Top Ten Tuesday | Changes In My Reading Life

Happy Tuesday, readers!

Have you changed as a reader? I think I have. And I am loving the next topic that talks about how I’ve evolved my reading habits.

Top Ten Tuesday, originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a weekly meme. This week’s prompt is changes in our reading life. I’ve been waiting for this topic, and I am excited to see how everyone has changed over the years.

Have fun reading!

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Review | DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff

DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff

Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Page Count: 448

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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


In the wake of a climactic battle in the ruined city of Babel, two former best friends suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of the same quest. Eve is torn between the memories of the girl she was, and the synthetic she’s discovered herself to be. Together with her lifelike “siblings,” Eve sets out to find the real Ana Monrova, whose DNA is the key to building an army of lifelikes.

Meanwhile, Eve’s best friend, Lemon, is coming to terms with a power that she has long denied—and that others want to harness as a weapon. When she meets a strange boy named Grimm, he offers to lead her out of the horror-ridden landscape and to an enclave of other abnorms like herself. There, Lemon quickly finds a sense of belonging—and perhaps even love—among the other genetic deviates.

But all is not what it seems, and with enemies and friends, heroes and villains wearing interchangeable faces, Lemon, too, will join the race to locate Ana Monrova before her former best friend can get to her.


“Sometimes you don’t know you’ve crossed the line till you’re on the other side.”

Droogs, I don’t know if I can handle another one of Kristoff’s cliffhangers. I don’t. But this soul-destroying creator probably enjoys our torture, so I’m not counting on it. But damn you, Kristoff. Damn you.

Paradise Lost meets post-apocalyptic X-Men with a heavy dose of Mad Max, DEV1AT3 will utterly destroy your expectations. If you believed the ending of LIKEL1K3 was rough, then buckle in. Kristoff is will hit you with enough g-force you’ll come out breathless. It took me more than a month to come to terms with that ending. And I’m still not okay. I don’t understand how Kristoff conceives a mashup of storylines that somehow entwine together. Without a doubt, DEV1AT3 is one of the top favourite reads of 2019.

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Beyond the Blurb | Why Age Shouldn’t Matter When Reading YA Books

Morning, everyone!

I’ve come to terms that people will question why I, a 30-year-old reader, love YA books. They won’t understand how I started reading those titles, why I continue to do so even when I’m not the target audience, or why I champion these books and authors. And I’m okay with that realization. I truly am. I don’t need to explain why I read them.

What I’ve had enough with is the shaming or the expectation of adult readers must be excluded from the YA community. Now, I don’t want the adult voice to silence the teen voice. No, that’s not my intention or opinion here. What I want to discuss is how age shouldn’t be a factor when reading YA titles.

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Top Ten Tuesday | Unpopular Bookish Opinions

Happy Tuesday, lovelies!

Another week has arrived, and I all I want to do is to read and to sleep! What is wrong with me? 😂

Top Ten Tuesday, originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a weekly meme. The new prompt is unpopular bookish opinions. Deep breath, people. Calm yourselves. We’ll be okay.

I’ve thought which ones to pick and which ones are plainly obvious. Now, these choices are my own opinion. We may not agree, and that’s fine. Hopefully, you do with some of them. Have fun!

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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

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


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.”

Monthly Wrap-Up | December 2018

Morning, book fam!

Who else feels drained from the holidays? I’ve been getting in some solid 10-hour nights, but I still feel exhausted. So I am glad I’m still on my work break, or I couldn’t function properly. Hopefully, for my new year’s resolution, I’ll get back into the blogging swing. I’ve missed talking with all of you.

But Christmas turned out great, and New Year’s Eve just set off a great new start to 2019. Is anyone freaking out over the number of books we need to buy and read this year?

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Review | Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Published by: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: October 2, 2018

Genre: High Fantasy

Page Count: 409

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchase

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


One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.


“It is very hard to be human, little fox. Even the humans themselves don’t do a great job of it.”

I’ve been eagerly waiting to get back into another high fantasy. So when I saw several bloggers talk about Shadow of the Fox and also read the blurb for it, I bought myself a copy. Even though I loved the Japanese mythology, I couldn’t fall in love with it.

Every thousand years, an ancient scroll awakens a dragon who grants a wish of either great power or great destruction. Yumeko, a half-kitsune girl, is tasked with protecting a piece of that scroll when a demon slaughters her adoptive family. But many foes look to claim it, like Kage Tatsumi. But they make a pact built on hidden truths and lies, which may tear them apart.

How can I complain about that description? Julie delivers all the elements I’m looking for in a YA fantasy: a touch of romance, mythology, Japanese culture, dragons, and a great backstory. I’m not sure if the journey the characters take dulls the story or if I simply couldn’t connect with the storyline itself. What I was expecting was a well-executed Japanese-inspired fantasy, but what I got is anything but that. However, I love how Julie engrosses you in magical folklore. But I think that was one of the few things that kept me reading.

I wanted something more than formulaic writing. Too many tropes and over-used elements suck the life out of this book. By the end, I struggled with finishing it. One character who prevented me from DNFing it is Tatsumi. The demon slayer of the Shadow Clan must wipe his mind of all emotions, or the demon who possesses the sword of Kamigoroshi will take control of his body. He battles his own mind when he pairs himself with Yumeko. His growth is complex and compelling. I wanted to see more of his past and watch how he fights internally.

Unfortunately, the other main character, Yumeko, couldn’t keep my attention. I don’t mind when a character is naive. But even though the monks isolated her from the world because she’s half-kitsune, her character development is barely non-existent. She falls for the same tricks. In the first one hundred pages, I loved her. But she falls flat by the end.

Julie relies too heavily on the mythology, and she doesn’t see the flaws in her writing. If she focused more on her characters, then perhaps I would have enjoyed the book more. However, she has created a unique platform to build off a solid series though. If she fixes these issues, then her sequels may fare better.

Review | Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Superheroes

Page Count: 384

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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


When the Bat’s away, the Cat will play. It’s time to see how many lives this cat really has. . . .

Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking.

Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing’s undoing.


“She was a ghost. A wraith.”

In the highly anticipated third installment in the DC Icons series, Selina Kyle discovers her claws, and she’s looking to bring Gotham City to its knees. If you’re a huge DC fan as I am, then Catwoman: Soulstealer is your next read. Thieving, trickery, sexual tension, scheming, sisterly love, friendship, and female leads who know how to look good while stealing are what make the DC nerd in me sing.

The big old Bat is away, and Catwoman returns to the infamous Gotham City, and she’s looking for an all-female crew to swindle the rich and wreak havoc. But when she arrives, ghosts from her past want back what she stole from them. And they’re willing to burn Gotham to the ground to get it.

Catwoman is one of my hotly anticipated reads of the Summer. And before I picked it up, I had large expectations I wasn’t sure Sarah could carry out. She has disappointed me with a few of her books. However, she doesn’t let me down with this one. Catwoman is more rough on the edges. You don’t always see the human side of this multi-faceted character. But Sarah reveals a different perspective of her, and I love it.

Selina turns into a street fighter in order for her and her sister, Maggie, to survive. But when the cops come knocking, Selina must choose either going to jail or giving up her sister by accepting the deal with the League of Assassins. Two years later, she is more lethal, wiser, and determined to fulfill her plan. I love Selina as the villain, the anti-hero, and frankly herself. Her alter-ego doesn’t diminish her as a strong-willed character with scars to show. Sarah gives just enough depth for dedicated fans to appreciate and new readers to enjoy.

Sarah easily incorporates classic DC villains and characters readers love. I savoured every moment Selina has with her sister and the schemes she concocts with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. And as a follower of Sarah, I know her writing will grip me until the very end. Every fight scene, tender moment, and foreshadowing come together to make an explosive plot. This storyline gives readers several gratifying character arcs and shows how deadly Gothman’s streets truly are.

What stands out for me is the bonds of friendship and sisterhood. I adored how Selina slowly lowers her guard when she brings Ivy and Harley into the fray. And even though I prefer Catwoman with Batman, the budding relationship with Luke Fox, or Batwing, is intriguing. However, I felt it’s more obligatory than natural. Why does Selina need a love interest? She doesn’t. Unfortunately, Luke’s character growth isn’t as well developed as Selina’s, and that choice puts a damper on the character himself.

Sarah delivers an action-packed coming-of-age with the right dose of love and an overwhelming amount of sass, snark, and scheming. Friendship is at the heart of this sequel. So if you love Catwoman, find yourself a copy. You won’t want to miss this.

“There are good people in Gotham. Protect them.”

Review | Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Page Count: 402

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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


On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.


“Your past doesn’t make calls on your future. It doesn’t matter who you were. Only who you are.”

I’ve survived my first Kristoff book. And when I closed it, I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or what I should do with myself. Lifel1k3 is a brilliantly crafted novel I never knew that could exist. And yet, here I am writing a review for it. Now, I understand why so many readers love Kristoff’s work. I’m an instant fan.

Rarely do I find a book that offers everything to readers: a stellar cast, captivating writing and storytelling, explosive worldbuilding, and heartbreaking character growth. But Kristoff exceeds those expectations. I was close in dnfing Lifel1k3, but I’m thrilled that I pushed on to find one of the best books of 2018!

Eve lives with broken memories and in a shattered country once named the US. But in this post-apocalyptic world, she wants nothing more than to survive the next day with her bestie, Lemon Fresh; her logika, Cricket; and her dying grandpa. But when she uncovers Ezekiel, a lifelike, that life is over when she attracts the wrong gang that wants to see her dead.

Other than the worldbuilding, the characters are what win me over with this book. I grew to love Eve. She’s a badass, tough female lead who takes nothing from no one. And as the storyline progresses, I empathize with her once she discovers her past and the lies surrounding it. She may rock a fauxhawk and a cybernetic eye and fight robots in death matches. But by the end, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. Her character growth rivals that of well-written characters.

The lifelike, or android, displays more empathy, compassion, love, and humanity than most humans do. Ezekiel is swoon-worthy, but he’s the moral compass to the book. And I love that about him. Lemon Fresh—yes, that’s her name—may be the finest sidekick a woman can ever dream of. I loved the banter and sarcasm she brings to this colourful gang. And I can’t forget to mention Cricket. I can’t imagine I’d love a robot this much, but I never rooted so hard for one in my life!

Kristoff combines Tank Girl, Romeo and Juliet, and Mad Max in this outlandishly wild journey. What excels in this chaos is the worldbuilding. Eve and her cohorts live in the destruction of what was known as Kalifonya, now called the Dregs. Corporations now fight over what is left of the country after the annihilation of lifelikes, which refused to follow the Three Laws, which govern all robotics. Unfortunately, she has attracted unwanted attention from the Brotherhood. This mayhem just enhances the intricate design of the story. And with every chance I got, I reveled in it. Kristoff makes you want to love science fiction all over again.

I’m not sure if I can put into words of my admiration of this author. Even though Lifel1k3 is the first book I’ve read of his, I need the rest so I can tame my need for his writing. Not many authors have that kind of writing power. But Kristoff does. His writing enthralls your imagination from the start. You need to know how the world fell, how society made it this way, and if these characters will survive to the next chapter. This must-read science fiction needs to be on your TBR list.

Spring 2017 Recent and Upcoming Releases

This little bookworm needs to stop being shy around other bloggers. Bloggers mean friends. And friends are good (not food [I had to throw that in 😂]) So let’s talk books! What are you looking forward to for this season? What’s on your pre-order list? What’s your instant buy? Let me know in the comments. Here’s my list for recent and upcoming releases I’ve been waiting for.

 

Missing (April 18)

Another Kelley book? Come on, it’s me. Kelley publishes a book, and I’ll buy it. This YA has an interesting twist. The kids in Reeve’s End always leave town, but when Winter Crane discovers a boy left for dead, she wonders if all the children who have left are missing. Sounds interesting? Yes, indeed. I can’t wait to jump into another one of her mystery/thriller books. She hasn’t written many YA mysteries, so I wonder where she’ll go with this one.

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin (May 2)

I’m slipping more into the YA genre. And I admit that I’m completely and entirely hooked. Just twelve more days. TWELVE DAYS. I haven’t anticipated a book this badly. And we get 720 glorious pages! Okay, calm yourself, Sib. Now A Court of Wings and Ruins may just kill me, but I want it more than any other book (fighting words, yes?).

I can’t get enough of this series. The fanfiction doesn’t satisfy me, the illustrations somewhat stave off my anticipation, but I need the book. And my little bat babies. Hello, wingspan. 😍 Cue the fangirl screaming now. Cauldron help me.

 

Flame in the Mist (May 16)

Look at this cover! I’m in love. For months, I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about the Flame in the Mist. Betrayal, murder, Feudal Japan, and a kickass woman who infiltrates a male-only gang? I’m in. I haven’t read any of Renée‘s other work, but her book certainly piques my interest.