Sunday Recommendations: Fascinating Villains

Hi everyone and welcome to this new edition of my Sunday Recommendations! Sorry I didn’t get to post last week, I was in the middle of a readathon, and I didn’t have time to make my usual Sunday post. A while ago, I asked for recommendation post suggestion, and BJ from My Book-a-logue suggested controversial characters/characters that make you think, and I realised I don’t really talk about villains on here much, so I thought it would be nice to make a Sunday Recommendations post about them! I picked some villains I find fascinating, villains we love to hate if you will, villains we can’t help but love… Just villains that I found interesting for various reasons! Hope you will enjoy this post!

WARNING: MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS
(especially for Percy Jackson)

*****

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)The Darkling from The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy

I have only read Shadow and Bone, the first book in the Grisha Trilogy, but I can already say that The Darkling is definitely an interesting villain. I know that many people love him, and it’s not my case so far, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find him fascinating! If you are looking for a book or book series with a great villain, then this is definitely something I would recommend!

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Genre: Fantasy/Dystopia

Queen Levana is one of those bat shit crazy villains that are impossible to love, I think everyone will agree with this. However, I find her to be a fascinating character at the same time. I really loved reading more about her in Fairest. She has been through a lot of shit, no one can deny this. But that still doesn’t excuse what she has done later, and who she has become. This book series really shows how dangerous power can be in the hands of the wrong person. If you’re looking for a book with a mad, power hungry villain, who will do anything that can serve them, then I definitely recommend this series! (Which is amazing by the way, and has fantastic characters ♥)

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)Luke Castellan from the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

Genre: Urban fantasy

I first considered including Kronos in this article, but he is not that much of an interesting villain. He is just this fallen being who wants to get his power back, whatever the cost. Luke, on the other hand, is a much more interesting character, because he has some personality development: from the young boy who arrived at Camp Half Blood full of hopes, to this older teenager who radically rejected the Gods, because he felt that his father did not care about him. And as much as he wanted to serves the Titan Lord, you could still see that he cared about his old friends, especially Annabeth.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Genre: Urban fantasy

Of course, the big villain of the Harry Potter series is none other than Lord Voldemort. But he is your basic, power hungry villain. While Dolores Umbridge is a crazy “teacher” who just mentally (or even physically) tortures people, both students and teacher, both because she enjoys it, and because she has enough power to do so. She is this teacher who punished you unfairly. She is this person who hates you for no reason, just because she can. And that makes her a much more terrible villain than Lord Voldemort, because she is one you could encounter in real life.

President Snow from The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

Genre: Dystopia

President Snow is the perfect example of a dictator-type of villain. He has the power, and intends to keep it. He may be a little crazy, but that doesn’t make up for what he has done. He profits from the innocent, and kills tons of people unfairly. Like Dolores Umbridge, he is a villain that belongs to the real world, one you can encounter when you study history and such. And that makes him all the more scary. I just couldn’t write this article without including him.

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)The WICKED organisation from The Maze Runner series by James Dashner

Genre: Dystopia

WICKED is an organisation rather than an actual person, but after reading The Fever Code I felt that they really fitted the list. And I already felt that they belonged here before anyway. But the more I read The Maze Runner and the rest of this series, the more I feel that WICKED is a group of bat shit crazy people, no matter what Teresa says. Basically, WICKED spread a virus on Earth because they felt there were too many people, and now they are trying to find a curse by putting teens in deadly situations… I mean, how much more crazy and dangerous could you get?

The AwakenedDr. Razi Cylon from The Awakened duology by Sara Elizabeth Santana

Genre: Dystopia, Zombies

A virus was unleashed in the United States to get rid off the weakest. Only the strongest can survive, and the dead are turned into zombie-like beings, who are quickly called the Awakened. On her journey to safety, Zoey discovers the truth little by little, and the mad woman, a doctor and her allies, who are responsible for the mess that everything has become. And the worst part is, she truly believes that what she did is right, and doesn’t care about the millions deaths she caused, and all the heartbroken people she leaves behind. Dr Razi Cylon is another crazy, unforgiveable villain, and if you’re into this kind of characters, you should definitely check out this series!

*****

And that’s it for today, I hope you enjoyed! If you find villains interesting, I hope you will enjoy those books as much as I did. If you have read them, feel free to comment with your opinion, obviously. And as usual, feel free to comment with your favourite villains, and your recommendation requests!

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The Animators: My Review

The Animators

I was contacted by Penguin Random House via NetGalley because I had reviewed Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, and they sent me an e-ARC of this book for review. And I’m so glad they did, because I would probably never picked it up otherwise, and yet this book was brilliant, it will probably haunt me forever…

The Animators is Kayla Rae Whitaker’s debut novel, and it deserves all the praise. I hope this review will make you want to pick it up as well!

Praise by Emma Donoghue, author of Room:

“An engrossing, exuberant ride through all the territories of love—familial, romantic, sexual, love of friends, and, perhaps above all, white-hot passion for the art you were born to make . . . I wish I’d written The Animators.”

Release date: January 31st, 2017
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary
My rating: ★★★★★

The story:

Sharon and Mel became friends in college. Both came from very different places, and everything seemed to keep them from one another: except their love for cartoons, and the fact that they had both gotten a scholarship at Ballister.

Ten years later, they are still working together, and their biggest project, a retrospective on Mel’s childhood, is out in theaters. But Mel seems to be getting all the credit, and Sharon doesn’t want to deal with it anymore. She starts getting jealous, and questioning all of her choices. While on tour, the girls seem to be drifting away, only keeping up what’s left of their relationship when they’re on camera.

But between stress and failed relationships, Sharon’s life is about to change.

My opinion:

At first, I was afraid to start this book because I was afraid it would be about jealousy and competition, and I am not really interested in that. It was a bit hard for me to get into the story, however, the more I read, the more I loved it, and the more I wanted this book to last forever. The Animators is a story about art, about creation, and so much more. It is an incredible story about friendship and family. It is a book about life, and one of the best books I have read this year.

The story is told from Sharon’s point of view, and not only is she an incredible narrator, but she is also an extremely relatable character. I just loved reading her story through her point of view, understand things little by little with her, and watch her becoming stronger.

Another thing that made me love this book so much is the amount of incredible plot twists. Incredible, unexpected plot twists. And it made this book absolutely brilliant, there is no other way to put it.

This book made me feel so many things. I smiled, cringed, laughed, and most of all, cried. It feels so real, and so beautiful, I don’t know what to say.

Usually, when I review books, I have so many things to say, to comment on. But here, I am speechless. The only thing I’m sure of is that this book changed my life. Which is why everyone should read it.

Recommended for:

Readers who enjoy adult contemporaries, people who love art, and those in search of more diverse books!

The Fever Code: My Review

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Honestly, this book is all I have been waiting for ever since I read The Maze Runner. Thank you James Dashner for making it happen!

The Maze Runner #0.6
Publication: September 27
Genre: YA, Dystopia
My rating: ★★★★★

The story:

In this much anticipated prequel to Dashner’s phonemenal series The Maze Runner, we follow Thomas, Teresa and the other Gladers before they got into the Maze. We learn more about WICKED and finally understand why Thomas was working with WICKED. We also learn more about the outside world.

My opinion:

Seriously, this is all I had been waiting for. Ever since I started this series. And this is actually the first book in this series that gets a 5 stars rating from me. I am honestly so happy. Every book in this series was a quick, mostly enjoyable read for me, but I also felt they were a bit overhyped and sometimes frustrating. But this. Was just. Amazing.

Basically, this is a must read if you enjoyed The Maze Runner.

WARNING: SPOILERS

I don’t know where to start. I read this book in like, five hours, and it left me there with so many conflicted feelings. And of course, I am glad to know, finally, when happened before the Glade. I also appreciated James Dashner’s writing a lot more than in the other books of the series, and will definitely be checking out his other series. Because in the end, his books are actually really addictive.

My favourite thing was probably the fact that we discovered that Thomas, Newt, Minho, Alby and Chuck were friends before before the Swipe. And even without their memories, they found one another again in the Glade. And that, my friend, is the most beautiful thing in the world. Squad goals, honestly.

I also love that we got to see more of Thomas’ and relationship with Teresa, because the most important part of their friendship, the complexity of their relationship, that was all before the Maze. And that was beautiful too. It was so great. (And that made Teresa’s death even more sad in the end of The Death Cure. Come on Dashner, you really broke my heart here, why did you have to do this?!)

I absolutely love the fact that we got to see a lot of characters we met in the Glade. This book explained so much. We got so much backstory, and little things. It’s what I live for, honestly. We even got to see characters from The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. It all made so much sense. It is such a clever, carefully made work. I am so satisfied, really.

We got to see more of how WICKED works, in addition to how they trained their “subjects” and that was also rather enlightening. I keep saying it, but this book was really satisfying. It was like finally getting together all the pieces of a complex puzzle, and it’s just brilliant.

We saw that even before going to the Maze, Thomas had his doubts, he wasn’t sure whether what WICKED was doing was actually right, and he did not always feel good about the Maze. It was great to see that even if he lost all his memories, he still remained the same, because I was a bit afraid we would get to see a complete other face of him. I was glad to see he had always been the same inside, and his sense of friendship was really great too. After all, all the bad things are WICKED’s doing, he was only a child trying to do his best. All along. (And I couldn’t help but feel relieved!)

And finally, I had to share this, because James Dashner is a genius:

Me when I discovered that Teresa was actually Deedee from The Kill Order

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I honestly put the book down for a good 5 minutes. I totally did not expect that but finally, IT ALL MADE SENSE.

It made me both appreciate The Kill Order more, and understand Teresa’s character better. This was honestly brilliant.

You can also check out my review for The Maze Runner‘s other prequel, The Kill Order!

Diversity Spotlight Thursday #8

Hi readers! The Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Aimal on her blog Bookshelves and Paperbacks and since reading diverse books is important to me, I’m trying to take part every week.

The rules are simple: in your diversity spotlight post, you share three books

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not read
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released

If you want to read more about it, you can check out the Announcement Post!

And without further ado, here are my features for this week!


A book I have read and enjoyed

More than this by Patrick Ness

Genre: YA, Dystopia
My rating: ★★★★★ (review)
Why is it diverse? POC and LGBT+ characters (as well as a very original setting!)

More Than ThisGoodreads summary:
A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.
Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.
How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?
As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?
From multi-award-winning Patrick Ness comes one of the most provocative and moving novels of our time.

Honestly, this book was mindblowing and unlike anything I have ever read. I can only recommend it to you!


A book on my TBR

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: YA, Fantasy
Sequel to Six of Crows.

Goodreads summary:Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daringeven 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 left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, 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 magic in the Grisha world.

I read Six of Crows recently, and loved the diversity of its group of characters. So of course, now I can’t wait to complete this duology!


A book that hasn’t been released yet

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Genre: YA, Fantasy
Why is it diverse? Set in Japan, which is not a very used location in YA literature. And after The Wrath and the Dawn, I can only trust this will be a great diverse read!

Goodreads summary:

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1)Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

Expected release date: May 2nd, 2017


As usual, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed! If you have any diverse book to recommend, please feel free to do so in the comments!

Song of Princes: My Review

Song of Princes (Homeric Chronicles, #1)

Song of Princes is the first book of the Homeric Chronicles, a New Adult series, retellings of the Trojan War. It was written by Janell Rhiannon, and published in June, 2016. I first about this book on BenjaminOfTomes’ YouTube channel, and added it on my TBR shelf on Goodreads. A while later, I was contacted by the publisher, and they sent me a copy for review. I know it’s long due, but better late than never…

Genre: New Adult, Mythology Retelling
My rating: ★★★★✩

Warning: This book is a New Adult read, and contains a lot of sexy/sex scenes.

The story:

Song of Princes goes way back before the Trojan war started, and follows most of its main protagonists. It starts with Hecuba and her husband king Priam, right before the birth of their son Paris, and the prediction that says he will become the doom of Troy.

As the story unravels, the reader gets to meet more of its protagonists. Gods, mortals, heroes, queens…And the unavoidable slowly becomes more and more clear: the Trojan war is drawing closer.

My opinion:

Of course, this book is a retelling of a very old tale, so you know what’s going to happen right from the start. However, that doesn’t make it any less amazing. Janell Rhiannon clearly made her research, and provides the reader with so many details, it is impossible not to get drawn into the story.

I thought it was an very interesting take on the original story. I usually envision the Trojans as the “villains” of the Trojan war, because Paris is the one who captured Helen, and the Illiad and the Odyssey are told from the Greeks’ point of view. However, in Song of Princes, Trojans are at the center of the story most of the time, and they are portrayed in such a human way it is impossible not to like them. And even more importantly, all human characters are presented as simple pawns of the Greek Gods. They are at their mercy, and do whatever they are told. It is impossible to avoid the prophecy. But that made the book really enjoyable. In a way, you are placed into the position of the gods themselves: you see them struggle, trying to avoid their fates, the prophecies, and in the end it’s impossible.

The character portrayals in this book are excellent. I don’t know how else to put it. This book has a lot of diverse characters, they are all so different, and so human each in their own way, and that makes it extremely interesting. Really, congratulations to Janell Rhiannon for this, I can’t wait to read more about all of them! I particularly liked the emphasis on the femaly characters such as Hecuba and Clytemnestra, I think the chapters about them were my favourites.

Finally, I wanted to say that I really enjoyed this book, and would totally recommend it. The only reason why I didn’t give it 5 stars is because some of the male characters were too rude and brutal for my taste. I know it totally made sense in this context, and I respect that. It just was a bit frustrating to me. But overall, this was an incredible read! I just love mythology so much, and boy, I was not disappointed with this! Keep up the good work, Rhiannon, I will be watching out for your next release!

Check it out on Goodreads and Amazon!

 

Teaser Tuesday #39

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme is hosted by MizB from Books and a Beat.

1. Grab your current read

2. Open to a random page

3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Initiate

How cool is this cover?

I just started Initiate by Laura L. Fox! This book is a YA Science Fiction set beneath the Antarctic. It will be released on November 15th, and I wanted to thank Oftomes, the publisher, for sending me an ARC copy.

My quote:

“The name of our underground home – the Tunnel – may be unoriginal, but it is no misnommer: a labyrinthine maze of half-circular hallways with domed larger public rooms and smaller private quarters juttling off at regular intervals, the Tunnel is axactly that – a series of passageways that keep our isolated community connected. Some of us call it the Warren because of the den like nests and burros of our quarters, the only spaces which give our icy refuge a hint of warmth and coziness.” – p.7

Goodreads

Stars Above: My Review

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This book was basically the perfect ending to one of the best series I have ever read. It was so good to go back in time with all these characters, to learn more about them, and just to be with them one more time.

The Lunar Chronicles #4.5
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication year: 2016
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retellings, Companion short stories
My rating: ★★★★★

Contents:

The Keeper: A prequel to Cinder, about Michelle Benoit and how she came to be a guardian for her granddaughter Scarlet, and the Lunar princess Selene.

Glitches: A second prequel to Cinder, this one a few years later, when Cinder wakes up, is adopted by Linh Garan, and moves to New Beijin.

The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we follow Ze’ev Kesley on his journey to becoming a Lunar Special Operative.

Carswell’s Guide to being Lucky: This one seems to be a favourite to loads of people, as it follows a young Thorne trying to gather money to buy a Rampion ship.

After sunshine passes by: In this prequel to Cress, we get to see how Cress grew up, and got to leave alone on her satellite, with Sybil Mira being her only contact to the outside world.

The Little Android: This one is a retelling of classical tale The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, and follows an android who develops feelings for a human.

The Mechanic: This scene shows Kai and Cinder’s first meeting (at the beginning of Cinder) but this time it’s from Kai’s perspective.

Something Old, Something New: In this last tale, the Rampion crew gather together a few years later, for a much anticipated wedding…

My opinion:

One more time, I was transported to this magical world I love so much. Though magical is probably not the most appropriate terme, but it feels that way to me because I love it so much…

I can’t pick a favourite short story, honestly, I loved them all so much. I didn’t want this book to end. It was really interesting to get prequels, and learn once again more about those amazing characters and how they got to be who they are in the rest of the series. We had gotten glimpses of the events through the rest of the series, things mentioned about their childhoods, but it was great to go more in depth about it. It was also interesting to read from other character’s points of view (yes, I’m talking about The Mechanic here…)

And at the same time, we also got new content, like with The Little Android and of course, Something Old, Something New, which was the perfect way to end this series.

There’s not much more to say about this book, honestly, but I still wanted to make this post to tell you all how much I loved it. If you enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles, and haven’t read those short stories yet, I would definitely recommend you pick up this book ASAP. If you haven’t read The Lunar Chronicles, then what are you waiting for?

You can check out my reviews for CinderScarletCressWinter and Fairest by clicking the titles of the books. And if that’s not enough to make you want to read them, you can check out this video I made about 5 reasons why you should read this amazing series!