Memes, Tags & Lists

My Top 10 Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2017

I don’t know about you guys but I feel like this year has been a fantastic year for YA releases so far, and the remaining couple of months are still packed with more awesome releases! So far, I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve read. More and more interesting premises keep coming up and I’m just here getting pumped for everything 😀 This list was soooo hard, but I’ve forced myself to stick with just ten books I’m anticipating in the second half of 2017. Here they are:

 (Click on covers to add on Goodreads)

BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT by Tochi Onyebuchi                                                                                                 

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.

A gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy.


WARCROSS  by Marie Lu  

When a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.


27 HOURS by Tristina Wright      

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.


THE CITY OF BRASS by S.A. Chakraborty            

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

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

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

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


WILD BEAUTY by Anne-Marie McLemore

Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.


FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao

An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.


THE STONE SKY by N.K. Jemisin

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME.

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season.


THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER by K. Arsenault Rivera

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.


THE LAST MAGICIAN by Lisa Maxwell

Stop the Magician.
Steal the book.
Save the future.

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.


THE NOVEMBER GIRL by Lydia Kang

I am Anda, and the lake is my mother. I am the November storms that terrify sailors and sink ships. With their deaths, I keep my little island on Lake Superior alive.

Hector has come here to hide from his family until he turns eighteen. Isle Royale is shut down for the winter, and there’s no one here but me. And now him.

Hector is running from the violence in his life, but violence runs through my veins. I should send him away, to keep him safe. But I’m half human, too, and Hector makes me want to listen to my foolish, half-human heart. And if I do, I can’t protect him from the storms coming for us.

 


Do you have any of these books on your TBR list? Tell me which ones you are most excited for. Let me know down below your most anticipated releases from July on 😀

Reviews

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde – Review

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Blurb

QUEENS OF GEEK

Author: Jen Wilde

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Format: Paperback, 288 pages

Published: March 14th 2017

 Buy At:  Amazon logo   Barnes & Noble    bookdepository logo

(Click Picture or underlined title to add on Goodreads)

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.

After an onslaught of several complex fantasy worlds, this book was a quick and fun read that gave me all the fluff and all the feels needed.

The story is told from the POVs of two best friends: Charlie, who is an up and coming Chinese-Australian movie star and Youtuber. Also a bisexual. And Taylor, a pro-fangirl/blogger who has autism spectrum disorder and is dealing with social anxiety. And then there’s the adorable Jamie, supportive sunshine and too-good-to-be-true third best friend.

Everything takes place in a huge comic con called “Supa-Con”, and let me tell you: it is geekdom galore. I loved it. I think it’s so creative how the author utilized this one setting and made it fun, immersive and not at all repetitive. I’ve never been to any type of comic-con event but I can imagine how much of a magical haven it could be for fangirls/fanboys and all ‘geeks’, and the author perfectly captured the feeling of acceptance and contentment that comes with a community that shares your enthusiasm and passion for similar things. As a fangirl myself, I was basically drooling over Supa-Con; I even felt nostalgic and emotional several times while reading.

The romances were so cute!! The f/f romance featured in this book was the adorablest thing ever!! I loved the characters and I loved the diversity. Taylor’s struggle with anxiety resonated with me so much. Social anxiety is something I struggle with myself and this is the closest I’ve ever felt to being understood in a book. Queens of geek takes on a lot of important topic. Too many to count. Among them are harmful fandom behavior, sexism in the movie industry, supportive friendships, body-positivity, healthy relationships and so much more.

The only problem I have with it is that I wanted a bit more of a story. It felt too simple, story-wise. Also, I found some things implausible and unrealistic.

Overall, this book is the perfect summer read. Light and cute. Diverse and relatable. And it takes on several important topics.


Jen Wilde

Jen Wilde is a writer, geek and fangirl. Her debut into fiction, THE EVA SERIES, reached over three million reads on Wattpad and became an Amazon bestseller.

When she’s not writing, she loves binge-watching Netflix, eating pizza, and going to pop culture conventions cosplaying as Marty McFly.

Jen lives in a beachside town in Australia with her husband and their troublesome pug, aptly named Heisenberg.

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Bookish Posts

Why You Should Be A Picky Reader (and How)

Do you constantly find yourself wasting time choosing what to read next instead of actually reading? Does your TBR shelf make you dizzy? Too many books on your bookshelf, too many ARCs and new releases to catch up with????

Here’s my solution : BE PICKY!

Reading requires some amount of time commitment. As much as we wish to spend hours and hours poring over our current reads, there’s just too many things getting in the way. Whether we have kids, jobs, school…it’s just not as easy to carve out some reading time in our already-crammed days, which is why I think everyone should be picky as to what to read. 

I’m a picky reader. I only read books that I feel like I’d enjoy. Because of this, most of my reads in 2017 have been 5 or 4 stars. Here’s this year’s rating statistics :

As you can see, most of the books I’ve read are 5 stars!

Accept the fact that you won’t be able to get to all the books you want to read. There’ll be too many new releases that catch your eye and too many books from the last few years that you hadn’t caught up with. It seems like us bookworms are always latching onto the hope of reading all past and upcoming releases. Hype plays a big factor in adding to the ever-flowing TBR shelf. Books that you hadn’t even found interesting start getting 5-stars in your Goodreads feed or Twitter timeline and suddenly they become must-reads.

Adding 10 books per day to your TBR is all part of being a bookworm. I can’t help you with that since I’m guilty of it as well. But this leads us to the next point :

Too many books, too little time!

Seriously, ask yourselves: Why waste time on something you’re skeptical about when you can get to your most anticipated reads instead. Decide what type of books you want to focus on.

  • Diverse reads should be a priority. I hope people don’t hop in my mentions claiming that I have no right telling them what to read. It’s no secret that the publishing industry is sorely lacking in diversity. And it’s no secret that there are many harmful, problematic books being published out there. Reading Diversely and prioritizing #OwnVoices books isn’t just about enriching your knowledge and awareness, it’s also about supporting proper representation of the minority and boosting marginalized authors.
  • Find yourself losing interest in Paranormal romance, Contemporary or YA books as a whole?  Then drop them. Read the genre of books that you’ve grown fond of. Sick of love-triangles and insta-love or protagonists that are ‘not like other girls’?? Then stop reading books with all those tropes. That leads as to the next point:

How else are you going to save yourself from wasting precious time on your most hated trope? How else would you know whether a book is for you?

  • Personally, unless I’m a 100% mesmerized by a synopsis, I’ll always read reviews before getting a book. I want to know whether the synopsis really summarizes it’s premise, whether the writing is good or bearable, whether I might like that book or not. Also….(here’s where you grasp just how picky I really am)….I read status updates of some upcoming releases to decide if they should be on my TBR. If you don’t know that feature on Goodreads, I’ll be enlightening you in my next discussion post *wink wink*
  • If I hear that a book is harmful and problematic, it’s automatically removed from my Goodreads shelf. I have no interest supporting it by purchasing it. There are too many books out there I’m waiting to read; I’m not about to read a potentially harmful books just to ‘offer my own opinion’. It’s enough to hear the opinions of those who share the marginalization represented in the books. 

Setting goals is another way to be a picky reader.

  • You might want to venture into non-fiction, Middle grade or Adult Fantasy. You might want to read at least five classics this year, you might want to finish a series in the next few days. Whatever your reading goal, sticking to it is important. What I personally do is afix certain books for a certain month. I know it might sound ridiculous but it really works for me. This is my current Goodreads shelf :

This is not set in stone; I can remove or add books and I can replace it with something I want to read instead. I always start with 10 books each month and I read as much as I can. I transfer the rest to the next month.

The important thing is that I have already decided what to read and that makes my TBR more manageable, it keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

I hope you find these tips helpful!! Let me know down below what you thought 😀

Reviews

Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews : Monstress Vol. 1 + Archie #1

I wasn’t planning on reviewing these because I already have so many books to review, but I decided to do a mash-up of mini-reviews in this one post. I don’t really read many graphic novels and they’re not my favorite things to read, but there are the occasional graphic novels that I find enjoyable. anyway, here are four of the graphic novels I’ve read in 2017:

(Click on covers to add on Goodreads)


MONSTRESS, Vol. 1: Awakening (Collected Editions #1)

by Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

                            
In this graphic novel we follow Maika, a girl who is bound to an ancient demon and becomes a target in a war-torn world.

Monstress was a creepy, truly terrifying delight. I was really surprised at how gory and bloody it was. And though I flinched through many of the scenes, I actually loved the horror aspect of it. And the artwork is GORGEOUS! One hundred percent the most beautiful graphic novel I’ve read so far. Also, it’s set in a steam punk world of an alternate matriarchal Asia. How amazing does that sound?

I loved Maika. She’s fierce and intense (and downright scary sometimes). The side characters- even the villains- were intriguing. The storyline had me confused for the first half because you kinda get thrown in into this complex world without explanation, which can be a bit jarring. But as I went along, I got more and more of the whole picture. I recommend this to anyone who loves complex fantasy worlds, beautiful art and bad-ass women.


ARCHIE #1 (Archie (2015-) (Single Issues) #1)

     by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples

Change is coming to Riverdale in this can’t-miss kick-off to Archie’s new ongoing series! Familiar faces return in new and unexpected ways in this must-read #1 issue! As the new school year approaches, you’d think Archie Andrews would be looking forward to classes and fun — but nothing is as it seems in the little town of Riverdale. But is this a one-off or a sign of bigger changes awaiting for America’s favorite teens — and the entire town? Find out in this exciting and remarkable first issue!

                                                                              

This book was so hard to rate. The artwork is gorgeous, the characters are fun and lovable, and the story is kinda interesting. But it just wasn’t for me. It’s set in a high school, with dating drama and rich kids. It’s just not something I’m into. I don’t even know why I picked it up.

 I didn’t care a single bit for any of the characters (Ok, maybe I like Jughead & Betty) and I was bored through the most part. I put this one down too many times because I wasn’t invested in any aspect of the story. I was also a bit put off by the way the story unfolds. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s a bit all over the place.

Reviews

Defy The Stars by Claudia Gray / Fast-paced Sci-Fi With A Sassy Robot And A Badass Soldier

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Blurb

DEFY THE STARS (Constellation #1)

Author: Claudia Gray

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Format: Hardcover, 503 pages

Published: April 4th 2017 

 Buy At:  Amazon logo   Barnes & Noble    bookdepository logo

(Click Picture or underlined title to add on Goodreads)

She’s a soldier.
Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything—including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine.
Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination. 

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

I LOVED THIS BOOKS SO MUCH! It feels like it was written specifically for me. I’ve been getting into Sci-Fi lately and Claudia Gray made me fall in love with the genre even more. The writing, the characters, everything…I adored it all. Defy the stars has definitely made it to my 2017 favorites. I don’t think I can write a coherent review but I’ll try anyway.

Let’s start with the writing because that was my most favorite thing. It worked so well with setting; it’s like Claudia Gray was born to write Sci-Fi. The characterization of a robot boy and a fierce soldier was so well done that it’s now my favorite trope (BRING ME MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS). The story is well-paced, has the right amount of action and is filled with unforgettable characters. Also, the romance never gets in the way of the story. If you read the synopsis and got a tropey-romance-centered-YA-book vibe, you’ve got it wrong. This book is so much more.

Abel and Naomi… I love these characters so much. I can’t even.

Abel is the definition of sassy. A sassy robot, that is. And Naomi is a head-strong, loyal soldier. Their banters give me so much life. I would read a whole book of just them trying to one-up each other passive-aggressively.

Another thing this book has going for it is the world-building. I absolutely loved learning about all the planets and technology. The tension and conflict between the different planets is complex and intriguing. Each planet has different rules and values; as well as moral conflicts that come with their way of life.

Overall an entertaining and gripping novel (that I believe might be the best ever YA novel set in space) that revolves around the question: What does it mean to be human? I recommend it to everyone! Read it then come and suffer with me while we wait for Book 2. 


Claudia Gray

Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn’t choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn’t), because I’d always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven’t) or even because I’m hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.

I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I’ve been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.

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Reviews

City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson / Thieves, Gangs & A Mystery set in Kenya+Congo

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Blurb

CITY OF SAINTS & THIEVES

Author: Natalie C. Anderson

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Format: Hardcover, 401 pages

Published: January 24th 2017

Buy At:  Amazon logo   Barnes & Noble    bookdepository logo

(Click Picture or underlined title to add on Goodreads)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling murder mystery set in Kenya.
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother–and why–keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

This book was a big surprise. I knew I’d like it after reading the synopsis, but it was far more enjoyable than I expected. The writing is pretty darn good for a debut author and Tina is a protagonist that you’ll immediately fall in love with. She just felt so real and to top it all of: she’s badass. She has a quite intensity and she’s smart. Also, she’s a very talented thief of one of Sangui City’s gangs.

Tina is Congolese, but she and her mother came to Kenya as refugees. Her mother never mentions their past life and Tina has no idea who her mother really is. Because of that their relationship is a bit strained. When her mother is murdered, Tina sets out to find the killer and exact revenge. I would say that this book has two parts. The first half is set in Kenya where Tina is working for the Goondas (thief gang) while setting her plan of revenge in motion.  The second half mostly takes place in Congo, Tina’s home country, where she delves into her mother’s past in hopes of finding the killer and their motive. The author did a good job with the setting; the cities and villages were depicted in rich detail and the perfect amount of tension is invoked when needed, which made her writing almost atmospheric. 

I liked all the side characters are interesting; they’re all complex and intriguing. There are no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters. The synopsis doesn’t even begin to describe what this book is about. Things go unexpectedly dark later on. It goes deep into crime and corruption that is the reality of many African countries, and the harsh lives of women caught in the midst. 

Overall, an intense and fast-paced read that kept me on edge throughout. The fact that it was set in Kenya and the amazing set of POC characters won me over from the beginning, and the mystery kept me latched on to the pages till the very end. An easy 5-star for me.

Trigger warning: Mentions of rape and kidnap


Natalie C. Anderson

Natalie C. Anderson is a writer and international development professional living in Boston, Massachusetts. She has spent the last decade working with NGOs and the UN on refugee relief and development, mainly in Africa. She was selected as the 2014-2015 Associates of the Boston Public Library Children’s Writer in Residence, where she wrote her debut novel, City of Saints and Thieves.

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Reviews

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh / Swoony, Feudal-Japan-set Mulan retelling

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Blurb

FLAME IN THE MIST (Flame in the Mist #1)

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Format: Hardcover, 368 pages

Publish Date: May 16th 2017

Pre-order At:  Amazon logo   Barnes & Noble    bookdepository logo

(Click Picture or underlined title to add on Goodreads)

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

If the Mulan aspect of this book has you excited then I can tell you now that you’re gonna love Flame in the mist. I’ve seen others say that claiming that it’s Mulan-inspired is far-fetched and I disagree. Yes, it’s set in feudal Japan instead of China and the plot and story is completely different, but I can definitely see similarities.

Mariko, while travelling to her betrothed’s city, gets attacked by a gang of bandits known as “The Black clan”. She survives the attack and dresses up as a boy before she sets out to infiltrate the gang, to figure out why they wanted her dead.

Although most of the story is told from Mariko’s POV, there are other perspectives thrown in. The story is a complex, interwoven thing and all the characters are equally as complex. It felt like there are no side characters in this story because all of them were fully fleshed out; they were all just so interesting. Mariko was of course a stand-out. I enjoyed seeing everything through her voice. Mariko is clever and, although she has no strength in a physical sense, she is badass when it comes to weaseling out of trouble and confrontation. She comes from a privileged life so it was refreshing to see that she didn’t immediately grasp everything; fear still grips her and she still has a lot to learn.

I loved the Black clan members and I loved the relationships within the gang, especially between Ranmaru and Okami. The dynamic Mariko has with those two is also pretty enjoyable. I should point out here that there is no love triangle (I know that it’d be a turn off for many of you). The romance is a bit of a slow-burn, a lot of tension and swooniness. In summary:

                

Another thing I enjoyed was the gruesomeness. It doesn’t shy away from gory details. The setting was immaculately done and you can tell a lot of research has been done in invoking the atmosphere. I was immersed into this world. It almost felt like a historical drama set in feudal Japan because of all the unexpected political intrigue and complexities.

The only complaint I have is the implausibility of some of the situations Mariko finds herself in. I felt like things were a bit too convenient for her. And the fantasy element in the story felt disjointed. I don’t know… At some point, blood-sucking trees and forest spirits started appearing and it was out-of-nowhere. Also, I was a bit lost on the plot; I got a bit confused in the middle. That might be my fault though, because I flew through this book.


Renee Ahdieh

I live in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with my husband Victor and our dog Mushu. In my spare time, I like to cook, mess with makeup, and wreak havoc on the lives of my characters.

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April 2017 Wrap-up

12

I read a total of  8 books this month and I’m a bit disappointed because I was aiming for at least 12. But, overall, it was a great reading month since most of the books I read turned out to be very enjoyable. The first few days were filled with 5-star reads (mostly Sci-Fi for some reason). Again I cheated and snuck in two graphic novels lol. Someone needs to stop me from cheating again…

 

These are the books I’ve read in January and February. Below each book is my rating. Click the covers to add them to Goodreads!

ARCs :

              

5 star      5 star     4 half star     5 star

Others :

            

3 star     4 half star     4 star     

So far, this is what my Goodreads challenge looks like: 

Which of these books have you read or added to your TBR pile?  Let me know in the comments below 😀