Lost in Translation Book Tag

Alright everyone, today we are learning a lesson and that lesson is to never ever trust google translate with your translating needs. This is something, actually, that any teacher teaching me a language has told me countless times and yet people probably still do it because it’s easier. So let’s see what this tag is all about and have some fun as we go!

Thank you so much, Sunny @Revolution Reading for tagging me in this tag! Here’s how it works:

  1. Pick the last book that you read
  2. Translate the title into three or more languages using google translate
  3. Translate it back into english and compare how close or how far it was from the original title
  4. Put the original title down at the bottom and talk about your last read!

Translated title: Magic Technique

(Yoruba, Ukrainian, Icelandic, Chinese, English)

What. WHAT? W H A T?????? Okay but seriously, try to guess. Just try to guess what the heck this title could possibly be. I want you to write down your guesses right now and tell me in the comments after because this is absolutely ridiculous.

The original title is Sorcery of Thorns
How, just how did I get “Magic technique” from Sorcery of Thorns?

Anyways, I did do a book review about this book but I may as well talk about it.

This was a very interesting fantasy book. Our main character, Elisabeth, grew up in a library of magical books so…you all can be jealous of her now. But then (dramatic pause…) she becomes accused of setting a cursed book on the nearby town (even though she was the one who stops it)! Thus, she is sent to the city with a sorcerer to face her judgement!

This was a different book, a different idea, than other books I’ve read and it was fascinating that way. There were some parts that I felt were unneeded or overly convenient and the ending was a little confusing to me, but other than that, it was very good! To see my full book review, click here.

Okay! I’m gonna do another one because I want to and also I thiiiink this one is gonna be great. I hope it will be, anyways. Here goes:

Translated title: We Slip a Hand

(English, Chinese, Thai, Pashto, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, English)

W-what? I don’t even know what this means. We Slip a Hand? It sounds like some book about card games. Or like…nope, I have no idea why you would name a book “We Slip a Hand.”

Anyways. Any guesses on what this one actually is? Write them down now and put them in the comments at the bottom? The actual name is below:

The original title is We Ride Upon Sticks.
So it looks like the ‘we’ part is still the same, but the rest of it…I dunno how on earth this happened.

We Ride Upon Sticks was a really interesting book. It was an adult book and the entire thing was pretty slow, but it was actually really good. I loved it because it was about a female sports team which is not something that you read much. Plus, the girls had a super strong bond which was nice. There was a lot of diversity, both racially and LGBTQ+-wise so that was super cool, especially since it was based in 1989. I loved seeing how the girls grew over the year and discovered more about themselves and each other. You can find my goodreads review on this book here.

Well that’s the book tag! Again, thank you so much to Sunny for tagging me; this was super fun. I will tag:

Alex @The Scribe Owl
Lilly @Lilly’s Little Library
Sibella @YA Book Reviews

Well, there’s the post! I really hope you enjoyed this tag, it was fun to do and had a really funny turn out! Remember, those tagged don’t have to do the review and if you weren’t tagged but think it sounds interesting, please go ahead and do it!
As always, thank you so much for reading; it means the world. Stay safe and keep on reading!

2020 Book Tag

Welp, here we go with yet another tag. It seems like ever since I started with the tags, I’ve just been doing them constantly. I’m sorry about that guys, I’ll try to get a discussion post or review up soon, we’ll see!

Before you ask, yes. You read this right. A book tag about 2020, the year as a whole. Because what better year to do one on? 2020 has been the biggest roller coaster of a year that anyone could possibly imagine and there are just so many ideas for a book tag. I will separate the tag into a few different sections so that you all know what part of the year I’m talking about. (Please note: I live in the USA so depending on what country you live on, different things may have happened throughout the year, but this is just what’s up in the US. You can definitely still do the tag even if you live in a different country!)

Here are the rules for this book tag:

  • Link back to the original creator, Phoenix @Books With Wings
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Answer all the questions
  • Tag at least 4 people
  • At the bottom, talk about some other books you read in 2020! (this isn’t required, just suggested!)

Please note: Just because this is a book tag about 2020, the books you talk about do not have to have been read by you in 2020
ALSO: This tag is about 2020. However, it does not need to be done DURING 2020. The year is almost done but this tag doesn’t have to be! It’s only a tag about the year, there’s nothing in it that requires it being that year.

Okay! I really hope you all enjoy this tag and find a little light in this year that has been sub-par. I know that it’s a ‘2020 book tag’ but you can do it anytime, not just in 2020! This tag is not time sensitive like the monthly book tags that I have tried and failed to get popular, so don’t worry!

Here is a list of the questions and below I will post my answers:

Part one: Beginning of the year
1) A book that you were really excited for
2) A book that started out really well (to be fair, I’m not certain if it started well, but it was certainly better than the rest of the year)

Part two: The world goes on hold
3) A book that had an unexpected plot twist
4) A book where you felt like nothing happened
5) A book where two main characters were separated (quest, disease, forbidden, etc.)

Part three: The world tries to reopen (and begins a second wave of the pandemic)
6) A book in which the characters made a bad decision
7) A book with an impatient/overly eager character

Part four: The world adjusts (not sure this ever actually happened but…I’ll bend this a little)
8) A book in which the character’s goals change midway.

Part five: The end and looking forwards
9) A book whose sequel you really anticipated/are anticipating
10) A book whose sequel was better than its original (we’re all hoping….)
11) A book that you read just to finish it (didn’t like it but wanted to finish it anyways)


And here are my answers to all of these questions!

1) A book that you were really excited for

A book that I was really really excited to read this year was ‘House of Dragons’ by Jessica Cluess. I thought it had a very interesting concept and I always love books that sort of have trials the characters have to complete. Plus, we get dragons. Unfortunately, House of Dragons did not live up to my expectations – there were some parts that were interesting but overall the writing style wasn’t very good and I knew almost nothing about the world.
You can find my goodreads review of ‘House of Dragons’ here.
Another posts by me featuring this book is my November Monthly wrap-up and book tag

2) A book that started out really well

A book that I thought had a good beginning was Scavange the Stars. The writing style was great for the whole book and we got to see this harsher, worn side of Amaya who’s really just trying to stay alive. It jumps right into the action, making you wonder why on earth Amaya is on the ship and that keeps you reading for the entire book.
You can find my review of ‘Scavenge the Stars’ on my blog here as well as my goodreads review here
Another post featuring this book on my blog is my November monthly wrap-up and book tag

3) A book that had an unexpected plot twist

Okay, this book I read a while ago. When I say a while, I mean like early 2020, sometime in January, but for me that is a while. I have a memory with as many holes as swiss cheese when it comes to books – I read so many of them and then immediately forget the plots. Still, this plot twist is so memorable that I remember it almost a year later. The book ‘Four Dead Queens’ is such an amazingly weaved book, told so skillfully and beautifully that you can’t put it down. I will not tell you the plot twist for spoiler-y reasons but let me just say that this book is very much worth reading and you need to pick it up immediately if you have not already. (proof that the plot twist was great: I mentioned it in my 3-sentence review of this which book I wrote at the beginning of the year before I really started using goodreads a lot) (And can we talk about that cover though? Beautiful)

4) A book where you felt like nothing happened

Ah! Ha ha ha ha (*laughs in disappointment*). Oh boy do I have the book for you. ‘The Future Was Now’ by JR Harbor.
Let me say right now that I miiight be a little biased against this book. Because of other problems that I have with it (many, many problems. I recommend you check out my rant of this book here to see me roasting it farther)
So, things did happen in this book. Here’s the thing: it ends basically exactly where it started. We get no character growth, no nothing. Asa could have just gone to the city, found a pretty girl and gone back home (more about the ‘pretty girl’ in my review rant)

5) A book where two characters were separated

I absolutely loved ‘I’ll Give You the Sun.’ Basically the main reason that, well, everything happened in this book, was because our main characters, Jude and Noah, were separated.
Not physically, mind you. But the twins, who were practically inseparable for most of their lives, were in a giant fight and were barely talking to each other. Given how close they were before this, I’m saying that they were separated in this scenario. You can find my blog post about this book here. You can also find it mentioned in my (less than adequate) October wrap-up.

6) A book in which the characters made a bad decision

I’m going to call this book one giant bad decision.
It’s not that the book itself was bad. In fact, it was a very interesting book. But the entire book was quite literally about making bad decisions. Here’s some background:
The girls of the Danvers field hockey team are determined to win the state championships – in any way possible. Including dappling with some dark magic. But their dark magic needs recharging every now and then…by doing the worst things they can. Stealing the book copies from a classroom. Replacing chemicals in the science lab with water. And more. Like I said, all bad decisions.

7) A book with an impatient or overly eager character

Literally the second I looked at this prompt I thought of Spensa from ‘Skyward’ by Brandon Sanderson. Maybe I wouldn’t call Spensa overly eager but she certainly is extremely eager and definitely a little impatient. She wants to be up in the air, flying like her father was, no matter what it takes. And then, once she begins to get training, she just wants to actually fly, to actually be up there, in the first few days where she’s sort of just stuck on the ground learning the basics.

8) A book where a character’s goals changed midway

‘Tarnished are the Stars’ is the only book I can really think of in which this happens. At the beginning, Anna has a grudge on Nathaniel because he hurt a child from Anna’s village. Eventually, the child dies and Anna is so angry that she goes searching for Nathaniel to kill him. But then Eliza arrives on the scene and they suddenly have another goal – reveal what the tarnish that is affecting the hearts of everyone in the village is and stop it. Anna went from wanting to kill Nathaniel to working alongside him (and thankfully, it is NOT the enemies-to-lovers trope, they’re just friends!)

9) A book whose sequel you were/are anticipating

NEVER ask me this and expect me to list only 1 book. For your convenience, I managed to lower it to four anticipated releases, but let me tell you it was HARD. Also, images are from the book whose sequel I’m anticipating (because the third book of Children of Blood and Bone’s cover isn’t out yet).
The books that I am anticipating are book 2 of All the Stars and Teeth, All the Tides of Fate, the third book in the Children of Blood and Bone series (untitled), A Vow so Bold and Deadly (ACSDAL 3) and book 3 in the Crown of Feathers book, Wings of Shadow. I love all four of these serieses and can’t wait to read the…woah, for all four, the final book! Especially with that cliffhanger at the end of both Heart of Flames and Children of Virtue and Vengeance.

10) A book whose sequel was better than the original

This so rarely happens to me but fortunately I have the perfect example here. The Shadow and Bone series DEFINITELY improved as it went on, the third being…still not amazing, but SO MUCH better than the first book. I think that, since this was Leigh Bardugo’s debut series, her writing improved a lot as the series went on (but Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are still WAAAAY better)

11) A book that you read just to finish it.

I mean….almost every book I was assigned to read for school? But if we’re going reading for pleasure, I’ll have to say the Shadow and Bone series again. The main reason I picked up Shadow and Bone was to get through it so I could read King of Scars. Shadow and Bone was just…not very good. But I knew that there were characters in it that were in KoS so I just barrelled through it…. (I still haven’t picked up King of Scars, ha).
But also…I’m one of those people who NEVER DNFs so I probably have a few others that I’m forgetting. (anyone think that goodreads should just have a ‘DNF’ button?)

Well, there’s my tag! I really hope you enjoyed this because I thought it would be a fun way to end the year and it’s just an all around original tag! (I hope) Here are the people that I will tag:

Em @Cats, Bibliophiles and Baguettes
Katie @The Storybook Sisters
Alex @The Scribe Owl
April Lee @Booked Till Midnight

Weren’t tagged? I know a lot of people in the blogging community (most of whom I met in the last three days because I’ve actually been making an effort to talk to people) so I can’t tag everyone! But even if you weren’t tagged, please go ahead and do it! I would love to see your answers!

One more thing! Some of you may have noticed the ‘Monthly Wrap-Up Book Tag’ that I’ve been hosting. Yeah, it’s not going so well, probably because it’s sort of on a time crunch and I’m not posting it soon enough and people have already started their monthly wrap-ups, etc. etc. SO. I’m changing how this is going. I will put up a page for the three monthly questions each month. Questions will be put up at the BEGINNING OF THE MONTH. If you want to stick your monthly questions into your wrap-up, just for a fun little ‘learn more about the books’ thing, please do so! If you link your post back to my wrap up I will be sure to present it on my blog so that anyone can see it!
For those of you who are interested in using the questions for this month, the questions are:

  • A book you read this month with a strong bond (friends, family, etc.)
  • A book you read this month in which the characters feasted
  • The book with characters that you would love to invite to your house for thanksgiving (pre-covid)(note: if you do not live in the USA you can talk about the characters you would invite to your house for a feast)

You can find the rest of my monthly wrap-up and check out my answers to these questions here.

Have you read any of these books? What do you think of my anticipated releases? Do you believer that goodreads should add a ‘DNF’ button? Please, tell me what you think in the comments! I always love to hear your opinion on my opinion as long as you’re respectful! As alwaus, thank you for stopping by to read this post and this blog. It means the world!
Stay safe and keep reading,

Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee

We have reached the last week in my ‘Beyond the Story Challenge.’ I know that not many people participated in the challenge but I had a lot of fun reading new books that I probably wouldn’t have found time to read otherwise. I hope that everyone else has found my book reviews just as fun as I have writing them!

Summary:
Sirscha is nothing. An apprentice to the Shadow, the queen’s royal spy, her whole life depends on coming the kingdom’s next shadow. But her plan is derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend, Saengo.
And then, somehow, Saengo is brought back to life and Sirscha is the first soulguide shaman found in centuries. She is summoned into the Dead Wood to appear in front of the Spider King, the keeper of peace in the kingdoms. But the Dead Wood, an ancient forest possessed by souls, are growing more wild and threaten to take over all the kingdoms. Only a soulguide can tame them and Sirscha must learn to control her power if she wants to save her world.

The Characters:
Sirscha: She has no life. Like actually, she admits it herself. Several times. Her only goal is to become the Shadow and she’s oftentimes like, ‘if I don’t get it…I don’t know what I’m going to do. I have to get it.’ She has exactly one friend and a whole lot of enemies because apparently not having parents or a home makes people hate you? And she’s very loyal to her friend but…she doesn’t have much else of a personality. She’s good with dual swords. And NOT good at following orders. That’s all I can really say about her.
Saengo: I liked Saengo much, much more than Sirscha. Unfortunately, with Saengo being sick most of the book and Sirscha going off and doing her own things…we didn’t get to see her much. But she is a very good friend and I hope that, if I read the next book, she’ll be in it more.
Ronin the Spider King: What a name, right? And imagine having a spider king basically controlling all the kingdoms in the world. He lives in the middle of a forest so dangerous that you can’t get through it without him controlling the trees to let you through…unless your name is Sirscha or Theyen, conveniently two pretty prominent characters in the book. All in all, I can’t describe much of Ronin’s personality but I will say that he reminds me a bit of the Darkling…just with less humor. And more mysterious or whatever…if that’s possible. But the similarities are definitely there.
Theyen: He’s the humor and the personality in the book. He’s really the only one with a defining characteristic: completely insufferable. But like, that’s part of the reason why he’s one of the best characters.

The plot:
I…really don’t don’t know to describe the plot. It was….a whole lot. There were a bunch of things that were mentioned once fifty pages ago that Sirscha was supposed to be doing so I didn’t actually know what she was doing most of the time? There were just so many things going on all at once. I also felt, despite the fact that the book is 400 pages long, that it was fairly short once it got going. I know I said there was so much happening at once but I’m going to contradict myself and say that not much happened. Sure, she usually has a goal and is doing something, which is why the plot is kind of confusing, but she spends like half the book in a giant building in the middle of this enchanted forest doing research on….something that was mentioned 50 pages ago, or trying to control her powers. Which she tried like once. The other times she just wandered around doing things. However, despite my harsh words on the plot of this book, I will say that it was still enjoyable to read, and the times that I did understand what was going on were really interesting.

The world building:
I think that part of the reason the plot was so confusing was because of the world building. There are so many places and things mentioned that it’s hard to keep track of everything. Sure, the world is extremely impressive. There’s a really complex magic system, there’s a bunch of kingdoms, there’s this cool-sounding and totally creepy forest…but if we’re not introduced to all these things gradually, it’s really really hard to keep track of everything. We get a few descriptions that border on info dumps at the beginning that describe the world and then we’re just…supposed to figure out what kingdom is what and where when they’re mentioned.

The magic system:
The magic system was info dumped and didn’t do an excellent job explaining it either? I get that there are five central different magics–or possibly six? Is shadows a magic? Sirscha said it wasn’t but then we met people who could magic shadows…anyways. But in those magics, you can do different things. So…Sirscha is a soulguide. She can guide souls to the underworld or back to life. But there’s also a soulrender, who can tear souls out of people and such. And both of those magics are light magics but when you develop powers you only get one specific power. And lots of different powers were mentioned throughout the book but I don’t know what they are or what magic they’re under or anything.

The romance:
Something I liked about this book was that…there was no romance! None. Nothing. Not even a, ‘he looks good in this shirt with his hair tousled,’ or anything like that. No, ‘a warm flutter starts in my stomach.’ It was completely focused on the characters which was a really nice change since I feel like some YA books really have a romance where…there doesn’t need to be one. Where it really changes the story because, ‘Oh, I love you *swoons*’ (no thank you).This was a very nice change.

The representation:
As far as race goes, I believe that all or at least almost all of the characters in this book are Asian. As far as sexuality and gender goes…well there was no romance and nothing about sexuality was mentioned and there are no characters whose pronouns were not she/her or he/him.

Final ratings: (out of five stars)
Characters: 🌟🌟🌟
Plot: 🌟🌟🌟
World building: 🌟🌟
Romance: N/A
Diversity: 🌟🌟🌟
I’m going to bump up the rating a bit because of the no-romance thing.
Final rating: 3 stars

Book info:
Title: Forest of Souls
Author: Lori M. Lee
Published by: Page Street Kids on June 23, 2020
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 400

Have you read ‘Forest of Souls’? What did you think about it? Do you want to read it? Did this review sway your opinion in any way? Have you read any of Lori M. Lee’s other books? What did you think of this review? I’d love to hear your opinion on my opinion as long as you are respectful! I’m always open to a bookish discussion in the comments–I don’t bite! And be sure to check out some of my other posts!
As always, thanks for stopping by. To take the time out of your busy lives to read this post means the world. Stay safe and keep reading!

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

We’re almost finished with my challenge, “Beyond the Story,” at this point! After this post, we only have one more week to go. I know that, in general, the challenge was not the biggest success but I loved that I was able to read a lot of books I probably wouldn’t have gotten to on my tbr otherwise. If you’ve stumbled upon this blog in the time since I posted about this challenge and think it sounds interesting, I’d love to hear about it! I’ll consider doing another one after a bit of a break because writing these book reviews on such short notice is, I’ll admit, exhausting.

Summary:
Elisabeth has lived in one of the Great Libraries of Austermeer her whole life. Training as an apprentice, she hopes to one day become a warden, protecting the magical books–grimoires–and the kingdom from their powers.
When an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire, Elisabeth is determined to stop it from destroying the nearby village. However, her intervention has labeled her as the saboteur and she must be transported to the capital to face justice. She realizes that only a sorcerer, Nathaniel Thorn, can help her as she becomes entangled in a conspiracy from centuries ago that threatens to kill hundreds of people. As she gets deeper into the conspiracy, she must question everything she’s been taught–about sorcerers, whom she’s told are evil, about libraries and about even herself. She, with the help of a few allies, is the only one who can stop all six of the great libraries from going up in flames with countless people among them.

The characters:
Elisabeth: Elisabeth has lived in a library her entire life. And not just any library, a library where books talk to her and secret passages are her main way of getting around. Just…stop and imagine that for a second. Living in a magic library. Surrounded by books your entire life. How I wish. However, it seems that living in this library has made her very naive to the outside world. She believes that sorcerers are evil. And she knows next to nothing about the demons that are bound to them. Elisabeth was a very interesting character. She was determined and she was extremely good with a sword. She was a very strong female character. Other than that….I don’t have much to say. I feel like, despite the fact that she had a sword, was basically friends with books and, well, was the main character of this book, she wasn’t very memorable (I know, I’m going against what I said before, but I really cannot think of something right now. I may think of something later…)
Nathaniel: Shockingly enough, Nathaniel, the male character, was my favorite character in the book. I think, mostly, it was his sense of humor. He also…reminded me of someone, but I’m not sure who. He’s had a traumatizing few years before Eliza came into his life and he relies on his demon for most everything. But despite the complicated relationship between Silas, the demon, and Nathaniel, you can see how much they care and trust each other.
Silas: The demon. But Silas is the most obedient, amazing, trustworthy, loving demon there is. Yes, he’s under a contract sort of thing with Nathaniel but you can tell that he really, truly cares. He’s gone through so much with Nathaniel. I don’t care what anyone else says about Silas but he is my favorite (well okay, maybe second favorite but like…I’m not sure. He may be up there as my favorite) and you cannot convince me otherwise.

The plot: This plot was very…twisty. It seems like at first it was one thing and then suddenly it was another. It was interesting, overall, but I feel like there were just some parts that were too convenient and some parts that just…weren’t needed. For example: Elisabeth needs to get a job at the Royal Library or whatever it’s called (I forget and that’s not good, given that I finished reading this less than an hour ago) to pull off part of her plan. Well, lucky her, turns out there’s a spot open because a maid resigned the day before. And the part with the fiends, when they arrive in the city or whatever…what was the point of that? It was just for Elisabeth to show off her awesome fighting skills and get in the paper or whatever. Why were there even fiends there and why did they target Elisabeth? She was with a sorcerer, wouldn’t they know to go for an easier-to-beat person?

The world building:
Pretty good! I was never confused as to where something was and there was never an info dump. I didn’t get to see much of the world…there was that time when Nathaniel and Elisabeth were traveling and Nathaniel talked a bit about it, but it wasn’t described as fully in detail as other books. I wasn’t sure exactly where things were, other than the fact that the Great Libraries formed a pentagon around the Royal Library (the sixth Great Library) but since they didn’t do much traveling, that wasn’t strictly necessary.

The romance:
Guys. This is…a shocker. I actually sorta shipped a straight couple. Sorta. I think I just felt like they got along well together and I liked Nathaniel a lot. But then….we get to the actual romance, that is, when they were kissing, and I didn’t like it much. I guess I only liked the idea of them together? I’m not sure. But all in all, the romance was…not awful in this book. Also; when Nathaniel finally admitted that he liked Elisabeth: ‘Silas has been rolling his eyes at me for weeks.’

The representation:
Hmm…it wasn’t great? But at least it wasn’t all straight people. Unfortunately, all three of our main characters are white, however there is a side character who is not physically there for most of the book but is mentioned quite a few times who is described as having brown skin. The same character is aro/ace and Nathaniel is bi, though each of these things are mentioned exactly once in the book. The main relationship is, however, m/f.

The ending:
This happens to me often, and it may be because I don’t read the most carefully. But I was confused. I didn’t exactly understand what was happening. (except for…for….Silasssssssssssssssssssss! *breaks down in tears*)
I also felt like the ending of this book ended rather abruptly. The last chapter we have is right when the action finishes, literally directly after. Then we have the prologue that spans over about one day but describes what happened in the past week or so. I don’t want to hear what happened, I want to read it as it happens. If you have that much explaining left to do, just add a few more chapters onto the end.
The last thing about the ending was that it was fairly open ended. One of those books that what happens next is pretty obvious but it doesn’t actually tell you. It annoys me when they do that, because does it hurt to write a few extra sentences, just to make it an actual confirmed happy ending?

Final ratings: (out of five stars)
Characters: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Plot: 🌟🌟🌟
World building: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Romance: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Diversity: 🌟🌟
Final rating: 3.6 stars

Book info:
Title: Sorcery of Thorns
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books on June 4, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young adult, Paranormal
Pages: 453

Have you read “Sorcery of Thorns”? What did you think about it? Do you want to read it? Have you read Margaret Rogerson’s other book, “An Enchantment of Ravens”? What did you think about this review? I’d love to hear your opinion on my opinion as long as you’re respectful! I’m always open to having a bookish discussion with you! And make sure to check out some of the other posts I have to offer!
As always, thanks for reading. It means the world to me that you would take the time out of your day to read this small and insignificant blog. Stay safe and keep on reading!

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Week number two of my “Beyond the Story” challenge! First I want to thank anyone who is participating in this challenge–though I know not many people are participating, I thank everyone who is. Please, put your reviews for this challenge in the comments if you want to!

*Please note: I listened to this book as an audiobook so character names may not be spelled exactly correctly. If you see an incorrect spelling, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments. Thank you.*

Summary: When Amaya saves a mysterious man from drowning, she is afraid that her sentence on the debtor ship, which is almost up, will be elongated. Eager to get home, she believes she has destroyed her future. Instead, the man who she saved strikes up a deal with her: he’ll help her get revenge on the man who ruined her life and she’ll help him get revenge on the person who ruined his. And so Amaya is tossed into a world of riches and finery in a plot to murder both of the men. But the more she explores this new world, the more she dregs up the past that she thought was gone forever–and the more she realizes that no one can be trusted.
On the other hand, Cayo’s life is looking up. It seems he’s finally gotten rid of his gambling problem and his sister is about to marry a wealthy man, giving his family a boost. However, his sister collapses on the night that his father hopes to finalize the marriage and it’s soon confirmed that she has the deadly sickness that’s spreading around Moray. Just to make matters worse, it seems that Cayo’s gambling has lead the family to bankruptcy and now they have nothing to pay with for the expensive medicine. When word gets around that a rich Countess has arrived in the city, Cayo’s father insists that he try to get close to her for a little extra money.

The characters
Amaya: The first character we are introduced to is Amaya. When we meet her, we find her on a debtor’s ship, working furiously. Conditions aren’t great. But don’t worry, Amaya’s leaving soon. This girl is hard-working, tough, strong and loyal. I liked what a strong female character she was but there were a few things I didn’t like about her (more on that later).
Cayo: Shockingly enough, I enjoyed reading the chapters that followed Cayo’s perspective much more than I enjoyed those following Amaya. I think it is because Cayo is more…realistic. He actually has problems. Sure, Amaya has problems as well–I mean she was stuck on a debtor ship, practically a slave, for seven years. But no offense to anyone that this has actually happened to, this doesn’t happen very frequently. Meanwhile, Cayo’s problems are shown throughout the book. His sister is sick. His family is broke. He’s constantly on the urge of getting back into gambling. You can really feel him more than Amaya, this distant character who’s sort of…good at everything.
Boon: Suspicious. The entire time, he was so suspicious. No one just has that much money when you’re out at sea. About his personality….he was sort of ambitious. And broody. Despite the fact that he’s sort of the inciting incident, he’s not in this book much at all.
There were actually so many amazing characters in this book and I cannot name them all. In fact, most were just there for bits and pieces of it, but important nonetheless. Here’s a few more really minor characters I liked:

  • Liesl
  • Saraiya
  • Sebastian

The plot:
So…I’ll admit. I went into this book expecting adventure. Maybe it was the cover, maybe it was the synopsis. Whatever it was, I didn’t think that the characters would be attending parties and tromping around the city.
Revenge. That is what this book is all about. Revenge on the man who ruined Amaya’s life. Revenge on the man who ruined Boon’s life. And it keeps spiraling from there–it seems like everyone who has wronged Amaya a little bit, she’s eager to get revenge on.
I think that that is my biggest problem with this book. She is so eager to kill these people who have wronged her. Now, I am in no way standing up for any of the things that Captain Zharo did. He was cruel and abusive to people, even children as young as eight or nine years old. But Amaya jumps straight to killing in several circumstances. She kills the debt collector who brought her to the ship seven years ago. So much death, much of it that probably didn’t absolutely have to happen.
Revenge, death and non-adventure aside, I did, in fact, enjoy this book very much. I will be forever shocked at how easily authors can fill a bunch of nothing with a bunch of something but I guess if you become an author you get lots of experience making things sound fascinating. I feel like half this book was about people wandering the city, there wasn’t even much action, and yet it wasn’t an uninteresting book. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it was interesting! And yes, despite the fact that I didn’t adore this book, I will be reading the second one once it comes out.

The worldbuilding:
I absolutely loved the world building in this book! I never got an info dump explaining where places were and there were so many countries and kingdoms mentioned. We only got to see one city in this book, which I’m actually disappointed about. I would have loved to see more of this world. Hopefully, that’s what I’ll get in book two!

The romance:
So…I didn’t actually expect there to be romance in this book. I had heard, somewhere, that this book had an asexual/aromantic character and I just kind of assumed that it was Amaya, for some reason. My bad. So the fact that there was romance, even if it was a small amount, was a little surprising to me.
But…I actually liked the ship. I mean, I didn’t absolutely adore it, but it was bearable. That is definitely a shocker for me, who so rarely tolerates reading straight romance in books.

All in all, this book was a big barrel of surprises. It wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t awful, either. And I am, in fact, glad that I read this book.

Final rating: (out of five stars)
Characters: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Plot: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
World building: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Romance: 🌟🌟🌟
Diversity: 🌟🌟🌟
Final rating: 3.8 stars

Book info:
Title: Scavenge the Stars
Author: Tara Sim
Published by: Little Brown Books on January 4, 2020
Genres: YA, fiction, fantasy, LGBTQIAP+
Pages: 383 (depending on edition)

Have you read “Scavenge the Stars”? What did you think about it? Are you hoping to read the next book? What do you think will happen in “Ravage the Darkness”? What about this blog post? I’d love to hear your opinion on my opinion (just be respectful!) I’d be so excited to have a bookish discussion with you! Plus, make sure to check out some of the other posts I have to offer!
As always, thanks for reading. To take the time out of your day to read my rambles and half-baked posts means the world. Stay safe and keep reading!

The Deception Book Giveaway

*Note: This giveaway is now closed. You are no longer able to participate. Look out for the next giveaway I offer! Interested in having a chance to get this book? Leave a comment and I’ll see if I can host another giveaway. (I make no promises)*

Okay! *claps hands together*. Welcome to my first ever book giveaway! I will be gifting one lucky person with a copy of the amazing book “The Deception”, by S. K. Way. Having read “The Deception” myself, I can promise you that this is definitely worth a read. Here’s a short synopsis:

Iris awakens on a strange world with no memory of what h as happened. She is brought before the Committee, the ruling party of the island, and informed that she will compete in a contest to replace the missing member of the Committee, going up against contestants chosen by the other Committee members. But as the contest progresses and she begins to notice secrets all around, she questions everything she was taught about the world she’s stuck in. There are secrets lurking in the shadows and some of them may be better left untouched.

You can also find the blog post I made on my old blog here as well as the goodreads page for the book here.

Now, more about the giveaway.

First thing you should know: formats to receive this book in are .mobi, .epub and .pdf
For those who do not know, .mobi files work very well on kindle.

  • The giveaway is already up and running and will continue to do so until October 31, giving you plenty of time to vote
  • You must fill out all fields (name and email) to be considered
  • You do not have to use your real name, just one that you might go by. However, the email is a field that you must fill out with your real email because that is how I will reach you if you win
  • I promise that your email will not be shared in any way, shape or form
  • When you enter the giveaway, please at least consider following my blog. This is not required, but on my blog you could find all of more giveaways in the future, short stories, blog posts about reading and writing, author interviews and book reviews!
  • The only forms to get this book in are .mobi, .epub and .pdf For those who do not know, .mobi files work very well on kindle.

Want to enter the giveaway? Click on the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A few more things: I have seen that some bloggers require people entering the book giveaway to follow their blog. Now, I will not do that because it seems that requiring that people follow my blog in particular scares people off (I’ve tried all the techniques to get followers and none have worked!). However, I do ask that you at least look around my blog and consider following it because I have a whole bunch of amazing content with barely anyone to see it! (but the people who read my blog are the bestest so thank you).

If you have questions about the book giveaway, please ask in the comments! Thanks everyone!

I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Two posts in one day! And finally, my next book review! I haven’t reviewed a book on here in a while and I’m excited to get back to it! Now, I wrote a short summary for the beginning of the book, but in my opinion neither this summary nor the official one does the book justice so get ready to dive very deep into this masterpiece in order to teach yourself that you need to get this book right away.

Noah is quiet and keeps to himself. He hides in the pictures he loves to draw and lets his twin sister do all the talking for him. No one notices that he’s falling in love with the boy next door. Meanwhile, Jude does more than enough speaking to make up for her brother’s silence. She’s a daredevil, a surfer and a sky diver who wears lipstick and kisses boys just to spite her mother. However, three years later their worlds have flipped upside down and their personalities have changed drastically. Now, both are each other. Jude is the quiet one, hanging out with no one and obsessed with art. Noah has immersed himself in the world that Jude had been in, with friends and late night parties. Each of them are dealing with the gap that has emerged between them in wildly different ways and each of them only hold half the reason that the gap is even there. Only if they can piece together the story can they find their way back to each other.

I loved both of the characters in this book. “I’ll Give You the Sun” is an extremely character driven novel and throughout the story both Noah and Jude absolutely shone.

The book starts with the introduction of thirteen-year-old Noah. At this age, he’s shy, quiet, keeps to himself. He loves to draw and is constantly coming up with what pictures should look like in his head. In this same chapter we get to meet his sister, Jude. It’s immediately obvious that Jude does not have a good relationship with their mother and does everything she can to spite her. Jude is loud, a risk-taker, basically everything Noah isn’t and I think this is why they fit so well together–it’s as if they were one person who was just split in half. They need each other.

Which is why reading the next chapter is so very jarring. Suddenly it’s three years later and the story is being told from Jude’s point of view. The twins have practically switched places in life; suddenly Noah is the one going to all the parties and Jude is estranged from everyone. And both are estranged from each other. And yet through Jude’s point of view you can tell that they still need each other. That they need to find each other again in this mess we call the world.

And thus goes the book, weaving through the lives’ of thirteen-year-old Noah and sixteen-year-old Jude, piecing together what happened in between those years that made them break apart so shockingly. There are many layers to the time between and it takes time to unearth them all.

I think that the next thing we should focus on is the writing. Oh, the writing. Jandy Nelson makes a book come to life in your head. I have never read a book that was so full of color and images, I could perfectly picture every single scene in my head–it was like watching a movie that only I could see but it was so much better. Movies have the pictures, they can show things, but when you are reading a book and you are inside someone’s head like you are when you read a story told in first person, you get a whole other level of feelings and this is magnified tenfold by Jandy Nelson. Reading this book, I felt like I was Noah, I was Jude. I felt like I was living their lives, the happiness, the hurt, all the emotions. “I’ll Give You the Sun” is, quite possibly, the best written book that I have ever read.

Let me say one thing: this review does not do this novel justice. It is very hard to do this story justice because it is so unlike anything and it is so much more than any book I have ever read before. It is impossible to describe this book to someone else without shoving said book into their hands and sitting them down on a comfy chair, standing guard over them as they read for the next three or more hours. So if my review didn’t convince you to go get this book and read it, go get it and read it anyways because let me tell you, it is worth it.

More information on IGYTS:

Title: I’ll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Amazingness
Publication date: September 16, 2014
Representation: Gay main character, strong female main character
Page Number: 371

What did you think of this review? Did you like it? Have you read “I’ll Give You the Sun”? What did you think? Do you want to read it? Post in the comments and be sure to give this post a like if you enjoyed this book review!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I am going to do this review slightly differently than my first review and hopefully it’s just as good! I will focus on four different elements of the story: basic plot, characters, setting and writing, as well as adding a few notes to the bottom.

Plot:

Orisha used to be a land of magic, but everything changed several years ago, when magic vanished and maji all over the country were killed by the ruthless King Saran. Now, Zelie is without a mother and the country is without magic. However, a chance to return the powers to the country arises and she must embark on a dangerous journey to bring it back to her people. But she has a time limit, which is closing in fast. And with the crown prince on her trail, the stakes are higher than ever. If Prince Inan catches her and her companions, she will die and magic will be gone for good. But if she can finish her quest before the end of the month, the maji will have hope once again.

Characters:

Zelie is the first character introduced. She’s amazing at using a staff and is extremely loyal to those she loves. Above all, she wants to protect her brother and father and live a life not in fear. However, as a diviner, someone who carries magic in their blood (but is unable to use it since magic vanished years ago) this is difficult. The king and his men despise diviners and with diviner taxes and constant attention on the white hair that marks diviners for who they are, it’s hard for Zelie to fade into the background. Zelie is the fierce, driven, strong female character who everyone wants to root for the whole way.
Amari is the catalyst. As the Princess of Orisha, she lives in the palace with her father, King Saran, as well as the rest of the royal family. For years she has been fairly clueless to the cruelty her father inflicts on the diviners. However, when she witnesses her father kill her diviner best friend, Binta, after there are hints that magic could return, she escapes the palace. Holding the only thing that could ever bring Orisha to it’s former glory, she meets Zelie and begs for help.
Tzain is Zelie’s older brother who follows Zelie anywhere, no matter how reckless what she does is. Originally furious at Zelie’s choice to help Amari, he still follows the two as they leave on a quest to return magic. However,
Inan is Amari’s older brother and captain of the army. After his sister escapes, he is tasked with tracking down the trio to stop magic from returning and to kill Zelie. Can he reach them in time or will he see what he most despises rise again?

Setting:

The setting, too, is absolutely beautiful. I can just imagine all of Orisha in my mind, it is so vivid. The book starts out in a seaside town, but we get to see the capital city, a forest temple, a desert and even more!

Writing:

The writing, however, is what makes this book truly special. Adeyemi’s writing jumps off the page. Everything is described in rich detail and it is easy to see the entire story in your mind’s eye. I love how Adeyemi uses words to craft a masterpiece.

The things I did not like about this book were few and far in between. WARNING: spoilers up ahead. I advise you skip this section of the review if you do not want to read spoilers. I think that the romance was not written as well as it could have been. Inan absolutely despised Zelie for a good part of the book. He literally imagined killing her! Then, they begin working together for a short while and suddenly the two of them are in love! And suddenly he’s promising he’ll do whatever he can to help get magic back. It just seems so sudden. He has been educated by his father his entire life, he looks up to his father, so how does this one person jump into his life and change his mind so suddenly? Then, when he meets his father again, he immediately begins thinking about how awful magic is. But this is a small part in the story and there are many more important things about it.

The most important part of this book is not the story, not the setting, not the writing. It is why Adeyemi wrote this book. This may not even be obvious until you read the author’s note – it is certainly subtle – but it brings the story into so much more being. The author wrote this book to spread the awareness, the pain, the hurt of the lives of black people lost to the police. She wanted to do something, to say something about the black people – men, women and children – who were killed, who will continue to lose their lives at the hands of police officers who never looked past the color of their skin. So when you are reading this book, when you read about the death of a beloved character in this fiction book, think about the deaths of so many more who were real people and could not protect themselves.

All in all, this is a 5/5 star book. There are strong female characters and the entire cast are POC.

One more thing: I buddy-read this book with Katie from The Storybook Sisters’ blog! Check out her review as well to see her thoughts on Children of Blood and Bone. Plus, you can view all of her other posts as well, to find even more fascinating books to read! Here is the link!

Interview with Rosiee Thor, author of Tarnished are the Stars

This is my first author interview! I very recently did a book review of “Tarnished are the Stars,” which you can find here. The author of this book has agreed to do an interview with me as well! I hope you enjoy:

Q: When did you first decide you wanted to become a writer? 

A: I’ve always liked telling stories. I used to tell my mom bedtime stories when I was little, so it was never a question of wanting to be a storyteller or not, but I do remember the moment I realized that “author” was a job and it was something I could do. I was probably about twelve or thirteen, and I found the blog of–at the time unpublished–Marie Lu. She had all these blog posts and tutorials about how to get a literary agent and her progress on her books and I remember thinking wow, so that’s a thing people actually do. Before that, I always thought authors were sort of mythical like it wasn’t something real people became, but here was this person (pretty yount at the time, herself) who was doing the thing and succeeding! That was the first time I put the pieces together and realized it was something I could really pursue.Tarnished are the Stars is such a unique book, very different from anything I’ve ever read. How did you come up with the idea? If I’m being honest, the answer here is that I don’t really remember. I was in college and I was trying to convince my writing professor to let me write a novel for some writing 400 level credits. I put together a whole proposal with essentially a lesson plan for myself and goalposts for writing the book and it was perhaps the most extra thing I’ve ever done. Part of that was showing her I had an idea for a book that was worth writing and that I had a plan for it and thus… Tarnished was born. It looked a lot different back then (hardly anything was the same, honestly, not even the title) and it was a mishmash of genres and themes I thought might be marketable at the time. I didn’t get to do the independent study course, but I did write the book, and as I wrote it, the themes and elements changed to match up with things I was interested in exploring. 

Q: Are your characters based off of anyone? (Anna, Eliza, Nathaniel, anyone else?)

A: They’re not really based on anyone as a whole. There are little things that I gave each character from within myself, but it sounds terrible if I say they’re based on me haha! But it’s true–Anna is angry at systems of government, like me; Eliza is analytical and a little flamboyant, like me; and Nathaniel is on a journey to self acceptance and found family, like me as I was working on the book. I didn’t do any of this on purpose, but I think it’s the symptom of writing a book while you’re going through a big change personally. There are always pieces of ourselves that slip into the stories we tell.

Q: What did you learn while writing Tarnished? How did you grow as an author and a person while writing it?

A: Phew! Well, I learned a lot, especially about myself. When I started writing Tarnished, I thought I was 100% totally straight. I didn’t think there was an alternative other than 100% totally gay. And what a world of different identities are out there!! Writing Tarnished forced me to confront my own identity, but also joining the writing community online opened me up to so many words for identities I didn’t know existed. I found my own labels in much the same way that Nathaniel does in the book, and I’ll always be grateful that I got to go through that experience at the same time as my fictional character.

Q: What inspired you to write this book? Is there anything that you hoped to accomplish by sharing this book with the world?

A: I had a lot of intentions with Tarnished–I wanted to explore questions about identity, friendship, healthcare, corruption, environmentalism etc. I didn’t want to say just one thing, and I wanted to question more than I wanted to say. I always enjoy when books make me think about my preconceptions or assumptions and force me to examine them myself. I wanted people to walk away from Tarnished questioning the role of government and healthcare, questioning the limitations of gatekeeping identities, and hopefully questioning what the future might look like and how we can actually shape that rather than wait for it to arrive.

Q: What was something that helped you get through writing this book–a specific food, a pet, anything that helped?

A: I’ll be honest… I’m not necessarily the healthiest about my work/life balance when it comes to writing. I’m very Capricorn about it all–I make a plan, and then I execute it. I’m not particularly kind to myself about my deadlines, and I tend to overwork myself pretty badly. It’s not a good thing and it’s something I’m working on personally. What got me through writing this book were the people in my life who supported me through it and took care of me when I wasn’t taking care of myself. Writing a book is stressful, and I’m working on catastrophizing it less and finding healthier writing habits, but in the meantime I’m enormously grateful to the people who believed in me and reminded me to do important things like eat meals and sleep.

Q: What is some advice that you wish to share with aspiring authors?

A: Advice is a weird thing–I’ve gotten a lot of it over the years and most of it has been pretty hit or miss. My advice is a little meta but… don’t take all advice. Not everything will work for every author. If advice works for you, great! Take it! But don’t feel like you have to take on every piece of advice you hear. A lot of it will be contradictory or for very specific situations. Basically, advice isn’t one-size-fits-all and it will serve you well to find what works for you and roll with that. 

Q: You went through pitchwars with this book. What was that like and is there anything you want to tell people who are preparing to submit their manuscripts for this year’s pitchwars?

A: PitchWars was the most stressful experience of my life. When I talk about times of writing stress or killer deadlines, I’m talking about my time in PitchWars. It was an incredibly valuable experience and I learned a lot, but I also sacrificed my personal health to meet an arbitrary deadline that in the long run didn’t end up mattering. So here’s my advice to anyone submitting to PitchWars: PitchWars is just one way to get into publishing. Most people–even PW alums–get their agents by regular old querying. If you don’t get in, that doesn’t mean you won’t get an agent or a book deal. If you do get in, it doesn’t mean you will. Take PitchWars as a way to grow as a writer and to find a community, but remember that publishing is a long road and PitchWars might just be one step of many. It’s just one opportunity. There will be others. Whether you get accepted or rejected, be kind to yourself!

What did you think of this interview? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read Tarnished are the Stars? Tell me what you think in the comments!

Tarnished are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

“There was nothing quite like the first tick of a new heart.”

Anna has a secret – two. A mechanical heart beats inside her chest. And she is the Technician, disregarding the Commissioner’s laws against tech to provide technology to those who need it.

“If he could find the Technician, hunt him down, and turn him in…”

Nathaniel is always looking for ways to prove himself to his father, the Commissioner. When a new opportunity arises he jumps at it, planning to capture the Technician – who he believes is an old man – to show his father that he is the heir that the Commissioner wants.

“Perhaps all pretty things had thorns. The best things, at least, most certainly did.”

Meanwhile, the Queen is suspicious of the Commissioner’s motives. She sends her spy, Eliza, to Earth Adjacent to discover what secrets the Commissioner has been keeping.

When the three meet up, they join in an uneasy alliance, fueled by their desire to learn what, exactly, the Commissioner is up to. And as they unveil more and more about the Commissioner and the Queen herself, Eliza starts to doubt who she really trusts. When a dangerous secret is revealed, however, they must all put their doubts aside and work together before they get caught – and now, getting caught is equal to death.

~~~

So we have three main characters. Anna is the tech-y one. She is fiercely loyal, slightly rash, and is terrified of doing the surgeries that her grandfather does, as a Physician. She lives in a small town named Mechan that is hidden from The Settlement by a cliff and if the Commissioner ever finds out about Mechan he will destroy it. I liked Anna for many reasons – her protectiveness, her mechanical smarts and the fact that she runs a secret business right under the nose of those who are looking for her. Also there’s the fact that her entire town is hidden from The Settlement, not that far away, either.

Then there’s Nathaniel. Nathaniel is the one that everyone feels bad about. His father’s only heir, but a disappointment to his family because he also has a metal heart in his chest – the very technology that his father has banished. For his entire life, whatever he does is never enough for his abusive father and this drives him to try to capture the Technician to prove himself.

Finally, we have Eliza who, at first glance, doesn’t seem to belong in the story. She doesn’t live on the same world as Anna and Nathaniel, instead residing in The Tower, the space station where the queen and many others – called ‘Orbitals’ by those in Earth Adjacent – live while waiting for Earth Adjacent to be fully terra-formed. But it is really Eliza who brings all three of them together.

The world, too, is unlike anything I’ve read. It’s such an interesting setting and idea for the world which just makes the entire book more interesting to read. I’m still amazed that Anna’s entire town was able to hide from the Commissioner. I’m curious to know what the rest of the island, besides the Settlement and Mechan is like.

There was only one problem I had with this book and it was a small one. I felt like the relationship between two characters developed too quickly. I understand that there was not much time in the book for it to develop but it just seemed very hurried.

This is a book I would recommend to anyone age 12 or older. I would give it a rating of four out of five stars and there is a f/f relationship and a character unsure of their sexuality at the end of the book (though this person is beginning to think that they are asexual/aromantic).

What do you think about this book? Have you read it? Do you want to read it? What did you think about this review? Tell me what you think!