing their ARCs or loving them, fortunately I was one of the people who LOVED it! I was very pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed “Mask of Shadows” everything about it was entertaining and it really blew away all of my expectations!

Trigger Warnings: Misgendering and Much Violence (gets pretty brutal at times)

PLOT

As you can see in the descriptions right away this is being compared to books by both Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo but let me tell you I thought this book was so much better than those! You can see the similarities to the plot of this book and that of “Throne of Glass” right away, which I did, but trust me when I tell you I thought this was far better than “Throne of Glass”. “Mask of Shadows” was essentially everything I had wanted “Throne of Glass” to actually be: full of action, brutal violence, and a main character who isn’t all talk! So I personally thought the descriptions didn’t do this book justice, or it did in case you’re a big fan of either of those authors I suppose.

I really loved how we are tossed into some action immediately at the beginning of the story and we don’t waste anytime getting into all the action the synopsis promised! Of course considering the fact that Sal is auditioning to become part of the Left Hand there is quite a bit of training in many various areas so those parts can become a bit tedious, I personally found them enjoyable though. I also liked how none of the contestants were messing around either, they were hardcore! I actually really liked how brutal and violent the lot of them were because this means the author wasn’t sugar coating the fact that these people are trying out to be ASSASSINS. That’s what they do.

While the pacing wasn’t necessarily fast and went kind of back and forth a little bit, I still never got bored while reading since there was always something going on. The action definitely wasn’t lacking here! But as I said the pacing did go back and forth pretty erratically.

The plot was very entertaining, even though it seems it could be a run of the mill YA fantasy plot. Sal’s thirst for revenge and the lengths they go to achieve the revenge was interesting to read about and definitely had me rooting for them.

Another thing that was very well done was the world building but I could have used a little more of it as well. I thought one of the most interesting points were the “shadows” which I won’t go into detail about but the descriptions honestly terrified me! I personally never felt like I was being “info dumped” on but I could see some people getting annoyed with the amount of info being spilled all at once throughout reading.

There were quite a few shocking plot twists and that ending definitely has me dying to read the sequel!

characters

One of the best things about “Mask of Shadows” is the fact that the main character, Sal, is gender fluid, that’s right we have a gender fluid main character in a YA fantasy! While I personally cannot say whether this was represented well or not I read a review from an amazing blogger I follow (Avery @ The Book Deviant) who has an own voices review up that I will link for you to check out!

It’s stated in the book that Sal prefers to use the she/her pronouns when dressed as a woman, the he/his pronouns when dressed as a man, and they/their pronouns when dressed as neither. Since this is just a book review I will refer to Sal using the they/their pronouns.

Sal was a fantastic character and I really adored them, they just had so much spunk and spirit. However, they also came with their flaws as well from the rough past that they’ve had and what they’re willing to do to get their revenge as well. I LOVED that Sal came into the competition with a realistic set of skills and admitted that they didn’t know everything and did their best to learn other skills worthy of an assassin. That is so unbelievable refreshing, a main character that doesn’t magically have ALL the skills!

I’d also like to take a moment here to discuss the cases of misgendering Sal that occurred in the book. This happens in one instance at the beginning of the story and Sal corrects them right away explaining how they liked to be addressed according to what they are wearing and it doesn’t happen again. However, there is a more villainous character that misgenders Sal more than a few times and Sal challenges it immediately, which I loved. There is just one thing that goes along with this that I wanted to mention was that Sal states they like to be addressed as they dress: dresses for she/her and trousers/tunics/leggings for he/him. Now I KNOW this is just a fantasy and most clothing is gendered and that’s accepted but when Sal is misgendered by what they are wearing they state that “clearly” they are a woman/man by how they are dressed and would get very angry (which is understandable of course). I just kind of didn’t like this considering the fact that women and men can dress in whatever clothes they like and not have to identify as that gender based off of the clothes they are wearing, especially since this is a book about a diverse character.

Food for thought and hopefully that made some sort of sense.

AS for the secondary characters I really enjoyed quite a few of them but mostly I adored the other members of the Queen’s Left Hand: Emerald, Amethyst, and Ruby (MOST OF ALL RUBY!). I didn’t have too hard of a time keeping track of the other contestants but it did get a little annoying at times considering they were only ever referred to by number. Elise was also a pretty great character and I loved that she was diverse as well (either bisexual or pansexual) since she states that she’s interested in more than just men.

There is a romance in this story but it doesn’t take central stage and is more of a minor plot device. It really wasn’t anything special though and was more of your run of the mill YA fantasy romance.

in conclusion

Overall I really did have a great time reading this book and it surpassed ALL of my expectations!

What I Loved:

  • Genderfluid and overall fantastic main character
  • Stabby plot that doesn’t sugarcoat!
  • Interesting world building
  • Great secondary characters (mostly Ruby…)

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Erratic pacing
  • Sal’s outlook (or just the book’s) on gendered clothing

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend checking out this book whether you’re looking for a fun new YA fantasy or if you’re looking for a great diverse read as well!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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Book Review: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

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When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

review

This is the wonderful kind of book that I’m going to go around recommending to everyone all the time. It’s full of diversity and fandom culture which let’s face it we need more books with either or both! I found it to be so relatable on all levels and I feel it would be the same for many other readers as well.

PLOT

Of course one of the biggest reasons I enjoyed this book was because of how well I thought it handled many issues from sexism, racism, homophobia, slut shaming, fat shaming, and girl on girl hate. The characters, when confronted with these issues in the book, handled them in a very positive way and I loved it. There were many scenes where the characters were put down by others for things such as their sexuality, weight, or mental illness but they fired back and didn’t let people judge or hate on them!

There’s also a ton of diversity as well but I’ll get into that in my “characters” section.

One of the other BEST parts about this book was all of the fandom and geek culture, this is the kind of stuff I live and breathe for you guys! I’m that person who will bust through a wall if I hear even the slightest reference to something nerdy that I love so of course a book that has tons of said references has me all moony-eyed and in love!

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So I absolutely loved all of the references from cosplayers dressed as Captain Malcolm Reynolds to Taylor and Jamie’s Supernatural love and countless movie quotes! However, being the greedy little geek that I am I would have loved to see even more fandom references throughout the story since you know…they are at a convention.

The only little problem I had with “Queens of Geek”would be that I felt there wasn’t really any story going on. It mostly consists of the characters doing panels or walking around looking at merchandise at SupaCon and the two growing relationships between the characters. There really isn’t anything else going on and between all of the convention events and things and the relationships you don’t notice too terribly but I personally would have enjoyed if there was a little something else added to the plot to make things more interesting.

The writing was also very simple and easy to read, I enjoyed it!

characters

This is also probably one of the most diverse books I’ve had the pleasure of reading and I thought the representation was also well done. We have the two main characters: Charlie who is a Chinese-Australian, bisexual vlogger and Taylor who is the “chubby” girl somewhere on the Autism spectrum who also suffers from anxiety.

I have to say what made this book so much more relatable to me was Taylor and her anxiety, I just felt a connection to her and it was so amazing to see someone with anxiety represented this well. I loved how her friends would help her through it and how she found ways, such as her love of Queen Firestone and other geeky things, to help her get through her anxiety attacks. I personally suffer from anxiety as well and I thought the way anxiety was represented in this story was very, very well done.

I can’t speak for the representation of Taylor’s autism or Charlie’s bisexuality but I do know that Jen Wilde is autistic and bisexual as well (so I discovered via Twitter) so this is an Own Voices book and I feel she probably portrayed it very well!

I loved Charlie and Taylor’s friendship and it was awesome to see a positive representation of female friendship!

As for the secondary characters I would have loved to have seen a little more development with Jamie and Alyssa but I still loved them and how adorkable they were! There were also many other side characters that were gay, POC, or also had autism and I thought they were all handled very sensitively as well.

Also just a quick side note on Reese Ryan, Charlie’s ex: I fucking hated his guts. I would have liked to have seen him learn a good, hard lesson in this story but I loved how Charlie, Taylor, and Jamie all put him in his place later on. Still, I felt they went too easy on him because he was AWFUL! I get that he was supposed to be the sort of antagonist of the story and represented the people out there that are sexist and homophobic (among other things as well) but I still hated his guts! I wanted to transport myself into the story when he would go after the characters and say hurtful things and kick his ass!

romance

This book is ALL about that romance! Usually I am not one for contemporary romances but everything in “Queens of Geek” is so ADORABLE AND FLUFFY AND CUTE!

I was completely sold on both relationships in this story: Jamie x Taylor and Charlie x Alyssa. Both couples were so dorky, adorable, and sweet! I also really loved how both relationships were very positive as well there was no mistreatment at all between all of them.

There was quite a bit of insta-love in this story but it was the kind of insta-love that I really didn’t mind, which really says something since it’s one of my most hated tropes in YA!

in conclusion

Overall very, very happy with this book and there was just so much POSITIVITY from being body positive to being mental health positive.

What I Loved:

  • Diversity to the max!
  • Issues were handled very well
  • Anxiety rep was also handled very, very well
  • Positive depiction of female friendship
  • Positivity everywhere!
  • Fandom and geek culture representation and references
  • Adorable, sweet relationships
  • Fun, amazing characters

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Reese Ryan (seriously I would destroy this guy)
  • Would have liked a little bit more of an overall story-line
  • More geeky references would have been great too
  • More development for Jamie and Alyssa

RECOMMEND

YES! I highly, highly recommend checking out this book period but especially if you’re looking for a well represented diverse and Own Voices book or if you’re just looking for a fun, geeky fandom book! This book is hands down amazing!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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*Spoiler Free* Series Review: The Wicked + The Divine Volumes 1-4 by Kieron Gillen

I don’t think I can praise this graphic novel series enough, seriously! This is hands down the BEST ones I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading and I loved every part of it.

I’m going to be giving little mini reviews of each volume (1-4) here and each with their own rating etc.

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description

Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1-5

reviewWith volume 1 here I was absolutely hooked from the get go! The premise is so unique and interesting, I mean everyone’s pop star idols are literal GODS reincarnated every 90 years and only live for 2 before they die. The only problem is that we don’t get much explanation for anything in this volume and I was left with a lot more questions than answers. I’m actually still not 100% sure of what’s going on….at all. But that’s okay because it’s still SO GOOD!

The overall mythology/world building is pretty vague but already extremely fascinating. Of course there’s loads of room for more development, which I’d love, such as exactly why the gods are reincarnated and why it’s only every 90 years etc. Anyways probably one of my favorite parts about this graphic novel is how diverse the gods are, not only with thier human bodies but with the actual gods themselves. We see gods from all different kinds of mythology and religions : Irish, Egyptian, the religion of Christianity, Norse, Shinto (a Japanese religion), Greek, Sumerian, and probably a ton more as well! I think it’s AWESOME to see some other mythologies other than the traditional Greek and Roman being represented in stories, it’s fun to learn about all of these other gods, goddesses, and deities.

The characters, if you couldn’t already tell, were a-ma-zing! As I already stated they were all very diverse characters with different races and sexualities as well as the gods themselves being from many different mythologies and religions. Laura, the main character, was really relatable one of the main reasons being that she’s a huge fangirl of the gods. She’s pretty down to Earth and feisty! I also absolutely fell in love with Luci aka Lucifer, I mean seriously her character is so badass and all around amazing. One of the greatest characters I’ve ever come across! The Morrigan is a close favorite as well since I think her character is gorgeous and also one of the more interesting gods since she’s an Irish war goddess but is a sort of 3 goddesses in 1 type of thing! Overall though each god was very different with their own unique styles and personalities so they’re pretty easy to keep track of.

The art style……..how do I even begin to gush about the stunning artwork in “The Wicked + The Divine”? It’s one of the best art styles I’ve come across in a graphic novel it’s realistic, detailed, and the color palette is absolutely beautiful! I adored how vibrant all of the colors were! I was forcing the pages in everyone’s faces so they could behold how gorgeous the art is!

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*gush, gush, gush, gush*

Also that ending is pretty brutal so I recommend having the next volume on hand!


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I think I have to say that this was my favorite volume so far (out of the 4 I’ve read) because it was very action-packed with many crazy plot twists!

Basically in this volume Laura is trying to figure out who was behind the events that occurred at the end of volume 1 and some of the gods are willing to help her out as well.

We finally get a little more insight on the gods, which I liked but I still really had no clue what all was going on and what the “bigger picture” is. I’m starting to think there isn’t really any larger plot line here at all though, which is a little disappointing.

There’s also new characters! Yay! More badass and visually pleasing gods and goddesses! I have to say I absolutely loved the addition of Inanna because he’s gorgeous and also reminds me very much of Prince which I think was the point but still! He’s perfection!

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Of course the artwork is STILL gorgeous too!

And also this is probably the most cliffhanger-y ending I’ve ever read! Definitely have volume 4 at the ready! (volume 3 is filler)


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My least favorite volume seeing as how it’s mostly just filler and doesn’t really continue the story from volume 2 at all. Also apparently James McKelvie was on a break during this volume so a bunch of guest artists were brought in to illustrate each issue so the beautiful artwork we all know and love was not present in volume 3. I honestly really hated some of the artwork too…….

I really, really, really didn’t like the art for the issue about Sakhmet’s backstory……

Basically all we get to see here is the backstories on a lot of the gods and see how they went from human to deity. My favorite origin story would definitely have to be The Morrigan and Baphomet which was also thankfully accompanied with a decent art style.

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I just felt that I couldn’t really focus that well on appreciating the backstories when that ending from volume 2 had me still screaming in agony!

My overall thoughts were that this was okay but definitely not as impressive.


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Finally answers to what the hell happened at the end of volume 2! A ton of shit goes down in this volume, there’s a lot of action and fight scenes and they are amazing! It was a lot of fun to get to see all of the gods’ powers and abilities since we haven’t seen too much of them up until this point.

Really loved getting to see Laura again and especially in this volume, no spoilers though! The characters were of course all as wonderful as they’ve been so far but we don’t really see any new characters in this volume either.

As much as the story picked up on this volume it was also very, very confusing. Once again I’m left wondering if there’s really anything else going on behind the scenes or if the only story we get to see is the “whims of the gods” type of thing. I am still hoping there’s something “bigger” going on. I’m also just very confused in general especially with that ending. The ending this time around was a little underwhelming and left me feeling curious but also not dying to know what’s going to happen next either.

I’m also glad we are back to the original art style, thank goodness!

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Overall I HIGHLY recommend checking this series out!

Links for The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act

Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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Book Review: Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1) by Amy Plum

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Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse…but she was terribly wrong.

Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

review

This was as good as I was hoping it’d be! Of course I was definitely not thinking it’d be as creepy and thrilling as it ended up being, this is sort of a mash of sci-fi and horror together. It’s definitely a very, very unique premise and I thought the execution was great!

PLOT

First of all the pacing is pretty even throughout the story since it never really felt like it lagged but also wasn’t super fast to the point where I had my eyeballs glued to the pages. I really liked how there wasn’t a bunch of time wasted on pointless filler too and we are thrown into the action right from the start and it stays that way up until the end. There are also quite a few DAMN GOOD twists along the way as well and I did not see them coming either!

The story is narrated by three different POV characters: Cata, Jaime, and Fergus. The great part was that I always knew when we changed POVs right away even without the help of the chapter headers because each character had a more distinct personality and “voice”. My only complaint was that I didn’t feel that Fergus’s POV was really necessary since he and Cata were both “dreamers” and had similar experiences. I did really like how much depth Jaime, the pre-med student watching the experiment, added to the story overall though.

Also apparently we never learn if Jaime’s character is male or female and I honestly didn’t even notice until the end but I guess I had just assumed Jaime was a he, however, Amy Plum has stated she left it out on purpose. Maybe it’s a twist for the next book? Who knows! Also just a fun side-note here I saw some other reviewers debating this saying they thought Jaime was a girl because of the spelling and ALL I could think of was Jaime Lannister guys! Come on!

I absolutely LOVED the overall atmosphere of this story too! It’s so freaking creepy! Although I will say even if you’re not a lover of horror or horror-esque stories this isn’t TOO scary to handle but it will definitely have you flailing about in suspense and maybe even looking over your shoulder every now and then! I also really liked how unique and interesting each “nightmare” was too, they were all very different and terrifying in their own ways. We saw very realistic horrors as well as your traditional monster type horrors and I thought it was very neat to show what types of things haunt these kids.

I’m just gonna throw this out there too: there are some very Weeping Angel-esque statues that literally terrified me in one of the nightmares. So many creepy monsters! I was pretty stressed out while reading because of this but also I still had fun? I know, it’s odd.

Plus that cliffhanger ending has me practically screaming for more! That was such an insane twists and I’m definitely excited to see where the next book in this duology takes us!

Also another little fun tidbit is that this book has no romance! Yay!

characters

The characters in “Dreamfall” were good but they still felt a little under-developed and one dimensional by the end of the book. None of them really stuck out to me either while reading but I still liked them enough to care about their fates in that messed up dreamworld!

I did like how none of these kids were perfect either, they all had their flaws and knew how to deal with them and come face to face with them as well. It was really intriguing to learn more and more about what past events traumatized the characters enough to suffer from such severe insomnia too (their backstories essentially). This is the only kind of development we see for them though.

One other big plus I have for the characters is that they actually always made smart decisions! This feels a lot like your typical horror slasher movie at times and you always wait for the characters to trip up and get caught or split up or something equally as unwise but these guys didn’t ever do that. I was pleasantly surprised with the lack of dumb decisions throughout the story, it was great!

in conclusion

What I Loved:

  • The intense and pretty scary nightmare scenes
  • Even pacing
  • Great, great plot twists!
  • Zero romance

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Personally felt Fergus’s POV wasn’t really needed
  • Characters weren’t very developed or complex

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend checking this book out if you’re looking for a unique YA book with no romance or if you’re a YA horror or thriller fan! This book is definitely full of enough thrills to keep you interested!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Mini Book Reviews: Paper Princess, The Outliers, & Vicarious

Top Ten Tuesday (17)

Once again it’s time to review some books I read last year (whoops) that I just couldn’t get my thoughts straight on at first, but at long last here they are!

a title here(80)

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone. 

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees. 


“Paper Princess” is definitely not my usual cup of tea but holy crap was this addictive and entertaining as hell! This is probably one of the most unexpected surprises for me as far as books go and I didn’t know how to review it for the longest time thus the mini review instead of a full fledged review. Also while the characters are in high school this seems a little more mature than your usual YA so it could be considered more NA than anything.

The pacing is ridiculously fast and there is non-stop drama and twists, never a dull moment with this book! Considering this is a book all about a girl who was stripping to make ends meet and is suddenly dumped into the lap of luxury with tons of gorgeous dudes, this book is very fun but shouldn’t really be taken too seriously. The writing and story were just so addictive (sorry I keep using the same word but it’s the only way to properly describe it!).

Of course as much fun as I had with this book there were still quite a few issues with it such as implied sexual assault, slut shaming, and just how sexist the boys treated Ella for a majority of the book. This may be hard to get past for a lot of people so I’d like to toss this all out there.

I really liked Ella as a character, she’s full of spunk and can take care of herself. All of the Royal boys are spoiled and honestly act like such assholes sometimes, however, as flawed as they are I couldn’t help but find them very mysterious and enjoyable as well. Especially Easton, I loved him sooooo much more than the main love interest Reed! Speaking of Reed I really didn’t like him all that much but the romance is pretty steamy and that says a lot since I usually strongly dislike romance books!

This book will definitely not be for everyone but if you’re looking for a fun, fast read you don’t have to take too seriously than this is it. I also think it’d make a great summer read!


a title here(79)

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?


I really, really wanted to like this book but I just couldn’t do it! It was all just so ridiculous and unbelievable, I wanted a mystery/thriller dammit not this!

There were some plot twists along the way but they just kept getting more and more insane, they were not good twists either. I honestly don’t know how this book could have gotten any weirder than it did in the end. I’ll tell you right now that this really isn’t the mystery thriller it’s made out to be and it’s more sci-fi than anything….not even a good sci-fi either. Nothing in the plot was believable and it all felt really forced.

The characters also made zero smart decisions the entire time! For example: Wylie and Jasper decide to trek across state lines alone to find Cassie and not tell any authoritative figures at all (seriously they ignore all parents and police officers here) and also Wylie suffers from agoraphobia but miraculously manages to just up and leave her house to go look for her friend who has become very distant over the years like it’s no big deal.

Overall my thoughts can be summarized into these three words: weird, ridiculous, and annoying.


a title here(78)

Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they’ve escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you—for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.


Trigger Warning: Sexual abuse

I have really mixed feelings about this book since I did enjoy it but it also didn’t live up to all I thought it would be.

Overall I thought the premise and the concept for the ViSEs were absolutely fantastic, I mean how can something like “Vicarious Sensory Experiences” not be awesome? Although I really wish there had been a bit more of these and more action like there was at the beginning and the end of the book. The mystery of Winter’s sister was interesting but I still wish it hadn’t overtaken so much of the plot and left more room for some real action. I definitely did not see those twists coming though!

Winter was a decent heroine she was very strong but also broken, however, considering what she went through when she is younger it’s definitely understandable. I really liked how developed and fleshed out her character was. As for the secondary characters, I did like Jesse but overall  they were all pretty forgettable.

I did enjoy this book and I’m kind of curious to see where the sequel goes but I just wasn’t as blown away with this one as I thought I’d be.

The Sassy