Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2018

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This month I read 18 books. If I actually wrote a review then there is either a GR or WordPress link. If not then there isn’t a link. 

 

Book(s) That I DNFed (0-2 stars):

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  1. Far From the Tree by: Robin Benway
  2. Love, Life and the List by: Kasie West
  3. The Cruel Prince by: Holly Black-I do plan on rereading this
  4. Court of Fives by: Kate Elliot 
  5. You Won’t Know I’m Gone by: Kristin Orlando
  6. Want by: Cindy Pon
  7. Love, Hate, and other Filters by: Samira Ahmed
  8. The Bear and the Nightingale by: Katherine Arden 
  9. Vegas Strong by: Various Authors
  10. The Wicked Deep by: Shea Ernshaw

 

Book(s) That I Really Didn’t Like (2-3 stars):

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  1. The One’s Who Got Away by: Roni Loren
  2. Our Dark Stars by: Audrey Grey and Krystal Wade

 

Book(s) That I Enjoyed (3-4 stars)

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  1. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 23 by: Jun Mochizuki
  2. Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-Kun by: Izumi Tsubaki
  3. Extraordinary World by: Mary Frame
  4. Traitor to the Throne by: Alwyn Hamilton
  5. American Panda by: Gloria Chao

 

Favourite Book(s) of the Month (4-5 Stars):

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  1. Always and Forever Lara Jean by: Jenny Han 
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Review: Traitor to the Throne

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Traitor to the Throne by: Alwyn Hamilton

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

This is not about blood or love. This is about treason.

Nearly a year has passed since Amani and the rebels won their epic battle at Fahali. Amani has come into both her powers and her reputation as the Blue-Eyed Bandit, and the Rebel Prince’s message has spread across the desert – and some might say out of control. But when a surprise encounter turns into a brutal kidnapping, Amani finds herself betrayed in the cruellest manner possible.

Stripped of her powers and her identity, and torn from the man she loves, Amani must return to her desert-girl’s instinct for survival. For the Sultan’s palace is a dangerous one, and the harem is a viper’s nest of suspicion, fear and intrigue. Just the right place for a spy to thrive… But spying is a dangerous game, and when ghosts from Amani’s past emerge to haunt her, she begins to wonder if she can trust her own treacherous heart.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I buddy read this with my dear GR friend Tova! Click on her name to check out her profile. When she post’s her review I’ll link it. 

Traitor to the Throne opens with a prologue in Jin’s point of view. The Sultan is planning a peace treaty between all the nations. Jin knowing his father all too well, starts fearing that this supposed ‘Peace Treaty’ will end badly for everyone. Jin leaves his undercover mission to go back to the rebellion and report all this to Ahmed. 

On Amani’s end the rebellion has just taken back a city that once belonged to the Sultan. Unfortunately a few lives where lost in the process. Much to Amani’s surprisement one of the women the rebellion saves, calls Amani by her mothers name. The rebellion then proceed to make their way back to camp.

At camp it is revealed that the woman is actually Amani’s long lost aunt. However they do not have the time to catch up as the camp is attacked by the Sultan’s men. The rebellion split up into groups and run to a safe location. Much to Amani’s surprise, she is betrayed by her aunt and sold to the Sultan as a Demdjii. For there onwards Amani has to try and escape the Harem as well as hide that she is the Blue-eyed bandit.

Traitor to the Throne was fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed it! We are given a character list and the mythology list. Rebel of the Sands is written in first person all in Amani’s point of view. Whereas in Traitor to the Throne there are a few chapters narrated in third person from various character’s. Those chapters also have a chapter title along with the chapter number.

Shira, Tamid, and Amani’s aunt (as stated above) make an appearance. For drama’s sake and for Amani’s growth, I wasn’t that surprised that Tamid would come in. Shira on the other hand shocked me. I really didn’t like her in Rebel of the Sands. Color me surprised when Shira not only became a main character but was the Sultima. The equivalent of a queen in the harem. Amani’s aunt Sayyida coming in actually made me happy. Until she sold her to the Sultan. Despite her short appearance Sayyida’s betrayal stays with Amani throughout the whole book.

Traitor to the Throne was filled with more politics and the setting of the harem made it particularly interesting. The politics were well done and actually interesting. The harem setting made for an interesting undercover operation, as Amani spends her duration trying to hide who she really is. The harem setting also reminds the readers how brutal this world is and to what extent people will do to survive.

Despite there not being many fighting scenes I felt that Traitor to the Throne was more action packed then Rebel of the Sands. The stakes were much higher. Especially with the Sultan watching Amani’s every move and having the power to control her.

There are a slew of new characters that come in. The most important one’s being Sam, Leyla, and Rahim. These three characters play a central part in the plot. Lots of new information was revealed. You get to learn more about the Dijinn’s, the history, and what they are capable off. Some Dijinn’s actually come in this book including Amani and Noorsham’s father.

As mentioned above, Jin left the rebellion to do some undercover work for Ahmed. When Jin returned Ahmed wasn’t too pleased with his brother. There was a strain in their relationship leaving Shazad and Delila to deal with the fallout. This strain lasted till the end of Traitor to the Throne. 

Once face-to-face with Shira and Tamid, Amani has to accept her mistakes. Amani and Shira were able to create a relationship of sorts. I and Amani slowly began to understand and like Shira as a character. Her interaction’s with Tamid were strained but they eventually come to a truce.

Despite Amani being separated from the rebellion, her relationship with Shazad was still strong. I really like the friendship that they have! Amani come’s to accept that she is a Demdjii much more than she did in Rebel of the Sands. This allowed her to actually have a good interaction with Hala.

While Jin and Amani were separated for most of Traitor to the Throne their interactions were still fantastic! The two of them make-up and all is well in the romance department. There will likely be more romance in the last book with the other characters. Imin and a new rebellion member Navid actually get married. The wedding was really sweet to read about!

The Sultan played a huge role in Traitor to the Throne. Amani has quite a few interactions with him. Readers and Amani are given some more insight into the ruthless man and some of his history. Amani spent a good ordeal of their interactions wondering whether Ahmed actually has what it take’s to be a Sultan. Hamilton did an excellent job with the Sultan! He wasn’t an annoying character or a stupid villain. The Sultan is very intelligent with terrifying plans for those opposing him.

My only complaint is that it took me awhile to get into Traitor to the Throne. I was honestly wondering whether or not I even enjoyed the series anymore. The more read the more I was proven wrong. That’s the only reason I haven’t given a 5 star rating. 

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Traitor to the Throne! I am looking forward to reading Hero at the Fall. I recommend this series for people who wanted more from The Wrath and the Dawn.   

Book Haul: January 2018

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Book Haul is (as far as I know) not a meme. I see booktubers doing it. It’s basically where you share books that you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, books you won through giveaways, and books for review purposes. Please note that there are no links.

Library:

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  1. The Bear and the Nightingale by: Katherine Arden

 

Ebook/Kindle/Kubo:

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  1. The Key to Everything by: Paula Stokes
  2. The Edinburgh Heir by: Alisha Klapheke
  3. Vegas Strong by: Various Authors
  4. The One’s Who Got Away by: Roni Loren 
  5. Extraodinary World by: Mary Frame

 

Netgalley:

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  1. American Panda by: Gloria Chao
  2. The Wicked Deep by: Shea Ernshaw 
  3. Fade to Us by: Julia Day
  4. #Prettyboy Must Die by: Kimberley Reid
  5. Our Dark Stars by: Audrey Grey and Krystal Wade 

 

Bookstore:

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  1. Hero at the Fall by: Alwyn Hamilton
  2. Labyrinth Lost by: Zoraida Cordova
  3. Busted by: Gina Ciocca
  4. A Dash of Trouble by: Anna Meriano

Review: Always and Forever Lara Jean

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Always and Forever Lara Jean by: Jenny Han

My Rating: 5 stars

Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Beware spoilers ahead!

Lara Jean and her boyfriend Peter are in their last year in high school. Lara Jean is hoping that she’ll get into UVA. As she’ll be with Peter but also remain with her family while she’s at college. Her father’s relationship with Ms. Rothschild is going well. In fact Ms. Rothschild has become apart of the family.

Lara Jean is preparing for her classes trip to New York City, college, and the inevitable good-byes to her teachers and classmates. Unfortunately not everything goes according to Lara Jean’s plan. Throughout this book Lara Jean has to decide what she wants in life and how will she and Peter navigate their relationship.

When I heard that this book would be released I was overjoyed! This is my favourite contemporary series! I am glad to say that it was wonderful! Just like the previous books it is written in first person all in Lara Jean’s point of view. And there are chapter numbers. There are text messages, admission emails, and a letter of sorts at the end of this book.

I loved everything about this book! From the trip to New York City, the wedding, as well as Lara Jean and Chris’s spontaneous road trip to North Carolina. I especially love that in every book Lara Jean develops. There’s no reset button just growth.

Like the previous books there is such a large emphasis on family. Margot, Kitty, their father, and Lara Jean are a very close knit family. Ms. Rothschild and Peter are additions to their family. Partway in the book their father proposes to Ms. Rothschild with Lara Jean, Kitty, and Peter’s help.

Margot doesn’t quite like that Ms. Rothschild has such a huge role in their family. As she was in university for most of this book, Margot gets the shock when she sees how close her father is to Ms. Rothschild. For the majority of the book Margot has a very strained relationship with Ms. Rothschild. Margot doesn’t have a problem with Ms. Rothschild as a person, just that she didn’t expect her father to ever get married. Despite this Margot remains supportive of her father and his decisions. The two do make-up and it was beautiful!

Applying for college was a huge part of this book. All of Peter and Lara Jean’s friends are going their separate ways. The seniors all plan to have one last get-together before that happens. They have the trip to New York City, seniors week, and some plans after graduation. It was so much fun to read about, but also had a bittersweet feel to it. Kind of reminds me of my high school days. 

As foreshadowed in the synopsis Lara Jean doesn’t get accepted in UVA. This obviously puts a strain on her relationship with Peter. The two come up with another plan instead. They plan to spend their first year apart but in their second year Lara Jean will transfer to UVA.

Peter’s family is actually a huge part of this book. His father actually make’s an appearance and it attempting to get back into Peter’s life and good graces. Due to his insecurities with his father Peter felt that Lara Jean would dump him  Further proven to him when Lara Jean made a scrapbook so that he could take it to him in UVA. Peter thought that this was Lara Jean’s way of saying good-bye. The two make-up (of course) and decide to face any obstacles that come in the future together.

I was actually happy that Peter’s family life came in. And that this time it was his insecurities that drove them apart rather than his relationship with Genevieve. It has been heavily implied that Peter has many insecurities. And I have always assumed that his parent’s divorce had more of an effect on him than he implied. I felt that it was done well.

Lara Jean is really upset that she didn’t make it into UVA. She won’t get to be with her family nor will she be in school with Peter. Once Peter lays out the new plan to Lara Jean she has a purpose. Though she is very depressed and instead of meeting with her future peers (one of the those college freshmen get-together’s) Lara Jean puts all her energy into planning the wedding. Surprisingly Lara Jean gets accepted into UNC. When Lara Jean tells Chris, she (Chris) tells Lara Jean that they should go a on spontaneous road trip to North Carolina.

The road trip was a blast to read about! Chris and Lara Jean saw UNC (which was beautifully described), they meet new people, ate new food, and just had fun. Of course when the two arrive home they get into trouble. Lara Jean’s family is overjoyed that she got into UNC. Her family urge her to choose what she wants and that they’ll always support her.

Now I know that there were some people that weren’t happy when this book was announced. But I personally felt that this book was necessary. Unlike P. S. I Still Love You, Always and Forever Lara Jean felt like a conclusion book. Lara Jean has a last hora with Chris (I like to imagine that they’ll still keep up in the future), has last conversations with Lucas, John, Genevieve, and Stormy (who sadly passed away in this book), and her father gets remarried (the wedding planning and the wedding itself was awesome)Even the drama was realistic and well done. 

Overall Always and Forever Lara Jean was a beautiful conclusion to the series. I recommend this series to everyone.