The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer Review || A Cringy Romance In A Phenomenal Paranormal Setting

11408650Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. 

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love. 

She’s wrong.

 

“Thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real.”

Oh boy…this book is seven years old… I guess I’m a little behind on the times. bUT! I read it! And now I’m writing the review for it so I guess you could say that I’m winning at life. Anyway, as I was reading this book I think I could really tell that it was written seven years ago and to be quite honest it might have been a five star read if I was seven years younger and just a smol bean in middle school who was obsessed with paranormal and urban fantasy and twilight and all that jazz. Alas! I am seven years older than I was when this was published and now I’m rambling so here’s to jumping into the review.

If you’re one of the few people living under a rock like me, Mara Dyer just moved to a new town, a new high school, after a horrible tragic accident. But, as you do in books, all is not well when creepy things that just can’t be explained normally begin to happen to Mara and those she cares about, and she begins to realize that there’s something not quite right happening.

Right away, the high school setting annoyed me. I’m pretty sure all authors in the olden days seven years ago (and still in some current releases) had a delusional stereotypical view of high schools, or else they just went to a very different high school than me where half of the school is lusting after the same guy (who naturally must be the hottest guy in school and have a British accent because reasons) and he’s such a bad boy and such a player but all the girls like him anyways but there was this one mean popular girl (who is popular even though she’s mean because…reasons) who he rejected so she makes enemies of anyone else who even looks at him. I’m so tired of this stereotypical high school setting I was seriously rolling my eyes all the way through.

And then, even more annoying, everyone’s favorite… “you’re not like other girls. So like literally why even with Noah and Mara’s romance it was actually pretty annoying. Noah is really possessive all like “you’re going on a date with me tomorrow whether you want to or not” and “I’m ordering for you just trust me I know what you want” (not exact quotes but the general meaning) which was pretty common back in the day I feel like but now it’s just frustrating and annoying and I would be so done with him if he said that to me. So basically all this paranormal high school romance mysterious dude reminded me a bit of Twilight and nobody needs to be reminded of Twilight.

aNYWAYS. Moving on from the annoying teen romance aspect, the paranormal aspect of this book was great! There are such creepy things going on with Mara, and for a long part of the book I had no idea what was going on, and then at the end I started to piece it together and it was like…oh…my god. I used to LOVE paranormal books a few years ago and this book definitely reminded me of how amazing they are!!!

The book is also told in first person POV through Mara, and she’s been diagnosed with PTSD, and she’s also seeing things, but is she really seeing things? Or are creepy things happening? But then she’s taking strong pills and you wonder are those really helping her to see reality or…not? The point is, she’s a bit of an unreliable narrator because she herself doesn’t exactly know what’s going on and I love it so much because it just makes the book that much more mysterious and creepy and therefore just that much more lovable.

The ending was, for me, undeniably the high point of the book! Everything started to come together at the end and I was lowkey freaking out and not knowing what was going to happen, especially with some sort of weird twisted ironic things happening. And then the last couple of chapters the new information revealed…that may or may not be true…and if it is..asoiljfdkaoisdjfk

★★★.5 / 5

 

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Grace and Fury Review || A Thrilling Feminist Fantasy

 

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In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace – someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything. 

 

“For every woman who has been told to sit down and be quiet… And who stood up anyway.”

Serina and Nomi are two sisters stuck in a world where women have absolutely no rights, they are made to work in horrible conditions, or else married off to a man with no say, a world where a woman can’t cut her own hair without consulting a man first and a woman being literate is one of the worst crimes of all. Serina has spent her whole life to become one of the heir’s Graces, but instead her sister Nomi ends up in the role that she never wanted, and Serina is shipped off to a prison where women battle each other to the death.

The story is told via the split point of view of the two sisters, and I honestly think I loved both of their stories equally. They’re together at the beginning, but they diverge pretty quickly, as each of the girls disagrees with and fights the system in their own way. At first Serina annoyed me a bit, but she went through remarkable character growth and at the end of such a short book I already really liked her! Nomi I really took to right from the start, and while there were a few moments where she frustrated me, I ultimately really liked her.

Grace and Fury is a book about a lot of things. It’s about politics, power, oppression, feminism, romance, but at its core it’s really a book about two sisters and I loved that so much. The girls were challenged so much by their horrible surroundings, but through it all they persevered for each other and I thought that was so amazing, fitting with the strong feminist themes, especially amid so many books these days where the heroine strives to be better for her love interest, instead of her family.

Of course, I do still love my romance, and there was certainly a healthy dose of it in this book! Each of the girls has her own romance. One of them has a sort of love triangle but not really forming which I was honestly pretty peeved about because love triangles and I do not get along, but it seemed to clear itself up in a pretty natural way so I’m not as mad as I usually am, and the other one I really enjoyed! The romance certainly isn’t the center of the story though, which I was actually glad of in this case.

One thing that I think could have been better developed was the world building. The story is set in this horrible world where women have no rights, and the background is kind of glossed over for a couple of chapters, but it’s not really elaborated so much, and I think that might have been better to really engross me in the story and draw me in!

What really sold the story for me was the ending. I had a couple of vague ideas of where it was going, but in the end I had no idea that it would end the way that it did as the two sisters’ stories began to becoming entwined again! All I can say about it without spoilers is that I absolutely can’t wait for the sequel!!

★★★★ / 5

Winter Review || A Heartstoppingly Incredible Finale

13206900Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

 

“Yeah, but broken isn’t the same as unfixable.”

This book is SO FREAKING GOOD. SO GOOD! Honestly, the Harry Potter books are obviously my favorite books but aside from those seven this is EASILY my favorite book possibly even better than some of those and I just love it so much!!! I got this book as a Christmas present even though I’ve already read it so I got to reread it and now I own it so I can reread it forever and ever and ever for all time and I will never grow old of it and now it sits on my bookshelf looking gorgeous with the other three Lunar Chronicles book in all their beauty and I am totally fangirling bye gtg smell this adios

Anyways. Where do I even start with how amazing this book is? With four romances, eight major characters, and ten POVs, you would think that this book would be crazy complicated and hard to follow, right? but NOOO it is fantastic and just perfect!

There is so much character growth from book to book, with Cinder in book one all the way to here, and everyone else we’ve picked up along the way! I absolutely adored the book Cinder, but this one is just so much more amazing and epic! Cinder is my favorite character so I’m going to talk about how much she’s grown from an insecure little mechanic into an incredible revolutionary trying to save the fate of a planet and moon together and fight for her people she’s never known! I love Kai as well, and how determined he is to be the best ruler he can be for the Commonwealth, while at the same time falling in love with this wanted fugitive and crossing and double crossing people and also their romance is SO CUTE AOISDKLJF

Scarlet too has really blossomed into someone incredible in this book! I didn’t like her as much as the others before, but here she’s just so strong! She’s an ungifted Earthen surrounded by cruel Lunars, way out of her league, yet she stands her ground an amazing fighter, shooter, and pilot, as well as unlikely friend to Winter! Wolf was maybe my least favorite character and his storyline wasn’t as amazing as all the others here, but he was my least favorite of amazing favorites so I still loved him obviously and his desire to be reunited with Scarlet knowing about Levana was so sweet and I’m such a fan!

Cress is so amazing and everyone loves her and I’m absolutely no exception! She’s such a naive, sheltered little girl at first, but she overcomes that and fights as an incredible hacker, going into terrifying situations when all she wants to do is curl up in a ball, putting the cause she was dragged into above all else, while still being so cute and sweet and pure! Also THORNE I LOVE YOU MARRY ME! Tbh I actually like Cinder and Kai more than Cress and Thorne, but it’s a VERY CLOSE second and I love Thorne the most of all he’s so cocky and self assured but also such a sweetie on the inside also there’s that scene at the palace you know what I’m talking about that is AMAZING

Finally Winter! The elusive Lunar princess we only get to meet in this book plagued by hallucinations because she refuses to use her gift. I admired her so much, how strictly she was determined to stick to her beliefs and how much she pushed through despite her suffering. Also, I really loved Jacin and I know some people didn’t because he seemed a bit grey, not quite as noble as everyone else, more determined to stick with Winter than anything, but tbh this just made me love him and them more and Winter and Jacin’s friendship is so pure and I love friends to lovers so much so asoidkljf sofdijkl aosidlkjf oiasljkdf

Also, I didn’t even realize the first time how Winter is Snow White (obviously) Jacin is the Huntsman (obviously) and there’s still seven dwarfs!!! Cinder, Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, and Iko, who is so awesome showing girls can be badass and strong but also girly and loving fashion and I want Iko as my best friend.

The world building and just the world in general is AMAZING! After three long anticipated books we’re finally at Luna and it does not disappoint! The world is so scary and corrupt, especially as I see parts of society reflected from history. Also, the lunar gift?? Mind control?? It’s used so much here as a weapon, Lunar against other Lunars, control against other control where you never know who you can trust and it was just so amazing and had me constantly on edge!!

The book is LOOONG. It’s over 800 pages, and normally I dislike long books but not this one!!! I! Love! It! Honestly, through the whole thing I was never bored and was constantly flipping pages and flipping pages dying to know what happened next! There was so much action in this as well that it almost felt like multiple books squashed in one with what would be an epic climax only a few pages in, and then another climax, and then another climax, and I swear I never got a chance to breathe I was so nervous and invested in the tale all the way through!!

The final battle is omgholyshoot worthy and it’s soooo amazing and worthy of the four book buildup and everything I could ask for. The book is called Winter, and I do love Winter and what we get to see of her, but ultimately it’s really Cinder’s tale in the end as she goes up against Levana, two powerful Lunar princesses fighting for control.

Anyways, I don’t really know how to quite express my love and adoration for this book and this series. Now that I’ve read all four books twice, maybe I’ll start a third reread and make it an annual thing like I do with Harry Potter because it’s THAT FREAKING GOOD.

★★★★★ / 5

Archenemies Review || A Thrilling Second Installment

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Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they each other’s worst nightmare.

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.


The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it. 

 

“It’s not all black and white, good and bad. Peoples actions…their motives…there are” – he circled his hands in the air – “gray areas.”

It’s finally happened. After a whole year of anticipation, I FINALLY read my most anticipated most awaited most I MUST READ THIS AIOSKLJFDAIOFSJ book of 2019 and I have fEELINGS. Note: there will be spoilers for Renegades (the first book in the trilogy) but not Archenemies in this review.

Archenemies picks up a little after the first book left off, after the explosive battle that killed The Detonator and shocking revelation that Ace Anarchy is, in fact, still alive. It’s been a year since I read the first one, but I was able to quickly recall what happened within the first couple of chapters and it was so exciting to be able to dive back into this phenomenal world!

Like the first book, this one still centers around the struggle between “good” and “bad,” whether there really is a good or bad, if it’s so black and white, or if we’re all a bit grey. There’s the introduction of new “Agent N” that was teased in the last book, and it really added to Nova’s struggle, I feel! She also gets to know more of the Renegades, know them better, and has to consider where her true alliances really lie, and I loved seeing that struggle really develop! In addition, we now have scenes with the feared Ace Anarchy, who is still firmly on the sides of the Anarchists, and is still Nova’s wonderful uncle, juxtaposed against the Renegades she spends so much time with!

This book did feel a bit slow at times in terms of the action, instead devoting more time to character development, which I both liked and disliked. For a superhero novel, I would have liked a bit more action and things to happen, but at the same time character development is so important!

The character development really gave more time to the budding relationship between Nova and Adrian! These two are so cute, and of course I’m such a sucker for slow burn relationships! There are some sweet awkward scenes too that are fun to read about, just screaming for them to get together already!

Unfortunately, I felt that this sweet character development between Nova and Adrian was at the expense of the other characters. I still love Oscar! He’s so funny and also his love for food is basically me in a nutshell get someone who likes you as much as Oscar loves food haha. I would have really liked to see more of the other Anarchists though: Leroy and Honey and Phobia, who seemed to be much more prevalent in the first book than this one.

The one thing that really kind of bugged me about this book was that there were a couple of things that happened in the last book that I was hoping would be explained more here. For example, how is it that Nova survives and kills Ingrid when it seemed so inevitable that Nightmare had died in the first book? Also, why did we pretend that Ace Anarchy was dead for the entire first book, when he seems normal here besides to have a big reveal? I was hoping a few questions would be answered, and they weren’t and that sort of makes it feel like a plot hole? But this isn’t the last book so I still have hope and if they’re answered in the third book all will be forgiven haha.

While I would have enjoyed a bit more action, the action scenes that we did have certainly did not disappoint! The book opens with an awesome sequence against a new villain that I loved, and the conclusion is even more incredible! I was on pins and needles the whole time the ending was happening, and it was everything I could have hoped for and omgomgomg I need the next book so much!!!!

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as I was hoping, and not quite as much as I enjoyed Renegades or any of Meyer’s other books, but I still really liked it and would definitely recommend you read it! (Although now I’m suffering because I spent the entire year anticipating it and devoured it in one afternoon and now I have to wait another year again…) Now, we only have to wait and see if it’s more of a Lunar Chronicles ending or a Heartless one…I’m hoping for something in the middle haha!

★★★★ /5

Heart of Thorns Review || A Magical Adventure

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35720690In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.

Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch. 

But when Mia’s father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy.

“Why shouldn’t women get to craft the lives they wanted? Messy, complicated, vibrant lives full of adventure?”

So when I first finished this book I was like, wOW, that was grEAT! Really, I thought it was super amazing! But! Then I thought about it some more and decided that it does not actually warrant a five star review, so I’m going with a solid 4 (spoiler alert for the rest of this review). But honestly, it’s been quite a while since I’ve read a great fantasy with magic and political tension and royalty and travels like this, which used to be my absolute FAVORITE but then I like got distracted by a bunch of shiny contemporaries so yeah, this really played on my nostalgia and now you all know random useless stuff so on to the review.

Like I literally just said in the above paragraph, this was a great fantasy with magic and tensions and royalty. Mia has trained forever to become a hunter and hunt down the Gwyrach–evil female witches with dark powers to control people and more–especially since her mom was killed by one years ago. But then her father usurps all her plans by suddenly arranging a marriage between her and the Crown Prince. But when the wedding doesn’t quite go as planned, they pair definitely experience some adventures as Mia learns so much more about herself and the Gwyrach than she ever could have anticipated.

What really struck me about this book was how feminist it is. There is definitely some critique of patriarchy, such as how the king’s eldest, a wonderful daughter who would make a perfect ruler, is passed over in favor of her younger brother. It also mentions how women are the ones with power because they needed to fight for themselves after being mistreated by men for so long, which, yess!

There was also some great lgbtq+ representation with multiple major characters mentioned (mom and love interest are bi, mom was in love with a lesbian, best friend is gay) that I really liked. I read a couple reviews that mention that the lgbtq and feminism rep was a bit forced and awkward, and I agree that it definitely was in some places, but overall for the most part I really liked!

I really loved the main character, Mia. She was definitely a bit flawed, at times being rather judgmental and rash, but she clearly does go through some character growth to become more accepting at the end, and I’m sure she’ll continue to grow in future books! What I loved the most about her, though, was how badass and strong she was, fighting for her own!

The romance, while not the main point, was also swoony and enjoyable. I swear for the longest time I was just like kiss kiss why don’t you kiss already! The love interests were very cute together, getting to really know each other and open up to each other, and I definitely ship it!

Finally, this book was a bit tropey, and ultimately along with the awkward rep that’s probably what made me decide to only give it four stars. It definitely had some cliches such as the mc being engaged to the crown prince, disliking and then liking, and secretly being supernatural. But hey, these are tropes because people like them, right?

Anyways, overall I thought this was a really solid read and I definitely enjoyed it! Scrolling through goodreads I see that quite a few people did not agree with me and disliked it, but guess I’m gonna have an unpopular opinion here and recommend you read it!

★★★★ / 5