The ancient world of magic is no more. Its heroes are dead, its halls are ruins, and its great battles between Light and Dark are forgotten. Only the Stewards remember, and they keep their centuries-long vigil, sworn to protect humanity if the Dark King ever returns.
Sixteen-year-old dock boy Will is on the run, pursued by the men who killed his mother. When an old servant tells him of his destiny to fight beside the Stewards, Will is ushered into a world of magic, where he must train to play a vital role in the oncoming battle against the Dark.
As London is threatened by the Dark King’s return, the reborn heroes and villains of a long-forgotten war begin to draw battle lines. But as the young descendants of Light and Dark step into their destined roles, old allegiances, old enmities and old flames are awakened. Will must stand with the last heroes of the Light to prevent the fate that destroyed their world from returning to destroy his own.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy this so much like just wow this was amazing??? THE WAY IT GOT SO DARK TOWARDS THE END OMG I LOVE IT SO MUCH.
“The bright star holds, even as the darkness rises.”
This was my first C.S. Pacat book and it definitely won’t be my last. I can’t believe it took me this long to read one of her books especially with how much I’ve seen her name going around. Dark Rise started off pretty slow but as I read it kept getting better and better.
I love the way how the beginning made me think it was just the typical good vs. evil but then changed so dramatically. Like I predicted the plot twists but it was the type of plot twist that I was hoping would happen and am so happy it did.
The characters had so many layers to them *thinking about two characters specifically* like the moral grayness in this book was *chef’s kiss* I’m so very much in love with them.
“We don’t choose the moment. The moment comes whether we will it or not, and we must make ourselves ready.”
I wasn’t sure about Will at first. He wasn’t really interesting but then I began to like him which eventually turned to love. His character is actually super interesting. The calm demeanor he has, being really careful and logical with the decisions he makes + very intelligent in a quiet like manner. It’s insane how he’s able to come to the right conclusions so often?? And I can already tell that there is still so much we don’t know about Will, I’m so so excited to learn more about him.
“Her world, all her dreams, narrowed down to this cell, her false lives stripped away to show the truth: she wasn’t wanted.“
This is one of many times where I wish I could give a character a big hug. VIOLET DESERVES SO MUCH LOVE ANYONE WHO HURTS HER FACES MY WRATH🔪🔪 Literally want to murder so many characters for daring to bring her pain. She’s such a strong and loyal friend, I adore her so much. Violet and Will’s friendship was LITERALLY EVERYTHING. Like the loyalty they have for each other and their protectiveness🥺 It makes my heart swell with love, I really hope this relationship isn’t destroyed in any way because I will be heartbroken.
“I think what people were is less important than what they are. And what people are is less important than what they could be.”
JAMES OMG JAMES I LOVE YOU. Is it really any surprise that I ended up loving James in this book?? He’s definitely the character that had the most depth. So many revelations I wasn’t expecting from him and he too made my heart hurt from the pain. And can I just scream about the tension between him and Will??? I read in other reviews that theyre all prepared to wait many books for the main ship to get together and oh no😭😭 I’m ready to go crazy over all the angst and with the way this book ended- *incoherent screaming*
“Dark times lie ahead. But even in the darkest night, there is a star.”
There’s one more character who I really came to like and honestly wasn’t expecting to with the way they were introduced. Cyprian is definitely an interesting character and though he didn’t have many appearances in here, I can so see that he’ll play a bigger role in book 2. And I see the potential for a new ship to sail👀 but we’ll have to see for ourselves in the sequel. I would certainly love to see how it develops hehe
“Dark times lie ahead. But even in the darkest night, there is a star.”
All in all this was such an unexpected delight and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. Dark Rise also gave me The Infernal Devices vibes–especially in the beginning. Once you get past the beginning with its world-building, it gets super good. There’s so much potential for this series and I can’t wait to see how it all develops from here on out.
Thank you Harper Collins Canada for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.
To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I got some Skyward vibes from this and I just loved it so much.
Also Zetian, please marry me.
↪ The Hunduns who are dangeous creatures and are trying to destroy society which lies in the Great Wall ~ the Krell who are also dangerous and mysterious creatures trying to destroy the human race/
↪ Fighter pilots who use Chrysalises (aka mechas) to battle against the Hunduns to defend their home ~ Pilots who use fighter jets to battle the Krell and defend their land
↪ Society is against this one girl who managaes to kill one of their pilots and has too much power ~ society is against this one girl whose father was branded as a coward and now view her as one too.
Seriously, if you loved the plot of Skyward, then I definitely say you’ll probably love this too! The similarities I saw sdfgsdfs it was so cool but I have to say that the idea of giant mechas was even more interesting than what Skyward had. And like the fanart designs??? THEY LOOK EPIC.
I will say that the only reason this didn’t get five stars was because of that I was a bit confused in the beginning with the information given but that could just be me and my dumb brain and some pacing issues throughout the story but other than that !! EVERYONE MUST READ THIS.
“But I have no faith in love. Love cannot save me. I choose vengeance.”
So before reading this I actually had no knowledge of footbinding, so finding about it here in this book… oh god. Just shows another way with how cruel society can be to women istg. And seeing Zetian with this disability and not letting it define her?? I love it. Of course, there were still moments where she did admit to needing help due to her feet and she wasn’t embarrassed about it at all, not being stubborn about the whole situation which made me respect the queen even more.🔥
“If we want something, we have to push back against everything around us and take it by force.”
The way Zetian had men fall at her feet (literally) made me cackle in delight. They all had it coming and deserved so much worse ❤ Xiran created such an amazing female protagonist like I would fall at Zetian’s feet gladly all day, every day. SUCH A QUEEN.
Also can I just say how much I wheezed reading so many scenes where this book made fun of other typical cliche tropes?? yes, i say this liking said cliche tropes I loved it so much pleasee. A glimpse:
“Do you honestly expect me to believe you’re some misunderstood, secretly sweet guy?”
wheezing now isnt that the case always?? and i love that trope
“Yes, because love doesn’t solve problems. Solving problems solves problems.”
oh how other YA protagonists wouldn’t agree
“You’d better not be tangled up in a love triangle.”
I CANT PLZ I LOVED THIS BAHAHAHA
Anyways, Xiran is such a legend and if this is only just their debut, I can’t wait to see more of their books!! AND THE WAY THEY ENDED THAT BOOK- THAT IS ILLEGAL HOW DARE YOU, XIRAN. You’ll be paying for my therapy bills if I think what happened at the end actually truly happened 🔪🔪
ALSO CAN I JUST SCREAM ABOUT THERE BEING A POLY RELATIONSHIP???? I LOVE THEM ALL SO CUTE UGH. Yizhi and Shimin are such cinnamon rolls sdfdsgs plus Zetian the queen, I swear they’re perfect it hurts. And the fanart I’ve seen on Xiran’s page isn’t helping at all😩
Zetian and Yizhi by 辞客ck
Shimin and Yizhi by Guilu
Zetian and Shimin by 妄猫Sama
All I feel is pain, please give me book 2 right now. * sobbing *
Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for sending me an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!!
Seventeen-year-old Reyna has spent most of her life at her family’s gorgeous seaside resort in Tobago, the Plumeria. But what once seemed like paradise is starting to feel more like purgatory. It’s been two years since Reyna’s mother passed away, two years since Aiden – her childhood best friend, first kiss, first love, first everything – left the island to pursue his music dreams. Reyna’s friends are all planning their futures and heading abroad. Even Daddy seems to want to move on, leaving her to try to keep the Plumeria running.
And that’s when Aiden comes roaring back into her life – as a VIP guest at the resort.
Aiden is now one-third of DJ Bacchanal – the latest, hottest music group on the scene. While Reyna has stayed exactly where he left her, Aiden has returned to Tobago with his Grammy-nominated band and two gorgeous LA socialites. And he may (or may not be) dating one of them…
Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Where the Rhythm Takes You is a romantic, mesmerizing novel of first love and second chances.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
I’m having really bad luck lately disliking the mcs and love interests in contemporaries
But overall, it was a solid story with a really great message—to do what you want and not what other want/expect of you. Live your own life, not the life of others. Do what make you happy or you might regret it for the rest of your life.
“It had my heart, even when my dreams were somewhere else.”
Since she was a kid, all Reyna has known is life at the family hotel and she plans to continue working there for the rest of her life after the unfortunate death of her mother. Reyna feels as if there’s no other option for her except to run the hotel and tells herself she’s okay with it… until one day, the arrival of Aiden, her first love—now a famous singer—changes everything Reyna once thought and believed in.
Coming into this, it’s clear that an incident occurred between Aiden and Reyna in the past, and the mystery surrounding what happened two years ago had me really curious. Those chapters that were set in the past really gave more info on their relationship and how it grew between the two until it all fell apart. I actually found those chapters much more interesting than the present ones.
Reyna annoyed me a lot throughout the novel with the way she acted, especially in the beginning of the book, but overtime I grew to understand her more and the actions she took. However, it still wasn’t enough for me to like her unfortunately.
Now the romance was… not my favourite. So the glimpses in the past about Reyna and Aiden were nice in showing how their bond developed and all but I feel like it wasn’t really enough?? Like in the present chapters, the relationship between Reyna and Aiden was so lackluster and bland. They barely interacted with each other throughout the novel and when they did it was so awkward due to their past. I just really couldn’t love, better yet like, the romance between the two since it felt like nothing to me.
It felt so lacking and plain. Yeah, they were childhood best friends who fell in love with each other until an incident in which they finally see each other again two years later but I mean?? Where’s the angst and tension?? idk everything just felt dull to me. I just can’t enjoy the romance when it didn’t even feel real at all.
I’d honestly say Fish yes, you read that right and Reyna had more chemistry then Reyna and Aiden. At least they actually had noteworthy interactions and some actual spark between the two with the flirty and funny scenes. Aiden was just that one guy who was brooding in the background until all of a sudden everything magically changes and he starts acting nicer to Reyna— umm yeah…
I do like how this was set in the Caribbean. Too often do novels take place in North America specifically the US so this was a nice change in scenery. It did take a little while getting used to some of the dialect used in the book, but it was definitely interesting.
Overall, this had a pretty nice take on second chances and doing what you feel passionate about. The romance could’ve been much better in my opinion and the story dragged on a lot, which had me pushing myself to get through it. Props for being a pretty quick read though!
Eternally thankful to Harper Collins Canada for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
We’re just going to ignore that this ARC review is totally not late or anything and that it came out almost a month ago whoops
Frankly in Lovemeets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.
There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.
Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…
What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.
Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.
But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
While I didn’t love Made in Korea, I didn’t hate it either👀 Filled with an enemies-to-lovers romance altho its really more of Val considering Wes the enemy only, spies, sabotages, and heartwarming scenes, this was a pretty great debut. And it featured Korean-American main characters, which I’ve never seen in a book before, so that was fun!
“There isn’t always a price tag or a black-and-white answer for why people do what they do.”
For years, Val has been in charge of her very popular and successful K-pop beauty business with her cousin Charlie. She has her goal in mind and nobody will get in her way being the only K-pop beauty business at her school. All is going well… until new student Wes comes in and starts up his own K-pop beauty business.
Of course Val doesn’t take this well and soon they both make a bet—whoever makes the most money by the end of the school year gets to take all of the loser’s money. It’s an all or nothing…and thus, the competition begins.
Val annoyed me a lot in the beginning. The audacity of this girl. She acted like it was a personal offence that Wes started his own business—like no, he can have his own reasons to start a business too?? The way she treated him too-😶 uhh yeah, I definitely didn’t like her, and though Val did learn/get better towards the end, it didn’t change my feelings towards her.
Now Wes is just so sweet. He’s too nice honestly, like I really don’t understand how he liked Val but okay ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Wes deserved better, imo.
Also, his passion for music-🥺🥺 and the way he was trying to save up money for the fees required to go to music school because he knew his parents wouldn’t pay for him omg it was so sad 😦 Wes had a better reason for his business than Val did ngl.
Part of me probably wouldve enjoyed this book more if it weren’t for how much Val annoyed me, but also if I wasn’t bored. There were a lot of scenes that just dragged on for me, where I’d just be counting down the number of pages I had left until I finished so I could be free. Still, I wasn’t bored to the point that I hated it at least.
All in all, this was a all right debut by the author and I can see lots of potential for her future books! There were lots of K-pop references that I think K-pop fans would appreciate and love. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a quick read with characters who will do anything to beat the other~
~Thank you Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!! <33
Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.
As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.
With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
SJM keeps breaking my heart over and over again and I keep coming back every. single. time.
I have a very toxic relationship with her books.
But I will never stop coming back to them, because stopping is like telling me to stop breathing. Does that sound dramatic? Because I’m dead serious. The day I stop reading Sarah’s books is when you know my angelic spirit has fallen and I’ve been possessed by one of those devils. cough you know who you are cough
And every time I finish one of her books, I feel like I’m overflowing with love. There’s so much happiness, heartbreak, and then excruciating pain as I realize that I have to wait a millennium for the next book. Oh, and the slump that comes afterwards💀
Curse all of you who told me to read this right now. Each and every one of you are devils.
I know some people found the beginning to be slow, but I actually didn’t have any problems with it. I found it perfect, learning about the world and the characters was beautiful. I wasn’t bored for one second and it literally makes me so happy because I was scared this wouldn’t meet my expectations. Shame on me for doubting this queen.
And don’t even get me started on the ending of this masterpiece. I did not see any of that coming (view spoiler)[except I had a feeling Bryce would have some special power and she did, which I totally don’t mind because SHE MADE THE DROP AND IS STRONGER THAN THE AUTUMN KING AHAHAHAHA (hide spoiler)] I was literally sobbing so much. What is it with the ending always destroying me??? It was so beautiful and heartbreaking, I swear.
“That’s the point of it, Bryce. Of life. To live, to love, knowing that it might all vanish tomorrow. It makes everything that much more precious.”
I’ve loved every one of SJM’s female protagonists, but ohmygod Bryce Quinlan totally beats them all. She literally leaves me in awe. The way she loves so much, and would live life to its fullest—that is until the death of her friends, Danika Fendyr and The Pack of Devilssobbing From there, she’s an empty shell of her former self.
And the thing is that we barely knew Danika and the others we were even warned smh yet it was still heartbreaking when they were murdered and watching Bryce in so much pain just broke me. Leave it to Sarah to be able to destroy my soul for characters that only appeared in the first 100 pages. Danika and Bryce’s friendship was so beautiful I could cry for eternity and still never recover from what happened. Bryce, my queen.🥺
Even heartbroken, she tried so hard to make it seem like she’s okay so that those around her wouldn’t worry, putting on the image of the classic party girl who doesn’t give a care in the world, meanwhile she’s slowly breaking more and more on the inside—
Okay, but the way Bryce is bold enough to snap selfies right in front of the Archangel, Sandriel, and can literally make the Umbra Mortis feel like he’s three inches tall is actually just too good.
The Umbra Mortis looked pissed, his arms crossed and wings flaring slightly, but Bryce just breezed past him without so much as a glance. Causing Athalar to slowly turn, arms slackening at his sides, as if such a thing had never happened in his long, miserable life.
I seriously could go on forever with the amount of times Hunt was so pissed by Bryce, especially in the beginning ahaha omg.
“Bryce was a ghost for a long while, Hunt. She pretended she wasn’t, but she was.” The helicopter finally pulled into the air. “You brought her back to life.”
From the moment Hunt Athalar looked Bryce right in the eye and told her to “calm the fuck down,” I knew I’d love him. I mean, who wouldn’t???
I can definitely see similarities between Hunt and all of Sarah’s other male love interests but you know what? Hunt is a thousand times better than Rowan and Rhysand. I love the way he challenges Bryce and tries to care for her, while at the same time not being super overprotective cough unlike some people, although there is still the 2nd book for him to act like that hopefully not He’s the typical tall, dark and brooding guy who has a tragic backstory—just like Rowan (altho he has white hair but you get what I mean) and Rhysand, yet somehow I actually love him way more than both.
Bryce’s relationship with Hunt is most definitely superior to all of Sarah’s other series’ relationships involving the main characters. Like the banter?? The openness of it?? The heartwarming scenes??? Perfection. I could literally compile all of their convos into a whole book and never get tired of reading them. Their interactions were pure gold.
“You’re my friend. Who watches trashy TV with me and puts up with my shit. You’re the person I don’t need to explain myself to—not when it matters. You see everything I am, and you don’t run away from it.”
Also, just… the shower scene sobbing it was so beautiful and heartbreaking and that’s all I need to say.
“The only thing I want to be called right now is your brother.” He added softly, “If you’ll have me.”
I literally love almost every character in this book, but of all of them, Ruhn Danaan is just everything. He’s such a cinnamon roll. So sweet and trying so hard to be there for Bryce after their falling out years before. That scene at the end had me crying so much. I love you, Ruhn.
Okay, but even though Ruhn is everything, I would marry Declan Emmet. Declan is my favourite i know, how could i possibly have chosen a favourite?? He’s who I’ve fallen in love with. Why you ask? This guy is a computer geek, master hacker, tech god (thinking abt a certain scene iykyk) and I love that. Plus he’s charming, gorgeous and super sweet?? I’ve fallen so hard for Declan, it’s not even funny🤚
Also being with Declan would mean I could be friends with Ruhn and Flynn🥺 I love the trio omg
Seriously though, can I have a Declan?? I’ve found a new book boyfriend omg😭 Oh also I want Tharion, too. Knowing that there’s going to be 200% more Tharion in CC2 makes my heart happy sdfsfs there can never be enough Tharion.
“Bryce, this is Tharion Ketos.” She stepped closer to the concrete edge of the quay. “An old friend.”
Tharion grinned at Hunt again. “Not as old as you.”
Bryce gave the male a half smile. “Nice to meet you.”
Tharion’s light brown eyes glittered. “The pleasure, Bryce, is all mine.”
Tharion is such a a flirt and I love it. I need more Tharion Ketos <33
AND THEN AIDAS. omg do you know how much it killed me after seeing how much the fandom loved him and then me finding out that he only appears once??? what. the. hell. So not fair😭 yet with that one appearance, I already love him. Not as much as Tharion, Ruhn, and Declan of course, but still ahhh he’s such an interesting demon kitty. And I love demon kitties.
🛑MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW🛑
I actually thought something was wrong with me when I had a hundred pages left, and I still hadn’t cried at all . Like there were some emotional scenes and I got teary-eyed, but no actual sob-fest. And especially after hearing from literally everyone I know that CC destroyed them, I was so confused?? nervous laughter little did I know that those last hundred pages would indeed break me.
“We were supposed to do this together. We were supposed to live out our lives together”
Danika being there for Bryce while she made the Drop ohmygod I was sobbing. The “Light it up” scene—I swear I wanted to die. And it was also 2am in the morning when I was reading this sooo💀
Also I’ll never forget how shocked everyone, but especially Sandriel, was when Bryce just casually vacuumed up the ashes of Micah. Best scene by far. Along with Hunt ripping off Sandriel’s head, of course.😌
Then Lele sacrificing herself in order to give Bryce enough time to be able to kill Micah- THAT ONE LINE. I SEE WHAT YOU DID SARAH😭😭 “My friends are with me and I am not afraid“the exact line is I will not be afraid sdfdsfs but close enough sobs Sam
Okay and finding out that Bryce was so close to jumping at one point after Danika’s death ohmygod that hurt so much and Juniper being there for Bryce before she did–I can’t deal with all of that😭
I keep saying certain scenes are my favourite BUT THIS SERIOUSLY IS MY FAVOURITE TOO. Declan, aka the love of my life, hacking into all the cameras & calls and livestreaming everything was amazing omg. Micah being exposed was the best part–or wait, everyone hearing Ember Quinlan act all smug towards the Autumn King, while he raged might’ve been the best. hmmm the struggles ahhh everything was perfect ohmygod I love you Declan.
OMG and the part where Bryce wrote back to Connor after having the thread saved for 2 years.😭😭 And Bryce seeing the pack towards the end omg omg I’m going to start crying again.
Bryce’s eyes stung as she smiled softly, then read through Connor’s last words to her.
“Message me when you’re home safe.”
Bryce began typing. The answer it had taken her two years, nearly to the day, to write.
There was one scene where I probably shouldn’t have been laughing and instead crying, but I couldn’t help it. Hunt trying to bring Bryce back to life and what he said-
“I heard what you said.” Pump, pump, pump went his powerful arms. “What you waited to admit until I was almost dead, you fucking coward.” His lightening surged into her, sending her body arcing off the ground as he tried to jump-start her heart. He snarled in her ear, “Now come say it to my face.”
I love these two so much ohmygod I’m not going to bother saying that I hope they’re endgame, because I know they are. There’s no way after everything that’s happened that Sarah would just ruin all of that in the next book, especially because Hunt and Bryce’s relationship is like Rowaelin and Feysand. Both accepted everything about the other and didn’t shy away from it. The only reason I could imagine that they wouldn’t be endgame is if Sarah kills off Hunt-
yea no, forget I even said that. Sarah wouldn’t dare🙂🔪🔪🔪
🛑SPOILERS HAVE ENDED🛑
So as you can tell, Sarah has once again destroyed me beyond recognition and I honestly think I’m going to slowly wither away waiting for CC2. At least let there be a release date. PLEASE??? sobbing I’m not joking when I said I curse all of you. I’ll have my revenge one day 🙂
Now you see, usually I’m all for recommending masterpieces, but for this…hell no.
If you value your sanity, then you will not read HOEAB right now. If you value your sanity, you’ll wait until there’s at least a release date for CC2. If you value your sanity, you’ll wait until CC2 itself is released.
But if you have no self-control and/or think sanity is overrated like me, then go on ahead. I wish you all the luck in the world because you’ll soon regret that decision.
“Through love, all is possible.”
Will my love for Declan Emmet have the release date for CC2 be revealed faster???
honorable mention: thank you krizzie, el, and mashie for listening to my screaming, fangirling, and terrible theories!! I still curse you three the most tho <33 ik, what an honor
Eternally thankful to Harper Collins Canada for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!
From the author of Ayesha at Last comes a sparkling new rom-com for fans of “You’ve Got Mail,” set in two competing halal restaurants
Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighbourhood. Hana waitresses there part time, but what she really wants is to tell stories on the radio. If she can just outshine her fellow intern at the city radio station, she may have a chance at landing a job. In the meantime, Hana pours her thoughts and dreams into a podcast, where she forms a lively relationship with one of her listeners. But soon she’ll need all the support she can get: a new competing restaurant, a more upscale halal place, is about to open in the Golden Crescent, threatening Three Sisters.
When her mysterious aunt and her teenage cousin arrive from India for a surprise visit, they draw Hana into a long-buried family secret. A hate-motivated attack on their neighbourhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana’s growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival restaurant—who might not be a complete stranger after all.
As life on the Golden Crescent unravels, Hana must learn to use her voice, draw on the strength of her community and decide what her future should be.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
THIS. this is the Muslim rep i’ve been looking for😭😭 and the story in general was just amazing
although, i must say that it was the characters that felt kind of flat for me while i could connect with the main character, especially when it came to dealing with Islamophobia, i didn’t really love her or any of the other characters, which is what made me give this 3.5 stars instead of 4. for me, if the characters are written so well and im in love with them, i dont care if there’s a bad/no plot as long as the characters are good enough to keep me engaged and enjoy myself. if the plot’s good but i dont like/care the characters… that’ll definitely affect my rating = the case here.
OKAY BUT THE MUSLIM REP AND ISSUES THAT WERE DEALT WITH HERE WAS PERFECT. i went into this book hoping that there would be good representation of Islam and i was not disappointed🥺👏👏 the main character, Hana, didn’t feel oppressed by her parents nor did she hate her religion. it’s just normal. and she’d actually follow the rules in Islam. also the fact that she would fight back (in a non-violent way ofc) against those who threw insults at her or spoke in a condescending tone because she wore a hijab was amazing.
“No one knows when the dark days will descend, only that they come for us all.”
i love how deep this book got in not only how often cultures/races have to deal with so much hatred, but also the stereotypes that others assume represent a whole group of people. i could 100% understand the frustration the main character was feeling when it came to ideas of what to broadcast about Muslims, the options being only the stereotypes people have hear and nothing else. it made me happy seeing Hana refuse to back down from what she believed to be right. there was also the main character actually praying and going to halaqah and salat al jumaa (friday prayer) which didnt feel like tokenization!!!
also, i definitely wasn’t expecting that plot twist👀 i have to say though, that i didn’t really like the love interest — like i dont hate him, but nor i do care about him. although i did love how the ending was realistic and not everything was all happy and solved.
so while i didn’t love this book, i did really like it and will definitely be reading more from this author!! im just so happy that the Muslim rep was done well, like i cant even express it. definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to see a great representation of Islam/Muslims!!
“While I am scared of what the future will bring, the uncertainty has been refreshing in a strange way. I know who I am in a way I never have before, and know what I’m willing to sacrifice to stay true to myself. I guess that’s not a bad lesson to learn at any age.”
Many thanks to Inkyard Press for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!
A reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy. How do you make one month last a lifetime?
Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.
Karina is my girlfriend.
Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.
T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?
Rating: 1 out of 5.
a lot of things annoyed me but the way the Muslim aspect of this book was handled-
i am rage🙂
this was my first Muslim rep book and the disappointment and frustration im feeling is unfathomable and i was so excited ughhhh
okay, but before i get into the negatives and start ranting, i’ll say the good stuff:
-the anxiety rep in here and how the main character dealt with it was pretty good. -how the MC fought for what degree she wanted to pursue was amazing. parents should never be forcing their child to do what something they dont want to do. -the sibling relationship was sweet. -this was a pretty quick read.
and i was actually loving this in the beginning.😭 all my highlights literally showed my happiness at how the MC being Muslim was incorporated into this book. all the arabic words, her praying, other religious mentions-
then there was the MC dealing with anxiety and the pressure her parents put on her, and i felt bad for her. she was dealing with so much and was so scared to speak up about not wanting to be a doctor. her parents were absolutely ruthless when it came to discussing a change in career paths, they just went ahead and chose her future for her and i despised them.
but of course what happens next? the white boy comes into her life teaching her to be stronger, believe in herself (etc) and brings her happiness
it’s not even that it was a white boy bringing her happiness that got me annoyed, but how the parents were villainized when it came to religion (but i understand them looking like villains when it came to not allowing her to pursue an English major — that made sense) and that of course it was the white boy who saved her from the pain and sadness she was feeling.
literally what pisses me off so much is that she’d constantly complain of the things her parents would forbid her from doing that you know, are because it’s not allowed in Islam??? like i totally am with the main character when it came to her parents not allowing her to pursue the career she wants. parents 100% should not be doing that, it’s really messed up, especially with the pressure put on their child. they really should just be happy with what their kid wants to grow up to be, and that’s the one thing i disliked about her parents.
other than that–what the hell?? the MC constantly makes out her parents to be the bad guys for other stuff, when that’s not even true ohmygod. for one thing, you aren’t supposed to date guys/have boyfriends/kiss the opposite gender in Islam. It’s not that her parents are evil and do this as a personal attack, its haram (forbidden). Yet the main character here literally is like “i want happiness, why cant they let me have be with him” — girl, im with you about wanting to find happiness with the job, but you know…shouldn’t you be faithful to your religion and understand that it’s not allowed to date so your parents are right to tell you it’s forbidden?? i am confusion. and im the same age as this girl and i know this. i dont hate on my parents???
i obviously understand that this was marketed as fake-dating trope, so im not surprised with how some of the things turned out, and she can go ahead and date the guy, but it just really makes me angry me that the main character makes her parents look evil for telling her that she isn’t allowed to date? sigh
okay, but all of that i just said — maybe some wont mind it, it’s probably just something only i and some others would be annoyed with. i just feel like if you’re gonna write about a Muslim character, don’t break that rule and cast the parents in a bad light?? idk. either way, don’t make out your parents to be evil because they won’t let you date. and it’s not even something that we need to be pitied for or looked at in horror, like what the other characters in this book did when she told them. it’s part of what we’ve learned in our religion, so respect it.
i swear, i feel like this book was trying to push the idea that all Muslim parents are strict to this degree and are harsh. it’s in no way like that. maybe some are, but the same could be said with any other race/religion — it’s just that with Muslim rep books (and cough Netlfix shows), the parents are for the most part portrayed as villains.
and yes, i saw that the MC would constantly say that she knows her religion isn’t bad, she knows her parents aren’t evil, but her actions and what she’d say/do after… she says she understands but she would still complain about them the next few pages, saying how they’re unfair?? she’d be so bitter about it and then she breaks said rules😐
but again, one thing I did love was seeing the MC go against her parents when it came to doing the degree she wanted and not what they wanted. definitely a lot of people can relate with being forced to become a doctor, engineer, or lawyer. im thankful that my parents have never pushed me to become something i dont want to be.
i just hate what this book implies. i hate that people who will read this may think that all Muslim parents are controlling and cruel to their children. i hate that some may even pity us for some of this. just no. i can tell you that im proud to be a Muslim and proud of my religion. i don’t think any of the rules/what we’re forbidden to do is harsh at all. it makes complete sense in my eyes and i love my parents. i love everything about Islam.
now let’s get to the love interest. I DESPISE Ace with every ounce of my being. he’s legit the typical white bad boy who’s secretly a softie inside once you get to know him. i do not care about him. He’s so cheesy and im all here for the cheesiness BUT NOT THIS. so many cringey scenes and i did not see the chemistry between the two at all. sure, they had kinda similar situations when it came to their families, but like?? thats it?? i dont like either of them, but especially the main character.
i seriously think in general, if an author is going to incorporate religion into a YA contemporary, then you should actually follow through with the religion?? bc if you’re not going to do that, then literally what’s the point-
and if you’re going to end up casting the religion in a negative light, then again…what’s the point?? unless you’re just trying to make others think badly on said religion?? Whether it’s Christianity, Muslim, Hinduism, Judaism, etc — follow through on those teachings. dont bother writing about a religious character in a book if you’re not even going to follow through on some of the rules and villainize the parents. thankfully at least the MC would eat halal food, occasionaly pray, and understood that getting drunk was haram. but the dating and kissing, casting her parents as evil in those aspects…no🤚
and it’s sad, because the author is Muslim so i thought it’d actually follow through on that. like the author probably didn’t mean to show Islam in a bad way, but that’s how it looked like to me. i think that maybe non-Muslims or people who aren’t really familiar with Islam will probably like this book, though.
i saw in other reviews that the Bengali rep was done poorly too — im not from Bangladesh, so i cant say anything bc i wouldn’t know, but thats so sad it wasn’t done well either 😦
anyways, im not going to waste any more of my time with this book. all i’ve gained from this is that i should never trust books with Muslim reps without having first read reviews by Muslims themselves. i shouldn’t have had high expectations🤡
After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead.
Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much—the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges—and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.
Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners. As her power and influence grows, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it?
The exciting end to The Poppy War trilogy, R. F. Kuang’s acclaimed, award-winning epic fantasy that combines the history of twentieth-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating, enthralling effect.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Guys, this was the happiest book ever!! Happy ending! Happy characters! Happy everything! Kuang couldn’t have written it better! Everyone’s happy, safe… I dont know why people are saying this is heartbreaking? If anything, it’s heartwarming!
My heart totally didn’t feel like it was being ripped out of my chest and thrown into a shredder! I totally did not go to sleep crying and wake up again crying! I totally don’t feel like I need someone to pay for my therapy bills!
No, not at all.
I’m completely fine.
yea no, I feel like I’m dying. I am dying. This pain should be illegal. What is happiness? This is so depressing. And me, the masochist, keeps going back to the last two chapters sobs what am I doing to myself?
Please end me.
Funny how I said that reading Clockwork Princess, The Hero of Ages (etc) were the most I’ve ever cried — HA I lied. No book like The Burning God’s ending has ever made me sob this much. I am dead. It’s to the point where every single time I close my eyes, I picture the ending and that is not okay. Kuang, what have you done to me???
There’s no peace, only pain. This has quite literally left a scar on my heart and soul forever. Not only did Kuang bury the knife deep into my heart, but she twisted it causing me excruciating pain.
I actually can’t think about this book without crying, so this review is basically me as an emotional wreck. Sorry but not really in advance.
(Also, there are no spoilers in this review until the end when I give out the warning!!)
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“The point of revenge wasn’t to heal. The point was that the exhilaration, however temporary, drowned out the hurt.”
This whole journey has been full of trust, love, hatred, revenge, pain… I’ve never before seen such a story have so many complex issues. It’s astounds me.
Rin’s character has developed so much. I can’t believe this all started with poor 14 year old Rin who just wanted to get out of marriage by studying to enroll in Sinegard… to this. It breaks my heart when I see how much she’s gone through.
And it’s not just Rin. Kitay, Venka, Nezha, Atlan, the Cike… they’ve all suffered so much throughout the whole series. Kuang is a demon with her characters. There’s literally nobody in this trilogy who hasn’t suffered. Of course, some had it coming and deserved it, but others… sobs no, no, they definitely didn’t deserve that.
I swear, it brought me so much joy seeing Rin finally accept who she was and where she came from, and be proud of it. These last two books, she’d constantly be insulted because of her dark-skin and having come from Tikany, a poor village in Rooster Province. Because of this, she hated herself and thought the others to be superior, trying to cut all ties with her former village.
However, here Rin learned to embrace it all. She accepted everything that she was and most importantly, she did not bow to anyone. Rin’s now chooses to be in command.
No longer would she be the submissive fool she once was. although she still makes some pretty dumb mistakesShe leads. She gives the orders. She deals out the punishments. I literally love this girl.
And after the ending of The Dragon Republic, I was so looking forward to retribution. I am not completely satisfied, but satisfied enough. The pain she dealt to certain people was amazing. My only complaint was that it wasn’t dragged out longer for a certain person :’ (
“It doesn’t go away. It never will. But when it hurts, lean into it. It’s so much harder to stay alive. That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to live. It means you’re brave.”
Please, Kitay actually deserves everything. While I had conflicted feelings throughout this series about Rin, Nezha, and others — my love for Kitay was the only constant. When I say not one moment did I hate him, I mean not one moment.
From the moment I met this cinnamon roll in The Poppy War, I fell in love and automatically knew he had to be protected at all costs.
Literally their friendship was so heartbreaking and beautiful. Watching them argue over and over again, but then come back still loving the other so much ohmygod-
This. THIS is literally a perfect example on how platonic love can be just as amazing, actually even better, than a romantic one. I love it. I love it. I love it so much.
Kitay was the anchor to Rin’s sanity. He’d always try preventing her from making rash and stupid decisions. He’s her moral conscience.
Can I just please go back to the first book? I thought TPW was horrifying and depressing, AHAHA what a joke, TPW is heaven compared to the rest of the series.
I want my children to stay happy together at Sinegard sobs this torture. Erase everything that’s happened after that moment. I want a Kitay. My baby-
Also it was amazing learning so much more about the Trifecta. Their history, the missions they made, each and every one of them and how they acted… all I have to say is damn.
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(🛑MAJOR SPOILERS for the end of TBG start here!! Skip to the bottom if you don’t want to be spoiled🛑)
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“Dying was easy. Living was so much harder—that was the most important lesson Atlan had ever taught her.”
So you’re telling me, all that hard work, all that pain, torture, and suffering, all those years of war….
ONLY for Kitay and Rin to die like that???
They beat the Hesperians in battle, but in the end, it was because of the famine and damage Nikan took, that the Hesperians ended up winning and I am forever destroyed.
BUT IT MAKES SENSE AND THATS WHAT HURTS THE MOST.
But all those memories they had together in the span of those 5 years — some good, mostly bad, BUT STILL. they were memories of them suffering together and I am not okay.
And the fact that Kitay and Rin’s last moments together were of them fighting breaks every part of me beyond recognition. IT HURTS. Rin thinking Kitay betrayed her ohmygod PLEASE STOP THIS PAIN.
And the fact that Kitay’s last words in this world were “You’re hurting me” to Rin absolutely destroys me and I am sobbing.
The way I can imagine Kitay’s pained expression so clearly I SWEAR ITS KILLING ME. PLEASE OMG.
And can I just say — Rin literally chose death over surrendering to the Hesperians/cooperating with them. The way she knew that this fighting would never end if she lived and never surrendered. It honestly would’ve been so wrong if she’d given up to them, but she really went ahead and said “I’d rather die than bow down to these bastards.” She literally sacrificed herself in hopes for a better world, knowing she wouldn’t be the one to do it. AND I RESPECT THAT SO MUCH, BUT IT HURTS. She died on Speerly, and I died with her.
AND I CAN’T BELIEVE OUT OF ALL OF THEM, ONLY NEZHA SURVIVED. (Although I honestly shouldn’t be surprised) Venka my baby, also died and it was so heartbreaking that she died Rin thinking she was a traitor like hell no WHY?! Venka didn’t deserve that, Kitay didn’t deserve that, what the hell. While Rin got out of bowing to the Hesperians, Nezha’s going to have to so honestly, nevermind, that’s torture itself. I could never.
It actually broke me even before the deaths started. They were all so so depressed at the end, suffered so so much, and I hate this so much, but it was so realistic.
They’ve all come a long way from the children they once were.
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🛑SPOILERS HAVE ENDED🛑
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“You never want to hurt them. But you have to. You have to put them through hell, because that’s the only way anyone else will survive.”
Oh no, I’m quite certain Kuang wanted to hurt us. We were put through hell and none of us survived, but still… this author has my heart.
I swear, if I was rating the ending itself I’d 100% give this 5 stars, but unfortunately I’m not and I have to say that some parts in the book dragged out a lot, especially during the many marches. Don’t get me wrong, they were interesting, but my mind drifted a lot.
However, despite me giving this 4.5 stars, this is most definitely an all-time-favourite because that ending broke my heart into more pieces than I could’ve possibly imagined. It was a sob-fest. And I even knew how this was going to end so I prepared myself but that didn’t work at all. Kuang is both a genius and a monster.
I hate that I can never read more about these fleshed out and glorious characters. I hate that even if I re-read, it’ll never be the same. I hate this so much, because I do not want to part with them.
But you know what, even thinking all of that I regret nothing. If anything, I regret not reading this series sooner. I will forever be grateful for the pain beautiful story Kuang has created and I know that whatever series she’s going to make next will be just as painful beautiful.
Go ahead and ruin me, Kuang.
“Do it. Take what you want… I’ll hate you for it. But I’ll love you forever. I can’t help but love you.
Ruin me, ruin us, and I’ll let you.”
Honourable mention: I’m forever grateful to the best demon out there Mashie for being there for me while I screamed, raged, laughed, and cried. You truly made this book even more amazing than I could’ve imagined. Thank you so much🥺 I couldn’t have possibly survived the aftermath of the ending if it weren’t for you.💙
Emi is the kamigakari. In a few short months, her life as a mortal will end and her new existence as the human host of a goddess will begin. Carefully hidden from those who would destroy her, she has prepared her mind, body, and soul to unite with the goddess-and not once has she doubted her chosen fate.
Shiro is a yokai, a spirit of the earth, an enemy of the goddess Emi will soon host. Mystery shrouds his every move and his ruby eyes shine with cunning she can’t match and dares not trust. But she saved his life, and until his debt is paid, he is hers to command-whether she wants him or not. On the day they meet, everything Emi believes comes undone, swept away like snow upon the winter wind. For the first time, she wants to change her fate-but how can she erase a destiny already wrought in stone? Against the power of the gods, Shiro is her only hope… and hope is all she has left.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
i never thought it was possible for me to love this more than i did the first time, but it is.
best Japanese mythology based, slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers book i’ve ever read🥺
this trilogy is so underrated and that’s totally unacceptable. it deserves all the love. Like it has almost everyone’s favourite trope, enemies-to-lovers, AND it’s based off of Japanese mythology which I’ve barely seen in the book world.
it breaks my heart seeing how only about 6.5k ppl have read this sobs it deserves more recognition, this beautiful book. (altho, my love may be a tiny bit biased since I love Japanese culture so much BUT ANYWAYS)
trust me or maybe dont, the beginning is pretty slow, but once you reach around the 20% mark (chapter 7), it gets really good. the world building also may be a little confusing with all the terms, although you get used to it throughout the story (there’s also a glossary at the back of the book).
it’s funny, i actually struggled with the beginning during my first read, yet with this reread i didn’t mind the slow start at all and loved everything. the banter between Emi and Shiro is amazing and being introduced to my bby Yumei🥺 i cant not reread the rest of the series now that i’ve read this. I need more.
“Because you are more to me now. Because you keep secrets like a kami and I’m curious what you hide. Because you are lonely and scared and I don’t understand why. Because you trust me when you know you shouldn’t. Because I believe you when you say you will keep your word.”
Emi is the kamigakari — destined to become the kami (goddess), Amaterasu’s, human host. As the kamigakari, Emi must remain pure both physically and mentally lest she be unable to receive the kami’s power and spirit.
No impure thoughts or urges, being restricted to what she can eat (it must all be healthy), having nobody of the opposite gender even touch her, and more… ah, what a sad life. imagine not being able to eat pizza shudder the horror
The life she has feels complete to Emi… until she stumbles across something that changes everything. And with that, it all starts — she meets Shiro, a suspicious shape-shifting kitsune (a fox yokai) who seems to be more than is shown. Yokai are spirits that are closely tied to nature and walk upon the Earth — they’re also known to be monsters or demons.
But Shiro, my love, is only the most amazing, swoon-worthy, and flirty yokai I know. The way I lived for his scenes with Emi🥺 i cant-
the question is… can you trust him? what does Shiro truly want? there must be some ulterior motive, right? this journey of trust and love throughout the trilogy is so, so beautiful. even if there was no plot, i would read this all just for these three <33
Yumei, aka the Tengu is also another yokai Emi meets. He’s very cold and annoyed often by Emi and Shiro hehe but secretly he cares😏 or does he Also, he’s very very sus. He doesn’t appear as much as Shiro, but in the next two books, Yumei shall shine more and make me fall even more in love with him. I still say there should be a spin-off for Yumei🥺 im not giving up on that.
“Don’t forget me, Shiro,” she said hoarsely. “You’re not allowed to forget me.”
“You’ll forget me someday, little miko.”
“I’ll never forget you,” she told him. “I’ll remember you to my last day.”
“Do you promise?”
Her heart gave an odd little flutter. “Yes, I promise.”
why do i keep doing this to myself
ALSO, shoutout to Katsuo for being such a kind-hearted and sweet friend to Emi <33
i will never stop loving this series. and this is only the first book, so i can only imagine how amazing it’s going to to be rereading the next two which are 10000 times better. altho… i’m scared to get my heartbroken, but that’s inevitable ¯_(ツ)_/¯
so ready for some more pain love✌
(also the art i posted above are only just a few of many illustrations in this book. ahhh another reason to read this)