The One Where I Sorta Liked Reading “HUSH” by Dylan Harrow

Rating: 3 out of 5.

They use magic to silence the world. Who will break the hush?

Seventeen-year-old Shae has led a seemingly quiet life, joking with her best friend Fiona, and chatting with Mads, the neighborhood boy who always knows how to make her smile. All while secretly keeping her fears at bay… Of the disease that took her brother’s life. Of how her dreams seem to bleed into reality around her. Of a group of justice seekers called the Bards who claim to use the magic of Telling to keep her community safe.

When her mother is murdered, she can no longer pretend.

Not knowing who to trust, Shae journeys to unlock the truth, instead finding a new enemy keen to destroy her, a brooding boy with dark secrets, and an untold power she never thought possible.


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

What starts out as a kind of dystopian novel about a decease then turns into a novel about reality altering magic, with a search for a magical book at the end of it all. My main issue with Hush is it tries to do a lot without fully explaining anything. Where did the ink decease start? When? How? Why is the land that Shea lives in doing so badly? Why is the higher government obsessed with taking away all mentioning, figures, etc., of a supposed “magical” place?

While I thought HUSH was fairly predictable, it still had original aspects. The “Telling” magic was interesting, if not well explained. Nobody that is supposed to be training Shea about Telling is actually explaining to her what it is, origin, what different kind of Tellings you can do. I mean the MC does Telling by way of embroidery (sometimes) which is kind of fascinating, but then it kind of gets forgotten and not discussed until she has an “Eureka!” moment by the very end. From what I could gather a “Telling” is kind of the person’s way to bend reality to fit their purposes. Which is neat, but it has no rules, structure, or limitations, which felt like a way to use it to fit whatever the author needed it to do.

The characters are okay. Shea is a young girl who has spent her life thinking she was cursed by the Ink decease that killed her younger brother. In the beginning of the novel she tries to talk to the bards (those who are trained to do the Telling at will and who come to the towns collecting tithes in exchange for a Telling that might help said town…instead of just doing the Telling to help the town to begin with and help it prosper so they may collect actually good tithes… yeah this system makes no sense to me) about her “curse” but they of course ignore her or just plain tell her to stay away. Then things happen and Shea decides to go after the bards anyways because she needs answers. She is then thrown into a whole other world in which the leader is in search of a secret book that is supposed to solve all of Shea’s problems… but if Shea is only interested in her mother’s murder how does going after a book going to help her? Color me confused as to how easily this leader manipulated her.

The relationships in the novel were complex. Shea gets proposed to by this marshmallow of a guy and she turns him down cause she is not as into him as he is into her (which, neat!) and then Shea of course likes the “dark broody guy” who she makes hundreds of assumptions about before they even spend 20 full minutes together (like, he has been hurt, what lies before the stony exterior, etc.) Overall we don’t spend a great deal of time dealing with romance and I am grateful for that cause it would have been a bit too much. One of the things that seemed like a waste was Shea not forming bonds with the other 6 female guards in the ENTIRE CASTLE. Like she doesn’t seek them out, we don’t even get to know all of them. Kind of sad about the lack of female friendships throughout the book.

Hush was bizarre, but it did move at a good pace. The ideas it had were interesting, but they also weren’t fully explored. The ending left us on a promising note with a full cast of characters and interesting relationships to explore; some of the characters motivations are questionable, as in we got no real glimpse into their change of heart so it felt completely out of the blue, which is just not great character development all around. But if you ignore the glaring lack of character and world development then you may just get lost within the pages.

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The Bloody Crown for A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire

Five ⭐️ rating

Synopsis: A Betrayal…Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her. A Choice….Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation. A Secret…But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.

The best word to describe my feelings towards this book right now is perfection. I have read and enjoy Jennifer’s book for the longest and when this series came out and I got chills. Many authors write very good sequels but I haven’t read the sequel of a book this good in a long time. In fact, both books, From Ash and Blood and A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire are the book that sucked you in, in a marvelous ride that you don’t want to hop off of it and just keep on reading, feeling every page, every chapter, every sentence, light as a feather. You absolutely fight to put the book down.

In this book I got to that ending—I was about to write to Jennifer and ask her for the third book now please! I can’t wait to read how this story concludes.

Well the truth is that AKOFAF led me into a ride or emotions that for me, to describe the sensation, the way that the book makes me feel, I have no actual words to express it. The book is beautiful, emotional and very vivid. The world building is very captivating and you can feel the chill of the cold and the taste of blood when it is mentioned. The mystery keeps the reader on edge.

The book is capable of making you feel the sexual tension between Poppy and Casteel. There is a reason for the title Flesh and Fire 🔥. It also makes you want to explore more and imagine vividly what Poppy’s eyes glue to and in a deep level you can drift into the darkness of what they live in.

That’s what I see every time Casteel takes his shirt off and from the start of the book. With that and the dimples, also sentences like “You’re so damn beautiful”, I can say pretty much that he takes our hearts and if we were from Atlantia we would give our blood willingly. 

The book also has a great humor and you laugh with the conversation that pops into the scene. It’s hilarious and I love Poppy’s multiple questions(as usual) and the interactions of the characters involved; especially Kiran. The answers he gives her, you can feel his sarcasm in the tip of your tongue and you burst into laughter with his reaction. Casteel answers better, that is if he doesn’t get stabbed before, which apparently has become something common between them and admirable to the Wolven.

But the book is not just laughter and bloodlust. It also has the unraveling mystery and darkest parts. Some parts are violent, some parts are thrilling, some are dark but emotional. Our heroine Poppy has it all.

The story continues where we left it. Poppy and Casteel continue their traitorous plan but soon as they begin to unravel truths, through questions and dreams, a new feeling begins to bloom and Casteel goes back to Poppy’s Hawk. All the secrets were no more than fights, because of the uncertainty of Poppy’s feelings towards him. Lies and complications keep on building but soon this couple let go of the reckoning for the past and begin to build a new future. A Prince and a Princess. They know Ascended wants her back only to use her. The Descenters want her dead. And the Wolven aren’t helping the cause. They only feel distrust. Poppy’s abilities begin to flourish and intensify on the road. A power awakens and they don’t understand what it is. The ancient blood of her awakes between the Kingdoms and the road. It becomes a certain mystery no one understands. The skies open and the ones asleep, awaken to bring her close to a truth, no one imagines.

Poppy since the start of this adventure all she wanted is freedom. But now she has to work on her new twist and join Casteel wherever it may lead. Things keep getting more and more complicated with different situations and she has to center on what she wants and what’s best she must balance for the greater good.

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire it’s an outstanding book that I’m fascinated and may I add obsessed with it?. Jennifer Armentrout has given us readers an amazing book of fantasy which makes me want to crave more and more, leaving me with a thousand questions and now impatient to have the next one. I can’t wait to continue reading from all the characters I love and laughing with their arguments. I can only add to this that Jennifer Armentrout has done an epic book which we can agree is a masterpiece. I love it and if you haven’t read this series so far. I suggest you pick From Blood and Ash and get on this ride.

Thank you Jennifer Armentrout for letting me review your book.

August 500 x 500.gif

Publication date: September 1st, 2020.

697 pages Publish by: Blue Box Press

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 ❤

PPS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

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.

Book Expo America 2019-The 10 Year Anniversary #BookExpo19 (Day 1)

Book Expo America will always and forever hold a dear place in my heart. When I first went to BEA I was 16; my mom went with me to NYC (for the first time ever for me), we stayed at this small dirty hotel, and basically navigating NY was terrifying for a girl from Florida (that says a lot). I probably heard about BEA from another blogger, though I can’t for the life of me remember which blog. I don’t remember what books I got, I don’t remember which authors I met, but I do remember whom I met at that BEA and that is my best friend and co-blogger Lexie.

So all in all, I WON AT BEA FOREVER AND ALWAYS because I fell asleep on a total stranger who turned out to be my bestest friend (we will not talk about my issue with boundaries at this point in my life).

That was 10 YEARS AGO. I haven’t gone to BEA in a couple of years because of life (aka James, my one year old) and also ever since BEA joined with BookCon it had gotten a lot more hectic than I can deal with, so I opted to go to other book conventions instead. But this year I decided to brave BEA once more…

…and it was actually quite a blast!

Though BEA did throw a wrench into my most carefully laid out plans by opening the floor on Wednesday for half a day, which was supposed to be our “tour NY, walk around, go to Bloomsbury HQ and Blog Bound!” day, now turned into our “WE HAVE TO SCRAMBLE IF WE WANT TO MAKE EVERYTHING HAPPEN/SACRIFICES MUST BE MADE!”

My Friday schedule looked like this:

BEA Day 1

I made it to ONE signing. I had to make the MOST DIFFICULT DECISION of either going to BlogBound (which was held in the Harper Offices) or get Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. LEIGH FREAKING BARDUGO.

I decided to go to Blog bound–I was very excited to attend! We got to see the Harper Offices! Which I had never seen before, so that was an experience I was not willing to give up. Not even for Leigh Freaking Bardugo.

At 9am we made a pit stop at the Javits Center to pick up our badges, and then it was off we go to Bloomsbury HQ.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The place was amazing, and the ladies at Bloomsbury sure were SUPER excited to talk about their new upcoming books! We got an ARC of The Gravity of Us (which was on my list of books to pick up at BEA! ) and a fantastic tour inside their offices.

Some of their AWESOME upcoming titles include:

Some Places More Than Others The Dragon Warrior The Gravity of Us A Heart So Fierce and Broken (A Curse So Dark and Lonely, #2)

After Bloomsbury we walked back to the Javits–While we had Blogbound still that afternoon we did have a window to go to the BEA floor and walk around, hopefully pick up some ARCs and hit a few signings before we had to go. I did make it to the Meg Cabot signing for Black Canary: Ignite!

20190601_185150.jpg Black Canary: Ignite

After wandering about the BEA show we headed out to the Harper HQ where we got to meet up with other bloggers and attend panels! The panels I attended were: Jobs in Publishing, and Building a Community.

I got a couple of things from these panels, which were:

  • Getting into publishing and leaving the “intern” phase is HARD and you need to network/meet the right people in order to make it.
  • The author of The Princess and the Fangirl, Ashley Poston, is HILARIOUS and I could listen to her moderate a panel all day long.
  • Having a community of like minded people, like you all amazing book bloggers who will maybe manage to get through this post, is really what helps keep us going in this little sliver of the internet. Without Lexie I would have given up blogging long ago, and I really want to try and build up that community for myself once more and get back into the swing of things.

And that concludes our first day of Bookish AMAZINGNESS–thank you to anybody who got through this long post! And now, a few pics for the FIRST DAY HAUL!

61916300_2377177669001743_4498315378782371840_o_2377177665668410
62211873_2377177745668402_8544055326142365696_o_2377177739001736

List of ARCS:

Season of the Witch (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, #1) American Royals Black Canary: Ignite

Tarnished Are the Stars The Dark Lord Clementine Winterwood

Batman: Nightwalker (Graphic Novel) There Will Come a Darkness (There Will Come a Darkness, #1) Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)

The Tenth Girl Tell Me How You Really Feel The Gravity of Us

The Grace Year Cursed Moonstruck, Vol. 1: Magic to Brew (Moonstruck #1)

Deadly Class Volume 1: Reagan Youth Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vol. 1 Angel #0

The Magicians: Alice's Story Just Beyond: The Scare School Original Graphic Novel Super Fun Sexy Times

Midas (The Midas Flesh) The Black Mage The Tea Dragon Festival

Rebel (Legend, #4) Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer #1) Pumpkinheads

More days to come,

Taschima Gradientdescription

The Priory of the Orange Tree: Book Read-a-Long

29774026To be released: 02/26/2019
Total #of Chapters: 75
Pre-Order Incentive

I made the calculations–if I want to read The Priory of the Orange Tree before it releases (or at least, up until the day it releases) I am going to have to read about 2 chapters a day–this seems doable…

…as long as my adorable 1 year old son allows me that is.

I am up to the challenge! And to keep me on track, I will post updates when I reach 5 chapters. These updates will have two parts:

  • Spoiler Free section: for those who prefer not to be spoiled rotten.
  • A SUPER SPOILER ZONE: EVERYTHING GOES IN HERE

Priory is a pretty freaking heavy book, my wrists might not be the same by the end.

Wish me luck!

PS; Would Priory be considered Adult, or New Adult?

Taschima Gradientdescription

 

 

 

YA Review: I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall #SURVIVAL #EdgeofYourSeatGood

36519545
STAND ALONE  336 Pages  Young Adult

TASCHIMA’s Verdict:
4 Stars
Publish Date *New Release*: July 24th, 2018

After
Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive—for now.
Before
Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.
After
With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.

Jess will survive. She has to. She knows who killed her father… and she wants revenge.

Holy shit this book was good.

It kind of reminded me of The Martian (I mean, duh, it is a survival book) though instead of space Jess is stuck in the middle of nowhere in Canada.

Continue reading “YA Review: I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall #SURVIVAL #EdgeofYourSeatGood”

YA Review: Warcross by Marie Lu (a.k.a. my reading disappointment of the year…)

Warcross by Marie Lu
Warcross #1  416 Pages  Young Adult

TASCHIMA’s Verdict:
Two Stars
Publish Date: September 12th, 2017

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.

I have never felt so betrayed. I really wanted to like Warcross (it is Marie Lu! Sci-Fi, virtual reality, video games!) but it is just not for me. Warcross seems like Arena’s [by Holly Jennings] younger brother, who is really trying to be like big bro but it is not quite there yet.

Continue reading “YA Review: Warcross by Marie Lu (a.k.a. my reading disappointment of the year…)”