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April 2018

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Spoiler-free!

Title: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
My Rating: 4.25 stars! ⭐️
Description:
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.
Amani Al’Hiza is all three.  She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.
Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

My Review:
This is actually a reread for me, in preparation for reading the final book in this trilogy, Hero at the Fall! I think I made a good call in rereading the first two books in this series before the finale, especially because I LOVE THESE BOOKS SO MUCH!

And I know a lot of you have read this first book, feeling a bit meh about it, BUT TRUST ME, TRAITOR TO THE THRONE (the sequel) is honestly phenomenal. It’s one of my all-time favorite books! I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend continuing on, just to read the amazing sequel.

In Rebel of the Sands, we follow a main character who has the full intention to leave her town Dustwalk and is striving for a better life elsewhere. Amani has such strength and toughness to her character, but also carries this realistic nature that you can’t help but identify in yourself as well.

Straight off the bat, she disguises herself as a boy to attend a sharpshooting contest (one in which she’s obviously going to win because she legit never misses a shot) and stumbles upon a foreign boy who is a whole lot more than he seems.

Onto the review itself, I definitely think that rereading this book again made me focus more on the world-building and the details I know will come into play in the second book. It was like my brain fine-tuned on the parts that I know are important, which obviously isn’t something that first time readers will be aware of.

I will say this, it is a little difficult to keep track of everything that is going on. I’m not saying that there’s a whole lot of info dumps, it’s just that for some reason, certain parts in this book can be easy to forget? I don’t know what it is, it’s just that I started to get so invested in one part of the story, that I totally forgot about another thing that occurred previously.

Even though (so far) my preference in this trilogy is the second book…Rebel of the Sands still has a whole lot to offer. It’s such an amazing setup novel and the arcs of each character carry on through the next book as well. It’s a constant development and it’s so good! Amani is an awesome main character to follow, especially since her decisions are rational and make sense.

Also, there are a lot of wtf moments in this book as well as in the sequel, and a little warning: the author is not afraid to kill off characters.

Overall, this is a trilogy I highly recommend to you guys, especially if you’re looking for something you can binge super easily! It has amazing characters and such a strong plot, that you’ll for sure miss these books once they are over!

Thanks for reading!
-Ashley

Another Book Haul!

Hello! I’m here with another book haul, but this time it’s not as big as the last one I posted two months ago lol.

ALSO, I just wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR 200 FOLLOWERS! I couldn’t believe it when I saw it on the corner of my page…I completely flipped out! Thank you so much! I’ve interacted with so many amazing bloggers and it’s awesome to properly interact with people who share the same reading tastes as you! I’m so grateful for all the wonderful people I’ve met in the blogging community!
Continue reading “Another Book Haul!”

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Spoiler-free!

Title: Scythe
Author: Neal Shusterman
My Rating: 4.25 stars! ⭐️
Description:
Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

My Review:
Wooooooow what a book! Can you believe it, I haven’t read a dystopian novel since 2015?! That’s 3 years! I was so shocked when I found out the last one I read was Angelfall by Susan Ee.

I think one of the main reasons I enjoyed this book so much was because of the long gap I took from reading Dystopian novels. It’s still not my favorite genre, but from time to time I do enjoy it!

This book has such an interesting premise. Basically generations ago, (because of the highly advanced technology) humans had developed a way to sustain their life even after death. So if you die, you can easily be brought back to life, or choose when you want to revert to a different age. However, since Earth cannot support every single life, individuals called Scythes were introduced, to randomly eliminate lives in order to keep the population under control.

In this book we follow the perspective of two characters, Rowan and Citra, who have been taken under the wing of Scythe Faraday as apprentices—in which one of them will actually move on to become a Scythe.

I think my favorite thing about this book, was the whole concept of Scythes. It was definitely something that kept me so invested in the book, and wanting to find out more of how they originated. (WHICH WAS SO INTERESTING!) I loved reading the Scythes diary entries at the end of each chapter since it really gave us insight to how much killing had affected them.

I also enjoyed how much this book made me think. It arises all these questions on mortality and humanity as a whole, as well as different opinions characters have in this book that can be seen as morally correct or incorrect.

It was interesting to read their thought process behind those specific beliefs, which was also provided by the diary entries.

As much as I enjoyed the book, this was one of those cases where I found the plot of the story to be more interesting than the characters themselves. It felt like they weren’t developed enough for me, or that I didn’t know them well enough to form a better connection to them, especially our two main characters Rowan and Citra. (I felt the same way towards the romantic aspect of the book based on the fact that we barely saw any proper interaction between the characters).

Coming off of this, I felt like each chapter length was too short. There were some parts of the book where I felt like part of the story itself wasn’t developed thoroughly enough? Like they would be at one place but immediately the chapter would end and something totally different was occurring.

It threw me off a bit, especially since I wanted to see a specific characters reaction or the journey to this place but instead we just jumped from one chapter to the next.

ALSO, (something I just wanted to mention as an aside) to those of you who have read this book, did you get any vibes from the book Animal Farm by George Orwell? Especially with the ten commandments part? I was totally getting Animal Farm vibes and I kept comparing the two books, and I found that to be SO cool.

Regardless of all these little bumps that caused me to lower my rating, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend this to any of you who have been feeling the dystopian genre lately! It’s definitely a thought-provoking book and a series I am certain to continue very soon!

Thanks for reading!
-Ashley
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March Wrap Up! [2018]

SORRY THIS IS SO LATE! But yay for reading enough books to make a wrap up! I managed to read 5 books in March, and even though it’s not an alarming amount, I’m still really pleased with it because I am the slowest reader ever. (which I feel like I mention in every single wrap up of mine).


Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 30975382
I read this during my attempt at a 24 hour readathon, and I can’t believe that it was in March? For some reason I feel like I read this months ago lol. (That’s also probably why you shouldn’t binge read a book in a day 😂) This was such an entertaining read for me, it has gladiators, female warriors, romance and kickass fight scenes. Plus the ending to this book was so crazy.

51c7igsoyhl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
I listened to the audiobook of this one AND I LOVED EVERY SECOND. Yes, my rating isn’t that high but I really think the audiobook enhanced my experience a lot for this one. Like the title says, this book is filled with a bunch of mythological tales, told in Neil Gaiman’s brilliant, lyrical writing. It was nice to be able to read one whole chapter or “story” and then take a little break to read the next tale later on. I highly recommend this to all you mythology lovers out there!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 51s-zq92brl-_sx331_bo1204203200_
Another amazing read! Can you believe it, this was my first ever V.E. Schwab book, and I couldn’t be happier that I started with this one! If you didn’t know, ADSOM follows our main character Kell, who is known as an Antari for their ability to travel between 4 parallel Londons. It’s such a cool concept and V.E. Schwab excuted it perfectly. I did feel a bit iffy on some things, but you can read them more in detail in my review.

8755776City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25
I am so glad that I was able to complete a small chunk of my yearly goal, which was to complete The Mortal Instruments series. Yes, I still have one more book left to go, but I know for a fact that I’m actually going to follow through and finish it now. City of Lost Souls is definitely one of my favorites of the 4 I read so far, which I’m really pleased about. I felt like we mostly got a full development of our characters, and I really am going to miss a lot of them when the series is over. Review. 

Circe by Madeline Miller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ + favorite read! 9781408890080
Behold my favorite read of the month…(and one of my all time favorite reads EVER!) Am I really surprised that this book blew me away? No, I was expecting nothing but greatness from Madeline Miller. This story follows Circe, an immortal goddess born from the Titan Helios. Throughout the novel we follow her struggles and insecurities with fitting in with the immortals around her, as well as trying to come to terms with her love for mortal life. It’s a beautiful story of determination, growth, and the reality of eternity. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. (Especially if you’re into Greek Mythology) YOU NEED TO READ THIS! It comes out April 10, 2018! You can read my full non-spoiler review here!


Thank you guys so much for reading…I hope I managed to convince you to read at least one of these books, since I had a pretty great reading month! Let me know your favorite read of March!

-Ashley
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April TBR! 🌸 [2018]

Hello everyone! I’m back at it with setting unreasonable reading goals for myself!

Since I pleasantly surprised myself by reading ONE extra book than I normally do last month (!!! wow what an accomplishment !!!) I decided to make April’s TBR EVEN LONGER.

In other words, I’ll only be reading four of these lol.


Hero at the Fall 
By: Alwyn Hamilton 6187iagi2bl-_sx323_bo1204203200_

So I’m currently writing this in the hopes that it actually comes in the mail 😂 I ordered it from Book Depository a month ago and it still hasn’t come which makes me really sad SINCE I NEED TO KNOW HOW THIS BOOK ENDS! But yes, I definitely want to knock this one off in April!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone 
By: Laini Taylor dosab_hbfront

I actually already started reading this! I originally started reading this before I read Circe, but you know how it goes for mood readers, and I ended up switching over to read Circe first (which I’m obsessed with). I’m liking it so far, and I love how different Laini Taylor’s books are from other YA books!

The Upside of Unrequited 
By: Becky Albertalli 30653853

After watching the AMAZING movie Love, Simon, I realized how much I miss reading contemporary books and I couldn’t believe it when I saw that I have not read any contemporary this whole year. So I thought another book of Becky Albertalli’s is fitting, especially since Leah on the Offbeat is coming out later this month!

City of Heavenly Fire 
By: Cassandra Clare 8755785

I’m a little iffy on this one, especially since it takes a massive space on my bookshelf, but I’m really in the Shadowhunter mood lately, and I don’t want to hold back on this series any longer! So it’ll maybe (hopefully) be a book that I will read in the beginning of April!

Hunting Prince Dracula 
By: Kerri Maniscalco 33784373

Another book I ordered from Book Depository that’s taking an unreasonable amount of time to reach me 😂 I’m hoping it’ll come within this first week of April, so I can read it as soon as possible. I really loved the first book Stalking Jack the Ripper and I can’t believe its taken me this long to read the sequel!


Of course I hope to get to all of these books this month, but the main ones I am focusing on reading are Hero at the Fall and City of Heavenly Fire! If I get those two books completed, I’ll be a very happy girl! 😝

Let me know if any of these books are on your April TBR as well, and which books you plan to read this month!

Thanks for reading!
-Ashley
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Circe by Madeline Miller

Book will be published April 10, 2018 + spoiler-free

Title: Circe
Author: Madeline Miller
Publisher: Little Brown
My Rating: 5 stars! ⭐️
Description:
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.

Thank you to Little Brown & Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book!

My Review:
Madeline Miller has done it again. I have, and always will be captivated by her brilliant writing and I have to say that she’s definitely become my all-time favorite author.

This book is written in a way that contains some scenes in the present tense, while in others we have Circe explaining the outcome of the situations she’s been in. It was a different experience for me to read something like this, and I loved every minute of it.

The writing in this is so seamless and there’s something about it that keeps you so invested into the story and the characters. Every line and piece of dialogue are crafted so beautifully that they really hit home with their words and the impact of it stays with you throughout the book.

As for the characters themselves, Circe is one of my all time favorite protagonists. Throughout the novel we experience her struggles finding herself in a world where power is the most important thing. All her life she has to look out for herself since there is no one else she has bonded with.

It’s easy to relate to her character because of all the insecurities that she has, as well as her inability to fit in with others like her. Including all this, it was absolutely fantastic to watch her character develop and grow throughout the novel. This is one of those cases where you truly get to see the whole arc of a character from the beginning of the book to the end of the book and it was amazing.

The pacing of this book was another thing I enjoyed. I never felt that some parts were being rushed through or going by too slowly. As Circe’s tale isn’t the most commonly known Greek myth, I liked the thoroughness of the mythology and the way that it interweaved so well with certain aspects of the book. I definitely think there are benefits knowing her story beforehand, but there’s also that element of surprise if you didn’t know (as was my case).

Did I like this book better than The Song of Achilles? I think that Circe completely blew my mind, even though I was already expecting this to be a phneomenal book. Saying this, I feel like they both completely different stories in my mind.

Where The Song of Achilles had more of an emotional and story-driven plot, Circe focused more on the characters and the progression of herself as the novel went on. I have to say they hold equal ranking for me as they are both amazing novels that I CANNOT RECOMMEND THEM MORE!

Read this book when it comes out next week guys, it’s definitely one of those books that will stay with you for a long time.

Amazon    Indigo    Barnes & Noble    Book Depository

Thanks for reading!
-Ashley

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