The One Where I Sorta Liked Reading “Star Daughter” by Shveta Thakrar

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy.

The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be “normal.” But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.

Sheetal’s quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens–and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all.

Brimming with celestial intrigue, this sparkling YA debut is perfect for fans of Roshani Chokshi and Laini Taylor.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

I was super into the first part of the book–the family dynamics were interesting, Sheetal had this huge secret she needed to hide from the rest of her family, she also happens to have a kickass best friend and an adorable boyfriend? Score for me! The first 50% of Star Daughter has tension and emotion and it made me want to keep on reading. However the second 50% of the novel, when we trek to the heavens with the other stars, goes by a lot more slowly. It is like we focus so much on the setting that we kind of forget to dig a little deeper into the court itself, the “commoner” stars, and just what the day to day for a star looks like (from Star Daughter it seems the stars just pass the time looking at humans through mirrors and shoving star dust everywhere to try and inspire). Whatever “stakes” we did have get quickly neutralized when we reach the Star Court to the point that I wasn’t worried at all about the father surviving because it was a non issue.

It was interesting how Sheetal’s grandmother acted like a sort of villainess–she is the one that closed the doors between the human and star worlds, after all, keeping Sheetal away from her mother. But we don’t develop her enough to make her three dimensional, her actions are her actions and the rest of the cast just deals with the consequences. It would have been cool if there had been some repercussions to the stars being unable to walk among humans, like they start to waste away or something. But no, they just get really bored.

Also how in the world do you leave the decision of who is going to “rule” the stars court to a group of judges on the Star’s version of “Heaven’s Got Talent”? And yet not really, because the stars don’t have to compete, HUMANS have to compete for them and get “inspired” by the stars–if only each star had their own distinct “inspiration” talent or something but it seems pretty straight forward and like all of them can do the same thing.

Sheetal spends only a couple of days “training” and learning about herself but in reality it felt like an eternity because nothing was really going on. It was kind of a bummer–there was family arguments and this other star who had it out for them, but there was no real tension or emotional connection in it for me. Nevertheless, the setting is gorgeous and I do think Shveta Thakrar is an author to look out for.

PS; Throughout the whole book I kept picturing Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Sheetal ❤

The One Where I Sorta Liked Reading “Set Fire to the Gods” by Sara Raasch, Kristen Simmons

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.

Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash’s path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.

But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

description

SO–I really enjoyed the beginning of Set Fire to the Gods. I was into Madoc, in a number of ways, he seemed the right amount of cocky and sweet, with iron fists (figuratively) and a grin to boot. He is undivine–an ordinary among the extraordinary. His brother is an earth bender earth mover thing, and together they scam the SOB “leader” who is trying to take away the money from the poor. Until that same guy comes a knocking and just because he can takes his sister as a servant and tells the boys “come up with x amount of money if you WANT TO BUY HER BACK FROM ME”. I mean, the nerve of this guy. So because Madoc is so good at fighting he got approached by a sort of coach who was like “hey you divine and you fight well, come be trained as a gladiator!” Madoc has no choice but to say “fiiiine” so he can get paid.

Why do they need gladiators? Cause the gods are pricks who keep fighting among themselves and gambling away resources, but instead of fighting in full blown wars (and killing a TON of soldiers) they pick their gladiators and basically have them fight each other. It is a whole event thing, people love it (cause, you know, give them bread and circuses to keep them “happy” and contained).

THEN our girl, ASH, gets in all sorts of trouble cause she interrupts another gladiator’s fight and that’s like a big NO NO–so she is forced to go from being a dancer to being a gladiator (but she was trained by her mom -a gladiator legend- to fight so no biggie, she got this right?) Side note: she hates all the gods and everything they represent. I mean, I can’t blame her.

And so ensues gladiator fights, a conspiracy, and a heavy flirtation between our two MCs. My main complaint about Set Fire to the Gods is that the two MCs don’t really talk truthfully to each other, thus ensuing a ton of misunderstanding and unnecessary conflict. I just, wish they had more scenes together to build the trust. My other unfortunate dislike concerned the bad guys, their evil monologue, and just how obvious it all was? I think if we would have focused a bit more on the gladiator fights and building an actual relationship between the two MCs in which they could work as a team I would have enjoyed this more. As it is, I really liked the bending of the elements, that was awesome. Unlike in ATLAB the fire benders here actually have to have fire nearby in order to bend it, but they can also “store” it in their heart for later use. I loved Madoc–he was just so genuine. I also liked Ash! She was the only one willing to think outside the box and look at the big picture, trying to by pass her prejudices.

So really at the end this book is for me a 2.5 star, I liked it but it has several issues. I may read the next book, but the bad guys need to seriously get some refinement to their character (stop the evil monologue, let our characters figure stuff out for themselves). There are other things that bothered me but they are a bit too spoilery to talk about here. I did really enjoy reading about Madoc and Ash as individuals, so hoping they get a bit more time together to become the team they need to be.

If you are at all interested, the spoilers can be found in my GOODREADS review.

The One Where I Really Enjoyed Reading The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An outsider who can travel between worlds discovers a secret that threatens her new home and her fragile place in it, in a stunning sci-fi debut that’s both a cross-dimensional adventure and a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.

Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now she has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse. 


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

I found this book fascinating, the characters relatable and easy to get attached to, the science not hard to digest, and the story arc engaging!

Having said this, I am also a huge sucker for inter-dimensional reads. I love the premise of going to other worlds and finding different versions of yourself. In The Space Between Worlds the different personalities of our main character seem at their core to be made from the same stock, but how they develop is vastly different depending on their circumstances. The characters are also only able to access a SMALL amount of dimensions (a little over 300) so they can only access the ones that are more closely mirroring their own dimension (you just have to be dead in that other universe in order to be able to visit). It is a nature vs. nurture debate, in which both aspects make up the being. There is also some philosophical discussions of “is the inter-dimensional travel possible due to science or religion”? Which prevails? Why not both? It also tackles racial prejudices, social-economical issues as both of these tend to play a hand on which people get to travel–the higher the risk in your life (too poor to afford basic needs, maybe living in a place full of danger, being discriminated against) the better chance you are to be able to travel. I found the discussion fascinating, and a nice way to mirror the problems in our own dimension.

I do feel the novel was divided into two parts basically–it felt like there were two overarching plots which could have easily been divided into two books. Both parts of the story got their time to shine, but maybe dividing it into a duology might have given the reader time to adjust and some characters more page time. As it is it still works great, it just felt weird how by the middle we kind of shifted gears in a sense, like if the novel had a “Part II” that wasn’t stated as such. But that was pretty much my biggest hiccup with the novel and it wasn’t such a big deal.

I really liked the romance aspects, though it definitely is a small part of the story we do get some LGBTQIA+ Rep! And their interactions are so juicy and multilayered. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of the relationship, but there is a reason for everything in The Space Between Worlds, so just give Dell a chance.

Overall I greatly enjoyed this story! It is lite sci-fi so it ends up being a great gateway into adult sci-fi, giving teens and those who wouldn’t normally pick up “sci-fi” books a taste into the genre. I love the idea, and I look forward to reading more of Micaiah Johnson.

I was provided an e-ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an HONEST review, which I totally honestly really liked this book and recommend

The One Where I loved Shielded by Kaylynn Flanders #BookReview #YA #Fantasy

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

description

Shielded is YA fantasy done right. I am so happy that the beautiful cover (which I definitely need in my bookshelf) matches the FANTASTIC story inside the pages. I love the characters, their relationships and development, the dialogue, the steady pace, the plot, the romance, and the world building. That’s is 5 stars right there!

The heroine, Jenna, is both strong yet vulnerable. She is an eccentric princess who uses her brain in tough situations and doesn’t take the easy way out. After a lot of bad things happen to her, one right after the other, she still manages to find her strenght within to keep her going. She is also a bookworm, in fact a lot of these characters are and I AM DOWN WITH THIS. We spend the entirerity of the first half of the book with basically only Jenna for company so she needs to be a pretty good character in order to shoulder the novel. We don’t even get to meet the love interest until about 43% into the novel, and then when we do it is full steam ahead! I loved not only Jenna, but the side characters too like the prince of Turia and his entire family.

Some things were a bit convenient and made things a little more painless–the author could have made us suffer a lot more than she did (and she did make us suffer) but I am just grateful she made the decisions she did cause I don’t think my heart could have taken much more hardship.

The romance is…JUST UGH SO GREAT. The characters work well as a team and support each other’s endevours–a team that works well together is bound to make me happy. There is also a case of mistaken identity (well, a couple of cases of that) and it just makes the tension even better cause…

description

I love those. They just have this connection that is undeniable, but does not feel forced in the least. Feels completely organic and meant to be ❤

The magic system is interesting. We have magical weapons and artifacts, a lost/hidden library full of treasures and knowledge, the race to uncover magical secrets…It is all very thrilling. The heroine is not well versed in the magic, and this is not a case in which she is totally OP (over powered). She has a decent magic source that she slowly learns how to use to her advantage. The “rules” aren’t many yet, for example I don’t know the limits to the heroine’s ability (what can she do, what can’t she do) but I think, and hope, this is something that will be further explored in the sequel.

WHICH I CAN’T WAIT FOR if you haven’t noticed.

The One Where I loved “I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch, Victoria Ying (Illustrator)” an F/F Enemies to Lovers Story

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Rhodes and Iliana couldn’t be more different, but that’s not why they hate each other.

Hyper-gifted artist Rhodes has always excelled at Alabama’s Conservatory of the Arts despite a secret bout of creator’s block, while transfer student Iliana tries to outshine everyone with her intense, competitive work ethic. Since only one of them can get the coveted Capstone scholarship, the competition between them is fierce.

They both escape the pressure on a fanfic site where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. And despite being the worst enemies in real life, their anonymous online identities I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are starting to like each other… a lot. When the truth comes out, will they destroy each other’s future?


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

Oh I loved this so much 😍

Make way for an F/F REAL enemies to lovers story!

I got some SERIOUS Pride and Prejudice vibes from the story–So if that is your jam definitely pick this book up. Privilege,

Iliana hates Rhodes guts for a very real situation that happened between the characters in which Iliana manages to be the hurt party. Ever since then, Iliana hates Rhodes, Rhodes seemingly hates Iliana, but they are stuck in close proximity because of their friend “glue” in the form of Sarah. Sarah has been Iliana’s BFF since they were children, and is Rhodes’ roommate at this fancy conservatory arts school in which they seem to be the only poor scholarship kids.

Iliana fights tooth and nail for everything she has ever had, but she also will trample over people to get there. Rhodes is quiet and reserved which comes off as snobbish and cold–Rhodes inner monologue really hit close to home, as she is anxious and suffering from depression (which is something she shares with Iliana as her online self, Alice). Iliana however believes Rhodes to be full of privilege, which Iliana is too but because of Rhodes economic advantages she is a step up in the privilege department (both characters will come to address this).

“If there were a time on Slash/Spot before I-Kissed-Alice–Alice as I call her, and she calls me Cheshire after my own username–I don’t remember it. There was no life before Slash/Spot, and the rest of it barely mattered before I met Alice.”

In the online world, Alice (Rhodes) and Cheshire (Iliana) have been a team for many months and are in a sort of online relationship. They work on an online comic book together as co creators and basically are as honest with each other as only two strangers on the internet can be. Since they seem to be taking internet security seriously though, they do not divulge specific information that will lead either person to pinpoint who the other one is. Convenient, but safe and only helps to build the tension. I cannot wait for the finished copy to hit the bookstores so I can buy my copy and look at the comic book sections which are ILLUSTRATED and look AMAZING ❤

There are a lot of complicated relationships in this book, not only between Iliana and Rhodes, but also the one between Iliana, Rhodes and Sarah. The girl on girl hate that occurs on this book is not motivated by romantic relationships (kind of), overall I think it is portrayed in a realistic way. Not only is the “hate” necessary for the trope, but it really helps to shine a light on unhealthy relationships and what they can do to your self esteem and mental health. We all have had those relationships that are bad for us that we just don’t see how to quit. There is this other character that then comes along and “works to sabotage the girls” but really I can see where the character is coming from because she was working from a very specific mind set and because of the main characters bad behavior (which gets addressed). In the end, it all has a purpose.

I just love how the story was written, how issues were addressed, and how complicated the relationship issues were. I will definitely be recommending this one to friends and anybody who manages to understand my babbling about how great this story was. 

Blood & Honey

Magic is neither good or bad

On a site note, I was going through my decisions of how many starts should I rate this book. Then the last pages and chapter came to me like a slap. The result is brilliant.

I must say one thing I love about this book is the different moods. You have humor, you have thrill, you have questions and blood, much, much, much blood. The book is called Blood and Honey and I asked myself about the title. Sure Serpent and Dove made sense but Blood and Honey. I still loved it but I was intrigued by it until of course the books tells you and you understand why. Then it makes more sense because at the end of this book you will need some Blood and Honey too.

The book starts with the same crew and where we left them. Lou with Reid, Coco as the fiercest and most beautiful blood witch there is, sweet and innocent Ansel and and so on the rest. This book is all about alliance and keep yourself safe. Morgane is on their tail, hunting them, watching every step and scheming in darkness. They know how powerful the witch is. They also know the Chasseurs are too looking for them with Jean Luc as commander. And they know, they are not enough to bring her down to stop them. So they take action. They decided to visit the blood witches clan of Coco’s aunt, leaving Reid behind as they come across the witches. On their way Lou sees the awful thing Morgane has done to Reid’s family and decides to lie when they meet again. They try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of fox and hunters that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

Like I mentioned before this book get you on edge, makes you feel bitter and sad. On a quick note, the love between Lou and Reid, I find it annoying in the most beautiful way. It’s perfect. You don’t feel like we’re in love and everything works for it. You don’t see the pink and pretty colors. Sure they are married and they love each other. But going from a relationship to knowing each other, a hunter and a witch. One raise strict with morals and rules and anything out of church is abomination as for the other one a witch full or magic and desire. It not easy to combine. But when they do it’s beautiful. And what I loved about it most, it’s real.

After that ending I can’t wait for the third and final book. It’s been an awesome ride and now that the cliffhanger is on, Shelby, make the third one count as the first two.

Book Review: Cemetery Boys

Dia De Los Muertos is a dead deal

Yadriel has summoned a ghost and now he can’t get rid of him. When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Book Review: Come Tumbling Down

41733131

Eleanor West’s “No Quests” rule is about to be broken. Again.

When Jack left Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister–whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice–back to their home on the Moors.

But death in their adopted world isn’t always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome.

Note: While the Wayward Children books do take place in a non-linear order, its at the recommendation of the author that you read them in publication order to feel the full force of the world.

Continue reading “Book Review: Come Tumbling Down”

My Life as Books: 2019 Edition

I did these on Poisoned Rationality since 2009, and continued the tradition here in 2015, 2016 , 2017 and 2018…so what’s new?

Using only books you have read this year (2019), cleverly answer these questions.   Try not to repeat a book title. (links lead to GoodReads)

Describe Yourself: An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten

How do you feel: Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

Describe where you currently live:  House of Ash & Brimstone by Megan Starks

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:  Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson

Your favorite form of transport: Dragged Through Hedgerows by forthright.

Your best friend is: The Blacksmith Queen by GA Aiken

What’s the weather like: Followed by Thunder by forthright.

Favourite time of day: Midnight Secrets by Jennifer St. Giles

What is life to you: My Next Life as a Villain: All Routes Lead to Doom! (乙女ゲームの破滅フラグしかない悪役令嬢に転生してしまった…) by Satoru Yamaguchi

Your fear:  Days of Hana by Seok Woo

What is the best advice you have to give: Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

Thought for the Day: A Slight Smile is Very Charming (微微一笑很倾城) by Gu Man

How I would like to die: Songs for the Dead by Andrea Fort

My soul’s present condition: It Seems Like I Got Reincarnated Into The World of a Yandere Otome Game ( ヤンデレ系乙女ゲーの世界に転生してしまったようです ) by Hanaki Momiji

lexie
Lexie Words

Book Review: The Magnolia Sword

41733131

CHINA, 484 A.D.

A Warrior in Disguise
All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel.

Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan’s father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man.

A War for a Dynasty
Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling–the royal duke’s son, who is also the handsomest man she’s ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan’s life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and uncover the plans for the Rouran invasion . . . before it’s too late.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Magnolia Sword”