Descendant of the Crane eARC Review

ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon

GoodReads:

Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?”

It’s rare that I find myself so completely infatuated with a book. I gush about a few, sure, but I mean this one was the sort that from the first chapter you knew you were reading something quite amazing.

Not only does it engage you in the first chapter but there was not one character that I wasn’t completely interested in, there were no slumps or any boring filling, it was pure gold from start to finish. Usually, I do a pros and cons list when I write a review on my blog and this time the cons will be superfluous ones. I’m sure there are faults but anything that might have stood out to me didn’t due to beautiful prose and quite talented world-building skills. But more than anything, Joan He had a way of making you feel for her characters in a way that I really hadn’t in probably over a decade of reading.

This isn’t a ‘Chinese-inspired Game of Thrones.’ This is an amazing work of fiction all on its own, He’s story is her own with no shadows of GoT and she can clearly stand on her own two feet without such a comparison needed. I would dare say her story even had more heart than GoT and I’m a big fan of those books, but really, Descendant of the Crane is this incredible fantasy book that contains the sort of world that we don’t have enough of in books.

Hesina was relatable the whole way through, even if you didn’t agree with her decisions, you could completely understand why she made her choices. The love between her and her father also made me super emotional at times to the point where I was like ‘who is this person reading this’ I can connect with books and I’ll feel things lol I’m soulless [inserted another ginger joke, go me], not emotionless, but, it was just the exact sort of feelings I could connect with.

Pros:
– I love every single one of those nuggets in the book
– Mei kicks so much butt
– Hesina and her Father’s love
– Hesina and her siblings
– The politics are pretty much exactly the kind of horror you’d imagine in their time or our own, it’s very believable to the readers (well, to me)
– Akira

Cons:
– Could have been more Akira
– THAT ENDING THO (It’s not a con, just an OMG)
– Why wasn’t this book longer?
– My Soul is broken
-What do you do to me, Joan He?
– This book will destroy your soul and break your heart (maybe her and Wilson talked about the ways they could break hearts while writing their novels, Idk)
– Omg my heart

^ These are notes from my journal while reading it. So, take what you will, I really couldn’t come up with cons for it.

This was my first read for YARC2019!! Yay! And man what a great first read for the challenge! Also if you’re like ‘man I need to read this book now, here’s my info about what you get if you Preorder: Descendant of the Crane Preorder [Note: Bookmarks are all gone but you receive 5 character cards instead of four as compensation for the bookmarks being gone. Also, depending on when you read this, this offer may no longer be available, but as of me writing this on March 15, the preorder was still live and the form open. This giveaway is open internationally and does include library requests!]

I felt honored in being able to read an eARC of this and I’m grateful for the chance to read such an amazing book. This was also my first buddy read and it was a lot of fun! Of course, this is all my own opinion and others will not feel the same but, I stick by what I’ve said. It’s quickly been shelved on my favorites on GR and I will be closely watching for anything else Joan He will come out with from now on.

**I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion**

 

Anti-Valentine’s Day Tag

I was tagged by Soph @ Bookwyrmingthoughts for this Anti-Valentine’s Day Tag, I know I’m like two days late, but, I was busy, busy thinking obviously. Alright, now…LET’S GET TO IT.

THE RULES:

  • Link back to the blog that tagged you!
  • Answer the 10 anti-Valentine’s Day questions provided.
  • Come up with your own 10 anti-Valentine’s questions for blogs you tag.
  • Tag ten other bloggers to do the tag! [Jesus H. Christ, who hasn’t been tagged? Help me out here guys!]

Name a cute romance in which you will go down with the ship.

Gemma and Kartik

What’s one underhyped romance you want everyone to read?

Name a relationship in which you’d rather toss into the fuck it bucket than go down with it.


Bella and Edward


[I’m so sorry, but I can’t, I just can’t….but here, to prove I don’t hate Meyer with every fibre of my being…..]

 

Name a book in which the romance overpowered the plot but you actually enjoyed.

The Host

I’m not going to say this was a favorite of mine, but I didn’t hate it and really, I didn’t mind the romance in this [and in my opinion a plot like that didn’t need romance so the fact that I’m like ‘eh, cool’ says a lot lol]

What book features an ideal date you would like to go on with your partner/potential partner one day?

I would love to go to the Yule Ball, with Draco, but, you know hubby works too.

A book that had no romance but you wanted to have romance?

The Crystal Cave, we had Merlin growing up and he had one tryst, but, oh I would have loved to have had a romance in his growing up years!

Who’s your favorite stabbing character, one who would wield a weapon in a heartbeat?

Can Katniss count? She leans toward flying stabby things, but man does she have some mean aim!

A ship that never happened but you want to squish those characters together and WANT to happen.

Draco and myself. Whoops. Who said that? Hmm I’m trying to think here, hmm. Okay, Blackburn and Audrey Rose [who does that unless they’re in trouble? Just uses all the first and middle names??] Not that she deserves him. And I could get the hate for him, but honestly, honestly, why make someone out to be a bad guy who is only just a little stupid on arranged marriage etiquette?

A love interest you hated so much you would rather by squished by your TBR than fall in love with them.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth.I would squish her, squish her like a bug I say!!! I’m not going into this in depth. JUST SQUISH!!!!!

A fictional crush you would murder to get out of a sticky situation.

I…Don’t know, I mean none and all. Depends on the situation, you feel me??

*******************************************************************************My Questions:
1. What’s your favorite RomCom? [I know it’s not a book but hey it could be based off one!]

2. What’s your favorite tragedy? [Is there a ship that you indeed have to go down with, are you huddled in the corner crying by the end of their story?]

3. Which minor character romances would you love to have their own story?

4.  You’re least favorite couple in all of literary history?

5. Is there a character [evil or maybe just amoral] that you think love could redeem?

6. Which relationship do you think would do better by breaking up?

7. What character makes you want to shove them off a bridge because of their behavior in a relationship?

8. Quick you can only save one person from your favorite couple, which one do you save? [think of Titanic but with a tinier piece of wood, WE ALL KNOW LEO COULD HAVE LIVED KATE!]

9. What’s your favorite non-romantic book?

10. This isn’t book related but how much do you love 50% of chocolates? -Shoves a whole box into mouth- Just asking for a friend.

Tagging: Whoever Wants to be tagged! If you want to do this let me know so I can add your name and ping you!

It’s Friday, Friday, Gotta Get-

Just joking. But I do have that song stuck in my head now.

I think I’ll be talking about book clubs but before I do…..

Updates: So I’ve never done like a book haul before, just post pictures when we go charity shopping, but I may actually be able to do one for March! I just preordered the paperback of Cindy Pon’s Want for my YARC challenge (the library didn’t have it and the Kindle version was more expensive by enough that it made a difference and I bought the paperback, so I’ll be twiddling my thumbs for that, and A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia Cole…not to mention….Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller! (Comes out March 1 for us U.K. peeps!)

So there we have it, three new books when the newest book I bought was the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay, used, this past summer.

As far as reviews go, I’ll probably not post any reviews for my Agatha Christie reads on here, I might on GoodReads if I feel it’ll add something but it just feels like an unnecessary cluttering of the blog if I do it here!

I’ve finally started Dead Man’s Blues last night which is a large read, got through part one and there are 8, so, it’ll probably take me a few days as I’m trading off between that, an ARC, and my huge nonfiction slow burn read, The Romanovs. This weekend I plan to finish and review the ARC by Sunday, hopefully finish Dead Man’s Blues by Monday/Tuesday, and then really knuckle down on my February TBR that I’ve been ignoring to push down my NetGalley list (I am not allowed to browse on there until I’ve finished what I’ve picked up already). However, I feel I may not get to Becoming Michelle Obama, until late March, I was 90 on the hold list when I signed up (or 89…one of those two) and uh I’m 79 now, so progress, but, it’ll be a minute! Also on hold for two others but I’m in the single digits on those so I’m not too worried. : End Updates

Alright, now that I’ve got my mindless rambling out of the way, let’s talk, Book Clubs! I’m in one right now as well as in some reading groups on GoodReads (if you’re on there, feel free to snoop, I’m in 4, but active in 3 as I can’t get to the books they have in the last one, but the moment I can get one I’ll leap in!

Are you all in book clubs, and are they online or physical ones? I was the secretary of the High School Book Club and though I did enjoy it I found that most of their reads were not something I found interesting, I will admit though that at least two books had a really big impact on me. One neat thing about that club was that the school funded it entirely so we didn’t have to pay for the books. The others books I was able to give away to friends and so it was no harm no foul, but now as an adult, if I can’t get it at the library that means having to buy it. If it’s old or commonplace I can snag it cheap but if it’s not, well I’m like Scrooge and I cry over my pennies as they pry them from my hands at the counter. Such as, I spent 8 dollars (my kindle is still connected to my American Amazon and American bank card) on Stalking Jack the Ripper, and as someone who wasn’t very fond of that, I glare at it daily on my carousel on my KFire, in fact, I keep it in my carousel for that very reason, to glare at it.

I love that book clubs get me into genres I might not normally dive into, honestly, I do, but I also hate when we read ab ook that I know is going to be one everyone loves and I’m in the corner like this:

giphy

I also sometimes get very busy with other reads and forget and then I’m rushing to read and in a state of panic….like this:

I think for me I better enjoy doing a book club with people I know, or one that perhaps focuses on certain novels. Like I love my Agatha Christie GR group, but, because I know I’ll enjoy every book, not to mention, I don’t have to sit there with them in person. I am friends with the person who leads the FB one with the regrettable kindle purchase, and it’s nice to be in a book club with people I know in real life but via online. The only problem with this one is that it’s a free for all, people just recommend a read for the month and it’s randomly chosen, which is not the problem…The problem is that I can see myself being uncomfortable if I really don’t like the read and it was recommended by someone I like and know.

“Let’s read my favorite book, guys!”
“OKAY!”

Oh crap, I hate their favorite book.

“So what did you think of the book that changed my life?!”

I really don’t like feeling very guilty and I hate telling people I hate something they love. I mean I’m mean…but I don’t go soul-crushing for no reason!

So I can prep myself, has this happened to any of you all, book club situation or not? Did you just say ‘it just wasn’t for me’ or were you like ‘UNLEASH THE KRAKEN!’

Are you all proud of me? I finally had the energy to use gifs, can you tell???

In the end, my verdict on book clubs? I love them but I am an ugly ball of anxiety and lies in them.

My Love Affair with Agatha Christie

[I hope that picture terrifies you as much as it terrifies me]

Everyone has their niches of reading and mystery novels really attend to attract a crowd, and I am so very much a part of that crowd. The first mystery/crime novel I ever read was actually a Mary Higgins Clark book, Loves Music, Loves to Dance but that was only the beginning. Eventually, there was a kindle sale and I found myself buying Five Little Pigs, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

There’s something about getting lost in a novel where you’re kept on your toes and it’s a race to see if you can figure out ‘whodunit’ before it’s revealed by the Author. It’s like a battle of wits in a way, and one I admittedly am not great at, I get too lost in the story in the characters and I half forget what I was supposed to be doing the whole time besides thinking ‘it can’t be them, can it?! And what about the cousin, what will happen to them after this is all over?!’

This is the year I’ve decided to try and tackle as many of her books as possible, they’re the books I read while I waited in the car pick-up line for Mini-me, while I’m waiting in the doctor’s office and when I just don’t feel like tackling whatever large behemoth I checked out when left alone and unsupervised in the library. I’ve even joined a reading group on GoodReads who share the same goal as me.

What I love about Agatha Christie is that she became prolific and simply snubbed her nose at the fact that she was a woman writing, in her time, gritty mystery novels. She didn’t shy away from things that others might have, including the death of a child in her Hallowe’en Party. She was methodical and brilliant and oh sure I love Vanity Fair and I bleed Slytherin silver and green, but she’s always there at the top of my to-read shelf, my gateway drug to branching out and reading more mystery novels and being addicted to so many crime shows I daresay. It is also in thanks to Agatha Christie that I’ve discovered Muriel Sparks and her mystery novels are totally the bee’s knees too.

So, Happy Valentine’s to the best Valentine, Agatha Christie and all her mystery books! In fact, today I just finished reading another one of her books, so boom, screw chocolates, give me murder and whodunit.

The Spitfire Girls ARC Review

First off, guys, I’m wheezing because I accidentally wrote Spitefire and I feel like that was my subconscious talking.

ratingiconratingiconratingicon|
Blurb: At the height of World War II, the British Air Transport Auxiliary need help. A group of young women volunteer for action, but the perils of their new job don’t end on the tarmac. Things are tough in the air, but on the ground, their abilities as pilots are constantly questioned.

There is friction from the start, between the new recruits. Spirited American Lizzie turns heads with her audacity, but few can deny her flying skills. She couldn’t be more different from shy, petite Ruby, who is far from diminutive in the sky. It falls to pragmatic pilot May to bring the women together and create a formidable team capable of bringing the aircraft home.

As these very different women fight to prove themselves up to the task at hand, they are faced with challenges and tragedies at every turn. They must fight for equal pay and respect while handling aircraft that are dangerously ill-equipped; meanwhile, lives continue to be lost in the tumult of war.

Determined to assist the war effort doing what they love, can May, Lizzie and Ruby put aside their differences to overcome adversity, and will they find love in the skies?

[^ Let me tell you if I read that last little line/rhetorical question, I may not have jumped so eagerly to read it.]

Pros:
-Freakin WWII Women Pilots, I mean, seriously, how awesome is that?!
-Women Pilots
-Women Pilots flying huge bomber planes
-Are we seeing my pattern here yet?
-It’s sweet and fluffy and a book you can pick up and read while waiting for an appointment without getting too consumed.

Cons:
-Cringe-worthy stereotypical characters: You have the brash rude and horrible American, the demure, sweet, insecure small girl, the stoic ‘I can’t show emotions’ Commander.
-Honestly, the American in the first chapter is just shown as headstrong but then suddenly when we see her next she’s a spoiled little princess, or at least that’s what Lane wants you to think and I ended up just liking her more because she was competitive, ambitious, and went after what she wanted.
-The rivalry between the American and little Ms. Perfect was vomit inducing, of course, the sweet quiet one is the favored one, who wouldn’t want an insecure pilot flying a bomber plane?
-Of course, we have to have the overly confident one go through a personality change -ugh-.
-She switches between three characters and it just feels like they have no depth and their love stories are mushy gushy, so if you like that [the mushy gushy], throw it up in the pros!

Really I’m just not a sweet and fluffy person but I can tell you one thing, had this been a movie, I would have probably thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, I wanted to give this 2.5 but I realized, why should I rate a book so low just because I’m an unbelievable cynic? I hate sweet fluff with no depth, but, you know what, sometimes it’s nice to read that and not have to deal with a book that will emotionally drain you, plus it’s nice that she chose to focus on these women in history. I just feel that others have and will do better with this time in history. I intend to look into more books about our female WWII pilots.

This book comes out on February 26, I read this in exchange for an honest review and received it via NetGalley.

Top Ten Tuesday

Another Top Ten Tuesday from ThatArtsyReaderGirl!

This week? Top 10 favorite bookish couples in honor of Valentine’s coming up this week.

I’ll be doing these in no particular order!

 

  1. Anne and Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables
  2. Clary and Jace from The Mortal Instruments series
  3. Daine and Numair from The Immortals
  4. Katniss and Peeta from The Hunger Games
  5. Ito Miura and Makoto Narita from W Juliet
  6. Gemma and Kartik from The Gemma Doyle Trilogy
  7. Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks from Harry Potter
  8. Young Jolyon Forsyte and Irene Forsyte from The Forsyte Saga
  9. Camille and Nathaniel from the Camille duology
  10. Li Lan and Er Lang from The Ghost Bride

That’s it from me today, I am writing up a review of The Spitfire Girls, I finished it last night and well, it was fluffy and heartwarming and ugh. Yuck. But I mean, kudos to those who like that!

Toodles!

My Top 5 CLASSIC Dystopia Picks!

I’ve decided to divide this by Classics and YA, I couldn’t lump them all together and pick from them all as it’s one of my favorite genres after all! So here we go! [Next week I’ll do my favorite YA dystopia picks!]

5. 1984

ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon
Big Brother is watching, guys, and I love this book. Now, I wouldn’t say it was the best Dystopia novel of that era but it was still impactful and well, still is today. This isn’t the sort of novel where you come out with a happy ending and I think that’s one of the reasons I love dystopia, you never know what sort of ending you’ll get. Our protagonist finds love in a world where he’s one of the few not to be brainwashed into loving Big Brother, and where independent thinking isn’t allowed, more than that it really just doesn’t happen.

4. The Handmaid’s Tale

ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon
I cannot sing Atwood’s praises enough on this. She took something most other authors just didn’t even conceive of, writing this tale with a female perspective (and not just because Atwood’s female, but because her protagonist is) this one actually made me uncomfortable to read because in truth I felt that it hit too close to home, this was all too probable when you see how much power others have over women’s bodies. Not to mention we now have an amazing show because of it and Atwood is involved with it. Rumor is she’s going to maybe write a sequel.

3. Anthem

ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon
Admittedly I haven’t read this or a couple of others since 10th grade which was a very long time ago but I remember this being the only Ayn Rand book I actually liked. Now don’t get me wrong she writes with a power that is undeniable but I utterly hated Atlas Shrugged, I still have nightmares about it though I hear good things about The Fountainhead which is now on my list. Anyway, I have a funny feeling George Orwell may have gotten a few ideas from Ayn, where in her book Equality 7-2521 dares to dream of individualism and to love the woman that he chooses. It’s great and fast-paced, and just imagine, she published in 1938!

2. Fahrenheit 451

ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon
My man! Ray Bradbury!! I freakin’ LOVE The Halloween Tree (admittedly love the movie more but he had a hand in that as well so I don’t feel guilty about that). But before I loved The Halloween Tree, I loved Fahrenheit 451. This actually reminds of things that have happened before and seem just so plausible to happen again, we have our Firefighter Montag who burns books that are forbidden. But he finds himself wondering, thanks to the question of another, what’s in the books he burns? Montag never questioned it before it was his job and he just did it, but what if he peeked into those forbidden tomes? Honestly how easy is it to imagine a world where instead of seeking out knowledge we easily if not eagerly destroy it? (No matter the form it comes in)

1. Brave New World

ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon
I’ve read this at least twice, there may have been a third time during pregnancy but we’ll contribute memory loss to foggy prego-brain. This book rattled me to my core. This world seemed so foreign and scary to me the first time I read it when I was in middle school. Now though, it is ten times scarier and not nearly as foreign. We watch politics going crazy all over the world, people so scared that they are angry and ready for something easy to take away all the pain. And the ending, the reaction I had the first time I read it has never left me, I still feel that same reaction every time.

That’s the thing with all these dystopia novels, no matter if they’re classic or YA, they’re all so plausible in a world that’s so full of turmoil. Whether it’s a world where we only live for pleasure, one that takes away the core of our individualism, or one that takes away the complications of emotions that plague us.

There we go my 5 favorite Dystopia classics, I do plan on doing some more dystopia reading this year of both old and new so who knows what this list will look like by 2020!