Review | Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Published by: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction

Page Count: 320

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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In a world dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated home.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty-and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.


“You do not kneel or bend, I told myself. To anyone. You continue.”

I never anticipated I needed a book in my life until I started reading Mirage. This slow-burning Moroccan-inspired fantasy is the breath I’ve been waiting for. And I can’t imagine why I waited so long to experience this marvel. How can I possibly explain my love for Somaiya’s debut? I don’t know if I can convey my love for it. I want to pass it to children who haven’t found a book they can relate to, can’t see themselves in, but want to be proud of reading.

You know I’m traversing the science fiction genre. For years, I haven’t given it credit. But Somaiya is why I’m thrilled to explore the genre further. She takes YA court intrigue, feminism, and a tantalizing love story and transforms these elements into a uniquely written space opera.

She also reveals these multi-dimensional characters who fight for life, survival, and acceptance and somehow makes you sympathize over others you never thought you’d understand. Amani, an eighteen-year-old Andalaan aspiring poet, soon discovers she’s a mere image of Maram, the Vathek princess, whose father colonized Amani’s peaceful moon. Whisked away from her family, she must now learn how to survive in a world where one mistake will get her killed.

As the story progresses, you get a sense of who Amani truly is. She’s more than just a dreamer. Even throughout her naivety, she thrives and transforms into her own character. You don’t know how much I loved reading her development. She soon uses her influence and tries to bond with Maram, who has another side that readers may not expect. And throughout this growth, she somehow finds love with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. At times, I was saddened by their unexpected love story, their past, and their heartache.

I’ll be honest with you. I’ve never been this surprised by a debut novel. Somaiya transports you to a bleak, colonized backdrop rich with Moroccan culture. She taught me about a civilization I admired from afar, but I’m proud to know a piece of it now. This character-driven treasure is abundant in culture, beautiful storytelling, and opulent worldbuilding. I hoped for a bit more action, but that issue doesn’t take away from the storyline.

I didn’t want to stop reading this novel. It dominated my every thought when I cracked open the book. If this review hasn’t convinced you to take a risk on Mirage, I don’t know what else will. But don’t wait any longer than I did. It deserves to be heard. It deserves its own voice. And you deserve this treat.

“You are not defined by the men in your life, no matter how powerful. You lived before them and you shall live after them.”

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Review | The Dragon’s Wing by Tate James

The Dragon’s Wing by Tate James

Published by: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: November 1, 2017

Genre: Reverse Harem, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Page Count: 382

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


I should have known my quest for vengeance would eventually be my downfall. I should have been more careful, more paranoid–but I’m glad I wasn’t. Who knew that getting caught for my crimes would lead to so much happiness?

But joy can be fleeting…

It turns out, this battle is only just beginning. With ultimate power on the line, my faceless enemies will stop at nothing to capture me, dead or alive. I need to master my abilities, fast, or this could be the end for someone I care far too deeply about.

I’m Kit Davenport and this is going to be a bumpy flight.


“Because she may be our Kit, but she was my Vixen. And no one fucks with what’s mine.”

This reverse harem series knows how to hook you in, trap you, then entice you beyond words. And I am one of its victims. So let the book world know this one fact: I am trash for Kit Davenport novels. And I do not see my addiction getting any better. So please send help.

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Books I’ll (Probably) Never Read Book Tag

Morning, friends!

Has this month moved slowly for you? I feel it has for me. I’ve been looking for new book tags. And I think I’ve found one at Howling Libraries. Destiny hasn’t tagged anyone in particular. But I loved her answers though and thought I’d give it a chance!

So show Destiny some love before you check out my post.

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Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Published by: Henry Holt and Co.

Publication Date: June 4, 2013

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 448

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Alina Starkov’s power has grown, but not without a price. She is the Sun Summoner-hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Shadow Fold. But she and Mal can’t outrun their enemies for long.

The Darkling is more determined than ever to claim Alina’s magic and use it to take the Ravkan throne. With nowhere else to turn, Alina enlists the help of an infamous privateer and sets out to lead the Grisha army.

But as the truth of Alina’s destiny unfolds, she slips deeper into the Darkling’s deadly game of forbidden magic, and further away from her humanity. To save her country, Alina will have to choose between her power and the love she thought would always be her shelter. No victory can come without sacrifice-and only she can face the oncoming storm.


“I’ve seen what you truly are, and I’ve never turned away. I never will. Can he say the same?”

Because of the fallout from the explosive ending of Leigh’s debut novel, Siege and Storm walks on the borderline of the second book syndrome. At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the sequel. But I’m rather surprised I do.

Leigh improves on her weaknesses in Shadow and Bone. And while some nuisances weren’t necessary, I feel it gives you a better understanding of this vast universe Leigh has created. The political backdrop refuses to remain hidden and rears its disturbing head. And she explores the intricate bond Alina and the Darkling share, which is as tantalizing as I imagined it.

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Review | Dark Lover by J. R. Ward

Dark Lover by J. R. Ward

Published by: Penguin Group

Publication Date: February 19, 2005

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy

Page Count: 393

Rating: 4/5

Source: Gift

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In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.


“You don’t know this yet. But you are Mine.”

My best friend Beth has raved about the Black Dagger Brotherhood for longer than I can remember. She has never steered me wrong, and I love her for that. Sometimes, though, vampire novels are iffy for me. But I should have listened to her. This book is a sexy, steamy, and intense read. And I am an instant fan.

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Review | Evermore by Sara Holland

Evermore by Sara Holland

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: December 31, 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 368

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchase

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Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: She is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Now Jules must piece together the stories of her past lives to save the person who has captured her heart in this one.


“Don’t you know, Jules? Everything worth doing is dangerous.”

After reading Sara’s debut novel, I knew Evermore would be at the top of my most anticipated TBR list. There was no way I’d let this sequel pass me by, especially with that whiplash plot twist Sara threw at her readers. So even though I love the journey she takes us on, I feel a bit let down.

Sara is a natural born storyteller. She weaves tales, from past to present, to plot out intriguing worlds. So it pains me to say that I’m disappointed with how the finale turns out. I hate writing this sort of review because I know how difficult creating a novel truly is. Sometimes, though, a sequel simply falls into the second book syndrome and doesn’t carve its own path to originality.

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Review | The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: January 8, 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 336

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.
 
The first lesson is to make yourself strong.
 
After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.
When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

“Kiss me again,” he says, drunk and foolish. “Kiss me until I am sick of it.”

As I sit down to write my review, I know one undeniable truth: I have not survived reading the sequel. So from this point on, I do no forgive Holly for the emotional torment she has caused. The Wicked King surpasses my wildest expectations. And with each passing edition in this twisted series, I’ll make a deal with a faerie so I can go back to Elfhame.

The Folk of the Air is an addicting series to travel into. Each sentence crafted in such a way, along with characters’ decisions and actions, will make you suspect and challenge the next scene. And it has morphed into one of my all-time favourites. I never thought I’d demand a book to dominate my time. I truly pushed back finishing it quicker because I didn’t want to be forced back to the mortal realm.

One aspect I genuinely adore is how dark Holly takes her series. She reveals each element of her world and doesn’t care about any trivial thoughts on if the readers will take offence or be ashamed in enjoying this savage world. She has given us a better understanding of court politics and intrigue. How calculated move Jude takes will either set her back or destroy her scheming. I am so enrapt with the level of precision and detail Holly has put into this sequel.

Since Jude has gained control over the newly crowned High King, Cardan, she knows she must keep Oak, the next in line, safe from Faerie. But many sides now look to steal the crown from both of them. Her development builds up gradually throughout the novel. But her strategizing is what sets her apart from other female main characters though. I can only hope ever to achieve that level of badassery.

Cardan revels in his debaucheries as Jude schemes from behind the throne. But he stops at nothing to thwart her every step. They both can’t deny the sexual tension between them though. And that plays with their forced relationship they’ve built over the last few months. I cackled every time Cardan and Jude opposed one another. I couldn’t get over how their conflict has turned from hatred to passion.

Treachery and deceit are like fine wine or currency to the faerie. And each character feels the need to one-up the other. And while the Wicked King centres more around the plot, it also explores more characters and their convictions. Even though I hate most of Jude’s family and the way Cardan has turned out, I see why these characters have turned out this way. But what surprises me the most is how Holly has more world building to offer. Each step in another direction of Elfhame is new, wild, and exhilarating.

If I haven’t convinced you to pick up the Folk of the Air series, I don’t know what will. But what should is the deceit, lying, scheming, warped love, and political intrigue. Drop whatever book you’ve started reading, and start with this series. Just don’t expect to come back the same way you went in.

“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”

Review | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Published by: Henry Holt and Co.

Publication Date: June 5, 2012

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 358

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold-a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.

Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite-and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.


“The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, “is that it makes us weak.”

Coming back to the Grisha Trilogy, I never knew what to expect. How can you when Leigh whips you from one fantastical world to the next? I’ve anticipated this series since Six of Crows enchanted me.

Obviously, the first series doesn’t surpass my love for the second. And nothing will. Kaz owns my heart, so there’s no trying. But I knew I should have read it when I was younger. But I can’t resist the pull of Leigh’s writing. Her world building outclasses several authors I love. So I always want to come back to her universe.

Grisha practice the Small Science. And each caster is split into three orders: Corporalki; who are Heartrenders and Healers; Etherealki, who are Summoners; and Materialki, who are Fabrikators. Let me tell you: the magic system and the political intrigue in this series still captivate me to this day. Even though these Grisha are powerful, they must serve in the Second Army, where some consider themselves the superior beings in Ravka. I cannot get over how Leigh has crafted her debut book though.

Alina Starkov is your typical YA heroine who doesn’t know her own strength or beauty. Yup. Leigh went there. But what makes me enjoy Alina’s growth is how the new Sun Summoner is sarcastic. Praise the book gods! Finally, a character knows how to use sarcasm properly. While her voice at the beginning is somewhat annoying, I grew to enjoy her as a character. Now, with Malyen Oretsev—Alina’s friend, secret love, and soldier in the First Army—is harder to get around. I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoyed him, but he grew on me toward the end.

Now let the lower creatures step aside so the Darkling can take centre stage. Yes, I loved his scenes. And he’s one reason why I kept reading during the slower sections. He is such a dynamic and conflicting character, and yet I adore him as the villain.

But I hoped for more action where the slow pacing detracted from the overall storyline. I don’t mind a slow build, but sometimes I was looking for more. And what threw me off is the difference in writing style and voice. Six of Crows vastly eclipses her previous storytelling in the Grisha Trilogy. But it shows how far she has evolved as a writer though.

If you’ve fallen in love with Leigh’s other work, I recommend reading Shadow and Bone before you dive head first into King of Scars. Leigh is a queen at writing the perfect plot twist, and I’m glad finally to strike her debut novel off my TBR list.

Review | Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: November 6, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction, Superheroes, Fantasy

Page Count: 471

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


As Insomnia, she is a full-fledged member of the Renegades, a syndicate of powerful and beloved superheroes. She works with Adrian’s patrol unit to protect the weak and maintain order in Gatlon City.

As Nightmare, she is an Anarchist—a group of villains who are determined to destroy the Renegades. Nova wants vengeance against the so-called heroes who once failed her when she needed them most. But as Nova, her feelings for Adrian are deepening, despite the fact that he is the son of her sworn enemies and, unbeknownst to Nova, he has some dangerous secrets of his own.

In this second installment of the Renegades trilogy, Nova, Adrian, and the rest of their crew—Ruby, Oscar, and Danna—are faced with escalating crime in Gatlon City, while covert weapons and conflicting missions have Nova and Adrian questioning not only their beliefs about justice, but also the feelings they have for each other.

The line between good and evil has been blurred, but what’s clear to them both is that too much power could mean the end of their city—and the world—as they know it.


“Once we have total power, what’s to keep us from becoming villains ourselves?”

Have you ever anticipated reading a book but were afraid of doing just that? I didn’t know how to prepare for when I read the sequel to Renegades. How could I since I didn’t want it to disappoint me? So even though I went in with no expectations, Archenemies is the story I was hoping for and more.

Moral dilemmas, internal battles, and questionable beliefs play pivotal parts in the sequel. And characters are often challenged and tested by them. Although the storyline is slow in some places, I feel that character development and growth will keep readers demanding more from the Gatlon City foes and heroes.

I eagerly dived into this superb universe. I never thought I’d like reading about superheroes, but Marissa makes you love them all the more though. Archenemies quickly takes off from the explosive ending in Renegades. Gatlon City is seeing an increased crime wave while Nova battles with her duty and responsibility as a Renegade and as an Anarchist. Drugs and weapons flood the streets, but the Renegades, the idolized heroes of the city, uncover a new weapon that may stop crime for good, Weapon N.

I love finding storylines that make readers question what they’d might do. And Archenemies excels at that inner conflict. While the first novel gives you some development, the growth with the two protagonists will intrigue Marissa’s following. And I’m happy to say that I enjoyed seeing how Adrian (Sketch and the Sentinel) and Nova (Nightmare and Insomnia) play into their roles. Each character sees how their worlds clash against each other, but now they aren’t naïve by just trusting in their own views.

While this growth takes the spotlight, some of the action and other characters are pushed into the background, which I hope wouldn’t happen. Marissa’s main characters are compelling, but I wanted more substance with the secondary ones. I love how Nova transitions from one life to the next. She is my favourite out the roster. And the inner conflict she faces gives you an inside view of how difficult her need to avenge her family and her duty as a friend will quarrel with each other.

This sequel is more character driven than anything else. And I can’t help but commend Marissa for pulling off this feat. The characters will always stand above the action scenes, I say. I want to see how this world unfolds, how Adrian and Nova’s budding relationship will turn out, and if Gatlon City will survive when the Renegades and the Anarchists finally confront each other again. I wasn’t expecting to love Archenemies, but now I can’t wait for the final novel!

Top Ten Tuesday | My Winter 2018 TBR

Morning, book fam,

I honestly believe my TBR list will never end, especially with all the books already on it, not including the ones I haven’t added yet.

Top Ten Tuesday, originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a weekly meme. For the second last topic of December, we show off our Winter TBR pile. I could add more. I should probably list more since I have so many on my shelves, but I don’t want to freak myself out. 😂 I shouldn’t say that. Holiday break starts this week, so I’ll have plenty of time to catch up. Book binge, shall we?!

So I hope you love my choices. Have fun!

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