The One Where I Really Liked The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis #BookReview #YA #Retelling #EdgarAllanPoe #BookBuzz ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Welcome to Amontillado, Ohio, where your last name is worth more than money, and secrets can be kept… for a price.

Tress Montor knows that her family used to mean something—until she didn’t have a family anymore. When her parents disappeared seven years ago while driving her best friend home, Tress lost everything. She might still be a Montor, but the entire town shuns her now that she lives with her drunken, one-eyed grandfather at what locals refer to as the “White Trash Zoo,” – a wild animal attraction featuring a zebra, a chimpanzee, and a panther, among other things.

Felicity Turnado has it all – looks, money, and a secret that she’s kept hidden. She knows that one misstep could send her tumbling from the top of the social ladder, and she’s worked hard to make everyone forget that she was with the Montors the night they disappeared. Felicity has buried what she knows so deeply that she can’t even remember what it is… only that she can’t look at Tress without having a panic attack.

But she’ll have to.

Tress has a plan. A Halloween costume party at an abandoned house provides the ideal situation for Tress to pry the truth from Felicity – brick by brick – as she slowly seals her former best friend into a coal chute. With a drunken party above them, and a loose panther on the prowl, Tress will have her answers – or settle for revenge.


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

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“The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.” -THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO By Edgar Allan Poe – Published 1847

That quote is not from the book itself, though there is one very similar which I loved, but from the original short story this story sprung from, The Cask of Amontillado. I had never read that short story to be honest with you, but after finishing The Initial Insult I just had to find it and see how they compare. Edgar Allen Poe is quite macabre, and Mindy McGinnis manages to stay true to the short story while giving it a second life. Mindy McGinnis adds background, texture, contemporary grit into this dark tale 🖤💀

The Initial Insult gives us concrete reasons as to why Tress is angry enough to want to bury her ex best friend behind a wall of bricks…

“I must not only punish but punish with impunity.” -THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO By Edgar Allan Poe – Published 1847

… and she could have lived with the “injuries” Felicity did upon her, with or without forethought, but it was until Felicity took the very last thing connecting Tress to her past life, her parents, that Tress decided enough was enough. She was getting answers, or someone would die as she tried.

I do like the story and the many stories told within the overall narrative. As Tress and Felicity hash out their problems we get to see stories from their past from both POVs; giving us a lot of prespective. Felicity might have not meant to hurt Tress, but she keeps on doing it again and again–by being a follower, by not standing up for her, by keeping the truth to herself. Not every hurt that Tress has had in her life connects directly to Felicity, but it sure feels like it when you see the story through her eyes. What’s even more screwed up is that these two young women really do sort of love each other, but just can’t find a way to fix the broken bridge between them. Maybe only blood can very well do that.

It isn’t a pretty story–there is a lot to dislike about these two characters. Felicity can be quite a follower, to the point where she knows bad stuff is being done around her, by her friends, and she is aware of it, but doesn’t have the backbone to stand up for herself. I blame this on her mother, who has taught her to hide her true self behind pleasantries and be as fake as possible in order to fit in. Her mother tells her to hide her seizures because, and I quote, “no one would want to marry her.”–SHE SAYS THIS TO HER AS A YOUNG CHILD… yeah, not the best mother. On top of her seizures, Felicity is also dealing with a bunch of trauma from the night Tress’ parent’s disappeared. Doesn’t excuse her shitty behavior, but it puts it into perspective.

Tress on the other hand was dealt a really bad hand–after her parent’s disappeared she is carted off to live with Cecil, who is technically a grandfather in name only. He is neglectful, emotionally abusive, a drunk, good for nothing. Tress was stripped of every thing she ever had, love, comfort, security, basically overnight, and the worst part is she doesn’t even know what ended up happening to her parents… but she thinks she knows who might… and she has nothing to loose.

There is also a lot of other side characters who are not completely bad (Hugh, the football player who is a nice guy who acts like a bad guy), legit good characters (Brynn, the volleyball star, and only black student in this small backwards town in which your last name has more value than even your bank account), and others whose jury is still out. My main drawback from the story is that while I understand the build up that was needed, and the payoff was great in the end, it does feel like it can drag along, specially since the only way you see any story progression is from the scenes told in the past, while in the present only hours pass along.

I am so very excited for the next book in this duology!! I want to pre order it right away 😀 I can’t wait to find out what happens next with these two ex-friends.

PS; SUPER COOL panther in the story. Loved how the panther’s inner thought’s were portrayed, as if the cat could see the past through the blood . Kind of think this is going to play a big role in the sequel, maybe the panther will tell us the secrets of what actually happened to Tress’ parents.

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

The One Where I Really Liked Curse of the Divine (Ink in The Blood #2) by Kim Smejkal #BookReview #YA #DarkMagic #BookBuzz ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Return to the world of inklings, tattoo magic, and evil deities as Celia uncovers the secrets of the ink in order to stop Diavala once and for all. This eagerly anticipated sequel to Ink in the Blood is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Wicked Saints.

Celia Sand faced Diavala and won, using ink magic to destroy the corrupt religion of Profeta that tormented her for a decade. But winning came with a cost. Now Celia is plagued with guilt over her role in the death of her best friend. When she discovers that Diavala is still very much alive and threatening Griffin, the now-infamous plague doctor, Celia is desperate not to lose another person she loves to the deity’s wrath.

The key to destroying Diavala may lie with Halycon Ronnea, the only other person to have faced Diavala and survived. But Halcyon is dangerous and has secrets of his own, ones that involve the ink that Celia has come to hate. Forced to choose between the ink and Diavala, Celia will do whatever it takes to save Griffin—even if it means making a deal with the devil himself.


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

If you like magically macabre books, then this duology is for you 🖤

Curse of the divine picks up right where Ink in the Blood left us. Celia and co. brought down the Profeta Religion, freeing a to of people who might have otherwise not ever known they had been manipulated. This of course came at a great cost to Celia, who lost the most important person in her life. To add insult unto injury Diavala did not die, she instead hitched a ride with the nearest available body which so happens to be Celia’s Plague Doctor. Together, Celia and Griffin will set off to get rid of Diavala once and for all with the help of the only “saint” who managed to survive Diavala’s touch; Halycon Ronnea.

I love how creative Kim Smejkal is. She ventures out to create her own world full of her own rules and pretty much nails it. I remember really liking Ink in the Blood when it came out last year, and not knowing how the sequel would hold up. Let me tell you, it holds up in an extravagant way. I might even like it more than the first book. You get Diavala in a more close and personal scenario, giving her story texture and even making you sympathize with the she devil. After all, she wasn’t born an immortal being… someone made her this way. Celia also walks the line between the good guy and the less than stellar girlfriend. She makes mistakes and spends the entire novel with the ghost of her best friend right on her shoulder–she is engulfed in sadness and grief. Pretty realistic portrayal, I am glad her trauma wasn’t brushed off.

Griffin is not a favorite character for me–he is just very dramatic and I’m just not too into that, but he is perfect for Celia. I was glad he was there to guide her through the darkness they both face. We get a lot of background into the Ink; where it comes from, who created it, why they created it… It is all very marvelous and not totally surprising, but the book is all about the journey and not the twist for this reader.

I hope Kim Smejkal gets to publish a lot more books! She can only get better as a writer, and her stories more wonderful.

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

The One Where I Really Liked Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce #BookReview #NA #Thriller #BookBuzz ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After a horrifying public rejection by her crush, Ellie Nichols does what any girl would do: she flees the country. To be more precise, she joins her high school’s study abroad trip to England. While most of her classmates are there to take honors courses and pad their college applications, Ellie is on a quest to rebuild her reputation and self-confidence. And nothing is more of a confidence booster than getting a hot British boyfriend.

When Ellie meets Will, a gorgeous and charming Brit, she vows to avoid making the same mistakes as she did with the last guy she liked. Which is why she strikes up a bargain with Dev, an overachieving classmate who she’s never clicked with, but who does seem to know a lot about the things Will is interested in—if he helps her win over her crush, then she’ll help him win over his.

But even as Ellie embarks on a whirlwind romance, one that takes her on adventures to some of England’s most beautiful places, she still needs to figure out if this is actually the answer to all her problems…and whether the perfect boyfriend is actually the perfect boy for her.


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

“A spark of hope lights inside me.
If I can get on this trip, if I can avoid Crystal and Andy and everyone else for a few months, maybe my life won’t be a living hell. I can start fresh. And in England of all places.”

Such a cute, fun, YA ROM COM 😍

Not gonna lie, I found the beginning of this book to be super annoying, because I found the MC to be so superficial. Her only interest in the beginning is this a hole of a guy, and fitting into her new school. She has tunnel vision throughout the first few chapters. But after she escapes the states and gets to the UK… she still has tunnel vision, but the side characters get her out of her single mindedness and help her grow as a person.

We get to meet this young woman who is scared about her future because she has never really been pushed to ask for more, and is scared to try and get rejected. She loves fairy gardens, unicorns, and new experiences, but has been burned in the past by “friends” when she lets out her true self so she keeps her interests hidden. In her mind, after being burned and made a paraiah, the only thing that can bring her an ounce of cred/respect is to quickly find another guy, a better guy, and show the stupid world that she is over it. Not the best plan, but you get where she is coming from.

Truly, this novel would not have shined without the side characters. I loved them all–Sage, Huan, Dev, and even Frank. Sage is this over achiever who wants to make a difference in the world, but she is not truly the stereotypical shy overachiever, she is just a very focused young woman who knows what she wants and what she has time for. Huan is also a super smart guy who has a passion/talent for beat boxing (and british men). He, along with Ellie, finds himself a british boyfriend, but unlike Ellie, Frank and Huan are truly a cute couple which I was rooting for throughout the novel. Then there is Dev, overachiever who is on track to become a doctor to make his parent’s sacrifice worth it/set an example for his siblings–but Dev’s true passion lies in art history. Dev is funny, charming, geeky (he loves and plays Quidditch), and quickly becomes Elli’s best friend. Thus, ensues the romantic tension that had me at the edge of my seat.

I don’t think I’ve truly read another YA rom-com quite like this. I really really liked it, and I look forward to reading more from Kristy Boyce in the future.

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

The One Where I LOVED The Iron Raven by Julie Kagawa #BookReview #YA #Fantasy #FAE #IronFeySeries ☆☆☆☆☆

Rating: 5 out of 5.

You may have heard of me…

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten.


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

Julie Kagawa has done it AGAIN.

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I am so giddy, because The Iron Raven was just perfection. We get to go back to the world of the Iron Fey, meet up with all of our favorite characters, explore some old hurts, meet new interesting characters, and FURTHER explore this magical world.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for not sucking exceeding expectations.

🗡️ PUCK was SO much fun to read about! I love that he becomes more than just the jester, or Meghan’s best friend/romance rival to Ash. There is still resentment that Puck has to deal with, but that only makes him human and I appreciated that we get to see him work through his emotions and get to the bottom of them. Puck’s descent into wickedness allows Julie Kagawa to explore not only the good side of Puck, but the way he used to be the feared Robin Goodfellow.

The Iron Raven also works to flesh out the world of the Fey, and showcases Puck’s past. There are stories set in the past that speak to Puck’s evolution from Robin Goodfellow to Puck, and I enjoyed every single one of them. Specially, the one about when Puck met Ash. I am a total Ash fan, but even I can admit this is the story in which Puck shines leaving Ash in the background (as it should be) while still bringing back the old scooby gang. We get to tour the Iron Realm as it stands today (lots of bug contraptions), and even re-visit some old haunts. I love the descriptions of the different Fey and how distinct they are–I like to picture the forgotten as the Heartless from KH, and the Iron Fey (while being superior in every way) still manage to be kind/weird/quirky in true Meghan fashion.

Yeah that’s right, we get to hang out with Meghan again! We also see Ash, Kierran (briefly–he is much less ROMEO in this one and much more badass), and Grimalkin. I also loved the new characters! Nyx, a forgotten who used to protect The Lady, awoken from her slumber, an assassin with a tragic past, and Coaleater, a descendant from Iron Horse who serves to be the tank of the group.

All in all Julie Kagawa managed to create an RPG team out of the group: Puck (the bard), Meghan (the dark mage), Ash (the swordsman), Nix (the assassin), Coaleater (the tank), and Grim… the know it all? He doesn’t fight so he really doesn’t count.

The new baddie is interesting and brings new life unto the world. The characters are a joy to return to, the world is further expanded and fun to explore, Puck is both his worst self and his best self and I enjoyed getting to read about both sides of him. I think we got a winner and I can’t wait for the sequel!

PS; I find it funny this story can still be classified as YA–no explicit scenes-but all the characters are like eternal Fae that got stuck as teenagers somehow. Golden.

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

The One Where I Weirdly Liked Unchosen by Katharyn Blair #BookReview #WeirdlyUnputdownable #YA #Sci-Fi #Dystopian ☆☆☆ 1/2

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

For Charlotte Holloway, the world ended twice.

The first was when her childhood crush, Dean, fell in love—with her older sister.

The second was when the Crimson, a curse spread through eye contact, turned the majority of humanity into flesh-eating monsters.

Neither end of the world changed Charlotte. She’s still in the shadows of her siblings. Her popular older sister, Harlow, now commands forces of survivors. And her talented younger sister, Vanessa, is the Chosen One—who, legend has it, can end the curse.

When their settlement is raided by those seeking the Chosen One, Charlotte makes a reckless decision to save Vanessa: she takes her place as prisoner.

The word spreads across the seven seas—the Chosen One has been found.

But when Dean’s life is threatened and a resistance looms on the horizon, the lie keeping Charlotte alive begins to unravel. She’ll have to break free, forge new bonds, and choose her own destiny if she has any hope of saving her sisters, her love, and maybe even the world.

Because sometimes the end is just a new beginning.


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

I am legit stumped on how to rate this book–let’s settle with 3 1/2 stars and round up cause Goodreads still doesn’t do half stars in the year of 2020.

Like, it has its faults not gonna lie, but at the same time I devoured it? I don’t know if it was the author’s writing of the inner monologue of the MC, the romantic tension, or the colorful set of characters (found family is my kryptonite)… but it just worked for me. The only thing that didn’t “click” perfectly was the blending of dystopia/pirates/curses because to me it seemed like we were reaching for a little too much. Think on the lines of The Walking Dead set at sea, and instead of a virus think of it as a “curse”– it felt like trying to fit a wrong puzzle piece that really looks like it should work but it is not quite the right fit.

We lived in a world that predicted our doom at least twice a week. We had shows about it; people stood on street corners, screeching about the end. We were so ready for the fall of mankind. But, when it actually came—we didn’t see it coming.”

However, the rest of the novel really worked for me! I loved getting the POV from the “middle” child who feels like she isn’t good enough because her older sister is a rock star, and her younger sister is a pro gymnast. She is the average one of the bunch. And even after the “curse” hits the world she is still the average one–her older sister ends up being an integral part of their new community, and her younger sister is the chosen one.

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On top of dealing with that, Charlotte also has to deal with falling in love with her sister’s boyfriend (who is Charlotte’s best friend). I liked the change of pace. While Charlotte might not be the chosen one she is the only one paying close attention to her sister Vanessa and jotting down all the things she says when Vanessa has night terrors. Which is how Charlotte is able to fool those around her into thinking she is in fact the chosen one, and get them to do what she wants in the name of saving the world.

Is Charlotte manipulative? A little yes, though for the most part she has her reasons. And frankly, I like reading from the POV of a less than perfect MC.

I think in order to fully enjoy Unchosen you have to suspend your disbelief. Whenever something else got added to the pile of the curse, or how the world is working now, I just nodded my head and said “okay sure”. For example, there is a way to become immune to the “curse” but you can only achieve that by giving the curse to three other people (like, tag you are it but in multiples), and only if you do it within 24 hours. That seems… oddly specific. Okay fine whatever, if you say so. The cursed ones (which are referred to as “Vessels”–did not like the word choice) are actually sentient (well, some of them, and nobody knows why coughsplotcoughs) and they pass on the curse by just looking at someone (kind of like Bird Box by Sandra Bullock). They are also super strong, have a great sense of smell, are fast… exactly how can any human survive under these circumstances?

It seems rather impossible.

But I digress, let’s buy that the humans SOMEHOW are still alive (did I mention the only way to kill them is by decapitating them? SH-YEAH, they are a tiny bit OP). If I was in the middle of an OP curse like this I would also run to the sea. It makes sense as you can more easily control your environment and only stop at land when you need supplies. The idea has legs. Other aspects of the novel were predictable (who the bad guys were for example) but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the novel.

BUT anyways, what I really liked about Unchosen was the characters really. I loved seeing the sisterly bond between Charlotte, Harlow, and Vanessa. The romantic tension and friendship developed with another character (yes, there are two hotties, but I would not consider this a love triangle). The found family theme with Rielle, Lucia, and Thomas. The convoluted plot is something I can forgive in liu of the rest.

I think I am looking forward to Katharyn Blair’s next book.

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

The One Where I Really Liked Beautiful Wild by Anna Godbersen #BookReview #YA #Historical ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You are invited to set sail on the maiden voyage of the SS Princess of the Pacific in this indulgent historical romance from Anna Godbersen, the New York Times bestselling author of the Luxe series.

Vida Hazzard can see her future: aboard the heralded “Millionaire’s Ship of the West,” she’ll charm the young scion Fitzhugh Farrar, resulting in a proposal of marriage.

But Vida didn’t plan on Fitz’s best friend, Sal, a rough-around-the-edges boy with a talent for getting under her skin. Nor did she anticipate a hurricane dashing their ship to pieces, along with her dreams.


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

“The first voyage of the Princess is one of those events that bring all the best people together, for it promises lavish parties and gossip galore.”

You know what, I actually enjoyed this book a lot. You have to be in the right mood to read an Anna Godbersen book. Beautiful Wild was glamorous, far fetched, dramatic, and it dealt with a small kernel of truth about appearances and what matters most in life at the end of the day. Are you living your life for you, or for those around you? Will a life of beautiful glamour be the right path for you, or do you crave the wild? Why not both?

“She was a huntress–her hunting grounds were drawing rooms and polo fields, it was true; but that did not make her any less a huntress.”

Our MC, Vida (which means life in Spanish btw), was the sort of grown girl I love to see in historical sort of setting–improper while still navigating the rules of her society, daring, willing to paint outside the lines. Her life revolves around her society and the expectations her parents place on her to marry well so she may continue to live big. That is one thing I did enjoy about Beautiful Wild, Vida’s parents legit only want what is best for her, and encourage her in her adventures (to a certain point). They are not there to make her miserable. Vida thinks what she wants, and is best for her given the rumors and her parents ultimatum due to the rumors, is to snag the richest boy on the cruise and have him propose to her. She has a bigger than life personality that just attracts people to her, even though she will admit she is not the most beautiful girl. She has charisma, and is willing to go for what she wants. I loved that.

“Which is it? Do you like the fussy dresses, or do they hold you back.” “Have you never felt two contradictory things strongly, truly, and at once?”

Beutiful Wild does not make our MC choose to be only one thing. Vida loves her life, but is also aware of the constraints her society places on her and women in general. She craves adventure and finds it where she feasibly can, in the ballroom. But this cruise is going to push her to extremes, allowing her to get to know herself in the most realest of ways and find out just how capable she can be.

“The glittering world in which Vida had first encountered the grand Mrs. Carlton Farrar was gone–the ocean had swallowed their way of life whole.”

I found Beautiful Wild to be a love letter to Vida. There is romance, of course, but sincerely I didn’t think it was central. Vida’s journey of self discovery was what I loved about Beautiful Wild. The romance was sweet though. You have a love triangle of sorts, both boys representing different aspects of the lives Vida thinks she wants/might actually want. Her decision in the end is courageous (for the time) as she chooses herself. She goes after the adventure she always wanted, and the boy that her heart calls out to adventure alongside her.

I’d totally recommend this read, just know what you are in for. A “Titanic”/”cast away” mix YA book with feminist undertones and a bit of romance to spice things up.

“On this island she could see, from first light to last, that the world was much bigger than she had known.”

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

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★,。

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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.