Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October Wrap Up

There is no way October is already over. I just can't wrap my mind around it. But here we go.

After the insane amount I read last month, it feels like I hardly read anything at all this month. Between midterms and feeling crummy for a couple weeks, I didn't read as much as I was hoping. Surprisingly, most of it was nonfiction, which I'm happy about. (I tried to quickly sneak in a few at the end of the month, so it's actually more than I was thinking I had read this month.)
Notable Favorites: Women in Sports, Dare Mighty Things, Hidden Figures: Young Readers Edition, Why Dinosaurs Matter, Anne of Green Gables, The Hobbit

TV: The Good Doctor has been just as amazing as I was hoping. Also Brooklyn Nine-Nine is back and killing it as always. Not really TV, but rereading Anne of Green Gables made me want to rewatch Green Gables Fables and I could just shout about this miniseries forever. IT'S SO CUTE AND LOVELY AND WELL DONE just watch it okay
Movies: For some reason, decided to get into the Jurassic Park franchise this month. I know, I can't believe I've never seen them either. Also had to watch Patch Adams for a class, and actually really liked it.
Other: TeaWithTolkien is the cutest little Etsy shop and has been feeding my Tolkien obsession. Also made DRAGON EGGS from this tutorial from Commas and Ampersands and they were SO CUTE. (I need to post a picture soon)

That's all for this month! Hope you're enjoying what's left of fall weather :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Tiger's Daughter {DNF Review}

Title: The Tiger's Daughter
Author: K. Arsenault Rivera
Series: Their Bright Ascendency #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
source: NetGalley

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.
Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.
This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

I wanted to love this book so, so bad. It was loved by all the people I trust, it was blurbed by my favorite author. But I just couldn't. I DNF'd around 30% and let me tell you, it took WAY too long to even get that far. I like to give books a good chance before setting them down, but that 30% took me almost a month to read.

First, it was just...boring? I had heard all of this talk of warriors and empresses and saving the world, but apparently I just couldn't wait long enough to get there. The story is told mostly in letter form from one of the girls to the other. While the letter is in interesting aspect, I think it ultimately detracted from its intended purpose. (Also, it didn't really make sense? It seems odd to go into this much detail in a letter to someone who was also there.)

Also, the world-building was mostly built through dumps of information throughout the letter. It was obviously based on Asian cultures, but very badly done. While I can't speak to the racism and appropriation of Japanese and Chinese culture in this novel, this review can. I encourage you to read it.

All in all, just highly disappointed.

K. Arsenault Rivera

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Thursday, October 19, 2017


Hello! Today, I'm super excited to be part of the Alienation Blog Tour! You guys know how much I loved Starstruck when I read it, so here we go!

Please take your seat and strap yourself in, as we take you on an intergalactic tour. You will be amazed, entertained, and educated. Maneuver through the cosmos and be astounded at all you see. Hunt down the hidden words that will get you to your final destination where a one-of-a-kind award awaits one lucky traveler.

You are here to celebrate the release of Alienation, book two of the humorous Sci-Fi series, Starstruck.

Sally Webber's dream is coming true: Zander is back and taking her out for a night on the town--on a planet hundreds of light years away from Earth. 
But when an accident separates her from her alien tour guide, she’s thrown into the seedy underbelly of an insane city where nothing is as it seems. Suddenly lost and desperate to get back home, Sally is willing to do anything to get out, even if it means accepting spontaneous marriage proposals, crashing some fancy parties, or joining what appears to be the space mob. 
All she wanted was some decent interstellar pizza, but now it might be the end of the world as evil nanobots and an out of control AI try to take the universe by force, and the only one who can stop them is missing in action. Sally has no choice but to try to stop them herself--if she can stay alive that long.

Pre-order your copy now!

Alienation is the fantastic sequel to the hit sci-fi comedy, Starstruck by S.E.Anderson.


While Meegrans were some of the first to join the Alliance, they still make up a vast minority of the population on the core planets. This is mainly due to the fact that their closely related to spiders, which has an unsettling effect on most human beings.

Just like spiders, Meegrans have 8 appendages, though in an effort to fit into humanoid society, they use two pairs as arms and two as legs. But it is impossible to hide the eight black eyes, or the light coating of hair that covers their entire body.

Meegrans usually live on their home planet of Meegra, though the wealthy or the well employed will sometimes be found on the core planets.  Meegra – oddly enough – is also the only planet to employ an entire race to be their police force. The Fruallux are massive, dog-like beasts, who run an incorruptible justice system. The Meegrans and Fruallux enjoy a symbiotic relationship the Alliance still can’t quite understand.

Sally encounters Tchilla, a dressmaker and award winning designer, on platform six – a swanky shopping center in Da-Duhui. Tchilla weaves her silk into outstanding designs and dresses, and swears that she can dress any creature from any planet. As much as she’d love to return home,  her involvement with the Maakuna family prohibits her from doing so.

Follow this exciting blog tour starting at your first stop UrbanHype101 and if you get lost in cyber space, come back to UrbanHype101 for the tour map. There’s something new to read, see, or hear on each of these stops. Don’t forget to hunt for that special word (ahem -- try journal) and if you find ALL of them, send them to scavengerhunt@bolidepublishing.com and you could win a signed copy of Alienation and a gift pack of unique swag! This contest is open internationally.

Make sure to visit the next blog!

20th October    Bookish Slytherin

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Beasts Made of Night {by Tochi Onyebuchi}

Title: Beasts Made of Night
Author: Tochi Onyebuchi
Series: Beasts Made of Night #1
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
source: First to Read

In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt. 
Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family. 
When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life. 
A gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy.

I loved the idea for this story, and I was very excited for the Nigerian-inspired elements. But I don't think it quite lived up to my expectations.

-The Nigerian elements. This world was very rich and full, both the setting and the folklore and the characters. I thought that it was such an eye-opening look into another culture and its people.
-The characters. I loved our main character, Taj, but also his friends and the others in this story. While I didn't feel that they were so fully fleshed out, I loved them.
-The plot. This idea that sins are manifested and "eaten" was super interested and very well executed.

-The writing. There was never really a point where the writing sucked me in. While I was interested in the story, sometimes the flow of the writing just sucked me out of the story.
-The plot. I know I listed it above as a pro, but hear me out. While I enjoyed the story and what was happening, I also feel that it jumped around way too much. Certain things weren't explained well, which added to the feeling of not being fully invested.

In the end, while I loved the idea of this book, it did not live up to its full potential. However, it was still a very enjoyable read, and I am looking forward to picking up more of Onyebuchi's writing in the future.

Tochi Onyebuchi

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dare Mighty Things {by Heather Kaczynski}

Title: Dare Mighty Things
Author: Heather Kaczynski
Series: Dare Mighty Things #1
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA SciFi
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
source: Edelweiss

THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.
Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe. 
Cassie is ready for the toll that the competition will take; the rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push her to the brink of her endurance. But nothing could have prepared her for the bonds she would form with the very people she hopes to beat. Or that with each passing day it would be more and more difficult to ignore the feeling that the true objective of the mission is being kept from her.
As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down . . . even if it costs her everything.

Okay. Um, wow. That's kind of where I'm at upon completing this novel. I knew I was going to love it (I mean, space!!) but I don't think I was quite prepared for HOW much I ended up loving it.

Okay, first Cassandra is (half) Indian-American, which pushed this to the top of my TBR when I realized it (if you didn't know, I am also Indian-American). Second, she comes out as asexual, which DO YOU KNOW HOW HAPPY THAT MADE ME I honestly almost cried. Cassandra herself is a very hard-working, motivated individual. She maybe isn't the greatest at social interactions and having friends, though. Cassandra starts off pretty judgmental and self-righteous, thinking she's better than most of the candidates. But wow does she grow and learn throughout the story.

I also loved our secondary characters. Even though the competition was serious, they were fun and humorous together. I also loved the competition itself, as I love space and tech and so that was a fun look inside what it takes to actually go into space.

The book did take a little while for me to get into, and I felt the ending was way rushed. I will say, I did not expect what happened there at the end, but it was all so rushed I think it took a little while for me to comprehend what had happened. Those two reasons are why it wasn't a full 5 stars, but I really did love this one and will be eagerly anticipating the sequel.

Heather Kaczynski:

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Among the Red Stars {by Gwen C. Katz}

Title: Among the Red Stars
Author: Gwen C. Katz
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
source: Edelweiss

World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.
Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines. 
As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.
Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.

When I heard about a book based off the true story of the Night Witches, I was super excited. And this one lived up to my excitement.

Valka is a pilot, desperate to help the war efforts with her skills. She and her cousin fight for a place in the first all-female aviation group, and Valka finally gets her wish. I loved Valka. She was strong and fierce and loyal to her country. She was flawed, sure, but you were rooting for her the entire time. She and the other girls had to fight to be taken even half as seriously as the men, and they were not going down easily. I also loved the camaraderie between the girls. This would have been such an easy opportunity for girl-on-girl hate (something I feel is too prevalent in YA), and while there were some disagreements, I loved seeing them support each other and become like family.

This story is told from Valka's POV as well as letters between Valka and Pasha. Pasha was just a sweet boy who was not cut out for war at all. I loved getting his point of view, so different from Valka's. I did feel that the story took a little while to get into, and sometimes I felt that the letters were a bit too much, but once I got into the story, I was hooked.

I also just loved the story in general. The strength and resilience of these girls, to fight in a war because they loved their country. They definitely start the story with a romanticized view of war, but even when they realize it wasn't quite what they thought, they were still determined. Even when they weren't given a fair chance. And yet they turned it around to become some of the best there were. I'm not usually a fan of historical fiction, and I loved this one.

Gwen C. Katz

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Most Anticipated OCTOBER Releases!

Well, it's already another month! October has some amazing releases coming out (I believe it has the most out of any other month this year) so let's get right into it!

October 3
  • That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston
  • Because I was a Girl edited by Melissa de la Cruz
  • Satellite by Nick Lake
  • Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz
  • The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
October 8
  • Where the Stars Rise edited by Lucas K. Law
October 10
  • Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski
  • All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
October 31
  • Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns
  • Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

My most anticipated for this month are That Inevitable Victorian Thing and Barbary Station.What books are you looking forward to this month?