Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud

Mirage (Mirage, #1)
In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she too will have adventues, and travel beyond her isolated moon. 
But when adventure comes to Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.
As Amani is forced into her new role, she can't help but enjoy the palace's beauty - and her time with the princess' fiance, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection... because one wrong move could lead to her death. 


I went in this book not quite knowing what to expect and was pleasantly surprised! I loved it!

I listened to most of this book as an Audiobook, and I highly recommend it. This is one of those books where I know I would have pronounced the names and places much different if I read them first. I really enjoyed hearing the book read with the pronunciation the author intended for the characters and places.

I have only recently started listening to audiobooks. This was only the 3rd or 4th one I've listened to, and I enjoyed it very much. I especially love that I can read while driving now, something you should never do without an audiobook.

This book is really well written! The author did an excellent job at world building and character development, and the plot was very unique.

Although this book is set on a different planet, much of the book was inspired by Moroccan culture. This was awesome! I love when YA fantasy books incorporate different cultures, even if they are set on other planets!

The only thing that irked me just a little about this book was how easily Amani seems to settle into her new life and doesn't seem to be taking her situation as seriously as she should be. She is supposed to be in danger throughout the whole book, and it seems like she forgets that quite a bit. This could be a combination of her personality and how young she is, but I still expected her at several points during the book to stop and consider how much danger she is in.

I still really enjoyed reading this book, though! I definitely recommend it!

The ending left me asking a whole bunch of questions, so I will definitely check out book #2 when it comes out!

Book # 2, Court of Lions, is listed on GoodReads. It says it will be released sometime this year but doesn't say when. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden

Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightengale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen. 
Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers-and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasua will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.
Praise for The Winter of the Witch:

(Normally I wouldn't include this, but I have several good reasons, besides the fact that it was included on GoodReads with the synopsis)

  1. I completely agree with it.
  2. Laini Taylor is AH-MAY-ZING, and I ♥♥♥ her!
  3. Because I want to. 

"Katherine Arden's Winternight Trilogy isn't just good-- it's hug-to-your-chest, straight-to-the-favorites-shelf, reread-immediately good, and each book just gets better. The Winter of the Witch plunges us back to fourteenth-century Moscow, where old gods and new vie for the soul of Russia and fate rests on a witch girl's slender shoulders. Prepare to have your heart ripped out, loaned back to you full of snow and magic, and ripped out some more" - Laini Taylor


I just got done reading this series, and I am so sad that Vasya's story has come to an end! This series was amazing.

If I could only say one thing about this series, I would definitely borrow the sentiment that stuck out to me most when I was reading other reviews of this book:
This is why I read. 
This book was unique and inspiring and funny and sad and insightful and creative, and a whole lot of other things, all wound up into one amazing work of fiction.

If you have not read the first 2 books, I recommend starting with my review of The Bear and the Nightengale (book #1) or The Girl in the Tower (book #2). 

This book starts off right where The Girl in the Tower ended. Dmitri still doesn't understand Vasya and tries to offer to marry her off within the first few pages of this book. Her siblings know the truth now, though, even though I'm not sure how much of it they believe. 

I absolutely loved this book! It was a perfect way to wrap up an awesome trilogy. 

I loved the unique premise for these books. I have never read any books that incorporated Russian folklore and fairytales. I loved learning about them and a little bit about Russian history.

In my reviews of TB&TN and TGitT, I ranted about my appreciation for the author's use of the Russian language and thanked her for adding a section about Russian names and language and their use throughout the book. I will not rant again, but "ditto." 😄

I still 💜💜💜 Vasya! She would be a total badass in today's society, but in her time, her level of badassery was completely unheard of in a woman. I love that no matter what, she doesn't back down and do what society expects of her, despite pretty much everyone around her trying to marry her off or send her to a convent. Thankfully, this book has less of that.

This is from TGitT, but I like it so here.

I also 💜 the chyerti! I wish I could find some fan art to post of them. While I've liked the domovoi since the first book, I also really liked the mushroom chyerti in this book! 

The only thing I would have liked better would have been to read the whole trilogy at one time, instead of having to wait for up to a year for each subsequent book. GOOD NEWS: If you haven't read any of the series yet, you can do that now, since they have all been released now!

I liked the way the author ended this book, but oh boy did it have me bawling, as did several other parts in the book. 

I also like the beautiful different book covers done for these books. Here is one set:

Image result for the girl in the tower

Here is a cute pic from Instagram that features the back of this book, which has the quote:
I will ride the world, in between times, through the farthest countries of dark and day. 

How cool is that?

If you haven't started reading this series yet, GO DO IT NOW! What are you waiting for?

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Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 Reading Challenge

Happy new year everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season!

I just set my GoodReads reading challenge and am considering doing a different kind of reading challenge this year, but there are so many different ones to choose from. 

Click the picture below for a list of all the different reading challenges online this year:

Here is another "Master List," because I found a couple that are on one but not the other. This one is from GirlXoxo

2019 Reading Challenges

Here are a few of my favorite. What do you think? 

This one is from Epic Reads and includes a different challenge for each week. The first week's challenge is to read a book thats cover is your favorite color. 

Join the Year of Epic Reads Challenge!

First Week's Challenge:
Click the pic to see some examples
Favorite Color

This is one from PopSugar that I like. I think it would really take me out of my reading comfort zone and encourage me to read a lot of books that I would never read otherwise. 

This one is designed to read one book each week. 

I'm tempted to do this one, because pretty much all of the books I read in 2018 were sci-fi and fantasy.

reading challenge 2019(1).png      fantasy bingo card(1)

However, I am also thinking that I should try a challenge that will make me branch out a bit and try reading some other genres that I might not choose on my own.

This is probably the one I need to do most! I have tons of ebooks that I've gotten for free that I haven't read yet. 

Then, there are the Alphabet Soup challenges. The original Alphabet Soup challenges requires you to read a book that starts with each letter of the alphabet. However, there is also an Author's Edition this year, which requires you to read a book by an author whose first or last name starts with each letter of the alphabet. 


Interested in getting involved (or more involved) in the book blogging community? Here's a challenge designed to keep bloggers in communication throughout the year.

I haven't decided which one I'm going to try yet, but I will post it on IG and FB when I do. 

What do you think? Which of these do you think sounds like fun, or which one do you plan to do this year? 

Is there a challenge I didn't list here that you think I would like? Please let me know! I'm up for suggestions!