Book Review: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) / A Captivating and Lush First Instalment

26032825Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars


“I am going to keep on defying you. I am going to shame you with my defiance. You remind me that I am a mere mortal and you are a prince of Faerie. Well, let me remind you that means you have much to lose and I have nothing. You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this- I throw his own words back at him- this is the least of what I can do.”

Well, I just finished this and I have a lot of feelings I need to make sense of. First of all, I wanna say that this was my first Holly Black book I’ve ever read, and I really hope it won’t be my last. This book came out a few days ago, and the hype surrounding it has been insane, and I have to say that it is worth EVERY BIT OF THAT HYPE.

In The Cruel Prince we follow the story of Jude and her sisters whose parents were murdered by Madoc, a Fae who happens to be the father of one of the sisters since long ago he was married to a mortal woman. Because of their parents’ deaths, Jude and her sisters are taken by Madoc to live with him in Faerie, the world where Faeries live. Through the perspective of Jude, we see how hard it is for her to feel like she belongs in this new and foreign world to them. She now has to navigate the intricate world of the Courts and deal with all sort of Faes who see her as an inferior being for being mortal.

I love how much it was focused on the political machinations and intrigue of the storyline, instead of just on an angsty romance, which is what a majority of YA fantasy books I’ve read tend to do. There was a perfect balance between court politics, development of relationships and drama. There were so many twists and turns as well, and I have to say most of them were unexpected, and that’s also related to the way the characters are portrayed. In The Cruel Prince no character is one-dimensional, every single one of them is complex, and their intentions are mostly never exposed until the very last, which adds to the unpredictability of the story. The Fae are not good nor bad beings, yes, they behave in an awful manner, they do horrible things most of the times, but they are morally gray beings, just like all the characters in this book, including Jude. I think that was one of Black’s strongest suit, how well she was able to explore each character’s intentions and behaviors without giving everything away at once, and without excusing said behaviors at all.

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Most of the times when I read YA fantasy, the female characters tend to annoy me with their blandness, so it was refreshing to see the character depth of the female protagonist in this one and how well-developed she was throughout the story. Even though she has to go through a lot of shit in the book, she never surrenders to anger or unwarranted violence, instead she always strives to use her head to try to see the long-run, instead of the instant and immediate gratification of revenge and getting what she wants. She develops this cool-headedness that of course doesn’t happen overnight; she has been training and learning ever since she was brought to Faerie. It was also interesting to see how she always worked towards finding her own place in the world. We learn from the start that she was brought as a kid into this unknown world of Fae, and we learn how much of a stranger she feels there, she’s neither/nor: she’s neither a human nor a fae, she doesn’t feel like she has a place in the world, and she strives to have it, she works her ass off to get to where she wants to be, to make someone out of her whom she can be proud of and content with. I think that’s mostly the appeal to her character, she never once whines or whinges about her horrible life or destiny, because she’s too busy making one for herself.

My other favorite character was one who started off as a little shit but ended up grabbing my unwavering attention by the end of the novel. And that is Prince Cardan. I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for the tragic backstories of bratty and arrogant characters, and that’s the perfect definition for Cardan. Yes, he’s a dick and a bully, especially towards Jude, but he grows on you, with his sassy remarks and his story, and with his character development. The dynamic between him and Jude was one of my most enjoyable things in this book, even though 99% of the times, they were both trying to kill each other. I honestly can’t wait for book 2 to see where his story arc takes off to, and how his interactions with jude will be like.

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I also thought this book was going to be more heavily focused on the romance than it actually was, and I found myself being okay with it. Even though I wish a certain pairing would have been further developed, I think that the pacing and the way this particular relationship evolved was done perfectly well and in a realistic manner. I have to admit that one of my favorite tropes ever is the hate to love relationship trope, so I honestly can’t wait to see how these two characters’ dynamic gets further developed in the second book mainly because of the way this book ended.

I think the only issue that I had with this book was how I felt like the writing didn’t fit the dark and twisted tone of the story. Most of the times I found the writing to be somewhat juvenile and light-hearted, which felt kind of inadequate for the type of story that I was reading, but like I’ve said, this was my first experience reading a book by Black so her writing style was all new to me. While I do think there were similarities to ACOTAR by Sarah J Maas (which is the only book in that series I’ve read) I found myself enjoying this one way more.

Honestly, I went into this book knowing all the hype it’s been getting from the people who had already read ARCs of this, and knowing they loved it, and I have to say I was not disappointed. I was hooked from the first page, and even though the writing wasn’t a favorite of mine, that didn’t prevent me from fully enjoying this story. It left me eager to know what’s going to happen to Jude and Cardan in the next book and I can’t wait for it.

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New Releases | January

I am so excited to share with you guys my most anticipated releases for this month. There are literally a ton of new books that I’m interested in that are coming out in January, and hopefully I’ll get to read the majority of them. These are the ones I’m planning on reading:

26032825YA Fantasy / Fae | January 2nd

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

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YA Fantasy | January 2nd

In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

29749090 YA Fantasy / Superheroes | January 2nd

Returning home from his lavish eighteenth birthday party, Bruce Wayne stops a criminal’s getaway – disobeying the police and crashing his car during the chase.
Sentenced to community service in Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum, he encounters some of the city’s most dangerous and mentally disturbed criminals. Among these, Bruce meets the intriguing Madeleine who has ties to the Nightwalker gang that is terrorizing Gotham City.
She’s a mystery Bruce has to unravel but can he trust her? The Nightwalkers target the rich, and Bruce’s name is next on their list.

33503607 YA Contemporary / Anthologies / LGBTQ | January 2nd

Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors. 
This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

 

37413230 Fantasy / Captive Prince Short Stories #4| January 6th

Pet follows the rise of Ancel at the poisonous court of Vere. Set during the events of Captive Prince.

 

 

 

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YA Fantasy | January 9th

Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world. 
Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.

 

31207017 YA Contemporary | January 16th

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.
There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.
 

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YA Historical Fantasy | January 16th

Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire―an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.
Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.
Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus…

37554812 Graphic Novels / LGBTQ / Fence Issue #3 | January 17th

As Nicholas works to become a better fencer, Seiji takes an unexpected interest in his journey.

 

 

 

 

35008759 YA Fantasy | January 23rd

Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, a highly trained sisterhood of elite warriors armed with telepathic blades. Guided by a strict code of conduct, Kyra and the other Orders are sworn to protect the people of Asiana. But to be a Markswoman, an acolyte must repudiate her former life completely. Kyra has pledged to do so, yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her dead family.
When Kyra’s beloved mentor dies in mysterious circumstances, and Tamsyn, the powerful, dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. Using one of the strange Transport Hubs that are remnants of Asiana’s long-lost past, she finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a young, disillusioned Marksman whom she soon befriends.
Kyra is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof. And if she fails to find it, fails in her quest to keep her beloved Order from following Tamsyn down a dark path, it could spell the beginning of the end for Kyra–and for Asiana.
But what she doesn’t realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is razor thin . . . thin as the blade of a knife.

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YA Fantasy / LGBTQ | January 23rd

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.
A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

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YA Contemporary | January 23rd

In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.
In the wake of destruction, he’s threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq’s
family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.
But while this is one family’s story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.

34275232 YA Fantasy / Fairy tales | January 30th

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

25566671 YA Fantasy | January 30th

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.
But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

35133826 YA Contemporary Romance | January 30th

When Drix was convicted of a crime–one he didn’t commit–he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the new Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.
Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.
When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life.
But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

34499209 YA Contemporary Romance | January 30th

For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win.
For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game.
They both have everything to lose.
Nell wants to succeed at everything—school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.
Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?

34051963 Mystery Thriller | January 30th

Megan Mazeros and Lauren Mabrey are complete opposites on paper. Megan is a girl from a modest Midwest background, and Lauren is the daughter of a senator from an esteemed New England family. But in 1999, Megan and Lauren become college roommates and, as two young women struggling to find their place on campus, they forge a strong, albeit unlikely, friendship. The two quickly become inseparable, sharing clothes, advice and their most intimate secrets.
The summer before their senior year, Megan joins Lauren and her family on their private island off the coast of Maine. The weeks go by, filled with fun and relaxation, until late one night at the end of the vacation, something unspeakable happens, searing through the framework of the girls’ friendship and tearing them apart. Many years later, in the midst of a political scandal, Megan finally comes forward about what happened that fateful night, revealing a horrible truth about Lauren’s family and threatening to expose their long-buried secrets.


Yep, as you can see, this month there are a shitton of new books coming out that I’m interested in and there is no way I’m gonna be able to read all these, but I’ll try. I’m currently reading The Cruel Prince, and so far it’s good, not what I was expecting but it’s interesting. What are you most highly anticipating for this month? Do you have any of these on your TBR? Let me know down in the comments!

2017 Reading Year in Review & 2018 Reading Goals

Hey everyone, and Happy New Year! I hope you had an amazing start of the new year last night. This time, I wanted to make a quick wrap up of what my reading year was in 2017 and the reading challenges that I completed. I’m also going to talk about what my reading goals are going to be for this new year.

So in 2017 I participated in the Goodreads challenge, as per usual, and this was the first time in my life that I’ve managed to read over 100 books. I was really excited to have been able to read 102 books, but I have to say that it was stressful as fuck. There were plenty of times when I was constantly thinking which books were going to be better for me to be able to reach my goal instead of just picking the ones I actually wanted to read. For that reason is why I’ve decided to change the way I approach the GR reading challenge, but more on that later when I talk about my 2018 goals.

I was pretty successful in terms of the reading challenges that I participated in throughout 2017, which were the Diversity Bingo and Around the Year in 52 Books. While I wasn’t able to cross out every single square of the Diversity Bingo I was able to read more diversely and open myself up to different types of genres and authors thanks to this bingo. These were the slots that I accomplished:

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• SFF disabled MC: Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu (4/5 stars)
Practicing Jewish MC: Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (1/5 stars)
Indian MC: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (3/5 stars)
Displaced MC: A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe (2/5 stars)
Neuro-diverse MC: A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (3/5 stars)
Bisexual MC: The Summer Palace by C.S. Pacat (5/5 stars)
MC with invisible disability: Trust by Kylie Scott (4/5 stars)
MC of color in SFF: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (3/5 stars)
OV Latinx MC: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (3/5 stars)
Free choice: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (4/5 stars)
Non-Western (real world) setting: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera (2/5 stars)
OV: Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward (3/5 stars)
Arab MC: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (4/5 stars)
Book by an author of color: Salt. by Nayyirah Waheed (5/5 stars)
Biracial MC: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (3/5 stars)
Black MC: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (3/5 stars)
LGBTQ MC of color: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (5/5 stars)
Contemporary world arranged marriage: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (3/5 stars)
Indigenous MC: Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones (2/5 stars)
POC on the cover: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (4/5 stars)
Immigrant/refugee MC: The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen (3/5 stars)
Hijabi MC: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (5/5 stars)

The other challenge in which I participated and which I accomplished was Around the Year in 52 books and these were challenges:

Book from GR Choice Awards: The Summer that Melted Everything
Book with 2 POV at least: They Both Die at the End
Book meant to read in 2016: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Title without letter “E”: Salt.
Historical Fiction: The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas
Book being released as movie in 2017: The Glass Castle
Book w/ an animal on cover or title: The Earthsea Quartet
Book written by a POC: Everything I Never Told You
Book in the middle of TBR list: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Dual-timeline novel: Everything Is Illuminated
Category from another challenge: The Refugees
Book based on a myth: The City of Brass
Book rec. by a fav. author: Locke & Key
Book with a strong female character: Roar
Book written/set in Scandinavia: Burial Rites
Mystery: Post Mórtem
Book with illustrations: Almost Midnight
A really long book (600 p.+): Lady Midnight
NYT Best-Seller: The Long Way Down
Book owned for long & not yet read: Bully
Continuation book of one already read: The Reluctant Queen
Book by an author not read before: We are Okay
Book from BBC “The big read” list: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Book written by 2 authors at least: Never Never
Book w/ famous historical figure: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Adventure book: Nightblade’s Vengeance
Book by a fave author: The Alloy of Law
Non-fiction: The Glass Castle
Book published out of 4 main publishers: Always & Forever Lara Jean
Book from GR Top 100 YA books: Thirteen Reasons Why
Book from subgenre of my fave genre: One of Us is Lying
Book w/ long title (5+): A Map for Wrecked Girls
Magical realism novel: Exit West
Book set in south hemisphere: Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth
Book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Queen of Blood
Hugo award winner or nominee: Binti
Book chosen at random: Dark Matter
Novel inspired by work of classical literature: A Million Junes
Epistolary fiction: The Tiger’s Daughter
Book published in 2017: Noteworthy
Book w/ unreliable narrator: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Best book of 21st century: Call Me By Your Name
Book w/ chilling atmosphere (scary): The Roanoke Girls
Rec from “What should I read next”: Losing It
Book w/ one-word title: Defy
Time travel novel: Paper Girls
Past suggestion that didn’t win: Title with a number – Punk 57
Banned book: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets
Book from someone else’s shelf: A Game of Thrones
Penguin modern classic: 1984
A collection: The Last Wish
Book set in a fictional location: Down Among the Sticks and Stones

Now for 2018, like I’ve said, I’m going to take the Goodreads Challenge a little bit with more ease, and I’ve set up my goal for 60 books. Eventually, once I start reading and realize I can increase the number I will do so. But for now, I wanted the number to be reachable and not put so much pressure on whether I’ll be able to accomplish it or not.

Also, this year I won’t be participating in the Around the Year in 52 books, but I will be trying to do the Popsugar 2018 reading challenge. If you are interested in this challenge, you can check out the article that explains it here.

Another thing I wanna work on this year is on the Rory Gilmore’s reading list, which is made up of over 300 books that Rory appeared to be reading in the episodes of Gilmore Girls. It’s obviously impossible to accomplish it in one year, but I wanna make my way through it progressively, and it’s also going to help me with another goal of mine for 2018, which is to read more female classic authors.

And those are all my reading goals for this year! What did you decide to set up as your reading goals this year? Let me know down in the comments so we can chat 😀

My 10 Favorite Books of 2017

THE LAST POST OF THE YEAR HAD TO BE MY MOST FAVORITE READS OF 2017! I’ve been meaning to write this one for so long, but I wanted to wait until the very last day to see if there was any other book I was able to sneak into my reading that could possibly make it into my top 10 books of the year, but the wait is over! This time, my favorites are going to be numbered from number 10 all the way down to my number 1 read of the year, a.k.a the book I loved the MOST out of all my favorites. Again, those that have reviews are linked to their covers, and you can access them by clicking on them. Let’s get started!

10. Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco (4/5 stars each)

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Coming in number 10, I have to pick this new YA mystery series because I honestly wasn’t expecting much out of it and it ended up becoming one of the most enjoyable series I read this year. In these, we follow Audrey Rose, a young woman who enjoys spending her time working at the mortuary with her uncle who happens to tutor her in the arts of medicine and dissecting the dead. This series is set in the Victorian era in London, which is why our main protagonist is such a favorite character of mine. Her progressive ideals and basically just being the feminist that she is are a few reasons why I love this series. Together with Thomas Cresswell, her sidekick and partner in mischief and crime-solving, Audrey’s stories are addicting, full of mystery and gore. I’m so happy this series is getting TWO MORE BOOKS! I literally can’t wait for them.

9. Vicious by V.E. Schwab (4/5 stars)

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After hearing amazing things being said about this book, I decided to pick it up and I’m really glad I did. I had read one of this authors other books (A Darker Shade of Magic) and while I enjoyed that one as well, this one took its place. Set in our world, this book basically deals with what would happen if someone found out that people could actually acquire superpowers by having a near-death experience. This book was filled with morally gray characters, that committed horrible acts, but that at the same time had you rooting for them. What really blew me away was the ending, which I didn’t see coming, and was a wisely wrap up to the story.

8. The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (5/5 stars)

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This one was actually a surprise for me because I had no idea what this book was about. And that’s how you should go into this book if you plan on reading it. It was a very creepy and disturbing story at times, and it also dealt with a very heavy and triggering topic, so I don’t think this can be a book anyone might want to pick up. I enjoyed reading it, I was hooked from page 1 and I loved how fucked up it was. The writing is spectacular, and the characters are so messed up that reading this almost felt like when you see there’s a train wreck and you can’t help but stare at it, you know you shouldn’t, but you still do. There were times when I had to put the book down for a while because I felt physically sick about what was going on, but once I finished it, I couldn’t help but stare and think how much of a fucking genius Amy Engel is.

7. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (4/5 stars)

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I recently finished reading this one and I had to add it to my list of best books of 2017. I loved being back into this world that Bardugo created, and I really loved how dark and creepy the majority of these short stories/fairytales were. I also had to squeal when one of the characters of her previous novels happened to make a cameo in one of the stories. Overall, it was nice being back into the Grishaverse, having all these stories expand said universe and add more magic to what is already one of the most unique and beautiful literary fictional worlds.

6. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (4/5 stars)

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This was a short yet powerful read for me. Maybe it’s the topic that makes it so, and the fact that it was extremely relevant to 2017, but it really impacted me when I read it. Exit West deals with a couple who attempts to flee their war-torn home country and migrate to some place where they can actually escape the turmoil they had been living in their country. We follow their journey to several places, and the hurdles they come across while trying to seek refuge and settle down. It has an element of magical realism which I also appreciated a lot, and there were so many lessons that I took from this book that I couldn’t leave it out of my top 10.

5. The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel (5/5 stars)

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It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve read this book because I read it a the very beginning of the year, so my thoughts aren’t that quite fresh on this one. But I remember crying my eyes out over this one, and feeling so much for these characters that I had to add it to my list. This book basically follows a family who happens to house a little boy who suddenly appears in this town claiming to be the devil. It’s a story about prejudices and preconceptions people often have, about how human beings tend to judge people without knowing anything about them, and the consequences that acting in that way have. It’s emotional, gut-wrenching and it left me very sad and angry because of how many actions like the ones happening in this book are a commonality in real life.

4. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (5/5 stars)

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I think everyone has heard about this book by now. Again, another book I read at the very beginning of the year and loved it. In this one we follow Ari and Dante, two boys who befriend each other during a hot summer and whose lives will forever be changed after that. No, I’m not exaggerating. The development of their friendship and their relationship was one of the cutest and most heart-felt I’ve read in YA in a long time. There was no insta-love, there were no cringe-worthy dialogues or scenes, just a lovely storyline about friendship and self-acceptance with complex characters. It’s become one of my favorite contemporary books I’ve read up to this date.

3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (4/5 stars)

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I’m so glad I gave Celeste Ng another chance because I really didn’t think that much of her debut novel, but this one? AMAZING! There were so many important themes developed throughout Little Fires Everywhere which is the main reason it made it into my top best 3. The characters were another thing that I absolutely loved from this book, I felt connected to them, and I was able to appreciate their complexities and their flaws. I loved how everything seemed to come full circle by the end of the book, and how everything was related to everything. 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. The story also poses so many interesting and controversial conversations of what motherhood is, and doesn’t shy away from exploring different points of view. It really made me question some of the perspectives I may have had about certain topics dealt with in this book.

2. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (5/5 stars)

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Hands down, my favorite fantasy book I read this year, and this one was also a debut novel! I can’t get over how fucking GOOD this book was, so you bet this one made it number 2 on my list (previously number 1, if only a certain book that took over my life hadn’t been read in December). The level of detail and world-building that characterizes this book still amazes me. It’s filled with political intrigue, with very interesting and hard-hitting conversations about war and genocide, the consequences of war on the cultures involved and so much more, I just UGH! I can’t form words to describe my love for this book. It has everything you can think of: multi-layered and morally gray characters, magical creatures, mythology, a little bit of romance, incredible world-building and A CLIFFHANGER. I still can’t believe this was a debut novel, honestly, it’s the most intricate and unique YA fantasy book I’ve read in a while.

1. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman (5/5 stars, but honestly, all the stars in the universe!)

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Was anyone surprised about this one? Really? I think I’ve been talking nonstop about this book for the past couple of weeks since I finished it. It’s taken over my life and my twitter and I can’t make it stop, nor do I want to make it stop. I made a very poorly written review of this book because I needed to express my many feelings on it, but I don’t think there are words to make this book justice. I can tell you that it’s a coming of age story, a story about a teenager discovering himself, accepting himself, falling in love passionately and shamelessly during one Italian summer, and that will not suffice to describe the beauty of this book. And I think that putting it next to other books that deal with the same topics is unacceptable, because there are no other books that do what Call Me By Your Name does. There are so many topics this book develops so wisely and subtly, and the writing of Aciman in this book is some of the most beautiful and evoking writing I’ve read in my short life. The characters Elio and Oliver are still stuck in my head and they will be for the rest of my days. Once in a while, there comes a book that will mark you for life, and for me, Call Me By Your Name was that book. Reading it was a completely different experience that I hope many, many more people have the pleasure of living.


THAT’S IT EVERYONE! These were the most favorite books I read this year. There were some that did not make the list because I wanted to keep it under 10 books. Have you read any of these?! Which ones were your favorite reads of 2017? Let me know in the comments! And I hope you had an amazing reading year and an even better year to come!

10 Most Disappointing Books of 2017

Hello everyone! The end of the year is around the corner and the time has come for us to reflect on the books we read during 2017. I have to admit that watching people’s videos or reading blog posts of their most disappointing reads of the year is one of my favorite things to watch and read. Some people might not like it when they see their favorite books being trashed, but honestly, to me it’s one of the most entertaining things to watch. I love seeing other people’s points of view and opinions that might digress from mine, so it’s only reasonable that I also enjoy doing it myself. Today’s post is going to be about those books that I had high hopes for, either because they were overhyped or because I was really expecting a lot from reading their synopsis, but didn’t end up meeting those expectations. This is in no way an attack to the authors of these books nor to those people who might have loved them, this is just my list of books based on personal opinions on why they were a letdown. These aren’t in any particular order, and some of the images will be linked to their respective reviews if you hover over them. So let’s just get into them, shall we?

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The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera (2/5 stars): I got this as an ARC from NetGalley after seeing it everywhere and hearing everyone talk nothing but great things about it. I was in for a surprise. This was marketed as an epic fantasy book inspired by Asian culture with badass female characters, demon slaying, magic and so much more, AND IT DIDN’T HAVE ANY OF THOSE THINGS! This was basically a romance, set in a fantastical world, a very under-developed and lacking one if I say so myself, that managed to bore me to death with chapters that seemed to never end. This is a 500 page long book and it ONLY HAD 6 CHAPTERS! The writing style was completely impossible to get into since it’s written in the form of a letter one of the main characters sent the other one retelling everything they both did when they were together, which MADE NO SENSE  WHATSOEVER! Why would you retell things you both lived? Why?! She was there with you, she knows everything, there’s no need for you to tell her things she already knows! UGH. I get worked up just remembering how awful this was. There was no world-building, the representation was totally inaccurate and the demon slaying happened in like one page. A totally forgettable book.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (2/5 stars): While there were aspects of the plotline which I found interesting I don’t think its execution was very well done. What was most interesting and unique (the Death-Cast company), was never dealt with nor developed and I think that hindered my reading experience a lot. Everyone kept saying how heartbreaking this was, and honestly, it didn’t do anything for me. I mean, from the title of the book you already know what’s going to happen, and I think the characters weren’t that developed for me to care about or get emotionally attached to them so as to feel sad about their end. It was nice to see the diversity in the characters, but like I’ve said, I was not moved by this story at all. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the story spans for only 24 hours, but this just wasn’t for me.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (1/5 stars): UGH. I read this at the beginning of the year so I don’t remember much in detail, but this book was SO PRETENTIOUS I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU HOW MUCH I HATED IT! There were so many problematic things as regards the portrayal of women, the use of sexual abuse in a VERY casual way, slurs about the Romani people, and so many other disgusting things I wish I had never read this. Everyone seems to love this guy’s writing, and honestly, I can’t see the appeal of it. This felt pretentious and gimmicky all the time, and maybe it’s me and the fact that I’m too stupid to understand his nonsense, but this was definitely not worth the hype.

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Never Never parts II/III by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher (2 & 1/5 stars): I won’t spend much time writing about this, because honestly, there is NOTHING to talk about. The only one of these that is worth your time is the first part, but the second and third were completely forgettable. The plot-twist of why Silas and Charlie kept losing their memory was the stupidest twist I could have ever thought of, and that was the only thing that kept me reading these sequels.

Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush (2/5 stars): This book had so much potential but it didn’t deliver. The synopsis says it’s a combination of Sons of Anarchy with black magic, how can you go wrong with that fucking premise?! Well, it was bad. I think the author had a really good idea but she wasn’t able to fully develop it. The story, the setting, the magic system and even the characters felt very underdeveloped. It felt like she was only able to scratch the surface of what the story could have been. I thought it was a typical average YA book with a main character going back and forth between two guys and having to deal with her fears of using her magic, but once it became ABSOLUTELY obvious who the “villain” of the story was going to be, I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. No development of the magic system, no interesting “mystery”, obvious villain, a love triangle… shall I say more?.

Vicious by L.J. Shen (1/5 stars): This one was just infuriating, mainly due to the male protagonist, Vicious. I’m used to NA male characters being the typical alpha cavemen, but there was not a single redeemable thing in Vicious. I literally can’t even think of one good thing that I liked about him. His whole backstory was tragic AF, but does that mean he gets to treat the female character as trash? nope. I understand that trauma made him shield himself from every person in his life, but seriously? it got to the point where him trashing her was just ridiculous, and the reason why he did that was even more ridiculous that I literally laughed out loud when he confessed it to her. There was nothing interesting in this book either; not the characters, not the storyline, nothing. And the female character was plain AF. There were so many things that could have been done with her character-wise, but of course she ended up doing everything Vicious told her to do.

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (3/5 stars): I was expecting a lot more from this book. I found it to be extremely cute and borderline cheesy at some points, yet not much happened in terms of plot. Like, WHAT WAS IT?! I honestly didn’t feel like this book had an actual plot besides the two main characters falling in love and getting to know each other, which is fine, but I was waiting for so much more than just that. Yeah, there was the whole thing about Insomnia Con but not even that was fully explored. I wanted to learn more about Rishi’s comics, I wanted to see more of Dimple’s passion for coding, I wanted to see both of these characters interacting more with their families, and by the end of the book, I honestly couldn’t care less whether the characters found their way back to each other or not, because I wasn’t invested in them for me to actually care. This one belongs in this list because of all the hype surrounding it, yet it is refreshing to see books in YA moving away from the canon. It was refreshing to see different characters who shared another culture, to see the way they viewed the world, to see at least a part of their heritage, yet I only wished this book had focused way more on that.

The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (3/5 stars): This is a very well-known and classic fantasy series, so my hopes were pretty high. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I was expecting. This was pretty slow and at points boring to get through for a fantasy book. The magic aspect of the “naming” of things seemed very similar to the system in The Name of the Wind, and I could see a lot of similarities between the main characters of these two books, Kvothe and Ged, as well, which I enjoyed, but I was a bit disappointed to find out this wasn’t as great as I heard it was.

Losing It by Cora Carmack (2/5 stars): Another NA series HIGHLY overhyped which I expected to like and didn’t. It was extremely cheesy, the protagonist was annoying and ridiculous, and the love interest sounded like a douche. It’s a quick read, 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, however, was just boring and annoying. I still can’t get out of my head how the guy constantly used the word ‘love’ when addressing the main character, ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Another disappointing hyped book.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (2/5 stars): I think I’m in the minority when it comes to this one, because for me, this wasn’t good. A lot of the things that happened became way too predictable which frustrated me because I was kind of expecting for it to surprise me with a twist towards the end, and that didn’t happen. While the topic of this book is interesting and debatable, I think it could have been further developed in more depth. I also didn’t enjoy the writing style; I thought it was average with dialogues that made me laugh because of how poorly written they were most of the times. While everyone says this is the type of book that will blow your mind, in my opinion, it wasn’t worth the hype either.


There were more books that were pretty disappointing, but these ones were the ones I was most let down by. How about you?! Which were your most disappointing reads this year? Let me know down below in the comments!

Book Review: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman / An Emotional, Lyrical, and Sensual Coming of Age Tale

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Andre Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.

Rating: 5/5


I’ve been struggling lately about whether or not to write a review about this book, days have passed since I have finished this story and it’s still stuck in my mind unlike any other book I’ve read in a long time. So here I am, rambling and not knowing where this is gonna go but knowing that I definitely had to write something about it.

There are so many things I want to point out about this book, and I hope by the end of this review I’ll have made any sort of sense.

To put it in simple words, this book, to me, was a masterpiece. I haven’t found a book that impacted me in such a profound way in a long time, and it’s even rarer coming from a genre that I don’t typically delve into. Not because I have anything against it, but because I typically tend to read from my favorite genres. But sometimes, you find yourself crossing paths with the same book over and over again in every social media platform you may use, and you just need to satisfy that intrigue of why is everyone talking about this book. What’s there about it that has everyone raving about it? So I decided to pick it up. I decided to see what was all the fuss about it, and I’m glad I did. I’m glad I went out of my comfort zone and decided to start what by then I didn’t know it was going to become one of my favorite books of all time. Yes, you read that right, of all time.

Call Me By Your Name tells the story of Elio, a seventeen year old Italian who lives in a villa in Italy with his family, and Oliver, a twenty-four year old American graduate guy who spends a summer with Elio’s family as a part of an apprenticeship with Elio’s father, who is a literary professor. I guess you could say this is a coming of age story, but at the same time it is so much more than that. The story gets told from Elio’s point of view, as we are thrown right into his thoughts and his way of viewing not only life, but Oliver as well. Elio begins to develop some sort of slight obsession with him, and he can’t actually figure Oliver out, no matter how hard he tries. Throughout the book we have the privilege to see through Elio’s mind a relationship flourish and blossom between two men. We see their flaws, their shame, their insecurities, and also their profound love and care for each other.

“We had found the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.”

It’s also interesting to see how wrong Elio interpreted Oliver most of the times. When we get to the point where they are fully talking about their feelings and how they felt since the very beginning, we get to see how wrong Elio was this whole time about Oliver’s behavior. And that makes me love Oliver so much more. At the same time this saddens me greatly since we learn that because of these misinterpretations on the part of both of them is what made them lose the majority of a summer that could have been spent together. I guess the phrasing better late than never applies here perfectly, just like a quote from the book itself: Is it better to speak or to die?

There are so many iconic scenes and passages in this book that I literally would need a year to talk about all of them. However, I feel like I need to talk about one of the most infamous scenes in the book, the peach scene. The first time I read it, my jaw hit the floor. Later upon pondering about it, I think it’s one of my favorite and sexiest scenes I’ve ever read in a book. The fact that Oliver does what he does willingly while Elio feels embarrassed and ashamed of what he did and of what Oliver is doing is so powerful and heartwarming that I can’t take this scene in any other way than for what it is: pure love and emotion.

I also wanna dedicate a few words to André Aciman’s writing, because oh boy was I blown away by it. While at the beginning I was wary of the way it’s written, mainly because I didn’t expect it to be the way it was, I soon found myself falling in love with it for the beautiful, lyrical and poetic style that it was. Maybe André Aciman’s writing isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s worth giving it a chance, you might fall in love with it just like I did. He has such a beautiful and profound way of looking at things, that most of the times I had to stop myself from continuing on with the book because I needed to think about what I had just read. There are so many quotes in this book that deeply affected me, but I guess one of my favorite ones has got to be one that Elio’s father says to Elio:

“How you live your life is your business. But remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. Most of us can’t help but live as though we’ve got two lives to live, one is the mockup, the other the finished version, and then there are all those versions in between. But there’s only one, and before you know it, your heart is worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it. Right now there’s sorrow. I don’t envy the pain. But I envy you the pain.”

You could say this book is bittersweet. It’s bittersweet because even if it explores sexual awakening and the warmth of a first love, life happens, and we also get to see the bad things of it. It wouldn’t be realistic if it weren’t that way, in my opinion. I hated and loved the ending because it represented how life most of the times works. We don’t always get what we want, we don’t always end up with that person we thought we would, and we don’t always get the privilege of staying with our very first love. While there’s also a kind of open ending I think, I would like to think that Oliver will finally be able to live his true life, and not the parallel one, that so much gets mentioned throughout the book. Elio’s father tells him people usually live parallel lives but we only got one heart and one life to live it as honestly as we can, and for me, that’s a literal reference to Oliver’s dilemma of having the perfect life of a wife and kids vs. what he lived that summer with Elio, which he even admitted not knowing what it was and that that scared him. For me, Oliver wasn’t able to be “honest” 100% with himself, and he chose his life back at the States, with his on-and-off girlfriend, and I think that the time when this story is set has a lot to do with his decision. I don’t think that if this story would be set during the present time that Oliver would have made that choice, but of course that’s just me and my wishful thinking.

I think this book will stay with me forever; it has impacted me in such a profound way that I don’t think I see it ever changing. Up to this day, I find myself thinking about Elio and Oliver and I get emotional every time. If you are at all interested in it, do yourselves a favor and read it. Or you can even listen to the audiobook which is one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to in my life, and so happens to be narrated by Armie Hammer, who plays Oliver in the movie. I wish the movie was available in my country because I’m pretty sure I’d fall in love with it just as I did with the book. But for now, I’ll wait, and I’ll keep the story and its characters close to my heart.

Hyped Book Series I Still Haven’t Read but Want To Read

Hi everyone! Today’s blog post, as it’s stated in the title, it’s gonna be all about those incredibly hyped series that I’m hoping to read in the near future. Hopefully, some of those I will start next year, and they are going to be part of my 2018 reading goals. So let’s see which ones they are, and why I’m hoping I get to read them soon!

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Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to read, and this series is a pretty popular one. I have heard amazing things about this series, especially if you are looking for great characterization. Plus, it apparently has pirates in it, what else could I possibly ask for from a fantasy series? Black Sails is one of my all time favorite tv shows, so I guess this is a pretty good recommendation for all of us who love us some good pirate stories.

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I have never read any retellings but who hasn’t seen this series all over the place? At this point, I think I might be the only person left who hasn’t read at least one of these books. It’s got retellings for most of the Disney princesses such as Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rapunzel. How one earth haven’t I picked this up yet?

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Another fantasy YA series I have heard nothing but great things about. I don’t know why I haven’t picked this one up yet since most of the people with whom I have similar tastes in reading have said they have loved it! I just have so many books to read that I haven’t had time yet to pick this one up. Hopefully, that will change in 2018.

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The main reason for this one is how freaking long this series is. Each book seems to be humongous and even if I don’t mind reading huge books, I can’t lie and say it isn’t intimidating. I don’t know if I have the time and will to commit to this series yet, but I really want to watch the tv show, so maybe that will motivate me to finally pick these ones up.

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Even though Brandon Sanderson is my favorite fantasy author I haven’t started one of his most acclaimed series. This series is supposed to have 10 books, and so far he has come out with 3 tomes. Most of his fans say this is honestly his best work as of yet, surpassing even his most well-known Mistborn series, which happens to be one of my favorites. Maybe I’m intimidated by the length of these books, but I certainly can’t wait to start The Stormlight Archive series.

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Elise Kova’s series are also series which I have heard a lot about, especially her Air Awakens series. However, I don’t know why but the covers for the Loom Saga series have caught my eye (I mean, just look at them!) and I honestly can’t wait till I finally pick them up. The two series are not connected according to what she has said, so maybe I’ll start with this one before reading the Air Awakens series.

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Last but not least, we have The Diviners series by Libba Bray. Everyone seems to be raving about this series lately, and based on the covers only, I think these are precisely my type of books. Set in the 1920s, full of magic, the supernatural and mystery, the amazing ratings this series is getting seems to be worth the hype. I can’t wait to start reading it next year!


There are so many more series that I also would love to read but honestly, if I were to put them all in one post the list would be endless. These are the ones I’m mostly sure I’ll start next year, once and for all! Have you read any of these? What did you think about them?! Let’s talk in the comments down below!

November Wrap-Up 🌻

Another month has passed, another wrap-up to write! I can’t believe we’re literally about to start the last month of the year; I feel like each month that passes, I always say the same thing, but damn, how time flies! Anyhow, enough with me rambling, let’s start with recapping all the books I read during the month of November.

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28954137Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy | C. Clare ⭐⭐⭐

While I individually rated each short novella, I think that the average rating for this collection would be 3.5 stars, because I got bored often whilst reading it. While I enjoyed getting a peak into Simon’s new life at the academy, learning and training to become a Shadowhunter, what I loved most about this were all the recurring characters that popped up throughout the stories. Characters that I love and since their series are over, it was nice knowing what they were up to now. It also develops more the Blackthorns storyline after the events of City of Heavenly Fire. I mainly read this because it contains relevant information if you wanna start Lady Midnight, the first book in the new Cassandra Clare series.

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 ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer | Michelle Hodkin

This one was a re-read for me. I’ve only ever read the first one, and I felt like I wanted to finally continue on and finish this series, since the first book of the Noah spin-off series came out this month, but life happened and I could only re-read this one. There were a lot of things that I had forgotten since I first read it, but overall, I enjoyed it the same. I might have found certain aspects of the story a little bit cheesy, especially Noah and Mara’s relationship, unlike my first time reading it, but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all. Hopefully, I’ll catch up on the second and third book soon enough.

Almost Midnight | Rainbow Rowel35269543l  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

These two short stories were extremely cute! I read Kindred Spirits, the first short story, last year and loved it, so I really wanted to read the other one, and I loved it just as much as I thought I would. The illustrations were beautiful as well. I highly recommend it if you like Rainbow Rowell’s writing and you are looking to read more of her work.

 

 

 

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⭐ ⭐ The Nest | Kenneth Opel

This was one of the most confusing and bizarre books I read this year so far, and the only thing I’m gonna say is how earth is this marketed as a middle-grade book?! HOW?! If i had read this while I was a kid, I would have been fucking traumatized by wasps and other topics this book deals with. The rating is merely due to the fact that I didn’t find it interesting at all, only confusing and boring. But I do think that this book shouldn’t be described as a middle-grade book, AT ALL.

 

22552026 The Long Way Down | Jason Reynolds  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

This was one of my favorite reads of the month. It is a very short book which is told in verse, and it’s such a powerful and moving story. I read this in just an hour I think, and I was sitting there stunned by how raw and heart-wrenching this was. It tackles with so many harsh issues in such a unique way, I can only but recommend this if you are interested in reading more diversely and about the African-American community.

 

 

⭐ ⭐ Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra25810226

I wasn’t a big fan of this graphic novel to be honest. I read several reviews that said this was perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sailor Moon, but I think that the entire storyline falls short when compared to said shows. It was mildly entertaining, but I couldn’t care less about the characters or what happened to them. I have struggled to find another graphic novel that grabs my attention as Saga did, but I’ll keep trying new ones until I eventually find one I love just as much as I love Saga. I did  love the artwork though, especially the color palette.

30839185 Vicious | L.J. Shen  

THIS. FREAKING. BOOK. Now that I have to include this one on my wrap-up, my rage towards this book has revived. UGH. I don’t wanna waste any more words on this disappointment of a book, but if you are interested in seeing more or less why I hated this one, you check my goodreads review for it here. I was so bummed that I hated this one because I really like one of the main characters but his story is told in the third book and I don’t think I’m gonna be able to get through the second book.

 

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⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  Lady Midnight | Cassandra Clare

I have mixed feelings about this book. When I started it, I really thought this was going to be my favorite book out of all the ones Clare has written, but now that I finished it, there are some things that really bothered me about this one. I wrote an entire review for this one, and you can read it here. Overall, I really enjoyed reading about a whole new set of characters, but there are some things that I just can’t accept or understand. The ending was completely underwhelming, and it left a bad taste in my mouth from what I had started considering as an amazing start of a new series.

2281367  The Glass Castle | Jeannette Walls

I couldn’t rate this one. Many of you may know that this one’s Jeannette’s memoir, and I can’t bring myself to rate or judge a book that’s written by someone telling her real life story. I don’t ever read memoirs because I don’t like reading those types of books, and this one was hard enough for me to tackle due to the subject matter. I don’t think I’ve ever read about such horrible and disgusting parents in my entire life, and to think that this isn’t fiction but someone’s reality is heartbreaking. I finished reading it, but I won’t lie and say I didn’t have to push myself through it, because I honestly couldn’t bear reading one more page about such horrible parents.

Well, those were all the things I got around during the month of November. I was hoping to finish one more book today, but it’s obviously not going to happen, hence why I’m uploading this post today. I really want to be able to reach my goal of reading 100 books this year, but to do that I would have to read 17 books in the month of December lol, and I honestly don’t think that’s going to happen. I guess we’ll see by the end of the year! What have you read in November? Was it a good month for you? Let me know down in the comments!

Book Review: Lady Midnight By Cassandra Clare (The Dark Artifices #1) / A Solid Yet Underwhelming Start of a New Series

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★★★★/5

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?


*This review might contain spoilers for TMI books, especially City of Heavenly Fire

I feel like my review for this one is gonna be one long rant, because damn, I have a lot of things I wanna get out of my chest. When I started reading it, I really thought this was going to be my favorite book out of all the ones Clare has written, but once I finished it, there were some things that really bothered me, hence my mixed feelings about Lady Midnight.

The reason why I thought this was going to be my favorite one, was mainly due to the characters. The Blackthorn family and all the side characters that appeared in this book were the highlight of the story for me. I loved the Blackthorns. I find their story to be a tragic one, and yet they have found a way to move past that and keep on going despite them having lost so much since the Dark War. The family dynamic of the Blackthorns and Emma Carstairs is some of the best Clare has written so far, and I have to say that not once was I annoyed by the main characters as it’s usually the case with these books for me. When I read TMI (The Mortal Instruments) my main issue was its characters, especially Jace and Clary. Most of the focus of that series was put on them and their love story, and there were plenty of times when I was extremely annoyed by the way those two acted, so it was a breath of fresh air to have a main character such as Julian for once. He has officially become my absolute favorite and no one can convince me otherwise.

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Why do I love him so much? Well, if you are well-versed in TMI series, you would know what happened to the Blackthorns during the Dark War, and the outcome of it. Lady Midnight is set ten years after that event, and we get to see how the family has recovered from the past and kept on with their lives. Julian is now the paternal figure who is in charge of taking care of his brothers and sisters, and we see the toll it’s taken on him, preventing him from living a normal adolescent life. He has had to carry the responsibility of being the man of the house and be able to raise his siblings. It was so interesting and heartbreaking, at the same time, how the book explored how much he had to change and give up in order to become what his family needed in a time of need.

Emma was a pleasant surprise as well. She did some reckless things but there was a significant difference in how I felt about her than about Clary. I don’t like comparing characters, but I can’t help but think that my experience reading this series was so much better when I could really understand the characters’ motivations and actions, instead of thinking they were being completely reckless and stupid all the time. Her sense of revenge for her parent’s murders has shaped her entire life, and she has worked hard and dutifully every single day to get to the truth of what happened to them, even at the cost of going against what the Clave mandates. Her loyalty towards the Blackthorns and towards Julian is something I loved about her character, and I think that her, together with Julian, are an incredible improvement for Cassandra Clare when it comes to writing characters.

So what happened that made me change my mind about this book? The ending. What was that ending? and I’m not even talking about the last chapter (which by the way, was the stupidest plot device ever used in the history of writing). Yes, I might be exaggerating  a bit, but come on! I’m talking about the entire battle scene. I can’t specifically talk about the villain because it would be a spoiler, but I honestly can’t believe that a group of teenagers could beat THAT EASILY someone THAT POWERFUL. Really? Am I honestly supposed to believe that everything went smoothly and that they were able to defeat said person just like that? I can’t suspend my disbelief that much. I’m sorry, but I can’t. It’s one thing being a Shadowhunter and having powers, but honestly, defeating the villain in a matter of minutes? Nope. They couldn’t have been a match against said villain, because it goes against all that we know of from the lore of this series.

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And then we have the last chapter. Sighs. I understand the necessity to have some major issue drive a wedge between the two characters who love each other. Their love is supposed to be forbidden and all that stuff. But seriously, to do it like Clare did it?! Fuck that. It was cheap, and it was stupid. There’s no way Julian is supposed to believe that or that Emma would even consider doing that instead of just talking to Julian like a normal person would, or even more so, like Parabatai would! We spend the entire book learning what keeping secrets does not only to the person that keeps them, but also to those who don’t know the truth about it; we saw and learned through the characters that it’s always best to be honest about what is happening, instead of lying about it all the time. You’d think that by the end of the book, said characters would have learned their lesson, but no. It honestly just felt like the worst possible device used to be able to have more angst in the second, and even the third book. Because of course you can’t have them be completely fine in book one right? There has to be something that prevents them from being fine. I’m just so tired of this shit being pulled up every time, because it happened all the time in TMI. And I refuse to get used it. Why would I? If Clare’s writing has definitely grown and matured, why use the SAME resources all the time to create angst? Does it always have to be the same fucking thing? I don’t think so, not when you have been writing books for over a decade. I would expect you to do better.

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I honestly don’t want to give this book a bad rating, because overall, I really enjoyed reading about a whole new set of characters, but there are some things that I just can’t accept or understand. The ending was completely underwhelming, and it left a bad taste in my mouth from what I had started considering as an amazing start to a new series.

ARC Review: The City of Brass by S.A Chakraborty / Stunning Middle-Eastern Influenced Debut Full of Folklore and Magic

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★★★★★/5

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 . . .

Pre-order it here: BookDepository | Amazon

Publication Date: November 14th

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

It’s safe to say that this debut novel will undoubtedly be one of my favorite reads of 2017. I was fortunate enough to have been granted the possibility of reading this masterpiece early, and I hope my review can make this story justice, because it deserves it.

The first thing I feel like I need to address is the fact that this book is a debut novel, the first one in a new adult fantasy trilogy—if I’m not mistaken—, and yet it surely does not feel like a debut novel in any way. The level of detail and world-building that characterizes this book still amazes me, especially in a fantasy book, where lately I’ve found myself losing my interest due to this main issue: the lack of world-building. I think that for a fantasy novel to engross me completely there HAS to be enough world-building where I can almost feel as if I was there. And The City of Brass does that in more than one way. 

The story begins with the introduction of one of our main characters, Nahri, a young con artist living in Ottoman-ruled Egypt. From the very beginning I knew this sassy and smart-ass character was going to make an impression in me, and I wasn’t wrong. All her life she has had to do whatever she could to survive on her own, and that meant swindling people out of money whenever they came for her ‘healing abilities’. Because since she was a kid, Nahri has had the ability to magically heal herself and sense other people’s illnesses and ailments.

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But her whole life gets turned upside down when, while performing a Zar (similar to an exorcism), she accidentally summons an ancient djinn warrior who so happens to have knowledge of who she is and where she comes from. Without her wanting, she will find herself caught in the middle of an ancient civil war that ended when the Qahtanis stole the throne from the Nahids, and have since then ruled the magical place of Daevastana.

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Yes, it sounds like a lot to take in, but the author does a wonderful job at explaining bits and pieces throughout the book in a manner that is not info-dumpy, but instead, she introduces it through dialogues, so it’s as if the characters are actually talking to us, and guiding us through those explanations. I won’t lie and say it’s easy to follow through, because it requires all of your focus and attention to not get lost, but once you get the hang of all the different names of not only the races but also the myths, the reading gets so much easier, and you begin to get completely lost in the story.

The story is told from two points of view. We have Nahri’s POV, following her adventure with the djinn she accidentally summoned as she is immersed into this new world, and then we have Alizayd’s POV, the youngest son of Deavabad’s King. Ali is supposed to represent the inside perspective of those who have had the power for centuries. We learn how different his uprising and values are, but at the same time, we get to see him question those values and his own ancestry. A lot of times he finds himself caught between his loyalty to his family and King and what he believes is right and just. I think that his stark character development is one of the most well-done in this first book. Nothing seems rushed, and every decision that he makes is rooted in sound arguments. Now I wanna talk about my favorite character in this book, and that is Dara, the djinn warrior summoned by Nahri. While he is introduced to us as the typical brooding, cold and distant male companion, we begin to uncover layer after layer of his persona as the story progresses. His tragic backstory is one I was most impacted by, and I couldn’t help but feel for him and his cause of bringing justice to what once happened during that civil war. All of the characters in this book are morally grey; they’ve all done questionable things, things they’re not proud of, but given the circumstances, they made them nonetheless. That doesn’t excuse what they did, it only makes them much more interesting and complex.

Let me get back to the world-building because there is a lot I have to say about it. S.A. Chakraborty obviously based her story on XVIII C Egypt, but she also included Islamic folklore and mythology, which are the main focus of this novel. Creatures like Djinn, Marid and Ifrit are real and have existed in this magical place called Deavabad, sometimes crossing onto the human world, something they have always been forbidden from doing. The richly descriptive scenes of Deavabad and the atmospheric writing take you on a journey to a world full of magic and wonders where anything seems possible. But one crucial element of the world-building plays a major role in the development of the story: the different racial groups. The story focuses on different cultures and races, and the quarrels between them. It is through their eyes we get to learn about the history of the place and the world they live in.

The City of Brass also does wonders at discussing the idea that history is only what the conquerors say it happened, instead of what might actually have happened. I sometimes wonder if our human history were to be written by those who didn’t ‘win the battles’, what would we learn? How much of what we know to be history might have never happened in the way we were taught it did? This book made me question all of that. Every group, every race in this novel has a different side of the story of what happened those hundreds of years ago when the civil war occurred, and we get to learn from them these different points of view. That is also what makes this book so rich; we can never settle for only one side of the story, and because we are exposed to so many different sides, we find ourselves lost as to who to root for. Everyone has a point, yet everyone has committed horrible and questionable acts. And that makes this book REALISTIC. People are complex, groups of people, even more so, and it would be a mistake to present them as anything other than that. The discussions of the consequences that civil war brings about to the people involved in it, especially minority groups who see their lives affected, in the majority of the cases negatively, are also one of the issues this book tackles. The loss of rights, the unequal and unjust treatment of the conquerors towards the conquered, and their constant oppression and subjugation constantly made me think of how it mirrors our own world’s history.

‘The City of Brass met all the expectations I could have had and more. It’s a rich and diverse story of survival in the face of tyranny and oppression, and of questioning values and morals when injustices are being done. With multi-layered characters that mirrors the best and worst of humanity, The City of Brass takes you on a journey to a magical and folklore-ridden universe you do not want to miss out on’

The City of Brass comes out November 14th of 2017, and The Kingdom of Copper, its sequel, is set to be published in 2018.