[The Girl King] Mimi Yu


This novel follows Min and Lu, two sisters whose paths are spread out before them. Lu is destined to become the first female Emperor, and all of her lessons are preparing her to take over from her father when he deems her ready. Min is her younger sister, seemingly destined to be forever in Min’s shadow. But when their father betrays Lu and passes the throne to a male cousin, suddenly Min has the potential to have more power that her sister. As Lu flees her home and becomes a fugitive, Min discovers something inside of herself that she begins to nurture. Power comes in many forms.

The Girl King starts with a prologue, something I both love and hate in equal turn. Prologues can work to set the tone of the book, but I don’t think that the prologue in The Girl King did it any favors. It actually made it very hard to get into the story. It starts with characters we don’t see in the next chapter, so I was left wondering what the point of the prologue was and who the people were. Eventually it ties into the rest of the book, but when the main plot of the book involves Lu and Min, I really felt like the novel should have started with them.

The three main characters of The Girl King were Lu, Min, and Nokhai. Lu and Nokhai traveled together through most of the book, while Min was on her own. I thought they were all well-developed, with my favorite being Nokhai. I wish that more of this story had been spent on his past and shapeshifting Continue reading

Advertisements

[Truthwitch: The Witchlands I] Susan Dennard

This post contains a link to a shop for which I am a brand rep. My code saves you 10 percent on your order!

*     *     *

Truthwitch is my official first read of the year! I read it last year in three days and I read it in three days this year. It’s one of those books that sucks you in and suddenly it’s three in the morning.

Truthwitch follows two witches who have a knack for getting into trouble. But when they get into a bit more than they can handle, Safiya and Iseult have to flee everything they’ve ever known. And as a rare Truthwitch––her powers the kind that people would kill for––Safi must keep one step ahead of everyone who is after her. The Threadsisters will do anything they can to keep out of the hands for those who would do them harm.

This is one of my favorite fantasy books! I love this immense world so so much. It’s set in the Witchlands, a series of lands with different rulers that are just coming out of a Twenty Year Truce. There’s a lot of bureaucracy that surrounds the Truce, which means that there’s rules that each country are bound by. But there are ways around the rules. As Safi and Iseult navigate through this world, they begin to discover just how much they need each other––and how much their world may need them.

It’s not only the world that I’m really impressed by, it’s the magic system. Safi is a Truthwitch and she can tell if people are telling the truth or not. Iseult is a Threadwitch, someone who can read the Threads that make up a person. It’s very handy for knowing if they’re in danger or not. There’s also Windwitches, Earthwitches, Waterwitches, Airwitches, Aetherwitches, and Voidwitches. Each witchery is connected to an element, and each witchery is further broken down into different elements of control over the element. It is so unique. The magic system alone is a reason to read Truthwitch, but another thing is the great characters. Continue reading

[Furyborn] Claire Legrand

The premise of Furyborn is the legend of two queens: one of light and one of blood. Legrand takes the legend of these two queens and sets them miles––and years––apart. As the story spans across centuries, the legend of the two queens becomes just that––a legend. But when a girl who can’t be injured comes along, people begin to believe that perhaps it’s not just a legend.

To start off, I think that the premise for this book is amazing. I love the idea of things that don’t seem connected at first, especially when they involve the falls of kingdoms and of powerful women who don’t downplay their talents. It’s something that I love seeing in books, because I feel like there’s a ton of female characters who write off their talents. This was not the case for Rielle and Eliana. They both know that they’re talented––one with the elements and one with knives––and they’re both really unapologetic about it. There need to be more women like this in fiction. Having the book focused on the two of them made it really enjoyable, and I liked how both of their perspectives were super different. Their lives were so different too and seeing that contrast showed more of the world than if they’d both come from the same background.

The worldbuilding in this novel was great! The world was easily my favorite part about this novel. It was really interesting to see how Legrand built up the world by subtly putting in information as Rielle was going through the elemental trials. It was just enough that I really wanted to know more––or perhaps I could read some prequels about the Saints?? please and thank you––without taking away from the rest of the story. This novel kind of has two different settings and worlds, too; even though both Rielle and Eliana technically exist in the same world, they exist a thousand years apart. That means that Rielle’s reality, the one that we’re shown with angels and magic, is not Eliana’s reality. In fact, so many years have passed that people don’t really believe that magic ever existed. They think that they’re just stories. I loved that we could see these two settings side by side because of the dual perspective. I also really appreciated that Legrand showed negatives and positives to both times and didn’t make one better than the other.

Continue reading

[Tyler Johnson Was Here] Jay Coles

Tyler Johnson Was Here is the second book I’ve read this year that throws light on the experiences of members of the black community in the United States. It focuses on twins Marvin and Tyler Johnson, who are slowly drifting apart as they prepare for college. Marvin wants to be close to his brother again, but there are some things that Tyler isn’t telling him. In an attempt to keep an eye on his brother, he follows him to a party where there’s a shooting. When Tyler doesn’t come home, it’s up to Marvin to cover for his brother. As the hours pile up, Marvin finally reveals the thing that scares him the most: he doesn’t know where Tyler is. When his brother is found dead and a video showing his death surfaces, Tyler is suddenly a hashtag trending on the internet. In his search for justice, Marvin wants to show the world that Tyler was so much more.

This is another hard book to review. I think that the book was successful in telling a story that shows what it means to be black in the United States (and elsewhere in the world, but this is specifically set in the U.S.) and how Marvin Johnson’s whole life––his whole survival––is based around the idea that he has to act a certain way in order to not be killed. This is something that I’ve never had to experience. I have a lot of privilege that allows me to move through life without thinking about daily survival. While I had other lessons on “how to behave,” I didn’t have the lessons that Marvin and Tyler were taught. Books like Tyler Johnson Was Here are part of my lesson in learning how my life is drastically different than others around me. Like The Hate U Give and Long Way DownTyler Johnson Was Here struck me in the heart and made me incredibly angry about the systemic racism that has permeated all aspects of the society of the United States.

It’s impossible to read this book without feeling emotional, and I went through a lot of anger and sadness as I read the story. While this is a fictional story, Coles did a good job of weaving fiction with reality. That’s what makes books like Tyler Johnson Was Here difficult to read.  You can’t just read it as a work of fiction. It can’t be thought of as only a work of fiction when the book illustrates the reality of black men and women being harmed and killed by the police. There’s a reality that is unavoidable when you read books like this, and I don’t recommend that you try avoiding it. It’s something that needs to be read. It’s something that needs to be understood by those who have never had to experience it. It’s so important, and I’m so glad that books like this are being talked about.

Continue reading

[Lose Me.] M.C. Frank

When a book starts with Today is not the day I die, you know you’re in for a roller coaster of emotions. Lose Me. is a lovingly written story about the complications life throws at you, first loves, and moving forward with your dreams. Ari is a stuntwoman with her first job coming up: a movie loosely based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. She’ll be doing most of the stunts for the female lead, a prospect she’s equally nervous and excited about. She knows that she’ll be able to do her job, despite a problem she recently discovered; a problem she keeps pushing to the back of her mind.Frank quickly sets the tone of the novel, with tight and twisting streets and clear blue waters. Both the setting and the characters are richly described, making it difficult for the reader to not enjoy the book.  Ari is spunky and takes no slack from anyone, particularly Wes, the rude lead that believes he’s better than most everything on her island. I loved that her job was performing stunts. I’ve never read a character with a job quite like hers. These two characters are the primary focus of Lose Me., though there’s plenty of secondary characters that are just as vivid. I loved all of the characters in this novel. The characters that Frank created are very real. I had a clear picture of their personalities and desires, even their fears. I loved following their story.

The romance in this story closely mirrored the romance of Elizabeth and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. There were moments of beauty and moments of misunderstanding. I really enjoyed that they were filming a Pride and Prejudice movie and that their romance always paralleled it. I love when books are homages to other books that I enjoy, and Austen is an author that I love seeing referenced. I think that Frank did a wonderful job of connecting both modern day and classical novel.  Continue reading

Ten books I want to read this spring

My spring TBR list consists of a variety of books that I really would like to get to, and soon! Some of them are books that I want to see what all the hype is about, others are ones that I’ve owned for far too long without reading them. All of them interested me in some way, of course! There’s a mix of books that have been out for years, months, and some that haven’t even come out yet.

*     *     *

This book has one of the prettiest covers which caught my eye, but the story within sounds so interesting.

*

This has been on my mind for a long time but I kept pushing it back. Now with the movie out I feel like I need to read it even more.

*

I’m still on the fence for this one. The first was only okay, but it has such a huge fan base that I want to see what I’m missing. How I feel about this one will determine if I continue this series. I may just favor the Throne of Glass series.

*

I’ve put myself on a book buying ban in preparation for my summer move, but I may break it for this book. I’ve heard such great things about it and the story sounds amazing!

*

I’ve always meant to read this one but it just keeps slipping by. With the release of the third one coming up I’d like to remedy that.

*

Continue reading

[Shadowsong] S. Jae-Jones

What are monsters but mortals corrupted?*

Strange and queer, the lot of them. Elf-touched, they were called in the old days…The mad, the fearful, the faithful. Those who dwell with one foot in the Underground and another in the world above.*

*     *     *

We were grotesques in the world above, too different, too odd, too talented, too much. 

S. Jae-Jones is a brilliant writer.

I will admit that I didn’t love the entirety of Wintersong––I loved the first half but thought the second was a little slow––but I always thought that S.Jae-Jones’ writing was beautiful and spectacular. Her writing shone in Shadowsong. The images she creates with her words are utterly beautiful, forming Liesl’s world for the reader in a very poetic way. It’s perfect for the setting of fairy-tales and goblins and music. S.Jae-Jones is someone who can create a world with her words that I just want to immerse myself in. Couple that with the fact that Shadowsong is a fantasy novel with a historical setting and I’m hooked.

Although Shadowsong is fiction, S. Jae-Jones gives her readers an author’s note at the beginning warning that not everything inside of this novel is so easily read as a fiction. Shadowsong deals with the very real subjects of self-harm, addiction, reckless behaviors, and thoughts of suicide. The author is open with her own diagnosis of bipolar disorder and how she gave it to Liesl. There were moments that were difficult to read because of how Liesl was struggling. I could relate to certain thoughts she had regarding creation of art and fear of failure and doubt. I thought it was wonderful that S. Jae-Jones was completely open about this at the beginning of her novel.

I waited for some mood or inspiration to strike me, for the desire to play to overtake me, but there was nothing. Solitude around me and silence within me. I had not dreamed once since we came to the city. The voice inside me––my voice––was gone. No ideas. No drive. No passion. My nights were quiet. Blank. The dullness was seeping into my days.*

Continue reading