Love & War Review

Love and War, by Melissa de la Cruz

Release Date: April 17, 2018

35883428Summary

1781. Albany, New York.

As the war for American independence rages on, Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler begin their new life as a married couple. Still, Alex is as determined as ever to prove his mettle and secure his legacy . . . even if that means leaving his beloved Eliza behind to join the front lines at the Battle of Yorktown. But when the war unexpectedly arrives on Eliza’s doorstep, she must fight for a better future–for their fledgling country and for her marriage.

Yet even after the Revolution comes to its historic close, Alex and Eliza’s happily-ever-after is threatened. Eliza struggles to build a home in the hustle and bustle of New York City just as Alex’s burgeoning law practice brings him up against his greatest rival–the ambitious young lawyer Aaron Burr. And with Alex’s star on the rise, Eliza can’t help but feel neglected by a husband who seems to have time for everyone but her. Torn apart by new trials and temptations, can Alex and Eliza’s epic love survive life in the big city?

Summary from Penguin Random House.

My Thoughts

Love & War was an absolutely brilliant installment to the Alex & Eliza books! To begin with, we rarely see couples after marriage, or even following getting together. In this novel, however, we see the struggle between Alex and Eliza as they must deal with all aspects of both adulthood and married life. I felt that both characters handled the difficult situations in a realistic manner, and I enjoyed seeing them not always get along, but act like a real married couple. I cannot personally testify to the accuracy of this, seeing as I don’t study this time period, but as far as I can tell, we got an equal amount of information and embellishment. For every “knowledge dump,” there were elements of the story that were fun and lighthearted, and I loved it. The family aspect of this story was also done well. Angelica, Peggy, and Eliza’s relationship was one that is likely envied by all sisters, even though they have their disagreements. In the beginning, it was one of the leading plot points. However, after getting into Part Two, Eliza’s family became more distant, though still influence decisions she made–once more, a completely realistic reaction to what she is going through. I had only two problems with this book, one being the repetitiveness. There were times when I felt certain stories or time periods were referenced more than once, and not every time was necessary. There also were parts that were filled with too much information. I understand, of course, that this is a historical fiction and must have some sort of tie-in to real events, and for the most part, I appreciated it. At times, the author recited a lot of information that probably could have been spread out over time. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this book. 4/5 stars!

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Zenith Review

Zenith, by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings

31394234Summary

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder‘s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their shipor just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

Summary from Goodreads.

My Thoughts

There is no doubt in my mind that Zenith is a thrilling, explosive sci-fi adventure with a strong cast of female space pirates and a great romance to boot. However, I have a few notes on things I didn’t love. The first was the writing. Don’t get me wrong, I did love the writing style, but there were a few sections where words were italicized unnecessarily. I watched a review by Squibbles Reads on YouTube on this novel prior reading it, so I was looking for the things she mentioned. One of these points was italicized words, and I completely agree. In sentences, the authors would put an emphasis on the word, taking away the reader’s ability to understand the implication of the word. The story was also, at times, a bit slow. This could be credited to the fact that I struggle with sci-fi settings. Lastly, I felt this story wasn’t very original. This novel was broadcasted as Guardians of the Galaxy with girls, and I felt it resembled this too much. The characters were each very unique and fun to read about, but the overall plot felt like every other sci-fi I’ve read. Other than my critiques, I did enjoy this story and will likely be reading the next book. 4/5 stars!

January 2018 Wrap-Up

January 2018 Stats

Pages Read: 3,019

Books Read: 7

Average Star Rating: 4.14

The Books & The Thoughts

The 35604686Astonishing Color of After, by Emily X. R. Pan

This was an absolutely wonderful contemporary novel! The official publication date is in March, but I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of the book, courtesy of TheNovl. I have a full review for it (click here), but I will say that it was so powerful and extremely unique. The writing style is beautiful and unlike any I’ve seen before. Our characters’ feelings and reactions were told through colors, and that was an unusual and intriguing part of the story as well. Overall, 4/5 stars!

 

A Million Worlds With You, by Claudia Gray

This was the third and final book in the Firebird trilogy, following a cast of dimension-tr28959328aveling characters. Unfortunately, I didn’t love this installment. The first book was a strong introduction and I really enjoyed the unique concept of dimensional–not time–travel. However, as the story progressed, the romance element of the story became overwhelming and that really lowered my interest. We also got a new plot line toward the ending of the second book. It was confusing and, in my opinion, unnecessary. This conclusion was satisfactory, but by no means extraordinary. I’m of the opinion that this could have been a standalone or, at most, a duology. As I’ve touched on, I will compliment the fact that we focused on a unique plot point and the writing style. Otherwise, this was a letdown for me. 3/5 stars.

A Torch Against the Night, by Sabaa Tahir

This 61vijfkfpdl-_sx324_bo1204203200_was the second installment in the Ember in the Ashes series, and lemme tell you, it was SO GOOD. Ember was interesting, but it wasn’t my favorite fantasy, and I wasn’t expecting much when I went into Torch last year (I eventually DNF’d it). Earlier in January, I decided to give it another try and I am so glad that I did! This book is an absolute whirlwind, filled with great characters and plot twists and action and so much general goodness, I could gush about it all day! The end left me on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I need Reaper ASAP. The writing style is beautiful, the Ancient Rome-inspired aspects are done so well, and it’s such a good high-fantasy series. 5/5 stars.

Because You Love to Hate Me, edited by Ameriie

I did a51hnhs2bg8hl-_sx327_bo1204203200_ spoiler-free review of this, here, if you’re interested in more detailed thoughts. A slight overview of my opinion is that I really enjoyed this anthology and absolutely dashed through it. I finished it in two or three sittings (and it’s a 300+ paged part-fantasy book!), which should give you an idea of how addictive it is! There was such a variety in the types of stories told–we had second person, a text-message story, fantasy and contemporary. If you’ve not picked up this author-BookTuber collaboration yet, you totally need to! Some of the stories were simply average, but I can safely say I discovered some new authors I need to read! 4/5 stars.

Our Dar51sthgtys4l-_sx328_bo1204203200_k Duet, by Victoria Schwab

This was the second and final installment in the Monsters of Verity duology, and it was such an action-packed sci-fi/dystopian read (are you proud? I’m reading sci-fi!). Our characters, August and Kate, are more morally-gray than ever before, and I loved it just as much as I did in This Savage Song! This futuristic world divided by monsters and humans is unique and engaging and I want to know more! I blew through this novel in 3 or 4 days, which is pretty fast for such a heavy sci-fi like this one! I totally recommend this dark duology to anyone who loves questionable characters, an unusual world, and a dark story line. 5/5 stars.

The Dazzling Heights51cyxergxnl-_sx329_bo1204203200_, by Katharine McGee

The second novel in the Thousandth Floor duology was a dramatic, futuristic, murder-y insta

llment and I AM TRASH FOR IT. This series is literal candy in book-form and I cannot stop reading. Personally, I describe this as Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars with a whole lotta new technology. The writing style isn’t special and the characters’ storytelling can be a bit repetitive, but the story is so addicting and I totally recommend it to you guys if you’re looking for a series filled with a whole lot of drama and a touch of murder. 4/5 stars.

Warcross, by Marie Lu

I have a fu516zRVQj44L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_ll spoiler-free review here if you want to know some more in-depth thoughts. Other than that, I’ll say that Warcross was a thrilling beginning to what I can tell will be an action-packed…duology? Series? I’ve got no idea. I only know that I need the next installment tomorrow. Please. The World of Warcross was one I won’t soon stop thinking about because it is so close to what we have now, in our world. The technology isn’t too far away. This story really makes you think. Please go read this!! 4-4.5/5 stars.

 

So those are the books I read this month! Let me know what you read, because I’d love to know!

My YouTube wrap-up is going up today as well, so if you prefer video form, you can view that version!

Warcross Review

Warcross, by Marie Lu

516zRVQj44L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Summary

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.

Summary courtesy of Goodreads.

My Thoughts

Warcross was such an enjoyable read! The writing style itself isn’t extraordinary, but the world and the plot was amazing! The World of Warcross was so intriguing, and I genuinely can’t wait to learn more about this game and how it works in the next installment. The story is so thought provoking because I feel as if the world described in this novel was so close to our own. A lot of the technology in this world we have today–“hoverboards” (though they’re called something different), virtual reality, totally realistic video games. It’s crazy to think that the events happening in this world could occur in the real world in five or so years!

The characters were so fleshed-out. Emika, our protagonist, is so interesting. We know little bits and pieces about her past, but there’s still so much we can learn. I loved seeing the story through her eyes and being in her shoes. I felt that we, as readers, really saw her personality. Hideo, too, was a mysterious character. We know even less about him, and see only snippets of his past through Emika’s eyes. I hope that we see more of his development in the next installment. Even the side characters were intriguing! I was disappointed that we only got to really know them in the last hundred orso pages, but I hope that we see more of them and their personalities in Warcross #2.

Overall, Warcross was an extremely enjoyable read and I cannot wait for the second book (as I’ve repeated in every other sentence of this review). I can’t wait to see where the story goes (especially after that plot twist!). If you’ve read Warcross, I’d love to know your thoughts!

I gave this novel 4/5 stars.

Because You Love to Hate Me Review

Because You Love to Hate Me, edited by Ameriie

51hnhs2bg8hl-_sx327_bo1204203200_Summary

Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon,Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon
BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).

Summary from Goodreads

My Thoughts

Because You Love to Hate Me was one of my most anticipated books to read in the year of 2017, and I really enjoyed it. I’m not the type of person to rate each individual story in an anthology separately, but I will list some of my favorites: The Sea Witch, by Marissa Meyer; Shirley and Jim, by Susan Dennard; Sera, by Nicola Yoon; Death Knell, by Victoria Schwab; The Blood of Imuriv, by Renee Ahdieh. There were some stories that disappointed me, but overall I really enjoyed this anthology. I also appreciated the variety of perspectives and genres! We has stories told from third person, second, and first! It was so much fun to discover new authors that I may have never heard of or read, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading. In fact, I read this book in only two sittings over the course of two days–that’s saying something! Overall, I give BYLTHM 4/5 stars!

The Office Book Tag

The Office Book Tag

91tmr1v-qrl-_ri_Hi everyone! I’m here to do my first tag on the blog! I just finished The Office, and I’m a literal ball of emotions. In honor of my adoration of the show, I’m doing the book tag. I’ve only ever seen this done on the Bookable’s YouTube Channel.

 

 

TAG QUESTIONS:
1. Michael Scott – Book that tried WAY too hard: That Summer, by Sarah Dessen. The book tried too hard to be meaningful and powerful, but didn’t really have that element.
2. Dwight Schrute – Book that ended up being a lot more complex than you thought it would be: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre was a seemingly simple, fun contemporary. After finishing it, I was so in awe of the message! Totally recommend.
3. Jim Halpert – YOU in a book. Book/character that you related to a ton: Putting aside the obvious Hermione Granger, I’m going with Ava from I Hate Everyone But You, by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin! The anxiety rep was so well-done, and I just related to this character so much!
4. Pam Beesly – Seriously underrated but amazing book you wish everyone would read: I have to pick Roseblood, by A.G. Howard! It’s so beautifully written and has the best characters and an intricate plot!
5. Ryan Howard – THE INTERN. Debut novel that impressed you: There are so many! I suppose I will choose The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renee Ahdieh. I’m pretty sure it was her first book, and it was so magical and beautifully written.
6. Andy Bernard – ANNOYING book/character that you can’t help but love (or not): An annoying character that I loved was probably Celeste from The Selection series by Kiera Cass!
7. Robert California – Book/character/plot that went over your head or was really confusing: I honestly hated Robert (oops). I really loved The Last of August by Brittney Cavallaro, but the last scene in the book went over my head and was confusing!

8. Angela Martin – Book with a plot that didn’t appeal to you at first but you ended up loving: I love Angela, and I think I have to go with Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo) or City of Bones (Cassandra Clare)! I DNF’d both the first time around, and upon picking them up again I fell in love.

9. Kelly Kapoor – Favorite sassy character: Will Herondale, from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. I love him more than anything.
10. Kevin Malone – Book that features music: The first that came to mind was This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab! Music plays an important part in the duology–go read it!
11. Phyllis Lapin – Book that made you feel warm and fuzzy: The entire To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han. Such a great trilogy.
12. Oscar Martinez – Book that has an awesome LGBT character that defies stereotypes: Renegades, by Marissa Meyer. Superheroes. All I’m saying.
13. Stanley Hudson – Character/book that DGAF: Hm…Can I say Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer? He does, but he doesn’t. I love Thorne, and he has to be mentioned.
14. Meredith Palmer – Book you couldn’t stomach (too graphic/violent/romantic/vulgar – or whatever your reason!): The Spectacular Now, by Tim Tharp. I honestly hated this book, the main character, everything. It was too much. Just too much.
15. Creed Bratton – Book/series that only ever made you ask more questions: I feel as if every Cassandra Clare book/series leaves me wanting more from the Shadowhunter world, so I’m going to go with TID, TDA, and TMI, because they all apply.

So that’s my The Office tag! I’d love to know who you guys would choose for Creed Bratton–he’s one of my favorites. If you love The Office, or just want to do this tag, then go for it! I’d love to check out your version, so be sure to let me know.

The Astonishing Color of After Review

The Astonishing Color of After, by Emily X. R. Pan

35604686Summary

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

Summary from Goodreads.

My Thoughts

Thank you to TheNovl for sending me a copy for review.

The Astonishing Color of After was one of the most thought-provoking, powerful novels I’ve read in a very long time. Our main character, Leigh, really captures what it’s like to be a teenager in the 21st century, battling family time, friendships, art, and school in addition to life in general. In the beginning of the story, we find out that while her mother was dying, she was kissing her best friend, Axel. Because of her newfound desire to learn more about her grandparents, she and her father visit them in Taiwan. There, Leigh discovers a lot about her family’s past.

The family dynamics really took the front seat in this novel, and that was possibly my favorite element. We don’t often see what it’s like to be a normal family that argues, forgives, and loves. The author really took an average family and showed it to the readers! Leigh struggles with her relationships in terms of her parents, and that’s shown really well. Even the friendships we see are accurate: Axel and Leigh’s relationship is so well done, and reflects what I see and do in terms of my own life. I’ve gushed about the characters so much, because they seem like such real people. The dialogue, the way they think and behave–it’s all so familiar.

The story is not quite magical-realism, but it does have a hint of something fantastical, and I really enjoyed this aspect of the story. It was an unexpected, but still enjoyed, addition. The setting itself is so vivid. In the majority of the novel, we are set in Taiwan. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story focused here before, and it was so interesting to see portayed! Even regular things, like apartment buildings and food, were described so well.

Finally, I must compliment the writing style. The story was told so beautifully–in vivid colors and beautiful music. Throughout the novel, we go back and forth between past memories and present day. Usually, transitions in situations like these confuse me, but the flips back and forth were done well, and fit well in terms of what was going on.

Emily tells a beautiful story that must be heard by all, because it fits so well into today’s society and today’s real people. 4.5/5 stars.