Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Title: Invasion of the Tearling

invasion of the tearling

(I didn’t read this edition but I’m using this cover design because I mean look at it)

Author: Erika Johansen

Genre: Fantasy

Edition: E-book

After a brutal couple of weeks waiting for my hold at the library to be up, I finally got my hands on the second installment of Erika Johansen’s dazzling trilogy, The Queen of the Tearling. True to it’s title, this novel follows Queen Kelsea as she searches through every avenue for a way to prevent the Red Queen from invading her kingdom (queendom?). I had very high expectations for Invasion of the Tearling because the first installment blew me away. Thank goodness it was no less mind-wrappingly brilliant and feels-inducing.

Kelsea continues to awe me with her tactical intelligence and no-funny-business personality. When I say she gets stuff done, I mean, she gets stuff done. Although, she has every reason to cower in fear, she never admits defeat but instead just keeps plowing forward. Everyone always says they are a sucker for a strong female protagonist and Kelsea will definitely satisfy that search. And she doesn’t even need a sword to do so. As far as the plot goes, it was pretty much one of anticipation and revelation. Kelsea and her guards are aware of the looming possibility of a devastating Invasion that the Tearling might not be able to sustain. As they try to put together a strong army and gather any information about the Red Queen and her weaknesses, Kelsea’s magic starts to unfold. Magic that, for all intents and purposes, has a mind of its own. When it started changing her, I was not a fan. Yes, she was powerful, powerful enough to defeat Mort, but she basically morphed into a dark ruler whose methods were not admirable. Not to mention her extremely questionable choice for an ally. She said she had no choice but I really don’t think Finn’s involvement in her situation was so necessary to be worth the freedom of someone who was severely punished for doing who knows what. Furthermore, the uncontrollable desire she had for him every time she saw him freaked me out. To have no control over wanting someone that badly? I would be terrified. (And you wonder why I don’t trust attractive people…) This desire seems to mirror the oddly immediate feelings Kelsea had for the Fetch and there were hints at some relationship between him and Finn. I’m itching to figure out what that is.

Kelsea’s magic also provides a gateway for her to learn more about the history behind the Tearling. If I understand correctly, she travels through time, or at least her mind does, to the period before William Tear set sail to found a new world. That was a plotline I was not expecting but was greatly captivated by. [spoilers ahead] At first, I was confused because there was this random woman with an abusive husband who seemingly had no connection to the present current of events at all. But Erika, with her brilliant writerly self, connected all the pieces as we discovered Lily’s true role, which is a massive one, in this whole “revolution”. One that feels like it’s been barely touched upon and is going to be explored even more in the next book.

And finally–Pen. Ahh, Pen. What a wonderful human being he is.

Unless Kelsea met someone else, Pen was really the only logical love interest since he was the only one near her age. I never shipped Kelsea with anyone until Pen had that conversation with Lazarus. You know the one where he said, “It never mattered what she looked like,” and basically implied that he’s been in love with her ever since he met her. At that point I was just like I need it. I need it now. And I basically got it but not in the way that I wanted. Basically, she’s using him as a sex toy and he may be okay with that but I’m not. Sigh. Soon she will realize the error of her ways and recognize the beauty of the man in front of her. But until then, I wait. [spoilers end]

Golly, this novel was a journey. Adventure, magic, monarchies, character depth and sharp wit, otherwise known as everything I crave in a book, Invasion of the Tearling will probably be one of my favorite novels of this year. If you read this, let me know what you think in the comments.

With love, xx.

Advertisements

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Title: red_queen_book_cover_a_pRed Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Genre: Dystopian

Edition: Hardcover

There’s so much hype revolving around this novel. When I went to the bookstore, I ended up buying it and the cashier was all “Oh my gosh that book is so good like *gah* so good!” I found the idea of classification between red bloods and silver bloods to be intriguing, and I always love a good dose of superpowers. But the world building was horrible. It wasn’t terrible to the point where readers could not imagine the setting but a lot of aspects about the world were just not even mentioned or clarified. Like why are there even some people with silver blood and others with red? Was this distinction just always there or did something happen along the way to the human race? Do Silvers have powers because of their blood or is there a mutation that comes along with the silver blood giving them powers? Does anybody even know? The main character, Mare Barrow, did not come off as one who was clueless about her society. In fact, she seemed well educated so one would assume that her being the narrator, she would have a little more extensive knowledge about her world. I believe she said something about the society not always being a monarchy but even that was blurry.

The beginning of this novel was a bit confusing as Mare and her childhood best friend, Kilorn, were going to a gladiator-type fight between a Silver and a Red. Eventually, the storyline cleared up and was quite exciting that I managed to finish the book in one day. I found Mare to be a pretty strong character. She was forced into a complicated situation where her opinion and choices mattered barely to not at all, yet she kept her tenacious spirit. The other characters, the princes Cal and Maven, were interesting enough. I liked how we were never comfortably sure about who they were and what angle they were playing; it sustained a mystery that in turn sustained my interest. Especially Maven. *clears throat loudly*

But anyway. The plot twist, I think, made this book better than it would have been had there been no plot twist. There was a certain point in the book where a character did something suspicious and I thought this could either go both ways–said person could be evil or genuine–but as the story progressed, I pushed those suspicions aside because the person’s involvement just got so deep and they seemed authentically GOOD. Sometimes, you think you can trust a person, you place your faith in them and they just rip your heart out. I’m being vague to prevent spoilers but if you read Red Queen you know exactly who I’m talking about. If you haven’t read this book just know that you will have your mind blown.

Even with the awesome plot twist, I could not rank this novel very high on my favorites list. The idea of Reds and Silvers was unique but beyond that, it was like a cross between X-Men and Hunger Games. Multiple times while reading, I couldn’t shake the comparisons that kept popping into my head because everything was just so similar. Even the characters sometimes. I swear Kilorn and Gale are the same person. Moreover, I sense a really annoying love triangle brewing and I really don’t want to read about it. Red Queen was interesting but now that the whole backstory is (more or less) covered, I feel like the plot from here on out will be so typical. Nevertheless, I will read Glass Sword. 

Let me know what you thought of this book if you’ve read it. Or if you just wanna talk that’s cool too. Bye! x

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French KissAnna-And-the-French-Kiss-197x300

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: Contemporary

Edition: Paperback

Adorable. If I had just one word to describe this book, that would be it. Anna is am amazing narrator. From the beginning, she was hilarious and her personality paired with Perkins’s casual writing style made this such an easy, refreshing read. I was dying of laughter on probably every page but one of my favorites is: “French name. English accent. American school. Anna confused.” All of the characters in this book especially Anna’s friends in Paris were so lively and had such character, I love them!

Basically, in this book, Anna is sent off to the School of America in Paris by her father who is a mediocre writer in her eyes. She obviously didn’t want to go at first but I mean it’s Paris, ya learn to love it. Most importantly, she was upset about leaving behind her best friend, Bridget, and her sort of-almost boyfriend, Toph. However, that all changes and rather quickly once she meets Etienne St. Clair. The beautiful American, British masterpiece with a French name. The catch? He already has a girlfriend. With many ups and downs, this is a story of gradually falling in love. (There will be spoilers ahead so if you haven’t read Anna and the French Kiss then proceed at your own risk.)

I already mentioned how much I liked Anna. She came off as so confident right from the jump and easily fit in with her newfound friends. I’m just a tad envious of how she so easily held up a conversation with Etienne. If that was me? There’s a high probability that I would just stand there with my mouth open like a fool. Speaking of Etienne, of course, I instantly fell in love with him because he’s British but other than that, he is hilarious and such a charming, easy guy to get along with.

With most contemporaries, it can be so annoying when the main character and his/her love interest don’t get together until the very end. This happened with Anna and Etienne but they were cute throughout the whole book so it didn’t even bother me. It was adorable when he took her to all the sights in Paris like Point Zero and made her make a wish. Then at the end, he said that she wished for her each time. Ugh, hearts. All the Christmas emails and phone calls were absolutely adorable. The scene where they went to the bookstore was great and can we just talk about how amazing that bookstore is. I NEED TO GO. I just need to go to Paris in general, this book filled me with such wanderlust that I’m about to buy a plane ticket. Just kidding, I’m broke and have no friends to travel with.

Ellie, Etienne’s girlfriend, was the main obstacle preventing Anna and Etienne from getting together. Usually, it’s just so infuriating when the guy refuses to break up with his girlfriend when he’s so clearly in love with another girl. However, Etienne’s situation was totally excusable. After finding out that his mom had cancer and the whole ordeal with his dad not letting him see her, his life was getting turned completely upside down. I could understand why he didn’t want to break up with Ellie; he wanted at least one thing to remain stable in all this mess. It’s so honorable how he didn’t try anything on Anna because he didn’t want to cheat, ran after Meredith to explain himself because he knew he hurt her and immediately broke it off with Ellie after the kiss. He’s an all around great guy ❤

The ending was so cute! He ran all the way up the tower while being deathly afraid of heights just so he can profess his love to her! Basically, everything was just so cute.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book. Leave em down below. Love you lots. xx

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

hp chamber of secretsTitle: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Author: J.K. Rowling

 Genre: Fantasy

Form: Hardcover

 

Let’s start off saying that Chamber of Secrets was way better than Sorcerer’s Stone. I started reading right after I finished the first one and unlike with SS, I got interested pretty quickly. If you have not read Harry Potter before, I recommend picking it up some day. The storyline is worth delving into and as I said in my SS review, Rowling is immensely creative. So to all my HP virgins reading this, love you, but bye for now!

Okay. The beginning was a bit boring only because of the Dursleys. They don’t bring much excitement into the mix. While I was reading I could not help but notice that the Dursleys treat Harry just how the evil stepmonster treats Cinderella. I mean, they barricaded his room like a prison. I really don’t even see what the problem with him being a wizard is. It is not that big of a deal. Anyways then the Weasleys showed up with their flying car. Very cutting edge. I just continue loving the twins more and more. Can they be my brothers?

DOBBY IS SO ADORABLE! I had to “awe” everytime he spoke. How he speaks in third person and how he calls Harry “sir” and beats himself for doing something wrong just conjures a reflexive aweeee! I don’t care if he looks ugly, he is too cute. No matter the fact that he almost killed Harry trying to save him, it’s the thought that counts. And now he’s a free elf! Yay.

The adventure, if that’s what you want to call it, in this book was more interesting than the first because it was more mysterious. Harry was hearing voices in his head, people (and animals) were turning into stone Medusa style, there was a supposed mad Slytherin heir running around…craziness. Everyone first assumed it was Draco but I knew it wasn’t. He’s a jerk for sure but I can’t see him pulling something like that off. His bark is worse than his bite. His father on the other hand, he’s a madman. His name even sounds evil, Lucius Malfoy. Go on, say it out loud. *shudders* I wonder which name sounds more malevolent. Voldemort, oh oops sorry, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or Lucius Malfoy.

It was crazy how Harry seemed like the prime suspect for the Petrifies (Petrifying?) because everything could be linked back to him. Rowling is just so clever though because at the end everything made so much sense! No wonder he was the only one who could hear the voice and Hagrid’s “follow the spiders” and then the Moaning Myrtle connection! The deduction about the mirror between Hermione and that Ravenclaw girl and every other reflection near the Petrified was perfect! Don’t even get me started on Dumbledore’s saying “As long as someone is loyal to me I will never leave Hogwarts.” When he first said that I just thought he meant he would always be behind Hogwarts as long as he’s needed, you know something simple like that but nooo. His Phoenix is the best bird ever and that Sorting Hat is very resourceful.

It’s funny how Ginny was the one doing all this. I would not have expected her since she has not been much of an important character so far. All in all this book showcased Rowling’s cleverness. It was just so, so clever. Sorry, I can’t say it enough.

By the way I just remembered. I cannot finish this review without talking about this man. Gilderoy Lockhart is the most annoying, conceited character ever! Oh my goodness, he really needed to go. I don’t understand how anyone put up with him for a whole year.

Anyways, Chamber of Secrets was great and I am so excited to start Prisoner of Azkaban. Hmm Harry Potter just might be growing on me. Share your thoughts on this book, the series or J.K. Rowling’s brilliant mind with me. Hope you enjoyed reading my words! 😉 Till next time friends.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

hp sorcerers stone Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Author: J.K. Rowling

Genre: Fantasy

Form: Hardcover

 Okay so don’t shoot me or anything but this is my first time reading Harry Potter. Unbelievable to some of you out there, I know, but there are actually a lot of people who have never picked up this series. Probably enough to match up with those who have read all 7 books. To add salt to the wound I haven’t seen any of the movies either (lol sorrynotsorry). It has never really interested me to read Harry Potter and I probably could have gone my whole life without reading it but my sister and my friend were behind my back about it. Thus my new journey began. To anyone who is in the same boat as I am, feel free to come on this journey with me! We can be late bloomers together 🙂 If you have not read any of the HP books yet, goodbye for now. I would not want to spoil it for you.

First off, I literally walked into this book blindly. With it being so popular and from all the countless references made on a daily, most people have some sense about the story and its plot. I, however, knew nothing which I was glad about because I prefer to begin books absolutely clueless. The only drawback is that I’ve seen a lot of the actors/actresses so even though I can imagine my own characters, Emma Watson and Alan Rickman keep popping back up. I don’t truly mind though.

I would not say this was an amazing book but it kept me intrigued and it was a well written set up for the rest of the series. At first, J.K. Rowling’s writing kind of had me bored because there was nothing special about it but the quality of the story kept me reading. What I will say is that she has quite the imagination. When I was learning about Quidditch all I was thinking was “Where the heck did she get this from?” Making up a game that is played on broomsticks rather than the ground is one thing but then she went on to add Bludgers and a Snitch…one simply does not create such a sport! And there are centaurs and unicorns! xD I got abnormally excited when I found that out. Also while we’re on the subject of creativity, “muggle” is not even in the dictionary and it’s such a queer word! Add to that all the weird named foods that Rowling came up with like those Every Flavor Beans, and pictures that move. She just has a great imagination.

I am already in love with Harry, Ron and Hermione’s friendship. I can see it developing beautifully. On the topic of Hermione…let me tell you, pronouncing this child’s name was the perpetual trial of my life from start to finish. Her name appearing on the page led to a different pronunciation every time. I was getting so bothered that I had to google it and it is still hard to say. I need practice. Everyone else is okay though. Fred and George Weasley are my favorite. Ron is awesome too.

That plot twist at the end was not expected. Of all people, Professor Quirrel. He put on a good act. I still think Snape is evil.

So I was told that HP gets better and I have faith that it will so I am excited to move on to Chamber of Secrets. If you have read this review as well as some or all of the Harry Potter books, I would be glad to talk to you all about it. 🙂

 

 

Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Fracture Mefracture me

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Dystopian

Form: Ebook

When I began to read this novella, I was worried that I would fall in love with Adam and my love for Warner might lessen and no way in heck did I want that. As it turns out, I was worried for NOTHING! This story only made my feelings for Adam become worse. He just kept upsetting me! He would say certain things that just irked me! The vibe that I kept getting from him was selfish-ness and a little bit of cockiness. And I did not appreciate the way he thought about Juliette. He has so little faith in her and her strength that its hard to believe he actually loves her. If he keeps bringing Juliette down like that when would she ever feel like she is strong enough? I get that he wants to protect her I really do but she isn’t a helpless little kitten. Adam just doesn’t give people enough credit, even Kenji sometimes. He is also quite possessive and not in the cute way, he took it to a level that was just completely unnecessary: They are in a tragic situation and Juliette just got kidnapped. Kenji wants to go rescue her and says “Let’s go get our girl.” Now tell me, why does Adam think it necessary to say “My girl. She’s my girl.”? Kenji is in no way a threat to him and he didn’t mean anything by that. Juliette does not belong to you, Adam.  The only thing I can say I like about Adam at this point is how he feels towards James. It’s touching, I can tell he really loves him and James is so precious ^.^

It’s really interesting to see Juliette from another person’s point of view. From the outside, she looks very hyperactive and nervous most of the time. Her fleeting expressions make a person very curious. Having read these scenes in Unravel Me beforehand, we know exactly what was going through her head. Juliette is a very hard person to get. There’s no way to understand her unless she tells you everything herself.

If I had a TARDIS I would travel to February 4th because I cannot wait any longer for Ignite Me. That excerpt killed me. I cannot stress enough how much I love Juliette’s voice. I love reading in her point of view. It’s so raw and unedited and perfect I love it. She’s back in her room, the hellhole room, which made her go insane and it brings back a lot of emotions and habits that she tried to keep in check. Both sides think the other is dead. Adam, Kenji and the others think Juliette is dead and Juliette thinks they’re all dead. It makes her go crazy for a little while and she’s breaking down but she knows she can get through this. She had her weak point already when she went through this before and it made her stronger. People do say weakness makes you stronger. I loved that bit at the end “revenge I think has never looked so sweet.” Juliette’s really strong, whether Mr. Kent chooses to believe that or not, and she’s going to show them all now. That’s my girl!

             

 

 

ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth

allegiantkTitle: Allegiant

Author: Veronica Roth

Genre: Dystopian

Form: Hardcover

Allegiant by Veronica Roth is the third installment in her Divergent series. Therefore, if you haven’t read Divergent then I am not sure that this review will make much sense to you. I mean, you can still read it, it’s your God-given right but I suggest picking up Divergent first then come back and we can talk. 🙂

When we left Tris back in Insurgent, she just revealed Edith Prior’s video about gathering up the Divergent and sending them outside of the city. By the ending sentence and from obvious inferences, we know that this revelation caused a riot. Painstakingly, we were left to wait a whole year to find out what happens.

I honestly had no idea what I was reading when I started Allegiant. Insurgent wasn’t that interesting for me so I barely remembered what took place in that book. Allegiant was totally different. I was actually able to flip through the pages and be interested with ever turn. I was pretty excited to find out what “outside the city” looked like.  Basically, it was no different from how most dystopian novels display the “outer regions”: discombobulated, old, broken, you know the usual. The Bureau of Genetic Welfare really interested me though. Normally, when I read novels such as these, I can tell who the evil guys are and I understand why they are evil. However, I was having a hard time pegging the Bureau as the bad guys because to me, it just seemed like they had some misconceptions but they weren’t evil. It wasn’t like they were killing off GDs for kicks and giggles and it didn’t seem like they were being racist either. Only in the middle, towards the end, did I realize the wrongness of their doings. For example, when Matthew told his story and when Anne (I believe her name was) told Tobias that they can’t blame the GDs for being damaged. Now that got me upset.

I forgot how incredibly frustrating this series made me! As I was reading, I kept getting angrier. I hated Nita as soon as I met her and I could not stand her little ‘moments’ with Four. I especially got upset when Four would not LISTEN to Tris when she told him that Nita was lying! I wanted to scream “Tris’ judgements are always right just LISTEN TO HER FOUR OMG!” Fourtris’ relationship has always been rocky. Their only marshmellow stage was in Divergent. Even though they don’t really act like a fortress (get it?), they always make up and still clearly love each other. Or should I say loved. As in past tense. As in the loving is not an equal distribution anymore because TRIS IS DEAD!

I was unfortunately spoiled about this because my friend thought it was a good idea to tell me who dies. As a result of this, my experience reading her death was not as painful as it would have been. A lot of people would say they don’t like the ending but I’m satisfied with it. Tris died a noble death. I liked the quote when she said there’s evil in everybody and to be able to forgive someone, you have to find the evil in yourself. I highly respect Tris because she sacrificed herself for all her friends and for her city as well as other cities and it was an act of love. She is one of the strongest female characters I know for being able to go through everything she did. The craziest part is that she is only sixteen. As Four put it, “I suppose a fire that burns that bright is not meant to last.”

The last chapters in Tobias’ POV were the most painful. It hurt because I can only imagine all the pain and suffering he was going through. When he was about to drink the memory serum I couldn’t handle it anymore. Bless Christina for arriving on time to stop him! It hurt even more because him and Tris talked about living normally together after all of this was over and now they will never be able to. The epilogue seriously had me in tears. Their one last act of Dauntless bravery for Tris. 😥

The only thing I can say I’m unhappy about is Uriah’s death. I feel like he was too much of an important character to die in such a silly way. An explosion went off, he fell, and damaged his brain. That’s it. I don’t feel like this did him any justice. He is one of my favorite characters in the entire series and I wish he had a bigger part to play in all of this. Also, the POVs could have been better. Four and Tris sound exactly the same. I had to constantly keep reminding myself who was the speaker. Since Tris is who we’ve known for a while, this made Four seem as if he had no deeper personality.

In the end, I felt like everyone was broken from their individual losses. There was peace but it was more of a sadness. I know these characters are fictional but they seem so real to me that I hope they do mend each other and they are able to be happy again.

Tell me what you thought of Allegiant! 🙂