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Scythe by Neal Schusterman

Title:Scythe
Author: Neal Schusterman
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Content Warning: Character Deaths, Violence

Amazon • Book Depository • Barnes & Noble

dashdivide“Without the threat of suffering, we can’t experience true joy.”

I’ve been eyeing this book for months but was finally convinced to pick up the audio book during the last Audible sale because I really liked the narrator’s voice. It was a fun read that urges you to think, but it never completely hit the mark for me.

In the world of Scythe, all of the world’s problems have been solved. Death isn’t permanent; aging can be undone; and poverty, sickness, and pain have been managed to the point of near extinction all thanks to the Thunderhead, an upgrade to the modern day Cloud. However, because the world’s problems have been solved, scythes are trained then chosen to permanently kill off people to reduce over population.

For the first time in the history of the scythdom, a Scythe has chosen two apprentices. Citra is protective, and strong-willed while Rowan is unsure but compassionate. During their apprenticeship they learn everything from how to unbiasedly choose their target to how to use a collection of weapons.

Like I said before, I had a lot of fun reading this. I loved learning about a world so far into the future that every problem seemed to be fixed, and I found it funny whenever someone couldn’t understand a mortal age (present day) concept. Unfortunately I also felt like there were a lot of worldly issues the author wanted to comment on, but he never fully explored each topic because it’s difficult to flesh out a perfect world. Something can always be improved. For example, you can tell which characters are “good” and “bad” but how can someone be better than someone else in a perfect world?

Speaking of good and bad, I also felt the world was too black and white. Again, you can tell which characters were the good guys and which characters were the bad guys. There was no in between. One was right and one was wrong, and there was nothing to suggest that there was more to them. Maybe they will be expanded on in the next books, but for now I feel like there was a missed opportunity.

Though I’m giving this 3.5 stars, I’m still going to continue on with the audio books. It’s such a good production and a quick listen!

3.5stars
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July Book Haul

Hey everyone!

Today I present to you my July book haul. 12 physical books doesn’t seem that much to me, but I found out working at a library auto approves you for some eARC’s and I went a little download happy… Hope you enjoy!

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Traditional_Bookstores 

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Heartstopper: Volume 2 by Alice Oseman
Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
Jade War by Fonda Lee ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Use Bookstores
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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Red Knight by Miles Cameron
The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron
The Dreadwyrm by Miles Cameron

Twitter Purchases
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The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

ARC Trades
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Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger
Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart
War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

NetGalley

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker
Crochet Cute Critters by Sarah Zimmerman
Fortuna Sworn y K.J. Sutton
Unverified by Kristin Giese

Edelweiss

Handle with Care by Helena Hunting
Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and More Prehistoric Amigurumi edited by Joke Vermeiren
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Shadow Frost by Coco Ma
A Thousand Fires by Shannon Price
The King’s Questioner by Nikki Katz
Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers
Diamond City by Francesca Flores
The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
If You Only Knew by Prerna Pickett
Glitch Kingdom by Sheena Boekweg
The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

dividerHave you read any of these? Did you love or hate it? Is there anything you think I should read ASAP? I’d love to hear from you!

Cya! ^^

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Top 10 Tuesday: Auto-Buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl. Hop on over to their page and show them some love!

Hey everyone! I’ve always wanted to join Top Ten Tuesday but didn’t think I would be able to come up with a list of 10 things for each prompt. This time around I’ve decided if that happens I’ll just have a shorter list than everyone lol.

This week’s prompt is auto-buy authors, and I somehow managed to come up with 10 of them. This wasn’t the easiest list because there are some authors who have some works I’ve adored but also have other titles I’m not interested in.  For example, Catherynne M. Valente and Leigh Bardugo have written some of my favorite books but, unfortunately, they didn’t make my list. 

But here are the authors who did.

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N.K. Jemisin


Fonda Lee

Notable Works:
Jade City
Jade War


Marissa Meyer


Rin Chupeco


Brandon Sanderson


Christina Lauren


Angie Thomas


Claire Legrand


Laini Taylor


Alexandra Christo 

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Have you read any of these authors’ works? Did you love them? Hate them? Let me know in the comments! Until next time!

Cya! ^^

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The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang [REVIEW]

poppy_warTitle: The Poppy War

Author: R. F. Kuang

Published by: Harper Voyager

Genre: Asian, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Content Warning: Rape, death of children, substance abuse, death, graphic war scenes

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“We aren’t here to be sophisticated. We’re here to fuck people up.”

Note: This review was written a year before posted but all opinions are still the same.

This was exactly what I needed after not completely enjoying what I’d been picking up for the previous two months. If I rated this purely on enjoyment, I would have given it 5 stars. The writing was accessible and fast-paced, the dialogue was witty and often times hilarious, and the action was flashy and exciting. Unfortunately, there were a couple of problems I couldn’t get over.

The Poppy War is an Asian inspired military fantasy that is basically 2 books in 1. First, it’s about Rin who works hard to make it into Sinegard, the most prestigious military academy in Nikan. Because she is a dark-skinned war orphan, she is not welcomed at the academy which is full of rich heirs and high ranking military officers. Rin’s experience at the academy is my favorite part of the book. When I think of the military academy, I think of Hogwarts but darker and military focused rather than magic focused. Each class is run by an expert in a subject of war. There is strategy, lore, martial arts, and more. The purpose of each first-year student is to learn and study hard for the end of the year exam and martial arts tournament. Marks on the exam are the basis in which each teacher will send invitations to join as their scribe. First years who don’t get a bid are kicked out of the academy. During this time, Rin is hardworking, tough, and sometimes unlikable. This is understandable since the cards are against her and her lowly beginnings. Her biggest rival is Nezha a fierce martial artist and the heir to the Dragon clan. She does, however, becomes friends with Kitay an aspiring military strategist.

In the second half of the book, Rin is stationed to a special military unit called the Cike. This half feels completely different from the first half in that it is more magical and darker. Members of the Cike are able to harness the power of the gods by consuming their choice of drugs, and because it is now set during wartime, we witness the many brutal horrors of war. We are also introduced to new characters and new sides of characters we already know.

Again, I am definitely a fan. It was exactly was I was craving, but like I said, there were issues that I couldn’t get over. First, the book needed to be longer. One of the major themes of The Poppy War is propriety versus reality. For example, in the first half of the book, students are made to learn and question strategic military decisions and outcomes made in past wars. The public was made to think one way, but the students learned the harsh realities.

I think the differences between the first and second half are meant to show this theme and to make readers question and challenge their world views. I think the first half shows the propriety and the second half shows the gritty reality; however, the end of the second half felt rushed so I didn’t buy the reasoning behind certain characters’ actions. Some characters’ storylines needed to be developed more, and that could have taken at least another 100 pages.

My other complaint again takes place in the second half. Whereas Rin’s trials and adventures were at the forefront in the first half of the book, the consequences of her time at Sinegard lead to the second half focusing less on her. She was still the main point of view but it felt a lot like a Great Gatsby situation where the narrator was a spectator for another character. Unfortunately, this didn’t work here because Rin was supposed to be a part of her group’s trials. Because of her failures, it felt like Rin didn’t need to be in the Cike’s group at all.

All in all, I liked this book, I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, but there is definitely room for improvement.

3.5stars

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The Devil You Know by K. J. Parker

devil_you_knowTitle: The Devil You Know

Author: K. J. Parker

Published by: tor.com on March 1, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Novella, Supernatural

Synopsis: The greatest philosopher of all time is offering to sell his soul to the Devil. All he wants is twenty more years to complete his life’s work. After that, he really doesn’t care.

But the assistant demon assigned to the case has his suspicions, because the philosopher is Saloninus – the greatest philosopher, yes, but also the greatest liar, trickster and cheat the world has yet known; the sort of man even the Father of Lies can’t trust.

He’s almost certainly up to something; but what?

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The thing about me that seems to puzzle people the most – people who know me, who believe what I tell them – is that I can write the most profound things without actually meaning them. I can persuade people of things I don’t believe myself, or (more usually) simply don’t care about.

In The Devil You Know, the smartest man on earth sells his soul to the devil to finish his life’s work. If you’re thinking that this is another tale about how making deals with the devil is never a good idea, all I have to say is don’t count this guy out!

There are only two characters in this story: the devil and the smartest man on earth. Here, the devil isn’t your typical evil being. He is actually kind of a decent guy who likes tea and classical music. Hell is set up as a bureaucracy, and the devil is just an agent doing his job. He also likes reading works of philosophy and is a big fan of Saloninus who happens to be his latest client.

If anyone is evil it’s Saloninus, but I’m not even sure you can completely call him evil. He is a philosopher and scholar who comes off as egotistical because he knows he is the smartest man alive (and probably ever). Saloninus is trying to understand immortality and alchemy, two constructs the other-worldly beings don’t want mankind to know about.

The whole plot of the story is Saloninus throwing the devil off and stringing him along as he works on his life work while the devil tries his best to be accommodating. The devil is supposed to give Saloninus whatever he wants until he dies. I think the devil and Saloninus’ relationship shows that nothing is inherently evil. Systems can be manipulated to do evil things. I actually felt sympathy for the devil who was just trying to do his job.

4stars

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Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos

31123268Title: Fat Girl on a Plane

Author: Kelly deVos

Published by: Harlequin Teen on June 5, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Content Warning: Fat shaming, sexual assault

Synopsis: FAT. 

High school senior Cookie Vonn’s post-graduation dreams include getting out of Phoenix, attending Parsons and becoming the next great fashion designer. But in the world of fashion, being fat is a cardinal sin. It doesn’t help that she’s constantly compared to her supermodel mother—and named after a dessert. 

Thanks to her job at a fashion blog, Cookie scores a trip to New York to pitch her portfolio and appeal for a scholarship, but her plans are put on standby when she’s declared too fat to fly. Forced to turn to her BFF for cash, Cookie buys a second seat on the plane. She arrives in the city to find that she’s been replaced by the boss’s daughter, a girl who’s everything she’s not—ultrathin and superrich. Bowing to society’s pressure, she vows to lose weight, get out of the friend zone with her crush, and put her life on track. 

SKINNY. 

Cookie expected sunshine and rainbows, but nothing about her new life is turning out like she planned. When the fashion designer of the moment offers her what she’s always wanted—an opportunity to live and study in New York—she finds herself in a world full of people more interested in putting women down than dressing them up. Her designs make waves, but her real dream of creating great clothes for people of all sizes seems to grow more distant by the day. 

Will she realize that she’s always had the power to make her own dreams come true?

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Your body is no one’s business but your own. We are more than just our bodies. We are the sum of our abilities and accomplishments and hopes and dreams and friendships and relationships. It’s what we are inside that matters.

You would think with a quote like that, there’d be a ton of plus-size body positivity, but I have never been angrier while reading a book in my life. I don’t know how many times I cursed (in my head or quietly to myself…) the characters out, rolled my eyes, or furiously scribbled down pissed off notes while reading. I hardly liked any characters, hated most of their decisions, and found so many aspects extremely problematic. At first I was hell-bent on giving this book 1 star, then I bumped it up to 2 stars because for some reason I was still able to make it until the end. But then, as I laid in bed a little more calm but still sooo very angry, I thought I would give this 5 stars. Because the thing is, everything in Fat Girl on a Plane is on point, and I wonder if I hated it that much because it hit so close to home. I ended up giving this 3.5 stars because even though I’ll never say this is my favorite read, I without a doubt think it’s an important read.

Fat Girl on a Plane is an own voice novel about Cookie, a plus-sized aspiring fashion designer. The narrative is told in 2 timelines: when Cookie is fat and when Cookie is skinny. While Cookie is fat, she blogs for school under a spoiled brat who constantly fat shames her, and while Cookie is skinny, she’s made it into fashion design school and is on her way to fulfilling her dreams. I think this narrative choice is clever because as a plus-sized woman myself, personally I often think, “Well, when I’m skinny I can…”

Again, this is not a fluffy read. This is a make-you-feel-uncomfortable-and-pissed-off-for-a-purpose read. There are so many problematic and depressing aspects to this story, and if I didn’t read this on my phone I would have thrown it across the room over and over again.

First, Cookie has so many unhealthy relationships. She has a best friend who is “always there” but is constantly making up excuses for why the girl he’s interested in treats Cookie horribly. Then she has a super model for a mother who people always compare her to and who believes Cookie is a waste of space. And finally Cookie has a fashion icon for a boyfriend who fat shames a girl when they first meet, takes Cookie away from school to work and have sex with during the school year, refuses to put any kind of label on their relationship, and is at least twice her age. To be honest, I think age is nothing but a number, but the guy refers to himself as her “uncle” so in this case the guy is an authoritative figure having sex with someone with less power.

Next, Cookie has so many problematic thoughts and habits. She eats hardly anything to stay skinny, she believes no one would want to sexually harass her when she’s fat, she believes dating attractive jerks isn’t settling for fat women, and so much more along those lines.

But the thing is, speaking from my own experiences (doesn’t mean it’s everyone else’s!), everything that happens to Cookie and everything she thinks about, no matter how problematic they seem, are some of the most personal feelings, thoughts, and insecurities a person can ever feel. These are the insecurities that people push away and never talk about because of the shame these feelings bring about. It’s difficult to admit that you think so low of yourself that someone wouldn’t want to touch you. No one wants to talk about how they know it’s not okay, but dating an attractive jerk makes them feel like they’re more attractive than they feel they actually are. No one wants to talk about how they feel like they have to be more amazing than everyone else so that others see more than just the fat.

So again, I rated this book higher but not because of my personal enjoyment. I think this is such an important and eye-opening read. I just think I’ve been triggered way more than I thought I would be because talk about putting your deepest, darkest thoughts and insecurities on display lol.

3.5stars

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I received an ARC from the publisher, Harlequin Teen, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Quotes were taken from an unfinished proof copy and may not be the same in the finished work.

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July and August Book Haul

Hey Everyone!

I hauled some books in July and August. A lot of books. I went to Worldcon and… I really have no other excuse, and I am totally okay with that.

So, yea, have fun looking at all the pretty new books I got haha!


JULY

Preorders:

fctrade

Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga
Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Half Price Books:

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A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

ARC Trades:

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The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
Mirage by Somaiya Daud
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

Netgalley and Edelweiss:

Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos  (RTC)
The Raging Ones by Krista and Becca Ritchie
City of Lies by Sam Hawke (DNF at 34%)
The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

AUGUST

Online:

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Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb
Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier
A Hero Born by Jin Yong

Book Outlet:

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Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
River Secrets by Shannon Hale
Forest Born by Shannon Hale
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
The Dwarves by Markus Heitz
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
Ruin by John Gynne
The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier

Trades and Giveaways:

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
[ARC] The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

Worldcon- Hardcovers

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Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams
The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
To Light a Candle by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
When Darkness Falls by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Worldcon- Paperbacks

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Risuko by David Kudler
Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle
[ARC] In An Absent Dream by Seanan Mcguire

Worldcon- Signed

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River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Worldcon- Haikasoru

haikasoru

Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara
The Melancholy of Mechgirl by Catherynne M. Valente
All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
Ico: Castle in the Mist by Miyuki Miyabe
Goth by Otsuichi

 

obeliskgatesubterranean

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin


See anything interesting? Hope you enjoy!

Cya! ^^

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