5 stars · book review

Review : A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Title : A Conjuring of Light
Author : V.E. Schwab
Series : Shades of Magic #3
Genre : YA fantasy
Release Date : February 28th, 2017
Publisher : Titan Books

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.
THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.
WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?
WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.
WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

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5 stars · arc · book review

ARC Review : These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Title : These Violent Delights
Author : Chloe Gong
Genre : YA fantasy, historical-fiction
Series : These Violent Delights #1
Release Date : November 17th, 2020
Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry Books

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

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5 stars · arc · book review

ARC Review : The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

Title : The Invisible Life of Addie Larue
Author : V.E. Schwab
Genre : Adult Fantasy
Release Date : October 6th, 2020
Publisher : Titan Books

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.

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5 stars · book review

Review : Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Title : Queen of Air and Darkness
Author : Cassandra Clare
Series : The Dark Artifices #3
Genre : YA fantasy
Release Date : December 4th, 2018
Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry Books

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dark secrets and forbidden love threaten the very survival of the Shadowhunters in Cassandra Clare’s Queen of Air and Darkness, the final novel in the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling The Dark Artifices trilogy.What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the blight that is destroying the race of warlocks.

Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

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5 stars · book review

Review : Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

Title : Listen to Your Heart
Author : Kasie West
Genre : YA contemporary
Release Date : May 29th, 2018
Publisher : Point

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.

Continue reading “Review : Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West”

5 stars · book review

Review : Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Title : Caraval
Author : Stephanie Garber
Genre : YA fantasy
Series : Caraval #1
Release Date : January 31st, 2017
Publisher : Flatiron Books

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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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.

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5 stars · book review

Review + Discussion : Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Title : Lord of Shadows
Author : Cassandra Clare
Series : The Dark Artifices #2
Genre : YA fantasy
Release Date : May 23, 2017
Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry

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Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.



*This review contains no spoiler, but I’ve created a spoiler and discussion section below the line

Frankly, I don’t know how to write this review except to say LORD OF SHADOWS WILL WRECK YOUR HEART AND YOUR SOUL. This book is just that good that amazing would be an understatement. It’s basically everything that I don’t know I hoped in a sequel.

I have so many things to say, but let’s start with the characters first. I am pleased to inform you that the characters development is so well done here. While the characters in Lady Midnight is more focused on Julian, Emma, Christina, and Mark, in here, we get to see more of Kit, Ty, Livvy, and Dru. I honestly love Kit! We didn’t see much of him in LM, but in here we see a lot of his Herondale sassiness. And I love his friendship with Livvy and budding romance/friendship with Ty. Livvy and Ty also get their own spotlight here and it makes my little heart happy. Side note, but I think Cassie handle autism well here. I already suspect that Ty has autism since LM, eventhough it never been addressed clearly, but she discuss the topic here in a positive way. We even get Diana POVs here, which is really great! I think I love every one of them more than I did in Lady Midnight, if it was even possible. But, to be honest, while I love them all, the character I relate with the most is Julian. This really surprise me, since I didn’t really feel that way in LM, but when I read this book, I found myself agreeing to every choice and every act he made, both good and bad. I would have done the same thing if I were in his place. Suffice to say, he’s definitely my favorite character here and by the end of the book I just wanna hug him and never let go.

If you worried that the plot would disappoint, worry not, because the event in Lady Midnight is nothing compared to this. It’s not about Los Angeles Institute anymore, but rather the problem has spread in the Shadowhunter world. We even visited London (which please me because SO MANY TID/TLH references! We even meet one or two of TID characters 😉), Cornwall, Faerie Land, and Idris. And yes, like I said, it’ll play with your heart and eventually break it on the last pages.

At this point I don’t have any word left to explain this book without giving away spoilers (more to it below) so please do yourself a favor and read this book or start this series if you haven’t!


SPOILERS + DISCUSSIONS

Don’t go below this if you don’t want to be spoiled!

  • CAN WE TALK ABOUT LIVVY? Her death really really wreck me and I’m just at loss of words when I read that scene. I’m not naive enough to think all the Blackthorns will survive by the end of this series, but still I didn’t expect her to die in this book, on the very last pages of it, no less. And she died in Julian’s arms. Julian, who became a parent figure since he was twelve, trying to keep all of her brothers and sisters safe, has to watch his own sister died in his arms. No, I’m not crying, you are.
  • Livvy’s death got me thinking, how will Julian cope? It’s been clear since LM that Julian is ruthless, that he would burn down the world if it means his family would be safe, so there’s a pretty big possibilities of him being an antihero in book 3. But I got fascinated by the quote Cassie put in her dedication page: “The wound is the place where the light enters you”, which is why I’m clinging to this small chance of him not being destructive, and instead honor Livvy’s death in a way that she would love.
  • I didn’t talk about the romance before because I’m afraid it’ll be spoilery, but I want to discuss about Mark x Christina x Kieran situation. This surprise me because I kinda ship all three of them? I pretty much didn’t ship any of them in LM (neither Mark x Christina nor Mark x Kieran), but the more I read about them in Lord of Shadows, the more I think they would be good for each other. As for Julian and Emma, there’s SO MUCH angst between them, but they’re pretty much in the same situation as before, with only difference that now they both know they love each other.
  • Not really a spoiler but how am I supposed to wait 2 years for book 3?
5 stars · book review

Review : Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Title : Crooked Kingdom
Author : Leigh Bardugo
Genre : YA fantasy
Series : Six of Crows #2
Release Date : September 20th, 2016
Publisher : Henry Holt

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When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.


To be frank, I’ve no idea how to write this review except to say THIS BOOK IS CAPTIVATING AND INTRIGUING, YOU DEFINITELY SHOULD READ IT. I’m sure you’ve heard this a thousand times, but Crooked Kingdom is truly one amazing book. It’s not something I could explain in a review, but rather something you’ll understand when you read the book, and that’s why I’m going to keep this review simple.

After pulling a seemingly impossible heist in Six of Crows, they’re back to Ketterdam, but not to live a luxurious life like they originally expected. Instead, they have to plan another heist, one that’s more dangerous since they’re surrounded by enemies who know them well. I have to say that I miss the gang, eventhough I just reread Six of Crows back in January! In here, the characters are developed, be it their acts, their thoughts, and their feelings, without losing their uniqueness. Kaz is still as genius as ever, Nina is still witty, Inej is still being queen, Jesper is as funny as ever, Matthias is still serious and thoughtful, and Wylan is still being smart and innocent (though he’s no longer THAT innocent, thanks to Jesper). Since we got 6 POVs here, I feel like I know each characters well, that by the end of the book, I’m actually teared up a little because it feels like I’m saying goodbye to my own friends.

If you’re afraid that the plot won’t be as captivating as Six of Crows, you needn’t worry. In Crooked Kingdom, the stakes are higher, the heists are harder, and the prizes are grander. I often lost track of time when reading this, and if I didn’t go out a lot with my friends, I would’ve finished it way sooner. Everytime the crews are in deep shit that I thought there’s no way out, something genius (and yet make sense) happened. Leigh truly know how to keep her readers interested.

As for the relationship, like you all know before, there are 3 SHIPS that’s ship-able. They all made “progress” in this book in their own way. What I mean is, it’s really different than how romance usually resolved, but I think it’s perfect and fit their personality well. Also, have I mention that some characters from The Grisha appear here? Including one that’s everyone begging a series for (which is also my favorite. I think it’s pretty obvious who 😏)

In the end, Crooked Kingdom is just as magnificent and stunning as Six of Crows, if not more. It is the best way to end a series, though I have a feeling we are not truly done with these characters.

5 stars · blog tour · book review

Blog Tour : Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman








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Title : Blacksouls
Author : Nicole Castroman
Series : Blackhearts #2
Genre : YA fantasy, historical fiction
Release Date : April 11th, 2017
Publisher : Simon Pulse

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Nicole Castroman brings the dangerous pirate ports of the Caribbean to life in this vibrant sequel to Blackhearts—the reimagined origin story of history’s most infamous pirate, Blackbeard.

Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.

Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.

Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.



I may not talk about it much, but I’m a huge fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I’ve watched each of the movie a couple of times, at least, and still not get bored with it. That’s why, when I heard about Blackhearts more than a year ago, I immediately read it and was not disappointed, despite the lack of swashbuckling. I admit I didn’t remember much of Blackhearts, except the cruel cliffhanger at the end of the book. When I heard that it’ll have a sequel, I couldn’t wait any longer. Fortunately, the sequel manage to exceed my expectations, and it has everything that the first book lack for (re: the swashbuckling).

Why You Should Read Blacksouls

1) The fast-paced plot. Seriously, the plot moves fast and packed in actions that in no time I’m already at the last pages. It is also rich with schemes, betrayal, and unexpected alliances that I couldn’t guess what happens next. I swear, everytime I turn the page there’s a surprise, both good and bad. And let’s not forget the swashbuckling because there’s lots of it, both at the decks and at the sea.

2) TEACH AND ANNE REUNITED. Blakchearts ended with a cruel cliffhanger, but our agony is paid-off because they spend a lot of times together in this book (eventhough there’s still problems, but at least they’re together). While they could be stubborn and hot-headed at times, their love for each other is really strong that you couldn’t not ship them. Also, both Teach and Anne definitely grew up compared to Blackhearts.

3) I also love all the friendships they made throughout the journey. There’s John, Teach’s first mate (who apparently shows up in Blackhearts but I didn’t remember), and also the rest of Teach’s crews. Teach deeply care for his crew, and it hurts him when they’re hurting because of him. Anne also befriends Coyle and Cara aboard the Providence, and they help Anne when they’re in Nassau. I just hope we get to see more of them in this book, though. Oh, and of course, the ‘unexpected alliances’! Let’s just say I didn’t see it coming, but I love it.

One thing that made me left hungry is Blacksouls ends with another cliffhanger! Not as bad as the first, but it still screams for book three. Overall, Blacksouls is that kind of sequel that leave you satisfied, and if you love Blackhearts, you definitely should read this one!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicole was lucky enough to come with her very own
best friend. S
he has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her.

At the age of 13, she went to Europe for the first time and it changed her life. She loves learning about different people, languages and cultures and speaks fluent German. She knows enough Spanish to get herself into trouble and can still read the Cyrillic alphabet from when she studied Russian.

She received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children who continue to amaze her.


GIVEAWAY

One finished copy of Blacksouls
US only (sorry, intl peeps!)

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5 stars · book review

Review : The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Title : The Scorpio Races
Author : Maggie Stiefvater
Genre : YA fantasy
Release Date : October 22nd, 2011
Publisher : Scholastic UK

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Every year, the Scorpio Races are run on the beaches of Skarmouth. Every year, the sea washes blood from the sand. To race the savage water horses can mean death, but the danger is irresistible.

When Puck enters the races to save her family, she is drawn to the mysterious Sean, the only person on the island capable of taming the beasts.
Even if they stay together, can they stay alive?
A breathtaking ride that will make your heart race.

I literally have no idea how to write this review. On one hand, I’m so full of feels and words that it feel like it’ll burst, but on the other hand, I know those words couldn’t quite explain how I feel about this book. And I’m not being overly dramatic, guys. This book is just that good.

The funny thing is, I almost didn’t buy this book. I saw it on book fair, but I’ve zero idea what is it about since the synopsis is pretty vague. I honestly thought that at first it’s about a scorpion races, and I thought, “where’s the fun in that?”. Fortunately, I still buy it because it’s written by Maggie Stievfater and I really want to read a book by her (though not this one, but her Raven Boys series–which I really really need to read ASAP.)

There are many things that I love from this book, but the very first thing that made me love it is actually the setting. It’s set in a fictional island called Thisby, precisely in a town (or place) called Skarmouth. Every year, in the beach of Skarmouth, there’s a carnivore-water-horse–known as cappail uische–race, which is Thisby’s main and only attraction. Gosh guys, the way Maggie describe this place, it gave me a sudden urge to travel to a small island like this and live forever there. It sounds so beautiful and quiet and relaxing. The whole time I was reading it, it felt like I’m being transported there and do all the things the MCs do and not in my bed reading.

The main characters are also great. We’ve got 2 POVs here, and I love both Puck and Sean’s thoughts. Puck is pretty cynical, but she’s also brave and not afraid to do something unusual. On the other hand, Sean is a man with few words. Like, he only said 1 word when everyone else said 6. But that’s not because he’s shy or afraid to speak his mind, it’s just because he’s like that. His quietness calm me, and I’d love to have a friend like that. Also, the romance between them is very subtle, and yet I found myself shipping these two so hard. It’s definitely not the main focus, but it’s there between the words spoken and the actions done by these two,

Can I say again how magnificent Maggie’s writing is? All the prose and metaphor, she wove it beautifully, and yet vividly. I read all the sentences in this book without skipping any, despite the slow pacing, because every sentence means something. I couldn’t really explain it, but you’d understand if you have read the book.

I’m so glad that I read this book, because it definitely will be one of my all-time favorites. Also, do not expect The Scorpio Races is all about race, because it’s not. The race doesn’t even happen until around the last 20 pages. It’s more about growing up and facing reality and coming of age, really. If you have or haven’t read any book by Maggie Stievfater, I really recommend this one.