ARC Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

4 Stars

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Synopsis

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. 

*I RECEIVED AN ARC OF THIS BOOK FROM NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.

I don’t normally read adult fiction books, but sometimes, there are a few exceptions I make that make me wonder whether I might be missing out from something. Little Fires Everywhere made me question that same thing. I had already read Celeste Ng’s debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, and my experience with it was entirely different, so I was hesitant about requesting an ARC of her newest book. But I’m glad I did. I’m glad I gave this author another chance after not enjoying her other book, because this novel right here was a masterpiece.

If there is something undeniable about Celeste Ng is her storytelling skills. She has a way with words and with the stories that she writes that makes you feel engrossed in them from the very beginning. And that’s one of the things I love most about her books. Even if her writing style is overly descriptive, she has the capacity to draw you into the story and the characters as if you were actually living through them.

In Little Fires Everywhere we follow two very different families: we have the Richardsons, the seemingly perfect suburban family, with two working parents and three kids; and then we have the Warrens, a single mother with her teenage daughter who have been traveling and living all over the country their whole lives. So what happens when these two clashing families come into contact? The story is focused on how the lives of each one of the members of each family is impacted by each other.

Something that made me love this book was the characters. Ng has a way with presenting these picture-perfect families, and then dissecting every single one of its members to expose the good and the bad. She created complex and multi-dimensional characters that made you hate them and love them at the same time. And that’s what it’s so great about this story. There were certain decisions these characters made that made you hate them, and then the next second they would do something that made you feel sorry for them. That’s how a realistic character is written. There are no absolutes, but flawed characters that make mistakes and then have to deal with the consequences. And you can clearly see that here. Some of these characters will certainly stay with me even after a long time has passed.

If you have read Ng’s debut novel you may know that she writes about family dynamics. But in this case, it’s so much more than just the dynamics. The book poses a lot of interesting and controversial conversations of what motherhood is, and doesn’t shy away from exploring the different points of view when it comes to certain sensitive topics, such as abortion, race and adoption.

I don’t want to get into specifics in this review in terms of plot, because I honestly feel that you need to go into this book blind, not knowing what it’s actually about because it’s also hard to specify what this book is about. It deals with a plethora of topics, but it always seems to revolve around family dynamics. I loved how everything seemed to come full circle by the end of the book, and how everything was related to everything. It’s been a long time since a book made me think about certain topics, and not only that, but it also made me question some of the perspectives I may have had about them as well.

This novel is an emotional roller-coaster that makes you hate and love its complex and multi-dimensional characters. It’s a story about motherhood, about the sacrifices that people often have to do in life, and the consequences those sacrifices may bring about. But it’s also a story that shows that in life, there are no right or wrong paths, but rather different ways of cruising through life.

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New Releases | October 👻

October is finally here 🎃 🎃 I can’t believe we are only three months away from the end of the year, and I haven’t accomplished any of the reading goals I had set myself at the beginning of 2017. Anyways, let’s go straight to the point of this post, which are the new releases that are coming out this month that I’m most excited about!

25843018Young Adult/ Urban Fantasy | October 3rd

Eighteen-year-old Jemmie Carmichael has grown up surrounded by magic in the quiet town of Hawthorne, New York. In her world, magic users are called “kindled,” and Jemmie would count herself among them if only she could cast a simple spell without completely falling apart. It doesn’t help that she was also recently snubbed by Crowe, the dangerous and enigmatic leader of the Black Devils kindled motorcycle gang and the unofficial head of their turf.

When the entire kindled community rolls into Hawthorne for an annual festival, a rumour begins spreading that someone is practising forbidden magic. Then people start to go missing. With threats closing in from every side, no one can be trusted. Jemmie and Crowe will have to put aside their tumultuous history to find their loved ones, and the only thing that might save them is the very flaw that keeps Jemmie from fully harnessing her magic. For all her years of feeling useless, Jemmie may just be the most powerful kindled of all.

33280872New Adult/ Contemporary | October 3rd

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves. 

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Young Adult/ Mystery Thriller | October 3rd

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. 

33830437Young Adult/ Contemporary | October 3rd

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

30025336Young Adult/ Fantasy | October 10th

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

30249925Young Adult/ Thriller Mystery | October 10th

Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

28096541Young Adult/ Contemporary | October 10th

Who are the Nowhere Girls? They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.

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Young Adult | October 17th

The line between best friend and something more is a line always crossed in the dark.

Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. While nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more curse than gift.

As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences.

When the inevitable darkness finally descends, Angie will need her best friend.

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Fantasy | October 24th

In a feudal land, a Kingdom is at risk. With no heir to the fragile throne, its future rests with the powerful members of the dying king’s Council, including Minori, a nightblade warrior, and Kiyoshi, a dayblade healer. The two men are bound by the sword but divided by two opposing principles: rule the land, or serve it. In their challenge for supremacy, a spark has been lit.

Her name is Asa. Her creed is revenge.

A fierce nightblade warrior, she’s spent a decade in pursuit of the enigmatic general who killed her father in a violent revolt—then mysteriously vanished from all records. Now, her desire for reckoning has led her to the village of Two Falls—and straight into the heart of an impending civil war. Minori and Kiyoshi are vying for her loyalty. And Asa must choose sides.

As fresh betrayals unfold and a new uprising looms, Asa knows that chasing a ghost is no longer just a personal quest for retribution. It’s going to alter the fate of the entire Kingdom.

There are so many books I’ve been highly anticipating that are coming out this month, I’m so excited! What are your most anticipated releases?! Let me know down in the comments! Hope ya’ll have an amazing reading month 🎃

September Wrap-Up

Hi everybody! I’m finally back with my monthly wrap-up posts after a long time of not doing them. I’ve had a pretty good reading month, and since I haven’t written reviews for all the books I read during September, I figured it would be nice to sum up all the things I was able to finish. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

985873Game of Thrones | George R.R. Martin ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I don’t think I need to say anything more about this one, since I’ve already talked about it in my review which you can check out right here. I loved it and I think that this adaptation to the TV show is one of the best I’ve seen so far. Even though I had a lot of problems with the Spanish translation, which is the version I read, I could enjoy it nonetheless. I can’t wait to continue reading the rest of the books in this series.

 

⭐⭐ They Both Die at the End | Adam Silvera33385229

This one, unfortunately, wasn’t what I was expecting. I’d been hearing amazing things about this book for a while, and when I got approved for an ARC of it, I was excited I was having the chance to read it before it came out. But I just couldn’t get behind the story. Even if the concept of the book was unique, I think the story fell flat, and not even the characters were able to maintain my interest. You can check out my review to see what I thought of it.

 

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The Little Red Wolf | Amélie Fléchais ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I was approved for an ARC of this children’s picture book on Edelweiss as well, and I really enjoyed it. It’s a profound and original take on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood told from the perspective of a little wolf, who happens to be hunted by humans.  You get to see through the eyes of the animals how they are constantly being threatened by the actions of humans in their search for food, clothes or even fun. With colorful and stunning illustrations, it attempts to show the other side of the story, and how most of the times, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

⭐⭐ Losing It | Cora Carmack  18137830

Oh God. I almost forgot about this one because of how horrible it was. I read Roar by the same author a while back, and loved it, so I thought I was also gonna love her NA series, since it’s so popular. That wasn’t the case. Losing It is a quick read about a teacher/student relationship, so if you’re going through a reading slump it might help, but other than that, there is nothing I found remotely interesting for me to recommend this. I’ve read a lot of NA books, some good, some bad, but this was just boring and annoying, especially the characters. This book has probably the most annoying, stupid and unbelievable main character I’ve ever read in the NA genre.

29359948 A Map for Wrecked Girls | Jessica Taylor ⭐⭐

Another book with incredibly annoying and awful characters.  The story follows two sisters who get stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere and have to deal with their issues if they want to survive long enough to be rescued. The story has dual POVs from the present and the past, explaining why things went wrong between them. There was nothing I could do to stop from getting riled up by how awful Henri treated her sister, and how horrible her life choices were. The way she constantly treated her sister, used her, and all the boys she went after was just unbearable to read. There is a difference between making your characters complex and multi-layered and making them annoying and petty just for the sake of drama. There was nothing that redeemed this book for me.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Stalking Jack the Ripper | Kerri Maniscalco28962906

I can’t remember when was the last time I read a YA book that wasn’t a contemporary story that drew me in like this book did. The writing was amazing and extremely specific and detailed when it came to the medical aspects and the forensic sciences, which I loved, because you can tell that the author took the time to do proper research for this book. I’m going to write a review for this together with Hunting Prince Dracula‘s review, once I read that sequel. But for now, if you are interested in a YA mystery with historical elements, you should definitely check this book out.

Defy (Sinners of Saint #0.5) | L.J. Shen ⭐⭐⭐32027054

This one is the prequel novella to the Sinners of Saint series, and since I wanted to read Vicious (book #1), I also read that it was better if you read this first. It follows the story of Jaime who is one of the HotHoles, as the guys are known at school, and his relationship with his literature teacher. It’s a steamy, quick read which I enjoyed, yet it wasn’t a very memorable story. The love interest was okay, though she sometimes behaved a little bit childishly considering her age. I think that for a prequel novella and an introduction to one of the guys, it was pretty okay. Now I can finally get to the book I was actually interested in, which is Vicious.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Last Wish | Andrzej Sapkowski2892159

I’m glad I ended the month with an amazing read. I do think there are a lot of problematic aspects when it comes to this book, which have to do with misogynistic comments, and basically, the writing of female characters in general, but I can’t deny the fact that I really enjoyed reading this. The world is amazing and unique, and I was impressed by how cohesive all the stories were, and how the author was able to connect them all through a specific chapter set in the present time, while all the stories are presented as remembrances of Geralt’s past life experiences. I’ll do a review on this together with the second collection of short stories, Sword of Destiny, once I read it.

Aaaand that’s it! Those are all the books I read during the month of September. In terms of quantity, it was one of the months in which I read the most amount of books, but in terms of quality, it wasn’t a very good reading month. I ended up not liking the books I was anticipating the most, but at least I got around to tackling a lot of those that had been on my TBR for a while. So, how was your reading month? Did you get around to reading everything you wanted to? Let’s talk in the comments!

ARC Review: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

2 Stars

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Synopsis

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.

Publication Date: October 3rd

*I RECEIVED AN ARC OF THIS BOOK FROM MACMILLAN-TOR/FORGE VIA NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.

When I first heard about this book and saw its cover, I have to say I was pretty much beyond excited to know that I had been granted access to an ARC because this book seemed to have everything I wanted: an Asian inspired setting, female warriors and lovers, and a lot of fantasy. Unfortunately, this book fell flat when it came to those aspects I was mostly excited about.

I think the main reason for me disliking it was that the premise is very deceiving and I was expecting something this book never intended to be. This is NOT a fantasy book. It is a romance WITH fantastical elements. The entire focus of this book was on the romantic relationship between the main characters, and everything else got relegated to the background. If you are into that, then you are probably gonna love this, but if you were expecting a fantasy book, then, you probably should look for a different book, because this is not it.

Now, after I was provided with this ARC I read a review on Goodreads in which someone lists off everything that is wrong about the representation in this novel. I am not knowledgable in Mongolian culture or history, nor in Chinese history, so I don’t think it’s not my place to talk about something I know nothing about, but if you are worried about the misrepresentation in this book, you should check out Laurelinvanyar’s review. But what I can say is that my rating and dislike for this book was because it was boring. When you are told you are going to read about the adventures of two badass female warriors and how they are going to save the world from demons, you are raising my expectations quite a lot, and I expect those expectations to be met. What I got, however, was a romance and a little bit of sword fighting in between.

I will start with what I liked about this story, and that was the romantic relationship. It was nice to finally see queer characters being portrayed in a fantasy setting, even if I still think this was in no way a Fantasy novel; it’s a rare thing to read about LGBTQ characters in these type of settings, and something I wish there would be more of. The development of Shizuka and Shefali’s relationship was the only good thing in this book, and the only reason why I kept reading this even if I was in no way interested in the story anymore.

Now onto my problems with this book. First of all, I think that my main issue with it was the format in which it was written. I can’t even think why the author thought writing a 500 page book in the form of a letter was a good idea. The entire story is told through a letter Shefali sends Shizuka retelling EVERYTHING both characters went through in the past. Now, my question is why would you have someone retell events in which BOTH characters took part in as if they hadn’t been there? It makes no sense to have Shefali retell everything Shizuka did as if she wasn’t present all the time! And I couldn’t shake the thought that everything could have improved if only the author had found a different format through which to tell the story.

The other issue I had with this is a personal one, and that is the length of the chapters. I’m sorry, but if you write a book that has 500 pages, you probably should have more than only 6 chapters. I can’t for the life of me be interested in anything that I’m reading if each chapter has almost 100 pages. I start losing interest, and start thinking more about WHEN IS THIS FREAKING CHAPTER GOING TO END?! But again, that is a PERSONAL PREFERENCE.

In terms of the story itself, I can’t even tell you anything regarding the world building, and that bothers me because I love well-crafted and thought-out world buildings. And when you create a fantasy setting, the least I’m going to expect is for you to describe or explain SOMETHING. I got nothing. Everything was vague, and I was bombarded with multiple proper names and honorifics for characters, but nothing was ever explained! The same thing goes for the magic in this world. I have no idea how it works or what is the extent of it. One of the main characters is able to grow herbs and food just by writing their names on a piece of paper, and you just have to accept the fact that she is able to do that, no questions asked. The same thing goes for something that happens to Shefali that I’m not going to fully explain because it would be a spoiler, but when that happens to her, we are not even given explanations as to why she is immune to it. You are just obliged to go with it. Because of all of this is why I say this is not a fantasy novel, when you don’t even use a single page to explain how your world works and you spend all the 512 pages developing a romantic relationship. And don’t even get me started on the supposedly ‘warriors defending the entire empire from demons’ thing. Where was that? Where was the focus on them fighting off demons and defending all the nations from the evils of the world? It was only one or two scenes in which they fight off some bandits and some demons. THAT’S IT.

Overall, I’m just mad and upset because this could have been an amazing story with a unique Asian influence and queer characters, but it just kept being disappointing. And apparently, the representation is not even accurate. So, what’s left of this book? Just a romance. And while important as it is, it wasn’t enough to keep me interested.

T5W: Books To Read Without Synopsis

Hi everyone! It’s been a long time since I’ve done some of these weekly memes, and since I haven’t been blogging much lately because of my reading slump, I figured what a better way of posting more regularly than participating in these memes. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Samantha and Lainey from the channels @thoughtsontomes and @gingerreadslainey, respectively. This week’s topic is to choose 5 books where it’s best to go into them blind, since the synopsis may spoil crucial aspects of the story. Here are my picks:

21969786More than this by patrick ness

I think it’s safe to say that the synopsis for this one contains a MAJOR SPOILER for the story, and even if that is actually developed within the first part of the book, I wish I hadn’t known about it before getting into this book. All you need to know about this is that it includes a sci-fi concept but it deals, in the end, with life and second chances. It’s weird, and you may find yourself not understanding what is actually going on while you are reading it, but it’s the message that it leaves you with that’s important.

 

349347American Gods by Neil Gaiman

What can I say about this one? The synopsis gives away a crucial event that happens in the first few chapters which would come as a shock if only it wasn’t written in the freaking synopsis! Again, another book that is hard to talk about without giving anything away, but if you are into mythology or would love to read more about it, then pick this one up. It’s magical, it’s weird and fucked up; after all, it is written by Neil Gaiman. This book is one hell of a ride in which it’s definitely best to go into it knowing absolutely nothing about it.

 

17675462The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This one is another great one to go into it blind. There is nothing you need to know about this other than the fact that it has incredible atmospheric writing, and that it’s more of a character-driven story than a plot-driven one. The characters are complex and intriguing and some of the best characters developed in YA I’ve read so far. It has magic, celtic mythology and multi-layered characters. I have nothing but love for this entire series ♥

 

30689335The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

THIS. BOOK. From time to time, I still think about this one, and ever since I read it, this story has stuck with me. It is twisted and fucked up, and may not be for everybody, but it’s an incredible mystery/thriller type of book. Even saying the trigger warnings for this book will give away some major aspects of this story, so beware if you are thinking of reading it. All you need to know is that it focuses on the Roanoke family, and the secrets that are hidden behind the walls of this family’s house.

 

8490112Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Another one where the writing is one of my favorite aspects of the story. This is the first book in a Fantasy YA series, and I think that is all you need to know. The themes of this book are developed over time and the story becomes much more complex than what you’d think once you start this. The characters are memorable, but what really stuck with me is the writing. Laini Taylor has a way with words and with storytelling that there’s no doubt why she is one of my favorite authors of the genre.

 

Have you read any of these? Do you usually read the synopsis of all the books you are about to read, or do you prefer to be surprised by the story itself while you’re reading it? Let’s chat in the comments!

ARC Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

2 Stars

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On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re 

going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day. 


When the title of a book tells you exactly what the fate of the main characters of said book is going to be, you’d think, what is the point of even reading that book if I already know what’s going to happen? And I think that was partly why I couldn’t enjoy this book, because nothing in it was able to shock or intrigue me. And it certainly doesn’t help to know that the main characters are going to die, even if that is the entire point of this story.

In They Both Die at the End, the characters are set in an alternate world where every person will receive at a certain point in their lives the dreaded call of Death-Cast, a company whose job is to tell people they have one last day to live. While the concept is unique, I feel like it could have been exploited in a different way. Part of the reason why I couldn’t like this book was due to the fact that I never felt for Rufus or Mateo, the characters of the story. We follow a span of 24 hours with these characters, and yet, I was never able to connect with them or care for what they were doing. At certain points, the story fell flat with the non-sensical activities Rufus and Mateo were carrying out. I wish I could have gotten a little bit more information regarding Death-Cast, or at least a reasoning behind the introduction of so many background characters’ POVs that never added anything to the storyline.

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While Rufus and Mateo were likeable characters, I couldn’t get invested enough in their storylines. Maybe it was the fact that the story happens within a single day, and for me, the idea that two people can fall in love in a single day is completely ridiculous, even taking into account the fact that they were going to die in the next 24 hs, so of course things had to be rushed. But I just couldn’t buy the whole thing of ‘I fell in love with you because you helped me do things I had never dared to before’. Maybe it’s my sceptical ass that just refuses to believe that something like that can happen, which resulted in me not actually caring a lot about it.

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I understand the message that the author was trying to get across with this book, I get it, and I even adhere to it. We should all dare to live, and not just exist. We should strive to have the best possible lives we can have by daring to actually LIVE, instead of being scared of the ‘what ifs’. Carpe Diem and all that stuff. But I don’t think that the story itself was even half as interesting as that motto. By the end, the only thing I kept wanting to find out was how they were going to die and why. I found myself getting bored at reading about how Rufus and Mateo went on a bike ride to the park, to have breakfast, to a karaoke, and other nonsensical activities. I get it, if you are going to die within the next 24 hs, you’d probably want to have fun or do things that interest you, but nothing in the story was mildly interesting to me as a reader.

I went into this book expecting an emotional rollercoaster, an enlightening and powerful story, but unfortunately, that just wasn’t what I got. Apparently, I’m among the minority when it comes to this book, because it has received praise from literally everyone, but I guess I just couldn’t see anything worth the hype other than the concept, which to me, was poorly executed.

*I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

ASOIAF #1: A Game of Thrones Review

5 stars

I985873n a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes of the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

I initially wasn’t going to write a review for this book because it’s Game of Thrones, and who in this world hasn’t already heard about this, or read the books or seen the TV show? I felt it was going to be kind of redundant to dedicate post blogs to a series that so many are already aware of, but after finishing the first book I felt I needed to give this story the attention it deserves.

Having seen the TV show before reading the books was a main issue I had while going into the first book, because I don’t particularly enjoy reading books where I know exactly what is going to happen. I believe it takes away the shock, excitement and joy that going into a book without knowing anything gives me. But I was wrong. While the first season of the TV show is a faithful rendition of the book as far as I’m concerned, there was so much more about the story that was left behind, which makes the experience of reading the book just as enjoyable as if it had been the first time getting into this world.

A Game of Thrones is a very character-driven story. While in some other cases I may find different POVs annoying, because I end up frustrated when a certain character whose storyline I want to follow right away doesn’t come up soon enough, George R.R. Martin makes it an art to leave you just with enough of a cliffhanger at the end of his chapters, while still keeping your interest in EVERY character’s POV. Not once was I bored or wanted to skip chapters just to get to the ones of my favorite characters. The characterization is on point, and the character growth most of them go through in the span of only one book is incredible. And I think that is one of GRRM’s strengths: he creates characters you despise and hate, and then he makes you feel and care for them. When someone can make me anxious because I don’t know which character to root for, or I find myself doubting on which side I want to be in, that is when I know the author has done a good job. Except for you Joffrey, you can choke.

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This story has so many twists and turns that it might be overwhelming to follow through at certain points, yet they are well thought-out. GRRM doesn’t pull unbelievable plotlines, instead, everything that happens in the story has solid grounding on the characters’ decisions. Even though I was knowledgable in the events occurring in this book because of the show, there were so many hidden layers to the characters that couldn’t be explored in the TV show. Also, the foreshadowing. If there was something I loved while reading this was being able to pinpoint things that would happen later on, or find clues and comments about major events that would happen in the following books. And I applaud all those who for so long believed in the R+L=J theory, because the clues were there, scattered all over the book. And yes, I may have a slight obsession with THAT whole storyline, don’t judge me!

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I need to talk about my love for Jon Snow now. That character may be one of my all time favorite characters EVER. Never has the quote ‘started from the bottom, now we here’ been more accurately applied to a character in my life. I love him okay? Born a bastard, with no knowledge as to who his mother is, Jon slowly becomes a very important part of the storyline, and while it doesn’t feel as connected to the main plot of the power quarrel between the Lannisters and Starks, it’s of equal importance, if not more (we all know what happens in Season 7). The friendship between him and Sam and his brothers at the Wall, and his mentor-apprentice dynamic with Mormont are one of my favorites of the entire book. While he begins as an impatient and hot-headed teenager, he emerges at the end of the book no longer as the Stark Bastard but as an honorable and committed member of the Night’s Watch.

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The lore and the history in the book is so much bigger than what we are shown in the show, which is only but a mere speck compared to all the information and backstories we get in the book, and that is exactly what I was expecting when I started reading it. I wanted to know everything regarding Westeros and Essos, and how the Seven Kingdoms came to be. It was also interesting to read about all the intertwining stories about the different Houses in Westeros, and see the allegiances each one of them had in the past and why. The only thing I have to criticize is the lack of magic I was hoping to find. Maybe magic becomes a more prominent thing or gets explained more in the following books, but it was something I was expecting that didn’t happen. Either way, the knowledge I got from reading this was immense compared to what I learned from the TV show.

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While the fantasy books I tend to read aren’t mainly focused on politics and the intricacies of power, A Game of Thrones is able to find a balance between politics and characterization. The unique world-building and lore make this book the beginning of what has become one of the most famous and highly acclaimed pieces of fantasy literature. I can’t wait to continue on with the rest of the books in this series!

What about you? Have you seen the show and/or read the books? And if so, which one do you prefer? Let me know down in the comment section! Until next time!

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New Releases | September

Hi everyone! How’s it going? I’ve been awful lately at blogging, and I don’t even have any excuses other than the fact that I haven’t been able to finish a single book last month. Hopefully, September is going to be a better reading month for me and I’ll get back on track once and for all. Since I can’t even do a proper August wrap-up, I’ll just make a post about the new releases that are coming out this month.

Godsgrave
September 5th

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

They Both Die at the End
September 5th

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

Little Fires Everywhere
September 12th

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. 

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. 

Warcross
September 12th

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.

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Jane, Unlimited
September 19th

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price. 

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
September 26th

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

There’s Someone Inside Your House
September 26th

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

An Enchantment of Ravens
September 26th

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel. 

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I’m mostly excited for Leigh Bardugo’s collection of short stories and Warcross because I keep hearing amazing things about it. I’m also currently reading an ARC of They Both Die at the End, and I’m liking the concept of the book so far, it’s pretty interesting and unique, so we’ll see how it goes! Which are your most anticipated new releases this month? Tell me down in the comments! Until next time, and have an awesome weekend!

Hello everyone! I haven’t been posting much here lately, mainly because I’ve been in a reading slump for like two weeks now, and haven’t read a single book so far, so I thought why not catch up on the book tags I have yet to do instead. So here I am! I was tagged to do the This is My Genre, Tell Me Yours Book Tag by Lauren from Comma Hangover -you can check her blog out, and also her answers to this tag-, so thank you Lauren for tagging me!!

This is my genre tag

The tag was created by Drew @  TheTattooedBookGeek.

Question 1: What is your favorite genre?

I don’t think this will come as a surprise to anyone who knows me or follows me on Goodreads or here, but my favorite genre is Fantasy. Any type of fantasy will do to be honest, whether it is High Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, YA Fantasy or Urban Fantasy, I will read it and I will mostly love it. It is my go-to genre since I was a teenager, and it all started with Harry Potter. Ever since, I have read so many amazing book series, some of which have become my all time favorites.

Question 2: Who is your favorite author from that genre? 

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It’s hard to answer a question just like this one, because how can someone even choose ONE single author out of all the ones we’ve read?! And more so, when your favorite genre has so many sub-genres which you equally love. But for the purpose of this tag I will choose someone who I also don’t think will come as a surprise: Brandon Sanderson. My love for that man’s writing will never end. And my love for his books will never cease to amaze me. The way he can create such intricate and elaborate storylines and MAGIC SYSTEMS is beyond me. His incredible and unique world building is also something for which he is known, and because of all this, I can say he is one of my favorite Fantasy authors. The Mistborn series are currently my favorite books out of the ones I’ve read from him so far.

Question 3: What is it about the genre that keeps pulling you back?

I guess it’s the endless possibilities when it comes to world building, which is the reason why I rant a lot about it when there’s a lack of it in books. I love the universes and places Fantasy authors create; it’s one of my all time favorite things to read about. But I guess it’s also about the magic systems. It’s never the same in all the books I’ve read so far. Each author, in each book, is able to come up with so many different varieties and systems of magic, that you are just amazed at their creativity.

Question 4: What is the book that started your love for the genre?

It was Harry Potter. I was lucky enough to have grown with the Harry Potter books ever since they first came out. I remember my mom had gone out to do some grocery shopping, and when she came back she gave me the first book, which at that time, it wasn’t famous at all. She said something along the lines of ‘look what I found, it looks interesting, doesn’t it?’, and  right then, I had no fucking idea what those books would mean to me once I started reading them. I still remember every year how we had to wait for a next book to come out, and especially here, where we had to wait for the Spanish translations to come out, which was torture. So, yeah, my love for Fantasy started with Harry Potter, even if now I’m more interested in reading High Fantasy book series.

Question 5: If you had to recommend at least one book from your favorite genre to a non-reader/someone looking to start reading that genre, what book would you choose and why?

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I guess for this I’m going to have to pick one book from each sub-genre, because they are all very different. If you are into Dark Fantasy, maybe try a book from Mark Lawrence like Prince of Thorns or a book from Joe Abercrombie, which I haven’t done yet, but I’ve heard amazing things from his books. If you are looking for something to get you started on High Fantasy you could choose The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson or The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. And if you are looking for a YA Fantasy book, I’d recommend The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo.

Question 6: Why do you read? 

I mean, have yall seen the news lately? The world is more and more fucked up, and I think reading is a way of escaping all of this. It’s just something I’ve always found comfort in doing, ever since I was young. The possibility of reading about someone else’s experiences in other worlds, even if it’s just for a little while, is amazing.

So, I’m not gonna tag anyone, because I don’t wanna impose anything on anyone, but if you read this and you like this tag, please feel free to do it and link me your post so I can read your answers. I’d love to see what genres you love reading and which books are your favorites! Until next time!

Roar by Cora Carmack

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“In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.
Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.
To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.
Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.
She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.
Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.”

Goodreads | Book Depository


I finally have the time to sit down and write a review for a book that restored my faith in the YA Fantasy genre. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres of all time, but when it comes to YA novels, I’ve always felt that there wasn’t much creativity to keep me interested. I’ve tried reading Truthwitch to no avail, same thing with Falling Kingdoms. Every time I pick up a YA Fantasy book, I brace myself for the disappointment that I expect based on previous experiences. But then Roar came along and here I am praising it and hyping it up because it deserves EVERY SINGLE adulation this book gets. TRUST ME.

Cora Carmack is a well-known New Adult author, and since I had never read one of her books before, I didn’t know what to expect when I picked this one up. I was afraid I was gonna find myself in yet another fantasy cliché storyline, the same hyped up book with little depth to its world-building and characters. And since she had a background in NA, I was scared that it wasn’t gonna be a fantasy novel AT ALL. And while I think that Roar has a lot of romance that could have been done away with, the novel in itself is something that should be talked about more.

So what is this story about and why is it so good? The actual plot and world-building is AMAZING. As you can get from the synopsis, the story follows our main character, Aurora Pavan, the heir to the Pavan throne which for generations has been kept by Stormlings, people who are born with the magical abilities to control storms -strong enough that they are able to destroy entire villages and towns-, and steal their hearts in order to defeat them. Yes, the literal heart of a storm. But when Aurora shows no sign of possessing any kind of powers, she knows the people are bound to realize that she is no Stormling and that she can’t protect them, yet her mother comes up with a possible solution to their problem: marrying her off to a Stormling prince form another kingdom.

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But not everything is as it seems. This Stormling prince appears to have an ulterior motive in this marriage proposal, and Aurora finds herself alone and tired of pretending to be something she is not. Until one day, she stumbles upon a black market where a plethora of magical items are being sold to whoever has enough coin to buy them. Items that can give ANYONE, regardless of who they are, magical abilities. Abilities such as controlling Storms. So it appears to be that not everything regarding magic is as Aurora was always told, and she realizes that maybe she has a way out, another chance to become the protector of Pavan without having to marry.

As a character and unlike many other characters in this genre, Aurora doesn’t have any power at all, literally and metaphorically speaking. She has to undergo massive character development throughout the story, where she not only grows as a person but also as a leader. She comes from a privileged position without having any merit to being where she was, yet once she takes on her other persona, Roar, we can finally say she has every right to become the protector of the Pavan kingdom.

Now, I want to talk about the rest of the characters. From the beginning we are made to believe that Cassius Locke, the betrothal, is the antagonist. It is hinted that he has a hidden agenda in marrying off Aurora, but we don’t know what those motives might be. All we know, is that his entire family traveled to Pavan with him to witness his wedding, but once Aurora is found missing and Cassius is left in charge of Pavan, they seem to resemble the Lannisters in their thirst for power.

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And then we have Locke, the storm hunter. Yes, he has the exact same last name as the Royal family. Coincidence? apparently, yes. There is a whole tragic backstory that I will not get into because SPOILERS, but let me tell you that it was extremely obvious from the very beginning that our second Locke was going to become our love interest in this story. I do have to say that I had certain problems with this character. He was overprotective of Roar, to the point where it became annoying, and just the way he treated Roar most of the times like she was this fragile thing that could break at any time bothered me a little bit. He definitely grew on me though, and the relationship. as expected as it was, felt real and well developed. I seriously can’t wait till he finds out the truth about who Roar actually is, because I think his mind will probably be blown.

There is also a mysterious and unknown greater evil, besides the Storms, that is hinted at throughout the book, and about whom we don’t have any sort of information, but which leaves you hooked and wanting to read the second book in this series to know what is going on.

I think that Cora was able to mix all of that which is typical in a NA book together with a unique worldbuilding and magic system here. Roar is the story of Aurora going into a journey of self-discovery, someone who grows into the powerful leader she was bound to become and whom Pavan deserves. If you enjoy reading YA books and you also love fantasy, you should give this one a chance; you will fall in love with the unique world-building Cora created and with Aurora’s journey.