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!

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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?

Read More »

Review | Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: July 31, 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 320

Rating: 4/5

Source: Indigo Teen

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


Serina Tessaro has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace—someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. It’s her chance to secure a better life for her family, and to keep her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, out of trouble. But when Nomi catches the Heir’s eye instead, Serina is the one who takes the fall for the dangerous secret her sister has been hiding.
Trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one option: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to save Serina. But this is easier said than done…A traitor walks the halls of the palazzo, and deception lurks in every corner.
Meanwhile Serina is running out of time. Imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive, surrounded by women stronger than she is, one wrong move could cost her everything. There is no room for weakness on Mount Ruin, especially weaknesses of the heart.

I received a free copy from Indigo Teen. My review reflects my honest and unbiased opinion.

 

“Women think they’re strong when they’re fighting other women, but when a man fights them, they know the truth.”

With some stories, you know how they unfold. And that anticipation may kill your love of the novel itself. But others, even if you predict what will happen, arrive in your life at just the right time. While I picked up Grace and Fury, I had no expectations. But what I never envisioned was how I needed to read this book.

Read More »

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 | The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: March 4, 2014

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 435

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Purchase

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


Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom’s most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin’s Guild, Celaena yields to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam.

When Celaena’s scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes—and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn’s orders, Celaena risks unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn’s clutches—and if they fail, they’ll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives.


“If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything. Some people learn to embrace it- to love it. Some endure it through drowning it in sorrow, or by making themselves forget. Others turn it into anger.”

Coming into this series late, I knew I had a lot to catch up on. I knew I’d travel through painful and heartwrenching backstories. So I was nervous and hesitant to start the prequel. Sarah reminds us why Throne of Glass enchanted us at the beginning, how Celaena Sardothien suffered, how much she lost, and what she gave up to save the forgotten.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ben, a fellow assassin, has been murdered. Celaena is hellbent on avenging him, but Arobynn Hamel, the Lord of the Assassins, has other plans by sending her and Sam Cortland to Skull’s Bay. Sarah introduces the infamous Lord of the Pirates, Captain Rolfe. And I am smitten even if I want to gut this man. Both she and Sam discover their master wants them to ship slaves back to Rifthold. This is moment shows me why I love Celaena, who is indignant and plans to thwart Arobynn’s plan.

This short story is a solid start to the novella. This experience shapes Celaena into the character who she is now. I was surprised by the hostility between Sam and Celaena. I wasn’t expecting that, but I loved the banter though. This story appalled, horrified, and sickened me. Sarah opens up her world and shows you the seedy side of Erilea. It gives you perspective and understanding behind Celaena’s convictions.

The Assassin and the Healer

⭐️⭐️⭐️

After the punishment Arobynn inflicts onto her and Sam after their actions in Skull’s Bay, Celaena meets a former healer, Yrene Towers, and teaches the young woman how to defend herself.

I’ve spoiled myself with many characters, so I knew who Yrene is. But I had zero knowledge about her history and her connection to Celaena. Even though Celaena is tough on Yrene, I enjoyed seeing Celaena display a softer side you don’t always have the privilege to see.

The Assassin and the Desert

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Arobynn sends Celaena to the Silent Assassins in the Red Desert. There, she must earn approval from the Master of the Silent Assassins. She believes she can easily win him over, but instead, she must work for it. You see a lot of conceit and pride with Celaena. Yes, she’s earned the title “Adarlan’s Assassin,” but that means nothing here.

This story proves crucial for Celaena. She opens up, learns how to associate with other people, and befriends them as well. I enjoyed reading this story even if it isn’t my favourite.

The Assassin and the Underworld

⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Coming back from the aftermath of what happens in the Red Desert, Celaena plans to pay off her debt to Arobynn, who is apologetic of what he’s done to her. To ask for forgiveness, he offers her another client, who wants her ex-husband dead.

Here is where you see the relationship between Celaena and Sam blossom. They fight, bicker, and plan her next job. But both of these characters evolve. Unfortunately, they aren’t told the full situation, and Celaena soon realizes she can’t trust everyone.

Lysandra is, hands down, the positive to this story though. I can’t get enough of Celaena and Lysandra’s fighting.

The Assassin and the Empire

⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Celaena wants out of Adarlan and the Guild and away from Arobynn. Sam finds a contract that may solve all their problems though. Both of them must kill the Crime Lord Jayne and his right-hand man Farran. She’s hesitant, with good reason. Sam believes he must prove himself by making the first kill.

This addition lays the groundwork of Throne of Glass. I wasn’t prepared for this one. No. No, I wasn’t. I cried hard, and I’ve been dreading this story because I know what happens. But the pain isn’t less gut-wrenching.

 

I overall enjoyed this prequel. But I didn’t love it though. I wasn’t invested in it as much as the other sequels. But like always, Sarah throws in foreshadowing that hurts and makes you want to skip by it. So prepare yourself when you attempt to read it. It’ll give you chills, make you ugly cry at points, but sets up a beautiful beginning to one of my favourite series yet.

 

What are your thoughts on Assassin’s Blade? Is it a so-so read, or did you thoroughly love it? Let’s chat!

Review | Wildcard by Marie Lu

Wildcard by Marie Lu

Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 18

Genre: Science Fiction

Page Count: 352

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Purchase

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


Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?


“That’s the difference between the real and the virtual. Reality is where you can lose the ones you love. Reality is the place where you can feel the cracks in your heart.”

I believe everyone all knows how much I adore Warcross. I never knew that I’d fall that hard for a science fiction book. But here I am, marveling at Marie’s creation. So Wildcard ended up as one of my top most anticipated sequels to read. While I enjoyed this hi-action, colourful, and thrilling read, I’m left wanting more.

Emika knows the truth behind Hideo’s NeuroLink algorithm. And with the help of the Phoenix Riders, she realizes she must stop him from releasing it to the world. But a bounty on her life causes her trouble, and she may be forced to rely on Zero and the Blackcoats, which are hellbent on controlling Hideo’s new toy.

Even though my thoughts are clashing with each other, I must admit that I’m in love with Marie’s worldbuilding. This author knows how to make a flashy virtual reality look utopic, but in reality, it conceals a deadly and hidden underworld. The premise of the book impresses me. It also terrifies me though. Emika travels through more of the Dark World. And with that comes the risks she never anticipates. We aren’t in the rainbow-filled Toyko anymore.

Marie explores the consequences of technological advancement. And I couldn’t get enough of that storyline. Unfortunately, the execution at the end feels rushed and hastily put together. I wanted more substance from this arc. And I didn’t find it. This sequel relies heavily on the plot, not the characters. And I believe that part is where the two books differ. I loved meeting the characters. And even though we get more backstory of some, they weren’t the pinnacle of the finale.

However, some stood out from the static. Emika will always be one of my favourite characters. Being thrown into a dangerous world, she feels the responsibility to set it right. She knows the dark path Hideo is taking to avenge his brother, and yet she can’t let go of her feelings. By the end of Warcross, I was swaying back and forth with Hideo. Some part of me doesn’t, nor will ever, trust him. But Marie shows us why he chose this direction. Zero may be on the most conflicting character to understand. But I love yet hate him.

I wanted to set my excitement high for this sequel. I wanted the Warcross world to engross, tease, tempt, and impress me. But this time, I didn’t login into this virtual reality. I’m left questioning the book more than loving it. If you’re in need of another championship fix, check your expectations. But I’d give it a chance if you fell in love with Warcross.

Beyond the Blurb | Addressing Sexual Assault in YA Books

 

For months, I psyched myself out of writing this post. A part of me doesn’t want to address the topic. But I’m committing more harm than good. So, for this week’s topic for my weekly/monthly discussion post, Beyond the Blurb, I want to address what the pros and cons of sexual assault in YA books are and why we need to keep talking about it.

As I write this post, I want nothing more than to delete it and keep quiet. But I can’t. Sexual assault is a difficult and intense topic to discuss. So I’ll admit this now: I’m a survivor. And my scars still haunt me. My demons still control who I am, even if I want to fight back. I will spend the rest of my life healing. So you can easily guess that sexual assault in any book is difficult for me to read. However, let me be clear: it’s 2018, and we people (and readers) need to stop ignoring assault.

So how widespread is sexual assault? Here are some US facts from Teen Help:

  • 42% of female rape victims were assaulted before they turned an adult
  • 1 in 5 men have been assaulted
  • 28% of male rape victims have been assaulted before turning 10-years-old
  • Teenagers will account for half of all reported sexual abuse
  • Teenagers (between 16 and 19) are 3.5 times more likely to be the victim

Unfortunately, many assaults will go unreported. Our society has allowed predators to go free because victims must “think about the impact of the accused,” there “isn’t enough evidence to prove it,” or the “accused isn’t credible enough.” But we don’t think about the repercussions of the survivor. So when you see these statistics, we cannot keep ignoring the issue. So I commend YA authors addressing assault in their books. But here are the reasons why writing about it is so important for survivors and possible future victims:

It shows the survivors that they aren’t alone

You don’t know how crucial this point is for survivors. When they’re assaulted, they’re isolated and feel as if no one will understand their pain, shame, fear, and anger. But they aren’t. As much as 50% of all women will be assaulted. Let that number sink in. We all know that literature often reflects our society. So a character’s story may show them they truly aren’t alone.

It creates a platform for survivors to finally talk about their assault

One reason why survivors never report their assault is due to the shame they face. Sexual assault kits and procedures are invasive and can possibly revictimize them. But when they are given the opportunity to open up and to address their past, you give them the chance to heal. If a character who was assaulted opens up about their pain, that choice may give survivors the strength to come forward.

It allows them to cope with their assault

For years, I wanted to ignore my past. I didn’t want to acknowledge it. If I did, then I’d have to admit that I was assaulted. But when more character arcs addressed sexual assault, I was able to open that door, let out my pain, and finally cope with my feelings. And I’ll forever be indebted to the authors who have helped me with my demons.

 

But when there is a positive in a situation, then you’ll always get a negative. So what are they?

The author may open up unhealed wounds or reach out to a much younger audience

You must allow survivors to come to terms in their own way. Many do not want to think about what has happened to them. And not every teenager who is the target audience for YA will face sexual assault. They may not understand yet.

The author may use sexual assault in the worst way possible

Please, authors, do not use sexual assault as a trope. It isn’t. It’s a real and dangerous life-altering event. Don’t use it as a way to make the character stronger. Because getting assaulted doesn’t make survivors strong at the beginning. They’re utterly broken. It’ll take years for them to harness that strength.

The author may have caused more harm to survivors

You cannot force survivors to confront their pain if they’re not ready. And if you do, you may hurt them more. Imagine being assaulted, then forced to deal with it. Why do you think court cases are so agonizing for them? Reliving their assault is hard enough. Being forced to remember what has happened, when all they want to do is to get lost in a book, may have negative effects on them and readers. So that’s why trigger warnings are so important. Use them.

 

So what are your thoughts on sexual assault in YA books? Do you think that including it in these books will help or hinder victims? Is it appropriate for the intended audience?

I’d love to see what you think on the matter.

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.

Review | Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: August 15, 2013

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 418

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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


Celaena Sardothien is the king’s Champion-yet she is far from loyal to the crown, for the man she serves is bent on evil. But working against her master in secret is no easy task. As Celaena tries to untangle the mysteries buried within the glass castle, she can trust no one, not even her supposed allies Crown Prince Dorian, Captain of the Guard Chaol, and foreign princess Nehemia.

Then, an unspeakable tragedy shatters Celaena’s world. She must decide once and for all where her loyalties lie…and whom she will fight for.


“But death was her curse and her gift, and death had been her good friend these long, long years.”

With badassery, betrayals, and deadly secrets, Crown of Midnight cements Sarah’s place in the fantasy world. Since I’ve had some time to control myself after reading this spectacular book, I can finally write my review. The foreshadowing master has done it again by writing a sequel that surpasses its predecessor. Am I surprised? No. Am I completely at her mercy? Yes. I’m here to stay, TOG fandom!

I lost count of how many times my emotions took a hold of me. And I somehow put myself together so I could move on to the next book. You know I’m dedicated when I can’t stopping reading a series. Sarah threads multi-layered arcs and brings them together to craft a well-executed story.

The Throne of Glass series is one of my favourites. And I truly don’t know how properly to explain my love for it. I had strong expectations with this sequel. I wanted everything her debut novel has to offer and more. And Sarah doesn’t fail. Having won the tournament, Celaena Sardothien is now the King’s Champion and must do his bidding, whether she wants to or not. As she uncovers secrets that should be left unburied, she faces a devastating loss.

Did I honestly believe I could love a character more? Clearly, I was wrong. I adore Celaena and her journey. You get to see more backstory with this cleverly thought-out character. And I can’t help but respect how multi-faceted she turns out to be. Death and heartache are not done leaving scars on her. And this book just shows how much she has suffered and continues to do so.

Like I’ve previously said, the secondary characters impress me. And I wasn’t sure what to expect from Chaol, Dorian, and Nehemia. I knew Chaol and Calaena explore a relationship, but I never knew it would tear strips into my already fragile heart. I shipped them hard. I loved his character arc, and the banter between the both of them made me so happy. Even though Dorian isn’t the love interest, he does play a strong role. And the tension between Nehemia and Calaena may be the hardest part of this book though.

Sarah slowly reveals this deadly and cutthroat world. You don’t want to live in Erilea. You don’t want to survive here. And yet she consistently proves how strong her characters are. Her storytelling improves as she uncovers the horrors of this continent. And I wonder how anyone ever lives in such a terrifying environment. Now, she intertwines fantasy into a magicless world. And I love that it builds suspense into her worldbuilding.

As I continue reading this series, I don’t know how I can love the next book more than the last. But I do. Sarah creates believable characters who I want to find freedom. And she unfolds a beautifully told story I’ll continue to admire.