Review: The Wicked Will Rise

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Author: Danielle Paige

Amy Gumm’s mission is to kill Dorothy and free the Land of Oz, but before she can do that, he must first accomplish a mission which includes getting the Tin Woodman’s heart, Scarecrow’s brain and Lion’s courage.

With the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked nowhere to be found, Princess Ozma as her only confidant, and her heart yearning for Nox, will Amy fulfill her duties?

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I honestly dreaded writing this review after writing Dorothy Must Die’s. After ranting about the first book, I felt like I have to give this series a chance to redeem itself. It did not happen. The first chapter up to the thirteenth was like reading something that a 70-year-old woman wrote. Things only get better at Chapter 14 because the whole beginning of the book is just Amy walking around and having stupid conversation with the other characters.

This book has immensely tested my patience. The characters we’re inconsistent and ridiculous. Amy was beyond annoying and she still doesn’t have what it takes to be a good heroine. She worries too much about her love interest instead of saving Oz. She’s not goal oriented, which is essential in writing about something like what the author wanted to tell her readers.  I also noticed that Paige is still obsessed with writing each and every idea that pops into Amy’s head.

This book, like the other one, posses a lot of potential. The world building could be more creative, the characters could be more refined, and the writing could be improved in so many ways. The Wicked Will Rise left so many unanswered question, but I don’t think that I will be reading the next book to be released.

The Creative Blogger Awards

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A huge thanks to Alicia @ The Cyborg Knight for nominating me to do this award.

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The RULES:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Nominate some bloggers in return and notify them about their nomination.
4. Keep the rules in your post to make it easy for anyone to know what to do.

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5 Facts About Me

1. I have a restless spirit, the type that I can’t even sit still for a couple of minutes. When I’m still studying, I’m always getting on my professors’ nerves for creating disturbance among the classes and the only time that I can stay in a place for a long time is when I’m reading and daydreaming.

2. I have a serious issue with authority. Whenever someone dictates me of what to do, it seriously get on my nerves that I choose to do the wrong thing than to do what is right. It always happen whenever someone tries to prove that they’re much smarter than I do. I know I’m arrogant and such but I believe that no one is perfect and everyone has their own flaws to share (and that this is mine).

3. When I was 7 years old I kidnapped my neighbor. It’s not kidnap as in I abducted him, I just pretend to. When I saw my neighbor sneaking away from his parents to go outside, I got the naughtiest idea to make a ransom note with a big amount of money, then dropped it inside his room through the window. After a couple of hours, his mother saw my note and immediately go to my mom because she suspected that I am the one who wrote the note. (It was handwritten by my seven-year old self.) When our neighbor left, my mother gave me a good spanking that taught me a lesson never to mess with ‘criminal’ stuffs again.

4. I don’t want my son to become like me. (This is a serious one.) I got pregnant at 19, I am a college drop out, and I wasted a lot of opportunities that comes my way. Don’t get me wrong, I never regret having a child even though it’s hard raising someone when I’m still learning about life myself. I just wish that I waited for myself to become more well-established and successful.

5. I’d rather have winter than summer. I hate the heat and I will always do. I’d rather snuggle with my husband under a thick wooly blanket while it’s raining outside than to bake my self under the summer sun.

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I NOMINATE:

A Bibliophobic Tendencies

Bookish Library

Fhina @ Books Coffee and Life

The Liebster Award

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I was nominated by Kayla @ The Fiction Fairy to do this Liebster Award for quite some time now and I only had a chance to do it today. Thank you so much for nominating me.

Here’s my answers to her questions:

1. What is your favorite childhood or middle grade book/series?

I love Enid Blyton’s books especially the Famous Five series. I remember being scolded by my parents because I’m reading her books past bedtime so I just flip off my lights then I got under the covers and read my books there with a flashlight.

2. What’s the most beautiful book on your bookshelf?

I think that the beauty of a book is defined on how much worn out they are because I have read them so many times. So the most beautiful books on my shelf would be The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan along with the books on the series. I think I have read them for over five times since their release.

3. If you could turn any book/series into a movie or tv show, which would you choose?

I would choose the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi, but only if they cast Chase Crawford or Ian Somerhaulder as Warner.

4. If you could switch bodies with a fictional character for a day (live through their eyes), which character would you choose?

I would choose Robert Langdon from Inferno by Dan Brown. I admire his intelligence so much.

5. Write the first character that comes to mind with a name that starts with “C” and describe if you like them or not.

Clary Fray, actually she’s my most hated character of all times. She’s reckless and half of her decisions cause for others to suffer.

6. What book are you currently reading? Do you like it so far?

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke. I love it!

7. Name one book you would love to get signed.

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi, my favorite dystopia.

8. If you could get your hands on an ARC (advanced reader copy) for ANY book coming out in the future, which would you choose?

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan because I really dig the high fantasy genre especially when it is about mythology.

9. If you could keep any animal/pet from a book as a pet in real life, which would you choose?

Um, Bambi from Every Last Breath by JLA. She’s a familiar so I won’t be obliged to fend for her. (I don’t like pets because I’m lazy when it comes to taking care for them.)

10. What is one of your worst bookish habits?

Excessive reading? I read every possible moment that I can. In the comfort room, while breast-feeding, when my kid’s asleep, sometimes even when he’s awake and still, I felt deprived of books.

11. What was your favorite book that you read this summer?

I can’t choose. I like An Ember in The Ashes, Cruel Beauty, Gilded Ashes, A Court of Thorns and Roses and Every Last Breath.

Facts about me:
1. I’m from the Philippines.
2. I have an over energetic 10-month-old son.
3. I have a frog phobia.
4. I love rainy days more than sunny ones.
5. My initials we’re AAAA and my birthday is on the month of April. (I have a lot of As going on)
6. I don’t like pets.
7. I eat everything and not gain a pound.
8. I get annoyed whenever someone tells me that I’m ‘just’ a mom. Hello! Try to be one then tell me again that I’m ‘just’ a mom.
9. I like my books to look worn and overuse (but not damaged).
10. I love watching and officiating amateur basketball matches.
11. I’d rather be alone most of the time.

My questions:
1. Are you favor of changing covers whenever a book is reprinted? Why?
2. What’s your most read book of all times?
3. If you’re going on a weekend getaway, what book will you bring?
4. Have you regret buying a certain book? If so, why?
5. Fairy tale retelling or mythology?
6. If you’re moving out of your house and you’re only allowed to bring one book, what will you choose?
7. Who influenced you to read?
8. Have you ever encounter a quote in a book that made such a big impact on your life? What is it and why?
9. High fantasy or contemporary?
10. What are the best and worst book-to-film adaptations you’ve seen?
11. Your favorite read this year.

I nominate:

looking4books

The Bookworm Blogg

librostagram

The Little Book Affair

August Wrap Up

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August has been hectic for me. Between my motherly duties and blogging, my cousin asked for my help to tutor her. Also, my son and I moved in with his father’s house and there’s no internet in there so my blog has to suffer. Despite of everything, I’m still glad because I get to spend more time hanging out with my husband and son instead of just reading inside our room.

Here’s the list of books that I have read this month:

1. Red Rising
2. Golden Son
3.Cruel Beauty
4.Crimson Bound
5.An Ember in the Ashes
6.Dorothy Must Die
7. The Wicked Will Rise
8. Every Last Breath
9. Gilded Ashes
10. The Son of Sobek
11. The Staff of Serapis
12. The Crown of Ptolemy
13. Quidditch Through The Ages
14. The Tales of Beedle the Bard

As you can see, I have read a lot of novellas this month, my favorite among them is Gilded Ashes while my least favorite we’re those written by Rick Riordan. And for those longer books, I liked An Amber in the Ashes and Every Last Breath the most while Dorothy Must Die is the least of my favorite. I also have written book reviews for those who have links, just click it if you want to read of what I thought about those books. As for those I haven’t posted a review yet, I will do but I’m still uncertain of when I will post them. August has been a productive month for me and I hope September will be to.

Review: Dorothy Must Die

I finished reading this book last week and for some unknown reasons, every review draft that I made got deleted. It happened for three times and I thought about that I might as well quit on writing a review for this. But then I realized that I have to be more patient.

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Author: Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die tells the story of another girl who got blown up by a tornado from Kansas to the mystical land of Oz. She is Amy Gumm, and never in her life that she imagined being at a place that she had only read and watched about. But Oz different from what she heard about, its dwellers we’re living in fear and the magic is almost gone. Apparently, Oz’s past hero whom saved and freed the land from the Wicked Witches came back and was appointed to be a princess. Her name is Dorothy Gale. After becoming a royalty, Dorothy became evil and power-hungry. She terrorized the land with unjust and brutal punishment.

On the other hand, Amy was recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. She trained to become a fighter so she can spy and kill Princess Dorothy. But with a lot of personal issues and matters of the heart, will she be able to make it?

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In the past, I have developed a certain liking on fairy tale retellings. Though they are a bit predictable, because they are based on another story, I like the twists that the authors put on them especially when they darken the plot.

I am very excited when I picked Dorothy Must Die. From the title itself, I knew that my cravings for a well written story is about to be quenched. But alas, I was doomed to be disappointed. The story that I’ve heard so may good things about turned out to be a mere time killer for me. I like the way the author twisted the classic The Wizard of Oz but I hated the execution she does for this book. There’s so many wasted opportunities.

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1. Amy– I get that Amy had a rough past and that she is bound to be flawed. I know that she has a lot of growing up to do and she did in some ways. But personality wise, she did not. Yes she became more confident and skilled, but she’s also selfish. She always thinks about herself when her role in the book is to protect others. Amy also tend to justify her wrong doings by telling and convincing herself that her actions we’re necessary. I also noticed Amy’s willingness to kill. I know that the author just wanted to portray her as a kickass heroine but the execution of her character was so poor that she looked like a murderer instead of a protector.

I just wish that she was more carefully written because Amy posses a lot of potential. She can be a very admirable heroine that will save everyone at the end of the day. Being someone who lived a hard life, she could be someone who emerged victorious and wise in spite of all the things that she experienced.

2. Plot/Pacing– Normally, I will embrace a high fantasy novel with open arms. But in Dorothy Must Die’s case I did the opposite. Instead of letting the story took charge, I became more critical in reading it. On other books that I like, I did not notice how much time goes by but when I’m reading this, I became very aware of how much the book was taking up my time.

It is obvious that the author aim on making this book action packed and on a lot of ways, she failed. At the first 100 pages, it seems like the story only focuses on world building and on how bad Oz is screwed up while the training that Amy does only felt like 20 pages tops. The magic and spells that she learned were not explained thoroughly that a lot of times that she casts spells, I became surprised on how much magic she knows. Another thing that I noticed is how Amy became a world-class fighter when she only spent 6 weeks training.

Danielle Paige also wrote Amy’s internal monologue redundantly. Amy worry about the same things over and over again that it felt like I was forced to live inside Amy’s head each time she does that.

3. Romance– I finished reading this book last week and for some unknown reasons, every review draft that I made got deleted. It happened for three times and I thought about that I might as well quit on writing a review for this. But then I realized that I have to be more patient.ance- I don’t understand why Danielle Paige incorporated romance in this story. It feels obliged and not once did I feel the connection between Amy and Nox. The scenes when the romance took place we’re all unnecessary.

4. WHY THE HELL DID THE ORDER SENT AMY TO SPY DOROTHY WHEN DOROTHY’S HEAD MAID IS ALREADY THEIR SPY? What’s the point in doing so? If Paige thought that she dropped a major bomb when she revealed that Jellia is their spy, then she’s wrong. It disappointed me terribly that I lost all my hope in this book.

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The only thing that I like in this book is Dorothy. It’s fun reading her scenes because she’s sassy and will take no-nonsense from anybody. It’s just a pity that her exposure was very limited.

All in all, I really do not like how this story ended up. Dorothy Must Die posses a lot potential and I just wish that the author tells Oz’s story a little differently. Still, I would read the next books hoping that Paige will redeem herself.

Rating:1/5

Review: An Ember In The Ashes

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Author: Sabaa Tahir

“Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be.” 

In a world inspired by Ancient Rome, breaking the rules is equivalent to death. When Laia’s brother was accused of treason, the Empire killed their grandparents and arrested Darin, Laia’s brother, for interrogation and torture. To help him, Laia sought help from a group of rebels that defy the Empire that call themselves Resistance. In exchange of saving her brother, Laia was to spy the Empire’s most ruthless person, the Commandant, inside the Blackcliff Military Academy. Inside she met Elias, the Academy’s finest but also the most unwilling student.

Set in a broken world, Laia and Elias fought for equality and justice. Though they are the exact opposites of each other, they we’re destined to meet so they can change the future.

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An Ember In The Ashes has been sitting on my virtual shelf for quite some time  now. At first I hesitate to read this because I am starting to get tired of books about oppression and resistance. But as I read it, I was instantly consumed by its rich, well written plot line and diverse characters. This book shows how its author, Sabaa Tahir, is pure talent. It is her debut novel and honestly, it is rare for a debut novel to be this good. In fact, this is one of my favorite books this 2015.

Tahir’s compelling writing skills really took my breath away. She made delicate issues like rape, torture and murder a way of living for her characters. She write it with confidence and sophistication. She’s straight forward but not careless. For me, her characteristics as a writer is what made this book so compelling and successful. An Ember In The Ashes is one of those books that made me invest my emotions into it, it drove me on the edge of me emotional capacity and I like it. Normally, I don’t like when a book does that to me but it’s different with An Ember In The Ashes. When reading it, the story will demand your full attention and the involvement of your feelings.

The world that Sabaa Tahir created is ruthless and brutal. She didn’t even took a break pedal in describing the harsh reality that is happening at Serra. It also added a point in my book that the world made by Tahir is not magical yet there are supernatural creatures that lurks in it. I like the universe that the book posses but not enough for me to want to live in it.

I also admire the idea of two characters with opposite natures, Laia lives in poverty and fear while Elias has power and privileged. Their mixed point of views also added spice to the story. The author created exceptionally diverse main characters with a villain done so well.

What I like about Laia is that I saw her grow. In the beginning she’s just your typical female that can exist in any books with any setting. She’s always frightened and doubting about her abilities but as the story line goes on, she learn to fight and to protect those she loves. Laia eventually found big girl panties and wear it. She decided that it’s the right time to stand up and to fight for what’s right no matter what the consequences are.

“You are full, Laia. Full of life and dark and strength and spirit. You are in our dreams. You will burn, for you are an ember in the ashes.” 

Elias, on the other hand, is strong but is also trying to find himself. He wanted to escape his responsibilities so he can be free. From the beginning up to the end, Elias fought for what is right though he is expected to kill without any hesitation. This attitude of him is maybe because of the different raising he had from his adopted parents. He has different outlook in life that made him righteous.

“You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.” 

As for Helene and Keenan, I felt deprived of them. They were both cunning and and strong so I am hoping to see more of them on the upcoming books for this series.

The fact that the villain of the story is Elias’ mother is genius. She made the story more interesting and exciting. Her brutal and ruthless nature made her one of the most unexpected but effective villain.

The romance that took place between the two main characters is perfect for my taste. It is not feel obliged, only necessary. They both had their personal issues and they try to resolve it individually, the romance just slips in the right timing. Normally I hated love triangles (love quadrangle for this book), but Keenan and Helene we’re both deserving for Elias and Laia so this is an exception for the cliché that is brought by those love polygons. Romance is not the focus of the story and the author made sure that it will be not.

An Ember In The Ashes is undoubtedly, a very well written book. It is marketed as a stand alone but the ending conveys that it is not. The ending is not really an ending, it also not a cliff hanger but Tahir left so many unresolved issues like: Is Darin still alive? Who is Elias father and why does the Commandant hates him so much? What happened to Keenan? It is also unclear whether Elias and Laia is in love or just physically attracted to each other. I will be irritated if that kind of ending exist in other book but the author made the story very promising so I guess I will just wait patiently for the next book.

Rating: 5/5

Review: Crimson Bound

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Author: Rosamund Hodge

At 15, Rachelle trained to be the next woodwife after her aunt. She has a good heart but also a reckless one that made her stray from the forest path from time to time. She thinks that she can find a way to free the world on the threat of eternal darkness. One day she met a forestborn, he tricked her into removing her protection against his kind then he marked her to become a bloodbound. The transition of being a bloodbound from being a human lasts for three days, within that days, Rachelle has to kill someone or she dies.

After three years, bloodbound and all, Rachelle found herself serving as one of the king’s bloodbounds. She did this so she can delay her transformation on being a blood thirsty and, literally, heartless forestborn. Being a bloodbound of a king, Rachelle was comanded to take care for Armand, one of the king’s bastard. She hated him for Rachelle thinks that Armand mocks her kind on pretending to be marked by a forest born and survived without having to kill anyone.

Rachelle, along with Armand, tries to find a way to save their land from the eternal darkness. With a lot of twists and turns, they uncover long-lost secrets.

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Once again, Rosamund Hodge twisted a full of wonder fairytale into a murky and magical story. Crimson Bound talks about humility, redemption and accepting oneself. She created a fast paced novel that will entice each and every senses of anyone who will get a hold of this. What made me like Rosamund Hodge is that she really, really showcase her talent on each book she write. She’s not afraid to venture each and every possibilities that her story posses. Crimson Bound has a lot of potential and she carefully manipulate each one until she made an unbelievably well thought plot.

The world building in this novel is also superb. I love the idea of an old palace full of grandeur and wonder. And of course, the Great Forest, the mystical and almost haunted place that no one in the story really understands. It has its own life and indescribable magic. Great Forest is also the home of various creatures like the forestborn, woodspawn and bloodbounds. I love of how the Forest can manipulate the characters and that it can manifest wherever it wants. The story ended yet the powers of Great Forest remain a mystery.

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I really, really like how Rosamund Hodge portrays each of her heroines. She refuse to make her characters perfect, instead, she took pride with faulty characters. Rachelle is a troubled girl with a doomed soul looking for redemption. She’s strong-willed and cunning. The only thing that I do not like about her is that she denied of how much she wanted to be saved. Rachelle denied and denied that she wanted redemption, but inside her heart, she wants nothing but to escape her fate. She’s also envious of Armand because people look up to him even though he is already marked by a forestborn while she was feared and despised for the same reason.

Honestly, I am not much of a fan of Armand. I like my male characters strong and capable, and he is not. He is physically impaired and it always gets in the way. I just wished that sometime in the story, he was able to protect Rachelle, not the other way around. A lot of times while reading Crimson Bound that I get embarrassed for him because of all the limitations that his lack of hands sets for him. And though Armand is strong spirited, he is sometimes frustrating and a little bit of a sissy. Nevertheless, I think he balanced Rachelle untamable character.

The plot twists in this book is insane. A lot of times I felt like “This is it, nothing worse can happen,” and then BAM! The author drops another bomb that surprises the readers. Hodge made sure that Crimson Bound posses no dull moments, not even one and I guess she succeeded.

Rating: 4/5