Scorpio Hates Virgo by Anyta Sunday

Title: Scorpio Hates Virgo

Author: Anyta Sunday 

Publication Date: August 30, 2017

Start Date: August 18, 2017

End Date: September 5, 2017

4 Stars

I would like to first thank A Novel Take Promotions for sending me an early copy of Scorpio Hates Virgo. It was an honor to be able to read it before the release and to give it a review.

So here it is, a long overdue review for this wonderful novel.

Scorpio Hates Virgo is a new adult, queer romance novel by Anyta Sunday. It is the second in the series of Signs Of Love that Sunday first published in December of 2016. This novel follows the life of Percy Freedman who has just lost his aunt and has to return to his childhood home where he once lived with his aunt. With that comes Callaghan Glover – Percy’s so-called nemesis and neighbor since he was a teen before moving out.

The novel follows Percy’s life as he tried to adapt amongst the cul-de-sac, a name that they use for their neighborhood. Desperate to sell the house, Percy tries to clean it up with the help of his neighbors, especially Callaghan. But what comes with that are many pleas from his neighbors to stay at the cul-de-sac instead of selling the house. Percy tries his best to cope with the situation as his heart wants to stay but his mind thinks the opposite. Adding on to that, his mixed emotions towards Callaghan leads his emotions to conflict further.

Character:

  • Percy Freedman. I liked Percy as a character, especially since he was relatable in his sarcastic humor and life problems. He kept the plot interesting and his internal conflict with himself was something I loved However, there are times when I think his character could have had more development. Sometimes, his personality seemed flat and other times it seemed to develop.
  • Callaghan Glover. Glover was a character I didn’t like as much as first. He seemed arrogant and a disturbance to Percy’s life. But, slowly, I came to like Glover because he seemed like he wanted to genuinely help Percy as much as it seemed fake at first. He was a sweetheart and ended up being an enjoyment to the story.

Plot

The plot of this book was a simple and common one amongst new adult readers. With an enemies-to-lovers plot, Scorpio Hates Virgo has the usual quarrellings between the two main characters before the steamy, romantic scenes. Though I say the plot is common – it still left me turning the pages and reading through the novel whenever I had the time. Sunday manages to make the plot and characters interesting in a way that you can’t stop reading.

In addition to that, the romance was a slow-burn that kept you hanging on the edge. With every exchange between Percy and Callaghan, you knew that there was something more than “friends” between them. It kept you wanting to read more, to see what happens next or to see who would make the first move.

The community that Sunday makes around Percy was also one filled with a variety of personalities. It added to the story that Percy had people there for him to support him and be there in his time of need. It also created a comedic component to the novel.

Overall, Scorpio Hates Virgo was an awesome new adult novel. I am definitely reading the first book in this series since I jumped to this one first. I highly recommend for new adult/contemporary lovers!

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My Dearest Hurricane: Love and Things that Looked like it.

Title: My Dearest Hurricane: Love and Things that Looked like it.

Author: Morgan Nikola-Wren

Publication Date: August 28, 2017

Start Date: September 1, 2017 

End Date: September 1, 2017

5 Stars

Firstly, I would like to thank Morgan for sending me a copy of her beautifully written book. It was an honor to receive the collection and an honor to read it.

My Dearest Hurricane is Morgan’s second poetry collection – centering on the idea of love and loss. Released in late August, the poetry collection follows the narrator as he or she experiences love, angst, loss, and recovery. Divided into four different parts, Morgan manages to bring the readers through an amazing adventure that leaves a deep feeling in their hearts even days after finishing the collection.

As I post this review, I am still not over how well written her collection was. It brings about a story that many can relate to and one that many has experienced in their lives. My Dearest Hurricane embodies the idea of being in love and the heartache that may come with it.

Overall, Morgan wrote a gorgeous collection that I think everyone must read. It is filled with so much emotion that will leave readers thinking about days, even weeks, after being read.

-Rey

 

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Legend by Marie Lu

Title: Legend

Author: Marie Lu

Publication Date: November 29, 2011

Start Date: July 27, 2017

End Date: August 9, 2017

4 Stars

To be honest, I had my doubts starting this book given that it was in the dystopian genre. At this current time, there are so many similar dystopian novels out there that I fear of reading another generic plotline. Furthermore, I have never read a Marie Lu book before, albeit all the good comments I have read.

However, at the end of the day, my doubts were gone and instead Marie Lu just gained another fan of her novels.

Legend is the first book in the Marie Lu’s series, centering on the life of fifteen-year-old Daniel “Day” Altan Wing and June Iparis. Set in futuristic America where the “good” are known as the Republic and the “bad” are known as the Colonists, both these characters fight to discover which side is right and which is wrong.

Day, as they call him on the streets, was a criminal, thief, runaway, and whatever else the Republic calls a boy like him. In comparison, June Iparis was born into wealth and is groomed to be one of the Republic’s best asset. However, an event that links them together leads them to discoveries they never thought before. Since the beginning, Day knew the realities of the Republic and only wanted to protect his family from their cruel ways towards the poor. June was the opposite, oblivious to it all as she grew up wanting to be the best soldier for the Republic. Together, they work to escape the Republic and expose them of their wrong doings.

This was one of the most exciting, painful, and intense reads. Lu manages to keep readers on the edge of their seats as they flip from page to page. There was romance, adventure, mystery, and excitement all combined into one – creating a spectacular read for YA lovers.

Let’s break it down.

 

Characters:

  • June Iparis. Truth be told, I was annoyed of her in the first few chapters. She seemed stuck up and an extreme know-it-all. Though, I can’t blame her given she was only fifteen years old in this novel and taught to believe everything the Republic said. She was still naïve and reliant one quite a lot of people and ideas. I loved her character development throughout the whole novel and how she realized that not everything is as it seems.
  • Daniel “Day” Altan Wing. I loved Day from the start to the end. His morals and personality was something I admired. He sat through it all, even in pain he thought quite logically and didn’t do something over the top like what readers would expect. He’s also such a sweetheart and protected the people he loved most.
  • Tess. PROTECT HER. Although she may seem delicate from the outside, her character is one that tries her very best with all that she has.

 

Plot

If one was to view this novel without really looking at the details, the plot would seem quite similar to other dystopian novels with two characters from opposite ends coming together to resolve a world ending situation. However, Marie Lu has a way with writing it that attracts readers. She adds that twist in the whole plot that gets the readers going, getting them to want to know more of what truly happened in the events that occur in the novel. For sure, by that halfway point I couldn’t stop. June was just beginning to discover things she never expected, something no one expected.

Furthermore, the romance in the novel wasn’t one that overtook the whole plot. Instead, it added to the plot and character. Both June and Day were only fifteen years old in the novel – making them naïve to their feelings. By adding a romantic component into the plot, Lu manages to highlight their youth along with emphasizing the world that they live in and the drastic propaganda that are implemented to such people.

However, there were some parts of the books that were rather boring or seemed to be fillers. Those parts were the ones that made me give Legend an overall four stars instead of five. Certain chapters just didn’t seem to be needed or were there just to extend for me. But, then again, I like reading fast paced books so it may just be my opinions.

Overall, Legend was an awesome read and I cannot wait to continue to Prodigy. Marie Lu wrote an action-packed novel filled with all sorts of adventures that keeps the readers sitting on the edge of their seats!

 

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Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Title: Flame in the Mist

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Publication Date: May 16, 2017

Start Date: June 25, 2017

End Date: July 2, 2017

5 Stars

“My heart knows your heart. A heart doesn’t care about good or bad, right or wrong. A heart is always true.”

Renée Adhieh never fails to amaze me with her novels. They always pull me in so easily that I never want to leave the world she has created – just like when I was reading Flame in the Mist.

Flame in the Mist is a sort of Mulan spin off, set in mythical, old time Japan. It centers on the life of Hattori Mariko – the only daughter of the well known samurai Hattori Kano. During her journey to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, Minamoto Raiden, she was attacked by the Black Clan. A group of rōnins that has been known for their violence. Being the only survivor of the attack, she sets a plan on finding the Black Clan and infiltrating their ranks – finding out why they would want to attack her convoy. However, she discovers that her knowledge and personality was far more appreciated amongst the group as she slowly gained their trust.

Firstly, there were so many characters in the novel that I loved. To mention a few:

  • Mariko. She was unlike what most people expect from a lady. As a female, everyone expected her to be complacent and obedient to those above her – especially the males. However, she did not conform to any of these normalities as she was a curious person in nature. Although so many people have called her “strange,” she continues to stay true to herself – even when she was practically sold by her father to the Emperor of Wa to marry his son.
  • Ōkami. Truth be told, I didn’t really like Ōkami at first. He seemed really bland and sour most of the time. But by the halfway point, you could say I was in love with him. Through quite pessimistic in nature, Ōkami has a sense of justice and equality that I admired. He was also quite the romantic and I could never resist that. Furthermore, he never treated Mariko differently for being a girl. He recognized her capabilities and let her harness it to make her stronger.
  • Ranmaru. From when he was first introduced, I grew a like to Ranmaru quickly. I had a feeling there was more to him than what meets the eye the first time he enters the story. By the end he was one of my favorites, his kind nature and accepting soul.
  • Yoshi. I wished there were more parts of the book of him and Mariko together. He treated her kindly before anyone else did.
  • Kenshin. My opinions towards Kenshin constantly changed throughout the book. Sometimes I liked him and sometimes I was frustrated with him for the decisions he chose without finding out more information about it. At the end, I can’t really say anything – as of right now I’m quite alright with him.

Secondly, the plot of the novel. Truth be told, it took me quite awhile to get into the book. Of course, it was the usual background explanations and so forth to get the reader more acquainted with the setting. But once you get through that hurdle (which was only a few chapters) – you immediately get into it. The only reason it took me so long to finish this book was due to a busy schedule. If not, then I would’ve read this novel right through.

The story in general was written so well, just like Adhieh’s previous two books. The way she described the Jukai Forest and the Hanami Tea House were my favorites. Her writing was poetic and included so much detail that we could picture the place right in front of us. The plot also included mythical creatures and beings that caught the attention of the reader even more. You get sucked in – wanting to know how these creatures came to be.

The plot also does not center on romance as much but instead the romance adds to the plot. It was sweet and added more angst and intensity to the overall story. It made the readers of Flame in the Mist highly anticipate the second novel (which I most definitely am).

Finally, the plot twist had me shaking. It was something so unexpected – at least for me. The possibility never crossed my mind. Though I was glad for it since it created more flare to the entire story.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Flame in the Mist to YA fantasy and romance lovers. Renée Ahdieh managed to create a world that consumes the readers, causing them to want more. I can’t wait to read the second book!

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Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

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Title: Shiver

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication Date: August 1, 2009

Start Date: May 26, 2017

End Date: May 29, 2017

3.5 Stars

Firstly, I want to mention that I love Maggie Stiefvater’s work with all my heart and soul. I have read only one of her other series – The Raven Cycle – and fell in love with it. So I decided to give the first book of this series a try. Although I did not find it as wonderful as TRC, it was still a good read and something I would recommend to paranormal, romance lovers. However, I have only read Shiver so I don’t know what to say for the series as a whole. Back to the main review.

Shiver is the first novel in Maggie Stiefvater’s The Wolves of Mercy Falls series. It follows the life of seventeen year old Grace who, as a child, was bitten by werewolves but never shifted like she should have. Instead, she lived a normal, human life – well, as normal as it can get with her parents constantly neglecting her.

Every night Grace would walk out onto her back porch to watch one particular yellow-eyed wolf, feeling a connection towards him. Until one day, the murder of a known local citizen, Jack Culpeper, causes a wild wolf hunt to occur and for this yellow-eyed wold to turn into the boy Grace always thought he was.

The one thing that I loved most about this book is the connection between the two protagonists, Grace Brisbane and Sam Roth, before the real story begins. Their connection lead the book to become fast paced the way I liked it and it allowed the plot to immediately begin since there didn’t need to be too much building between the characters. To talk about each character:

  • Grace Brisbane. I loved her independence and ability to hold herself. She didn’t stress out or panic in any way when something happens but instead took the situation into her own hands. Her character development was also well written as she went from, you could say, slightly timid to quite brave.
  • Sam Roth. From the moment he entered the plot, I loved him. His trust in Grace, his timid personality, everything. I found him so adorable and different compared to other characters in paranormal romances.
  • Isabel Culpeper. She is, hands down, my favorite character of the whole novel. Everyone, at first glance, would look at her as the “mean girl” but I loved her insistence, confidence, and sassiness in everything she does. My love for her grew as she slowly became Grace and Sam’s good friend – with her sassiness still there of course.

Plot

It was easy for me to get directly into the plot, although at some points it did miss some flourish. The book is a paranormal romance so it was bound to have a similar plot like any other. But I did enjoy it overall as Stiefvater added a twist to the werewolf mechanism unlike in usual werewolf novels. In Shiver, werewolves only shifted into their human form during the summer due to the hot weather. Once it was cold, they shifted back into a werewolf – the human completely incapable of controlling the shift. They communicate through sending images and they each have a distinct characteristic that connects them to their human – their eyes.

What made me give Shiver a 3.5 star overall for me was because of the lack of action. I mean, there was a climax in the book that got me reading on the edge of my chair but the lead up to it was lacking. At some points I thought there could be something added into the mix to make it a bit more exciting.

I do, however, love Maggie Stiefvate’s poetic writing. The words flowed so easily, the forest, the town was built through intricate words and through an easy flow.

Overall, Shiver was an enjoyable read even thought it lacked some flourish here and there. I will definitely be reading the next book!

Moonstone by Evelyne Contant

Before I start this review, I just want to say a huge thank you to the author for sending me an ebook copy of Moonstone in return for an honest review. It was such an honor to be able to read this book and to be able to review it.

Title: Moonstone

Author: Evelyne Contant

Publication Date: February 21, 2016

Start Date: May 5, 2017

Finish Date: May 26, 2017

4 Stars

Moonstone is the first installment of the Enchantment series by Evelyne Contant. It follows the life of eighteen-year-old Lou who has lived a normal life amongst the humans until she discovers that she is an enchanter – specifically a Moonchild who can control all four elements and some more (i.e. the power of Ether). From this, she is pulled into another world filled with magic that she never thought was possible. Her life unravels further as she is told that she is the key to stopping the upcoming war waging ahead between the people she once lived with (i.e. Humans) and the people she is a part of now (i.e. Enchanters). Lou goes through conflicts and challenges she never thought she would before filled with adventure, action, romance, and trust.

Let’s break this down like I always do:

Characters:

  • Lou. I absolutely loved Lou as a character. I related to her on so many levels that it was hilarious at one point. Her bravery stood out to me and her willingness to do something that she never heard or expected before. Also, I was quite satisfied with her character development and her transition from being shocked to taking things into her own hands. However, I do still get slightly annoyed at her naivety.
  • Lord Black. I have to admit, I didn’t like Black as much at first given his domineering personality. But I slowly grew to like him as his story unveiled and many different events came to play. He became one of my favorites.

Plot

To be completely honest, the book started out quite slow for me. Maybe it was because of the extremely long first two chapters or the fact that I love fast paced novels – but it took me awhile to get into it. Although it did create the basis of the world in the Enchantment series and the different things the readers would be encountering. Once I was really into the novel, I couldn’t stop.

The plot had the elements of any fantasy novel of course with new discoveries, the protagonist being thrusted into a new world, and some romance here and there. But the author made the plot much more interesting than the usual fantasy novel. She laced in Greek mythology into the story, making every single thing mean so much more than it is. As a lover of Greek mythology, every explanation she stated in the novel made the entire story more interesting, meaningful, and compelling. Things that seem like minor discoveries to the readers suddenly becomes something vital to the plot as she allows the protagonist – Lou –  to explain the meaning behind everything she discovers.

Furthermore, the plot twist. I could not handle it. That part of the novel (in which I’m not going to mention given that I’m trying to write a spoiler-free review) was heartbreaking yet it made the novel into so much more. I was glad it was added into the story and it opened so many new doors to begin the second installment of the series.

Overall, I recommend Moonstone to YA fantasy lovers! The plot and characters are interesting and will keep you going the whole way. Thank you so much again to Evelyne for giving me the opportunity to read her wonderful novel.

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: A Court of Mist and Fury

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

Start Date: May 14, 2016

Finish Date: June 7, 2016

10 Stars

“To the stars who listen—and the dreams that are answered.”

Only a few days ago have I finished A Court of Wings and Ruin and only after reading the final instalment of this series am I emotionally strong enough to write a review for the second instalment, A Court of Mist and Fury in which I read last year.

This review may be a year late and it may be irrelevant compared to the other reviews already written here but I still feel the need to write this. A Court of Mist and Fury is a book that ingrained itself into my heart and has become something that means so much to me from the characters, the setting, the plot line, everything.

*SPOILERS BELOW*

When I first read the first instalment of this series, A Court of Thorns and Roses I thought this was going to be another average fantasy novel. The typical story of the human girl falling in love with the overprotective, other worldly male. I didn’t hate it, the story was intriguing and well written in my opinion but it just didn’t stick out to me at first. To be honest, I was close to disregarding A Court of Mist and Fury because I thought I could find other more interesting books if it weren’t for my friend raving at the fact that ACOMAF was everything you could have asked for and more.

And so, I went out and bought myself ACOMAF. To this day, I have never been so glad I bought ACOMAF. To this day, I’m still not over ACOMAF – in a good way of course (sorry for the repetition, I have to get my point across).

Firstly, let’s talk about the characters:
Feyre Archeron. The character development she went through was one I never expected. She went from being, as you could say, submissive to realizing that she was entitled her own rights and choices. This is important, so important, to readers to know that they have a choice and by Sarah J. Maas integrating that into Feyre’s mindset allows readers to realize that we ourselves have a choice in our own lives.
Rhysand. I am complete, total, Rhysand trash. There’s no coming back from this. SJM has created Rhysand far differently than usual male protagonists. There’s usually always an aspect of dominance in the male protagonists, although they may be sweethearts, towards the females with the “I’m trying to protect you,” “this is what’s best for you,” blah blah blah stuff. No. Rhysand isn’t like that. He believes in Feyre in that he knows she’s capable of handling herself and, if she does need him, she’ll call for him. He also gives Feyre a choice. Although they made the deal in ACOTAR, he was never going to force her to come with him. If she said no, he would’ve left. Because of this, I love Rhysand more than anything.
The Inner Circle. This is a group of faes that are Rhysand’s most closests and trusted friends, including Cassian, Azriel, Morrigan (Mor), and Amren. I will admit, maybe there’s one character I love more than Rhysand and that’s Cassian. But we don’t need to go deep into that then this review will never end. Essentially, every character in the Inner Circle added and practically <i>made</i> the plot of ACOMAF better than what is already was. They created comedy between the characters, love, happiness, angst, everything. They defined the meaning of true friendship and what it means to have each other’s back through the best and worst times.
Lucien. Many readers, I feel, wouldn’t be too fond of Lucien throughout this book given that he is Tamlin’s right hand man. But I feel like Lucien wasn’t given a choice like Feyre was throughout the book. He was a victim of Tamlin’s just like Feyre was in the first book. Hence, I never really hated Lucien – I just hoped he would be better in ACOWAR and realize that he isn’t obligated to serve Tamlin all his life.

Secondly, there’s the plot itself. I don’t have much to say in this other than it was amazing. The twists and turns throughout this whole novel kept me reading and reading for so long. The only reason my start and finish date is so far apart was because I was so slow (as in days slow) reading the first few chapters and had to re-read it a few times before I finally put my whole self into the book. After that I read it all in one night.

Third, the setting. This itself was a twist in the novel because I never expected one of the courts to have hidden locations *wink wink*. The world building was also wonderfully written, the colors flaring so easily into the reader’s minds and the people described elegantly (although I hoped there were more variety in the description for skin color).

Finally, the messages. I have never been impacted by a book more than I did by ACOMAF. The story that Sarah J. Maas is filled with so many underlying messages that readers needed to know. But one that stood out most was this: that we always and should have a choice. Don’t let one person constrict you into doing what you don’t want to. Don’t stay with a person that won’t give you a choice in what you want to do. And that’s important because not many readers feel like they know this. Certainly, I didn’t know the full extent of it at first. After reading ACOMAF, every other book I read I realized that some of the protagonists, male and female, feel like they don’t have a choice. That their actions are defined by their partners and restricted to what their partners think is right. I think that’s why ACOMAF stood out so much to me because Rhysand was a refreshing character, one unlike the usual.

Overall, I recommend ACOMAF to all YA, fantasy readers and, to be honest, any sort of reader. This book is filled with adventure, romance, comedy, excitement, angst of all sorts that I think the world should know more about.


Bookmarks in the image above is from @readandwonder_ and @inkandwonder.designs