Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (10/20/20)–Skyhunter

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been a fan of Marie Lu’s for a good three years, and since first reading Warcross, she’s been one of my favorite authors. So of course I had to preorder Skyhunter over the summer (and who wouldn’t, with that gorgeous cover?).

It came in the mail the Sunday before last, and by the time I finished my library holds, I realized that I never knew how much I needed this book in my life right at that time. Last week was an incredibly taxing and emotional week for me, and immersing myself back into Lu’s lush prose was just the thing I needed to get me crawling back out of the pit of despair I’d fallen into. And even if I hadn’t been in such a dark place last week, I’m positive that I would have loved Skyhunter just the same.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1) by Marie Lu

Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)–Marie Lu

My copy, ft. Rebel, Wildcard, a cool filter, and a metal bookmark I got from the preorder offer 🙂

Talin has lived a life of turmoil. Her home country of Basea was swallowed by the Karensa Federation, and she and her mother were forced to flee to Mara, the only nation who hasn’t been choked by their iron grip. But the warfront shrinks every day, and hordes of Karensa’s Ghost–captured humans that have been mutated and trained to kill–encroach on Mara’s territory every day. Fighting against them are the brave Strikers, Mara’s league of warriors trained to keep the Ghosts at bay.

When a defector is brought from the Karensa Federation, Talin knows that he hold secrets far beyond what Mara and the Strikers could have possibly imagined. Assigned to keep watch over him, Talin soon learns that his name is Red–and that he may hold the key to turning the tables on the Karensa Federation. But should she go against the Strikers based solely on faith–or leave Red to die?

Brice Jale's review of Temptation and Tights

Skyhunter came into my life during a rough patch (which still hasn’t entirely faded), so that may or may not put a bit of bias on my high rating. But then again…it’s Marie Lu, of course I’m going to adore it. Over the past few years, Lu has proven herself to be a true master of her craft, and Skyhunter is no exception–a tale of resilience and resistance in a time where we all need just that.

I’ll spare you all from my blabbing about the cover, but seriously, I could go on for DAYS about it–the minimalist style, the blending of the colors, the figures…the EVERYTHING?

Now then…

Marie Lu was one of the first pioneers of YA Dystopia with her Legend trilogy, and with Skyhunter, she proves once more that she is a wordsmith to be reckoned with. Every detail–be it in the worldbuilding, the characters, or the plot–made me love the story ten times more, and there’s clear evidence on every page that Lu truly poured her heart and soul into this tale.

As with most of her novels, the characters are what stood out the most to me. Talin is such a stubborn yet resilient heroine, and her determined nature drove the story into fantastic places. Red was my personal favorite–he had wonderful chemistry with Talin and the rest, and I loved all of his little quirks and his sarcastic mannerisms. (Also, his mouse deserves a medal–that poor thing’s probably traumatized from riding around in his pocket while Red just…does his thing.) Jeran and Adena had wonderful chemistry with them, and Lu did an incredible job of making them feel fleshed-out and authentic. Also, even though I could go for Talin and Red being a thing, I appreciated that Lu didn’t throw them headfirst into insta-love or a forced romance. Again–there could be an ADORABLE possibility for some classic enemies-to-lovers romance by the time book 2 rolls around, but it could honestly work either romantically or platonically.

Skyhunter has plot twists aplenty, most of which I didn’t see coming. Combined with the fast-paced plot and gripping action, I just could NOT put this book down–every time I had to set it down, I found myself anticipating getting to read more of it later on. There’s no shortage of vivid imagery, and I felt immersed in the story in a way that I haven’t felt in quite some time. The worldbuilding helped the latter fact as well–the different cultures of each country that the characters visited had such well-thought-out cultures, and everything felt wholly real, like I could just walk through the pages, and I’d be in Talin’s mother’s house, or on the middle of the warfront. My favorite aspect of the worldbuilding, as far as the Karensa Federation goes, was that of the Ghosts. I’m just a sucker for any kind of freaky, Mike Mignola-style monsters in stories, so…(I kind of imagined them how the wendigos are drawn in B.P.R.D.)

TW FOR THE IMAGE BELOW: Blood

For me, this is the most perfect example of the nature and atmosphere of  Hellboy and everything he stands for. : Mignolaverse

And through it all, there’s themes of fighting back–against colonialism, against discrimination and prejudice, and against all odds. It’s just the right blend of resourceful determination that we need in these troubling times, and even though most of us have grown tired of dystopias as a whole (seeing as we’re currently living in one…[ahem]), it’s a must read for all.

All in all, another stunning gem of a novel to add to Marie Lu’s near-flawless repertoire, and a tale of resistance and resilience that will stand the test of time. 4.5 stars!

6 Things We Know About 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' So Far

Skyhunter is the first book in the Skyhunter duology, followed by an untitled, forthcoming second novel set to be published in 2021. Marie Lu is also the author of the Legend series (Legend, Prodigy, Champion, and Rebel), the Young Elites trilogy (The Young Elites, The Rose Society, and The Midnight Star), the Warcross series (Warcross and Wildcard), and the standalone The Kingdom of Back.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags, Books

Do I Have That Book? Book Tag

Happy Friday, bibliophiles! I hope today finds you all safe, healthy, and in good spirits.

I found this tag over at Words and Stitches, and the tag was originally created by Keeping Tabs on Booktube. It sounded like a super fun tag, and I’m excited to participate!

Rules

1. Time yourself trying to find each prompt on your shelf
2. Try and beat the time of the person who challenged you.

3. Don’t forget to tag your challenger and the original creator!
4. Have fun!

Let’s begin, shall we?

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH DECKLED EDGES?

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess ...

Yep! The Tale of Despereaux has been on my shelf for quite a while, and it definitely has deckled edges.

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH THREE OR MORE PEOPLE ON THE COVER?

The Ruby Key (Moon & Sun, #1) by Holly Lisle

The Ruby Key features a trio on the cover! I got this one as a Christmas gift.

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK BASED ON ANOTHER FICTIONAL STORY?

I own a few retellings, but they’re all based on real-life events, so…

Danny Devito No GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH A TITLE 10 LETTERS LONG?

A Map of Days: The Fourth Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar ...

[frantically scours bookshelf] AHA! A Map of Days!

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH A TITLE THAT STARTS AND ENDS WITH THE SAME LETTER?

Amazon.com: Soul of Stars eBook: Poston, Ashley: Kindle Store

Soul of Stars–Ashley Poston

DO YOU HAVE A MASS-MARKET PAPERBACK?

Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet): Card, Orson Scott: 8601401251873 ...

I got Ender’s Game from my school library, but it was originally a mass-market paperback.

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WRITTEN BY AN AUTHOR USING A PEN NAME?

Magicians Nephew Study Guide | Progeny Press Literature Curriculum

This isn’t the edition I have, but I have almost the entire Chronicles of Narnia.

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH A CHARACTER’S NAME IN THE TITLE?

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle Book 1) eBook: Kaufman ...

Dread it…

Run from it…

Aurora Rising still arrives…

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH TWO MAPS IN IT?

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back (9781524739010): Lu, Marie: Books

The Kingdom of Back–Marie Lu

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK THAT WAS TURNED INTO A TV SHOW?

Amazon.com: Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy) [Assorted Cover image ...

Shadow and Bone is soon to be a TV show…

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WRITTEN BY SOMEONE WHO WAS ORIGINALLY FAMOUS FOR SOMETHING ELSE? (CELEBRITY/ATHLETE/POLITICIAN/TV PERSONALITY ETC.)

Oh No Pikachu Gif - IceGif

N/A for this one…

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH A CLOCK ON THE COVER?

The Witches - Scholastic Shop

The Witches–Roald Dahl

DO YOU HAVE A POETRY BOOK?

Amazon.com: Tennyson: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets ...

I bought this lovely collection of Tennyson’s poetry last year!

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WITH AN AWARD STAMP ON IT?

The Sun Is Also a Star Collector's Edition (Signed Book) by Nicola ...

The Sun is Also a Star–Nicola Yoon

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WRITTEN BY AN AUTHOR WITH THE SAME INITIALS AS YOU?

Mmmm…I don’t think so…

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK OF SHORT STORIES?

The Illustrated Man: Bradbury, Ray: 8601400321720: Amazon.com: Books

The Illustrated Man–Ray Bradbury

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK THAT IS BETWEEN 500-510 PAGES LONG?

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe): 9781534417861: Amazon.com: Books

Thunderhead is 504 pages long!

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK THAT WAS TURNED INTO A MOVIE?

Amazon.com: Everything, Everything (9780553496673): Yoon, Nicola ...

I haven’t seen the movie adaptation, but Everything, Everything was recently turned into a movie.

DO YOU HAVE A GRAPHIC NOVEL?

Amazon.com: Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal (Ms. Marvel Series) eBook ...

I have a shelf dedicated to graphic novels, some of which being G. Willow Wilson’s (AMAZING) run on Ms. Marvel.

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK WRITTEN BY TWO OR MORE AUTHORS?

Amazon.com: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files) (9780553499117): Amie ...

Illuminae–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICPATE! Feel free to do the timed part of it, I just chose not to, but do whatever you’d like. 🙂

Thumbs up for Dropbox | Gif pictures, Cute gif, Animated images

Today’s song:

I just discovered Josh Cohen on YouTube, and he does the most STUNNING piano covers! I highly recommend that you listen to his stuff 🙂

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Reread Book Tag

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

This tag was created by Brianna, who also tagged me in the post. It looked super cute, so I had to give it a go! (Also, she has an incredible blog, so if you haven’t checked it out already, go check it out!)

Let’s begin, shall we?

Rules:

The Search for WondLa (Search for WondLa Series #1) by Tony ...

GUESS WHO’S BACK…

I can’t stress enough how much The Search for WondLa series has changed my life. Even now, it’s just as enchanting as it was when I first checked it out at the library. I’ll definitely be giving the series a re-read soon; book 1 turns 10 this September! 😭

Amazon.com: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (The Cursebreaker Series ...

I forget exactly why I DNF’d A Curse So Dark and Lonely (though I shelved it as “cliche” on Goodreads, soooo…), but everybody else seems to love this series, so I might give it another try. Maybe. Possibly.

Episode 2 Jedi GIF by Star Wars - Find & Share on GIPHY

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back (9781524739010): Lu, Marie: Books

The Kingdom of Back was such a lushly written and enchanting novel, and I’m always up for another round of Marie Lu’s stellar writing, so I’ll absolutely be re-reading this at some point.

Amazon.com: Red Queen eBook: Aveyard, Victoria: Kindle Store

Ugh…Red Queen was such a steaming mess of bad tropes…

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

I. NEED. TO. READ. THIS. BOOK. AGAIN. The Catcher in the Rye was just PHENOMENAL.

Without a doubt, Jay Kristoff. Even though I haven’t read everything of his, I haven’t read anything of his that I haven’t rated between four and five stars. What a mastermind…

Now that I own the entire duology, I seriously need to get back on the space-thrill-ride train that is the Heart of Iron series

happy book birthday, eleanor & park! |

Not a series, but it’s just been announced that the Eleanor & Park movie has a director (!!!), so I’m simultaneously excited and scared for that.

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle Book 1) eBook: Kaufman ...

I’m not much of an audiobook person (I’ve only listened to…maybe one or two? Either way, it was ages ago, and…possibly on my old Hello Kitty CD player? Anyway…), but I’d be interested to see how Aurora Rising translates into an audiobook. It’s got a full cast of characters for all of Squad 312, so I’d be down for listening to that. I did listen to some of the snippets that the publisher had in the article, and they all sounded good, though Cat seemed uncharacteristically perky. (Hey, that’s just me, though.)

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE! GIVE BRIANNA SOME LOVE!

Star Wars Thumbs Up GIF - StarWars ThumbsUp HarrisonFord ...

Since I’ve already posted once today, you can head over to today’s Book Review Tuesday to see today’s song.

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: June 30-July 5, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

All things considered, this week’s been alright. It’s July already (WE MADE IT THROUGH HALF OF THE YEAR, EVERYBODY!), so I’m looking forward to more sunny weather, but not really looking forward to boiling in the afternoon. (It’s supposed to get up to 90 degrees next week…*shudders* I like hot, but not that hot, let’s be clear…) After last week’s bookstore haul, I enjoyed two AMAZING books, and I finally got around to reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! Needless to say, I checked book 2 out at the library right after I finished it.

I also started Camp NaNoWriMo on Wednesday, and it’s going smoothly so far! Since I recently finished the first draft of one of my WIPs, I’m working on a short story for NaNoWriMo. It’s at about 1,100 words so far.

Other than that, I’ve made some progress on my puzzle, slowly started summer homework (😑), went on another lovely hike, and blew through season one of What We Do in the Shadows. (Highly recommended for anyone who wants a laugh. You have to get through a few episodes, but it gets HYSTERICAL.)

Terrifying. What would you even call that? | You are my life ...

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Kingdom of Back–Marie Lu (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back (9781524739010): Lu, Marie: Books

Night Owls and Summer Skies–Rebecca Sullivan (eARC) (⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Night Owls and Summer Skies (9781989365250): Sullivan ...

The Sound of Stars–Alechia Dow (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars (9781335911551): Dow, Alechia: Books

The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers–Christopher Vogler (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Writer's Journey - 3ª edición: Mythic Structure ...

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy–Douglas Adams (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy eBook: Adams ...

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Slaughterhouse-Five–Kurt Vonnegut (for summer homework)

Amazon.com: Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best ...

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #2)–Douglas Adams

Amazon.com: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe ...

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (6/30/20)–The Kingdom of Back

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been a fan of Marie Lu’s works ever since I first read Warcross, and the Legend series after that. Her writing has never failed to stun me, no matter what genre her novels happen to be in. So naturally, I decided to buy this one on my first bookstore trip since the pandemic started. And though I expected to love it, The Kingdom of Back blew me away–one of her best novels to date.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back (9781524739010): Lu, Marie: Books
Bonus photoshoot with some of her other novels (and a few crystals and rocks)

The Kingdom of Back–Marie Lu

For as long as she can remember, Nannerl Mozart and her younger brother Wolfgang have had an unbreakable bond, spurred on by their shared talent for music. But as her brother grows older, it becomes clear that he is a musical prodigy. Her father now overlooks her in favor of her younger brother, even though she possesses an almost equal musical prowess. Now, she and her brother are to perform for the royalty all over Europe, only stopping when she is of age to be married off.

But one night, before they leave on their grand tour, Nannerl is visited by an ethereal stranger, who claims to come from a faraway land beyond human sight. This land is the same place that she and Wolfgang have dreamed up, a backwards reflection of our own world, dubbed the Kingdom of Back. He offers her the chance to be remembered in history, but in exchange, she must complete a quest that will take her through the perilous underbelly of this fantastical world. These feats may secure her place in history alongside her brother–but at what cost?

corpse bride piano | Tumblr

Ladies, gentlemen and others, this is solid, concrete proof that Marie Lu can dish up a lavish tale in any genre that she so chooses, and do it masterfully no matter what.

The Kingdom of Back reads like a lush fairytale. Lu’s signature writing style shines through in the worldbuilding, both in the historical setting of 18th century Europe and the magical Kingdom of Back. Her prose is positively enchanting, transporting me to faraway lands and making me enjoy every single minute of it. Every word painted a gorgeous picture of a land that I would gladly immerse myself in. I read this one up in almost a single sitting, and a beautiful treasure was found on every single page.

And the characters. CAN WE TALK about these characters? With both Nannerl and Woferl/Wolfgang, Lu has breathed new life into these figures, transforming them into sister and brother that could fit into any fairytale. Nannerl’s struggles with being overshadowed and being a society that doesn’t take kindly to women expressing their talents were all too real, making for a lushly relatable character. Oh, and HYACINTH. HYACINTH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAH…again, Lu’s prose makes him seem beautifully real, and though I did predict that something was shifty with him, I adored him anyway. He might have been my favorite character, reminiscent of the Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, and many others.

Nuada Aim GIF - Nuada Aim Hellboy - Discover & Share GIFs

All in all, one of Marie Lu’s best novels to date, an ethereal fairytale with relatable characters and prose to be reckoned with. 4.5 stars!

Rise of the guardians tooth fairy jack frost GIF - Find on GIFER

The Kingdom of Back is a standalone novel, but Marie Lu has many other series out, including the Legend trilogy, the Young Elites trilogy (my favorite of the bunch), the Warcross series, and the upcoming novel Skyhunter.

Today’s song:

This just popped up on my recommended. I haven’t heard anything by Slum Sociable, but I love “Somebody to Love Me,” and this is a great cover!

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: June 22-28, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope today finds you in good spirits and health.

Now that June has almost come to a close, I felt like it’s gone by strangely quickly. It feels like it should be the middle of the month, but here we are, and it’s almost July. But that isn’t to say that I haven’t enjoyed the month; despite the strangeness of the times, I’ve had a good start to my summer, even though I’ve spent the bulk of it inside.

For the most part, I’ve had a great week. We went hiking on Monday for a belated Father’s Day excursion, and also that day, I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY WIP! This is the first of my ideas that I haven’t abandoned midway and finished all the way, so I’ve given myself a pat on the back for managing that. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself, but I ultimately decided that for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ll work on a short story. Stephen King advised that you should wait a few months (at least) before getting to editing/second drafts after you finish, so I’ll work on said short story, and maybe get back to some of my other WIPs in the meantime.

Other than that, I made some progress on my Iron Giant puzzle, watched Memento, watched a few more episodes of Fargo (nearly done with season 3…)and went on my first excursion to my favorite bookstore since the pandemic started. I got a copy of The Sound of Stars and The Kingdom of Back (autographed copy!), and I’m so excited to read them both. I’ve had an…okayish reading week; I didn’t read as much because it took me longer to read Kingsbane at a whopping 608 pages. I’ve enjoyed everything that I read, but I didn’t read anything terribly memorable.

Oh, and the stickers that came with my preorder of Aurora Burning finally came in the mail, and I love them! Both my laptop case and my current sketchbook both look like the entire Aurora Cycle fandom vomited on them, and I have zero problem with that. (…no pun intended…)

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Kingsbane (Empirium, #2)–Claire Legrand (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Kingsbane (The Empirium Trilogy Book 2) eBook: Legrand ...

Dating Sarah Cooper–Siera Maley (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Dating Sarah Cooper - Kindle edition by Maley, Siera. Children ...

The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss–Amy Noelle Parks (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss (Hardcover) | ABRAMS

The Invisible Man–H. G. Wells (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance (Bantam Classic) - Kindle ...

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Kingdom of Back–Marie Lu

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back eBook: Lu, Marie: Kindle Store

The Sound of Stars–Alechia Dow

Book Review: The Sound of Stars be Alechia Dow | The Young Folks

The Writer’s Journey–Mythic Structure for Writers–Christopher Vogler

Amazon.com: The Writer's Journey - 3ª edición: Mythic Structure ...

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!