If & Then Thursday

Happy Thursday everyone, and here is another If &Then Thursday,

If&Then Thursdays is a book meme created by Alex@ Young at Heart Books. How do you participate? It’s easy! All you have to do is choose two books that are somewhat related in theme, writing style, genre, etc. Tell us how they are similar and why we would like them! All recommendations should be made in this format:

“If you like Book A, then you might enjoy Book B”

If you liked:

This is one of my favorite book trilogies, set within a dystopian world. June and Day are some of my favorite characters. It is action packed and has a lot of twist and turns. It also a someone who majored in political science, I also loved the use of politics.

Than you might like:

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?

Why: Both books deal with class issues, an illness that is killing the poor population and corrupt governments and corporations who may or not be responsible for the outbreak. Also see a lot of similarities between the characters of Day and Jason, who are trying to make their world better.

 

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Wintersong by: S-Jae Jones

Summary:

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

The Review:

This was another book on my TBR and also one of debut authors I was excited to read about. What also excited me was that it was a sort of retelling of the movie Labyrinth, one of my favorite movies.

This book is very character driven. Liesl, is someone who is sort of the odd person out in her family, and usually has to play second fiddle to her younger brother and sister, who are more musically talented than she is. The book also focuses on the fact that she doesn’t fit the conventional beauty of the world., and I like the fact that she wasn’t given this huge makeover to become beautiful. Also despite everything she still loves her sister in order to free her from the Goblin King, and would do everything for her.

The Goblin King, while not exactly the Goblin King from the movie Labyrinth, he reminded me a bit of earlier seasons Rumple from Once a Upon a Time. While as the legends say he is suppose to be the monster you stay away from. I feel the story really picked up when The Goblin King was introduced. His back story was also really well done, without giving too much away you see why he takes an interest in Liesl.

While the relationship with Liesl and The Goblin King, seemed very wrong at first as the book went one in reminded me a lot of Beauty and the Beast. You find out that The Goblin King has a desire for music, which is why he chosen Liesl to begin with. I also liked the relationship was gradual over time and not completely rushed like other YA novels.

A negative I would have to point out is the pacing. I felt the pacing was way to fast in the beginning and I wish I saw more of the trials of Leisl trying to find her sister in the Underground. While the Underground scenes were very good I just wanted to see more of it, especially as a fan of Labyrinth.

I also felt that the ending was very rushed an anti-climatic. It just felt as if it was added at the last minute to add some conflict to the plot. I think there’s another book so hopefully it will add more to the story.

In the end, I enjoyed Wintersong, while it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, it was an enjoyable with a great leading protagonist, a good retelling of the story of the Goblin King. While it was very character driven, the characters added a lot to the book.

Grade: 3.9/5


 

Flame in the Mist by: Renee Ahdieh

Summary:

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

The Review:

This was another book that was one of my anticipated of 2017, mainly because I was fan of her other two books The Wrath and the Dawn, and The Rose & the Dagger.

The story is set in feudal Japan, and already Renee Ahdeih takes full advantage of the world it is set in. She makes a lot of referents to a lot of Japanese mythology and how the feudal system in Japan is presented. The Japanese setting really added a lot of weight to the story and made it a lot more interesting. She makes many references to Samurai’s, Geisha’s. family and honor.

The main story deals with Mariko, who one her way to see the man she is forced to marry, her caravan is attacked by what is seen to be The Black Clan, a group of bandits who live in the forest. In order to figure out what happens she disguises herself as a boy to infiltrate the Black Clan. This plot reminded me a lot of Mulan, just set in Japan. It really provided a lot of great character bits with Mariko trying to figure out her own gender roles.

Mariko was a great protagonist, within the story. Even after being almost assassinated she managed to handle herself rather well, especially since she lived a very sheltered life in the palace, she starts to learn how to take care of herself. I think she started to learn a lot of those too well, but it wasn’t really a problem for me. She realizes that if she goes back home she will just be another commodity and the reason why she looks into the mystery of her assassination herself is to become more independent.

I liked her relationship with Okami, the leader of the Black Clan. He basically trained her on the ways of the Black Clan. I like that it was developed over time and he learned to appreciate her as a male, before learning of Mariko’s secret. While I did feel that the romance was little forced it was well developed to have me at least care for both of them.

There is also Keshimi; Mariko’s brother who is tasked in finding Mariko. While a lot of his POV chapters were very brief, I was able to find his story arc very compelling and also looking into details about his relationship with Mariko. Also his chapters also provides a few key insights into the world from his perspective.

A problem that I had with the book is that I felt that the ending was very rushed, and I kinda wanted a little bit more, and also have the ending a bit more fleshed out. I know a sequel will be coming out so hopefully that will answer some unanswered questions.

In the end, Flame in the Mist was a very good book. It did a good job taking full advantage of it’s Japanese setting. It also had great, fleshed out characters that you want to root for.

Grade: 4/5

WWW Wednesday-6/21/17

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

While I haven’t read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, even though I heard great things about it. I also heard great things about this book as well.

What did you recently finish?

I enjoyed reading both of these books. Flame in the Mist was sort of like Mulan set within feudal Japan. Wintersong reminded me a lot of The Star Touched Queen with a little bit of Beauty and the Beast. Reviews will be coming soon.

What do you think you’ll read next?

This was mainly a premise grabber, and the main characters back story kinda reminded me a lot of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. It looks really interesting.

That is my WWW Wednesday. What books are you currently reading? What have you recently finished and what will you be reading next? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Sweetened!

Leviathan by: Scott Westerfeld

Summary:

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

The Review:

This book has been on my TBR for a long time, and I finally picked it up last week, and now I am kicking myself wondering why it took me so long to read this book.

The story is set within an alternative historical take on World War II, with a lot of steampunk elements to it. It makes a few changes such as hanging how the war started. Instead of an assassination it was a poisoning of the Archduke and his wife that started the war. Now Alek is on the run from those who want to kill him, especially with him being an heir to Austria-Hungary.

With the elements of World War I, was really good. Westerfeld added the Clankers vs. Darwinists twist to the story. I really liked the design of the Clankers, they reminded me a lot of the AT-ATs from Star Wars, and it still felt like it was built in World War I. The Darwinists has vehicles lead by animals. Seeing the designs in the book really made it easier to be pictured in my head.

Alek, is one of the main protagonists, and while he is prince, he doesn’t come across as snobby and he always wants in on the action. Throughout the book he is of course on the run, and trying to figure out what happened to his parents. Deryn is another protagonist. She dresses up like a boy in order to join the army. She is very brilliant, and she reminded me a lot of Herminone with a little bit of Mulan in her. I like how you see the war from her point of view, and I also like seeing the Darwinists and their ships. She spends a majority of the time training with them.

I also really like the supporting characters. Count Volger is a great father figure to Alek after his parents die. Dr. Nora Barlow is a British scientist who has a great personality and is very brilliant.

The world building is also really good. Scott Westerfeld does a good job at presenting us with a World War I, with a lot of great steampunk elements to it, and it doesn’t feel like it was out of date, which is a real danger when dealing with steampunk set in the past. It also provided a lot of elements and information about World War I without feeling as if it was info dumping.

In the end, Leviathan was a very good read, that takes Alternative Historical fiction and mixes a lot of steampunk and science fiction elements to it. Both characters are extremely well developed and the plot has you turning the page at every turn.

Grade: 5/5

 

Hype or Like Friday: All’s Fair in War and Magic: Magical recommendations

Happy Friday everyone,

Here is another Hype or Like Friday, the theme for June is All’s Fair in War and Magic

And the Book of the Month is:

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.
June 16th – Magical Recommendations… What fantasy books do you recommend that revolve around magic?

A Darker Shade of Magic by: V.E. Schwab

I am two books into this series and I love it so far. The idea of different London’s is amazing. Kell and Lila are some of my favorite characters. I also can’t wait to finish the series with A Conjuring of Light.

The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima

A sort of underrated series its a magical world set within a modern setting, I am about the read the third book and I am loving it so far.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

One of my favorite books I have read this year. I also love the magical world it is set in. Safi is one of my favorite female characters, and even the supporting cast is really good.

Falling Kingdoms by: Morgan Rhodes

While many are very split about the Falling Kingdoms series, I actually kinda like. While it may come across as Game of Thrones lite it does however get better as the books go along.

The Young Elites series by: Marie Lu

By one of my favorite authors, it deals with a young girl journey into villainy. The magic is sort of seen as a mutation and those with it would be arrested. While the final book was just okay, it is still a great trilogy.

Those are my magical recommendations. Do you have any magical recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.

If & Then Thursday 6/15/2017

Happy Thursday everyone, and here is another If & Then Thursday

If&Then Thursdays is a book meme created by Alex@ Young at Heart Books. How do you participate? It’s easy! All you have to do is choose two books that are somewhat related in theme, writing style, genre, etc. Tell us how they are similar and why we would like them! All recommendations should be made in this format:

“If you like Book A, then you might enjoy Book B”

If you liked:

A great alternative fiction novel, set if Hitler won the war, dealing with a race in order to get close enough to Hitler to kill him.  It also does a good job at seeing a world in which the Axis powers has won.

Than you might like:

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Why: Both books are set within alternative historical settings. While Leviathan has a more steampunk take on World War I, they still give us an exciting historical world to read about. They also both have great female characters in Deryn and Yael, who are both willing to get the job done.