October Wrap-up

October Wrap-up

I realized that I spent over 15,000 pesos on books alone from July to September that I pledged to myself that I shall skip the month of October and allot my money on more important (by societal standards) things like food and my savings account so I had no October haul. *weeps in the corner* I hate adult life.

What’s important though is I read 14 books (rather measly but still :D) for the month of October and I will go through all of them and try to summarize them into little snippets of each.

Crooked Kingdom is my first book of October and I couldn’t have had a better start. This book vanquished any favorite YA Fantasy I have ever had and Leigh Bardugo has now set the bar high.

I read An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night in the same month and I know I am very much late for the boat to amazingness but I am totally… well amazed. These two books are very compelling, and it evokes all kinds of emotions. I loved it.

I also read The Sword of Summer, the first installment of the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Series and as much as I liked it, Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus are still my favorites from Uncle Rick. I am currently reading Hammer of Thor and I think I am falling in love with a certain argr Loki-mothered character.

I also read some romance books – Tied, PS. I Still Love You, Twisted Palace, Royally Screwed, Since You’ve Been Gone, Punk 57 and Our Chemical Hearts. Out of all the 7, only Punk 57 stood out. I really have an inkling towards dark storylines (I can’t help it) and Punk 57 had that element and it made it distinct, and of its own. It was a beautiful book, I believe I gave it 5 stars. The others were okay, I enjoyed them, with the exception of Twisted Palace and Our Chemical Hearts. The former has a weak and underdeveloped premise, and the latter just annoying.

A Shadow Bright and Burning is quite… mediocre. I didn’t think it was bad but it’s like a portfolio containing different plots from different YA fantasy books – unoriginal.

The Trespasser is a mystery/thriller book and I have high expectations for this genre. Blame it on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth Salander is my main. #LoveLove. The Trespasser was unremarkable as well.

Lastly, Small Great Things. I believe this got mixed feelings from me. It tackled racial discrimination and it tugged my heartstrings at best, I just had a few reservations which hindered me from totally loving it.

Thar you go! I hope I’ll have better days this November (meaning not too much load of work) so I could read all of the books I’ve been wanting to read for days. :D

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Book Review: The Rose & The Dagger

Book Review: The Rose & The Dagger

Synopsis

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

Review

It had a wonderful wrap-up, but I still feel like the story could have appealed to me more. I am a goner for magic so when it was introduced in The Wrath and The Dawn, I was stoked for the second installment; only to be disappointed by how dismal and lacking the magic part is. The role of sorcery in the story wasn’t as essential as I wanted it to be.

Also, the initiatory dragged on longer than need be. Actually, it wasn’t long, it didn’t even really drag on but the actual action was so short-lived that I was left wanting for more.

Be that as it may, I really loved it. I don’t know how this is even possible – to need more of it but to really love it, too – but that’s what it feels! We can both die trying to understand such illogical feelings. Haha.

“No. He was not here to wreak revenge.

For revenge was trifling and hollow.

No. He was not here to retrieve his wife.

For his wife was not a thing to be retrieved.

No. He was not here to negotiate a truce.

For a truce suggested he wished to compromise.

He was here to burn something to the ground.”

I am not normally romantic but I might just gonna die of our boy-king’s uber affection.

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This is on my top 5 favorite fantasy books this year and I would surely recommend it to all lovers of this genre. :D

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: Who I’ve Voted

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It’s that time of the year again for all readers! It’s the opening round for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016. I looked into the nominees and there were genres which I skipped merely because I have not read much from those categories and I’ll leave the voting for those people who read like it’s World War IV tomorrow and were basically able to read everything and got to cover all of the genres. Maniacs, I must say. And I shouldn’t joke about world wars but I lack imagination on similes sooooo… let’s just bear with me. :D

Anyway! Here are my choices!

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I remember reading this book and also remember it tugging all of my heartstrings. It was ugly and beautiful, and so innocent yet equally corrupted.

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Mystery/Thriller is one of my favorite genres and I am yet to choose one and it is not because I’ve read nothing. I just can’t decide. Nothing stood out among the rest, some were okay, some were better, but not one emerged as distinct or more striking than the rest.

Historical Fiction isn’t really my genre so I skipped that one, too.

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I’m sorry, okay? Please forgive my bias heart, I can’t help it. Truly it was very much subpar from the first and original seven books but the Wizarding world has clutched into my heart so I still loved it and I would still choose it over any Fantasy book. I mean, it’s the first series to ever really made me start reading so no one can’t fault me that. I am so defensive, haha. But yes! I voted for Harry Potter! Take that, people! :D

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I felt so apart from Romance books this year. I especially hate It Ends With Us. That one irritated me like no other book. It sucked ass. I am in the minority, I know, but I just feel  like Colleen Hoover is making a fool out of her readers, manipulating our emotions. It doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t feel very genuine for me anymore. And this is the first Hoover book I did not like. Why am I discussing the one I did not vote for? Hahahaha. I voted for Stuck-Up Suit because it was funny and it’s my first Vi Keeland – Penelope Ward book. I charged into it with not much expectation only to be dedicated with a hilarious and endearing premise and characters.

On Best Science Fiction, Dark Matter was the only book I was able to read. It was agreeable to a degree but I believe there was a vital detail I couldn’t have entirely followed. This was a book on multiverse; Physics at its best, and I love Physics. I love science. I love Schrodinger’s cat. Multiverse excites me so I had quite the expectation so I didn’t vote yet. I’ll probably get back to it some time.

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This book got opposing opinions, I believe. And it was gripping and nerve-racking for me. I was mentally giving directions to Grace and her sister, my mental pom-poms were also put to good use on the end.

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This came as a big surprise to me. The book was unbelievably long but just the same, this is by far my favorite Morgan Matson book. There’s a depth to it – family, friends, and romantic relationships. She got to tackle every one of those and it was delightful. I didn’t like all of her other books. Just thought I gotta mention that. Hehe

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As much as I loved a lot of the nominees under this genre, I didn’t have to second guess myself to choose Crooked Kingdom. I mean, Kaz Brekker? Can you not? It also happened that today, I finally got my copy of the Hardbound Crooked Kingdom with bloody edges. It’s so beautiful. <3

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I only voted in this category because I loved Lester Papadopolous and I got to experience more of Percy Jackson even for just a little bit, and Leo Valdez is coming back to town! So excuse the bias, but I swear the book was good! Nothing less from Uncle Rick. <3

So there you go!

And here are the genres I skipped. Sadly.

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I can’t wait for what others thought about the Choice Awards! :D

Book Review: Small Great Things

Synopsis

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

Review

This is my first Jodi Picoult book and I am feeling irresolute.

There are books that are annoyingly dragging and boring in the beginning and gets exciting and intensive towards the end like Three Dark Crowns.

There are books which are compelling and powerful throughout the story like The Crooked Kingdom Duology.

Then there is Small Great Things which commands your attention upon first read, gets galling and disagreeable in the middle but does enough to redeem itself and finish with a passable but unexceptional ending.

Notwithstanding the 4-5 star reviews, this came as a need-to-read-asap book because of its premise. I didn’t realize how taciturn people really are towards racial discrimination until I finished this book.

“… racism isn’t just about hate…”

“… I didn’t see myself as a racist. Now I realize I am. Not because I hate people of different races but because – intentionally or unintentionally I’ve gotten a boost from the color of my skin, just like Ruth Jefferson suffered a setback because of hers…”

“Passive racism… it’s reading your kid’s fourth-grade curriculum and seeing that only black history covered is slavery, and not questioning why…”

Living in an Asian country, we don’t usually encounter racist remarks, not even come across it on TV.

It becomes significant to read works such as this because it engenders our need to extract the biases, and act more than react on social issues that gravely affect humanity not only on the racism front, but on other issues as well – religion and gender discrimination to name a few.

I gave this book 3 stars because there were a few chapters that did not sit well with me but I’ll skip the specifics and leave them for you to think about. The book did receive a lot of good remarks so it’s very relative. Jodi Picoult has a specific market and I don’t think I am in the population.

BOOK REVIEW: Our Chemical Hearts, A Shadow Bright & Burning, Tied, and Sword of Summer

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Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Rating: 2 of 5 STARS

This was supposed to be grand. Supposedly. But I had reservations I can’t possibly ignore no matter how much I thought the ending was beautiful – an antithesis of beautiful and not exactly ugly but just not very… pleasant. Our Chemical Hearts started out pretty engaging. Then it all started to go downhill from around three-fourths of the book. It turned really sullen, dark, and heartbreaking but it wasn’t my kind. I hated it. If I wasn’t so near from finishing the book, I would’ve stopped reading it. I was going to give this 1 star but it redeemed itself towards the end so I gave it 2 stars.

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Rating: 3 of 5 STARS

Henrietta Howel is courageous, yes, but she annoyed me to no end. She is reigned and controlled by her emotions. At a different degree or nature, it could have appealed to me but it just irked me. I just found her actions very unreasonable sometimes. And I really cannot feel for Howel. I feel so distant from her character when I was supposed to be feeling her pain, her desperation, or her anger. It just didn’t work for me. The premise though – one can only be truly imaginative to create a complex plot. But the scenes where like subdivisions from previous fantasy books I have read that share, or at least partly akin to it. But I liked it enough to give it 3 stars.

Tied by Emma Chase

Rating: 3 of 5 STARS

This kind of narration has probably lost its appeal to me but I still liked it. The wedding especially. I’m not exactly young anymore but I’m really not an adult yet either (through my perspective, of course lol) but the wedding was very heartwarming and dreamy I can’t help but feel for my sorry self. Lol. Not really being bitter about this but this was a fiction book for a reason. Unworldly handsome, rich, intelligent men falling so helplessly and faithfully in love with women does not exist in this life. Bwahahaha.

Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase #1) by Rick Riordan

Rating: 4 of 5 STARS

Uncle Rick is a favorite author and I, with my whole heart, adore him. Imagine indulging into this book and you cringe from not trying to hate it (from what you have read so far). You also have to take note that it was written, no less, by one of your favorite authors. It’s a bad feeling, right? It is! But I went on because it’s freaking Uncle Rick and I believe and trust in his craft. Thank God I did ‘cause I loved it! This is a children’s book and reading it through a kid’s perspective, it was bloody awesome. Riordan has not lost his magic yet (and let’s hope he ever won’t). 4 stars because Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus are still at the pedestal and I really, really loved those.

PS. I binge read during the weekend. Lol

Book Review: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

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“He was going to break my legs ,” she said, her chin held high, the barest quaver in her voice. “Would you have come for me then, Kaz? When I couldn’t scale a wall or walk a tightrope? When I wasn’t the Wraith anymore?”

Dirtyhands would not. The boy who could get them through this, get their money, keep them alive, would do her the courtesy of putting her out of her misery, then cut his losses and move on.

“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

Rating: 5 OF 5 STARS

This book, this series, undid me.

In Crooked Kingdom, we continue the story of our six most loved criminals after they survived their 30-million-kruge worth heist except there was no 30 million kruge.

Jan Van Eck double-crossed the gang. Boy, he should have known better. And he did not only rob them the money that could have turn their lives around, Jan Van Eck stupidly took our most precious spider, Inej. Surely Dirtyhands can’t be any more freaking mad.

Kaz, together with the crew, will go to all ends to rescue Inej (which they will be able to). But that’s only a part of the huge catastrophe that is about to happen.

“Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?”
“So?” said Kaz.
“Well, usually it’s just half the city.”

Yes. Yes. Yes. When you think they can finally live a happy life, everything gets deadlier.

This book is so intricate and compelling and powerful. Leigh Bardugo created 6 characters who possess personalities so apart from one another, it’s absurd to truly love them all. And she did it well. Each is distinctive and you can empathize with. I would not have this book any other way.

Kaz. Our Kaz. He is so cunning and dangerous, and charming and gallant. I ship him and Inej so much that it hurt me so bad. The horrors of their pasts are too traumatic and to truly control it is tougher than the most dangerous roughneck. (That’s… Kaz. But yeah well… you get the gist.)

“He’d told her they would fight their way out. Knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. She would fight for him, but she could not heal him. She would not waste her life trying.”

Matthias and Nina on the other hand…

“I am grateful you’re alive”, he said. “I am grateful that you’re beside me. I am grateful that you’re eating.” She rested her head on his shoulder.
“You’re better than waffles, Matthias Helvar.”
A small smile curled the Fjerdan’s lips.
“Let’s not say things we don’t mean, my love.”  

And these two guys who I ship the most…

“Jes, I’ve thought about this-“
“Thought of me? Late at night? What was I wearing?”
“I’ve thought about your powers,” Wylan said, cheeks flushing pinker.” 

It may seem like it’s romance-y in this review but it’s not. I think Bardugo has written enough to satisfy your craving for the unnerving action and tension. I swear you have to read. This book is so amazing, and brilliant. Definitely one of my top books for the year.