Saturday, May 25, 2019

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston - Book Review

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Publication date: May 14, 2019
My rating: 3 stars

“Thinking about history makes me wonder how I’ll fit into it one day, I guess. And you too. I kinda wish people still wrote like that. History, huh? Bet we could make some.” 

 I wanted to like it more than I had.

Reading all the gushing reviews and seeing it mentioned multiple times on Twitter, I really wanted to fall in love with it. And while I did enjoy it quite a bit… I didn’t fall in love, and it didn’t… well, wow me.


For once, it took me about 20-30% of the book to actually start caring about the story. Up until then, it was a bit “hmm” for me.

Once I did though, I quite enjoyed myself.
I liked our two protagonists – Henry and Alex, their interactions, their lives. 

“That's the choice. I love him, with all that, because of all that. On purpose. I love him on purpose.” 

The rest of the characters – June, Nora, etc – fell kind of flat for me though. A lot of the time they even all got confused in my head, not really distinguishing themselves from one another. They were just sort of... there.

The writing style is easy to read and the story itself is quite fun - and funny (I did laugh a number of times, which made me feel great).

But I guess it just didn’t manage to excite me, didn't get more emotions than a general interest out of me.
Which was actually the same trouble I had with Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Even though I would say I certainly liked Red, White & Royal Blue much better.

If you enjoyed Simon or are just looking for a sweet, easy to read, funny romance story about a prince of England and the son of the president of the united states… well, give this one a try :) 

“Sometimes you just jump and hope it's not a cliff.” 

Do I recommend it? Yes, if you're looking for a breath of fresh air after reading/watching way too many fantasy/drama. Trust me, this book won't make you want to pull your hair out, as it very much has "feel good" vibes throughout it all. 

Will I read the author's future books? While I won't be waiting for them with bated breath, I will check them out.

“Take anything you want and know you deserve to have it.”

Thursday, May 23, 2019

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal - Book Review

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Publication date: May 14, 2019
My rating: 4 stars

“The first step to getting anywhere is believing you can,” Benyamin said darkly.

If you’re reading this deliberating whether you should pick this book up… I urge you. Pick it up.

This was just the book I needed after so much time of none-fantasy in my life. And it was wonderful.

Combining all of my favorite things – engaging writing style, kickass characters, a love to hate romance that makes you all giddy inside, a magical quest, and let’s not forget the dark forces against them – how could I resist its charm?

I was pretty much swallowed by the darkness of the story, not wanting it to end because I knew I would be craving the next book, as I am now, which is not out until next year.

But such are the struggles of the reader, laa? 

He was a mess of scars like the sky was a mess of stars.


My broken boy! I just… want… to… hug… him.
Or, better yet, for Zafira to hug him. Like. Please.
This boy. This boy who has been through SO much yet is still GOOD inside and he just does not see it.
I love him. I want him happy. I want him to smile. To laugh. 

Nasir had Kifah against the tree in a heartbeat. His voice was crisp. “Where is she?” Distantly, he heard Altair mumble, “What is it with Nasir and shoving people against things?”


Our fearless girl!
Searching for something, all her life, never quite knowing what. I can’t wait for it to find it. We all know what it is. She just needs to see it for herself.
“Do you ever not provide your opinion?” Kifah asked, picking up a scorpion’s molt and studying it. Altair bowed. “I like to think I’m lightening the mood, shifting focus away from our impending dooms. You’re welcome.” “I never thanked you.” “I know. I’m saving you the extra breath. You’re welcome for that, too.”


Trust Altair to brighten up the mood!
I just loved this guy’s comments. So funny, always reassuring. Like Zafira noticed, he’s the kind of guy you’re just inexplicably drawn to, always craving his sharp wit.

While the story was definitely captivating way before the 35% mark, it's important to note the protagonists only meet there, and so the story becomes so much better at that point. So don’t give up on this book! Okay? 


“Enough,” Benyamin said, smoothing out his bedroll. “Kifah, you’re keeping watch.” “Your wish is my insomnia,” the warrior said with a salute.

That ending, with all those twists and turns.
While they didn’t shock me (even though I didn’t anticipate them either), they were wild enough and so one after, at some point I was just “
Are we going to find out Kifah is Zafira’s long lost sister or something next?”

I have to admit, I did not expect Benyamin to die. For some reason, I thought it was going to be Altair – even though I’m glad he’s alive!

I just loved that ending with Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah, staring into the distance, now a true zumra. All that Benyamin ever tried to make them, they now stand together, united.

Yasmin. I’m sure her part will come into play in the next book. Can’t wait for her and Zafira to reunite.

Not to mention, for the relationship between Zafira and Nasir to deepen, solidify. I know they can be something great together, and I’m sure we’ll see them be just that in the next book.

Looking forward to Yasmin meeting the man who finally made our Zafira blush!

This was the zumra. The zumra he belonged to. He was no longer here to kill the Huntress and take back that old tome. He was here to help her and the others. It was no longer about the book and magic—they needed to vanquish those amber eyes for good. Free magic. Free Arawiya. Free his father.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Uprooted by Naomi Novik - Book Review

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Publication date: May 19, 2015
My rating: 2 stars

I went down with him. We banged our heads on the flagstones together, and dazed lay still for a moment with our limbs entwined. The fire was leaping and crackling beside us, and as my panic faded, abruptly I noticed that in the wall beside it were small iron oven doors, and before it a spit for roasting, and above it a huge wide shelf with cooking-pots on it. It was only the kitchen. After a moment, he said, in almost marveling tones, “Are you deranged?”

I feel bad rating this book so low.
I always thought this kind of rating is for books you hated or something, but that's really not the case here.

To describe uprooted in 1 word: Rich.
The worldbuilding was rich, the story was rich, the magical system was wonderfully expressive, and even the writing style was engaging (if a bit too descriptive, and low on dialogue).

But that's all if I were to speak from a logical point of view.
I can see what makes this book so popular. I can understand why people would love it.
But I don't feel it. 

Breakfast at eight, dinner at one, supper at seven. Leave the meal laid in the library, five minutes before, and you need not see him—no need to say who—all the day. Courage! Priceless advice, and that Courage! was like the touch of a friend’s hand.

I just felt like I didn't truly get to know these characters.
The Dragon, especially, but also Agnieszka (despite seeing everything about her). I just didn't connect to them, found nothing to latch on. 

“Listen, you impossible creature,” he said, “I’m a century and more older than—” “Oh, be quiet,” I said impatiently; of all the excuses he might have used.

And then there's the "romance".
Now I understand that this is a book mainly revolving around its plot and magic, not the romance, but I hoped I could have at least had something to latch on through there, considering it is very much tagged as a romance on goodreads... and as it seems to be a bit of a "beauty and the beat" vibe.
Unfortunately, no.
If you count the romance in the whole of the story, it would be summed up to 2 chapters in this entire book.
Where are the feelings? Where is the build up? Where is the "caring about the other"? And more importantly where is the satisfying ending?
Can't believe I'm saying it but even insta-love would have been better.


So since I ended up not being able to enjoy neither the plot (due to not connecting with the characters), nor the romance... there really wasn't much left for me to enjoy.

I would say this though: I did find the friendship between Agnieszka and Kasia quite wonderful.

“You intolerable lunatic,” he snarled at me, and then he caught my face between his hands and kissed me.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman - Book Review

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Publication date: May 7, 2019
My rating: 4 stars

Where is book 2? 
No, seriously, where is it? 
Because, please... I need it right now. 

Oh wow. 
This is the type of book that, back in the day, when I was all young and innocent, I would have given it 5 stars. 
But I am very jaded now, and I hardly give books 5 stars, even if they're hella fun and addictive to read. 
Because that's what this book was - just hella fun. Okay, so the ending was kinda creepy and almost gave me nightmares, but the rest of it was hella fun! 

Just a bunch of misfit teenagers on the run from the authorities, trying to figure out what it is they're meant to find, being sarcastic all over space. 
Needless to say, I loved this book. 

Auri & Kal  

I LOVED Auri! 
She quickly went from this character who obviously has a great destiny ahead of her to this character I just want to hug and make sure she makes it out okay. 

Tough doesn't even begin to describe her, considering everything she went through and still managed to find herself on her feet. She started out as such a wild card but eventually got herself into their group and it was just wonderful to see. 

And Kal. Oh Kal, Kal, Kal. The soldier. I seem to have a thing for his type in books. I loooove Kal. 

I also can't wait to find out more about Kal's background. While we basically know most of Auri's past story, we only ever saw glimpses of Kal, and it seems there is so much more to him. 

Scarlett & Finian  

Is it just me or does it seems like there might be something going on with these two? 
Unlike with Kal and Auri, it doesn't seem to be confirmed at all, and we didn't see any indication of it as of yet from Scaerlett's side, but Finian definitely seems to have started to like her a lot. 

Finian (who I'm pretty sure is Bi?), and Scarlett... those two could be... they could be... explosive together. 
Thinking about it now... I am very much looking forward to this. 

But anyways, Scarlett, the big sister of the group, is just such a wonderful person. Sarcasm and all, she truly cares about everyone, and you just can't help yourself from loving her. 
And Finian, the tech guy- err, betraskan, is just a lovably sarcastic guy, always brightening the mood with his hilarious comments. 

Tyler and Cat 

Tyler, our fearsome leader, may seem a bit cliche, all dimples and blond her and perfection, but I feel like that's what the authors were going for and I loved it. 
And, well, nobody is perfect. 
I really like Tyler - his personality, his faith, his beliefs. 
I am also finding it totally awesome that he seems to have developed a taste for going rogue, considering how "follow the rules" he is. But they do say those who go extremely to one side can just as extremely flip...? Wait, do they say it? 
Hang in there, Tyler! You can do this! Lead the way :') 

So... Cat. 
Out of everyone, my relationship with Cat could probably be described as the most complicated. 
At first, I was liking her. She seemed very snarky and tough and I was hoping she and Tyler could figure this out. 
But then... as she continued being so hostile towards Aurora, I just... she just got farther and farther away from me. 
It's not that I don't understand where she was coming from. I DO. But I still couldn't... I don't know, connect to her? 


I didn't think I would like Zila as much as I do considering her chapters were crazy short and we didn't seem to get to know her as much as the others. 
Slowly, bit by bit, I found myself liking this ever so cool calm and collected girl. 
She was always the first to figure out what's what, with her genius IQ and fast thinking. 
I want to know more about her. 

And that's Squad 312 for you, the unlikely group of misfits about to turn into heroes of the galaxy (not that anyone knows it yet). 

We the legion 
We the light 
Burning bright against the night. 

You can do this.