Book Review: Dreadnought

Rating: ★★★★☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

In a world where superheroes and villains are a regular occurrence, Danny finds herself being the passed the power of Dreadnought when he falls out of the sky and dies right in front of her. The side effects of this transform Danny’s body into what she thought it should be. To Danny, she now looks like the girl she knows she is even if everyone around her says otherwise. Dreadnought is her origin story which follows her first few weeks of superhero living. While trying to juggle her new life, she’s also trying to find the old Dreadnought’s murderer, who is still threatening the streets of New Port City.

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Book Review: God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

Rating: ★★★★☆

Received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review from the author

When going on a walk with her crush, Michael, Asiya accidently stumbles across a dead body. Knowing that telling the police means revealing to her strict parents that she was with him, Michael covers for her but then goes missing himself. All the evidence points towards Michael but Asiya is sure he’s innocent and is willing to risk everything to help Michael.

This review is painful to write because I literally don’t know what else to say except that I loved this. It was such a fun read. All Asiya wants is a normal life but she’s thrust into a murder mystery and has to use her wits to navigate her way through the investigation. It was such a fun and comical read. And serious at times, especially when Asiya begins to doubt Michael’s innocence. And I really enjoyed the character of Asiya: she’s a head strong lead and her faith and determination drives her to do good, even if she shouldn’t be doing much of the things she does.

Even the attempt of bringing South Asian and Muslim problems forefront was good and done so well. (Asiya and her family are Bangladeshi and anytime I see a Bangladeshi character I immediately go  (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ ) Solving a murder is hard and Asiya struggles with it a lot, especially since she doesn’t want to disappoint her family so she has to work around her family and community. She mentions the inconsistency of her community that allows boys more freedom and their gossiping nature that spreads like wildfire. I hope in the sequel we see Asiya use that to her advantage, like asking her brother to help and do something that she would’ve been easily caught doing but not him.

God Smites is an enjoyable book. I turned every page and I immediately was like “this is so me!” I kind of related more to her younger brother: he just wants to play video games and struggles to pass Maths which is literally my entire educational experience.  I’m also in love with the book’s dedication. For all the girls who were never told someone like them could, not even in booksWith God Smites, I get to read about a Muslim girl go through daily life that’s similar to my own, where I can see myself in her actions and that’s my favourite part of this book. It’s such a real book which portrays such real characters without being stereotypical. Sure, her mother is very strict and her father too, but we also get to see them protect and try to understand Asiya. Their family dynamic was so relatable and funny. They all get frustrated and argue with each other but in the end, they do come together as a family. And that ending, guys, my jaw dropped. It ends with a big revelation and an even bigger cliffhanger. Can I have the sequel now?

I’m going to end this review with my favourite part:

He yelled a general, “Salam alaikum!” and made it halfway to the basement door before he realised something was off.

I actually had to put my Kindle down because I was laughing so much because:

  1. She’s in the middle of being interrogated and he casually walks in like this
  2. I do the same thing when I don’t know if anyone’s home 😂😂

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Book Review: The Inquisition

Rating: ★★★★☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

After spending a year in prison, 16-year-old Fletcher finally receives a trial but the outcome doesn’t appear good either way. Either he’s convicted for allegedly ordering his demon to kill Didric or they have him on treason for attacking a soldier. After a quick trial and learning a shocking secret about his past, Fletcher soon joins his old friends and enemies on a covert mission into orc territory.

I really enjoyed this one. It did take me a while to remember who was who and what had happened at the end of The Novice so it did take me a while to get into the story but once I did, it was great.

Looking back, I did prefer The Novice, plot-wise, but The Inquisition has faster action and higher stakes with a close look at the enemy Orcs. I’m quite glad the courtroom drama doesn’t drag too long in the first few chapters. It’s quite neat meaning that we learn what we have to know and then it moves on to what’s really important. I’m quite divided about this book in the sense that I enjoyed the great detail of everything as they venture on in their journey but at the same time but I also preferred the more character-driven parts where we see Fletcher interacting with his friends. This conflict for me made it feel like it as partially suffering from Second Book Syndrome just the tiniest bit. But I think I’m a bit too invested in this world and characters to care. There’s also a hint of romance that I guessed would have happened but at the same time, I was still surprised because this book never really focuses on the romance.

This fantasy world is one of my favourites –  it’s so vast and filled with so many different creatures and people. The plot itself only focuses on certain parts of it but there’s potential for the story to reach even further as this world finds itself almost on the verge of war.

The only real criticism I can really say is the sudden influx of new characters. There’s a point where there’s new people and demons alike come in, with new demons comes new demonic descriptions, so that can overwhelm some readers. But I would love to see Matharu release a handbook of some sort featuring all the demons in the series.

Overall The Inquisition is a solid sequel that builds and developed well, leaving you wanting more in the end. If you enjoyed the first book, you should definitely continue reading this series. (Also, R.I.P. me, I seriously died at that cliffhanger)


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Book Review: If I Was Your Girl

Rating: ★★★★

“I’m not brave,” I said, smiling despite myself. “Bravery implies I had a choice. I’m just me, you know?”

Amanda is the new girl in school and she’s trying to keep a big secret. Amanda is transgender and moves to Tennessee in hopes of keeping her head down and getting through high school. Soon she makes friends and meets Grant.

If I Was Your Girl was such a charming read. I really enjoyed it. The plot, characters and hilarious sense of humour just made this a really great book. I really loved how the narrative jumps between real-time events and Amanda’s childhood. It added great suspense and was equally heart-breaking. (don’t want to spoil but my heart broke at the diary scene)

I’m not a huge romance reader, which is why I put this book off for so long, and while their romance came across generic, I found it so sweet. Maybe my cynical self needed some adorable picnic dates and cute film dates. They were so lovable and dorky together that I didn’t care it cheesy. I also may or may not had become a mushy mess on the train when I read the Halloween scenes. (Spoiler: Grant goes as Boba Fett and Amanda dresses herself as Leia. IT’S SO CUTE I DIED)

What I really enjoyed was the happy ending. In our media, TV, films and novels, there are so many characters who are LGBT+ and are constantly killed off for shock factor. I know it seems like a spoiler but I do see this book advertised like this, Amanda gets a happy ending, despite everything that happens, Amanda’s happy and alive.

Overall, I admired this book. The biggest issue I could think of was pacing in certain scenes but I definitely recommend this to anyone and add this to your TBR if you haven’t! (Also, I loved the separate author’s note Russo adds at the end: one for her cis readers and one for her trans readers.)

I should note while it’s wonderful that anyone reads my reviews at all, but I should remind you if you don’t know: this is a story about a trans girl written by a trans woman and I am a cis reader. This obviously means my perspective is limited and I will point you all towards reviews written by trans writers. (edit: i thought I bookmarked them but it appears I didn’t so once I find them I’ll link them up)


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Book Review: Written in the Stars

Rating: ★★★★★

Written in the Stars is a common tale that goes unspoken. A tale that is a real life for thousands of women who find themselves facing it every day. Naila’s parents have always given her a choice but when it came to marriage, it was simple: they will choose her husband. Naila’s already fallen in love and when her parents find out, she is whisked away to Pakistan under the pretence that they are visiting family. But the truth is darker and Naila doesn’t have a say in the matter.

Written in the Stars was such an engaging and powerful read. From the very beginning to the very the end, everything goes high-speed for Naila and towards the end, you’re left thinking, will she make it?

Naila is a great protagonist. I loved her hopefulness, her love for Saif and her faith in believing she will make it back home. There are moments when you believe there’s no going back for her, but she fights back. The writing style is simple, but it works here. It was straight and simple to the point so we’re not distracted from every thing that happens to Naila. We, as the reader, are aware of her marriage from the very beginning, but to Naila, she’s completely clueless and the tension rose with ever clue that popped up, unknowingly to Naila. My favourite parts was descriptions of Pakistan an its culture. Its markets, food and the houses packed to the brim with visiting family.

However, it didn’t read perfectly polished, with some scenes happening too quickly and the ending could’ve definitely been slowed down a bit, considering what happens. But, nonetheless, this is a good book. It was intense, frightening and hopeful, all at the same time.

Also, the author’s note was perfect. Saeed mentions that forced marriages can happen anywhere, regardless of culture, country or religion. And I believe Saeed even wrote an article between the distinction between an arranged marriage and a forced one that many people aren’t aware of.


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Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway

Rating: ★★★★☆

Every Heart A Doorway has one of the best concepts ever. We all dream we can be whisked away through a wardrobe door, fall down a hole and be transported to entirely new worlds. But Every Heart is about the kids that come back, whether they want to or not. Here come Eleanor West’s Home For Wayward Children where desperate parents send their children who they want back to ‘normal’. But Eleanor is someone who has also returned and commits her life to providing a safe place for them. Tragedy strikes the day Nancy enters the home, and with her new-found friends, they try to stop it before it gets them.

For a story so short, it tackles and includes so many topics: gender issues, what we perceive as wrong or right, mental health. There are so many lyrical and poetic lines in here, it was amazing.

“Because ‘boys will be boys’ is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Lundy. “They’re too loud, on the whole, to be easily misplaced or overlooked; when they disappear from the home, parents send search parties to dredge them out of swamps and drag them away from frog ponds. It’s not innate. It’s learned. But it protects them from the doors, keeps them safe at home. Call it irony, if you like, but we spend so much time waiting for our boys to stray that they never have the opportunity. We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.

McGuire knows how to write creepy.  I went into this thinking it was like Miss Peregrine’s Home, but Every Heart is much eerier and strange. But you can’t mention this book without mentioning the diversity. It makes me so happy to see authors really understanding how important it is for our fiction to be diverse. While I was excited to see such a diversity of characters, and all of them have such well-built tales and backstories, I struggled to feel for them. I think it maybe due to its length, but this concept was way too big to fit into such a small novel. I would’ve loved to have seen more worldbuilding. The High-Logic and High Nonsense confused me at first, but it interested me. There are so many concepts that are introduced but not much of it is actually explained. But I believe the third novel will continue the events in this one, so I’m definitely excited to see what happens next!

Overall, I definitely recommend Every Heart A Doorway since it’s a strange yet entertaining read. 


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Book Review: Soundless

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Soundless takes place in a remote, closed off mountain village in ancient China, where all it’s members are deaf and receive food via a delivery in exchange for sending the metal that they’ve mined. Fei is a talented artist, who fears for her sister’s life as she slowly loses her sight. Until one day, Fei regains her hearing and joins her childhood friend on a mission down the mountain to find help.

I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed when I finished this book. I’ve only read two of Mead’s books, Vampire Academy and Frostbite, and I actually really liked them. A lot. If I can recall, it was brilliant albeit cheesy. But it had the action, drama and intensity and I was expecting all this to come in her new novel that is supposedly “steeped in Chinese folklore.” But nothing really jumps out as remotely Chinese about this story. Aside from the pixiu, you could change the names to Rose, Lissa and Dimitri and this could be set anywhere else.

I get this seems harsh, but I don’t have anything good to say about this book and that’s difficult for me, as someone tries to find redeeming qualities in even the worst books I’ve read.

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Book Review: Queen of Shadows

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

*Note: this review has big spoilers for QoS and the previous novels*

In Queen of Shadows, Celaena Sardothien embraces her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen but, in order to reclaim her throne, she must fight and confront her past.

I think I’ll start with what I did like with Queen of Shadows. First, Lysandra. She’s one of my favourite parts in this book. But Lysandra and Aelin was a great female friendship that saved the book for me. Maas could’ve easily made them be so petty towards each other but they both realise they’re much stronger together than they are against. I was overjoyed once they started working together against Arobynn Hammell. (I know it has been a couple of books now, but I’m still bitter over Nehemia and everything that could’ve been.)

Secondly, the improvement in Maas’s writing. She had developed really well throughout the series. There’s a lot I hate about this series but she can write really well. She’s grown as a writer but it’s a shame that I didn’t like this series as much as I could.

However, during the first half of this book, aside from Aelin’s scenes, it felt like a repeat of Crown of Midnight. I was bored and detached from the story. Here I was thinking maybe it was time to ditch the series all for good. But I’m so thankfully that it does pick up towards the end and the series has finally reached the point I’ve been waiting for: Aelin’s return to Terrasen. Empire of Storms better not disappoint, I’ve been waiting for her return for ages!

In my last review of the series, I said I was #TeamDorian but I’ve realised that I’m now #TeamDorianandChaolBOTHDESERVED BETTER. The romance in this series has seriously gone downhill, for me. While I found Celaena/Chaol cute, I wasn’t heavily invested in them so when Aelin/Rowan happened, I wouldn’t have cared as much if Maas hadn’t changed Chaol so much so that Aelin/Rowan could happen. Rowan is interesting but I hated that Chaol had to suffer in terms of his development to benefit Rowan and Aelin. I take back when I said Chaol needs to trust Celaena once I realised how much Maas structured it so Chaol looked bad. (using Nehemia, blaming everything on him, working for the King yet never killing him) In blaming Chaol for a lot of things that were out of this control, Celaena came across as a hypocrite. It’s also painfully obvious that Nesryn Faliq was introduced to soften the blow for Chaol fans and so Chaol doesn’t end up alone.

Overall, I would say Queen of Shadows was okay. I could’ve rated this more, but so much of it felt unnecessary and the only part I did enjoy was the ending. While I think nothing in this series will be as great as Crown of Midnight, I’m much more compelled to see this series to its end.


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Book Review: Initiate

review_initiate

Rating: ★★★☆☆

* I received a proof of this book from the publisher. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

Initiate is set in a world where humanity has retreated below the ice sheets of Antarctica as the land above is completely inhabitable. Riga Garrison is a mere member of this restricted society until she sees a whale. An animal once thought to be extinct. She begins to question the very institute that controls her life and realises that everything isn’t as it seems.

I think a tricky thing is with books with these hidden societies underground is that there’s so many of them. You’d have to sift through a lot to get to the ones you’ll truly enjoy. I’m not saying Initiate is a bad book. I actually quite liked this. The premise of this story reminds me of our current environmental situation, a bit of a cautionary tale, it would seem to us.

“We were the people who had polluted our own planet so much through our persistent, never-satiated greed that we had caused irreversible and extensive damage to our planet’s climate through global warming. We were the people who had allowed our own waste emissions to consume us, to poison the very air we breathed and the water we drank until we had to build bigger machines to purify the water needed by an out-of control world population hungry for an ever-increasing demand of clean water, energy, and fuel. We were the people who had had decades of research to warn us of environmental collapse, yet who ignored it in the noisy distraction of political bargaining..”

Initiate is quite inventive in the world it’s created in. While I thought it was very stereotypical at first, it had my interest, especially when Rigs encounters the whale which triggers off a reaction she could’ve never expected. She finds herself on the run and having to a make a life-changing decision which could change everything. She handles things quite maturely and her development was enjoyable.

Her love interest is … okay, I guess. While I never found myself swooning over them, they made sense to be together but I think it would’ve worked much better if they were already together before the start of the novel.

When the big plot twist and secret is revealed about the world above I was very confused. I think it may be due to the fact I had a very different impression of how this book was going to go because it’s a complete 180 to what I had expected. And I think because of that, I’m quite intrigued with how this story will carry on.  Because I actually have no idea what to expect!

The biggest issue I had was pacing. I think the events happened quite quickly which meant there wasn’t much suspense, in my opinion. And there could’ve been better development of what the Initiate actually is because they didn’t really come across as threatening as they could’ve been.

Overall, as I said before, Initiate is imaginative and in a world which has captured my attention. Around 3/4 of the way, my interest did drop but the ending and the preview of Book Two has certainly made me want to keep track of this series.


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Book Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)

review_crownofmidnight

Rating: ★★★★☆

Oh wow, I don’t even know where to start. I think I enjoyed Crown of Midnight more than I did Throne of Glass. There was just so much more of everything. More drama, more action, more complication and the best part for me, no more love triangle! (My soul weeped with happiness when I realised it was no longer there) Consider me impressed, is it possible to enjoy a sequel so much, that you feel the first should be rewritten to be considered even as great as this one?

Crown of Midnight takes a huge step, jump seems more fitting, away from the plain drama and unnecessary romance. I had a feeling that the whole competition to be the King’s Champion ends up being less significant in regards to the entire plot. Maas opens the story to a bigger, badder and bloodier book, now that we start the book with a blank slate. All the mysteries and trouble evolves into something even worse than a competition and I still can’t believe how much better this was than book one. I finally understood Celaena as an assassin.

The characters are just so much better in this book. While Celaena did irritate me in certain moments, she was still a good character. Dorian, my precious, favourite character, emerges stronger and better with his own secrets and his importance becomes so apparent and so exciting. Chaol, in my opinion, needs to take a damn break and learn to trust Celaena. #TeamDorian here in case you didn’t know.

However, I do believe Maas tends to treat Celaena the Assassin as an idea and makes her more Celaena the Private Investigator. She acts a bit too foolishly sometimes for me to take her assassin title seriously. Overall, Crown of Midnight was a still wild ride. A fast-paced journey that sees Celaena reaching her breaking point and we start to get a glimpse of just how big Maas is making this story.


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