Passenger: My Review

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For some reason I was in the mood for time-travel adventure reads in the summer, and along with The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (which I reviewed here) I also read Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. I had heard a lot about this book on Bookstagram and in the bookish community in general, so it raised high expectations for me, and I was slightly worried it would be overhyped, but I absolutely loved the story.

Title: Passenger
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publication: January 2016
Genre: YA, Time-travel, Historical fiction
My rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

Etta Spencer lives for her violin and puts it before everything else until one night she is thrust away from everything and everyone she cares about, only to discover that not only is she away from them through both time and space, but also that this was something her mother knew was going to happen.

Nicholas Carter has been trying to avoid the Ironwood family for most of his life, and dreams of living his independant life at sea with the help of the man who raised him. But again and again, the time-traveling family crosses his paths and destroys things he cares about. When his path crosses Etta, he is once again forced onto the path of time-traveling, in an adventure that could change the way the entire world functions.

My opinion:

Let me start by saying I absolutely loved this book. It was fantastic. It was a book that had been on my TBR for quite some time (ever since it was released I believe) and I am so glad I finally read it because it most certainly did not disappoint.

I’m a sucker for time-travel novels even if I often find the concept of time-traveling a bit confusing, and I absolutely loved the way it was executed here: it was rather well-depicted, and the fact that it could have heavy consequences was also made clear, which perfectly makes sense, and was well-inserted into the story. Kudos to Alexandra Bracken for creating such an amazing, well-crafted universe.

I really loved both main characters. Etta is a 21st century young violin prodigy, and Nicholas is an 18th century captain who also happense to be the illegitimate son of a slave (something that obviously has a major impact on his life, but I also believe it was quite well-depicted in the book. Let me know if you think I am wrong, I may have missed something).

A lot of people said the book was slow-paced and that it took some time for the pace to pick up. I honestly wasn’t bothered by it. I just really liked that the setting and the concept were well-described. One thing that I regretted though was the development of the relationship between Etta and Nicholas. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE them together. I think they really match and that it’s beautiful they managed to find each other through space and time. However, I do think that the relationship was a bit rushed and honestly happened way too fast. It seemed to much of an insta-love, while it could have been much more slow-paced. On the one hand, this is something that I often see in YA and even if I don’t like it, I can understand that it is for the purpose of the story. And on the other hand, this book was not your typical YA, so I guess that makes up for it. (And honestly, Etta and Nicholas are a match made in heaven, and they have so much to learn from each other, it’s beautiful).

As I just said, this book was not your typical YA novel, and I think it’s one of the things that made me fall in love with it. If you love time-travel, pirates and adventures, then this is something I can only recommend to you. Feel free to share your opinion if you also read (and loved!) this book ♥

Similar recommendations:
The Girl from everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Inherited by Freedom Matthews (review)

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The Girl From Everywhere: My Review

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I haven’t written a book review (or a blog article for that matter) in a while so I figured it was really time I fixed that. I read The Girl from Everywhere back in August, not really knowing what the story would be about, only that it was about pirates and time travel – something I am always up for.

Title: The Girl From Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Publication: February 2016
Genre: YA, Adventure
My rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

Nix has been raised on a pirate ship, traveling through time on an impossible quest to help her father save her own mother from death, an event that could alter her timeline and prevent her own birth. The Captain is obsessed with finding a 1686 map of Honolulu to achieve his goal, and to succeed, Nix and her shipmates have to go through time and space, both real and fictional. But does she really want to proceed with something that could make everything she knows disappears?

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

(You have been warned, carry on at your own risk!)

My opinion:

I was definitely attracted by the premise of this book because it contained time-travel and as I said, I’m always up for that, and it didn’t disappoint, especially considering the ship could access pretty much anywhere as long as they had the proper map, which means they could also go to fictional places, something I didn’t expect and absolutely loved. Honestly it was really hard to put this book down. It has great twists and goes to great places, both story-wise and in ther characters’ journey. The only thing I didn’t like was the love triangle aspect of it, which is something I couldn’t honestly do without (especially because I would rather concentrate on all the adventures at hand).

That being said, I really like the main character Nix. She is facing a pretty hard dilemma but still helps her father even though she knows it might affect her entire life. The Captain is also a pretty complex and extremely well-made character which I really appreciated. The ship has a few other shipmates who are all unique and coming from different places. My personal favourite, of course, is the ever-charming Kash, but I also really liked Bee.

Another absolutely amazing aspect of this book is the fact that Nix has a mixed-race heritage, (her mother was Chinese and living in Honolulu, and her father is American) which is something she can suffer from, but was also (in my opinion) very well included into the story. The other members of the crew also come from various places around the globe, which makes it a very realistic pirate ship, and also manages to include rep that is very rare in fiction, again something I loved. For example Kashmir comes from Persia and also speaks a bunch of foreign language including French which was the direct way to my heart. When I’m reading, I love to see different things, and this book is the perfect example of that. I live for it and I can’t wait to pick up the sequel.

Before you ask, I didn’t really like Blake to be honest. His (sort of?) relationship with Nix felt forced. I liked however how cultured he was and all the things we got to learn through him. And I loved that this book mentioned historical and cultural elements I didn’t really know about, that was super interesting.

I feel a bit rusty writing this review, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway. If you have read the book as well, I would love to hear your opinion on it. If you haven’t, I definitely recommend it. And if you love time-travel, then what are you waiting for?

Homecoming: My Review (The 100 #3)

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I finally read The 100: Homecoming and I absolutely loved it. There’s a lot of romance but I think this series is very well made even though quite different from the show!

Title: Homecoming (The 100 #3)
Author: Kass Morgan
Genre: Science Fiction, YA, Romance
Publication: 2015
My rating: ★★★★☆

Warning: Possible spoilers for book 1 and 2, and for the TV show!

You can check my review of Day 21 (book 2) here if you want!

The story:

In book 3, the rest of the Colony – including Glass – is flying to the ground while the 100 settle a peace with a group of Earthborns – there is a group of peaceful ones and a group of dangerous ones. But as the adults reach the ground, things are about to change for Bellamy and the rest of the delinquents, as well as the fragile peace they have built up with the Earthborns. Meanwhile, Clarke tries to contact her parents, and Wells develops his relationship with Sasha, the daughter of the Earthborn commander.

My opinion:

This book does include a lot of romance, much more than in the TV show. Actually, the only thing they have in common by this point is the universe, and the name of some of the characters. That’s pretty much all, honestly, but I don’t mind. The world building is really great, and even though it’s going pretty slow, I like seeing how the relationships with Sky People and Earthborns is developing. This book also includes a few great twists which are very welcome. And of course, I couln’t go around this without saying that I absolutely love the fact that the relationship between Bellamy and Clarke is canon in the books.

I believe the romance relationships in this book are depicted quite acurately. There are fights, and ups and downs, and it seems pretty realistic which is something I appreciate. So yeah, we get to see a lot of romance, but it overall seems to be well made, so that’s great.

We also got some major character death in this volume which hadn’t really happened in a while and totally broke me because I really didn’t expect it. But then again, it could have been predictable, it’s an interesting plot device (even if a cruel one) and it does make sense in such a universe.

The rest of the Colony (or at least part of it) brings up a new dynamic in the story (just like it did on the show) and as much as I expected it, it also had its interesting surprises, and it was well made in my opinion. What I really like about this series is the fact that the books are rather short, captivating and easy to read. I think I managed to read each of them in one or two days, and I always appreciate that.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this one as well as the two previous ones, and it was actually a pleasant surprise. Don’t come into this with overhigh expectations, but if you’re into space and post-apocalyptic stories, then this is definitely something I would recommend!

Geekerella: My Review

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In case you didn’t know, I’m writing a paper about Cinderella retellings, and although this one is not officially included, it was one of my most anticipated releases for the year, because it got me really curious… And I wasn’t disappointed!

Author: Ashley Poston
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Retelling
Release: April 2017
My rating: ★★★★★

The story:

Ever since her father’s death, Elle has been living with her step-mother and twin step-sisters who make her life hell both at home and at school. She’s working in a food truck and dreaming of the day she can escape. On of her only solaces is her blog, where she talks about Starfield, her favourite movies – and a passion she used to share with her dad. However disappointed she is with the new pick to play her favourite hero Prince Carmindor, she decides to attend the new ExcelsiCon – an event created by her father – and participate in the cosplay contest which might allow her to meet with Darien Freeman, the new actor.

Darien used to love attending cons when he was younger, but now that he is on the other side of the pannel, he would rather avoid them. Cast as his hero Prince Carmindor, he is afraid to disappoint the true Starfield fans, especially when a dedicated blogger starts criticizing the choices of the director. But he finds himself exchanging texts with a mysterious girl who gives him hope in himself and his future.

My opinion:

To be honest, I don’t know where to start, because this book had so many things that I love.

First, the main character is very well written and extremely relatable. She is your typical Cinderella with the mean step mother and the unsufferable sisters. But she also has her very particular qualities such as the fact that she works at a vegan food truck, and of course, the fact that she is a nerd and writes a blog on a regular basis, which I absolutely loved. It’s not always easy to write a contemporary Cinderella story because it can very quickly become a cliché, however I believe it was not the case here. The romance was quite well made and if I have to be honest, it was impossible to put the book down.

Darien is also a very interesting characters, especially in his conflicted relationship with his father. I absolutely loved the chapters from his point of view. He is this famous actor who is not sure how he ended up there, and seems to end up either doing things he dislikes or being misunderstood by the public. But he is also trying to stand for what he thinks is right and has a very interesting development through the story. To be honest, I just wanted to give him a big hug and tell him everything was going to be okay.

I really liked the retelling aspect of the story. I kept tracking down the elements directly coming from the original fairytale, and I absolutely loved how they were executed in the book. Some things were predictable, but it also has some nice twists: just the perfect amount of each. And of course, I absolutely loved that both characters, each in their own way, were absolute nerds.

Finally, I have a soft spot for this kind of romance, where the characters fall in love by exchanging letters at first, without knowing each other’s true identity – and they probably never would have gotten closer had they known it. I don’t know, it just really works for me, and it was amazingly executed here, so if this is something you enjoy reading, then I definitely recommend you to go and pick up this book.

Overall, this book was nicely written and absolutely adorable. I sometimes felt like the romance came a little too quickly but it is something I am beginning to notice in all of the books I have read recently so it is probably more due to the fact that I am bitter and disabused than something coming from the book itself (do let me know if you also think so though, I would love to not be the only one who thought so).

I know this book was not perfect but I loved it so much, and it is exactly my type of book, the kind that makes me smile and swoon when I think of it, so I couldn’t not give it five stars. If you are looking for some nice cute and easy read then I can only recommend Geekerella to you. And if you have read it, I would love to hear your opinion as well!

Similar recommendations:

P.S. I like you by Kasie West for the letter exchange aspect of the story, and Cinder by Marissa Meyer for the retelling aspect of the story of course.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone: My Review

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I haven’t posted an article in a while, but here is a review of this fantastic book I finished at the beginning of the month!

Genre: YA, Fantasy
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication: 2011
My rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

Karou has been raised by a mysterious group of chimaera until she was old enough to live on her own and is now studying art in Prague, running mysterious errands for her strange family, and trying to get away from her ex boyfriend.

But soon, the traces of burnt black hands appear on the doorways that lead her to her beloved chimaera, and people claim to have witnessed angels – but beware, angels are not as nice as we thought.

Karou travels from Paris to Marrakesh and all around the world, but when she meets Akiva, her life is about to be transformed and soon she realises that her past hides much more than she could ever imagine.

My opinion:

I read this book as part of a readalong on Books Amino, and I’m so glad it was the pick of the month because otherwise I would probably never have read it, but oh boy, it was amazing. To be honest, I had heard a lot about this book, but I had no idea what it was about, and for some reason, I was sure that it was overrated. But my conclusion is that in facts, it is worth all the praise. I jumped in not really knowing what to expect, and in the end, it was an amazing journey.

What struck me the most is the fantastic world building. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an incredible fantasy, which seems to be a mix of both urban and high fantasy. And it’s a really perfect blend. It just works, in the most amazing way. I never knew I wanted to read about chimaera and angels that badly, but apparently, I really did.

I loved the world that Laini Taylor built here, and I absolutely loved all the characters. I really appreciated the fact that Karou had a best friend who had nothing to do with this crazy amazing world, but who still got included in the story, and that’s what I live for. I always feel like it when perfectly “normal” human beings get mixed up in this kind of story, so this was a nice surprise.

It took some time to get to it, but I absolutely loved the back story of Akiva and Madrigal. I loved learning more about the chimaera and this fascinating world. And hopefully, this hunger will be even more satisfied in the next books.

My only regret is that the romance was really rushed in my opinion, and even though we get some explanations later on, it still bothered me from at least 50% of the book. They did seem to be wonderful together though, it’s just that I felt like some building up was lacking. I still enjoyed this book nevertheless, and I am left with so many questions that I HAVE TO pick up the sequel.

One more thing I wanted to add before concluding this article is the fact that the setting was really wonderful, both when it came to the fantasy and the earthly world. I have personally been to Paris, Prague and Marrakech but these are not setting often found in YA books and I have to say it made me really happy. I think Prague was an amazing choice of setting, and it’s also really refreshing to see something a little bit different!

Let me know your thoughts if you have read this book, and if you haven’t, then I definitely recommend it!

Flame in the Mist: My Review

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Flame in the Mist is Renee Ahdieh’s new novel. You might know her from her duology The Wrath and the Dawn which was a retelling of the Arabian Nights (review), but this time, the story is set in Japan, and follows the daughter of a samurai… And it’s just as great.

Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre:
 YA, Historical Fiction (bits of Romance and Fantasy)
Publication: May 2017
Rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

Flame in the Mist follows Mariko, the 17 year old daughter of a samurai, who is attacked on her way to the capital where she was supposed to marry royalty. She fakes her own death and goes in hiding, deciding to take revenge on the Black Clan, responsible for the deaths of her people. Hiding in the forest as a boy, she finds a freedom she never had as a girl, and manages to infiltrate the Black Clan, where she soon befriends the cook and attracts the wrath – and more ? – of the clan leader’s right hand, a mysterious boy nicknamed the Wolf.

My thoughts:

First of all, I wanted to mention how gorgeous this cover is. Now that I have said it, I can move on to the actual story. (But really. It’s one of the prettiest covers I have ever seen.)

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Might contain spoilers!

Now, onto the story. I have heard this book marketted as a Mulan retelling for some reason but I did not mention it in the synopsis, because I personally think it’s wrong. Mulan is set in China, while Flame in the Mist is set in Japan (and later in time I believe). Mulan is the single daughter of an old man who is too old to fight, while Mariko has healthy parents and a twin brother more than able to fight. Mulan infiltrates the army to replace her father and defend her country, while Mariko infiltrates a gang of outlaws for completely different reasons – survival, revenge, and a need to prove herself. So really, the only thing they have in common is a girl crossdressing as a boy, and honestly, that is not enough to consider this book a retelling of Mulan in my opinion. If you go into this book looking for a retelling of Mulan, you will probably be disappointed. However, that left aside, it’s an amazing book.

The second thing I wanted to address is the fact that this really gave me some Asian drama vibes which I really enjoyed. Of course, this makes sense since the story is set in Japan. But I have also watched quite a few (Korean or Japanese) dramas where the female lead is crossdressing as a male, and lives in a guys only environment (Hana Kimi, Ikemen Desu Ne…). Same with some mangas and manhwas I have read (Idol Shopping, Love in the Mask…) So I guess this rang a bit the same. And I really liked it.

I think Mariko was a really interesting character. She is a rather badass girl, who tries her best but still remains human. I also really liked the other characters such as Okami, Renmaru, Ren, Yoshi… Though I didn’t really like Mariko’s brother Kenshin.

The universe was really nice, and changed from what I usually read. I need more books like this, honestly.

The story line especially in the second part reminded me a lot of The Wrath and the Dawn/The Rose and the Dagger in the way that the main character starts to feel empathy for those she considered her enemies and infiltrated in order to get her revenge. Just like Sharzad, she realises she might have been wrong, that there might be more to the story, and that there is another enemy somewhere else. Love gets in the way. And then she realises there is also more to her family than she expected at first. And for some reason, this kind of plot really works for me, so I loved it.

I also really enjoyed the fact that we didn’t get the story only from Mariko’s point of view, but also from Kenshin’s and the Emperor, which allows the reader to know a bit more than the characters, and makes the story even more interesting.

Overall, I thought that Flame in the Mist had a pretty basic plot but still a very enjoyable one, as well as some great twists. I knew something was up, but I couldn’t really piece up what, and the ending left me with so many questions. I can’t wait for the sequel!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments if you have read this book as well!

Thoughts on the Shades of Magic Trilogy

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A Darker Shade of Magic (2015)
A Gathering of Shadows (2016)
A Conjuring of Light (2017)
Author: V.E. Schwab (Victoria Schwab)
Genre: YA, Fantasy

It also has magic and elements of historical fiction, it’s such a wonderful blend of awesomeness ♥

I read A Darker Shade of Magic last year and really enjoyed it. But then it took me forever to pick up the sequel. And now I have finally completed the trilogy, and I feel like I should talk about it on here, because those books were absolutely incredible, and you should definitely check them out. You can read my review for A Darker Shade of Magic here, and I gave all three books either four or five stars ★

The story:

Four colours. Four Londons. And only two people can travel between them. These people are called Antari, and Kell is one of them. An orphan from Red London, adopted by the Crown, and bound by friendship and brotherhood to the heir, Rhy.

Meanwhile in Grey London, Delilah Bard dreams of becoming a pirate, and soon she is swept up by a plot bigger than herself, and discovers that she might have abilities of her own.

In White London, Holland is slave to the Danes, the king and queen reigning over the realm. His powers are unlimited though, and he strives for a better world, doing anything he can to achieve his freedom, good or bad.

Locked away from the other cities, Black London is supposedly dead, but a powerful artefact might be able to change everything for everyone, magical or magicless London.

My opinion:

I absolutely love the universe that Schwab created in this series. It is so original and full of amazing twists. I feel like these books are fit for both historical fiction and fantasy lovers. I just loved everything about them. The characters are amazing, diverse, unique, and endearing. And the setting is incredible. Each book comes with new twists and adventures. And by the end of the trilogy, I really didn’t want to leave this world.

Words are not enough to describe how fantastic this trilogy is. It kept me on edge from beginning to end. And I loved it. The world building is absolutely incredible. And it is so well written. I liked each book even more than the previous one.

The characters are all so different and incredible. They are all complex, and cleverly written. It’s impossible to pick a favourite. Every volume managed to bring its lot of surprises and new amazing characters and twists. Amazing doesn’t even begin to sum it up.

I really liked Kell, obviously. He has powers that none can understand, but he also has his own wounds, and faults. He feels to human and relatable. He is fierce and needs to be protected.

And then there’s Lila of course. From thief to pirate, this girl has done everything. She can lie as well as she can breathe. She is immensely strong, morally and physically. She also has her faults, and for that, I will always admire her. She is the amazing person I wish I could be.

Then there’s Rhy, the prince, who struggles with his magic and wants to be stronger. At any cost apparently, and it does definitely cost him. But he also knows how to value his mistakes, and the people he cares for. What I like the most about him is his gift for languages, because it’s always something I admire.

Holland, the other Antari, appears at first to be a villain sort of character, but the more we read, the more we learn. And he is so much more than that. He is a very complex character, who was built on pain. It is so interesting to read about him. Even if he’s really not my favourite, I sometimes couldn’t help but feel bad for him.

And one more character I wanted to mention, of course, is Alucard, though he is only introduced in the second book. He is another very complex characters, and mysterious as well. A powerful magician, though not an Antari. A pirate and a noble man, with an undying love for the heir to the throne.

Everything about these books and these characters is amazing. The romances are well played, and don’t overshadow the plot itself. Shades of Magic is a tale of magic, obviously, of adventure, and of power games. It has a bit of everything, and what else can I say, it’s fantastic!

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I honestly don’t know what else to say about these books. I really loved them, as you probably got by now, and I felt that they deserved their place on my blog so here we go. Have you read them? If so what did you think?

I read book one and three on kindle, and listened to the audiobook for book two, which was also an amazing experience. I’m actually considering getting the physical copies because they are so gorgeous, both the American and the British edition!

Victoria Schwab is amazing, and I want to read more of her books. Which are your favourites? I also read Vicious which was incredible, and the next on my list is This Savage Song!