Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

 

  • Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 10.25.51 AM.pngMy rating: 3 out of 5 stars
  • Published by Philomel Books
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Amazon
  • Goodreads

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her.

Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high? Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and  exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with both breathtaking pain and beauty, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns possesses all the hallmarks of masterful fantasy: dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and a world that hangs in the balance. Fans of Heartless, Stealing Snow, and Red Queen will devour this stunning debut.

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Scythe by Neil Shusterman

 

  • 81xxSRsPPuLMy rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
  • Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • Hardcover 435
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon
  • most YA dystopia sucks, this one doesn’t

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

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Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

  • 25614492My rating: 4 of 5 stars
  • Published by Philomel Books
  • Hardcover 393
  • Amazon
  • Spoiler-free review

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

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In Real Life by Cory Doctrow and Jen Wang Mini Review

In Real LifeIn Real Life by Cory Doctorow

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This graphic novel was a nice break between larger books. I enjoyed the fact that it was short and light, but I wish there had been a bit more depth. In the prologue, the author writes a heartfelt message explaining the economics involved with gaming and how the internet is a human construct (along with many other things) that has provided a means for organization in a new way. This little introductions was actually quite fascinating, but I wouldn’t have gotten the message from reading the graphic novel alone. In this case, the author had to tell instead of show. The plot of the novel itself was short and sweet, if not predictable and simplistic. That being said, it was entertaining, but not as profound as I would have expected given the introduction. The ending seemed a bit rushed and a bit too perfect, so I think that could have been fleshed out a little more.

The art style was lovely–the characters were well-drawn and the scenery was consistent. The paneling seemed a bit lazy compared to what I usually read (which is manga), but I think it worked well with the cutesy aesthetic of the story. If I’m being honest, I enjoyed the art itself more than the story.

I would recommend this as a quick read for anyone in need of a break from more complex, involved books. It was sweet, simple, and entertaining.

Review for Halayda by Sarah Delena White

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  • My rating: 2 Stars
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon
  • Pages: 438
  • Publisher: Uncommon Universes Press
  • Spoiler-free review

A mortal alchemist. A faerie king. A bond that transcends death.

Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.

King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.

Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.

Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed. Less

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Review for The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

Description

Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?


Details/Synopsis

  • My rating: 3.5 Stars
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon
  • Pages: 320
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Spoiler-free review

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Review for The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

Description

As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.

In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.


Details/Synopsis

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July 2017 Wrap-up

Wd125_19 I cannot believe it’s already August!! Summer (despite my lazing about)
has passed so quickly. School starts in less less than two weeks for me…

So, the summer has been super slow reading for me, unfortunately. I reduced my Goodreads goal from 110 books to 90 books–hopefully I can reach it! I think it is a more reasonable goal, and I’m a little past halfway done.

I read 6 books in July (but one of them was only 100-ish pages lol). Here are my thoughts:

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The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy

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  • My rating: 3.5 Stars
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon
  • Pages: 400
  • Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • Spoiler-free review

Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Only Stella came back.

Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush – until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets.

Stella believes remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t.

She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore

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