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review 2018-04-25 19:46
Have Tissues Handy
Star-Touched Stories - Roshani Chokshi

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

 

I was so happy to get to read this book last night. I finished one book and decided to start this, the only reason why I finished it so fast is that one of the stories in this collection I just read the prior week. I skipped over that and read the second and third stories. I was maybe a blubbering mess at the end of this short story collection. Chokshi does a great job of having you wish for more stories involving the characters we have been introduced to in this fantastic world she has created.

 

Death and Night (5 stars)- Not too much to say here besides how much I loved the beginning to Death and Night or how we know them, Amar and Maya.

 

We read about both of these characters in "The Star-Touched Queen" but we get to read about how they met, how Death courted Night, and how she loved him. We know what will happen next (I read the first full book and only came back to read this prequel now) but it was great to read about how they came to love one another prior to Night choosing to leave him in order to be re-born.

 

Death is cursed to fall in love with a woman who will leave him. So he decides to just marry, but now love his wife. Until he meets Night and knows that she is the right person for him. They have a great dynamic that consists of challenging each other as well as realizing that the other person is truly who they want to be with.

 

I did like that we got some backstory on the friendship between Night and Nritti. You get to see why Night loves her so much. She's one of the few who is not afraid of Night.

I also loved how we got to see how playful Gupta was with Death. I maybe laughed at him trying to teach Death how to properly court.

 

The writing was lyrical and made me laugh at times. You can easily see why Death and Night fell for each other. 

 

Poison and Gold (5 stars)- We got to know Aasha in "A Crown of Wishes". Now that she is living with Guari and Vikram as they prepare to marry and unite their two kingdoms, she is scared that her powers are out of control. If she were to hurt one of them or someone else, she doesn't know what she will do. When she is given a choice to become their Spy Mistress or be sent away forever, she chooses to do what she can to stay with them. She begins training and finds out reserves she never knew she had, all while being brave enough to love someone. 

 

Rose and Sword (5 stars)-A story within a story, we have a little girl being told a fairy tale by her grandmother. The story revolves around a wedding night and death. It also involves some familiar faces to those who have read "A Star-Touched Queen" and "A Crown of Wishes". Seriously though you guys, please get tissues ready. If you can read this story without crying, you are stronger than me. I was a mess. I don't want to spoil for potential readers, but this story hit me with all the feels. 

 

Image result for crying gif

 

 

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review 2018-04-25 14:56
The Astonishing Color of After
The Astonishing Color of After - Emily X.R. Pan

I am so happy that I got this book via my library. I was curious about it since it was marketed as a magical realism book. And I rarely get to read that genre these days. There were some slight flow problems and a bit of repetitiveness here and there. However, I just have to say that was easy for me to overlook since I thought this book had such great heart and a wonderful message.

 

"The Astonishing Color of After" is about teen Leigh Sanders who is dealing with the fall-out from her mother's suicide. Leigh is also dealing with losing her best friend Axel who she felt on the verge of something more with when her mother killed herself. When Leigh comes face to face with a bird that she knows is her dead mother coming back to life, strange things start happening to her. She and her father finally travel to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents.

 

Told in the first person, we have Leigh alternating between memories of before her mother committed suicide and the present day with her in Taiwan and discovering her mother's history.

 

I have to say though upfront that Leigh is flawed. You may want to shake her and then hug her right afterwards. She is a walking wound in so much of this book. She is missing her mother and also missing Axel. She is wishing for a do-over in her life (as many people do when someone they love commits suicide) and she is going through some anger towards her father.

 

The secondary characters in this book get a chance to shine. You have Leigh's best friend Axel, the only boy that she has ever cared for who she is losing to his girlfriend. You also have Leigh's friend Caro who is not here for her BS about things. We get Leigh's memories of her parents and the colors she can see when it's related to a memory, emotion, a smell.

 

Leigh's father though he doesn't feel present in the present parts of the book, does feel present in her memories.

 

I loved how Pan had Leigh discovering parts of her mother through the incense and the bird that only she can see.

 

The magical realism aspect of this book was done so well. I loved every part of it. Leigh realizing that even though her mother left her, it doesn't mean she wasn't loved.

The ending was so good. I smiled.

 

"What is memory? It’s not something you can physically hold, or see, or smell, or taste. It’s just nerve impulses jumping between neurons. Sometimes it’s a matter of choice. Other times it’s self-preservation, or protection."

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text 2018-04-25 14:55
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Astonishing Color of After - Emily X.R. Pan

I loved this book!

 

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review 2018-04-25 04:11
Alice by Christina Henry
Alice - Christina Henry

 

"One day, long ago, she'd gone seeking an adventure and found terror instead. That day had changed the course of her life, and left her hands awash in blood. It was not her fault, but this was how it must be. She understood that now."

 

Poor, trusting Alice. She went with her best friend on a supposed adventure and ended up in an insane asylum. She doesn't remember what happened, only before and after. Before, she was a sweet innocent girl who lived in the New City, and after, she was found wandering the streets of the Old City with blood on her thighs muttering about a rabbit. Now, she has the chance to escape the asylum with Hatcher (who was living on the other side of the wall for 8 years) and she is about to embark on an even stranger adventure, dark, bloody, and frankly a bit disturbing.

 

This is not the Alice you remember from the Disney movie, some of the characters are here: Alice, Cheshire, the Rabbit, the Caterpillar, but they are not as you remember them. This book is full of violence, human trafficking and, rape. Women are treated as objects at best and as sex toys or killing toys at worst. Sections of the Old City are owned by ruthless gang lords, and women are never safe there. But, this is also a story of justice and revenge. Believe me when I say Alice & her friend Hatcher (from the asylum) are no slackers when it comes to giving people what they deserve.

 

So, should you read it? Well, if you like dark, creepy, retellings which are more horror than fantasy, and if you won't be disturbed by the violence, then go for it. If you are the tiniest bit squeamish, then I suggest you pass.

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text 2018-04-25 04:09
Maskerade (Discworld, #18) - Terry Pratchett

 

Phantom of the Opera - sorta.

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