Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Villains (Part 2)

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

October 10th: Favorite Villains
— It looks like we last did this topic in 2016, so I encourage you to pick new villains if this is not your first time covering this topic! (also, as before, try not to just use HP characters…)

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.

I did one for villains already, but there are so many villains, but I also want to add from other medias as well.

Perry Wright from Big Little Lies

Image result for perry big little lies

He abuses his wife, Celeste which almost affected his twin boys. He also rapes another woman, and fathers that child while using a different name in order to seduce that woman. He plays the loving husband one second, and an evil abuser another second, and tries to apologize before the cycle repeats itself.

Darth Bane from the Star Wars Darth Bane trilogy

Image result for darth bane

Some would argue that he is an anti-hero. But reading the first two books of the series, you start to see a person’s slowing descending into the dark side, but at times it is almost understandable. He is just trying to survive the best way he knows how. He also challenges the Sith way of thinking and reestablishes the rule of two.

Xifeng from Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Image result for forest of a thousand lanterns

Sort of like, Darth Bane, it was nice to read a story from a villains perspective, and also seeing a story in which there is a sort of villain origin story. She spends most of book trying to manipulate her way into becoming empress, that it is almost impressive.

Eli from Vicious

Image result for vicious by ve schwab

Part of me, almost don’t really consider him a villain, but more of a self appointed protagonist of his own story. Following his story in both Vicious and Vengeful, you start to see his way of thinking. He believes himself to be this religious zealot, who believes he is doing the right thing.

AIDAN from The Illuminae Files

Image result for the illuminae files

An AI, who only believes in binaries and code. His thinking lead to the deaths of several people, because his system doesn’t take into account humanity. He makes decisions based on statistics and nothing else. While he is very fleshed out, he basically operates like a HAL system.

Those are some of my favorite villains. What are some of your favorite villains? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

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Best Reads of 2017

Hello everyone,

I know this is suppose to be a Top 5 Wednesday, but I realized I can’t fit all of the great books I read this year in just 5 spots.

These are my best reads of 2017, some of the books may have been released in another year so these are the best books I read this year.

The Hate U Give by: Angie Thomas

One of my first 5/5s of the year this is a very important book, but it was also very riveting  from start to finish. I could not put this book down.

Scythe by Neal Shustermann

A world without diseases, and death is controled by Scythes. I really loved this book, which really took advantage of a great premise.

The works of Adam Silvera

I read three books by this author and all three were amazing. Even though well all of his books are sad (I almost had to fight back tears reading TBDATE on the train). Each story is also very unique as well. All dealing with real issues, I don’t usually pick up contempory but Adam Silvera made it worth it.

Truthwitch/Windwitch by Susan Dennard

Had to include both of these books in here. I read both of these this year and loved both of them. Truthwitch was a great first book with excellent world building and characters and Windwitch expanded a lot of world and developed the charcaters. I can’t wait to see how this series goes.

Want by Cindy Pon

Last year I read Serpentine and it was one of my favorite underrated books I read. Want did sometime different from what I previously read from Pon. While Serpentine was based around Chinese mythology, Want had a more Sci Fi vibe and it was amazing. Loved the setting and the two main characters and I can’t wait to see how this series continues.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Such a great and emotional ending to a great duology. This Savage Song was one of my favorites of last year and this year I read the epic conclusion. August and Kate are some of my favorite characters and it was another trying to fight back tears while reading on the train.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

This is the all-female Lord of the Flies, I want to see on the big screen. This was on my TBR for years and I finally got around to reading and loving it. It wasn’t just a stranded on a desert island story, it had a lot of commentaries about feminism and “girly” culture. I also had the pleasure of meeting her at Boston Book Festival and she was amazing in person.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

This was one of my marathon reads that I read in a day, and it was such a page turner. This was a retelling of the Evil Queen from Snow White set in Asia. Since it was told from Xifeng’s perspective and it you really saw her dark decent through the pages.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

A nice kick-ass feminist book which is about young girls fighting back against their schools sexist policies. It was inspired by the Riotgirls of the 90s. I also like that it had young girls working together.

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Another girls fighting back against their schools and this mainly deals with the rape of another student. While Moxie is told through mostly one POV, this one has multiple POVs, which really gives it a more ensemble feel to it and the Us chapters really makes the book stands out. Also part of me would love to see a crossover with the Moxie girls meeting the The Nowhere Girls and kicking ass.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

The story of Cinderella set in a Sci Fi convention, of course I will read this. This was another nice contemporary read, which is a retelling of Cinderella. While the story of Cinderella has been retold multiple times, this one had a nice spin to it. Complete with a food truck named the Magic Pumpkin. While I don’t read a lot of contemporary this one was a great read.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin

This had me at the crew from Firefly in a Tardis, and it didn’t disappoint. I am always a sucker for time travel stories. The characters were fantastic in every way. I really wish this wasn’t a stand alone book and a full fledged series.

Warcross by Marie Lu

Marie Lu is one of my auto buy authors. She wrote two series that I really love; Legend and The Young Elites. She is also not afraid to write different genres. This one is a futuristic Sci Fi, which also incorporates the world of video games. Had so much engaging characters and a great setting.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

This had me at superheroes. I was such a fan of the Lunar Chronicles and Renegades didn’t disappoint. It had such a great character driven story, that included engaging characters, and it has an ending that makes you want to see what happens next.

Those are my favorite reads of 2017. I feel like I may have left some books out but I think it was a good reading year. What are your favorite books you read this year? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Hype or Like Friday: We’re All Beautiful-Favorite Diverse Reads

Happy Friday everyone,

The theme for November is Celebrating Diversity, 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.

November 3rd – We’re All Beautiful… What are some of your favorite diverse reads?

The Hate U Give by: Angie Thomas

One of my favorite books I have read this year. This is a very powerful book that I marathon through. It was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and Angie Thomas gave us an amazing main character in Starr.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by: Julie C Dao

This is an Asian fantasy retelling of the origin of the Evil Queen from Snow White, and this is another one of my marathon readings that took me a day to read. I am really beginning to love Asian inspired YA fantasy and the world is phenomenal.

Want by Cindy Pon

This is a Sci-Fi book set in futuristic Taiwan, and it is also one of my favorite books I read this year. This is the second book I read by Cindy Pon and she is already becoming one of my favorite authors.

Six of Crows duology

This is a very diverse book, mainly with the crew that has POC, LGBTQA, disabilities and size. All of these characters are amazing, and I know I talk about this book too much but I can’t help it, I love this series.

Those are just a few of my favorite diverse book, I have a ton on my TBR. What are your favorite diverse books? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by: Julie C. Dao

Summary:

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

The Review:

This was a book I sorta picked up on a whim mainly because I found out that the author was in the Boston area last week, and I had to work late so I missed it. It was also the premise that caught my interest mainly because I like fairy tale retelling, especially those from the villain perspective.

This is an East Asian retelling of the story of Snow White from the view of the future evil queen. This book also took full advantage of its setting and does a good job incorporating the East Asian setting and also a lot of its cultures and mythologies.  I also like how magic is used in this setting. Julie Dao put a lot of emphasis on Eastern magic and it really provided a lot of layers which made this fantasy world unique. While it was a retelling of the Evil Queen story from Snow White it did take a few liberties with the story. It also set up a lot of lore and myths throughout the book which I hope would be more fleshed out in future books, especially the one about the thousand lanterns.

The main character is Xifeng, and she was destined by a prediction by her aunt, Guma to be Empress of Feng Lu. She spends her life as a peasant and takes in her destiny into becoming Empress. Throughout the book you begin to see Xifeng’s progression into villainy and that is what I love about this book.  It was a slow and gradual progression and at times you really do feel for her and what she is going through. Xifeng is a character that had a lot of layers to her, and she reminded me a lot of Adelina, from the Young Elites.

There is also a small romance between Xifeng and Wei. While she does love Wei she keeps having to turn him away mainly because she has to focus on her mission into becoming Empress and feels that Wei would only get in the way in doing so. Even though I keep knowing how their relationship would end up, I still kept shipping them throughout the book.

With the world building, the book does a good job at also setting up the royals. It touches upon how the Emperor has a wife, the Empress but he also has concubines and the head concubine, Lady Sun, is a very wicked one. She is basically a scarier version of aunt Lydia from Handmaid’s Tale who is very obsessed with keeping her status as head concubine.

There is a lot of great secondary characters such as; Shrio who is a dwarf, who reminded me a lot of Tyrion Lannister, as he always gives wisdom to Xifeng and was little snarky while doing so. There is also the Crowned Prince who is said to be next in line for Emperor, who is also the commander of the King’s army. I almost did think that he would become a suitor for Xifeng, and it would turn into another love triangle but it didn’t. He was also a nice well rounded character.

In the end, I loved Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. It was great to read a fantasy book set in East Asia and Julie C. Dao really did a good job at impressing myself into this fantasy world. Xifeng, is a great character that I could really see go through a dark path in future books. It was also a great, enriching world to be in and would also see more of. I am excited to see where this story goes.

Grade: 5/5