Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

TWATD

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Date of Publication: May 12, 2015

Date Read: February 26, 2016 – February 28, 2016

Description:

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.

Buy It From: Chapters | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

My Rating: ★★★★★

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. I’d heard a million and one wonderful things about it, and many people kept telling me that it would break my heart. And, me being me, I didn’t take their warnings seriously, because very few books have left me heartbroken.

I should’ve listened.

My boyfriend was in the room when I finished the book, and he can testify that I slapped the nearest cushion after I read the last page. Like, seriously, what was that ending????

Okay before I get riled up again, let’s touch upon everything I enjoyed (spoiler alert: I enjoyed everything about this book).

Characters: I almost instantly fell in love with Shazi. She’s clever and “silver tongued” and knows how to stand on her own two feet, but she also makes mistakes and isn’t perfect. Khalid is my baby and it’s NOT HIS FAULT. Just seeing how much love he truly has is just so wonderful. I could keep going with all the individual characters, but I would pretty much just keep saying the same thing: I love them all, with their bold personalities and humour.

Story: This book was so jam packed with action and big twists! Halfway through I was already exhausted from what had happened up to that point – it was enough to fill one book all on its own – but then there was an entire other half that I needed to tackle. And, don’t worry, the second half is just as adventure-filled and exciting as the first half. The energy never died with this book, it was amazing until the last word.

Writing: L-O-V-E-D Ahdieh’s writing and how she described everything. I especially loved the descriptions of the food… it totally didn’t make my mouth water at all…

Honestly, I’m kind of at a loss for words with this book. It was such a rollercoaster ride of emotions and adventure, and I broke my book buying ban to get the sequel so I could find out what happens to my babies. This is, by far, my favourite book that I’ve read so far in 2016.

Overall: 10/10 Would HIGHLY recommend.

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School’s Out Readathon Day 5 summary, Readathon Wrap Up!

Day 5 Stats

Pages read: 98

Books finished: 1

Thoughts on Day 5:

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN DESTROYED ME. Also wish I’d gotten to read more Radio Silence.

Readathon Wrap Up

Total Pages Read: 742

Total Books Finished: 2

  • Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes – ★★★★☆
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh – ★★★★★

Books Unfinished: 2

  • Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
  • Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Readathon Thoughts:

Though I fell short of my original goal of 3 books, I’m pretty happy with what I managed to accomplish in 5 days. Plus, the books that I did finish were really good, so it was 5 days well spent.

~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you all so much for participating in my little readathon! I’d like to do another one sometime, so if you’d be interested in that let me know by either liking this post or leaving a comment!

I hope you all have a wonderful day, and keep on reading!

~ Becca

My Boyfriend Recommends

Hello readers!

Today I’m going to be talking about books that my boyfriend has read and enjoyed. Lucas and I have been dating for over 2 years; we met in the tenth grade, but didn’t start dating until our senior year. Now, Lucas was not much of a reader at the time – his focus was on videogames and drumline. A couple months into our relationship, however, he told me that he wanted to get back into reading, and talked about the Demonata series by Darren Shan, books he loved when he was a kid.

Ever since then I’ve been buying him books for every occasion that calls for gifts (birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries) although he, too, has made his own book purchases.

1. The Reckoners Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Description (from Steelheart): 

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

I have never seen Lucas get so excited for a book as much as I’ve seen him get excited over this series. He finished Steelheart in 1 day, and Firefight in less than. Calamity just recently came out so he doesn’t yet have his hands on it (spoiler alert: his birthday is in less than a month). He keeps telling me that I need to read this trilogy, so I will probably pick it up pretty soon.

2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

RPO

Description:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

This was the first book I ever bought for Lucas, and if I’m being honest I also bought it because I, too, wanted to read it. I let him read it first, though, don’t worry. He took it with him to school and ended up really enjoying it – one of his friends even commented about how he had read and enjoyed it. I read it immediately after he did, and it was funny having him to talk to about it.

3. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Vicious

Description:

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Lucas keeps reminding me that, whenever I get around to reading this book, I need to tell him so we can discuss it. I take this to mean “Becca you really really need to read this book so I have somebody to fangirl with.”

4. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Locke Lamora

Description:

An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…

This is actually the first book in a series called the Gentleman Bastard. Lucas got the first book on his own a while back, and has been taking his time reading it. He keeps telling me about how “juicy” it gets, all the plot twists, and so many character deaths. Yet another series where nobody is truly safe. At this moment he is nearing the end of the first book, and he will probably pick up the rest of the series over time.

 

Bonus: What’s Lucas reading next?

I got him the Mistborn Trilogy for Christmas, so as soon as he finishes with Locke Lamora he’ll probably be starting that soon.

Thanks for reading!

~Becca

 

School’s Out Readathon Day 4 Summary, Day 5 Start

Day 4 Stats

Pages read: 239

Total pages read: 644

Books finished today: 0

Total books finished: 1

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes – ★★★★☆

Currently Reading: The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh, Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Thoughts on Day 4:

The Wrath & the Dawn is so good!!!!! There’s just so much action and I feel like so much has already happened but I’m not anywhere near the end which is freaking me out. I’ve decided to put Passenger on the backburner, instead picking up Radio Silence because I love Alice Oseman’s writing.

Day 5 Housekeeping

  • OMG IT’S THE LAST DAY OF THE READATHON!!!!
  • Today’s BPC prompt is Happy
  • As usual, look out for reading sprints on my Tumblr, though occasionally I will announce them on Twitter.
  • Don’t forget to use the tag #schoolsoutreadathon!
  • I hope you have a lot of fun and make the most of the last day of the readathon!

School’s Out Readathon Day 3 Summary, Day 4 Start

There are only 2 days left in this readathon! Where did the time go?

Day 3 Stats

Pages read today: 103

Total pages read: 405

Books finished today: 0

Total books finished: 1

Ratings:

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes – ★★★★☆

Currently Reading: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Thoughts on Day 3:

Today has been a better reading day than Day 2, but still not as good as Day 1. I’m lucky I have a boyfriend who also likes to read and is willing to read with me for a bit. Passenger isn’t going as well as I was hoping it would go, but I am definitely loving The Wrath and the Dawn. Looking forward to Day 4!

Day 4 Housekeeping

  • Today’s photo challenge prompt is Outside
  • Reading sprints will be the same as they have been all week – 12:30-1PM, 4:15-5PM, 9:30-10PM, and one more tomorrow morning from 10:15-11AM, all EST
    • I have a tendency to think the morning sprint is 9:15-10AM, so if you notice me do this just roll with it haha
  • Don’t forget about using the tag #schoolsoutreadathon for all of your readathon-related posts!

I hope you’re not tired of reading yet, because we’ve got 2 more days to go! You can do it!

~ Becca

Book Review: Dreaming of Antigone by Robin Bridges

 

Antigone

(Image and Description from Goodreads)

Publisher: Kensington

Date of Publication: March 29, 2016

Date Read: February 24 – March 3

Description:

Every star has its own path…

“I can’t ever be the blazing star that Iris was. I’m still just a cold, dark satellite orbiting a star that went super nova.”
 
Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, in fact—including a drug problem. Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she—the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe—is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him.
 
Heartwrenching, smart, and bold, Dreaming of Antigone is a story about the jagged pieces that lie beneath the surface of the most seemingly perfect life…and how they can fit together to make something wholly unexpected.

Buy It From: Chapters | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

Note: I received an ebook copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Deciding how I felt about this book was tough, and my feelings kept changing. One minute I didn’t like it, another I thought it was okay, and sometimes I did enjoy it.

Overall, though, this book was a solid okay.

Listen, this book was entertaining enough. I never felt like I needed to stop reading it, which is good, because it was interesting enough for me to want to find out what happens. For pure entertainment value, it’s an A+. More things I like include: its incorporation and discussion of epilepsy and seizures, which I don’t read a lot about, and Andria’s love for the universe and poetry. It was nice.

Otherwise, there are just too many aspects of this book that I’m not happy with.

The first 60% was a little slow for my liking. It wasn’t until well into the second half that the story got kind of exciting, but even then it started falling flat again. It really just felt like nothing happened for most of the book – the same places were mentioned, the same characters, the same feelings. Nothing seemed to change. There were also a lot of cliches that I grew tired of as the book went along.

I didn’t really like the time changes, either. Like in one paragraph Andria would be doing something, and the next she’d be describing an event that realistically wouldn’t happen for a long time. I can understand that nothing worth describing would happen in between, but I feel like there’s a better way of writing changes in time without making it seem like separate events happen right after each other.

I also just didn’t react very emotionally to this book. It was only that one big revelation that shocked me, but every other revelation that was supposed to be “shocking” or “big” didn’t have me reacting like I would for major events. I wasn’t shocked, I wasn’t upset by things, I was just reading with little to no emotional reaction. I wanted this book to grab me and shake me and make me care about the characters and what was happening in their lives, but it just didn’t.

As for the ending: first of all, it seemed really abrupt. I was hoping there would be more, but the last few pages were just a sneak peek at another book. That was a little annoying.

My other issue with the ending is… well, the endgame. There’s no way I can discuss this without spoiling the end, but I really really wish that it had ended on just Andria, not Andria and whoever she ends up with. This relationship she’s in just doesn’t sit well with me, and I would’ve preferred if she’d gotten to learn more about herself, or had just ended not in a relationship.

On the other hand, I wish Andria’s relationship with her mom had improved. They left on a kind of sour note, and honestly I cared more about Andria and her mom than who Andria ended up with. If the ending was about her and her mom, I would have been much, much happier.

I’m quite indifferent about the characters: they were good enough for what they were, but they weren’t anything special. I actually found I was annoyed by them more than I cared about them. Andria and Alex were tolerable, separately. I didn’t like Andria’s friends, or their message that people should be together because they can “fix” each other.

Oh, and Andria mentions Alex’s blue eyes way too much. It got too repetitive and I was tired of hearing about his eyes by the end of the book.

Overall: Entertaining but not mind blowing.


This review was originally posted on my booklr on March 3rd, 2016

School’s Out Readathon Day 2 Summary, Day 3 Start

Pages Read Today: 38

Total Pages Read: 340

Books Finished Today: 0

Total Books Finished: 1

Ratings:

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes – ★★★★☆

Currently Reading: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Thoughts on Day 2:

Didn’t get to read as much as I wanted. It was a travelling day, and then I went to hang out with my friends because I haven’t seen them in a while. Hopefully Day 3 is better.

 

Day 3 Housekeeping:

  • omg we’re almost halfway through already?!?!
  • Today’s photo challenge prompt is Fresh
  • Reading sprints will be the same as yesterday – 12:30-1PM, 4:15-5PM, 9:30-10PM, and one more tomorrow morning from 10:15-11AM, all EST
    • I’ll be out again today so I won’t be able to announce reading sprints on my twitter. I have, again, scheduled sprint reminders on my booklr, so watch for them there!
  • Don’t forget about using the tag #schoolsoutreadathon for all of your readathon-related posts!

Have a wonderful day, and happy reading, everyone! ❤

~Becca

Book Review: Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms #4)

Frozen Tides

(Image and description from Goodreads)

Publisher: Razorbill

Date of Publication: December 15, 2015

Date Read: December 25, 2015 – April 24, 2015

Description: 

Rebels, royals, and monsters wage war over the Mytican throne in the shocking fourth book of the Falling Kingdoms series, from New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes.

CLEO: Reeling after a bloody showdown in Limeros ending with Amara’s abduction of the water crystal, and a vacancy in the Mytican throne, Princess Cleo must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a Queen.

MAGNUS: With the kingdom in chaos, Princess Lucia still missing and quite possibly in danger, and a shocking realization about Cleo, the steely prince is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he’s strong enough to rule his people.

LUCIA: The young sorcercess has had her vengeance after the cruel death of her first and only love. Heartbroken and unable to trust anyone, she allies with the awoken Fire god, who also seeks revenge.

JONAS: After escaping death by the skin of his teeth, the defeated rebel—along with a mysterious stranger–leader reunites with Princess Cleo, only to find himself a mere pawn in a dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.

KING GAIUS: Abandoned by Melenia and betrayed by his own children, Gaius flees Mytica and sails to Kraeshia, where he attempts to ally with the famously brutal emperor across the Silver Sea.

Buy It From: Chapters | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

My rating: ★★★★☆

I’m very upset by the fact that I was not able to finish this book sooner. I hate reading a book over a long period of time because I end up forgetting the beginning (with the horrid memory I have), which usually leads to a lower rating.

Let’s start off with what I didn’t like about this book:

It’s not that it was slow, per say, but during the first 60% of this book nothing really took me by surprise. But, now that I think about it, maybe I’m already so used to this series that nothing shocks me anymore. Like a certain thing that happened to a certain person – I feel like it should have shocked me, but didn’t. Anyway, what I’m saying is that while the story didn’t necessarily drag, the beginning wasn’t memorable, either. Again, I also have a bad long-term memory, which helps nothing.

There’s also just SO MUCH going on that sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with all the subplots and remember all the end-goals of the characters. It can get confusing, especially when there are so many POVs thrown in there, some of which don’t get as much page time as the main 4 characters. Personally, I would have liked it if the book had been confined to the POVs of the main 4, but I’ve learned to live with the different perspectives, so it’s really not too big a deal.

And now, the good:

This book was heavy with political intrigue and betrayal and suspense, and I could feel that while I read. I’m so annoyed by not knowing who to trust, which is probably exactly how the characters are feeling, so A+ on bringing out my emotions and making me feel things.

And without spoiling things: MY BABIES. The only 2 characters I really care about, finally canon. Yes yes yes yes yes.

But what’s Morgan going to do to my babies? I’m so scared.

Anyway, as you can tell I am still very much in love with the characters. I have a particular fondness for 2 of them, obviously, but I still enjoy how each of them is written very much. In fact, Morgan has this knack for making me understand why certain characters – who I otherwise dislike – do what they do. I mean, “cool motive, still murder”, but she brings out the humanity in all of them, and reminds us that the difference between what’s Good and what’s Evil isn’t clear-cut. They all have their end-goals, they all have stories, and there isn’t necessarily a hero in this story, just a bunch of people who are doing whatever it takes to get what they want.

And that character development! So much of it! These characters are definitely different people from who they were in the first book, but they also went through great changes just in this one! And it’s not rushed, unrealistic character development: it’s the kind of believable, slow change that takes you by surprise when you realize it has happened.

One of my favourite parts was the world building. We finally got a glimpse of the world outside of Mytica, not just the landscapes but the cultures as well. You know me, I’m the anthropology student who’s a sucker for learning about different cultures.

While the beginning wasn’t great, the last 40% was much better, more interesting, more shocking. I still kind of can’t believe some of that happened!

Overall: another good book in my favourite series, and I cannot wait for Crystal Storm!

 

School’s Out Readathon Day 1 Summary, Day 2 Start

Pages Read Today: 302

Total Pages Read: 302

Books Finished Today: 1

Total Books Finished: 1

Ratings:

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes – ★★★★☆

Currently Reading: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Thoughts on Day 1:

It was a very good start to this readathon! I managed to finish the book I’ve been reading for months now, and I’ve started a book that I’ve heard a lot of good things about. Very excited to get deeper into this story!

 

Day 2 Housekeeping:

  • Today’s photo challenge prompt is Relax
  • Reading sprints will be the same as yesterday – 12:30-1PM, 4:15-5PM, 9:30-10PM, and one more tomorrow morning from 10:15-11AM, all EST
    • I’ll be out today so I won’t be able to announce reading sprints on my twitter. I have, however, scheduled sprint reminders on my booklr, so watch for them there!
  • Don’t forget about using the tag #schoolsoutreadathon for all of your readathon-related posts!

I hope you all have a lovely reading day!

~Becca

My Shelf Monday: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

TWATD

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Description:

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?

Where did I get it?

I ordered it from Chapters!

Why did I buy it?

I’ve heard so many great things about it and have wanted to read it for some time. Besides, isn’t that cover absolutely gorgeous?

Have I Read It?

Yes ||| No

Why haven’t I read it?

It’s relatively new to my shelves, so I haven’t yet gotten to it due to the busy time of exam season.

Where is it on my TBR?

Really high, actually; I plan on reading it during my School’s Out Readathon, right after Frozen Tides and Passenger.

—————–

My Shelf Monday is a weekly post on my blog in which I discuss one of the books/series that I own. It’s a way to catalogue my book collection, and it also acts as a slow, miniature tour of my shelves.

Thanks for reading!

~Becca