Sunday, May 20, 2018

Review: Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

Wishing so badly that I could say that this second and final book was amazing. But it was not. And after having finished it, I'm left feeling pretty disappointed. I just read the first book, which was a four star, and which I found to be exciting and good. It was sadly nothing like that. I'm going with two stars for this. So sad about it.

I have a lot of thoughts about this book. And sadly most of them are not very positive. But I did enjoy parts of this book too. Which is why I had planned on giving this three stars, but after thinking about it some more, most of this story just disappointed me. And so I cannot give it three stars just because. It was not worth that.

There is so much I wish to talk about when it comes to Smoke in the Sun. I will try not to share too many spoilers, but yeah, there are things that must be written down. And I very much need to share my honest feelings about this book. First, I liked Flame in the Mist so much. And I had hoped this sequel would be even better. Instead it ended up being so incredibly boring and full of open endings. Just about nothing happened in this one. Nothing of import. And I feel so disappointed about it all. I liked the writing in book one, but it felt different in this one. And so I had issues connecting to the story. There are a lot of new stories to learn about, and they all had such open endings, and they all felt so rushed, and I failed to connect to any of it. Disappointed.

This book tells the rest of the story about Mariko. She is now at the royal castle and about to marry the brother of the emperor. While her love, Okami, is trapped in the prison. Where he is tortured all the time. It was not written very well. Should have been sad and such, but it was not, because there was not any comfort to be had after it. I'm so disappointed. This story is about Mariko and her choices. Sadly she does not do very much. I wish I could say more about the plot, but there really isn't much to say about this one.

After the Yumi short story, I expected her to be in this book a lot. She was not. She is barely there. She does not really do anything at all. I'm hugely disappointed. There are a lot of point of views in this book. Including Mariko's brother, again. And gosh, how I disliked this man. He kept getting worse and worse. Not once did he see this. We did not get to see an ending for him either. He was simply there to be awful. And honestly not make much sense either. His point of view bored me so. And it was awful to read it too.

Most of this book is from Mariko. Probably. I'm unsure, because there were a lot of views from so many different people. And it grew to be pretty boring, because they were there for just a moment, then nothing more. I so wish that I could say that I loved Okami once again. But I did not. He was just in this book to be tortured. And not on page either. He changed a little in the book, realizing that he needed to be more of a leader. Yet we do not get to see this leader thing at all. It could have been so great. But it was not there.

The romance. Gosh, the romance. Haha. This beautiful cover features a stunning heart. Which kind of screams romance. But the romance in this second book was incredibly bad. There was so little of it. I think they touch only a couple of times, at the end of the book. Sure, there are thoughts of love all the time, but they are not together for just about the whole book. It only takes place in less than two weeks, but even so. I'm so very disappointed. The romance was amazing in book one. It was not so in this one.

There is so much that could have been in this book. I was expecting it to be full of romance and fighting and more adventure. And more of the amazing Black Clan. But it had neither of these things. Instead it was all about court. And not written in a good way either. It was mostly about the two brothers. How the emperor is cruel and tortures and kills people all the time, even very much described torture of a twelve year old boy. That did not need to be there. Just saying. And the other brother was not that much better.

Just, yeah. I'm disappointed in this book. A lot of it was about Mariko wanting to get Okami out of prison, sure. They talked a little. But their romance was not epic like I expected it to be. And The Black Clan? Hahaha. They were barely there. For very very small moments. And there were a few deaths too, and it just meant nothing. This whole book meant just about nothing. Because barely anything happened. The first two hundred pages were so slow and boring and ahh. Still cannot believe how little this book was.

And now I have already shared way more than I had planned to. And yet not nearly all of my feelings about it. Mostly I just wish this book had been epic. And fantasy. And exciting. And romantic. Like it was supposed to be. Instead it was boring and just not good. I'm so sad about it, because I really wanted and thought that I would love it. Still, I am glad I read this series. Huge thank you to Penguin Random House International for sending me the free ARC copy of this book to read and review. Love my copy so much.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

In My Mailbox #341

This week have been filled with sunny days and I have loved it. But gosh, how I am beyond exhausted. Have been sitting outside for hours each day in the sun, me and my cat. So good with the sun heat. And I have gotten so so so tan. But have had so little time to read. Ahh. I'm working on Smoke in the Sun, but so slow. Shall read a lot today, I hope. Also still behind on everything else. As this week I have been out in the sun most of the day, then taken my two hour long spa bath every evening. But now it shall be a few days with no sun, so I'm hoping to be able to read a lot and catch up too. Fingers crossed. My health also still sucks the most, though. Sigh. But must continue with this medicine at least until June 7th. Hopefully then they will realize that they must give me something else. So anyway. A bit of blogging. I shared about the cover reveal for Courting Darkness :D I shared my review for Flame in the Mist. <3 Then shared my reviews for Okami & Yumi :D This week I'm waiting on Muse of Nightmares :) I did not get a lot of mail this week, but got a little bit, and it is all so so awesome :D Eee! And waiting on much more, ack. Love.

A Reaper at the Gates. Gosh. Thank you so so much PRH International :D EEE! I am SO happy to have this ARC. It's gorgeous. But gosh. Now I must read my hardcovers of book one and two. Ahh. And very soon. Next month. I'm nervous. Yet I really really wish to love this fantasy books. Crossing all my fingers.
Lord of Shadows. New UK paperback version :D I cannot help but own all versions of these books, eee.
Pop Figures. Fury Road :D Eee! And the rest of my Jurassic Park pops. Love. And Will and Gollum. Love.

More Instagram photos here. <3

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday #344

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

MUSE OF NIGHTMARES (Strange the Dreamer #2)

Goodreads Description:

The highly anticipated, thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer, from National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old.
She believed she knew every horror, and was beyond surprise.
She was wrong.

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice--save the woman he loves, or everyone else?--while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she's capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel's near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

Hardcover, 528 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pre-Order here and here

I am so unsure about this book. Strange the Dreamer was only a three star for me, and not a book that I will read again. Aaack. But that ending killed me. And I so wish to know what happens next. I need this series to have a happy ending, but I have no idea how that will happen. Hmph. I do know that I will read this second book, though. And I am crossing all my fingers that I will end up liking it more than book one.
What are you waiting for on this destructive Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Review: Okami & Yumi by Renee Ahdieh

This was such a very short story. Less than ten pages. Yet it was also such a stunning one. I loved being inside the head of Okami again. He had a few small point of views in Flame in the Mist, and I adore this boy more than I can say. Fingers crossed he will have a point of view in Smoke in the Sun. Want that so.

In this short story, Okami is being taken as a prisoner back to the castle. Where he is sure he will end up dead. These pages are about him thinking a little about his life, and him coming to terms with his upcoming death. Which breaks my heart. This boy does not deserve death. He deserves the very longest life.

This story is not very long, so I'm not writing a lot about it. Also because there truly was not much happening, haha. But it was still such good pages. Great writing. And I just love Okami so so very much. I so cannot wait to read Smoke in the Sun next, to know what happens to this precious person. And so so excited for more of him and Mariko together. Eee. Well, I hope there will be a lot of romance happening. Crossing all my fingers for that, as they were the cutest together. Okami was a stunning short story. Not much happening, mostly just the thoughts of Okami. And I did not mind that one bit. Because he is amazing and I loved learning a bit more about him. If you have read Flame in the Mist, then you must read this short story. Four stars for this one.

Such a short story, but full of heart. It is less than ten pages long, and this story is from the point of view of Yumi. She is the sister of Okami, and we met her a little in Flame in the Mist. She is training to be a Geisha. And so she is living a pretty safe life right now. In this story we learn that she is tired of living it safe.

And gosh, I adored getting to know Yumi a little more. I hope there will be her point of view in Smoke in the Sun, as we did not get to read about her in the first book. Crossing my fingers. This was not a long story, so there was not that much to get to know about Yumi. But we get to see a little bit inside her head.

Yumi seems like such an incredible girl. She also knows a lot. And I think that she is going to end up being an important and awesome character in the second book. At least, I hope so. I would love to read more about her. She and her brother have mostly lived in hiding, after what happened to their father when they were young. And I am so curious to know what will happen next, if Yumi is going to leave her safe place. I do not want this girl hurt. But gosh, I want her to get to have some adventures too. And maybe a bit of romance. At least, with this short story, I'm assuming she will play a bit part in book two. Hope I am not wrong. If you have read Flame in the Mist, then you really need to read Yumi too. It is short, but it is so stunning. Four stars.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

I have been wanting to read this book for so long now. Yet I could not decide if I would enjoy it. But I had hoped to. And when I got the chance to get an ARC of book two, I knew I could not resist reading this stunning thing any longer. And I'm thrilled that I read it now. Ended up being a very strong four star for me. So happy.

Shall begin by saying that I found the writing in this book to be so good. Had no problem at all connecting to the characters and the story. Which I loved so much. It was also a pretty fast and easy read, as I did not want to stop reading it even once. I loved that very much. And I cannot wait to start my copy of book two. Eee.

I do not think I will manage to write all that much about this book, to be honest. My mind feels pretty blank. At the moment I'm just so happy that I liked this book so much. Even with that very rude ending. Hmph. It was pretty evil, yet not truly that bad, and I was left feeling very happy about all of this book. The romance was completely beautiful. Sigh. And no triangle or weird drama. I am so happy. And I very much loved the characters in this book too. Especially the girl and the boy. But the side characters were done so well too. Everything about this book was pretty amazing. And the only reason for why I'm giving it four stars is because I did not fully love the book with all my heart. But I had no faults with it. At all. Yesss. And I liked all of it so very much. So good.

This book tells the story of seventeen year old Mariko. She is the daughter of a samurai, and her purpose as a girl is to marry well. Which she is not pleased with. Mariko has always wanted to be more. But it is not possible for her as a girl in this world. I must admit to not knowing much about the culture this book is about. But I have seen Mulan, and read a few other books, and so understanding this book was no issue. And oh, how I loved the setting of this book. It was simply stunning. Written so well. Loved every part of it.

Anyway. Back to Mariko. The book begins with her traveling to meet her betrothed. On the way there, she is attacked. All her guards are killed, and she was supposed to die as well. But she did not. She survived. Barely. Those chapters were a bit scary to read through. I loved it. Mariko does not want to just go back home, she wants to find out who wanted her dead. As she knows it was the Black Clan that attacked her. This search of hers will not be easy. Or safe. But it is such an epic adventure. I loved every moment of it.

And so begins this story. With Mariko trying to figure out who hired the Black Clan to kill her. And for her to figure that out, she has to dress as a boy, and join them. It is not easy for her. And I loved that so very much. It was so awesome and fun to read about her dealing with pretending to be a boy. And her getting to know the Black Clan men. They were all amazing to read about. I loved the cook a whole bunch. He was so adorable. And the leader was pretty awesome too, I liked reading about him. About all of them.

Another character that I loved very much was Okami. He is the strongest fighter for the Black Clan. He is pretty brutal and ruthless and just all kinds of amazing. I loved every moment that he was in. Eee. And I loved how Mariko started out hating him. And then slowly started loving him too. All the while he thought she was a boy. But that secret comes out. And it was done in the best way. And I loved every moment of it. Gosh. Okami was truly incredible. Brave and strong and kind and just the very best. I loved this man.

There was a little romance in this book. Not that much, but also enough. It was gorgeous. And I loved every moment between these two characters. Sigh. This book was very much about revenge, though. And Mariko trying to find out what almost happened to her. Also about her starting to care for all of these men, even though she is trying not to. There is also a bit about her twin brother, whom is searching for her. At first I pretty much loved him. But now I am not so sure. Ack. He was written really well, though.

So much is going on in this book. And I am not going to say more about it. Just that I really loved all of these characters. And the story was pretty incredible too. That ending was so rude, and I cannot wait to know what happens next. I think will two is going to be so epic. Fingers crossed. Flame in the Fist ended up being everything I had hoped it would be. It was so so good. And I'm so thrilled that I finally read this book. So curious to know what all of you think of this book too. If you have not read it yet, then you must.