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review 2016-02-12 21:17
problematic but I loved it
Riders - Veronica Rossi

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Riders has been getting a lot of mixed reviews and I am here to tell you that your enjoyment of the book will depend heavily on your likes and dislikes when it comes to writing styles and narration. This book is narrated in a before and after and a good chunk of it is told in a summary like style so if that is something that is already turning you off, you might not want to read the book.

That writing style worked for me though and I thought it suited the book perfectly. I honestly don't think I would have enjoyed the book as much as I did were it NOT written this way.

I dove into the book with almost no knowledge of how others were reacting to the book and I barely remembered the blurb since all I knew was that it was by Veronica Rossi and that I wanted to read this book more than I wanted to do anything else.

Was it worth it? That is a really hard question because I absolutely love this book because it is such a me book but at the same time, there were little its and bits that bothered the crap out of me.

For starters this book has diversity but the way Marcus (who is black) is portrayed as dangerous and at times unhinged, really bothered me. That did change over the course of the book as the main character got to know him better but this initial characterization of Marcus did bother me. There were also some characteristics about Bas (who was latino) that seemed a little awkward but it wasn’t nearly as problematic as the way the main character initially saw Marcus.

A lot of your enjoyment of the book will depend on whether or not you like Gideon. I did for the most part. He is actually hilarious and honestly, we are similar in so many ways that I couldn’t help but relate to him. ALSO his leadership skills are great. Except when he gets ragey but he is war so it is a thing that happens unfortunately. His characterization is also very 'not like the other boys' and that--I imagine--can get old REAL fast.

This book is chock full of amazing characters who are ready to win your heart over with their amazingness. I will say though, Jode is one character I wish was fleshed out more. Because I could see myself loving him but I wasn’t attached enough to him to appreciate his character. Daryn is also an amazing character but I hated her as a love interest. I shipped Gideon with ANYONE ELSE. It’s just something about their dynamic. I liked them better as master and sensei than I did as l-o-v-e-r-s (okay so they technically aren’t that yet but they are in a weird relationship because neither of them wants to do anything about feels.)

The reason why this is a Rashika book though is all the adventure in the book. I AM RASHIKA. I like my adventures and especially love it when they come with a side of paranormal. I love how the plot is set up in terms of rising action and the world building in this book definitely helps set up that feeling of adventure (although still not okay with the religion bits but that is a rant for another day.)

So to recommend or not to recommend? I say look at that pretty cover and let that be answer enough for you because that book will look gorgeous on all shelves if I do say so myself. Also, I really really really liked it and my body is ready for book 2.

Note that I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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review 2016-02-12 21:12
The romantic drama made this one a lot harder to enjoy
Banished (Forbidden) - Kimberley Griffiths Little

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

I am now officially calling 2016 the year of the meh books because I have yet to read a book that has truly blown my mind and makes me want to roll around in the mud with joy. Banished is by no means a bad book, I would actually say that on the whole, it was a lot better than its predecessor but my problem with the book and what prevented me from loving it was the shit ton of romantic drama.

Romantic drama is the bane of my existence. Why cannot two people love each other and that be it? Why is it that there has to be 50000000 complications before my otp can be together? UGH. I am okay with *some* drama as long as I get groveling but when the main couple basically faces a new hurdle every couple of pages, I cannot. I want my couples to be able to work together as a team and trust each other. Trust is IMPORTANT and my rant is starting to get out of hand so let me pull myself together. Give me a second. I am alive. Okay. So within the context of this book (can you tell that the drama frustrated me?), I just wanted Jayden and Kadesh’s reunion to be a sweet one rather than them forming another fragile relationship after everything they had been through in Forbidden.

Now that I have that major rant out of the way I can calm the fuck down (to some extent) and talk about everything else in the book. WE GO ON A JOURNEY. And I like journeys so I really liked that aspect of the book. The stakes were super high and it was so so fun (I am a closet thrill-junkee…. SHHHHH.)

Jayden has also come so far since Forbidden. Her strength was admirable in Forbidden but it always seemed a little naive. In Banished; however, Jayden has matured so much that I just wanted to hug her and tell her I was proud. What? All characters are secretly my children. Kadesh on the other hand did not fair as well. He was still swoony but the fact that he chose to keep things a secret because he wasn’t ready to deal with issues was not a good thing. I realize he kept them a secret not because he didn’t think Jayden was ready because he wasn’t ready (which is better than nothing) but I was not satisfied. I am going to stop right here because otherwise, I will go on another long rant about romance stuff since that seriously disappointed me.

The setting also continues to be amazing. This time we got to see even more of the world and that made me happy since world building is always really important. I did notice that religion became a part of this story in a way it wasn’t in Forbidden. Or maybe I just noticed it more? It wasn’t like shoved down our throats which is nice but I also felt like the way religion was done wasn’t necessarily accurate given the era? I don’t want to say more because again, things get out of hand when I go on and on about something completely off topic. I am just really bad, aren’t I? You should all treat yourselves to chocolate if you are still here and reading my review. YOU HAVE EARNED IT.

So what else can I talk about? The ending? YOU MEAN THAT THING THAT HAD ME BITTING MY NAILS AND MAKES ME WANT TO BEG THE AUTHOR FOR BOOK 3? yeah that thing. it was okay I guess. *flips hair and walks out*

But on a serious note, if you are looking for a book set in a completely different time period, this is it. You have come to the right place, the Mesopotamian setting of the series is what appealed to me in the first place and now here I still am because the characters and the great plots keep me coming back for more.

Note that I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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review 2016-02-12 21:09
Seriously disappointing
Revenge and the Wild - Michelle Modesto

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

After reading and loving three YA westerns last year, I expected Revenge and the Wild to be another winner but sadly, I was let down. I went into this book expecting my mind to be blown and was ready to fall in love but that didn’t end up happening. Instead, I was very disappointed.

One of the biggest problems with the book is that it isn’t very consistent. This could be because I am reading the eARC as opposed to the final copy but while I was reading the book, there were many details that would come out of nowhere and left me feeling confused. It seemed like things were being pulled from thin air and there wasn’t a lot of consistency throughout the text.

The main character was an okay human being and I liked how independent she was (without having to crossdress to be free) but I hated the way her alcoholism was treated in the book. For starters, I would have liked a better background but also just a more realistic struggle with alcoholism. I didn’t want it to be something that was meant to add to her character, I wanted the alcoholism to be explored and given the attention it deserved. Instead, it just became a deus ex machina and that was really disappointing.

On top of that (if you heard me rant on social media you might already know this) this book puts forward a very uncomfortable idea of sex. The main character describes sex as a gift to be given and that was not something I was okay with. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting your first experience to be special but the way this scene was written made the main character seem extremely passive. As if, her enjoyment was not important at all and it also seemed to imply that a sexual encounter is not worth having if it isn’t super special. THAT IS A LIE and definitely not what I would describe as sex positive.

So, going back to the main character. Every guy seems to be in love with her? I wouldn’t necessarily describe the situation as a love rectangle but there are a lot of men vying for her attention even if she is clearly in love with one of them. I didn’t understand that but I am also just generally opposed to every guy being interested in the MC. There is something very off-putting about that.

The ‘main’ romance in the book was actually pretty decent until the love interest--Alistair-- gives a shit explanation for why he was a douche for all those years. Then I was just like why?!?! It was the worst excuse in the entire universe and Alistair deserves to be punched in the face for his pathetic excuses.

Moving on, the world building in this book was actually pretty awesome-sauce and I liked the way magic mingled with the wild west. There were some references to things that happened in real life which just helped add to the world. I will say that I do wish the storyline with the natives had gone another way. The author uses them to make many valid points but I would have been so happy if they were an even bigger part of the novel (especially since they contribute so much to the world of this book.)

The plot of this book did seem all over the place though. There seem to be a bunch of inter-related things going on but the various pieces of the puzzle didn’t fit together as well as they could have. There was also this twist at the end that just creeped me out. It could have been a really good twist but given everything else that had happened, I was seriously weirded out by it.

Would I recommend this book? If anything I mentioned in my review is off putting to you, you might want to steer clear but I do know that many reviewers whose opinions I trust have enjoyed this book so perhaps you might too!

Note that I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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review 2015-12-02 20:20
Because re-reading fav books is awesome
American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang

I was in 8th grade when I first read American Born Chinese. I loved it but re-reading this book took my love to a whole new level. So what prompted this re-read you ask? Well, I was reading The Arrival, another great graphic novel, for one of my classes and then suddenly, I remembered ABC. I remembered the yellowness of the cover and I remembered the way the author weaved together 3 completely different stories in such a surprising way and then I wanted to re-read the book. I wanted to experience it from a more ‘grown up’ perspective.

I kind of want to make re-reading the book an annual thing for myself now because I have so much love for it. American Born Chinese deals with cultural identity, bullying, stereotypes and learning to love who YOU are.

Jin Wang moves from China Town, San Francisco to a school where he is the only Chinese-American kid in his class. The teacher basically gets his entire life story wrong on the first day and makes it evident to him how much he sticks out. As the years go by, he seems to become more and more self-conscious of all the stereotypes surrounding his culture and how that affects the way people view him.

His story runs parallel to the Monkey King's and the two stories interact in such interesting ways! Of course everything about this book is interesting to me but we won’t go down that rabbit hole.

So do I recommend this book? HECK YEAH I DO! Also if you’re a fan of Fresh off the Boat, this book would be a great read.

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review 2015-11-23 11:03
I expected more from Mead
Soundless - Richelle Mead

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Soundless by Richelle Mead was not exactly what I had hoped it would be. I went into the book expecting to be blown away but I wasn't. I liked the book and ended up devouring it but I couldn't help feeling that Richelle Mead could do 1000x times better.

When I first started the book, I was loving every single minute of it. I was so excited about all the ways in which Mead made the world come to life. The way she created this soundless world was fantastic because as I read the book, I could FEEL the soundlessness, I could feel it in the way the world made me anxious (I really do like my ability to hear.) I also loved the way it felt so much like a fairy tale. The world building was one of my favorite things about this book in the first 60 pages.

After that though, I slowly started to realize how even thoughthere were many wonderful details, the book could have benefited from a whole lot more.

Their climb down the mountain was wondrous but it barely covered any page space. You don’t just GET down a mountain. It’s HARD and I would have liked to see more of that climb instead of little snippets. I wanted to feel that climb instead of being told it took place.

Then when they got into town, things were pretty rushed too. They went from one place to another and everything happened so quickly. I didn’t like that. I felt like I was being rushed instead of being given time to just enjoy the world. I wanted to spend more time in the town and learn more about the outside world. I wanted to see more of the dynamics between the soundless ones and the 'regular' people.

There were also the mysterious dreams that were obviously a big deal but honestly, I barely remember anything about them. I think there should have been more emphasis on them too, there should have been more vibrant details.

And I don’t mean to be picky because if it were any other author, I probably would have given the book 4 stars since I really did like it, I am just disappointed because I expect more from Mead. Maybe even a little heartbroken since this is first YA I’ve read by her since I finished the Vampire Academy series, which just happens to be one of my all time favs.

The good news is that this book features many fantastic characters and a really cute romance.

Fei is a fantastic female lead and I loved reading about her. I love her courage and I love that she is hesitant to leave behind what she knows. This is the system she grew up in and it isn’t easy to break out of it. I also love her dedication to her sister (although I do think she could have given her more credit.) Fei is just great. She is no Rose Hathaway but she is an amazing character in her own right.

The romance between Fei and her romantic interest…. TO DIE FOR. So slow and so sweet. JUST THE WAY I LIKE IT, GODDAMNIT. So yeah, I had them shipper feels and I totally shipped my ship.

The ending did seem a little too clean for my tastes but I don’t think there could have been any other ending for this book so I really cannot complain too much about that.

In the long run, I did end up really liking this book and felt immense satisfaction from turning over the last page but I only wish there had been more depth to the book, to make it seem all the more real to me.

Note that I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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