Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clark

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The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clark is the first in young adult fantasy duology. Ananna is the daughter of a pirate captain, one of the most respected families on the Pirate Confederation. Her parents decide to marry her off in an arranged marriage that she wants no part of. So she runs off. And the family of the guy she is supposed to marry sends an assassin after her. This book is how Ananna and the assassin’s, Naji, lives go after they meet.

The world building in this book is not that great. There’s so much that isn’t explained, and it’s such a fantastical world that you will want everything explained more thoroughly.  The pirate life, and the assassin life, and the magic is interesting. Apparently mermaids and sirens and other creatures exist too though we didn’t get to see them. They are only mentioned. I did like how many locations we get to see in the world though. We see a city, the desert, the sea, and a magical island. It’s not something that usually happens in books even if traveling is an element.

I’ve seen many mixed reviews for this book, and I think the main thing that will decide if you like it is if you like Anannna. It’s first person in her point of view so the reader is very close to her. I personally love her so that is going to influence how I describe her. She is tough, smart but not educated, loyal, and a complex, good character. Her one goal in life is the be the captain of her own pirate ship which isn’t really a thing because sexism. She’s a good fighter, endlessly determined and stubborn. She does have this thing with beautiful people where they aren’t trustworthy. I thought I would be annoyed by it, but honestly it’s not a big part of the book at all. Ananna is only vaguely described with a bigger frame, bigger boobs, and frizzy hair. The general consensus is she is not attractive which is kind of nice for a main character. 

The summary and even other reviews always talk about romance, but really there is none. If you are going into this book expecting a wild romance, you will be disappointed. I haven’t read the second book, but in this one there is only an unrequited crush. It pops up a little bit, but it isn’t a big part of the story at all.

A lot of this book is about survival. It takes a lot of pages between plot points. So in general it is a slow story. This is where I think liking Ananna is key is liking the book. For me, I was fascinated with how Ananna hid and got water, and did basically very simple things in between the big scenes. So I sped right through them, and didn’t notice how slow it was until I finished the book and thought on it. If you don’t like her, it is sure to be a drag, and I think that’s where people struggle with liking this book.

I gave it four stars. I am definitely picking up the next book. If anyone is looking for a short book with a tough, different main character, pirates, assassins, unrequited love, and blood magic, I think you will like it too.

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Our Blog in the New Year

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As you might, or might not have, noticed, our blog has slowly not been posting as much, and when we do it’s been anything but book reviews. The simple answer to why that has been is, uh, we haven’t been reading. Isis is in a major reading slump, and I guess I have been too. I also got an internship for a publishing company, so that has been changing my reading habits since I am reading, but I can’t talk about those books. But that’s gonna change! Hopefully. So reviews will naturally be going up when that happens, but it’s the other posts I want to brush upon here briefly. 

Over the last year, besides reviews, we mainly put up TBRs and tags. TBRs are basically going to go away completely. I’ve found that as soon as I post them I don’t want to read those books anymore. Tags can be fun, but not all the time. They’ve been getting a little boring, especially since we don’t have more books and characters to talk about.

To replace these posts and not have long stretches on nothing, we are bringing back some old series that we used to do. The first is writing playlists. I pick a topic, and choose at least ten songs that go along with it. I also want to start making playlists with a specific book in mind. Writing prompts and character spotlights should also make a reappearance. I also hope to do more lists and recommendations. Our prediction posts that we’ve done in the past should happen more often as they are quite fun to do. 

So, yeah, you might not care, but I felt the need to post this to say, “Hey, don’t give up on us.” We are still here, and we plan to continue blogging. Life just gets in the way sometimes.

2018 Books We are Looking Forward to

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Isis:

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Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi – I need more Warner, Juliette, Kenji, and James in my life. I also need more strong female characters. Expected publication: March 6.

 

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The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson – I’m very excited to read a new book by this author. He’s one of the best ones out there. I’m read for the gay characters. Plus this one sounds like it has Latino characters too! Expected publication: February 6.

 

If Benjamin Alire Saenz publishes anything else, I’ll be reading that too.

 

Nicole:

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Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles – I suspect this beautiful cover will hide one of the more beautiful stories in 2018. With it dealing with police brutality, it’ll be a hard but important read. Expected publication: March 20.

 

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – I’ve been watching as slowly those with ARCs have finished this book and begin to rave about it. It’s about finding lost magic. Expected publication: March 6.

 

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The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta – This middle grade about an alternate dimension featuring demons sounds amazing, and everything I want. Expected publication: February 27.

 

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Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi – I’m pretty sure this is the first from the Rick Riordan imprint, and I can’t wait for it. I only know it is middle grade and about Hindu mythology, but that’s all I need. Expected publication: March 27.

 

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Dread Nation by Justina Ireland – Zombies during the Civil War era. Honestly I need nothing else. I can’t wait for this book. Expected publication: April 3.

 

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney – This pitched as Alice in Wonderland mixed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer which sounds amazing. I can’t wait for more information of this book to come out. Expected publication: Fall 2018.

 

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria – Iron Cast was one of my favorite books last year so as soon as Soria announced a new book, I knew I was going to read it. And seers and rebellion sounds like a great combination. Expected publication: Fall 2018.

 

 

Our Favorite Books We Read in 2017

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Isis:

Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell – This is the last book I read and enjoyed this year. It contains two short stories with lovely characters and love stories. I really liked it.

 

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My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame – This was a cute manga. The illustrations were beautiful and so were the characters. It’s centered on family and acceptance.

 

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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia – I liked the way this book portrayed fandom. I wrote a full review about it if you want to know my full thoughts. It was a great read.

 

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Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan – This is a sequel to one of my favorite books, Carry the Ocean. I loved the way the story wrapped up. These books are very personal to me because one of the main characters suffers from a lot of anxiety and it’s easy to relate to. But it never got overwhelming.

 

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At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson – This is the first book I read this year and it left a big impression on me. I consider Shaun David Hutchinson one of my favorite authors now because of this book. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and eye-opening. I haven’t been able to let go of it.

 

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The Last Cigarette on Earth by Benjamin Alire Saenz – I loved this collection of poetry. I don’t read much poetry, but I read all of Saenz’s poems. He’s my favorite poet. He writes about personal subjects that are so universal somehow. It’s powerful.

 

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Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat – I read the entire Captive Prince series this year in a short span of time. I didn’t like the first book, but I loved the second one, even more than the third. I’m not sure I’d recommend this series to anyone, but this book was worth the read.

 

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Nicole:

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – I’ve been obsessed with this series and this book is the main reason for that. I love the characters, the humor, and the writing. It’s a story that calms me, and really sweeps me away from reality.

 

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Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – This historical fantasy is so underrated. The characters are wonderfully complex, and the world is rich and vibrant. I’m still really sad it is a standalone because I would love to read more.

 

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Serpentine by Cindy Pon – I was nervous for this fantasy for a long time. A half-serpentine protagonist was very outside my comfort zone, but I’m very glad that I did. It was fun and well written.

 

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The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi –  This debut middle grade was my favorite book for a long time this year. I had trouble reading anything after because this book was so much fun. The board game concept is still one of my favorite plots I’ve read this year.

 

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Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh – This one of the many middle grade mysteries I read this year, and easily one of my favorites. Harper is a great protagonist with a great voice. I loved the ghosts, and the family relationships.

 

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The Ghost of Cutler Creek by Cynthia C. DeFelice – Another middle grade mystery about ghosts, but it’s also completely different from Spirit Hunters. I don’t think it’s the greatest book ever written. That’s not why it’s a favorite. I just read it at the perfect time when I needed it. That might be a little odd to say about a silly little mystery book but oh well. It is what it is.

 

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The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee – A beautiful and heartbreaking autobiography of a woman born in North Korea. It’s a book others should really read.

 

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Christmas Movie Reactions

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Isis:

A Charlie Brown Christmas – I loved this movie so much. It’s my first time watching a Charlie Brown movie, and I regret all those years I missed out on this pure and beautiful story. I related so much to Charlie Brown, and I was left with such a good feeling at the end. I plan on rewatching it many times in the future. I give it 10/10.

A Very Merry Toy Store – This was full of cliches, but in the best ways. It was sweet and warm, but it had a few bumps in the road to add to the drama. I loved that the issues were never that bad, and everything got solved perfectly. It was so nice seeing Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez in another movie together. They have good chemistry, and it’s just really fun to see them interacting. It was lovely. 8.5/10.

A Miser Brothers’ Christmas – I only half watched this movie because it didn’t grab my attention. The setting was okay, and I understood what it was trying to do, but it ended up feeling more like a poorly-made after-school special. I didn’t like any of the characters either. 2/10.

Nicole:

Elf – I know this is everyone’s favorite Christmas movie, but I didn’t enjoy it as much. I thought it was funny, but I also suffered so much second hand embarrassment. 4/10.

Jingle All the Way – This was cute and cheesy, and I loved every minute of it. It had a cute holiday message to it too. 9/10.

Marry Me for Christmas – This was nothing like what I expected, and yet, everything I wanted. It was cheesy and full of tropes. There was a bunch of loose ends, and everything moved too quickly. I had a lot of fun though. 8/10. 

Favorite Christmas Songs

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Isis:

Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley: You’ll be doing all right with your Christmas of white/But I’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas 

This song is amazing. I love Elvis, and this song is probably his best song ever, including Jailhouse Rock. I can relate to his Christmas sadness, and the melody is beautiful. It’s one of my favorite songs year round.

Last Christmas – Glee cast: Last Christmas I gave you my heart/But the very next day you gave it away

I’ve loved this song for years, but my favorite version is the Glee version. I’m not sure why, but I think it has to do with the episode it was featured on. It was a really good episode, back when I used to watch the show. It’s one of the best Christmas songs out there.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Jason Manns ft. Jensen Ackles: Faithful friends who are dear to us/Gather near us once more/Through the years we all will be together/If the fates allow

I listen to this song year round because Jensen Ackles has the softest, most soothing voice I’ve ever heard. He rocks this song. It’s impossible for me to change it when it comes on shuffle. Do yourself a favor and listen to it.

This Christmas Life – Shane Dawson: So I just close my eyes and/Create a wonderland where/Anything’s possible there

I miss Shane’s music. I was a big fan of his music. I actually bought all of the songs he ever put out. This one was very touching to me. It talks about hating Christmas, but wanting this Christmas to be good. It was such a great video, and it’s a great song. It’s sweet and cheerful.

12 Days of Christmas – Jason Manns ft. Misha Collins: On the first day of Christmas/My true love gave to me/A partridge in a pear tree

I only really like this song because Misha sings in it. I’m not really sure which part he sings, but I love all of it. I wish he would sing a full-length song by himself. He’s a good singer.

Sleigh Ride – Pentatonix: Come on, it’s lovely weather/For a snow ride together with you

This is the first song I ever heard from Pentatonix and it’s still my favorite. I love the little jingle at the beginning. It’s such a beautiful song. I only like their version though.

The Little Drummer Boy – Harry Simeone Chorale: Shall I play for you pa-rum pum pum pum on my drums?

I used to love this song as a kid when I actually loved Christmas. During our big family gatherings my uncles would play the best Christmas music, and this one always stood out to me. It made me sad, but also happy. It felt very important at the time.

Nicole: 

All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey: Make my wish come true/All I want for Christmas is you

It wouldn’t be a complete list for Christmas songs without having Mariah Carey on it. She’s iconic. 

Winter Wonderland – Darlene Love: In the meadow we can build a snowman/Then pretend that he is Parson Brown/He’ll say, “Are you married?”/We’ll say, “No man.”/But you can do the job when you’re in town

This is the only version of this song that sounds right to me. I’m not entirely sure why. I don’t think I’ve actually heard it in years, but I always find myself singing it when I’m wrapping Christmas presents.

Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt: Santa honey, I want a yacht and really that’s not a lot/Been an angel all year

She has such a good voice. She’s only one who sings this song that I don’t cringe to. It simply makes me smile at how cheeky it is.

Jingle Bell Rock – Mean Girls: Dancin’ and Prancin’ in Jingle Bell Square in the frosty air/What a bright time/It’s the right time/To rock the night away

Who doesn’t think of this scene when thinking of Christmas songs? 

Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah/Hallelujah/Hallelujah/Hallelujah

I don’t know why this song always gives me chills but it does. 

Silent Night – Pentatonix: Silent night/Holy night/All is calm/All is bright

I always loved this song the most in Elementary school when forced to sing. Pentatonix’s talent brings it to life in a new way.

Santa Clause is Coming to Town: He sees you when you’re sleeping/He knows when you’re awake/ He knows when you’ve been bad or good/So be good for goodness sake

I don’t even know the version of this song I like. It’s always a song that gets stuck in my head though.

 

Popular Books We Hated

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Isis:

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Crash & Burn (Cut & Run #9) by Abigail Roux

GR rating: 4.41 stars

My rating: 2 stars

When I read Cut & Run, the books took over my life. I read one after the other, cried over them, and had the worst book hangover of my life. I waited months for the last book to come out, but it was a big disappointment. The plot was senseless, the characters dull, the romance superficial, and the villains laughable. I hated everything about this book.

 

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

GR rating: 4.26 stars

My rating: 2 stars

Listen, I know the entire world is in love with this book. I’m in the minority here. But I will always be bitter about the fact that (spoiler alert) Blue turned out to be Random Guy #2, instead of, oh I don’t know, a character that actually interacted with Simon. I’m not going to lie. I was rooting for Nick to be Blue. I have really strong feelings about this. Don’t fight me on it.

 

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Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

GR rating: 4.08 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I can’t even remember any details from this book. I remember the kids starring in it were completely stupid. I had no sympathy for them. I don’t want to talk about them. Moving on.

 

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

GR rating: 4.02 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I don’t enjoy Dickens’s writing style at all. Add to that boring characters, a boring story line with a “heartwarming message” and I hated everything about this book. Wow, I am sounding really bitter right now. Look, I don’t like this book. If a guy doesn’t like Christmas, leave him alone. I’m sure his reasons are valid. 

 

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Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

GR rating: 3.80 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I think the romance in this book made me literally sick to my stomach. I couldn’t stand any of the characters. And the plot was stupid. All things considered, I am being way too generous with my stars. All of these books deserve 1 star.

 

Nicole:

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Blackbird by Kanoko Sakurakouji

GR rating: 4.3 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I vaguely remember cringing at the plot of romance of this series, but honestly it’s completely slipped my mind what this was even about. So it’s forgettable as well.

 

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

GR rating: 4.19 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I love Rowell’s writing, but didn’t appreciate her piggy backing off of Harry Potter. It wasn’t well developed, the character’s were boring, and I hate how some people hold it up as the epitome of diversity.

 

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

GR rating: 4.1 stars

My rating: 3 stars

I was completely generous with that rating when I finished this book. It really should be a two or even one star book. I hated the creepy instalove, the world, and even the pace of the book. I don’t understand how this book ever got hyped up so much.

 

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Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

GR rating: 4.01 stars

My rating: 2 stars

This one was such a struggle for me to read. I’m surprised anyone read this when it first came out and continued on reading the series without knowing what would happen. I know if I didn’t know what the series ended I would have never picked up book two.

 

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The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

GR rating: 3.94 stars

My rating: 1 star

The main thing I remember about this book was caves. The school was underground or something, and every time the characters went into a separate room  there had to be a full page describing it. And it was never that different because a cave is a cave. The characters were also boring, and everything was told instead of shown.