Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week is Top Ten authors I’m dying to meet.

10. Bad Romance Heather Demetrios.

9. wayfarer Alexandra Bracken.

8. Letters to the Lost Brigid Kemmerer.

7. summer of sloane Erin L Schneider.

6. bookishly ever after Isabel Bandeira.

5. nowhere but here Katie McGarry.

4. obsidian Jennifer L Armentrout.

3. snow like ashes Sara Raasch.

2. Raven boys big Maggie Stiefvater.

  1. goodbye Cynthia Hand.

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Book Review: The Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

flame-in-the-mist

The Flame in the Mist

Release date: May 16th 2017

4 stars

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

I loved The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger so I was really excited for a new series by Renee Ahdieh. It had the same feel as her previous books while being a whole new story with new, wonderful characters, and an entirely new setting. I fell in love with the world, with Mariko, and with the rebels.

Mariko was one of my favourite characters that I’ve read in a while. Renee Ahdieh has a way of creating amazing female characters who are powerful and feminine and who can hold their own against the male characters. Mariko was tough and very capable of taking care of herself. She was the type of character, flawed, determined to succeed, brave, who makes me want to never leave the world created within the book.

The supporting cast were all great and well-developed. From Mariko’s brother Kenshin, to the Emperor, to the members of the rebel Black Clan, especially Ranmura and Okami. They were all great additions and played off each other well. It lead to amazing character dynamics, which is always one of my favourite things in a book.

The setting and plot were absolutely addicting. It was easy to spot the Mulan retelling but it definitely stood on its own as well. As expected from The Wrath and the Dawn duology, the setting was described in wonderful, vivid detail and the romance was swoon-worthy. It was impossible to put this book down until it was finished, and when it was finished I didn’t want it to be over.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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Book Review: Starfall by Melissa Landers

starfall

Starfall

4 stars

When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home, but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend…with occasional benefits.
Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn’t exactly in need of heroics—she’s claimed her birthright as Eturia’s queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn’t a choice that will earn her any friends. Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia—and is certain she returns his feelings—but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen?
When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family’s complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.

I really liked Starflight and was excited to hear that a companion novel would be coming out featuring a couple of my favourite supporting characters from the first book. I was looking forward to diving back into this world and into another story with this crew. I didn’t end up liking it as much as Starflight but I still enjoyed it and was very happy to have gotten the chance to go back into its world.

Cassia and Kane take a front seat in this companion and their dynamic was so different from Doran and Solara in the first book. They were the fun, banter-filled couple in the first book and now, with their relationship more in the spotlight, it showed that they weren’t just all lightness and play fighting. Cassia and Kane were friends from childhood and Kane was always protecting her. It did mean that sometimes Cassia felt smothered or like she was being treated as incompetent and that Kane felt he was only good enough for her when she needed him. It led to this dynamic of them trying to do what they thought was the right thing for themselves and for the other person, but usually ended up resulting in hurt feelings.

The plot really focused on Cassia’s return to her home planet and the rebellion. That left less time for the crew scenes where they were acting like a family, which was something I loved from the first book. Cassia spent a lot of time with her General as they tried to gain control and stop the rebellion. Kane spent more time with the crew as they tried to track down information on a cure for the outbreak ravaging Cassia and Kane’s home planet. I did find myself looking forward to Kane’s chapters over Cassia’s due to his having more interactions among the crew and there were times when Cassia was being a frustrating character with the way she was treating poor Kane.

I think my enjoyment of this book was helped by the fact that I was expecting the dynamic between Cassia and Kane, which was light and fun in the first book, to change pretty drastically with the focus on it in this one. It meant the flaws in their relationship were more exposed and their new situation meant they had to face what they could ignore when they were on the ship: Cassia was a princess and Kane wasn’t royal.

I do like that both books can be read as standalones. The first one a little more than the second. The second did refer to some instances in the first book but even with more than a year in between readings, I didn’t find myself confused. It great a great escape back into a world that I really enjoyed.

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

reneagdes

Renegades

Release date: November 7th 2017

Goodreads: Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Why I’m excited: It’s by Marissa Meyer first of all and the description definitely makes it sound like something I will love.

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

This past week felt like a very successful reading week. Hopefully next week will be just as great.

Currently reading: image

Finished reading: Miss Ellicott's Schoolstarfallflame-in-the-mistimage

Reviewed: geekerellaupside-of-unrequited

What I’m hoping to get to next week: imageimage to read.

starfallflame-in-the-mist To review.

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week is Top Ten books I read in one sitting.

10. boys i've loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han. This was a really cute book and easy to devour in one sitting.

9. frost like night Frost Like Night – Sara Raasch. I read the first two books in this series really fast as well but it was the conclusion that had me up all night.

8. the-hate-u-give The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas. The super relevant story line had me unable to put this one down until I was finished.

7. the crown's game The Crown’s Game – Evelyn Skye. The sequel was also addicting but it was the first one that had me completely sucked in.

6. Caraval Caraval – Stephanie Garber. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

5. starfall Starfall – Melissa Landers. I loved the first one but this companion focused on characters I fell in love with when they were supporting and they got a chance here to have their own story.

4. goodbye-days Goodbye Days – Jeff Zetner. Sad stories, or devastating stories, can be very, very hard to put down.

3. goodbye The Last Time We Say Goodbye – Cynthia Hand. See above. This one remains one of the books that I still think about since reading it.

2. a-list-of-cages A List of Cages – Robin Roe. I loved the focus on friendship over romance in this one.

  1. secret-of-a-heart-note The Secret of a Heart Note – Stacey Lee. I really liked the whole history of Mim’s family and this was so cute.

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Book Review: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

geekerella

Geekerella

Release date: April 4th 2017

4 stars

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?
Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

There has been quite a few books out recently that highlight geek culture and fandoms in a way that has been really fun to read. Geekerella does a great job of blending fandom with the fairy tale Cinderella, giving the reader a fun plot and characters that I easily fell in love with.

Elle, our main heroine, was especially easy to relate to. Her love for an old sci-fi show called Starfield, her excitement over an announced reboot, and her anger over the casting of Hollywood’s up-and-coming “it” actor landing the role of her beloved Prince Carmindor. To stay true to the fairy tale, Elle lived with her step-mother and step-sisters and they were terrible. All she wanted was to attend ExcelsiCon and enter the CosPlay contest. Darien was hoping Prince Carmindor would be his chance at being taken seriously as an actor and shared a love for Starfield with Elle. I loved seeing them bonding over their love of the fandom and they were really cute together.

There were many, many fandom references and each one put a smile on my face. The Starfield fandom that was created for this book had a familiar feel to it, like it was one I would be a part of if it were real. The romance was cute and it was easy to spot the Cinderella-ness of their relationship.

It was a quick read that was really cute and a great addiction to the fandom-related books already released.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

upside-of-unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited

Release date: April 11th

4 stars

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.
Right?

I absolutely loved Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda so a companion novel to that was a must read. Even with completely different characters in a completely different city, it still had the same feel I remember from reading Simon. It had great family dynamics, a wonderful and complex sisterly bond, characters that were easy to relate to, and writing that flowed to make for a book I wanted to keep reading even if I really should have been asleep.

Molly was a character I could really find myself relating to. Her fear of rejection stopped her from putting herself out there too much, even when it seemed like the guy was perfect for her. It made her feel like her more confident twin was growing up and away from her, leaving her behind. She had many crushes but never any boyfriends. I liked the contrast between her interactions with Will, who her sister Cassie wanted her to date, and Reid, her co-worker who was fun and threw out geeky references mid-conversation. What got me the most though, was the whole family aspect, especially the relationship between Molly and Cassie. It was great, it was perfect.

I really enjoyed the slow burn relationship between Molly and Reid. Their banter was fun and natural and Molly felt more like herself around him, more relaxed, and she ever seemed around Will. Will was an interesting character as well, and definitely not a bad guy. I just preferred the scenes where Molly was having fun with Reid. I also loved the family aspect of the book. Molly and Cassie’s moms were amazing and fun, supportive and involved. And their little brother was too precious.

One of my favourite things was that so many of the issues in this book could have been solved by one of the characters taking a minute, taking a step back, and then speaking up about their feelings, but actually doing that was so much more difficult. For Molly, it would never be as easy as opening her mouth and speaking up or putting herself out there, and I thought Becky Albertalli did a great job conveying that.

This was definitely a great companion to Simon. It can be read as a standalone but I would highly recommend them both.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

They Both Die At the End

They Both Die At the End

Release date: September 5th 2017

Goodreads: In the tradition of Before I Fall and If I Stay, this tour de force from acclaimed author Adam Silvera, whose debut the New York Times called “profound,” reminds us that there’s no life without death, no love without loss—and that it’s possible to change your whole world in a day.
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news is: there’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—an unforgettable day that will change both their lives forever.

Why I’m excited: I have loved both of Adam Silvera’s books and this one seems like it will break my heart just as much as they did.

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Weekly Reading Recap

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Busy, busy week.

Currently reading: Miss Ellicott's School

Finished reading: Lotterys Plus OneBlacklistgeekerellaupside-of-unrequited

Reviewed: royal-bastardshidden-memory-of-objectsthe-crowns-fate

What I’m hoping to get to next week: flame-in-the-miststarfall to read

upside-of-unrequitedgeekerella to review

Books read it 2017: 43

Debut authors read in 2017: 13

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