Fierce Fanboy Friday-The Last of Us

Happy Friday everyone,

This is a book meme I recently found out about and it looked like fun.

Fierce Fangirl Fridays are hosted by Jackie @ Too Much of a Book Nerd 

Whenever you have something, anything to fangirl about – whether it be a book, TV show, music, celebrities, your pet, the universe, finding your soulmate or just a recent meal that you’ve had – Fierce Fangirl Friday is your opportunity to do so! It doesn’t matter if it’s a recent obsession of yours or something you’ve been loving for a while!

For my first fierce fanboy I am going to talk about The Last of Us. While it is not book related I just want a chance to talk about one of my favorite video games.

The game was developed by Naughty Dog, at first they were mostly known for the Crash Bandicoot and also known for the Uncharted series. The Last of Us is set in a post apocalyptic world in which zombies or “the infected” roam around with also scavengers and cannibals also.

You play as Joel, someone who has dealt with a loss and is tasked to take a girl named Elie across the US to the Fireflies because she is immune to the infection. While it may seem like a simple game its the story and characters that pull you in.

Both characters of Joel and Ellie are equally compelling and have great arcs to them. They pull you into the story and you care about those characters even long after the game is over.

If a game can out you to tears within the first 20 minutes you know its a great game. It is not just a good story. but the game play is also amazing. For a zombie survival game it has good game play in which you could either go stealth or full out guns blazing or both.

The infected come in many forms; runners, clickers and bloaters

 

and with each infected you have to fight them differently and with the clickers its best to get them from afar because one bite and you are dead.

The reason why I was very late in playing this game is because when the game was first released back in 2013, I had an XBOX, and it wasn’t until this year I got a PS4 I was able to play this game.

Throughout the game there is a lot of great story elements and it can be emotionally draining and there was several points that I had to turn off the game and collect myself.

The Last of Us is a great video game that mixes good game play with a fantastic story. Play it if you have a Playstation, or you don’t have one than watch the cut scenes on Youtube.

Have you played The Last of Us? Are you excited about The Last of Us 2? Let me know in the comments below.

Top 5 Wednesday: Series that got better

Happy Wednesday everyone, and here is another Top 5 Wednesday and the topic is:

July 26th: Series That Got Better
— We’ve talked about series that went downhill with each book, but talk about series that are worth pushing through the first (or first few…) books to get to the good stuff!

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.

This is an amazing topic because series that get better are always my favorite series. Also some of these on the list are series that I haven’t finished yet.

Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

The first book, Legend was an amazing book. Prodigy was a great sequel that upped everything to 11, and Champion ended with a bang. Everything about this series is good. It is action packed and well written.

Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A read the first two books earlier this year and have loved them very much. I haven’t read A Conjuring of Light yet but I will and I have heard great things about that book, and keeping away from spoilers. But I love the characters, Kell and Lila. I love the world it is set in and the idea of different London’s.

The illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This series is not yet finished and I think its suppose to be a trilogy. Illuminae was one of the best books I read in 2016 and Gemina was one of the best books I read this year. I know the writing style is very conventional but I love it anyways, I am also disappointed that the third book comes out in 2018, and I don’t know if I could wait that long.

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

I read both of these books last year and loved them. While it is a duology, Six of Crows was an amazing book, and Crooked Kingdom was a fantastic sequel. The characters are amazing and its a very good heist book with a lot of twists and turns.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I loved the first book Cinder. It was a great, it blended Sci Fi with the fairy tale genre, and the series kept getting better. With each book you are introduced to new characters and new worlds that keep expanding and the last book, Winter is basically all  the characters coming together which feels like the fairy tale avengers.

Those are the series that I think got better. What are your favorite series that got better? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Ruined by: Amy Tintera

Summary:

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

The Review:

This is another book I decided to pick up on a whim and I have also seen reviews for Avenged, the sequel to the book.

One thing that surprised me about the book was how it started off. It puts you right in the middle of the action, with Em and her friends trying to infiltrate the enemy kingdom of Lera, by posing as the prince’s bride to be. Right of the bat you see Em kill someone in order to do so. and it surprised me how quickly she was able to do so. It establishes her as a character who has a lot of moral grayness to her.

The beginning of the book also establishes her motivation. After seeing her mother and father killed, with her sister kidnapped, she feels that she needs to do what she she needs to do in order to have revenge on those who wronged her and killed her family. It reminded me a lot of Arya from Game of Thrones.

The main plot surrounds Em pretending to be a bride-to-be of Prince Casimir or Cas, and trying to get information on the whereabouts of her sister, Olivia, and also act as a spy for Ruina. She, or course begins to fall for Cas. While it may be a bit cliched, and of course most have seen this story before. But the difference is how the story and characters are framed. The main strength is how you see Cas’ perspective, mostly due to his POV chapters, which establishes his relationship with his mother and father and how the kingdom is handled. It made Cas a more fleshed out character, rather than a plot device.

I also liked the world building and the lore. The people of Ruina have special abilities, which is why they are hated. It reminded me a lot of The Young Elites in that regards. While Em does lack the abilities that her people has, you were able to see the special abilities from the other characters. The book also puts you right in the middle of the conflict, and you learn about the world through conversations, so it didn’t feel like info dump.

I also felt while the ending was a bit rushed, I did like the ending, it was a really good page turner with a lot of great character moments for both Em and Cas. You also see how their relationship becomes more fleshed out. It wasn’t all insta-love, Em began to fall for Cas mainly because he wasn’t like his father.

In the end, I enjoyed Ruined. While yes, on the surface it does come across like YA bingo. The characters and plot make up for it. I thought it was really good and I hope to read the sequel.

Grade: 4/5

Top 5 Wednesday: Books that aren’t set in/inspired by the Western world

Happy Wednesday everyone, and here another Top 5 Wednesday, and the topic is:

July 19th: Books That Aren’t Set In/Inspired By The Western World
–I know this is a long title, but I couldn’t figure out how else to word it and still get the point across. Talk about books that are set outside of the Western World (so outside of North America and Western Europe) or if they are SFF, books that aren’t inspired by those places (so no medieval setting fantasy!)

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.

Want by: Cindy Pon

This book is set within a futuristic Taipei. Taiwan. Cindy Pon does a good job at describing how the city would look in the future and describing a lot of the major monuments.

Flame in the Mist by: Renee Ahdieh

This is a semi Mulan retelling set in feudal Japan. I really enjoyed this book, and Renee Adieh really takes full advantage of the books setting and seeing myself transported in Japan.

Serpentine by: Cindy Pon

Yes, another Cindy Pon book. This one is set in Ancient China and it was one of my favorites of 2016. It blends a lot of fantasy with Chinese mythology, which made it awesome.

The Star Touched Queen by: Roshani Chokshi

This is a fantasy series set in India, and has a lot of Indian mythology within the book. While it wasn’t as plot heavy like I wanted it to be it still was a great read.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

This is a fantasy book inspired by a lot of South American culture and its history. This is a very underrated book series, but I enjoyed reading it.

Those are my favorite books set outside the western world? What are your favorite books outside the western world? Let me know in the comments below.

Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag

Wow, it is the middle of 2017, and it is very exciting. I see a lot of the other bloggers/Booktubers doing this so I decided to do it. I wasn’t tagged by anyone.

Best Book you read so far?

A book about a world in which death has been conquered, and Scythe’s are responsible for keeping the population in control. Here is my review.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

A book inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, in which Starr sees a friend killed by the police and the aftermath of the shooting. Here is my review.

Best Sequel You’ve Read

This is a two for one deal because both of these sequels are amazing and it proves why she is one of my new favorite authors. Both books ups the stakes of the previous books, and Our Dark Duet was an emotional roller coaster.

New Releases You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want to

I have heard good things about both of these books, and I really want to read them very soon.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

If you are familiar with my blog, you should know that both Marie Lu and Marissa Meyer, are two of my auto-buy authors. Both of them are making new series so of course I am excited to read both of these books.

Biggest Disappointment

While I did enjoy the book, it just wasn’t at the potential that I thought it was. I also felt that the book was a little to short and I kinda wanted more from the story.

Biggest Surprise

This was a sort of random pick up, and I enjoyed it very much. It had me at Sailor Moon meets Pacific Rim and it was great. Here is my review.

Favorite new author

Earlier this year, I read More Happy Than Not and was completely blown away by it, and then I read History is All You Left Me which was also equally good. Now he is one my favorite YA contemporary authors.

Book that made you cry

Enough said.

Book that made you happy

This was a cute little high school story about a boy coming out and trying to find love. Really good read and I cannot wait for the movie to come out.

That is my Mid-Year Freak out Tag. If you are reading this consider yourself tagged. Also what are your favorite books you have read so far? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Children Books

Happy Wednesday everyone,and here is another Top 5 Wednesday and the topic is:
July 12th: Children’s Books
–This can include Middle Grade (but try to recommend more than just Harry Potter and Percy Jackson!) Feel free to talk about your childhood faves or more recent reads.

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.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

This is my favorite Roald Dahl book. I do have love for the BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But this one is near and dear to my heart. This was one of the first books of Roald Dahl books I have ever read.

American Girl books

I know, this was meant for girls, but my sister had the books and I decided to read them and they were really good. I started of with Addy, the story of girl born into slavery and then becoming free. Molly, a girl living through WWII, and Felicity a girl living through the Revolutionary War. I like how all of them takes you through history from the perceptive of young girls.

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew

Some of my favorite mystery books, and it got me started on the mystery genre. While they are two separate series, there is times when they do crossovers with each other. Mainly it is about young kids solving mysteries, and it is very enjoyable,

The Berenstain Bears

Another one of the very first books I have read. It has a family of bears and it deals with a lot of life lessons such as; messy rooms, lying, and junk food.

Arthur

While I am more nostalgic for the TV show, I still did read the books and I have fond memories of the book, and it dealt with a lot childhood issues about growing up.

Those are my favorite children. What are your favorite children’s book? Let me know in the comments below.

Our Dark Duet by: Victoria Schwab

Summary:

THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.

KATE HARKER isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

THE WAR HAS BEGUN.

THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

The Review:

As a fan of the previous book, This Savage Song this book was of course one of my anticipated books of 2017. I am also a new fan of Victoria Schwabs work and she is one of my new auto buy authors.

The book picks up several months after the events of the first book, with both Kate and August separated from one another after what happened at the end of the book. Kate is basically living life as a nomad going from place to place and never really settling down. You can already tell that Kate has been through a lot and she is not the same person as she was at the beginning of This Savage Song. That is one of the strength of Victoria Schwab’s writing is how she can write characters and their development. Kate spends most of her time hunting monsters.

August is also going through some changes as well. He is still reeling from the events of the previous book, and he is not the same sweet, brooding boy from the first book. He realizes that he has to take the lead when some stuff is going down. He spends most of his time using his violin to reap souls, and every time he does so, it always pains him to do it.

The main plot deals with a new monster causing humans to turn on one another and the monster feeds off of that. It first comes to Prosperity, where Kate has started a new life for herself and than moves on to Verity which forces Kate to go back. I would say that the beginning of the book is a little slow, but I wasn’t bored by it. Kate and August are great characters and I loved seeing them together in This Savage Song, and when they were reunited in Our Dark Duet, that is where the story really picks up in the best way possible.

There are also some new characters that I liked. Soro, who is a gender neutral character who acts as a sort of sidekick for August. They were such a great character, and I kinda wish they were a bit more fleshed out.

I also thought the villains were good as well. The main villain was Sloan, who had his own POV chapters, and you really get a sense of his psyche. There is also Alice, who serves as a mini-boss character.

I felt the ending was a bit rushed. A lot of things were going on at once and I wish it was a bit slowed down in order for me to process a lot of the information, because a lot of emotional stuff does happen. It was an emotional whirlwind, in the best possible way.

In the end, Our Dark Duet, was a great conclusion to an already great duology. It really felt as if it was a final book. The characters go through so much and the ending is an emotional one.

Grade: 4.7/5

 

Hype or Like Friday: A Hint of Bitter Sweet-Favorite Retellings

Hello and Happy Friday everyone,

The theme for July is A Hint of Bittersweet and the Book of the Month is

Hype or Like Friday is a meme created by JillianLarkin, 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.

July 7th – Just Can’t Get Enough… What are some of your favorite retellings of classics?

Wicked by Gregory Macguire 

While I am mostly obsessed with the musical, I did start reading the book, and I am enjoying it so far. The book does go more into the politics of Oz and is a lot more dense than the musical. But it is still good.

A Court of Thorns of Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and it does follow the same beats of the original, while adding a few twists to keep the story fresh.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

This is a sort of origin story of the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. It also kinda follows the same beats as Wicked in seeing how she ends up that way.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Yeah, if you are familiar with my blog you know this is one of my favorites. Each book is a retelling of a fairy tale and it is basically a fairy tale avengers in which they all have to work together to stop the evil queen.

Those are my favorite retelling. What are your favorite retelling? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Want by: Cindy Pon

Summary:

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?

The Review:

This was one of my anticipated reads, mainly because I was of Cindy Pon’s other book Serpentine, and I always felt she was very underrated within the book community.

First of all, I love how Cindy Pon takes advantage of the setting which is in Taipei, Taiwan set in the distant future, and from what I was told this is the first Sci Fi book set within that area. It also deals with pollution and how it affects the population. The main aspect of the book is how it deals with class. The upper class gets special suits in order to protect them from diseases and the bad pollution, while the lower class has to fend for themselves. It really reminded me of Legend by Marie Lu in the aspect.

“Mei” means without and “You” means to have. That’s the terminology that Pon uses to describe the social classes.

Jason Zhou is the main protagonist,and he reminded me a lot of Day in which he was someone who wanted to change the system by any means necessary, and of course with the death of his mother he feels as if it is his duty. He goes undercover to become a you, in order to destroy the Jin Coproaration, the company who manufactures the suits from within.

During his undercover mission he befriends Dairu, the daughter of the CEO of Jin Corp. Jason and Daiyu relationship I thought was very well developed. Its starts with them befriending one another and than an actual relationship begins to blossom. While it does feel a bit of a cliche,it was a well developed cliche. I kinda wish that Daiyu had some POV chapters as well just to get some of her side of the story, mainly because I really did like the character. She had a lot more agency with her, she more than just a girl that the main character has to woo, she was very smart in her own right.

If I were to point out a negative is that I wish some of the secondary characters had a bit more developed, and were better fleshed out. An example was a friend of Daiyu, whose basic story arc revolved around him telling Jason to stay away from Dairu. But I did think that the characters from Jason’s crew were fleshed out, and they reminded me a bit of the crew from Firefly. Hopefully as sequel will flesh out a lot of the characters.

I also like the twists and turns that the book went through, while yes some of it was very predictable there was a few that I didn’t really see coming, but then when you think about it the twists made some sense.

In the end, Want was a very good book delivered by Cindy Pon. She created some great characters and took advantage of a great setting. She created a great world that I want to see more of in future sequels..

Grade: 4.3/5

 

Hype or Like Friday: The Crown’s Game by: Evelyn Skye

Happy Friday everyone,

and here is a Hype or Like Friday review for The Crown’s Game by: Evelyn Skye

Hype or Like Friday is a meme created by JillianLarkin, 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.

Summary:

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

The Review:

I was very excited that this book was picked for Hype or Like Friday, because it was on my TBR for quite some time and I was glad to have an excuse to read the book, even though I have heard some  mixed things about it.

This book reminded me a lot of an Ember in the Ashes. mainly within its fantasy setting set within a historical time period and it also mixes in a lot of Ottoman empire within the story. The world building was well done, not as good as other fantasy books which entrenched you into their world. I liked that it gave us just enough information about the world without it feeling like info dumping.

The story is told from two POVs, Vika and Nikolai; two of the combatants of The Crown’s Game, which is a tournament that tests their magical skill in order to become an Imperial Enchanter, the loser would have to killed. Both of them are really engaging characters. Vika, is someone who was raised in isolation mostly by her father. I like how snarky and independent she is, but she is also very reserved especially with the fact that she may have to kill someone.

Nikolai is someone who sees the Crown Game as a way out. He was orphaned at at young age and spends most of his time with the Prince, Pasha. I like his friendship with Pasha,you don’t see a lot of male friendships in YA books and I am glad that this one was well developed. Pasha, was a crowned prince but he didn’t act like a spoiler prince, I also liked his courtship with Vika, he actually felt that he had to get to know her. While there is a love triangle between Vika, Pasha and Nikolai it wasn’t to distracting from the actual plot.

The Crown Game is sort of like a twisted Tri-Wizard tournamnt, it tested the skills of Vika and Nikolai and what type of enchanters they will become. While the Crown Game is the back drop for the book, it takes a few turns especially dealing with Nikolai and who he really is. I thought the twist was actually really done.

One of the problems I sort of have is a lack of main antagonist. Without giving to much away, I felt that the villain felt a little tact on without any much development. I also wanted to know a bit more about the conflict. I hope the sequel will flesh out those parts of the book.

In the end, I enjoyed The Crowns Game. It had great characters that kept me engaged at every page and it took full advantage of the Ottoman empire and its setting. I hope some of back stories could be more fleshed out along with its villain

My Grade is: LIKE

Grade: 4/5