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Looking for a YA series to read this Christmas? // No Vain Loss by M.C. Frank : Book Review

NO VAIN LOSS (NO ORDINARY STAR #3)


Summary:

A soldier is summoned to the North Pole, days before the year changes, told to fix the great Clock for a celebration. He has no idea what to do.A girl, hunted for the crime of being born, almost dies out on the ice. She is rescued by the last polar bear left alive.
A library waits for them both, a library built over a span of a hundred years, forgotten in the basement of an ice shack.
The world hasn’t known hunger or sickness in hundreds of years. It has also forgotten love and beauty.
This is the One World.
The year is 2524.

Inspired by the short stories of Ray Bradbury, this futuristic young adult novel in three parts is set in a world where Christmas -among other things- is obsolete and a Clock is what keeps the fragile balance of peace.

Written in three parts, this is the breathtaking story of how two unlikely people change the world, and each other, one book at a time.

In No Vain Loss, the world is on the brink of the greatest war humanity has ever known. Lives will be lost. New truths will be revealed.

Review:

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

What I liked:

This series is definitely one of my all-time favorites. I don’t think I have come across a better written young adult series; most of them are either too simplistic, or cheesy, or transparently copying The Hunger Games so that the sales are high. No Ordinary Star on the hand is a fresh story, built on a striking, frozen, cold background (I adore the imagery). The characters are the absolute best. Felix was stupid and adorable and Astra was strong and beautiful and fiery.Β  The first two parts of the story had already stolen my heart, and quite predictably, I found this installment near perfect. It was an absolutely breathtaking read and I just wanted to read without stopping, and in fact forgot to take notes for writing the review (which is why this review is so messy). The books are each really short, they don’t take much time to finish, hardly a sitting or two. However, M.C. Frank packs a huge amount of emotions, suspense, and sheer beauty in these pages. Not going to lie, the ending made me cry and it was beautiful. When I first finished it, I thought there were quite a lot of loose ends, but I feel like I LIKE how the ending is a little unresolved, giving you space to think.

What I didn’t like:

Not much, but I do wish there was more world-building, because I wanted to know more of the world. However, I don’t think the length and the style of the series would really support more intricate details, so I am happy with how it was all the same.

Overall:

If you are looking for short reads to go with your Christmas-y mood, BUT you don’t want to read something too cheesy or too serious, this. is. perfect. I cannot stress more on how much I adore MC. Frank’s versatile writing style, and I highly recommend this series (and her other books) from the very bottom of my heart.

The fact that the covers of all three book are STUNNING is an added plus.

Happy reading guys!

– Sreepurna.

πŸ’œπŸ’™

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Godblind (The Godblind Trilogy #1)- Anna Stephens ~ Book Review

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Summary:

The Mireces worship the bloodthirsty Red Gods. Exiled from Rilpor a thousand years ago, and left to suffer a harsh life in the cold mountains, a new Mireces king now plots an invasion of Rilpor’s thriving cities and fertile earth.

Dom Templeson is a Watcher, a civilian warrior guarding Rilpor’s border. He is also the most powerful seer in generations, plagued with visions and prophecies. His people are devoted followers of the god of light and life, but Dom harbors deep secrets, which threaten to be exposed when Rillirin, an escaped Mireces slave, stumbles broken and bleeding into his village.

Meanwhile, more and more of Rilpor’s most powerful figures are turning to the dark rituals and bloody sacrifices of the Red Gods, including the prince, who plots to wrest the throne from his dying father in the heart of the kingdom. Can Rillirin, with her inside knowledge of the Red Gods and her shocking ties to the Mireces King, help Rilpor win the coming war?

Review:

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Things I loved about this book:

*So we all know that fantasy is basically The Genre right now, whether it’s the Game of Thrones TV show based on the ASOIAF series or the Throne of Glass series popular among young adults. And do I want more of this genre? Hell yes.

*The characters in this series are AMAZING. I especially loved how realistic Rillirin’s character is, how she is not unnaturally strong and bad-ass like your general heroine these days. Her strength comes from within, and it’s quiet, but it’s world-changing. Lesson: You don’t necessarily need to be an athletic, beautiful assassin to be a strong woman.

*THE SHIPS. I really didn’t expect romance in this book, but it was there and it was beautiful and heart-wrenching and soul-shattering. Call me biased, but I am obsessed with the tender little moments in the otherwise dark and grim world of Godblind.

*Honestly, I didn’t really like the book in the beginning, but it kept getting better and the ending just kind of drove me crazy. I need the second book real bad (and that’s when you know the book was worth the read).

Things I didn’t like:

*The beginning was a bit slow paced.

*Some parts were really, really gruesome. (This is probably not a bad thing for everyone, but everyone has a tolerance limit and this almost pushed mine. Also, when it wasn’t like it was necessary to be that gruesome for plot development, only the shock factor I guess.)

*A lot of the story was pretty close to ASOIAF (but that isn’t REALLY a bad thing for me because I love good old Martin’s books).

Overall:

If you like fantasy, and can stomach a bit of gore in books, this debut is a must-read. It is raw and gritty and in fandom-language, “gives you the right feels”. But it’s also intelligent, realistic and thought-provoking. If you are having a boring weekend which needs some spicing up, this is the book you need.

(HarperCollins did a great job with the cover, check it out here )

four-and-a-half-stars

– Sreepurna.

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How To Read Literature Like A Professor – Thomas C. Foster: Book Review

Summary:

What does it mean when a fictional hero takes a journey? Shares a meal? Gets drenched in a sudden rain shower? Often, there is much more going on in a novel or poem than is readily visible on the surface — a symbol, maybe, that remains elusive, or an unexpected twist on a character — and there’s that sneaking suspicion that the deeper meaning of a literary text keeps escaping you.

In this practical and amusing guide to literature, Thomas C. Foster shows how easy and gratifying it is to unlock those hidden truths, and to discover a world where a road leads to a quest; a shared meal may signify a communion; and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just rain. Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices, and form, How to Read Literature Like a Professor is the perfect companion for making your reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun.

Review:

Rating: 5/5 stars

Thomas C. Foster is your friend and favorite professor rolled into one. How To Read Literature Like A Professor solved a lot of my problems, and I can assure you, it will do the same for you, provided you are reading it for the right reasons.

Firstly, I’d like to mention that this book is used in a lot of colleges/high schools as a legit recommended reading. (LUCKY YOU). In my opinion, every English class in high school or an undergraduate year should use this book to make lives easier. I am not even exaggerating.

I am an English major in my 2nd year of college as an undergraduate, and this book helped A LOT (understatement). But that shouldn’t be a surprise, the book seems to have been written exclusively for English majors. Right? Wrong.

How To Read Literature Like A Professor isn’t only for us poor fellows doomed with a lifetime of overanalyzing. We learn all this in class anyway, albeit not in such a clear and fun way. This book is for anyone who reads. Any bibliophile who would like to really understand a book. You don’t need to be studying Literature to know a book, to read a book properly. This guide book of sorts gives you a completely new and enriched insight to literature.

If you are a student of literature, doing your masters or PhD, this might not be very useful to you. Foster mainly explains key concepts and tricks that help you read literature, and fill in the gaps your high school English teacher or college professor should have filled (They never do. They’ll expect you to know all this magically).

Foster uses a lot of examples in this book, but it shouldn’t be a problem, because (a) the examples are from pretty common books and (b) whenever he mentions a book, he explains the plot and other details so that you can understand the context.

Conclusion:

I highly recommend this book to all book lovers who need a little help to get to know books better. Not only is Foster’s writing witty and fresh, it also motivates you to go and read some books and really understand them.

Happy Reading!

~Sreepurna πŸ’–

Review: My Lady Jane

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My Lady Jane

Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. InΒ My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition ofΒ The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual historyβ€”because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.

4.5 laughing-my-head-off stars

Triple POVs, lots of funny dialogues, the cutest love story, and events that take place when you leave a few teenagers to rule a country πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Things I liked about this book:

β€’ Its hilarious. Like I was literally laughing so hard that I fell of my bed.

β€’ Jane is so cool! She loves books *shrugs* She kind of reminds me Hermione Granger now that I think of it *ponders*

β€’ I know nothing about British history, but I still found this book interesting, and outright ridiculous. But awesome.

β€’ The element of magic. Oh my God πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

β€’ 3 people and one book could be messy, but not this one. Its neat.

β€’ The midlogue. Is that even a word? Its funny af.

β€’ G (and I will call him ‘G’) is actually super cute. I kinda hated him in the beginning but then he became my bae ❀

β€’ That remake of “Shall I compare thee” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Things I disliked about this book:

β€’ I dont know why, maybe this is just me, but the Edward parts were boring. I had to skip portions!! That boring.

β€’ Slow beginning. For like 3 pages.

β€’ Sometimes the “narrator’s notes” became unnecessary and I was like, Oh c’mon just continue the damn story.

Overall:

If you are looking for a light read with lots of action and magic and laughter and twisted history- this is your book.

– Sripurna.

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Tiger Eyes Review

 

Tiger Eyes

Judy Blume

Davey has never felt so alone in her life. Her father is dead (shot in a holdup) and now her mother is moving the family to New Mexico to try to recover. Climbing in Los Alamos Canyons, Davey meets mysterous Wolf, who seems to understand the rage and fear she feels. Slowly, with Wolf’s help, Davey realizes that she must get on with her life. But when will she be ready to leave the past behind? Will she ever stop hurting?

This was such a “meh” book. Don’t get me wrong, its not BAD as such. The story was typical, a grieving teenager who moves to a new city and meets new people. The ending (kinda *SPOILER*) is kind of bittersweet, but it sort of depressed me. To be honest this reminded me of Sarah Dessen books, except Sarah Dessen has longer books where you ACTUALLY have time to form a bond with the characters.

People who are grieving someone close might be able to relate to Davey and her behaviour, but this book just wasn’t my thing.

-Sripurna.

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The Wrath And The Dawn :Review

First disclaimer: I haven’t read The Rose And The Dagger yet, so I won’t say this is a completely unprejudiced review, because I have no idea who turns into what next.

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The Wrath And The Dawn

Renee Ahdieh

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

Rating: 4.9 stars

Genre: Fantasy, romance, retelling

Cliffhanger: Yes, but the next book is available now. (That’s me urging you to definitely try this duology)

Things I loved about this book:

*Pace: I LOVED the pace. It seems slightly slow in the beginning, but then it picks up a wonderful pace, and you can’t stop reading more of the story.

*Retelling: I havent read A Thousand And One Nights, but I have a fair idea of the story, and I love how its retold with twist here.

*Shahrzad: I generally dislike a lot of well-liked female leads in YA stories (*cough cough*) but I adored Shahrzad. She’s brave, but she has a reason for this. The fact that her courage is driven by vengeance makes the whole thing so much more realistic. I was so tired of heroines who were just genetically inherently brave and amazing and “flawed” (yet flawless). Shahrzad here is unapologetically perfect and amazing (or maybe I am prejudiced).

*Jalal: No spoilers, you’ll meet Jalal after a few chapters into this book. I’ll just say, no matter what the next book holds, uptil now, I really like this dude.

*Khalid: Khalid is the new love of my life. Nowhere in the book does he exude charm, or even “brood” in that typical way of alpha heroes, but you can’t help but love him.

*Khalid: At the end of the day I am a goner for dark alpha heroes with a darker past.

*Khalid : Oh well..

Things I disliked about this book:

*The slow beginning

Overall:

The Wrath and The Dawn is a perfect mixture of adventure, romance, magic, action, and lots of story-telling. It fed my imagination, it pulled me into that world. A lot of reviewers criticise Shahrzad for being weakened by her love for Khalid, and because her sense of “vengeance” is not strong enough. My answer: Did you miss the memo where it said this is a romance? Have you ever read a love story??

Call me a fool, but I believe in all the “love” crap, atleast when its written in a book. :p

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If you are anything like me, go ahead and read this book.

-Sripurna.

P.S: Did I mention I love Khalid?