Book Review Tuesday (9/17/19)-The Demon World

Hey, everyone, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!

First off, sorry for forgoing Goodreads Monday this week. It just slipped my mind sometime in between doing math homework and creating some X-Men fan art. Oops…I promise I’ll get to it next week 😉

 

Hopefully, though, this review makes up for it. This week’s book does, anyway. I finally got my hands on the sequel to The Smoke Thieves (you can read my review of book 1 right here )!!!

And I must say, this sequel did not disappoint! The Demon World was everything that I loved about book 1, but with the volume turned up; absolutely jam-packed with plot twists, intricate writing, and characters that you root for until the very end.

Enjoy this week’s review!

 

 

The Demon World (The Smoke Thieves, #2)

 

Just days ago, Tash, Ambrose, Catherine, March, and Edyon were strangers. Now, they are all entangled in a war of epic proportions, and their lives may just be at stake. And it’s all because of a bottle of demon smoke.

The tide of war is turning, but not in these young adults’ favors; King Aloysius, Catherine’s megalomaniacal father, has discovered that demon smoke gives whoever inhales it strength beyond their wildest dreams. With enough smoke, he plans to raise an unstoppable army, with which he can claim all of his neighboring countries.

Catherine’s underground resistance is struggling to regain footing after several losses. Their desperate travels take them to the Demon World–a hellish realm where demons roam freely. If they can figure out its secrets, they may be able to end and win this war–but is it too late to stop Aloysius’ demonic hordes of men?

 

And I thought The Smoke Thieves was intense…

The Demon World is truly a masterpiece, like The Empire Strikes Back of this series. Green pulls out all the stops, amping up the tension and action just enough to be believable and glue me to my seat simultaneously. Within…oh, fifty pages in, I was crying tears of joy. By the end, the tears had…well…yeah, let’s say they were quite the opposite. In short, this made me feel all the feels. Every. Single. One of them.

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[screams into the void]

The ending left me speechless, and I kind of wanted to throw the book across the room. In a good way.

Almost.

I mean, it was a library book, I’m not that barbaric.

What I’m saying is that, unlike so many other YA novels of its kind, The Demon World is a worthy successor of the first novel, with an ending so earthshattering that the conclusion is almost guaranteed to be momentous.

 

Book 3 is, as of now, untitled, and according to Goodreads, the expected publication is sometime in 2020.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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[sigh] Well…guess I’ll just have to re-read these two books countless times before book 3 comes out…

 

Thank you so much for reading! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! 🙂

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Book Review Tuesday (9/10/19)-The Smoke Thieves

Hey, everyone, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!

 

I’m not gonna lie–I’d been meaning to read The Smoke Thieves for a while, and it was *mostly* because of that gorgeous cover.

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*ahem* Aaaaaanyway, I bought it the other day, figuring that a) it was in paperback and b) that hey–it’s been on my TBR for an embarrassing amount of time, the plot seemed decent, and…THE COVER. *swoons*

I haven’t liked a fantasy book this much since…probably since the Three Dark Crowns series. (If you want to see my review for that, click here 🙂 .) An intricate plot, lovable (for the most part) characters, and some of the best world-building I’ve seen in years, I kid you not.

 

Enjoy this week’s review!

 

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The Smoke Thieves (The Smoke Thieves, #1)

Catherine is the revered princess of Brigant, struggling with the tyrannical rule of her father and the domineering presence of her brother. What’s more, she’s getting married to a prince she knows nothing of in a matter of days.

March is a servant, weighed down with an immeasurable grief. When he was a boy, his homeland was invaded, and almost all of its inhabitants–including his entire family–are long dead. For years, he’s waited for an opportunity to exact his revenge on the killers of his people–and now, he might just have the chance.

Tash is a young demon huntress, making a living out of selling demon smoke–the refuse of a demon after it is killed–illegally, under the tutelage of her mentor and father figure, Gravell.

Ambrose is a royal soldier with a conflicted heart. His kingdom grows ever restless, and the princess is set to be married off; all his life, he’s been pining for her, and now his chances are all but gone.

Edyon is a petty thief, travelling with a fortune teller to make a living. His true identity is unknown to him, but it could decide his country’s fate.

 

What brings them together is a single bottle of demon smoke. As it shifts hands, these five strangers are entangled, and now may tip their countries towards war.

 

 

 

The Smoke Thieves is easily one of the best fantasy novels to come out of 2018. The world building was beautifully intricate, paying attention to the smallest details in culture, customs, and so much more. For the most part (excluding Catherine…sorry), I loved the characters–March, especially 🙂 They were all so well-developed, with unique personalities and surprisingly great chemistry all together. I’ve seen this novel compared to Game of Thrones, which I know almost none about (my knowledge goes as far as a. Jean Grey, b. Dragon lady, and c. Everybody Dies™️), but I can still see that this is a truly worthy comparison. Such an unforgettable novel.

 

I believe this series is slated to be a trilogy. Book 2, The Demon World, came out this year, and I’ve already checked it out at the library, but have yet to read it. SO EXCITED!

 

Thank you so much for reading this! Have a great rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Oh, and keep on reading!

Goodreads Monday (9/9/19)-Loveless

Hey, everyone! Happy(ish) Monday! 🙂

 

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners . It’s pretty simple–just pick a book from your Want to Read list on Goodreads, and explain why you want to read it.

 

Here we go…enjoy this week’s Goodreads Monday!

 

GOODREADS MONDAY (9/9/19)-LOVELESS by Alice Oseman

 

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Georgia feels loveless – in the romantic sense, anyway. She’s eighteen, never been in a relationship, or even had a crush on a single person in her whole life. She thinks she’s an anomaly, people call her weird, and she feels a little broken. But she still adores romance – weddings, fan fiction, and happily ever afters. She knows she’ll find her person one day … right?

After a disastrous summer, Georgia is now at university, hundreds of miles from home. She is more determined than ever to find love – and her annoying roommate, Rooney, is a bit of a love expert, so perhaps she can help.

But maybe Georgia just doesn’t feel that way about guys. Or girls. Or anyone at all. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe she can find happiness without falling in love. And maybe Rooney is a little more loveless than she first appears.

LOVELESS is a journey of identity, self-acceptance, and finding out how many different types of love there really are. And that no one is really loveless after all.

 

So why do I want to read this?

 

As far as YA goes, the 2010’s have been a great year for LGBTQ+ books. I’ve seen an increase in gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and other queer protagonists in such literature, which I am OVER THE MOON HAPPY ABOUT. I mean, it’s about time for this kind of thing. But one sexual orientation that I haven’t seen often in YA literature–and just literature in general–is representation of asexual and/or aromantic people. This book seems like it’s going to be a wonderful awakening for those who don’t know about these orientations, with Georgia, as far as I know, being aro-ace.

Beyond that, the plot of self-exploration without a love interest always hooks me. It seems that in almost every book that involves a female protagonist trying to discover who she is, there’s at least a 90% that there’s gonna be a love interest. And while that’s cute sometimes, it’s reeeeeally starting to get on my nerves. I mean, seriously, women can discover themselves ALL. BY. THEMSELVES. WE DON’T NEED ANYBODY ELSE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. So I’m glad to see a minor subversion of this trope.

Loveless is scheduled for release in spring of next year, so I’m eagerly awaiting this one! 🙂

 

 

Thank you so much for reading! Have a wonderful rest of your day! Take care of yourselves, and keep on reading!

 

Book Review Tuesday (9/3/19)-This Time Will Be Different

Hello there, fellow bibliophiles, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday–the first BRT of September 2019!

 

I just finished this one up a little under a week ago. Going into it, I’d heard a boatload of praise from it…plus, that ✨GORGEOUS COVER…✨

*ahem* moving on…

This Time Will Be Different  is such an important book for our current climate; not only is it a book about fighting against all forms of discrimination, but one of forging your own path and going where your heart tells you to go. A very impactful and moving novel.

 

Enjoy this week’s review!

 

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This Time Will Be Different

Seventeen-year-old C.J. Katsuyama has always felt torn about her dreams; her mother constantly pressures her to be a perfect, straight A student and a future programmer, but her heart lies in Heart’s Desire, her aunt’s flower shop that traces its history back to her first-generation Japanese immigrant ancestors. At Heart’s Desire, C.J. truly feels at peace, and though she hasn’t perfected her craft of making the right bouquet for every occasion, she’s quickly learning, and to her, that’s what matters.

But in a sudden turn of events, C.J.’s mother proposes to sell Heart’s Desire–and to the same company that, many years earlier, cheated it away from her immigrant grandparents. Now, C.J. feels that she truly has something to fight for–but will her efforts be in vain?

 

 

Man. I haven’t read a book quite like this in a while.

This is, in every sense of the word, a beautifully feminist novel. Not only does the plot center around dismantling racist cultures, it also tackles other, equally important topics, such as LGBTQ+phobia, the problem of the white savior, and (briefly) teen pregnancy. It all felt very real, from the relationships the characters have to the high school environment. I found myself rooting for C.J. (weeeelll…most of the time, I found her to be a tad impulsive and insensitive at some points, but it was somewhat warranted) on every page. Unputdownable and unforgettable. Not perfect, certainly, but something that everyone needs to read, especially in this day and age.

 

This Time Will Be Different is a standalone, but Misa Siguira does have another novel that came out a few years back, It’s Not Like It’s A Secret. I’ve been meaning to read it for years, but it’s never available at the library…woe is me… 😦

 

Thank you so much for reading this review! Have a great rest of your day, and take care of yourself!

 

Goodreads Monday (9/2/19)-Starswept

Oooh, a new thing! Surprise, surprise!

 

Goodreads Monday is a fun, weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners . I learned about it through A Little Haze Book Blog , so thank you to both of you! (Wonderful blogs, by the way, please check them both out)

It’s pretty simple: if you want to do this as well, just go through your Goodreads TBR list, pick a book, and explain why you want to read it. I figured it’d be a fun thing to try out, and a chance to…y’know…make the book-related portion of my blog more than just reviews. 😉

Without further ado, madelinetodd.com’s first Goodreads Monday!

 

GOODREADS MONDAY (9/2/19)–STARSWEPT by Mary Fan 

 

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

Some melodies reach across the stars.

In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.

 

So why do I want to read this?

 

Those who know me fairly well know that I’m eternally itching for a good sci-fi novel. At this point, I’ve had to let go of the fact that a good 80% of sci-fi aliens in YA are almost completely humanoid, so I’m willing to see if the execution of the Adryil is good or not. Hopefully the factor of their telepathy will make it better; that, at least, seems somewhat original.

What I’m really intrigued about, however, is the music aspect of this story. As both a sci-fi and music nerd, I’m excited to see both of these components woven together. It seems like it’ll be an atmospheric novel full of flowery prose, but you never know. Anyway, I haven’t been able to get my hands on it (I almost bought in on my Kindle a few months back, but along with everything else I had, it ended up being a bit too expensive with the others), I look forward to reading Starswept. 😉

 

Thank you so much for reading! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and stay tuned for another Book Review Tuesday tomorrow!

My Favorite Songs of 2019 (So Far)

I promised a whiiiiile ago that I’d post some non-BRT content, and here you are! I’ve been putting this one off for an embarrassing amount of time, but what matters is that it’s here now, okay? 😉

 

Anyway, it seems like 2019 has been a really good year for music! Whether it’s newer artists perfecting their craft, or established ones polishing off some of their best work, we’ve gotten a slew of great songs this year. For once, I had a hard time choosing which five to put in this post; normally, I have a hard time picking out more than three. (And then, of course, the year passes, and then I find even better music from that year. Oof.)

So, without further ado, my favorite songs of 2019 (so far)!

 

1: “No Bullets Spent”-Spoon

 

I’ve always had a special spot for Spoon, especially after seeing them live (opening for the Shins about two years ago). They’ve always been able to deftly create near-perfect rock songs, with catchy basslines and poetic lyrics.

“No Bullets Spent” is certainly no exception. It was released as a single, and later added to a Best Of album that they put togehter recently. I have no doubt that it will become a classic, with it’s mesmerizing instrumentation and fascinating lyrics.

 

2: “Shine the Light On Me”-The Raconteurs

 

 

Much of Help Us Stranger was an interesting departure from the Raconteur’s usual style–and for the most part, in a good way. “Shine The Light On Me” is, hands down, my favorite song off of the album; deeply reminiscient of Queen, with introspective and wistful lyrics paired with a beat that sticks with you instantly.

 

3: “The 2nd Most Beautiful Girl in the World” (cover)-Snail Mail

 

If I didn’t know that this was a cover, I totally would’ve passed it off as one of Lindsey Jordan’s masterful creations. I haven’t listened to the original (I haven’t been able to find it, for some reason), but I can already tell that this cover does it justice, or even surpasses it. With her heartstring-tugging vocals and raw guitar, Jordan makes “The 2nd Most Beautiful Girl in the World” not only stick in your head, but in your heart, too.

God, that sounded really sappy. But that’s just what happens when you listen to Snail Mail.

This is your brain.

This is your brain on Snail Mail. 

 

4: “Traffic”-Thom Yorke

 

Whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooa.

I initially listened to this song because of Anima (which you should all watch, I’M BEGGING YOU). The scene that it played in really stuck with me; the sets and costumes were simple yet ethereal, and the choreography…I could go on for days about the choreography…

The hook refused to get out of my head until I downloaded the song. A creepy, electronic masterpiece, with just the right amount of Thom Yorke’s signature style.

 

5: “Cell”-Calpurnia

 

Alright, I’ll admit it. I got into Calpurnia because of Stranger Things and Finn Wolfhard.

Unlike several other artists/bands that stemmed from acting careers, Calpurnia is destined to be an indie classic. With wailing and unforgettable guitar riffs and punchy lyrics, they’ll always be the band that makes you want to get up and dance. I’m really looking forward to them releasing an LP at some point…hopefully soon. Fingers crossed. 🤞

 

 

Aaaaand that just about wraps it up! Thanks so much for reading, and have a great rest of your day! 🙂

Book Review Tuesday (8/27/19)-Undead Girl Gang

Hey, everyone, and welcome to the last Book Review Tuesday of August 2019!

First, sorry about forgetting about last week’s BRT; I had a pretty busy week last week, and so I never got around to it.

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But hey, I’m back now, and all that’s out of the way! 😉

 

This week’s review comes from a novel I read all the way back in July, and have neglected to review for…oop, over a month. Anyway, not only is Undead Girl Gang a genre-bending and well-written story, it also manages to perfectly balance creepy and comedy. I’d almost go so far to call it a black comedy; whatever you want to call it, Undead  Girl Gang is a very unique and fun novel.

 

Enjoy this week’s review!

 

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Undead Girl Gang

The police ruled that Riley’s death was a suicide.

But Mila Flores knows better.

After the sudden death of Mila’s best friend, Riley, Mila is heartbroken–and confused; Riley would never have committed suicide, nor was she involved in any shady activity that would have led to her dying. Just days later, two of the most popular girls in school turn up dead under equally mysterious circumstances. The string of bizarre deaths can’t be a coincidence, so Mila does what everyone would do in her circumstances: bring her best friend back from the dead.

Mila’s witchcraft quickly goes awry, and she accidentally reanimates not only Riley, but the other girls as well. Now she’s got a paranormal mystery to solve…and three zombie girls to babysit.

 

 

I haven’t come across a book quite like this in a long time. Undead Girl Gang  is a seemless blend of mystery, horror, fantasy, and comedy, with a boatload of sharp wit and just as many surprising twists. For a book with such a comical tone, I didn’t expect for there to be much depth, but it additionally did a great job on touching on some more serious (though often hypothetical) themes without being irreverent. All in all, Undead Girl Gang was so much fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page! Solid 8-8.5/10 on my rating scale.

Also, the cover. P I N S.

 

Undead Girl Gang is a standalone, but Lily Anderson does have a few other books out, including The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, which I read around a year ago and also loved (but haven’t reviewed). It’s definitely more in fiction/romance territory, but from what I remember, it retained the same sarcastic voice that prevailed in Undead Girl Gang. 

 

Thanks so much for reading this review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

 

Also, I know I’ve said this too many times now, but I’ll try and give you guys a) more posts and b) more content besides BRTs. I’ve got a few planned, and now that I’ve got things somewhat under control school-wise, I’ll try and crank out some of them this week. 😉