Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas {5.0}

 

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Pages: 464 pages
My Rating: 5 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

The Hate U Give is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read, and I wanna beat myself up for not reading this when it came out but I just got really scared of the hype. With hyped books, it’s usually a hit or miss for me, and I didn’t want people to hate me if I didn’t like this one. But oh boy, I was so wrong because I love this book with all my heart. In fact, this is my first 5-star book of the year.

I actually just watched the trailer for this one the other day, and I had goosebumps the entire time. The Hate U Give is a book that everyone must either read, or watch at least once in their lives. It’s an amazing story about a young girl finding her voice, having solace in her family, standing up for herself, living through grief, learning to love, learning the reality of Black violence, along with all the things that come from being a teenager.

The story is beautifully written, and I definitely felt so much while reading it. It’s amazing how Angie Thomas was able to weave all these things together into one beautiful novel. The Hate U Give encompasses so much, and my heart truly connected with the characters in this one. They all felt very real to me, and I just had this urge to give Starr a big hug. Ugh, definitely a must-read!

eye-opening-and-life-changing stars
Angie Thomas

Review: Circe by Madeline Miller {3.75}

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Title: Circe
Author: Madeline Miller
Series: N/A
Genre: Adult, Fiction, Mythology, Retelling, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date:  April 10th, 2018
Pages: 288
My Rating: 3.75 Stars

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Circe is a book that has been on my TBR for a while now and I’ve always been excited about. As a pre-teen, Greek mythology sparked my interest like no other. I devoured series like Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, and the Starcrossed trilogy, but these are middle grade and young adult books. On the other hand, Circe is an adult book, shelved under general fiction. With that, I did not know what to expect. However, so many booktubers were all praise about this book, so I finally listened to it in audiobook.

From the first few minutes of the audiobook, I was already enthralled by the world that I delved into. Circe the book does not shy away from violences, and gives a more rounded telling of Circe’s story. Here, we get to see how Circe evolved from a meek child who was always bullied, to being a powerful witch who turned men into swine. Here, we get to see the rationale behind her decisions, and get to see her as humane, rather than an evil witch as she is portrayed in some literature. Filled with a lot of stories abut Circe from her time with Helios, her exile, meeting Glaucos, Hermes, Deadalus, Odysseus, Penelope and Thelemacus, this novel gives us a view of how Circe lived her life – how she suffered, how she rejoiced, how she loved, and how she hated.

There were some parts of the novel that did not interest me as much as the other parts, and there was this certain part where I had to listen to it 4 times because it just didn’t hold my attention, so I cannot give it more than my rating. However, I really enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed how we got a glimpse of a lot other Greek gods and characters, and enjoy their stories and personalities alongside that of Circe’s. Overall, this is a very interesting novel especially if you are interested in Greek mythology. It’s a great read, and the ending left me smiling like an idiot. For all of Circe’s suffering and pain throughout her earlier years, there certainly was a rainbow after the rain.

3.5 magical and enchanting stars

Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers {4.0}

 

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Title:
 Sadie
Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date:  September 8th, 2018
Pages: 311 pages
My Rating: 4 Stars

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

If you know me, you probably know that this is not my type of read. I don’t like reading about crime, gory stuff, or things that make me overly uncomfortable. However, curiosity got the better of me with this one as it was hyped so much that I just had to know what everyone was talking about. It did make me uncomfortable, it did make me read about things I don’t normally like reading about, but it also made me understand all the hype surrounding it.

Booktubers recommended to listen to the audiobook of this instead of reading the paperback, so I did. I learned that it has a cast of about 30 voice actors, and that just validated how amazing it could be. And it was. While I did not love this book as much as other people did, I still liked it.

This book is not one to be enjoyed. This book is to be understood and put to heart. Sadie is not a fun book to read, but it is an important and necessary one. It fucked me up and it bothered me, but it opened up my eyes. Sadie is one of the most infuriating characters ever, but she’s one of the realest ones as well.

I honestly don’t know how to give a proper review of this book because I still can’t wrap my head around the story until now so this is my best attempt. All I can say is if you can, listen to it on audiobook, and get ready to be mind fucked. Oh, and the hype is totally worth it!

Audiobook Review: Dead and Night (The Star-Touched Queen 0.5) by Roshani Chokshi {3.0}

Title: Death and Night
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Novella
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Pages: Kindle, 132 pages
My Rating: 3 Stars

An exclusive Star-Touched novella over 100 pages long!

Before The Star-Touched Queen there was only Death and Night.

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

I read The Star-Touched Queen a few months back but I was not satisfied with that story. The romance felt too quick, and I did not understand the hype surrounding it when it first came out. However, with the help of this novella, things finally made a little more sense that it did before, and I wish I listened to this first before The Star-Touched Queen for me to appreciate it more. 
Death and Night gave us a glimpse of how Maya and Amar met, and how their romance first blossomed. This novella also shows us how Nrithi and Maya’s friendship was, and how her romance started as well. It showed Nritti in a different light, although I still can’t understand how she turned to the way she is in The Star-Touched Queen.
This book was quick to listen to, even with the audiobook in normal speed. The tone and everything else was definitely the same with The Star-Touched Queen, which I appreciated. But then again, as I mentioned in my review of that book, it still felt like a romance novel set in a fantasy world, because the fantasy part did not exactly take place, except for the setting. There was no badass-ery; it only centered on the romance. 
Although I enjoyed this better than The Star-Touched Queen, it still left a lot to be desired, in my opinion. It still felt lacking in a way, and the romance still felt quick. I know it’s a novella, but overall, these kinds of fantasy books are just not for me. However, if you are a beginner in fantasy and used to reading contemporary, I think this and The Star-Touched Queen might ease you into the fantasy genre.
still-lacking stars

Audiobook Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber {4.0}

Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: January 31st, 2017
Pages: Paperback, 407
My Rating: 4 Stars

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

When I first heard of Caraval, there was already a lot of hype surrounding it. I didn’t get why people were so excited, because this book made me think of The Night Circus, which was really dragging for me. I mean, they both promise amazing performances and lavish worlds, and I thought that this book might be excessively descriptive of the world. Turns out, I was very, very wrong. I’m really glad that I gave Caraval a chance, because I would have missed out on a fantastic story.

Caraval is not my typical read, what with all the deception and excitement that happens in the story, but I loved it nonetheless. Truth be told, I don’t really know how to review this book because so many things happened within just 400 pages, and I still can’t wrap my head around everything that happened. But what I can say is that it had my heart pumping, my head guessing and my whole being anxious. It kept me on my toes, and it has that addicting feel to it that I just couldn’t stop listening to it even though I was supposed to be reading other books.

Caraval is so far from what I expected it to be, and I’m just glad that I caved into the hype, because the hype is totally worth it. The world and the characters are so complex, and the mystery is really intriguing. There’s just too much more to find out about this world, and I cannot wait for the next book!

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The Narrator: The narrator is truly amazing. I think that she played a part in my loving this book. She really had so much emotion in her voice, and I love how she portrayed the voices of each character differently. I would love to listen to more audiobooks narrated by her. I think my only problem was the long “No”s from Scarlet. I don’t know, they sounded weird to me, like I just wanted to fast forward the audio so I wouldn’t have to hear it. But other than that, she really did an amazing job.

worth the hype stars

Audiobook Review: The Ring and the Crown

Title: The Ring and the Crown
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

  Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

  Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

  But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard.

  Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.

 You know you really like a book when not one thing goes the way you want it to, and yet, someway, somehow, you still acknowledge how beautiful the book is and still be happy that you read it anyway. 


  The Ring and the Crown is an amazing book filled with intrigue, drama, politics and of course, romance. It is a captivating book that pulled me into a world of the court and ball dances, and it was a world that was easy to fall in love with.

“A false victory is a hollow one.”


  The Ring and the Crown is told from multiple perspectives – Marie-Victoria, princess of England and France; Isabelle, supposedly the wife of Leopold, prince of Prussia; Aelwyn, daughter of the empire’s mage, best friend of the princess; Ronan, an American girl seeking a husband because they are broke. I expected to be confused by this, but surprisingly, the continuum of the story was not disturbed, and the story flowed smoothly. 

  Of all the little stories in this book, my favorite is probably Ronan’s. From the start of the book, I already felt really connected to her. I mean, I was able to connect with all the characters in this book, but I felt the most connected to Ronan. There’s just something about her that pulled me in, and I was really rooting for her and Prince Wolf.

“One did not wonder why the sun shone in the sky, one just accepted it as a fact of life.”

  I read this book in Audio book format, and I must tell you, Jennifer Ikeda is truly a talented narrator. I think I would have liked this book less had it not been for her voice. She had the ability to add more intrigue and more wonder to the already intriguing and wonderful book.

   There were lots of things that happened in this book, and I didn’t feel bored at all. I couldn’t put off listening to the book, so as I did certain things like eat and do my chores, I was listening to the book. I couldn’t help it, the book is really amazing!

   The reason why I couldn’t give this book a full 5 stars is because towards the last 7 (I think) chapters of this book, I felt like things were rushed. One bad thing after another happened in just a matter of a few chapters, and they were all congested together. Certain things were also revealed in those last 7 chapters, and putting those revelations near the congested chapters just really put me off.

 
 There were a lot of things that didn’t happen the way I wanted it to. In fact, I was really just frustrated in the end. But despite that, as I said before, it’s not a reason for me to deduct a star or even half from my rating. I acknowledge how beautifully written this book is, and I understand that it was a good close to the story. 

  I really love this book and I cannot wait for the next one! Actually, it was only after finishing this book that I learned of the second book. I think that this book is amazing already even as a standalone, but of course now that I know about it, the need to read it as soon as possible is there.

  I recommend this book to those interested in a combination of historical fiction, romance and fantasy.