The Forbidden Game by L.J. Smith | SERIES REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! Today I am very excited to talk about one of my all-time favorite trilogies, The Forbidden Game trilogy by L.J. Smith. This is a very creepy series that I read back in high school. I absolutely loved it then and I still am in love with it now. I had been meaning to reread this for awhile, and I finally did. I am so happy I finally got around to rereading it because I loved it just as much as the first time. But let’s go ahead and get into the review!

Synopsis:

“When Jenny buys a game for her boyfriend, Tom, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the guy behind the counter. There is something mysteriously alluring about Julian’s pale eyes and bleached-blond hair. And when he places the Game into her hands, she knows their connection is something deeper.

But as Jenny and her six friends begin to play the Game at Tom’s birthday celebration, a night of friends and fun quickly turns into a night of terror and obsessive love. Because the Game isn’t just a game – it’s the seven friends’ new reality, where Julian reigns as the Prince of the Shadows.

One by one the friends must confront their phobias to win the Game. To lose the Game is to lose their lives. And that is only the beginning…”

My Thoughts on The Hunter:

I forgot how much I freaking love this series. This first book is equally scary and creepy and it is just an interesting world that L. J. Smith has created, and I still love it. I think I forgot this was based on Norse Mythology, and I honestly forgot a lot about what happened in this first book. There is only one part of this book I could never ever forget, and that is the bug scene. It was like my own twisted nightmare brought to life. It scared the crap out of me the first time I read this, and it still scares me to death. I had nightmares for months after finishing this first book back in High School. It is everything I want in a spooky, scary novel. There are family elements, friendship, love, and so much creepiness. I just fell in love with this series all over again.

Something that I picked up on in my reread of this book was the similarities I saw in Julian’s character with Sebastian Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I don’t think they are the same by any means, but Julian looks a little bit like him (they’re both unbelievably sexy with white hair), they have similar background in who/what they are (literally can’t say because spoilers), and they are both obsessed with a girl who is taken by another guy and who they really can’t have (which is frustrating as hell because I ship Jenny and Julian with a vengeance). My mind just kind of connected the two of them while I was reading, and now I can’t not see the similarities, even if the stories are completely different. I just thought it was interesting, considering this book was published over 20 years ago.

But I loved the storyline, the writing, the love story, and just everything about this. It is still my favorite thing to read around Halloween, and I think it is just great. Highly recommend!

5stars

My Thoughts on The Chase:

Oh, this was so good! This one had the creep factor, but it was different. It was scarier, more suspenseful. When you’re reading this book, you kind of become paranoid. Like, who is going to disappear next? How are they going to disappear? It just kept me on the edge of my seat, and the last fifty pages of this book were like terrifyingly suspenseful. I literally could not stop reading! With this one, while the actual romance is not touched on a lot, I was living for every single scene that had Julian and Jenny together because I am absolutely trash for those two. I freaking love them, and I will ship them until my last dying breath.

This book just gave off a very cool vibe to me, and I was here for it. It was interesting how L.J. Smith took the Game, and just made a new one, but on their turf in the real world, in reality, and not the Shadow World. It really forced us to see the repercussions of looking over their shoulder constantly. We got to see the aftermath of Summer going missing and how everyone thought that Jenny and all the rest of them killed her. We also saw how the Game was affecting their familial relationships. They were having to lie to everyone they cared about, and people were noticing how changed they all were. It just really put a strain on their relationships with everyone around them, and it was really cool to see.

I just really loved the different take on The Forbidden Game, the writing, the development of all of the characters, and I just think this was a solid installment in the trilogy. I loved this, I think, even more than I did the first time around, so I am really excited to finish up my reread of the trilogy with the last book, The Kill!

5stars

My Thoughts on The Kill:

This book was very creepy, I’ll give it that. It was a scary experience, and I am convinced that this book is the reason I find my local amusement park so creepy, but it was just missing a certain element. The romance. One of the reasons I loved the first two books so much was the romance between Jenny and Julian. You could see how much he cared about her. You could see how much Jenny really did care about Julian. But that element was just missing from this book. It was in the first part of the book, so I really enjoyed the first part of the book, but then that element was just suddenly gone, and that was why I was dragging my feet when I was reading this. It was missing my favorite part about this series.

I would say the character element to this story was what was really lacking. You don’t really get much character development because this time the story was plot-driven, and I just missed all of the character moments we got in the first two books. With this last one, it was just plot. And the storyline was really interesting, but it should not have taken precedence over the characters and their development, and I just feel like that is what happened. There was no chemistry between any of the characters in this book. I just didn’t feel emotionally connected to anyone in the story except for Julian, even if I do think he was behaving off in this book.

I had problems with this book, compared to the other two books, but I still really enjoyed it, and I want to continue my reread of L.J. Smiths’s other works! The writing was on point, as always, I still really enjoyed the first half, and I do think it was still a good conclusion to the series!

4-stars

And there you have it! That was my review of The Forbidden Game trilogy by L. J. Smith. What is your favorite urban fantasy novel? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! I am so excited to discuss This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee. This is a Frankenstein retelling, and I really enjoyed it. I think it was such a well-written and interesting take on the traditional Frankenstein story,, and I just really loved it. If you love spooky reads, you definitely will like this. But let’s go ahead and get into the review!

Synopsis:

“In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real-life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…”

My Thoughts:

This book was absolutely fabulous. I was entranced with this story from the first page, and it was such a good retelling of Frankenstein. Having just finished Frankenstein, the story was very fresh in my mind. I loved trying to figure out what was going to happen when trying to parallel this story with the original work, and it was just a fun time reading this.

I really loved the characters. Oliver was a difficult character, but I still found him appealing. I loved how Mackenzi Lee really gave substance to his character with the plotline of him being resurrected. With the original work of Frankenstein, we just knew him as the monster. He had no name, he had no life prior to his creation, and he was more of a thing than a person. With Lee’s reimagining of the original Frankenstein story, she gave us a person who is definitely more human than monster. Oliver had a life before everything happened. He was a person who was loved and who just enjoyed life. We really build on that over the course of the story and build on the relationships between him and his family and other characters. Oliver is so complex when comparing his life as Alisdair’s creation to who he was before. He is just such an interesting character, and I loved learning more about him.

Alisdair was someone who we had to get to really know over the course of the entire book. We peel back all the layers of who he really is. We piece together the mystery surrounding how his brother really died, and it just made me want to keep reading, to figure it out. And we also need to figure out what went down between him and Mary, how she is connected to everything, and just the complexities of his character coupled with the complexities of who she really is because she put on an act for everyone, as to who she is.

I also really loved Clemence’s character. We got some lesbian rep in this book, and it was really interesting how it was handled in this novel. While it wasn’t a major element to the story, it is addressed, and I loved seeing that. I also just loved how kickass Clemence was. She was never afraid to speak her mind, and I just loved her character so much. She was easily one of my favorite characters.

I also really loved the fantasy and steampunk aspects to this story. While this is not my first steampunk novel that I’ve read, I did really enjoy it! I found it super interesting how Lee managed to weave all these fantasy elements into this retelling of Frankenstein, and it just made the book even better, in my opinion. I also loved how the actual book of Frankenstein was woven into this story. It isn’t just quotes and nuances that are in the story. The actual book plays a major role in the plot of this story, and it was so interesting to read a retelling of Frankenstein with the actual book being in the story, and it just added something extra to the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed the characters, the world, and the writing, and I could not be happier with this retelling. I highly recommend you all check this out, and I am so excited to read more from Mackenzi Lee in the future!

5stars

And there you have it! That was my review of This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee. What is your favorite Halloween read? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! I am very excited to discuss a Gothic Horror Classic, and that Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This was my first time reading it, and I am so glad that I did because I really enjoyed it. If you love spooky Halloween reads, then I definitely think you will like this, so I highly recommend you pick it up if you haven’t already. But let’s go ahead and get into the review!

Synopsis:

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever. ”

My Thoughts:

I definitely understand why so many people love this story. I had mixed feelings about the monster that Frankenstein created because, at the beginning, I felt it was unfair for Frankenstein to seem so repulsed and horrified by the monster. He never gave him the chance to be a good person at all. The continual revulsion and mistreatment of other people along with Victor Frankenstein led to him becoming a very resentful, evil being that was hellbent on destroying Frankenstein’s life. If he had been afforded kindness he probably would have been a pretty decent guy, but because of the treatment of every human he had come into contact with, he truly became a monster. If you treat someone like a monster, soon enough that is what they become.

I honestly was not a huge fan of Victor Frankenstein at the beginning. I liked his character a little bit, but my opinion of him just went south after he treated his creation the way he did coupled with the fact that he had this immense hatred for the monster. But I did end up more on his side when everything the monster had done was revealed. I think he was really trying to just keep his family safe from this monster that was hellbent on destroying it based on the treatment he had received from Victor and other humans alike. But Victor did end up winning me back in the end.

I really loved seeing the huge family dynamic in this book as well. There are not a lot of books out there that feature a theme of family, and it was really refreshing to see. Victor’s love for his family is really the core of this story, and it was nice to see his family so prevalent in this story. We really got to know his family, and I just really appreciated that.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story, the characters, and the writing. I just think it was a really fascinating book, and I am so glad that I finally read it!

4-stars

And there you have it! That was my review of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. What is your favorite spooky read? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this review today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! Today we will be discussing a book everyone has been raving about for months, and that is The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. This was absolutely freaking fabulous. I loved every single second of it. This book made me feel so many things. It was just a rollercoaster ride from start to finish, and I absolutely freaking loved it. But enough with the gushing. Let’s go ahead and get into the review!

Synopsis:

“Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.”

My Thoughts:

This book was one I was definitely expecting to love. This story went places I was not really expecting. Like, I had no idea that any of this shit would end up happening, but it did. And I freaking loved this book. I listened to this via audiobook with my best friend Emily, and we both really loved it, and I think we have decided to do this more often, listen to audiobooks together. That is literally what we have done all day. All we did was listen to this audiobook for eight and a half hours straight. And it was a really fun time!

I really loved all of the characters, even if I did want to physically murder some of them at one point or another. These are all flawed characters, but I just really loved them despite their flaws. Monty was hilarious and very emotional, but he could also be a bit daft at times, very selfish, and a bit of an asshole, not going to lie. But he is still a character that I ended up loving. I loved him despite his flaws. He had so much depth to him as a character because yes, he was definitely a privileged, rich, white aristocratic man, but he also has had to put up with a lot of shit in his life. To overcome all of that and remain a strong person just really elevated his character in my eyes, and made me like him so much more than I already did.

Percy was literally my heart and soul. I freaking wanted to murder anyone who dared to look down on him because he was an African American. People assumed that he was a slave because of his skin color, despite him continuing to tell people that he actually grew up with a nice family in England. I hated how people ended up treating him. It just rubbed me the wrong way. But he is literally the definition of a cinnamon roll and he deserves all that’s good in this world. I just loved him so much, and I never wanted any harm to come to him. He was just one of my absolute favorite characters and there was never a moment in this book where I hated him. He was just a really kind person, and I just loved him so much.

Felicity was literally my spirit animal. I freaking loved her. She was not backing down from anything. She was not one of those girls who was just going to let people walk all over her. She was not going to stay quiet, and she will tell you exactly what she thinks no matter the consequences. She was so kickass, for one, and so intelligent and ambitious, and I honestly think Percy and Monty would have ended up dead in a ditch if it was not for this girl. I think she is just a really good role model for women today. She just is going after what she wants, and I admire the shit out of that. She was just my everything, and she will forever be my favorite character. She is just the best!

Man, the romance between Percy and Monty was difficult with this novel. This is not the sort of novel where they immediately get together. The amount of build up in this novel is absolutely absurd. The amount of almost things happening scenes (whether a kiss or just SOMETHING) is literally ridiculous. There was literally a point where Emily and I were gasping and squealing and holding onto each other for dear life because we were like, “OH MY GOD. SOMETHING IS GOING TO FINALLY HAPPEN.” And then something came along to screw it up, and we were so pissed. I think we ranted about it for a good ten minutes before we could continue on with the story.

But the romance definitely was not easy. It was complicated and difficult. It’s something you have to have patience with. It is totally worth it in the end, even if there are still a thousand bumps in the road along the way. But it was really beautiful, and the amount of times Emily and I rolled our eyes because Monty said or did something stupid or hurtful or selfish was kind of ridiculous. I wanted to throttle the man most of the time, but eventually, he stops being daft and stupid and actually doesn’t screw up as much. But that is the thing about relationships. They take a lot of work, but they are totally worth it in the end, which definitely proved to be true by the end of the book. But it was still frustrating as hell…

Now the plot actually surprised me. It went in a completely different direction to what I was expecting. It was action-packed, emotional, suspenseful, and just so many other things. I definitely was not expecting it to go to all these different places, and I really loved it. It was a good unexpected. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and it was just super enjoyable. I am not going to say too much about the plot of this book just because I think it is better to go into this book blind, but just know it was absolutely bloody fantastic.

Overall, I really loved the characters, the love story, the plot, the writing, and just everything about this book. I think it was fantabulous, and I am so happy I decided to read this. The audiobook was fantastic, as it was narrated by Christian Coulson who portrayed Tom Riddle on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and this book as a whole was just absolutely fabulous. I cannot recommend this book enough, and I am so excited to read more from Mackenzi Lee!

5stars

And there you have it! That was my review of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. What are you currently reading? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! Today I am very excited to talk about Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. This is one of my top favorite books of the year, and I just really loved this book. This book deals with so many different topics like sexism and racism and just the importance of letting your voice be heard. This book just inspired me, and I am so glad I decided to read it. I highly, highly recommend you all check this out because I just freaking loved it. But let’s go ahead and get into the review!

Synopsis:

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.”

My Thoughts:

OH MY GOD. THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY BLOODY FANTASTIC.

Like, I am having trouble putting into words how I am feeling right now. This book just has me inspired. It makes me want to go out and do something, make some noise, and just let my voice be heard. I identified with this entire book. I went through a lot of these same experiences when I was in high school. There were always these jerkface guys who would always just tell me and all of the girls that women belonged in the kitchen, which is what the guys in this book were saying. Also, similar to this book, the word, “feminist” is considered to be taboo and kind of like a dirty word.

I just found myself drawing similarities between this book and my high school because I am from a small town and while it isn’t just one sport that is literally the center of the school, sports, in general, were the center of the school. If you weren’t doing sports, it is like you never existed. It’s like you were invisible. I wasn’t involved in something like that, so people did not know I existed. I also was just afraid of speaking out against all the antifeminism and sexist bull crap because I would end up being part of their sexist jokes.

Also, at my school, it was very clique-ish. You saw the cliques clearly and you did not cross over into another clique. I was looked at like an outcast because I was not part of a clique. I had not gone to that school for my entire life. I transferred there in eighth grade. I had two best friends. Two. I didn’t eat in the cafeteria because I was avoiding the people in there. I would eat lunch in one of the classrooms.

And standard policy at that school was to not draw attention to yourself, especially because of what you were wearing. I identified so much with the stupid dress code crap we saw in this book. At my high school, the girls were slut-shamed and told what to wear and what not to wear, what color to dye their hair, and how they should just generally look so as to not distract the male students because they can’t control themselves if they saw a female’s shoulders. You couldn’t wear leggings unless you were wearing a dress or shirt that was practically down to your knees lest one of the male students suddenly get distracted from their education, nevermind the girl’s education. They were objectifying the female students. Did the boys ever break the dress code? Yeah, but did they ever get in trouble for it? No. Not even once.

This book also discussed that classic guy line that says, “Oh, but not all guys are like that!” Like, yeah, that may be true, but in saying, you are belittling and dismissing the fact that a lot of guys are like that. They do objectify women and treat us like we are second-class citizens. This book challenges that, and for that reason, I think everyone, male and female, should read this book because feminism is for everyone, not just girls. I think people look down on feminism because they don’t understand it, and they believe in stereotypes. That’s how my family is. They believe in stereotypes.

This book just tackles so many different topics in relation to women, and I just think that everyone can learn something from this book. This book is so realistic because this stuff does happen. It is real, whether you choose to believe it or not. All of these characters are so relatable, and I could just see myself in every single one of them, so I think everyone can relate to this book. This book was just executed so wonderfully, and I am so happy I decided to read this because it is definitely one of my favorite books of the year, and it has jumped onto my all time favorite books list. This was just absolutely fantastic!

5stars

And there you have it! That was my review of Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. What are you currently reading? Sound off in the comments below! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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The Lady With the Dog by Anton Chekhov | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! Today we will be discussing a short story I read for my Critical Reading and Writing class that I had so many strong feelings about that I just had to write a review. To be frank, I had a strong dislike for this story. I was not a fan of the topic in question in this story, and I just did not like it. But let’s go ahead and jump into the review!

Synopsis:

The Lady with the Dog is a short story by Anton Chekhov first published in 1899. It tells the story of an adulterous affair between a Russian banker and a young lady he meets while vacationing in Yalta. The story comprises four parts: (I) describes the initial meeting in Yalta, (II) the consummation of the affair and the remaining time in Yalta, (III) Gurov’s return to Moscow and his visit to Anna’s town, and (IV) Anna’s visits to Moscow.”

My Thoughts:

I did not like this book at all. I knew I was going to hate it from the second I started reading it. I can handle many different topics in literature, and I can remain objective in most of them. But I absolutely cannot like a story if it has even a small aspect of cheating in it. This book was nothing but cheating. I knew I did not like the main character, and I would never like his character because he was a misogynist through and through. I didn’t approve of the relationship. I did not like the age gap between them. I did not like them sneaking around their spouses to be together, and I just felt like Anna could have done worlds better.

The writing was decent enough. I think Anton is a very talented writer, but I hated this storyline. I was not a huge fan of these characters, and I don’t think things should ever work out between those two. I don’t care if they think they are in love. Leave your spouse, if you are that unhappy. Disappear and start a new identity, if you want. But do not cheat. That is one thing that just makes me instantaneously hate a story, and this story had it, so I was not a fan of this story, and I don’t think I ever will be.

2-stars

And there you have it! That was my review of The Lady With the Dog by Anton Chekhov. And that is going to be it for this review today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! Today I am very excited to discuss The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh! This is a book that I have been meaning to read for like ever, and I am so glad I finally did because it was fabulous. I loved everything about it, and it definitely lives up to the hype surrounding it. If you love beautiful writing, kick-ass characters, and an amazing plot line, then I definitely recommend you check this out because it’s fantabulous. But let’s go ahead and jump right into the review!

Synopsis:

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?”

My Thoughts:

This book was absolutely bloody fantastic.

I did not have low expectations going into this. There is so much hype surrounding this series, that I don’t think I could possibly go into this thinking it would be bad. I did not have ridiculously high expectations either, though. Basically, I knew what it was about. I knew it involved a retelling of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, and that it had beautiful and lyrical writing. That was it. I knew that I wanted to read this. I have been wanting to read this book for years, and it was definitely well worth the wait because it was absolutely fabulous.

I ended up liking the characters so much more than I thought I was going to. Our main character Shazi is a freaking firecracker, and I absolutely loved her. She was outspoken and passionate, but she also had a soft side, and I loved seeing all of the dimensions to her character in this novel. She spends the majority of this novel conflicted because she wants to kill Khalid for killing her best friend, but he is not really the monstrous murderer that she was expecting. He is actually a human who has decent human feelings, and she did not know how to deal with that because the only reason she volunteered to be his wife in the first place was so that she could kill him and avenge her best friend’s death. But she ends up falling in love with him, despite everything that he has done. And I just think that really shows her growth as a character because she can see the man behind the mask.

I really loved Khalid. I liked him from the beginning because I could just instantly feel that it was a facade that he actually was not the monster everyone believed him to be. I instantly loved him, not because I wanted him to be with Shazi. I will get more into that in a minute, but I loved him because he just was a good person that was put in an impossible situation and as the King, he had to deal with that, knowing he had no other option than to make his people believe he was a monster. I think we really get to see his depth as a character over the course of the novel because we don’t just see him through Shazi’s eyes. We get to see who he believes he is, and who his true self really is. It just was really beautiful to see.

I loved Tariq as well. I don’t know if he is a character that other people have a problem with, but I loved him. I did find it kind of cliched that he started a rebellion because of one girl, but putting that aside, I think he is a very interesting character. He is willing to do anything to save Shazi. He loves her so much, and I just hope that at the end of the series, he is still this wonderful and caring person and that Shazi loving Khalid is not going to make him grow into this really cold character like so many other YA books do. I think he deserves the world, and hopefully, he will be happy by the end of the series.

I also really loved Despina and Jalil separately, but also together. Despina was always such a sassy woman who ends up becoming a real friend to Shazi, which I loved seeing. It was really refreshing to see two female characters caring for each other in their own ways rather than wanting to kill each other. Jalil was one of my instant favorites. He is just a really likable guy, and I loved how he ended up actually considering Shazi family rather than a potential enemy. He also just really cares for Khalid, and I think that really showed through.

Now we should talk about the characters I don’t give a rat’s ass about. I freaking despise The Sultan (that’s his name, right?) I think he is just a jerkface who needs to die like tomorrow. I did not really care for Yesmine’s character, even if she really does care for Khalid. But I especially ended up not liking Shazi’s father. He is heading down a very dark path, and I think he is not going to end up helping her. I don’t know what is going to happen, but I do know it is not going to end well…

I just want to express that for the first half of the novel, I did not ship Khalid and Shazi. It’s not like I was anti them being together, but I definitely didn’t ship them together. I personally wanted Shazi to be with Tariq because I thought they were really cute together. But once we hit the halfway mark, I was pretty much like, “See ya, Tariq. Hello, Khalid!” because damn. That man does things to me. He is definitely my favorite character, and he cares so much about Shazi. He loves her so much, and once we know the full truth of everything that is going down, I just loved him all the more. And I just think Tariq needs to chill and let them be together because I want them to be together forever. They are just my OTP…

But something I actually ended up having no interest in whatsoever was the stupid rebellion that Tariq is leading. I personally don’t give a shit about it, and this is the one time that I’m like, “Yeah, rebelling is not the answer.” I think it is going to cause more harm than good, and I think it is going to hurt a lot more people than it helps. I just have no interest in that plot line whatsoever, and I really hope it crashes and burns in the next book because it is just a really, really bad idea.

I did enjoy the writing much more than I was expecting to. With me, lyrical writing styles are either a hit or miss. I have only come across a handful of lyrical writing style that I genuinely like, and this is one of them. I think that everything Renee Ahdieh says is just beautiful, and I think I could literally read her grocery lists and think they were beautiful. She just has a gift with words, and I really loved that.

But overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I am really looking forward to reading the next one! I loved the love story, the plot line, the world, the characters, the writing, and just everything about it. I am so excited to see where the story goes next and to read more from Renee Ahdieh!

4-and-a-half-stars

And there you have it! That was my review of The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. What is you favorite retelling? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! Today I am very excited to discuss the final book in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s fantabulous Lux series! I really enjoyed this, even if it is not my absolute favorite finale I’ve ever read. It dealt with some cliches, though I did not mind them too much. I am very sad that this series is over, but I actually ended up picking up on some things I missed before in the thousand other times that I have read this book. It really surprised me with how much I enjoyed it this time around. But let’s go ahead and jump right into the review!

Synopsis:

“Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can’t believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing…”

My Thoughts:

In many ways, this could be considered a cliche end to the series, which mirrors that in television shows where the world ends up ending in the final season. That happened in the final season of H2O: Just Add Water, The Vampire Diaries, and many, many other shows. But the beauty of different shows and different books doing an explosive apocalyptic ending is they all seem to do it differently, and that was the beauty of Opposition, the final book in the Lux series. Some might say it was a cliche ending because this is a science fiction series about aliens, and there was an alien invasion at the end of this series. But I think Jennifer managed to make this alien invasion unique to this series, and it ended up being super interesting.

Speaking of the plot, I thought it was interesting how we got to see both sides of the war. We got to see the military/human side of it and the alien side. We really got to see the resilience of the humans and the psychopathic tendencies of the Luxen. That was something that particularly creeped me out. Just seeing how the Luxen who hadn’t been living on Earth just annihilated (or tried) the human populace with their malice, violence, and arrogance really made me want to run in cover, to be honest. I totally would not have survived the war. I would have been killed for something stupid if I am being honest. Like being sarcastic at the wrong time…

But anyway, regarding the human side, we saw the sacrifices they were willing to make to try and fight back against the Luxen. They really were willing to sacrifice the few to save the many, and Katy and Daemon and all of them knew that was wrong, so they decided to do something about it. Two warring species come together to end the war, and that just shows how resilient people can be. But these two species coming together really made me reminiscent of Twilight (because I am fairly certain this was at one time Twilight fanfiction) with the werewolves and the vampires. Also, there was at least one Twilight reference in this book, which I didn’t catch the first time I read it, and when I came across it this time, I burst out in uncontrollable laughter because it was the most relevant thing ever.

Our characters went through a tremendous amount of character development in this final book, as if they had not already gone through so much. We got to see how much Dawson really cares about Beth, and the sacrifices he is willing to make to ensure the safety of the girl he loves. I think we really get to see Beth more in this book and start to see the confident, beautiful girl that caught the heart of a Luxen in the first place. Just seeing their relationship with them together really solidifies their romance in the reader’s mind, and I just loved that.

We really get to see Katy and Daemon’s relationship develop as he finally stops trying to protect her from everything and really sees her as someone who can kick some ass. He doesn’t try to shield her from everything, which just shows so much development with his character. He shows even more development by not trying to like annihilate Archer for the way he looks at Dee, for even liking Dee. Because he protects Dee like nobody’s business, and to see him finally start to loosen the reigns a little bit was nice to see. Katy also goes through a lot of development. Katy just starts kicking ass and really shows how strong she is. She really shows how fucking brave she is. She just has grown so much from the character we meet way back in Obsidian. She just is not backing down, and I admire the shit out of that!

Okay, but we need to talk about something else in regards to Katy and Daemon. This is going to be a really awkward topic, but can we just talk about the fact that Jennifer put 10x more sexy scenes in this book than any other book in the series. I don’t know if it is because it’s the end of the world or the fact that it is just Daemon and Katy, but that was just something I noticed. That there were a lot of sexy times in this book, and one of those times was just so one of them would not have to think about what happened in the war. I don’t know; it was just something I noticed.

And that actually reminds me about this one really important event that happened in this novel. It is what really set off the waterworks for me. This event that happens really changes one of our characters. Forces this character to grow up in ways they should not have to. I think we all knew that this was a possibility, that this event could happen. But it almost seems cruel that it ended up being this way. But it didn’t become unrealistic in its cruelty. I think that to have this event not turn out this way would be the unrealistic thing, in my opinion. Not everything could turn out great and everything has its breaking point. These bastards just wanted to hurt a certain character as much as they possibly could, and they did.

I think that we just get to see the extremes that people will go to, whether that be born out of love, desperation, hatred or a combination of all three with this book, and that just made it very different to other books about alien invasions that I have read. I absolutely loved this explosive series finale, I loved the writing, the character development, the war and the different sides we got to see, and I just really loved seeing our characters come out the other side, though not without their share of scars. I just really thoroughly enjoyed my reread of the finale, and I think it was just the best way Jennifer could have ended the series.

4-stars

 

And there you have it! That was my review of Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout. What is your current favorite science fiction novel? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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August Wrap Up!

Hey, guys! I am very excited to get into the books that I read in August! I did not read as much as I did last month, sadly, but I am still pretty satisfied with the amount I did read, considering how busy I ended up being this month. From moving into my new apartment to starting classes, I just had a lot on my plate. I actually think I ended up doing pretty decent, even if a lot of the books that I did read were re-reads for me. But I did end up reading eight books this month, which I am so very excited about, so let’s just go ahead and jump right in!

The first book that I read this month was Fashionably Dead by Robyn Peterman.

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This is the first book in the Hot Damned series, and this was a book that I reread. For years, this was my all time favorite paranormal romance book, and upon rereading this, I actually have changed my opinion on it drastically. The last time I read it and really analyzed it (even then, I did not look very much into it because that was pre-reviewing) was when I originally read it back in the beginning of high school. After analyzing it and really reading it, I actually ended up having a lot of issues with it. I was not a huge fan of the actual story line, and I ended up having problems with the romance among other things. I did review this, and I gave it 3.5/5 stars.

The next book I read was Astonishing X-Men #1 by Joss Whedon.

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This is the first issue in the comic book series Astonishing X-Men, and I ended up really enjoying this. I did at first think I would not end up enjoying it because I thought some of the characters seemed like they were acting weird, but ultimately, I felt that the dialogue was great, the characters were acting on point, and I did really enjoy this, even if I did still have a few problems with the simplistic art style. I am definitely continuing on with the series, and I also wrote a review for it. I gave this 4/5 stars.

The next book I read was Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

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This is the second book in the Lux series, and this was another reread for me. This is one of my all time favorite series, so of course, I loved this just like I did the first time I read it. This series is just like a guilty pleasure for me because it is pretty much like Twilight fanfiction, but it doesn’t really bother me. It actually is really fun! But this second book was just as amazing as the first time I read it It is still one of my favorite books in the series. There is so much sexual tension and just Katy and Daemon and aliens and holy God, it is so good. I can never get enough of it! I actually did not write a review for this one, but I did end up reviewing the rest of the series, oddly enough. But I, of course, gave this 5/5 stars.

The next book I read was Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

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This is the third book in the Lux series, and I am begging you not to judge it by the romance novel cover because it is really fabulous. But this book is one of my least favorite of the series, not because it’s bad or anything. I just was not a huge fan of the overall story line. This book was an emotional one for me, however. I sobbed while reading this. It really hits you. But I did enjoy seeing Katy and Daemon together and not trying to kill each other. They are literally my OTP. But I did review this, and I gave it 4/5 stars.

The next book I read was Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

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This is the fourth book in the Lux series, and it is actually my favorite book of the series. Origin is the book that has all of the super emotional scenes along with the kickass fighting sequences and sexy, all-consuming romance. It has everything I love about the series in one book, and I just absolutely love it. I honestly can’t say I have any problems with this book at all, and it is worth it to read the entire series because A. It’s fantastic and 2. Because this book is fantabulous. But I did also review this, as per the usual, so if you want to hear more of my gushing thoughts, I suggest you check that out. I ended up giving this 5/5 stars, of course.

The next book I read was Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

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This is the fifth and final book in the Lux series, and I did really enjoy this, even with it being the millionth time that I have read it. Basically, if I am bored, I end up rereading this book. I would say this is another one of my least favorite books of the series just because this book didn’t really grab my emotions like the others, even if I actually was a huge fan of the plot line. I’m all up for apocalyptic endings. It was still fantastic, but I was, unfortunately, missing that emotional tie that the rest of the series had, but I did still really enjoy this, so I gave it 4.5/5 stars. My review is also up.

The next book I read was Ms. Marvel: No Normal  by G. Willow Wilson.

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This is the first volume in the Ms. Marvel series, and I really wish I could say I absolutely loved this, and it was the best thing ever. But, unfortunately, this one was a really big disappointment for me personally. I had heard such amazing things about the series, and it had some diverse Pakistani-American rep, so I was really excited to read it. But it just did not end up being my thing. I don’t know if it was the age of our main character, my dislike or aversion to the art style or what, but something just made it to where I could not enjoy this story. I found all of the characters to be quite one-dimensional, I wasn’t a fan of the story line, I did not like the artwork, and I just felt that the writing was not as great as it could have been. Ultimately, I did write a review for this, which is posted with my full thoughts, but I ended up giving this 3/5 stars. It just was not my cup of tea.

And the final book I read this month was Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan.

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This is the first volume in the Saga series, and man am I excited to get more into this series. I freaking loved this first volume. This is definitely my favorite graphic novel that I’ve read thus far, and it is definitely my current favorite series. I just loved everything about it, from the family dynamic to the intricate world and the dialogue and humor and love displayed in this novel along with the amazing artwork and the kickass storyline and characters. I just loved everything about this graphic novel, and I am so freaking pumped to read the rest of the series. I wrote a gushing review, and I obviously gave this 5/5 stars. This was absolutely bloody fantastic!

And there you have it! Those were the eight books I read in the month of August. What is your favorite book that you read this month? Sound off in the comments below! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! I am so freaking pumped to discuss this amazing and wonderful graphic novel. This is the first volume in the Saga series, and it was absolutely fabulous. Everything about it was just amazing. But with that said, this is definitely an adult graphic novel, so there are explicit sexual scenes, a lot of violence, and a lot of explicit language, so if that bothers you, I can’t really recommend this to you. But if you are completely comfortable and cool with that kind of thing, I definitely recommend you give this one a go. But let’s just go ahead and jump right in!

Synopsis:

“When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

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My Thoughts:

This was so good. Like this lifts the bar so high for graphic novels to me. I absolutely love the characters and the story line and the world and just…This was so fantastic. This is definitely an adult graphic novel, but if you can handle a lot of adult topics (explicit sexual scenes, violence, language, etc.) I definitely recommend you pick this one up. It is just so great.

Something that I really loved was the story line. Just the premise of two parents making huge sacrifices, willing to do anything, to save their daughter and give her a good life is just a really good message. I loved seeing how much Alana and Marko cared for each other and their child. It just sent a really good message, I think. People need to see that kind of love. It’s rare in today’s world. Speaking of the characters, I freaking loved them all. They are all so complex, and I just loved it.

Now I really did not care about The Stalk, to be honest, but I did really enjoy seeing the other Freelancer, The Will. While he is a killer for hire, he did find it absolutely horrendous that a child would be sold into slavery, and that really showed his depth as a character. He definitely has a human side to him, and there are certain lines he would never cross. Using children like that is wrong, and seeing him upset over it like that was just really heartwarming to me.

I still love Alana and Marko. They are hilarious and care for their family so much. They can kickass and will do anything to protect each other and their family. It was just really beautiful to see. Another character I loved was Izabel. I freaking loved her. She was like my everything. She was a standout character to me, and I think she adds an interesting dynamic to this story since she is a teenager. I also just think she’s hilarious, and I love seeing her interact with Hazel.

I also just really loved the writing and the artwork. The writing was funny and badass and definitely kept me engaged throughout the entire story. And the artwork was absolutely stunning. It really captured each scene beautifully, and it really made the story even more beautiful. Fiona is super talented, and this makes me super excited to see more of her artwork because she is just so amazing.

Overall, I loved the writing, the plot, the characters, the world, and the artwork. I am super excited to see more from Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and I am really anticipating reading the next book in this series. It will definitely be epic!

5stars

 

And there you have it! That was my review of Saga Volume 1! What is your favorite graphic novel? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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