Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (Flame in the Mist #1

“The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.”

Flame in the Mist

Rating: 4/5

I was hesitant before buying this book. Every time I went to the bookstore I picked it up then I put it back, until I decided one day that i had to buy it.
The Wrath and the Dawn, the duology written by the same author (Renee Ahdieh), was good and well written (not one of my favorite though). That’s why I guess I decided to pick up Flame in the Mist. Her first duology was a retelling of the Arabian Nights, but this time the story is a retelling of Mulan; which is one of my favorite Disney movies. 

When I started reading the book, I was having a hard time connecting with the characters as well as with the story in general. But then as I dived further in the story, I was captivated by everything. Ahdieh did a great job describing the Japanese culture, the characters …

This book follows the story of 17 y.o Mariko, the daughter of a rich samurai. As she was travelling to meet and marry the emperor’s son, her convoy is attacked. The attack was meant to be for her but she manages to escape. She then decided to dress as a boy so that she can infiltrate the Black Clan  to know why they wanted her dead. What she did not expect is that she will find love.

Mariko wants to hate the Black Clan for what they did to her. But after spending time with them she discovers that they treat her as their equal (almost) and they appreciate all the ideas she gave them. The thing she didn’t find when she was home. 
In the mid of the story, Mariko begins to discover her worth and started to grow. All that because she was heard and appreciated. With the Black Clan she felt more relaxed than she was at home.

Okami, aka the wolf of the pack, is an intriguing character. Loved him since his first scene in the book. You want to know more about him and yet you love the secrecy surrounding him. I love his interactions with Mariko. He knew that something was off about Mariko since she joined the clan but couldn’t tell what was it. So he was testing her all the way and was loving it. He has untold stories, along with Takeda Ranmaru, the leader of the clan.

Some secrets are revealed at the end and the reader will definitely be shocked. 

Can’t wait for the sequel. 

“There is such strength in being a woman. But it is a strength you must choose for yourself. No one can choose it for you. We can bend the wind to our ear if we would try.”

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Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Monsters of Verity #2)

” THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.

KATE HARKER isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

THE WAR HAS BEGUN.

THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within? “

our dark duet

Rating: 5/5 

This book seriously killed me !! How can a book make you feel laughter, pain and many kind of emotions?? The first book (This Savage Song) was amazing and this one was even better.
I really love when I discover writers i didn’t know before and after reading their books they totally become my favorites. Victoria Schwab is really great and has amazing writing skills. I can’t wait to dive into her other works. 

Schwab didn’t play nice with our feelings in this book. The story kicks off 6 months after the events of the last book. The 2 protagonists are not together which kinda made the beginning of the story a little bit slow, just because I loved their interactions and their scenes together. August is in the South, reaping the souls of the people who commit violence. Because of that he was starting to lose the human part of him he always cherished.
Kate, on the other hand, was in Prosperity fighting demons and monsters to forget about the life she had before; until she came across a new monster and had to come back to Verity to notify the people there. 

Once August and Kate were back together, that’s when the story really began. Seeing them work together made me really happy. It was like they never left each other. As soon as Kate saw August after these 6 months and asked him “What happened to you?” made us realized how much she knows him. She knows he doesn’t want to reap souls and reminds him of that on many occasions. 

Kate is such a great character. From book 1 she’s not afraid of anything and will do anything to find solutions to every problems. She doesn’t let anything break her down. She’s a fierce and badass heroine as well as a tender one. Seeing her character development in this book has made love her more. 

As for August, seeing him tormented like that, in the first part of the book, broke my heart. I wanted just to see him “happy” all the time. Anyone who reads the books know that he’s loyal, loving, fierce, strong ….  Him saying “I’m willing to walk in darkness if it keeps humans in the light” shows how much he cares about everyone around him. How can a monster who was created from chaos and violence can be such a gentle creature? His character development was as amazing as Kate’s character development. They both grew in this sequel.

As I was reading reviews before starting ODD, I noticed that everyone was saying that the ending was painful. I was mentally prepared but when I read about what happened i was a complete mess seriously …. I didn’t expect it at all. 

This book will crush your soul. I hope you’re ready ;). 

“People were messy. They were defined not only by what they’d done, but by what they would have done, under different circumstances, molded as much by their regrets as their actions, choices they stood by and those they wished they could undo. Of course, there was no going back – time only moved forward – but people could change.

For worse.

And for better.

It wasn’t easy. The world was complicated. Life was hard. And so often, living hurt.

So make it worth the pain.” 

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Monsters of Verity #1)

“There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.”

This Savage Song

Rating: 5/5

I may have found my favorite read of 2017. I love reading fantasy and dark novel and i have found everything i love in this novel. After only seeing and hearing great reviews of Schwab’s books, I’ve finally caved in and chose this duology. 

I can’t really express what I felt reading this one. I couldn’t put the book down and I found myself flying through  it. It was a phenomenal read, from the world building to the characters to the darkness that was surrounding the book.

Our two protagonists live in Verity, a city that was divided into North and South because of a war. Kate Harker, a human teenager, is the daughter of the ruthless Callum Harker who has found a way to control the monsters and use them as weapons. Kate wants to be like her father and is ready to do whatever it takes to please him. August Flynn wants to be human so bad. He is the son of Henry Flynn who is running the South. He’s one of the rare monsters (there’s only 3 sunai and he’s one of them) and he’s helping his father protect the city from the other monsters (corsai and malchai) and from the North. He’s gentle, sweet and doesn’t like to hurt people.

Even though Kate and August are from opposite sides, they become friends and complete each other. They became a duo to fight the monsters and everything that has been happening in the North with her father. The thing that i also loved is that the author didn’t make Kate and August fall in love from the first moment they say each other. They stayed friends. I don’t know what the author will have in store for them in the next book. 

I highly recommend it. 

“That’s life August. You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re a monster or a human. Living hurts.”

 

 

 

 

A court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2) by Sarah J. Maas 

“Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court – but at steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms-and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness he …”

Rating: 5 huge stars

(Book read in September)

How can a sequel be even better than the first book? Usually middle books can lack of excitements, actions and everything… but this one was so freaking good. I loved every single thing in this book! It definitely met the hype around it and I’m happy that I finally got to read this series !!

Tamlin was definitely an a****** in this book !! I really don’t know what was wrong with him but his actions towards Feyre were weird, not nessesary!! If he wanted to protect her he shouldn’t have acted this way and should’ve explain to her his actions and they could have compromise at least !! I really wanted Lucien to step up and defend Feyre from Tamlin because I really loved their relationship in the first book!! He knew what Tamlin was doing is wrong but didn’t say a thing !! Even with that he still is one of my favorite characters!!

On the other hand Feyre turned out to be a kickass character and the author knew how to develop her character really well. She started to be more independent, wanted to improve herself so that she can help everyone. Rhysand (oh my heart) was phenomenal !! He really stood out in this sequel!! I didn’t really like his character in the first book but I felt that there’s something in this character that will make me love him when we discover it. He’s sweet and caring and work with Feyre with patience and knows when he has to push her limits. He knew what she needed and worked with her at her own path. I loved the interaction of Feyre with Rhysand and the whole gang (who is by the way really awesome) and how they made her feel at home easily. 

Can I have book 3??

“To the people who look at the stars and wished. To the stars who listened, and the dreams that are answered”. 

Holding up the universe by Jennifer Niven

“Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything in new and bad-ass ways, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. . . . Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.”

holing-up-the-universe-cover

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Basically Jennifer Niven has outdone herself another time. All the bright places, her other novel, was one of my favorite reads in 2015 and this one was definitely better and it gradually took its place in my top 5 reads of this year.

This book follows the story of two main characters Libby Strout and Jack Masselin. Each one of them have their own secrets and struggling and want to fit in where they are. Being in high school without having any struggle is hard enough for many students fearing that they may be criticized  so with these 2 fit in became harder.

Like her first book when she highlighted the problem of bipolar and mental illness, in this book Jennifer Niven shed the light on two other issues that can come across our every daily life : Prosopagnosia and being overweight. 

Jack discovered all by himself, from a young age, that he wasn’t able to recognize the faces from the people around him. Not being able to recognize the faces of the people is really frustrating since he wants to be able to remember everyone. He has to meet his friends and family every day like if they are strangers. He uses identifiers to be able to recognize the people close to him. I never heard of prosopagnosia before. When I read about it in the book, it seemed like the author made big researches about it to be able to deliver it to her readers in an easy way so that they can understand it

Libby, on the other hand, was facing another struggle. Being overweight. When her mom died suddenly she started eating and eating till the day she became really overweight and they had to take her out of her home by a crane when people wanted to take down the house. Since that event, she was known as the fattest teen in America. Eating became her coping mechanism. Several years later, after dropping a large number of weight and being followed by therapists, she came back to her old school. Even with dropping lot of weight, she was still being criticized and her classmates made fun of her because she was still big. But after seeing her struggle to fit again, she was trying to believe in herself. She knows she came a long way and wants to be recognized. She made friends again, she started to dance with her friends and most importantly she started to stood up for herself. After being tormented at the beginning of the book about being bullied and after being doubtful, Libby became this optimistic girl who knew that she can achieve anything she want. I connected with her character the most. Being overweight can never be easy on the person. No one knows the reasons of why someone became the way he is. This person never feels good about himself especially when he’s always criticized by everyone … their glares, their whispers, the way they tell him that he should drop his weight. If someone made his mind, he can do whatever he wants and especially dropping a large number of his weight. Nothing is impossible and proving people wrong can be priceless.

When Jack and Libby met it’s like their world collided together. They had to meet so that they can understand each other. They helped each other with their own problems and struggles when no one was there to understand them the way they wanted. Their relationship wasn’t forced at all like someone would say.

Niven knows how to be realistic in her novels while writing about problems that any one can encounter. She delivers her message in a simple way that you can’t help but read the book in one sitting and knowing about what other people can go through.

“Dear friend, You are not a freak. You are wanted. You are necessary. You are the only you there is. Don’t be afraid to leave the castle. It’s a great big world out there. Love, a fellow reader”

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

“She stole a life. Now she must pay with her heart.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.”

ACOTAR

Rating: 5 stars

Throne of Glass is one of my favorite series so entering a new series by the same author scared me at first !! I didn’t set high expectations to not to be disappointed in the end especially that there’s a lot of hype around this book. But man this story is bloody amazing and I couldn’t put the book down except when I wanted to go to bed lol.  What really pushed me as well to read the book is that it is a retelling of The Beauty and the Beast, which is one of favorite fairy tale and Disney movie.  This book is solid start for the series.

The world building is phenomenal and the writing even better, that’s what made me want to read even more. I loved every single characters in this book. They were so well written with an awesome character development that I wanted to be friends with every single one of them. Feyre used to annoy me a little bit at first but she soon became one of my favorite when she turned out to be one kick ass character and done everything she could to save Tamlin. Even when she was with her family she also put their needs before hers, one thing that I love in people. Then there’s Tamlin, Lucien and Rhysand. Three of the most awesome guys/high fay in the world lol. Tamlin is sweet, caring, pay attention to what Feyre wants and wants nothing but the best for her; whereas Rhysand has another approach toward Feyre and is the total opposite of Tamlin. I still want to know a lot more of Rhysand in ACOMAF and his background, and I’m curious to see how him and Feyre will develop their relationship. Now, there’s Lucien the one I had a crush on since the beginning. Loved how he was sarcastic pretty much all the way and was there for Tamlin and even started to care for Feyre as a friend. Their friendship is something I look forward to know about more. The villain in this book, Amarantha, oh man you want to hate her from all your heart from the moment she appeared. We might understand why she’s like that from her background story but it doesn’t excuse all her behaviors toward the faes and the humans. 

Basically I wasn’t disappointed at all by anything in this book. Sarah J. Maas is a brilliant and genius author and that’s why she’s one of my top authors. On to the next book :D. 

“Rhysand stared at me for long enough that I faced him.
“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

“Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast where we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us.”

making faces

Rating: 4 stars

I came across this book over Goodreads as a recommendation. It was one of these few times where I start reading a book blindly. And this book was one hell of a ride. The reason why I rated it 4 stars is because the beginning was slow, but it quickly became an interesting read.

This book follows the story of Fern Taylor, a shy girl in high school who doesn’t think she’s pretty, and has a crush on Ambrose Young our other protagonist. The latter is this handsome, muscular guy loved by every single person in town.
Everyone will think, as I did, that it will be a cliché, contemporary novel where the guy finally realizes that he fell in love with the non popular girl in school couple years later. But this story was deeper than that and I just wanna thank the author for writing an outstanding novel. 

Ambrose Young, called Brosey by everyone, is loved by everyone, AKA the popular guy. He got everything every guy dreams of having: the looks, the girls being madly in love with him, champion of wrestling and on top of that he got a brain. After going to war, losing his best friends, his face being completely deformed, he totally became someone else and didn’t even want to go out except at night. After being known as “Hercules” for a decade, he then started to hide in the shadows. He was different whether it was from the inside or from the outside. 

As for Fern Taylor, she was the complete opposite. She was this shy, sweet, caring girl who remained unnoticed during high school. She never recognized her own worth even though people kept telling her otherwise. As the story continues, and as she become older, she become more confident in herself, knowing what she wanted and never giving up on writing her own novels hoping to get published. She had more confidence in herself, that’s what i liked about her. She knew what Ambrose was going through since she felt she was “ugly” during her whole life. Of course, she didn’t have scars on her face but she was able to get through him and make him feel good about himself. 
(NB: she had a huge crush on him since they were in high school)

Both of them had a meaningful and deep connection and their relationship wasn’t based on a hot steamy sex scenes during all the book. Loved how they were both patient with each others while falling in love, neither one of them pushed the other. The book truly shows that beauty is not always what the eye sees, it’s what every person has on the inside that matters if they get to know them better.

One other special character has a special place in the book. Bailey Sheen, Fern’s cousin and Brosey’s number one fan. He was one awesome character with amazing lines and awesome presence. He’s in a  wheel chair bound since the age of 11 due to Muscular Dystrophy. Despite his decease, he was an incredible character and an important person to the plot. He was the person Fern needed while growing up and he was there for Ambrose after he returned from war. He pushed him by saying everything Brosey didn’t want to hear and he was a great support for him. He was the voice of reason.

Making Faces was heartbreaking and heartwarming. Although there was sadness and loss, there was also much love, laughter and beauty.

“You loved ferris wheels more than roller coasters because life shouldn’t be lived at full speed, but in anticipation and appreciation.”