Friday, 9 July 2021

JUNE '21 WRAP-UP

   


Time for another wrap up!

Hey everyone. I honestly can't believe June is over as it went by so fast. I did take a summer class in June and it had a lot of work so I didn't have as much time to read or blog but I'm hoping things will be better soon. I hope you all are doing well. 

I read a lot of new favorites this month and I am excited to share them with you. I read a total of seven books this month.

Time to talk about the books I read this month.


PHYSICAL BOOKS

 



The first book I read was Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. This is the last book in The Infernal Devices series and I just have to say that this series completely lived up to the hype. While the book made me cry multiple times, especially in the epilogue, I think it was a perfect end to the trilogy. I rated this one 5 Crowns. 

The second book I read was She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen. This is about a basketball player named Scottie who gets into a fender-bender with her nemesis, Irene, after she loses a basketball game. Things get worse when their moms get involved and they are forced to carpool together until Irene's car gets fixed. And then when an opportunity presents itself for Scottie to get back at her toxic ex, she bribes Irene into going with her plan. I adored the characters and their voices. This was such a quick-paced read and it was so much fun. I rated it 4 Crowns. 

The third book I read was Written in the Stars by Alexandra Bellefleur. This is about Darcy who wants her well-meaning brother to stop playing matchmaker, especially after a disastrous blind date, so when he asks how the date went, she lies and says that it was a success. Elle is an astrologer behind a popular Twitter account and business, Oh My Stars, and dreams of finding her soulmate. She knows it is "most assuredly not Darcy" who is way too skeptical and punctual for someone like Elle. But when Darcy's brother, who also happens to be Elle's business partner, expresses how happy he is that the two hit it off, she is so confused. Darcy begs Elle to play along so she agrees to pretend they're dating for awhile. It took me a bit to get into this book but once I did, I loved it. I rated it 5 Crowns. 


 

The fourth book I read was Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales. This book is about Darcy who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates by accepting requests through an empty locker at her school. One day, she is caught collecting letters from the locker by Brougham, who, she does not get along with. He threatens to expose her as the person who's running the anonymous relationship advice service unless she helps him get his ex-girlfriend back. So, she agrees to become his personal dating coach at a generous hourly rate. What could go wrong? This book made me laugh and made me cry and was overall such a good time. I loved the representation in this book and this has become a new favorite book of mine. I rated it 5 Crowns. 

The fifth book I read was Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. This is a middle grade book about Amari Peters, whose brother has recently gone missing and no one seems to be looking for him. Then, she discovers a briefcase in her brother's closet which is meant for her eyes only. She learns that there was a lot more to her brother than she'd ever known. He's left her a nomination for a summer 'camp' at the secret Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and she figures that the only way she'll find out what happened to him lies somewhere inside. Once there, besides coming to terms with the existence of creatures such as mermaids, magicians and dwarves, Amari must compete against some of the nation's wealthiest kids who've known about the supernatural world their whole lives. But then Amari is given an illegal ability which makes her stand out even more and with an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, her classmates start thinking she's an enemy when all she really wants is to figure out what happened to her brother. This was such a cute book that was very fast-paced with a ton of plot-twists, and I understand why it is so popular. Amari was such an interesting main character and I loved seeing her grow over the course of the book. I rated this 4 Crowns. 





The sixth book I read was King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. This is the companion series to the Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows series. King of Scars is set years after the events of the Shadow and Bone and follows Nikolai. I can't say much about this because it would spoil the previous series' but I loved seeing these beloved characters again and going through their grief as well as their triumphs and happiness. I rated this 5 Crowns. 

The seventh book I read was Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan. This was about Morgan who is an elite track athlete, forced to transfer high schools late in her senior year when her private Catholic school finds out she's queer and decides that goes against their code of conduct. At her new school she meets Ruby who loves to fix cars and competes in local beauty pageants because of her overbearing mother. The two, despite initially clashing, are drawn to each other and can't deny their growing feelings. Jennifer Dugan wrote Hot Dog Girl which I read last year and loved and this was also such a good book. It took me a little while to like the two main characters, but I still really enjoyed it. I rated this one 4 Crowns. 


AUDIOBOOKS READ

NONE

ARC'S READ

NONE

REVIEWS IN JUNE: 

NONE

WEEKLY WRAP-UP:

NONE

DISCUSSIONS/OTHER:

NONE


FAVORITE COVER OF THE MONTH:


NEW FICTIONAL BAE'S: 

Jem from Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Will from Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Nikolai from King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo 

Brougham from Perfect on Paper by Sophia Gonzales 

NEW FAVORITE FEMALES: 

Tessa from Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Zoya from King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo 

NEW FAVORITE BOOK RELATIONSHIPS: 

Jem and Tessa from Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare 

Darcy and Elle from Written in the Stars by Alexandra Bellefleur 

Darcy and Brougham from Perfect on Paper by Sophia Gonzales 

Zoya and Nikolai from King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo 


TV SHOWS I WATCHED THIS MONTH:





MOVIES I WATCHED THIS MONTH:

NONE


WHAT BOOKS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:




There's so many more but these are the main ones! 


NEW BLOG FINDS

NONE


SONGS ON REPEAT

Brutal - Olivia Rodrigo 

Dead in the Water - SPELLES

All The Things She Said - Poppy 

I Wanna Be Your Slave - Maneskin 

Last Dance - Victoria 

Beggin - Maneskin 

Zitti E Buoni - Maneskin 

El Diablo - Elena Tsagrinou 

Teeth Live from the Vault - Five Seconds of Summer

The Darkest Places - Le Bon 

Dark Side - Blind Channel 


 BOOKS I WANT TO READ NEXT MONTH





The graphics at the top belong to me. The background pictures for them, however do not.

Monday, 31 May 2021

MAY '21 WRAP-UP

  



Time for another wrap up!

Hey everyone. I took an extended leave of absence from this blog to focus on college and work but I think I am back for now. I hope everyone is doing well. 

I mostly read backlisted books this month but I had a pretty good reading month and managed to read a total of eight books. 

Time to talk about the books I read this month.


PHYSICAL BOOKS

 
 


The first book I read was Find Me Their Bones by Sara Wolf. This is the sequel to Bring Me Their Hearts which was one of my favorite books of 2020. The first book ended on a cliffhanger and this book immediately dives back in right where the first one left off. I can't say much without spoiling anything but I loved the character development of all the characters and the development of the friendships and romantic relationships. I rated it 4 Crowns. 

The second book I read was Send Me Their Souls by Sara Wolf which is the last book in the Bring Me Their Hearts series. This was a pretty satisfying conclusion to the series and I really enjoyed it overall. I rated it 4 Crowns as well. 

The third book I read was Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri. This is the companion book to Empire of Sand which I read awhile ago. This follows a girl named Arwa who has just been widowed and moves to the palace to live with a bunch of other widows. There she pledges service to the royal family and is joined by Zahir who is the illegitimate prince who has turned to forbidden magic in order to save those he loves. It is pretty slow-paced book but makes up for it with the twists it throws at you in the second half of the book. I rated this one 3.5 Crowns. 




The fourth, fifth and sixth books I read were the three books in the And I Darken series by Kiersten White. I binge-read this entire series and while I do not recommend this as the way to read this series, I still ended up enjoying them for the most part. This is a Vlad the Impaler gender-bent retelling. My favorite part of the series was probably the characters and I enjoyed seeing their relationships with each other as well as their character development over the entire series. I rated And I Darken: 4 Crowns, Now I Rise: 4 Crowns and Bright We Burn: 3.5 Crowns. 




The seventh book I read was Black Canary Breaking Silence by Alexandra Monir. This is a novel based on the character Black Canary aka Dinah Lance from DC Comics. Unfortunately I didn't love this one, as I thought despite knowing the characters their development felt really rushed. However, I thought the overall storyline was really cool. I rated it 3 Crowns.

The eighth book I read was Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. This is the first book in The Infernal Devices which is a prequel series to The Mortal Instruments. People have been telling me to read this series for awhile and I am glad I finally started it. I really loved all the characters and getting to learn about some of the families I already knew about from the first few books of The Mortal Instruments series. I rated this one 4.5 Crowns. 

The ninth and last book I read this month was Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. This is the second book in The Infernal Devices trilogy and I loved this one even more than the first book. I loved seeing the characters develop and their relationships with each other progress. I rated this one 5 Crowns. 


AUDIOBOOKS READ

NONE

ARC'S READ

NONE

REVIEWS IN JUNE: 

NONE

WEEKLY WRAP-UP:

NONE

DISCUSSIONS/OTHER:

NONE


FAVORITE COVER OF THE MONTH:


NEW FICTIONAL BAE'S: 

Lucien from Find Me Their Bones by Sara Wolf

Jem from Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

NEW FAVORITE FEMALES: 

Zera from Find Me Their Bones by Sara Wolf

Arwa from Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri

Tessa from Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare


NEW FAVORITE BOOK RELATIONSHIPS: 

Lucien and Zera from Find Me Their Bones by Sara Wolf


TV SHOWS I WATCHED THIS MONTH:





MOVIES I WATCHED THIS MONTH:

NONE


WHAT BOOKS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:




There's so many more but these are the main ones! 


NEW BLOG FINDS

NONE


SONGS ON REPEAT

Good 4 U - Olivia Rodrigo 

Brutal - Olivia Rodrigo 

Mr. Perfectly Fine - Taylor Swift

Trouble - Valerie Broussard 

Your Hands - GRAE

Dead in the Water - SPELLES

Follow the White Rabbit - Madison Beer 

Maneater - Nelly Furtado 

Poor Marionette - Sarah Cothran 



 BOOKS I WANT TO READ NEXT MONTH

 



The graphics at the top belong to me. The background pictures for them, however do not.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong Book Review

 This is a spoiler free review.





These Violent Delights
Written by Chloe Gong
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Retelling
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: November 17, 2020
Pages: 449
Source: Bought
Places to Get this Book: Amazon Barnes and Noble Book Depository

Recommended Age: 13 and up!


Summary:

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.


(Summary from Goodreads)

Review:

"The year is 1926 and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery."

These Violent Delights is the debut book of Chloe Gong, which is a YA retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai with rivaling gangs and a river monster. So far, this was one of my favorite books of the year.

COVER

The cover definitely accurately portrays the overall vibe of the book. I love how the roses cover the sword which are a nod to the classic Romeo and Juliet story.

WORLD-BUILDING

Chloe Gong managed to make the world of Shanghai in the 1920s a really immersive experience that I felt as if I could see myself walking along the streets alongside the characters. The city of Shanghai is unofficially divided into two territories. One of which belongs to the Scarlet Gang and the other belongs to the White Flowers. These two rival gangs have been ruling Shanghai, however, a madness is now spreading throughout the city with members of both gangs dying by clawing out their own throats. These Violent Delights also commented on and portrayed Western imperialism. Chloe Gong showed the various foreigners coming into Shanghai and making a home in a city that was not theirs, and showed how helpless the Chinese people felt. It also showed how embedded Western culture was in the city of Shanghai, as well as other cities and places not in the Western world.

Then there are the characters. (This book is told in three POVs)

JULIETTE CAI

Juliette Cai was a strong character who immediately became my favorite character. She was the badass, fierce, take no prisoners character of the book and was not afraid to do what she had to do to protect her people and her family. She frequently questions and struggles with her identity as she was sent to live and grow up in the U.S. for a large part of her life which makes her feel out of place in Shanghai. She is far more Chinese than the white foreigners around her, however, she feels out of place with her gang and her family due to the way she dresses, the way she speaks, and even her own name which she changed in the U.S. because she was made fun of for her Chinese name.

ROMA MONTAGOV

Roma Montagov is the heir to The White Flowers gang who are Russian, however he doesn't like violence and isn't sure he wants to be the heir to the gang. He appeared to be rough and ruthless however, that seemed to be a mask he put on in order to assume the role as heir to gang. He also was caring and tender to the people he loves.

FRIENDSHIP/FAMILY

The families in this book are the rival gangs which are definitely important to the book. The complications of these families is showcased pretty front and center. The loyalty to your gang/family and how it is challenged by who you dare to love was a large theme in the story.

PLOT

These Violent Delights is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai with two rival gangs: The White Flowers and The Scarlet Gang. When a monster which is lurking in Shanghai causes multiple people to get sick and tear out their own throats, Juliette (the heir to The Scarlet Gang) while Roma (the heir to The White Flowers gang), have to put aside their rivalry in order to figure out what's going on and stop it. While the plot wasn't fast-paced the entire way through, it had many twists and turns that kept my interest throughout.

ROMANCE

Despite this being a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, the romance in this is very different. I know there are quite a few people who didn't enjoy the romance between Roma and Juliette however, I enjoyed it, but I do wish that we had gotten flashbacks. Roma and Juliette's romantic history was referenced a lot but there were never any real flashbacks which would have provided a lot more context. Roma and Juliette come from two rival gangs however they also seemed to be childhood best-friends before they were anything romantic. However, before Juliette went to the U.S. they had an extreme falling out having to do with their families, which leads us to their relationship now. Their relationship was full of a lot of angst and was a definite enemies to lovers relationship.

WRITING

Chloe Gong's writing really brings 1920s Shanghai to life. She makes it seem as if the reader is walking down the streets or sitting in a crowded nightclub with Juliette and Roma. I love the descriptive writing she uses as it flows easily and keeps the reader immersed but isn't overly flowery so it isn't hard to get through.

FINAL THOUGHTS

These Violent Delights is an amazing book about rival gangs in Shanghai who's heirs have to put aside their differences in order to solve a mystery of a monster roaming the streets. I especially loved the plot, the writing style and the complex characters. I highly recommend it.

Quotes from the Book:

"That is what this city is. The party at the end of the world." 

"The stars incline us, they do not bind us." 

"I was raised in hatred, Roma. I could never be your lover, only your killer." 






My Rating: 5 out of 5 Crowns

Friday, 1 January 2021

DECEMBER '20 WRAP-UP

 



Time for another wrap up!

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to a better year than 2020! 

December was a pretty slow reading month for me. I managed to read five books this month, and some of them were books that I've been wanting to read for awhile. 

Time to talk about the books I read this month.


PHYSICAL BOOKS

 



The first book I read was Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco. This was a new release for 2020 and it was one that I was really excited about. This is about Emilia and her twin sister who are witches who hide their powers from the world who would hunt them if they knew. One day Emilia's sister doesn't come home and Emilia goes out to look for her and finds her dead. Emilia swears revenge on whoever killed her sister and ends up getting tangled up in plots with people she really needs to be careful around. I don't want to spoil anything so that is all I'll say about the book but I ended up really enjoying it! I love the characters and I thought the storyline was really interesting and fast-paced. I rated it 5 Crowns. 

The second book I read was One of Us is Next by Karen McManus  This was the sequel/companion novel to One of Us is Lying. I can't say too much without spoiling the first book however, this was a lot slower paced and I found myself confusing a lot of the characters. I ended up rating this one 3 Crowns. 

The third book I read was Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi. This is the sequel to Furthermore and follows a girl named Laylee who is a mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, where she has to wash the bodies of the dead and prepare their souls for the afterlife. But when two familiar strangers appear, Laylee's world is turned upside down. Whichwood has much darker themes than Furthermore but the theme of friendship was what tied the entire book together. I ended up rating it 4 Crowns.




The fourth book I read was The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. This is the prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy and I must admit that I was a little concerned going into this but it ended up being such a good book. I loved how we got to learn a lot more about Panem and the world. It was also interesting to find connections between people and things in this book with people and things in The Hunger Games. I rated it 4 Crowns.

The fifth book I read was The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. This was the last book that I read in 2020 and it was a heavy one (and I don't just mean the length). Before going into this one, you should definitely check out the trigger warnings and just be mindful of those. This is about Rin who aces the Keju which is an Empire-wide test designed to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies. Rin is a war orphan from a small Province and it is a surprise to everyone when she aces the Keju and gets into the most elite military school. However, being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is hard at an elite school and when she discovers she has shamanic powers, everything changes. I really enjoyed this one even though it was dark and I ended up rating it 4 Crowns. 


AUDIOBOOKS READ

NONE

ARC'S READ

NONE

REVIEWS IN JUNE: 

NONE

WEEKLY WRAP-UP:

NONE

DISCUSSIONS/OTHER:



FAVORITE COVER OF THE MONTH:


NEW FICTIONAL BAE'S: 

Wrath from Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

NEW FAVORITE FEMALES: 

Emilia from Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco 

Lucy Gray from The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Rin from The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang 


NEW FAVORITE BOOK RELATIONSHIPS: 

Emilia and Wrath from Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco 


TV SHOWS I WATCHED THIS MONTH:

NONE


MOVIES I WATCHED THIS MONTH:




WHAT BOOKS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:





There's so many more but these are the main ones! 


NEW BLOG FINDS

NONE


SONGS ON REPEAT

Christmas Playlist 

Christmas Tree Farm - Taylor Swift 

No Body, No Crime - Taylor Swift 

Flying Solo - JATP

Now or Never - JATP

Night Crawling - Miley Cyrus

Savages - MARINA

Teeth - 5SOS

All the Things She Said - Poppy 

She's So Gone - Naomi Scott 

Haunted - Taylor Swift 


 BOOKS I WANT TO READ NEXT MONTH



The graphics at the top belong to me. The background pictures for them, however do not.