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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

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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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Jade War by Fonda Lee – Green as F*ck

Content Warning: Violence, Torture, Abortion, Death, Substance Abuse

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“The clan is my blood and the pillar is its master.”

Note: This review contains major spoilers for Jade City and possible minor spoilers for Jade War.

Jade War review take 2!

Since I started blogging and “seriously” reviewing again, the one book I wish I already had a review for was Jade City. I obsessively flew through it in 2 days while on vacation and finished it in pure awe wondering when I would ever feel like that after finishing a book ever again. I love world building, and I love good characterization; and in Jade City, the world was its own character and the characters felt like people I actually know. Because I don’t want to make this review too long, I will be focusing mainly on the characters. However, Jade War expanded on everything done right in the first installment, and The Green Bone Saga is now easily one of my favorite series of all time.

Jade War takes place 16 months after the events of Jade City. No Peak and the Mountain are at war but publicly announce a truce while there is another war going on overseas. The war affects Kekon because with SNI, Jade is no longer only used by trained Kekonese. It’s now become an even more valuable commodity to the local and international governments as well as to the black markets. In Jade War, each clan must decide where to put their Jade as smugglers and foreign governments become more desperate for it. Though a truce has been called between the clans, each plot to become more politically powerful while they simultaneously try to destroy each other from the inside.  

The times are changing in Jade War, and that goes for clan leadership as well. After his brother’s death in Jade City, Hilo has become the reluctant Pillar of No Peak. While still more military savvy, Hilo has put in a ton of effort to become a worthy leader. He still gets into more fights than a Pillar should, and while he isn’t used to the political aspects of both the clans and government, he insists on being present to learn how to maneuver his way through new territory. To me, Hilo feels like the guy who everyone thinks will do something to upset a lot people but, in the end, ends up being a pretty decent person. I think the best description of Hilo comes from his wife, Wen:

“Her husband could be short sighted and stubborn; sometimes he hung on to strict principles or personal grudges that clouded his better judgement, but he possessed the most valuable quality in any person, especially a clan leader, which was the ability to put others first, no matter the prevailing opinion of the personal cost.”

Shae’s position has changed as well. While she wanted nothing to do with her family’s clan and jade in the beginning of the first book, Shae begins Jade War as the Weatherman of No Peak. Because of the truce between the clans, Shae’s role seems more important in Jade War because the war is now behind the scenes. Shae is intelligent, forward-thinking, and open minded; and because of her time in Espenia, she is more aware of the happenings outside of Kekon. While this gives her a noticeable advantage when dealing with the leaders of Kekon, these leaders are more traditional. Because of this, Shae must decide what customs and traditions she must follow, but she must also determine what customs and traditions need to change for the sake of her clan. During the chaos, she meets and dates a professor named Maro who lives his life outside the clans and encourages Shae to see that there is life outside of No Peak as well. Through her relationship with Maro, we see how Shae struggles to figure out who she is and what she feels is or isn’t worth fighting for.

As punishment for his behavior in the last book, Anden has been exhiled to another country. Anden’s storyline expands Fonda Lee’s world by introducing us to Espenia. The whole of Espenia is nothing like Kekon. The Kekonese Espenians have a Pillar but only loosely do they follow the Green Bone hierarchy. Contrary to what Anden previously thought, Jade is used outside of Kekon. However, Green Bones keep them hidden and train in secret since jade is illegal.

One thing I noticed about the worldbuilding is it heavily draws from real world history. In fact, some histories are only different in name and length of time. With that being said, Anden migrates from the Eastern world in Kekon to the Western world in Espenia and needs to adjust as a Kekonese immigrant. His first days in Espenia, he experiences large amounts of culture shock which lead him to trouble. For example, Anden does not speak Espenian, so he has to learn to navigate around the language barrier. He also gets into a fight expecting his opponent to be honorable and is surprised and confused when his opponent isn’t.

“When there’s a problem to be solved, the Espenian tries money first, then resorts to violence. The Kekonese tries violence first, then resorts to money.”

In Espenia, Anden also meets and casually sees an Espenian Pillar’s son named Cory. Their relationship presents the difference between immigrants and the children of immigrants. While Anden studied jade, knows its dangers, and respects its essence, Cory, like others born in Espenia, sees jade as more of a novelty used mostly in casual duals. Whereas Anden is greatly affected by the events back in Kekon because his family and everything he knows is still there, Cory remains detached because he has no ties to Kekon. While Anden lives Kekon in the present, Cory sees Kekon as part of his history, a place to visit and appreciate before he goes back home to Espenia. And finally, while Anden constantly worries about Espenia, Cory remains laid back because he doesn’t understand the Kekonese situation the way Anden, someone who was born and raised there, understands it.

Aside from the main cast, Fonda Lee has written some amazing supporting characters, namely the women. Aside from Shae, there are some strong women fighting through adversity and eager to leave their mark in the world. Ayt Mada, the Pillar of the Mountain, must guide her clan through the war while facing scrutiny for not having an heir, and Wen, Hilo’s wife, must prove her worth while unable to harness the power of jade.

We are also introduced to Zapunyo and the Uwiwan Islands. Even though I said I was mostly going to stick to the characters in this review, I wanted to mention how well Fonda Lee demonstrates colonization. In one scene, we see the Espenian military demanding more jade and attempting to convince Shae to be for the moving of Espenian soldiers into Kekon land in order to protect people and win the war. Not long after, we hear that a young Kekonese girl was raped by an Espenian soldier, and the Espenians have done nothing about it. The Espenians went into Kekon under the pretense of helping, but in reality, they used the land, resources, and indigenous people for their own gain. The long term after effects are illustrated through Zapunyo and the Uwiwas. Their islands were pillaged of their resources, and they were left with remnants of their colonizers and a debt to their “saviors.”

“The Uwiwans, Hilo thought, had the cunning look of a race that knew they were dependent on the might and wealth of outsiders and hated themselves for it.”

Then there is Bero. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I can’t stand Bero, but Bero is the dregs, the lowest of the low, desperate for just a piece of power. And desperate times call for desperate measures. All the other point of views are from positions of power, and Bero is the lone man at the bottom. I still can’t stand him, but I’m eager to see the commentary on privilege and power in the next book.

Like I said before, The Green Bone Saga is now one of my favorite series of all time. I usually read fantasy for the escapism, but every once in awhile there comes a fantasy that makes you confront and ponder the real world. That is this this series for me. I am sitting here finishing this review still thinking that I am nowhere near worthy to comment on something like this, but I am happy I tried in support of Fonda Lee and her works. Needless to say, I can’t wait for the next book, and it’s going to be a long 2 years until then!

5starsdivider
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 I was fortunate enough to trade for an ARC for this review. Quotes were taken from an unfinished proof copy and may not be the same in the finished work.

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TOP 10 TUESDAY: Cover Redesigns I Love

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 know that all I’ve been posting are T10T lately, but I’ve learned that I need a lot more time to review longer adult fantasy. I have about 4 paragraphs of my Jade War review to go, but it should be up on Thursday if you’re interested!

But until then, here are my top 10 favorite cover redesigns.

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


Vicious by V.E. Schwab


A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin


Radio Silence by Alice Oseman


We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal


The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh


Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb


 Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

dividerThat’s all for now! I know some of these are just different editions or US vs. UK, but I still like one over the other lol. What’s a cover redesign or edition you love?

Cya! ^^

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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
Used_bookstore

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
twitter_trade

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
Arcs_traded

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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August TBR – The N.E.W.T.S.

The Magical Readathon is a Harry Potter themed readathon created and hosted by Book Roast. Check her fun fun channel out!

Hey everyone!

Today I’m going to be sharing with you all my TBR for the N.E.W.T.S. I failed last year, but this year I WILL become a healer! I need to read a total of 10 books, but I am determined!

Before I get into this post, most of what I list are ARC’s of books that haven’t been published yet. I am very fortunate to have parents who support my decision to pursue an MLIS and am privileged to work at a library and be able to attend full librarian conferences which allow me to obtain these ARC’s.

Now to my TBR!

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Healer Requirements
E in Charms
E in Defense Against the Dark Arts
E in Herbology
E in Potions
E in Transfiguration


Healer Prompts

Charms A: Read a book that you think has a gorgeous cover
The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang

Charms E: Read a comic/graphic novel/manga (or book under 150 pages)
Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

Defense Against the Dark Arts A: Book that’s black under the dust jacket
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Defense Against the Dark Arts E: Gilderoy’s memory charm – (grab a pen! first book that you remembered just now from your TBR!)
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

 Herbology A: Mandrake! Quick, put your headphones on! Listen to an audiobook (if not – green cover)
Stormrise  by Jillian Boehme

Herbology E: Read a book between 350-390 pages
Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell

Potions A: Pollyjuice potion: read your friend’s favorite book!
Nevernight  by Jay Kristoff

Potions E: House ingredient: book with a cover in your Hogwarts house color
American Royals by Katharine McGee

Transfiguration A: Read a book with LQBTQA+ representation
There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

Transfiguration E: Read a book that’s not a first in the series
Frankly in Love by David Yoon


Extra TBR

Handle with Care by Helena Hunting
Heartstopper: Volume Two by Alice Oseman
Fortuna Sworn by K. J. Sutton
Unverified by Kristen Giese
Well Met by Jen DeLuca

dividerAre you joining the Magical Readathon? What books are you looking forward to reading this month? I’d love to hear from you!

Cya! ^^


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July Wrap-Up

It’s that time of the month! Let’s get straight to it!

dividerTotal Books Read: 7
Total Books From Planned TBR: 7/11

I’m actually really proud of that considering I’m a huge mood reader. For some reason I want to be able to stick to TBR’s more consistently. I just think it makes for more organized content for myself later on lol. Other than that, I’ve been trying to read 10 books a month, but Jade War took up a lot of time so I’m still going to call this a win! ^^

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Books Read

 In Waves by AJ Dungo ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 
»my review« Bittersweet and informative but ultimately too simple for me. Fun fact, though! I couldn’t figure out why the author’s name sounded so familiar, and then I realized I used to play Lineage 2 with one of him and a few of his friends about 15 years ago. I checked his Facebook page to confirm, and sure enough it was him and he talked about publishing this graphic novel! Small freaking world. o.o

 Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry (arc) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 
Full review to come closer to publishing date, and I’m also still trying to process this. Orpheus Girl tells the story of two sapphic young women in conservative Texas who are caught together in a compromising position and are sent to conversion therapy camp. Major trigger warnings for homophobia, torture, depression, and suicide. Let’s just say, I am cishet, and this book physically hurt me. I gave this a 3 stars for the same reason I gave Fat Girl on a Plane 3 stars: it illustrates a cruel truth about the world yet still tells an important story.

 Stardust by Neil Gaiman ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Whenever I think of the word “whimsical” I will forever think of Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I listened to this as an audiobook because it’s narrated by Neil Gaiman and I was easily and eagerly sucked into the little town of Wall and the world beyond. The lyrical prose and Gaiman’s soft and comforting voice set the tone for a perfect fairy tale. I plan to do a mini review of this one as soon as I get to Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane.

 Jade War by Fonda Lee (arc) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Review to come because I once again deleted it with no way to get it back. -.- This was awesome!! It expanded on the world and characters of Jade City, and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book as carefully as I did this one (which is why it took forever). I have so many thoughts on this, and even though I gave it 5 stars, I don’t know if I can say it’s perfect. For now I’m settling with “clever but I’m salty” ehe…

 The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas (arc) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 
Review to come closer to publishing date! The Magnolia Sword is an #ownvoice Mulan retelling that is more historically accurate than Disney’s Mulan. I changed my rating from 5 stars to 4 stars because its length didn’t allow for chemistry to build between characters and information about the world was dumpy everywhere. However, for some reason I flew threw this in 2 days because I still thought it was an enjoyable read.

 Heartstopper by Alice Oseman ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
This was really cute, but I need to read the next installment to have a real feel for the story. Essentially, this is about two boys who become friends over rugby. One is out as gay and the other is questioning his sexuality. I have a feeling I’m going to love the series as a whole, but for now I’m going to stick with a safe 3 stars. Mini review to come along with Heartstoppers Vol. 2!

 Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
RTC! o.o Um…holy shit?? I heard this was steamy but woaaaaa was this steamy! Imagine reading this several feet away from your mother (obvs. like me). I had to leave the living room because I was scared to make embarrassing faces in front of my family. Needless to say, there were much more sexy times than I’m used to, but there was also a lot of plot, too! I had so much fun reading this and would also love recommendations for books like it… but I think I might also need Jesus >.>

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Book Reviews

 The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
 Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
 In Waves by AJ Dungo
 One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

dividerBlog Hop
Posts I loved by you! 

This pirate captain’s review of Gods of Jade and Shadow.
This adorable Pancake Book Tag and Mukbang from Elaine from Elaine Howlin
This interview with Rebecca Kuang that made me wonder how someone so young could be so talented from Petrick Leo of Novel Notions. 
This review of The Rage of Dragons that got my hype for this book from Hiu Gregg of The Fantasy Inn
This post on broken, awkward, incompetent, and mismatched heroes that made me nod in agreement over and over again from Kathy at Pages Below the Vaulted Sky
This review of Jade City that made me remember why I love the Green Bone Saga so much by Mr. Renzol

dividerWhew! Done! I’m hoping my allergies and migraines go away soon so I can get back into the swing of things, but overall, I had an enjoyable month! How was yours? Any new favorites or interesting discussion posts I should check out? Let me know!

Cya! ^^

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Top 10 Tuesday: Set-Ups I’d Like to See More Of (Or At All)

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! This week’s Top 10 Tuesday post was supposed to be settings, but I changed it to set-ups. I don’t think of settings I want to see more of that often, but I’m always daydreaming about some scenario in certain story set-ups.

I’m pretty sure if I just looked a little bit more I could actually find stories with these premises, and there are definitely titles that already come to mind. But the more the merrier, right..?

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A story featuring dragons and dragon riders from around the world

– Self-published cover of The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

A story where both players and non-players are trapped in an MMO

– Lineage 2 Lindvior raid

A retelling of Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong

-Zhang Fei, Guan Yu, and Liu Bei

Pirates battling on the high seas

– Last Battle by Reha Sakar

A romantic comedy featuring a YouTube celebrity

– YouTube beauty guru, Michelle Phan

A world where humans and dinosaurs coexist

– Dinos and Kids by James Gurney

Stories based on Filipino mythology

– Three children of Bathala and a mortal

A world at the bottom of the ocean


Civilizations in outer space

– Found in Fairest by Marissa Meyer

A retelling of the trembling of Yggdrasil

– Yggdrasil by Olga Demidova

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What are some story set-ups you’d like to see more of? Can you recommend me any books based on what I’d like to see more of? Let me know!

Cya! ^^

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