Labyrinth Lost – Immersive, infused with culture and magic

Labyrinth Lost

Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1

Publication date : August 1st, 2018goodreads

Publisher : Sourcebooks Fire

Genre : Young Adult |Fantasy

Page Count: 368

Synopsis : I was chosen by the Deos. Even gods make mistakes.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family. (From Goodreads) Continue reading

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Award #18: Here comes the sun…AGAIN.

 

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Hello friends!

Long time, no award seen! It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these but I’m back with the Sunshine Blogger Award today as the lovely Aliénor @ Meet the Book World tagged me to do it so I must oblige. Plus, the questions sounded really fun so I thought why the hell not do it. Thank you for the tag lovely ❤ .

Sunshine Continue reading

My New Adult Frustrations

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Hello friends!

My reading journey was a weird one. I started off just like any kid, devouring children’s books from age zero (my mom used to read to me) to age nine, then I transitioned to middle grade until age twelve. So far, so good, right? Well, from there I jumped straight into new adult and adult romance books. YEP. No young adult novels, whatsoever, those weren’t available to me so I went to the next category that I had at hand and at a reasonnable price (my mom also had a small collection at home that I read and could use later to exchange at the secondhand bookstore). I think I read hundreds of romance novels between age 12 and 16. There were days when I’d read two in one day. Continue reading

Want – Topical, timely, fast paced and addictive as hell

 

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Publication date : July 13th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Simon Pulse

Genre : Young Adult |Science Fiction

Page Count: 328

Synopsis : Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary. Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart? (From Goodreads)

Rating:5 stars

Want

CW: Kidnapping, death, pandemic disease, corruption

(No Spoilers)

Want absolutely blew me away!! It was recommended to me by multiple friends but I tried to keep my expectations at a reasonnable level and for some reason, always pushed off reading it in favour of other books. I don’t know if it was because I was intimidated by my expectations or just because I wasn’t in the mood for it but what gave me the final push to pick it up seeing it the stunning cover for Ruse, the second book in the series.

The writing is absolutely amazing, it’s visual and almost cinematic, everytime I opened the book and read, I immediately felt transported to Tapei. The descriptions are so vivid that I could picture it perfectly, the huge buildings, the slums, the suffocating pollution, the people all around. They’re also gutting and horrifying considering the context. A near future Tapei where the reach live in their bubbles (quite literally) and filtered air and the poor inhale the dirt, live in devastating poverty and die relatively young. The chapters are long but I was so captivated (by the setting first and then by all the action) that I found myself flying through them.

The setting, plot and story are so scaringly realistic that I found myself often thinking “is this what we’re imminently heading towards?”. Want makes you think and it makes you think hard. About a slew of topics, the main ones being environmentalism and wealth privilege. And the discourse is great without being confusing or overwhelming. Right off the bat, the book explores what would happen in the not-so-far-away future with the continuing rise of pollution and global industralization. It also dives in depth into the fact that, in those circumstances, money can buy you a longer life span. At first, we see it as a very black and white issue, where the you (translates to to have, the rich) simply do not care about what the mei (translates to without, the poor) deal with.

But as Zhou, a mei boy and the main character goes undercover as a you to dismantle a corrupted system, we discover through his own experiences that the you live so isolated, going from one filtered environment to the other, never at the same places as the mei, are simply not aware to what extent things are bad and not seeking that knowledge is made even easier by the fact that their comfort makes them forget the world around them, which Zhou himself, catches himself in a couple times. This is in no way saying that the book sympathizes with the you, it Simply gives us an insider’s look into their lives.

Want is a thrilling, carefully crafted, complex story. If the topics don’t sell you on it, you should read it for the heart stopping action and the cast (which I’ll get into later). This book is mission after mission, some of which consist in characters just bidding their time before striking and some of which will make you bite your nails with stress and anticipation of the next step or the outcome. I was never bored reading this, not for one second. One other thing I appreciated is how realistic the characters’ big mission was, there was never an easy fix to the world and they were well aware of the fact that what they have to do WILL have non-negligible collateral damages but they were still ready to go to any lengths to succeed.

Now to what makes or breaks a book for me, and what definitely made my reading experience of Want a hundred times better. THE CHARACTERS. I adored the found family aspect of their friendship and how they had unwavering faith in one another and had each others’ backs no matter what.

First, we have Zhou, the main character and our resident soft broody boy. He is smart and observant and hyperaware of every one of his actions and the consequences they might have. He is full of doubt but his character growth was great to witness because even though that never went away he grew more confident while still having his laughable awkward and flustered moments. Then There’s Daiyu, his love interest, a you so technically “the enemy” and I actually loved her!! She’s smart and brave, doesn’t indulge much in you excentricities and has an unwavering sense of right. Their attraction is palpable and the chemistry the best I have read in a long while. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a romance arc in a non romance focused book this much.

The rest of the cast is equally amazing and very well developped, each and every one of them has a specific role in the mission, which would fall apart if one of them was to be taken out and I really loved that about it. First we have Lingyi who is the mom friend and therefore the decision taker, they all lean on her and trust her SO MUCH and I loved how deeply she cared about each one of them, she’s also a skilled hacker that no system can hold back. The second book will be from her POV and I’m PSYCHED. Then we have her girlfriend, Iris, who is an exceptionally skilled fighter who keeps mostly to herself and opens up to Lingyi alone, I can’t wait to find out more about her when we get to the second book. Arun, was the prodigee and medicine nerd who’s gentle and has a great sense of humour. Last but not least, Victor is the charismatic boy who dresses to impress and can get you anything from anyone in ways that only he has the secret of.

Want is one of my favourite books I read this year and would recommend it even if you’re not a huge fan of sci-fi or if you’re looking for a book to start with in this genre. I CANNOT wait for the second book and what adventures it’s going to bring. Also ALL THE SAPPHICNESS *heart eyes*


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Want? If so, what did you think?

Who was your favourite character?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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A Torch Against the Night – My soul has been CAUGHT and destroyed

 

A Torch against the Night

Series: An Ember in the Ashes #2

Publication date : August 30th, 2016goodreads

Publisher : Razorbill

Genre : Young Adult |Fantasy

Page Count: 452

Synopsis : Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire. Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike. Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both. (From Goodreads)

Rating: 5 stars

A Torch against the Night

CW: Death, violence, torture, PTSD, genocide, mass murder including children, sexual assault, emotional manipulation.

(No Spoilers)

Remember when I said An Ember in the Ashes consumed me? hahahaHAHAHAHAHahahaha. Well joke’s on me, because A Torch Against the Night absolutely destroyed me. I knew it was a good idea to read it only a few weeks before A Reaper at the Gates releases because I can’t imagine agonizing like this for a year *shudders* (note that I read AEITA exactly a year before ARATG release). Anyhoo, this book has rendered me speechless and this is my attempt, a couple weeks after finishing it to gather my thoughts into semi-coherent thoughts.

I will never not be in awe of Sabaa Tahir’s writing, the prose is smooth and breathtakingly beautiful while never being overdone, every word feels chosen with care and placed just right, it also shifts ever so slightly to suit whichever POV we’re following. Speaking of perspectives, there are three this time around, in addition to Elias and Laia that we had in the first book we also have Helene *side eyes her and everything she stands for*. The descriptions are vivid, especially those of fight scenes which are very graphic and gutting. That being said, we hear a lot of the massacres happening all over but we only witness them in text a couple times, and that was enough to turn my stomach?

The story here starts right where An Ember in the Ashes left off, down to the second which means that…we don’t catch a break. A Torch Against the Night is fast paced from the start, which then slows down a bit in the middle (very much needed) just to pick up again and the plot just thickens and thickens, adding new layers to it with every page, nothing is left to chance and every little thing you read does, in fact, matter. Which brings me to the foreshadowing. SO. MUCH. FORESHADOWING. I was shook once things were revealed by how much they were hinted to and I was none the wiser.

This book does an amazing job at raising questions as to where everyone’s loyalities lay (without necessarily answering them right away), what every character’s motives are, etc… You just want to KNOW why everyone is doing what they’re doing, even the characters we don’t see much of. That’s how amazingly crafted it is. You could often hear me cursing and yelling at this book while reading which wasn’t convenient because I was up at 4am reading… There are so many twists and turns, some of which I suspected but they still hit me like a truck when they were revealed to be true. SO. MUCH. PAIN.

Laia is still my favourite. At the start of the book we see her take on a lot of responsibility all at once which pushes her to grow more into herself and gain confidence she wouldn’t have otherwise. There’s also a whole mystery surrounding her that made me very curious and eager to find out more. One thing that absolutely broke my heart is seeing how that confidence and sense of leadership she gained throughout the book was squeashed my a certain someone and all her opinions were belittled and set aside which made her doubt herself and her abilities.

ELIAS IS A MESS, SOMEONE SAVE MY BOY. Not only from everyone and everything but also from himself. He is a tortured soul that would go to any lengths for the people he loves which shows very obviously in certain turns of events in this book. He’s pure and caring but sometimes I just founds myself being the embodiment of “?????” and just wanting to yell at him to stop being such a thick headed hero and just TALK TO PEOPLE *hum* Laia *hum* and LISTEN. Speaking of Laia, the tension between these two is so palpable it near damned killed me.

Now. Helene. HELENE. H E L E N E. Ew. I still despise her, she’s the epitome of white feminist (as I said previously) and following without questionning. Her undying loyalty to the empire irks me and reading her POV made me want to hurl my phone at the wall. But that being said, getting her persepective gave place to more rounded character and was definitely interesting even if it didn’t teach me anything new about her and my assessement of her was pretty spot on. A spoiled brat who condones slavery and sees herself as a Superior HumanTM. And who also just sits and watches as genocide happens while being a high ranked military person. The one think I liked about her is how much she cared about her family.

Special notions to Afya Ara-Nur who is a fierce woman that I love to pieces. And while we’re at it, Keenan can choke, I KNEW I didn’t like him and I still don’t. A Reaper at the Gates came out last month and I’M SO STRESSED!! I hope I can get my hands on it this month!


That’s it until next time.

Did you read A Torch Against the Night? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Why Asexual representation is Important

 

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For most of my life, I’ve been a reader. I’ve read just about everything—science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, etc. No matter which genre, there was always romance. Even if it wasn’t the focus of the story, love was never too far. Every novel described what it felt like to fall in love: the pounding of a heartbeat, desire for touch and affection, and the devastation of a heartache. While I never failed to absorb the feelings written, I’d never truly related to that heart-stopping rush of emotions these authors described so vividly. Continue reading

WORD WONDERS’ TBR EXPANSION : Books with South Asian Main Characters

 

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Hello friends!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a recommendations post, with my hiatus and only being here for half June, I didn’t get around to putting one together last month and I also didn’t have a time slot for it. But now here we are. I’ve been wanting to do Asian book recommendations for a while but since there are so many beautiful identities under the umbrella term, I decided that to make easier for me as well as for people who are looking for recommendations, I’ll split it up in regions so for today’s post, it’s books with South Asian main characters.

I will try to include content warnings for as many of them. The ones that I couldn’t find content warnings for will have a (*) in front of their titles. Continue reading

Pairing up Books I love with Songs I’m trash for

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Hey friends!

If there’s one thing that’s constant in my life (more like two things), it’s books and music. You all already know how much I love books because this is… you know, a book blog. But music isn’t something that I talk about a lot on here but not a day goes by when I’m not blasting something, whether I’m driving, blogging, taking bookish photos or whatever else. The only time I can’t listen to music is while reading. So I thought it would be a great idea to pair books I love with some of my favourite songs that I feel like fit either the themes, the characters, or just the general vibe of the book.
Just a warning though, this could contain spoilers to the books mentioned. (Specifically Simon vs. and Evelyn Hugo)

1- Want – Cindy Pon

Cindy pon - #1 WantFinding a song for this book was so incredibly easy. In fact, it was so easy that I had TWO songs I just couldn’t choose between. They just both scream Want to me. The first is Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. You can’t tell me that after reading the book and listening to the song, you don’t think they’re a match made in heaven. They both center a world plagued by human destruction, especially this part here, which reminds me a lot of what the mei (lower class, people without protective suits to shield them from pollution) go through on a daily basis.

 

I’m waking up to ash and dust
I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
I’m breathing in the chemicals

The the second song is Youth by Shawn Mendes and Khalid. This entire song is a whole ass mood, not only for today’s world but also for the world our characters live in and how our main squad (as well as every other young mei, I’m sure) feels in the book. I don’t really know how to put it into words, but if you listen to the song, you’ll get it.

2- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid - The Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoThere are so many songs I feel could apply to this book but one I personally love is When You Sleep by Mary Lambert, it’s such a soft song and just reminds me of the type of relationship Evelyn and Celia have. The tentativeness of the beginning, the part where Mary Lambert says “You politely asked to take a walk with me, I would’ve married you there underneath the trees” as well as the chorus, which can be interpreted in a way that embodies their on and off and on again relationship.

3- We are Okay – Nina Lacour

Nina Lacour - We Are OkayHeavy by Linkin Park. Need I say more? No? Well I’m a rambler so I will definitely say more. Heavy is the perfect depiction I feel of what it was like for Marin to be stuck inside her head, unable to move on or move away from spiraling thoughts. The main character in We are Okay deals with depression on her own, the best way she knows how to, and dealing with things that happened in her life that just feel like too much to carry alone but still can’t bring herself to reach out to anyone. Both the book and the song gave me similar feelings when consuming them as media.

4- When the Moon was Ours – Anna-Marie McLemore

anna-marie-mclemore-when-the-moon-was-oursHow Would you Feel by Ed Sheeran IS SUCH A SAM AND MIEL SONG AND IF YOU DON’T AGREE it’s okay you’re entitled to your opinion. But I just feel like the song encompasses perfectly how much they love each other, the “How would you feel, if I told you I loved you?” IS SO THEM, especially for Sam who worships the ground Miel walks on but he struggles so much with himself that he isn’t sure he is worthy of her. And since they are best friends who fall for each other makes the “I’ll be taking my time, spending my life, falling deeper in love with you” all the more meaningful. I’m just soft for this song and this book, okay?

5- How to Make a Wish – Hold me by the Heart

Ashley Herring Blake - How to Make a WishHold me by the Heart by Kehlani is the song I’m choosing for this one. This book makes me cry. This song makes me cry. And that’s all you need to know. No, I’m just kidding. The song talks about having trauma and meeting someone who helps you heal (not someone who fixes you, obviously) or at least that’s the way I read it. And that’s an ongoing theme in How to Make a Wish as well, both Grace and Eva are dealing with their fair share of baggage, Grace with her abusive mother and Eva with the grief from her mom’s death so they meet and fall in love as well as support each other through their respective healing journeys, eventhough it’s hard and messy sometimes and they’re definitely not perfect and end up messing up.

6- The Speaker – Traci Chee

Traci Chee - #2 The SpeakerI’m Yours by The Script doesn’t remind me of the book as a whole, it rather makes me think of the romance whenever I listen to it, especially with how Archer feels toward Sefia. He’s dealing with so much trauma (that he has bad PTSD from, the rep is amazing) and was forced to do so many terrible things that he feels dirty and unworthy of her love. And the fact that she just never gives up on him makes this relationship so special to me because she just keeps on showing him that she’s there for him, for all of him, broken pieces included and that just makes me want to sob.

7- Girl Out of Water – Laura Silverman

Laura Silverman - Girl out of Water.jpgThe Letter by Kehlani is about an absent mom and what that does to a person. It’s, just like the title says ,a letter Kehlani wrote to her mom and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. That makes the song a perfect fit for Girl out of Water in which Anise deals, among other things, with the impact the fact that her mom was never in her life had on her and trying to work through behaviours and thought patterns that she adopted after her mother left. Everything about this book is just so real and beautiful but I thought this part in particular is so well done and one of the book’s strengths.

8- Like water – Rebecca Podos

Rebecca Podos - Like WaterStrangers by Halsey and Lauren Jauregui reminds me SO much of the relationship between Savannah and Leigh and I can’t…really explain why? I think it’s just the messiness of it and the fact that at one point they absolutely tear each other apart and go back to being strangers. I think that just the general vibe of the both the book and song are quite similar which is why I always relate one to the other.

9- Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

Becky Albertalli - Simon vs The homo sapiens AgendaI bet you can guess which song I’m gonna choose for this one and if you don’t, you’re going to see how obvious my choice is in one second. I’m pairing Simon vs. with Kiss the Boy by Keinan Lonsdale. First of all, it’s a gay as hell song and second Keinan is the actor who plays Bram in the movie adaptation Love, Simon. So it really can’t get any more perfect that this.

10- Mirage – Somaiya Daud

Somaiya Daud - #1 MirageThis one doesn’t take much effort on my part. If/when you read Mirage you know there’s this arabic song that Amani and Idriss talk about in the book that they both hold near and dear to their hearts and that at the very end, we get a few lyrics from it. Well, that song is called Lama Bada Yatathana by Lara Chamamyan and I adore it SO MUCH, it’s absolutely breathtaking both in lyrics and melody.


That’s it until next time.

Do you have a song that Always reminds you of a book? Or vice versa?

Do you have any songs you think I would like based on the ones I shared here?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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