Tuesday, April 17, 2018

[Review] Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Series: The Ash Princess Trilogy #1
Rating: 4 stars

Release Date: April 24th 2018

Goodreads Synopsis:
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess--a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.
For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She's endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.
Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield.
For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Deliciously brutal and compelling.

I like heroines with conviction. They set out on something, they get it done. Thora/Theodosia has been a captive to the Kalovaxians for ten years, after they took over her country of Astrea and imprisoned her people. After the capture and execution of one of the last Guardians, someone very dear to her heart, she decides enough is enough and she must end the reign of the Kaiser by getting close to his son, Prinz Soren.

Monday, April 16, 2018

[Review] American Panda by Gloria Chao

American Panda by Gloria Chao

Rating: 5 stars

Format: ARC
Release Date: February 16th 2018

Goodreads Synopsis:
At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.
With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth--that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.
But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?
I received this ARC from Miss Print's (Emma) ARC Adoption over here! Thank you Emma!

The moment I saw the premise for American Panda, I knew I had to read it. Why? Because it hits at my very soul. So this review will be more personal than I usual am with reviews.

Mei's going through something that many immigrant children have to deal with - juggling both fulfilling her parents' wishes after all their hard work and also trying to figure out her own dreams. For Mei, she has already been told that she must be a doctor, even though she hates germs and would rather teach and practice dance. She hides this from her parents and the rest of her family, who have brought her up in a closeted and sheltered lifestyle. Because her brother Xing has been disowned for falling in love with what her family considers is 'the wrong girl', Mei is the remaining hope for her family.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

[Review] Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Series: Dread Nation #1
Rating: 4 stars

Format: ARC 
Release Date: April 3rd 2018

Goodreads Synopsis:
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.
But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

Alternate history post-Civil War with zombies! Reading this definitely gave me Django Unchained vibes.

We start of with Jane McKeene, who attends Miss Preston's School of Combat, a school for African American girls that not only teaches manners, but how to fight the shamblers, who have risen from the dead and are threatening the very fragile America. Jane and her rival (and eventual friend) Katherine, hope to rise through the ranks of Miss Preston's to become Attendants, who protect the rich white societal ladies of the late 18th century.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

[Review] Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Rating: 4 stars

Format: ARC
Release Date: March 20th 2018

Goodreads Synopsis:
After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah--blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish--finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can't attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she's ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined.
"Never lie when you can tell the truth. Lies have to be worked out in advance or they will tie you up and eat you."
A dark spy-historical fiction set in Nazi Germany. Sarah passes off as part of the so-called perfect Aryans in Germany - blonde and blue eyed. However, she's seen her fair brutality, gruesomeness, and suffering, all because she is Jewish. Turns out, Sarah is smarter than she looks, and she ends up working with Captain Jeremy Floyd, a spy for the British, and infiltrates an all-girls Germany school as Ursula Haller, to befriend the daughter of a scientist, in order to steal back top-secret intel.

Monday, March 12, 2018

[Review] Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Series: Legacy of Orisha #1
Rating: 4 stars

Release Date: March 6th 2018
Format: ARC

Goodreads Synopsis:
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

This monster of a book is around 600 pages so I initially thought this would take me ages to read. Turns out, it only took me two-three days to zip by this one. Children of Blood and Bone was a quick-paced, action-packed adventure that reminded me heavily of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy. There was never a dull moment.