Otherworld by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller | Spoiler Free Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

The Game But Not As You Know It!

Disclaimer: A big thank you to Bloomsbury publishing who sent me the ARC, and the finished copy upon release.

 

Otherworld has sat on my shelf for two years; it’s about time it was read and reviewed! Despite it being a middle-grade novel, I really enjoyed the story. It was a different concept to others that I’ve read, despite my constant comparison of it to the Mortality Doctrine Series and Warcross.


Blurb: 

The company says Otherworld is amazing — like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive — that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.

Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.

And it’s about to change humanity forever.

Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.

You all know I won’t get through this review without mentioning the parallels between Harry Potter. It’s a new middle-grade novel. Many clichés were included, but also many twists on the clichés. So I won’t directly reference Harry Potter, but y’all know that when I discuss the clichés and tropes I’m thinking of the famous series.

REVIEW!

I thought this book was average. So in my opinion, to best review it, I will be ‘comparing’ it against a book of similar genre and content as I cannot compare it against the likes of Warcross (not middle-grade) or Harry Potter (too highly rated). The only book/ series that I can think of that is the most similar to this novel is The Mortality Doctrine Series by James Dashner. I loved those books, finding the concept original and compelling. That series is the only middle-grade gamer novel I have read before and therefore sets the standards in my rating of this one.

Overall:

Right off the bat, we start off with a rich kid whose parents are lawyers and he thinks he can get away with anything because of it. He acts up and thinks it’s okay because his family is protected by whatever life his Grandfather’s had to lead. He has a love interest who is a smart girl – smarter than himself, though not in portrayed in a way that makes him look stupid – and a hacker ‘friend’ who owes him a few favours.

As much as I’ve been giving the “golden trio” trope a bit of a hammering, none of the aforementioned characters is in the “golden trio”, they’re totally different people. Totally irrelevant as per the actual story and their adventure took up the majority of the novel.

In my opinion, this book is really a set up for the next one but creates no anticipation or interest to read the next one, aside from actually wanting to know about the other characters, of whom are integral, though shared little page-time in the novel.

The Main Adventure (which could’ve been told in fewer pages):

Despite all of my complaining above, this section of the novel was enjoyable. I really enjoyed how the characters actively make allegations of the Chosen One trope and denyed it in the same sentence. My first thought was that this was probably done in an attempt to not have the trope in the novel. I’m glad it was funny and that the trope was most certainly avoided aside from the mentions.

There were also some positives, like the fact that the entire ‘Main Adventure’ had two settings – one in Otherworld and the other in the real world – and that one of the most over-powered characters, in terms of knowledge (because that’s the only power that matters in these situations) is a girl with a disability! Honestly, Simon would be dead without her.

Themes such as abusive parents and fatal accidents were prevalent but not expanded on, especially not in a way that teaches a middle-grade audience about anything beneficial. I feel that where themes such as obvious domestic abuse are present, the writer should be teaching the reader something in regards to this situation and showing the impact the situation has on a character, not just having it there for a plot twist!

I don’t have much else to say about this novel. It was a quick, fun read but I wouldn’t be recommending it to the next person I see but I enjoyed it, and I will be picking up the sequel out of curiosity.

★ Rating ★

I rated this book a ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars) because it had elements of generic middle-grade fiction – i.e. this is not a unique book – but has an interesting storyline that differs from the usual magic and fantasy elements of a middle-grade novel. It made the three-star category as there was a lot of poking fun at the ‘Chosen One’ trope, which was heavily shunned upon, with supporting evidence.

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What were your thoughts on the conclusion of this series? xxx

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With Love Bree xx

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Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan | Spoiler Free Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

Keep on Empowering Women in Literature!

Disclaimer: This book was kindly sent to me from Bloomsbury Publishing and was released on the 12th of February 2019.

For the people who want to read about women empowering women in a story where the women not only talk about their experiences but do something to change the fate the world has dealt them.



Blurb: 

Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women's Rights Club. They post everything online—poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine's response to the racial macroaggressions she experiences—and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard.

I usually chat some more here but no more comments! I loved this book and I want to get to reviewing this wonderful novel, with thanks to Bloomsbury.

REVIEW!

The book starts off with the biggest bombshell ever! Jasmine’s main source of love and motivation in her world is dying but she must keep on living. When Jasmine is bullied by both students and teachers, at a school that is supposed to put their utmost care and attention into the art of social justice, she realises that there may be some flaws in the system. Along with her best friend and partner in crime, Chelsea, who has also faced prejudice for being a woman and wanting her voice heard; the two of them make it their mission to not stop until their voices are heard. Until something is done about the way women are treated in their society, starting with the school.

The message that this book is sending to young teens is amazing. Awareness is placed of the impact people of colour are having/ have had in the world and the teens are encouraged to use their passions to stand up for what they believe in! This is what the Summer challenge was all about. Jasmine’s group of friends combine each of their own unique talents to create the perfect campaign for women’s rights.

The Cast: Jasmine the writer and actress; Chelsea the Poet; Nadine the stylist and part-time D.J.; and Isaac the artist.

There were things mentioned in this novel, everyday influences on women pointed out and dissected of things that even I remained blissfully unaware of. I had become so used to seeing these things in magazines, advertisements, television shows, on the side of buildings, trains and trams; I was blinded. Not even realising that these messages are there, but still taking them in makes me almost think of degrading mass media advertisements as subliminal messages to suppress us women; weaken us to something lesser. Keep us compliant and in our place. Watson and Hagan opened my eyes to these messages.

The only thing that I found off about the novel was the school that the girls attended and how it almost felt too fake like it was a school exaggerated to love social justice more than life for the sake of the story. I say this because my high school is very into social justice and helping out the community, but they don’t force it upon students (except for one day of every year). I personally couldn’t imagine a school where after school activities are mandatory when they will obviously impede on homework time. Which, let’s face it, is the main focus of many schools.

The hardest thing about this review is doing it spoiler free. There are so many things that I learnt from this book, but it spoils half the story and I can’t have that happen! Although on the other hand, doing this review spoiler free leaves the review shorter and more appealing to read.

The best thing I learnt about racism from this book is the various stereotypes that are placed on black women in movie roles. These are all defined in the book, but as I was reading through the list, I now look a little differently on the women of colour in the book, ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ by Sue Monk Kid. I think a little more on how much of their characters were shaped by society’s view of women back when the novel was written, and if they would be any different now?

“I resolve!”

The “I resolve” statements had to have been my favourite take away from the novel. It is a method of reflecting and goal setting, that I can realistically use to better myself in my daily life. For instance, instead of saying “my new year’s resolution is…” you say “I resolve to…” It’s more personal and is almost like a promise to yourself.

An example of my own would be; “I RESOLVE TO LOVE MYSELF.”

From the poems in this book, I have been inspired to revisit my old poems and start writing more of them. They all stem from my heart. A pained one works well, but a heart that is experiencing an abundance of strong emotions produces the best poems. That’s where Jasmine and Chelsea’s writings came from.

Women banding together, standing up for each other and guiding the next generation of activists to do what they wish they could. Even the ones that seemed too cool for school took part, knowing that this is their fight too.

We have made it to the most bittersweet of endings. But it never really ends, does it? Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan started off a wonderful discussion in hopes that their story is shared, and inspire actions to be taken to end the story they started telling. I hope one day Jasmine and Chelsea can be written into a world where they are not judged for their body size, type or gender. Where their opinions will be heard, and they can speak up, stand up and rise up!

This story will continue until we let it. Until we create equality for women; and until young boys are taught how to treat their female counterparts with respect. Until the older men of society learn that there is more than one gender on this planet. Watch Us Rise will be a story that never ends! Girls will continue to stage rallies and walk-outs. We will continue to share our stories and speak up, speak out, make our voices heard. Until our bodies stop being a selling point for products and companies cease to put us down to bring them up, we will rally and we will continue to rise!

★ Rating ★

I rated this book a ★★★★★ (5/5 stars) because it dealt with real-world issues and showed their impact on children as young as fourteen, and how these high schoolers can take some real-world action, instead of just creating a discussion. If these girls can do it, then so can us adults.

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xxx

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With Love Bree xx

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What Momma Left Me by Renée Watson | Spoiler Free Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

An oldie but a goodie!

Many thanks to the wonderful staff at Bloomsbury Publishing for sending me this novel for review. It was released in America on the 8th of January (my birthday!).

 

Was first published by Bloomsbury USA in February of 2012, and has been re-released this year

Blurb:

Rediscover Newbery Honor- and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winner Renée Watson's heart-rending debut, about one girl's journey to reconnect to joy.

Serenity is good at keeping secrets, and she's got a whole lifetime's worth of them. Her mother is dead, her father is gone, and starting life over at her grandparents' house is strange. Luckily, certain things seem to hold promise: a new friend who makes her feel connected, and a boy who makes her feel seen. But when her brother starts making poor choices, her friend is keeping her own dangerous secret, and her grandparents put all of their trust in a faith that Serenity isn't sure she understands, it is the power of love that will repair her heart and keep her sure of just who she is.

Renée Watson's stunning writing shines in this powerful and ultimately uplifting novel.

I loved how I was fully immersed in the story and how Watson just drew me in with her words. Though I did enjoy the book, the ending let me down and upon reflection, I discovered a few flaws with the novel. 

REVIEW!

This is the first book I’ve read by Renee Watson, and despite the harsh review I will give this book, I am eager to read further books by her in the future as I believe in on judging an author’s entire archive of books off of one work.

I will keep this short as it was quite a small novel and a quick one to fly through, despite all of the improper English in the speech of the characters that tripped me up and the constant use of “daddy” instead of “dad” or “father” that tripped me up constantly (sorry for being gen z).

The main thing that ticked me off about this novel was the fact that it was dealing with a girl of about 13-14 years of age who had lost both her mother and father and was now dealing with immense grief, but the story didn’t feel like it was focused on the grief, rather all the things that were happening in Serenity’s daily life. It made it worse that all of the actions that occurred weren’t a cause or had any direct relation to the death/ grief, but kind of ignored it except for when needing to bring up drama and old secrets for the sake of it. The storyline, that I felt wasn’t truly established, didn’t revolve around the central theme of Serenity’s mother’s death and the dangerous cause of it, rather just left the subject untouched altogether.

From the way Serenity spoke, using childish words like “daddy” and describing everything in a very simplistic and naïve way, it made her seem younger than the 13-14-year-old she was being portrayed as. Maybe it was because she was raised as a very conservative Christian and had little freedom or exposure to anything or just a manner in which she was raised, but I felt as if her speech and her actions – pinning after a boy who was described like someone much older – were very contradictory of each other, and I wasn’t sure of how to perceive her.

Despite this, I did feel okay with the other characters, although the things they did made me question their ages and parental guidance. I found that their journeys were a little more interesting than Serenity’s at times. Usually, when other characters lives entwine with the protagonists, their stories usually end too, wind up and come to a close with the protagonist; but it seemed as if there were too many unfinished stories & undiscovered happiness left out in the open. With Jay and his bag of clothes; and Maria and her grieving. If people are placed in the path of the protagonist with their own lives on display, they have to have an ending too. An explanation or reaction to certain events that would’ve been nice to see from other’s points of views too. The end was very much a let down for me and not at all conclusive or memorable, even for the protagonist.

Otherwise, I grew to enjoy and become comfortable with the voice it was written in, although the incorrect “me & Danny” was annoying as it is supposed to be “Danny & I” and really threw me off and ruined the flow of the story. I told myself that was just character and identified her as a resident of Portland and maybe that’s how they speak (improper English) in the area. I am making no judgements, though it did make the writing feel jerky and uncomfortable to read.

★ Rating ★

I rated this novel a ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars) as there were a few elements missing for me. It was definitely not a five-star novel, but it could’ve been a four star if the story was more developed and didn’t leave so many holes with the other characters that were involved in the story.

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What are your thoughts on Renée Watson’s writings? I’ve only read this one so I cannot say much, but I will be reading another to have a more informed opinion. xxx

Leave your opinions in the comments or alternatively on my social media channels!
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With Love Bree xx

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Imprison The Sky by A. C. Gaughan | Non-Spoiler Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

Book Reviews Are Back ☺

I’d like to extend my thanks to Bloomsbury publishing for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel for my enjoyment.

WOW. I think it’s common knowledge that the first book is typically not as good as the first one because the first is the real OG, the beginning of everything. It’s the origin story of all the characters and the world in general. But what if it isn’t?

Blurb:

Stolen from her family as a child, Aspasia has clawed her way up the ranks of Cyrus's black market empire to captain her own trading vessel--and she risks it all every time she uses her powerful magic to free as many women, children, and Elementae from slavery as she can.

But Cyrus is close to uncovering her secrets--not only that Aspasia is an air Elementa with the ability to sail her ship through the sky, but that she is also searching for her lost family. And if Aspasia can’t find her younger siblings before Cyrus does, she will never be able to break free. 

Armed with her loyal crew full of Elementae and a new recruit who controls an intriguing power, Aspasia finds herself in the centre of a brewing war that spans every inch of the ocean, and her power alone may not be enough to save her friends, family, and freedom.

Imprison the Sky is the sequel to a novel I read and reviewed last year called Reign The Earth. You can read the review by clicking on the above link. I adored that book, but there was something more to the story in this novel that I just rated far more highly.

REVIEW!

Initially, like as soon as the first page, this book had me confused. You see, I was under the very deep and anticipated impression that this novel was going to be a direct continuation of the previous one; same characters and everything. It wasn’t. It was so much more than that. It was the same world and the same story told in the eyes of another whom had suffered only as much hardship as our initial protagonist. Here in Imprison The Sky, we meet Aspasia. This book gave us an entirely new cast of characters to love and hate (but mostly love), as well as giving us back our favourites all in one.

As mentioned above, this book far outdid the first novel. I think it is because of the world building and the fact that this novel had a bigger and more complex area to work with; but also the fact that our protagonist had so many layers that were slowly uncovered as the story unfurled. From the way, Aspasia acted around her crew (or didn’t act), and the reasons behind her various choices and actions throughout the novel made me like her a great deal more. This improvement in the series so early on is a testament to the author’s amazing dedication to their art.

They say that you can learn a significant amount about a character by breaking them. I think Gaughen knew that because she did not hold back! We saw Aspasia through times of death, loss, happiness, pain, confusion; and in every occasion, her reaction differed letting the reader see another layer of her personality.

The whole premise of this novel is about slavery and the work to eradicate it, with a great emphasis on elemental magic and how the possessors cannot control or chose to have their power, yet are shunned and abused for what they have. Aspasia, an elemetae herself will take on and protect those with powers in any way she can.

The powers and use of them is one thing but I think we would all agree it wouldn’t have any degree of realism (or human nature) if the user didn’t maybe get exhausted by using their power. Well, Gaughen took this into consideration and placed emphasis on the exhaustion suffered by elementals who overexerted themselves when using their powers and how the only way to restore their power and energy is to – like any human – rest. This made for some good conflict and progression of the character dynamic.

The emphasis on the value of family was very strong in this novel also but in a different way that it was in the first book. Aspasia’s crew of displaced and former slave children was a place to be with people who made you happy and have someone to look out for. To know that someone(s) have your back as you have theirs.

Of course, my favourite parts were centred around the women in power. Not just good areas of power, but all sorts of powerful positions. We encounter Women Queens, Women Criminal Overlords, Women Rebellion Leaders. Female Captains. All of these women making good, bad and questionable decisions with their own motivations and reasons for doing so. Yes, of course, there were powerful men, but none seemed to be overpowerful or cancelling out the roles of the women, rather moving alongside them.

Finally, the beautiful evolution of the love story in the novel. I loved how it was very slow burning and how pure and special of a relationship it was. The significance of it to both of the parties really made it feel like it wasn’t thrown in there for teen appeal and it actually moved the story along and boosted both people in the relationship, making them better people by the end of the story. All was not well, but all was better in their lives with the other by their side and a promise of never leaving their place.

★ Rating ★

I, of course, rated Imprison the Sky a predictable ★★★★★ (5/5 stars). I don’t really think there is any other rating to give this book considering how amazing it is.

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What elemental power would you want to have and why?? xxx

Leave your opinions in the comments or alternatively on my social media channels!
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With Love Bree xx

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A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas | VIDEO Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

My First YouTube Book Review.

I almost started this post off by saying “Heyo Book Reviews”; oh my I’m a mess today. So you’re probably expecting a written book review today, but I’ve come here to promote my channel and tell you all that I have posted my first ever video review on my channel – something I was so apprehensive of doing.

I chose to review ‘A Court of Frost and Starlight’ by Sarah J. Maas not only because it was short and easy to take notes for, but I had a fair amount of constructive – not negative – points to mention; things that made the book less than satisfactory for me to read.

I have linked the video below for your viewing, or you can click this link here if the below doesn’t work.

This book is like when people ask for an Avengers day-in-a-life TV show but instead it’s the ACOTAR characters doing their daily shit. In my opinion, people shouldn’t be mad because this isn’t a real book with a plot rather a fun day in a life during the most eventful time of the year; the issues I had were less related to the storyline and more related to the way the book was written.

I did give this book ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 stars) on Goodreads but I don’t give a book such a low rating for no reason at all. If you’d like to know all of my thoughts on the book – or should I say novella? – please watch the video I made and maybe give it a like x

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What were your thoughts on A Court of Mist and Fury? Did you get angry like everyone else upon the release of this novel or are your reading it now like me and going “meh, why all the drama?”?

Leave your opinions in the comments or alternatively on my social media channels!
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With Love Bree xx

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All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor|Non-Spoiler Book Review

The advanced copy of this book was kindly sent to me by Bloomsbury Publishing and was released on the 15th of May 2018.

Heyo Bookaholics!

I was so fascinated by this book when I received it. I was so excited to read this that I even posted a First Impressions One-Book Haul a couple weeks ago, and in this review, I’ll compare my thoughts from that post to my final thoughts after reading this book.

This Is All True Book Cover

Goodreads Blurb:

Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favourite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . . .

My first thought was; “I’ve never heard of this author before.” And not to mean it in a bad way but I tend to enjoy picking up books by authors whom I am unfamiliar with; so when I received this book from Bloomsbury, I was excited (especially since she has such a cool name).

The thing that mainly drew me in – besides the author’s name – was the blood red cover and how it gave off a mysterious vibe.

Review!

WOW! I don’t know where to start with this because my thoughts are all over the place, so I’m going to start with my first reading impression which was all of 6 pages; because I tend to only read 4-6 pages of the book before I write down my first impressions check-in on Goodreads, but this book caught me off guard.

“interesting interesting
I wasn’t expecting to be greeted with that kind of format, I quite like it, especially the freedom of the character – not the author – to tell their story.
It feels genuine and I can’t wait to get home and pick it up again.”

In summary, this novel follows the story of three best friends – Miri, Penny, and Soleil – plus Jonah, who meet their favourite author – Fatima Ro – whom they obsess over and as it turns out, they befriend her thinking she is the wisest woman in the world. Though it becomes more clear that she doesn’t want them as friends, rather as characters in her new story as she has already exhausted her own experiences in her first break-out novel. When the girls realise that they’d been used it was too late. Dangerous repercussions come from Fatima’s novel which leaves the girls, the media, and everyone involved and otherwise with conflicting opinions.

The story from three main different perspectives – Miri, Penny, and Soleil – in various formats, with the added input of some minor characters. I was expecting a stock standard novel but was greeted with an interview; then a journal entry, then a novel, written by Fatima Ro. YES, you heard right! A novel inside a novel! This concept only worked because the (bear with me) novel that was written by Fatima Ro was parallel with the story that was being told.

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The personalities and intentions of the three main characters can be summed up in a sentence: Miri wanted to be Fatima. Penny wanted to be noticed. Soleil admires Fatima and every girl looks up to Fatima for advice. This impacted her decisions and made them perfect pawns in the game that was Fatima’s novel.

It’s interesting because the whole book is centred around Fatima Ro, yet no one knows her current location, no one has heard from her, yet we know everything about her. Regardless of what she did, Fatima Ro set her heart out on the table and showed the girls everything in order to gain their trust and in turn their story to sell as her own.

There was a point in the book – the first main plot twist – where Jonah’s past is divulged in part to Soleil and this is supposed to make us see him as a victim, although I as a reader didn’t see this at all and this is where I began to feel a disconnect from the characters and their opinions. I’m unsure if I as a reader was intended to know the secret about Jonah so early on in his book because I felt that all the other characters were ignorant of such a seemingly obvious fact.

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THE ENDING WAS A SHOCKER! No one, not even the best guesser at plot twists would see this coming; and it wasn’t even about the twist it was how the reader’s opinion on Fatima Ro just shifts!

HI! Past Bree here; just throwing my twenty cents in with my immediate post-book thoughts: “I’m a wreck. I don’t want to do anything but remember the whole book. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, maybe a reason to hate Fatima? An alternative for Jonah? I’m broken inside, I can feel it.  This book had an earth-shattering impact on me and the incorporation if Fatima’s book made it as if I was her best friend and she was telling me about the theory of human connections. I’ve learnt so much from this book and I might sound like Miri which sucks but I understand why they loved her regardless.

“Even though she seemed like she always wanted everyone to admire her and she wanted to be the class act, Fatima did put on that front of caring for others, and when she did, it was so convincing I couldn’t help but believe it myself.

“I think what made it easy to side against Fatima was the fact that we never hear from Fatima and/ or Jonah (for obvious reasons) but I feel if we had there would be hate for him if we knew his true, raw story instead of just always hearing arguments against Fatima Ro.”

HI! Present Bree again, apologies for that informative interruption – a nice change from the rude and annoying. After this little thought dump I’d written, I tweeted Lygia (the author of AOTIT) because I was so conflicted and confused, I didn’t know what I was meant to think! I’ve attached screenshots of the tweets below:

Tweet Lygia 1

Tweet Lygia 2

Lygia replied with a gif which made my day (because I love gifs!).

Tweet Lygia 3

I was really looking for some consolation as to what she intended for the reader to gain from her book. I find that when a book leaves me with mixed feelings I begin to wonder about what the author intended and how that should impact my review. For instance, if they didn’t receive the intended reaction, was the book really effective in serving its purpose? and how should this impact a review of the book?

Here are some lessons I learnt from reading this book:

Lygia Day Peñaflor is an amazingly tallented human bean and in this novel I learnt a valube lesson about human connections and how toxic it can be when you are too open with and to others; especially those people who’d rather stay closed up. 

I’ve also learnt that obsession can blind you, and to not be dependent on others because everyone has their own agenda, even if they do seem to show love and care for you.

here were A LOT of thoughts when I finished this book and I did the best I could in collating them into something cohesive, coherent and readable for your enjoyment.

 

★ Rating ★

I rated this book ★★★☆ (4/5 stars). The ending nearly pushed this book to a full 5 stars, but there was a niggling feeling throughout the entire book that there was something missing; something that would further connect me to the characters. This feeling left this book just short of 5 stars, but I’d read it all again to experience that ending one more time.
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What author are you obsessed with and worship? Much like Miri worshipped and wanted to become Fatima Ro, I want to know who you’re role models are and who you’d want to mimic. I’m scared to befriend an author after this because even I know the temptation of adding friends and their experiences into my works; it’s not genuinely yours.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?? I’d love to hear them down in the comments below or on my socials.

Also, this was the first post with the new layout and graphics! So please do give me feedback on the post graphics, my overall blog look, and anything else! xxx

Leave your opinions in the comments or alternatively on my social media channels!
Instagram // Goodreads // Twitter // YouTube

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Thank You, With Love Bree xx

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© Jasper+Spice 2018. All Rights Reserved. Please do not use without my permission. This post was not sponsored, all photos and graphics are of my own creation.

Reign the Earth by A.C.Gaughen | Semi-Spoiler Book Review

This book was kindly sent to me from Bloomsbury late last year in exchange for an honest review. It was released on the 30th of January 2018 and is approximately 340 pages.

Heyo Bookaholics!

TWO REVIEWS IN TWO WEEKS?!!! Damn, I am on a roll and so so proud of myself!

Reign The Earth Book Cover.jpgGoodreads Summary:

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

This intense, richly drawn high-fantasy by the author of Scarlet will hold readers spellbound.

Despite this book taking me a month and a half to read (*insert dates*) I absolutely enjoyed every moment of reading it, and if you are in need of a diverse dystopian-type fantasy novel, this is the book for you.

Review!

This book, written by A.C. Gaughen is marketed as the first in a new series titled The Elementae. This book has made appearances on my February, March, and April/ May (unofficial) TBR’s, to the point where I’d finally picked it up on the 20th of March, finishing it only a few days ago on the 3rd of May.

There is one quote that I really love from this book; and to the protagonist, it is very much a survival mantra; “I am a daughter of the desert, and my feet will never fail me.” I loved how she still has values and morals despite being in the clutched of a selfish crazed ruler. This leads into her love of family and her heritage, and how despite the repression she’s faced while married to a king, she stayed true to the woman she was raised to be.

The family values in this novel were tremendous. It was made to seem like an underlying issue under all the torture, fight for rights and survival, but it was really at the forefront of the reasons behind everyone’s actions. Whether it was love, rebellion, and loyalty, everyone did things that they believed was the right thing to do by their family, and half the reason people stuck by one another was due to a blood relation they had or a traumatic upbringing that kept them loyal to one another.

The ending just petered out, where a cliffhanger would’ve left me begging for the next book, whereas now I’m quite content and sadly a little disappointed with how it ended. The book was so packed with action, suspense and magical elements, I thought the ending would really leave me screaming and crying for answers; where now I’ve fallen into an everything will be okay mood with this book and I don’t like that!!!

I feel that they could’ve made more mention of the dark colour of her skin. It’s not a big issue but the representation in the novel was slightly underrepresented, especially when there is a powerful white male trying to overshadow her.

★ Rating ★

I rated this book ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars) on Goodreads because of the strength Shalia had despite being in a situation where she was being repressed and ignored because her husband believed he was a God and she was only there to bear children and show off like a trophy. The ending as mentioned above decreased the rating from 4/5 to 3/5, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the book.

I had a wonderful time reading this book and I took away the value of humanity, family, and that as a woman I should stand up for what is right even if a crazy white male is being overbearing and suppressive. I’d recommend you read this book especially if you love books about women who aren’t afraid to shy away from a fight and will fight for peace and equality regardless of the benefit to themselves.
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Stay Happy, Healthy, and have a Lovely Week!!

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Thank You so much for reading! I hope to see you all back here on Wednesday 🙂

BREE XOXO


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© Jasper+Spice 2018. All Rights Reserved. Please do not use without permission. This post was not sponsored, the photos and graphics are my own.

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS Book Haul + April Wrap-Up!

Disclaimer: This is NOT A REVIEW! This post is not sponsored by Bloomsbury Publishing but they were kind enough to send me the book that is the inspiration and centre of this post.

Heyo Bookaholics!

I see people on YouTube all the time doing these first impressions clothing and/or makeup hauls where they receive products from a company and share their first reactions on camera. So I thought, since I never read the blurb before I read the book, what better way to do a wrap-up and haul of only 1 book, than to do a first impressions/ what I think will happen based solely off of the title and any other snippets on the book’s back and front cover.

On Monday, I received a package from Bloomsbury which contained a red book with large white writing on the front: ALL OF THIS IS TRUE. Written by Lygia Day Peñaflor – an author I’d never heard of before – this uncorrected proof doesn’t have the final cover, and instead of a summary on the back cover it has two quotes from the text, which makes this game all the more fun!

img20180424215907576647519.jpg Continue reading “FIRST IMPRESSIONS Book Haul + April Wrap-Up!”

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson | Non-Spoiler Review

This novel was sent to me by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia two months prior to it’s UK release on February 8th 2018, in exchange for an honest review. I am very grateful to have been chosen to review this book.

Heyo Bookaholics!!

I honestly do not know what to say in this review, other than I loved this book so so much though it wasn’t perfect, it was engaging, captivating, and oddly haunting.

The Wren Hunt Book Cover.jpg

Goodreads Summary:

Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.

Continue reading “The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson | Non-Spoiler Review”

August 2017 Book Haul! 10+ Books!!

Hey Ho Bookaholics!

I only paid $10 for books this month and I could never be prouder of myself in the shopping department and for this achievement I would like to thank Bloomsbury for inviting me to the Bloomsbury Bloggers event and gifting me with all of these amazing looking books! I would also like to thank Andrew’s Bookshop for actually stocking and discouting a hardback graphic novel! Three things that are very very hard to come by in Australian bookstores – hardbacks, cheap books, graphic novels – were found and August ended on an amazing note.

21277799_271724369981843_197532305_o Continue reading “August 2017 Book Haul! 10+ Books!!”