Serpentine by: Cindy Pon

Summary: 

Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.

When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.

The Review:

This was a book I kinda picked up an a whim. I was looking at the DivertyinYA Tumblr page and the story looked interesting. Growing up I was always interested in ancient Chinese mythology and the premise really interested me.

I liked this book. While it was on the short side, (mainly because the last few books I read was very long) it did have an engaging story. I liked the setting which was in Ancient China which you really don’t see in YA or the fantasy genre.

Skybright is a very good protagonist, I like her relationship with her mistress Zhen Li, which she sees as more of the sister and you could see that they care about each other. It also was good to see than Zhen Li was an LGBTQIA character, which is also something that you don’t see in a lot of mainstream YA, and while she was a supporting character it was just something that was touched upon, especially in the setting of Ancient China, hopefully future books will further dive into that theme.

I also liked her relationship with Kai Sen, who his a sort of Monk in training. They had some good scenes and you could see that they care about each other and the relationship built up gradually rather than being forced.

I also of course liked the Ancient China setting and story. The main plot is was of demons going into the mortal world and the monks acting as guardians of that world. While some of the plot lines were very predictable it did make for an engaging and I wanted to see hat was happening to the characters. I would have liked to to the see dive a little bit into the mythology, because Chinese mythology could make for interesting themes in the book and I think the world building could have been better and go into how life was Ancient China.

In the end I thought this was a very interesting book. It had good characters and had a great setting that made for a good read. I want to see what more the author has to offer and see more of this series.

Grade: 3.9/5

 

 

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Hype or Like Friday: Books That Made Me Want to Read

Happy Friday everyone,

September’s Theme for Hype of Like Friday is Back to School and the Book of Month is Carry on by Rainbow Rowell

Hype or Like Friday is a meme created by Jillian, Larkin, and Britt to discuss about hyped books and see if they’re hyped up or not. There would be book of the month that you can read, and the post your review for it on the end of the month, then rate it whether it’s a hype it or like it.

September 16th- Books That Made Me Want To Read- Think about what books you read while you were in school that made you want to read. Maybe you were an English Lit major in college because you fell in love with Shakespeare or Jane Austen.

Reading has always been important to me, while sometimes it feels required but I always liked reading different books growing up. So this I will be talking about books I read through most of my school life, and helped with my love for reading.

Elementary school/Middle school:

Roald Dahl books:

Growing up, Roald Dahl was everywhere and come one, his books are amazing. I loved the characters he wrote, the world’s we created and the imaginations he had. If I were to pick my favorites it would include; Matilda, The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. While I started with Matilda I wanted to see the other books he wrote and I never looked back.

Goosebumps by R.L Stine

Also growing up as a child of the 90s, Goosebumps was also everywhere. It was a horror anthology book series, and some of the stories was really dark and scary, which meant it was awesome. Every story had a unique twist on horror stories and that’s why I loved them.

Animorphs by K.A. Applegate

Another series from Scholastic, Animorphs was one of the first series I read. It felt weird at the time because I had to start at book one and than read the books in order. It was also one of my first science fiction books I read. It tells the story about an invasion that it happening on Earth in which parasites infect the human brain and than the Aliens control them. Very good series.

High school years:

I didn’t read much in high school because I was busy reading for other classes but I did find time to read a few books.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Okay, so I started reading the book after the Fellowship of the Rings movie came out. But the movie was awesome so I decided to read the books, and loved them. It was one of the first high fantasy books I read and it had great characters and excellent world building.

Gossip Girl series:

Yes, I read the Gossip Girl books, and I could fully say that the books are better and very different from the show. Actually my sister read the books first and than I wanted to see what the big deal was, so I decided to read them. While now it may seem very “guilty pleasure” I still enjoyed reading the series.

 

The one that started it all:

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

You knew this was coming. Ever since telemetry school when my 6th grade teacher read the book to class after recess, I loved the Harry Potter series. The world was amazing, I wanted to go to Hogwarts and play Quidditch. Also the Harry Potter series introduced me to an online fan community Mugglenet.com. There people discussed theories about the book series, excitement for movie casting news and just all around love for Harry Potter. Harry Potter got me to really love reading for pleasure.

There you have it. Those are the books that made me want to read. What books made you want to read? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You want as TV Shows

Happy Wednesday everyone. I am here with another Top 5 Wednesday and today’s topic is:

September 14: Books You Want to See as TV Shows
–With fall TV season starting up, this seems relevant.

I love this topic. Mainly because with a lot of the YA adaptations have been very hit-or-miss, I really think a TV adaptation can be much better than film because characters can become fully developed and it isn’t forced to take a 600 page book into a 2 hour run-time. Great examples include; Game of Thrones, The 100 and Dexter.

Top 5 Wednesday is a group in Goodreads and was formerly created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey and is now done by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. It is open to everyone.

Zeroes by: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

I know only one book has been published, with another being released later this month, but with the comic book boom which is now going to television with shows like; Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Arrow, Flash and Legends of Tomorrow it would be a really good addition to the roster of super powered people.With a good cast and writers it could be a good series.

The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

One of my favorite book trilogies. While a movie may be great, I think a TV show will be much better, and I think they could add a lot of things that wasn’t in the book that could have been expanded like the political world the series is set in. I could serve as an epic 13 episode limited series.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Yes I know, I love the Lunar Chronicles and even though I would like to see a movie series of this book, I could see this becoming a TV show. Much like Once Upon a Time it has fairy-tale characters but it also mixes with the science fiction genre. Characters and worlds could be expanded upon, and I feel a TV show will give the book justice.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

I know a movie came out and while the movie was all right it just felt more like a pilot episode than an actual movie series and with a better cast and writers a series could work. Sort of like what happened with The Mortal Instruments, after the first film flopped and the sequel was canceled it became a TV show, this could be the same.

The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter

A very underrated series but it is one my favorites. I know a movie was supposedly in the works but that was years ago and a TV show can work it could work as a Buffy meets Alias type of series.

There is my list for Books that should be TV shows. What books would you like to see as TV shows? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Summary: 

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

My Review:

This was a book that was on my TBR list for years and also was very hyped up as well. So I decided to take a risk and but they book, and thankfully it didn’t disappoint me at all. If a book can emotionally wreck me within the first few chapters you know its a good book.

If I were to described the book it would be Hunger Games meets Ender’s Game, with a little bit of Harry Potter, mainly the school that the Gold’s go to which is a very twisted Hogwarts.But it also had a Count of Monte-Cristo feel to it.

Darrow, is what I would like to describe as a older version of Ender, trying to rise up in the world but is held back by his status as a “red”, after something terrible happens he tries to infiltrate the Gold caste by enrolling in the institute to destroy the system from within. I love Darrow as a character in the fact that while he has brute strength it is his smarts that help him get ahead.

I also liked a lot of the supporting characters mainly, Sevro, who thinks more like Darrow even though he is a Gold and Mustang, who is a good female character that doesn’t fall for the common female YA tropes, maybe towards the end but I like that it was laughed off.

I love the plot of the book. It is basically if Hogwarts hosted a very twisted version of the Hunger Games, in order to find a future leader. It reminded me a lot of Lord of the Flies in that sense, where there are factions or “Houses” that each person is in and they have to make sure they get out on top while destroying or aligning with other houses. The book takes a lot of twists and turns that I really don’t want to spoil for anyone. I also liked how politics played a role in the “games” and making sure who won. That is where a lot of the references to Roman/Greek culture comes in.

I also loved how much Greek/Roman mythology was in the book. Using the names of those Gods to describe the Houses, which really tied well into the plot of the book.

I also loved the world that the book was set in, Mars. You don’t see a lot of books set on Mars or space for that matter, and Pierce Brown really did a good job at setting up the planet Mars as a setting for this book and why the human population lives there.

In the end, I am so glad that I read this book and I cannot wait to read the other books of the series.

Grade: 5/5

 

 

This Savage Song by: Victoria Schwab

Summary: 

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

The Review:

Victoria Schwab was an author on my TBR list for a while now, and last week when I was at the library I picked up this book and decided to read it, and I really liked it.

Let’s talk about the characters. Kate is kinda your “F the world” type girls who always acts out and puts up a tough girl act. Even though her character may seem cliched at first, but as the book went on her character began to develop, and you got to see more her than just the spoiled daughter who likes to get into trouble.

August, while he may be the poor-tortured emo soul, which sort of reminded me of Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer; in that he is a monster who has a “soul”. I also liked his character in the book. He was very closed off and it wasn’t until he met Kate that is where he came out of his shell. I also liked his relationship with his family, and even though his adoptive parents are human, he wants to be like them.

I liked the relationship between them. I also liked that it wasn’t a romantic relationship  and that’s what made the book stronger. Most times when authors write characters of opposite genders it seems like they have to be forced in a romantic relationship. The lack of romance between them made their character arcs a lot stronger and focused on their development.

I also liked the plot. It dealt with a shaky truce between the “monsters” and the humans, and how Kate and August are caught in the middle. While the first half of the book did sort of dragged on, but the second half is where the book picked up and did not stop. I also liked how the powers were used with musical instruments like with August and his violin and would take people’s souls. Also the book takes a lot of twists and turns, while some were kinda of obvious, other plots I really didn’t see coming.

In the end, this book was very good and Victoria Schwab is an author that lives up her hype and I am ready to read her other books.

Grade: 4.4/5

 

 

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (Spoiler Talk)

This is a spoiler talk about A Torch Against the Night. As I said in my review for this book, if you haven’t read the book please go to my spoiler free review here.

Be warned the spoilers will be heavy.

There was so much I wanted to talk about in this book.

First, I love how the book just started right away with Laia and Elias on the run and I loved how he went face-to-face with his mother, The Commandant, and boy was she as vicious as she was in the last book. She stabs him in what looks like a flesh wound, but she really poisoned him and it is slowly killing him.

Throughout most of book Elias is going in between the life and death and that would cause his seizure, and even though he is basically dying he is still willing to fight for his life.

The main plot for Laia surrounded trying to break her brother out of prison. She does it with the help of the rebels from the previous book, Keenan and Izzi. While she doesn’t get a lot in terms of development at first, I really did like her plot. Also Izzi’s death was very brutal, as she was one of my favorite characters.

Now let me talk about the Keenan twist. When Keenan was first introduced in the last book, I really thought he would be another Jacob and how his only purpose is to be another boy to fight fro Laia’s affection, and even throughout the book some of their romance kinda warmed me over until you find out Keenan wasn’t Keenan at all he was basically a demon taking a human form. At first I thought it was a cheep twist and than I really thought about it and I thought it was a very clever twist.

This is also where Helene has POV chapters and I loved her chapters. I love how you kinda see her going deeper into into the Empire and getting a little more darker. I like how she works for the Empire to try to protect her family even if her family was mostly against them. When she finds out that the Commandant was trying to take over she tried to tell Emperor Marcus and let’s just say that it doesn’t go well. The consequences resulted in most of family being executed and her only surviving sister is set to marry Marcus. In the end of the book she basically goes full on dark mode. Throughout the book you keep seeing her conflicted in taking out Elias and even almost letting him escape. I really think Helene maybe one of my favorite characters.

I also loved the prison break in, when Elias had to go undercover in the prison to find Darin and he befriends Tas. I loved Elias and Tas friendship throughout those chapters and I liked how he had to protect Tas. There was also a scene during the prison break , where I thought Elias was going die, when you see him in the “in-between” talking to the Shaeva, the Soul Cather and making a deal with her, in order to become her successor, and a new Soul Catcher.

There is my spoiler talk on A Torch Against the Night. I know there was a lot I most likely forgot about, this book just had so much to talk about. Is there anything I missed? What were your favorite moments about the book, or what are your predictions for the next books. Let me know in the comments below.

 

Hype or Like Friday: Favorite Science Fiction Books

Hello all,

Septembers Hype of Like Friday the is Back to School and the Book of Month is Carry on by Rainbow Rowell

Hype or Like Friday is a meme created by Jillian, Larkin, and Britt to discuss about hyped books and see if they’re hyped up or not. There would be book of the month that you can read, and the post your review for it on the end of the month, then rate it whether it’s a hype it or like it.

September 9th- I Love Science: My Favorite Science Fiction Books- This can be anything you want. Science fiction can be anything from time travel to DNA mutations like X-Men. You can go with comic books or novels. Whatever you feel like writing about.

My Favorite Science Fiction books are:

Ready Player One by: Ernest Cline

One of my favorite books. It has great references to 80s pop culture. It is Willy Wonka meets the Matrix. If you like anything from the 80s from video games, TV and movies of that era this is the book for you. Here is my review of the book.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

One of my favorite graphic novels, this is a series about a galactic war with two parents from warring factions caught in the middle along with their newborn daughter. It is very adult with a lot of violence and adult situations, but I still highly recommend it if you are a fan of graphic novels. Here is my review of Vol. 1.

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti.

A YA version of Heroes, and one of my favorite books I read this summer and it surprised me on how much I loved the characters. While it wasn’t as plot heavy, but I did like that the fact that the story was mostly character driven. Here is my review of the book.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

 

I know the author is an asshole, but I didn’t know that before I read the book. I really loved it. I love Ender as a character and I love the world it takes place in.

The Thrawn Trilogy by: Timothy Zahn

I was kinda disappointed that Disney/Star Wars took out the cannon for the expanded universe. Even though it’s not in cannon anymore, I still fully recommend giving it a read because Thrawn is one of my favorite Star Wars villains.

That’s my list of favorite science fiction books. What are your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!