Warcross by Marie Lu ARC Review

Warcross by Marie LuWarcross by Marie Lu (Warcross #1)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR

Release Date: September 12, 2017

Pages: 368

Summary: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: This action-packed masterpiece is filled with intrigue, phenomenal setting, characters, and plot, Warcross immerses you from page 1!

I flew through this book in less than a day and want to go back and read it all over again!😭✨

Everything, from the world to plot, characters, etc. that Marie Lu constructed was absolute genius!~😭❤️❤️

Warcross was a novel I went into with super high expectations, b/c obviously its Marie Lu (one of my all-time favorite authors) + I love video games/gaming! So its pretty obvious I was stoked about this book and it did not disappoint!

From the very beginning you are transported to this bright, colorful and intriguing story following Emika (Emi) Chen. She catches criminals for a living and is a brilliant hacker.

With her father having passed away, absentee mother, and one else to care for her, Emika works as a bounty hunter for the police to just get by. The novel starts off with her tracking down a gambler in the streets of Manhattan.

With the wide-spread popularity and accessibility of Warcross, rules are set up by the government to prevent players from gambling through it. And Emika finds herself catching these gamblers, among other people who use Warcross illegally!

However the hunt doesn’t go quite as planned and she doesn’t walk away with the money she needs. With roughly $13 left to her name, she’s unsure of what to do. To make matters worse, she has an eviction notice on the apartment she shares with her roommate Keira. With all the stress she’s under, to escape the real world for a little, she enters Warcross.

But after hacking herself into Warcross, she finds herself becoming an overnight celebrity and gets a call from Hideo Tanaka, her childhood idol + creator of Warcross!

Then, she’s headed to Tokyo to meet Tanaka because as it turns out, he needs her help as a bounty hunter to spy on this year’s Warcross tournament! Not only to find out about a hacker infiltrating the game, but also put an end to whatever they may be planning.

There is so much heart to this novel and you can clearly see it through Marie’s writing + Emika’s POV with the vibrant world building, clever gaming references (that I definitely picked up on), plot, setting, dialogue, everything!!

Another aspect of the world I really loved, was the futuristic tech introduced which had the ability to translate different languages, among other things and just seeing the impact of this technology on so many people was fascinating!~

Marie really brings the game of Warcross to life and after finishing this book, I wish it was real! 😭✨🕹🎮❤️💛💜

The plot itself goes in directions I was not expecting and there is so much intrigue, mystery, action/adventure and Marie balances all those aspects perfectly!

I loved all the characters equally and loved that there was tons of diversity in this novel! There’s a character who is in a wheelchair, and characters who are Latinx, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, and gay representation!

My only minor issue, was that I wanted Emika to interact a little more with the side characters, because they were all written so wonderfully and I just really wanted to know more about them.

Because this book doesn’t come out for another month or so, I really want to avoid spoilers, but yes it was phenomenal!

It even pulled me out of my reading slump! The story was fun, fast-paced and just AMAZING!~ ❤

After turning the final page, you’ll be wishing Warcross was real! This fun, fast-paced, action-packed adventure with intrigue, phenomenal character-development and world-building is not one to miss!

+ Keep an eye out on the blog (around release day) for a Warcross Reading Playlist! 😍✨🎧📚

June 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

Internet Famous by Danika Stone1. Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Internet Famous Full ARC Review

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: June 6, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Internet Famous is a YA Contemporary that discusses more than just blogging & fandoms. While also weaving in themes of family and independence, this novel also brings up more serious topics like cyberbullying! When conflict arises as her mother leaves town, Madi finds a way to balance her personal life and blogging, while connecting more to her family.

I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia2. I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia

I Am More Than A Daydream Full Review

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Release Date: April 15, 2017

Pages: 74

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: Another amazing collection of poetry from Cecelia! Similar to Uncaged Wallflower, her poems are filled with inspiration and positivity. However this collection mainly focuses on the inner strength we have to follow our dreams. Highly recommend checking out her poetry!

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie3.The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (TASU #1)

The Abyss Surrounds Us Full Review

Publisher: Flux Books

Release Date: February 8, 2016

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven YA Sci-Fi set in a fascinating/futuristic US! Cas Leung is a Reckoner trainer and finds herself among pirates when she gets captured and is forced to train a young Reckoner to work alongside pirates! I loved the diversity (Chinese-American protag. + f/f relationship) and there was a large cast of female characters, which was awesome. I just personally wanted more plot-wise. However, I adore the world & characters and am excited to see what happens in book 2!

The Tiger's Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera4.The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera (Their Bright Ascendancy #1)

ARC Review To Come Closer To Release Date

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Pages: 512

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: This book was phenomenal! Arsenault’s adult fantasy debut is a spectacularly written tale centering around divine empress Shizuka and warrior Shefali, and the powerful bond/relationship that they share! The world is rich and immersive, the characters are all written with such depth, and the writing is utterly beautiful! The Tiger’s Daughter had me hooked from page 1!

Keep your eye out for this novel, it is not one to miss! Cannot wait to share my full review 😍

our-dark-duet-victoria-schwab-cover-reveal5. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Monsters Of Verity #2)

Our Dark Duet Full Review

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Pages: 510

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Our Dark Duet was a character-driven and action-packed conclusion to the Monsters Of Verity duology! As with book 1, Schwab’s writing delivers a dark and immersive atmosphere and we see new sides to Kate and August! While there were some elements that did keep this book from being 5-stars, it was a solid conclusion and it was great following Kate & August on their adventures in Verity. 

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia6. Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Eliza And Her Monsters Full Review

Publisher: Harpercollins

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Pages: 400

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: There were so many layers to this book, with discussions on internet culture, fandom/fan fiction, depression and social anxiety! I flew through it and adored it. Eliza is the popular web comic creator of Monstrous Seas and one day she meets Wallace, a popular fanfiction writer of her comic! I loved reading how their relationship developed over the course of the story. The plot was unique and engrossing + the characters were all wonderfully written. I did feel the plot rushed in some places, but aside from that Eliza & Her Monsters was a great YA Contemporary! 

All Systems Red by Martha Wells7.All Systems Red by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #1)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Pages: 160

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Originally this was going to be a 4, but the more I read, the more I loved it! 

A fascinating science fiction/speculative fiction short story! Told from the (both serious & comedic) point of view from an AI, we follow a group of scientists and a “Sec-Unit” as they run tests on a distant planet. Following the AI, we learn how it came to be a part of its group and along the way, how it becomes more connected to its team + what its willing to risk to keep them safe. All the characters from the scientists in the AI’s group to the AI itself, even the unique world, were all given such depth in quite a short story. There’s a second book set to be released and I cannot wait to read it!

(B/C I was on vacation I didn’t put up a full review for it, but I will definitely try to put one up on the blog soon!)

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Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones Cover Reveal 

I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia Review

I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae CeceliaI Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Release Date: April 15, 2017

Pages: 74

Summary: How often do you daydream? For most, it is many times a day. We stare out the window instead of the task in front of us. We fantasize about where we would much rather be, the significant other we long for, our ideal job, the body we hope to see in the mirror, a healthier mindset, pure happiness in our lives and the lives of others, peace in this chaotic world. However, how many of us daydreamers believe these pleasant thoughts will truly turn into our reality? Daydreams are more than just short bursts of happiness that only our minds can see. I know I am more than a daydream; and you are, too.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: I Am More Than A Daydream is inspirational, filled with messages of positivity, self-growth, and finding the confidence within yourself to follow your dreams!

Earlier this year I read Cecelia’s Uncaged Wallflower and adored it and I loved her latest collection just as much! ❤

Her poems always leave me feeling hopeful and inspired!

Discussing body image, following your dreams, and finding your inner strength, this latest collection reminds the reader that while we all are set on differing paths and may face obstacles along the way, that doesn’t mean we can’t overcome them to make our dreams come true!

If you haven’t read Cecelia’s collections, please do!
All throughout her poems she weaves in messages to inspire daily growth and positivity!!

Above all, I Am More Than A Daydream is a wonderful collection of poetry that reminds us that our daydreams can become reality!

May 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

Amina's Voice by Hena Khan1. Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Amnia’s Voice Full Review

Publisher: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 208

My Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: This book was incredible from the writing, to plot & characters! Khan weaves in so many themes such as family, friendship, and identity! Following Amina’s journey through middle school, she begins to question as people and things around her begin to change. This novel has so many different and complex layers, that anyone can find an aspect of Amina’s Voice to relate to! Highly recommend this gem of a novel!

Another Castle Grimoire2.Another Castle: Grimoire by Andrew Wheeler + Paulina Ganucheau

Another Castle: Grimoire Full Review

Publisher: Oni Press

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pages: 152

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Another Castle: Grimoire is a graphic novel that puts clever twists+spins on classic fairy tale tropes! Following Princess Misty, she sets forth to Grimoire to defeat Badlug and keep her kingdom safe. While the story is a little slow paced, its filled with action and adventure! The art is bright and colorful too! There’s a big emphasis on friendship and its filled with empowering female characters!

Shadow Run  Cover Reveal3.Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland + Michael Miller (Kaitan Chronicles #1)

Shadow Run Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: March 21, 2017

Pages: 400

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Filled with action + adventure and a diverse cast of characters, you’ll be immersed in Shadow Run as you follow Captain Qole and Prince Nev and as they learn more about “Shadow” and how it impacts their world. I adored the characters so much! While I definitely wanted a little faster pacing + more world-building/development, this book is one I recommend if you’re looking to get into Sci-Fi! It’s very character driven and above all, a fun story! Can’t wait for Book 2!

Teenage model in hear shaped glasses laughing4.I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

I Believe In A Thing Called Love Full ARC Review

Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (BYR)

Release Date:May 30, 2017

Pages: 336

My Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: A delightful YA Contemporary with the perfect blend of humor, romance, and has themes of family and friendship weaved throughout. Told through 1st person POV, you follow Desi Lee as she creates a plan with the help of K-Dramas to help her find love. 

Flying Witch Volume 1 by Chihiro Ishizuka5.Flying Witch Volume 1 by Chihiro Ishizuka {Flying Witch #1}

Flying Witch Volume 1 Full Review

Publisher: Vertical Comics

Release Date: March 8, 2017

Pages: 160

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A slow paced manga that follows Makato as she continues her training to become a witch. The story is very character driven and the story while it has its quiet magical elements, follows a “slice of life” approach. I did want more plot-wise, but above all this is a lovely manga! Highly recommend!

when-dimple-met-rishi-cover-reveal6.When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi Full ARC Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Pages: 380

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Balancing humor with more serious and heartfelt moments, When Dimple Met Rishi is a perfect summer contemporary! Its very character driven, and the magic & spirit of first love is captured through 3rd person POV as you follow Dimple and Rishi who have been set up in an arranged marriage. They have differing views of life and love, but throughout the story their relationship slowly develops and they learn more about themselves and each other along the way!

The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren7.The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

The Last Thing You Said Full Review

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Ben and Lucy have lost Trixie (a dear sister + friend). Told through dual POV, you follow them as almost a year has passed since Trixie’s death and the complex emotions that’s still with them and how they are coping. Biren does a fantastic job with developing the emotional complexity of her characters and its present all throughout the story. Slow pacing and difficult character decisions made this novel a little disappointing. However, with strong elements in terms of character and development, this novel is very unique in its discussion of grief. 

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I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo ARC Review

Teenage model in hear shaped glasses laughingI Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (BYR)

Release Date:May 30, 2017

Pages: 336

Summary: Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

*Got an ARC from a festival*

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: Delightful, heartfelt, and funny, I Believe In A Thing Called Love had me hooked from page 1! With the magic of first love, themes of family, friendship and independence weaved throughout, Goo’s novel will capture your heart!

I adored this novel so much and refuse to believe its a standalone!!

We follow Desi Lee as she navigates her senior year of high school! She’s always got a plan, but when it comes to love, “Flailure’s” are never far behind.

Told from Desi’s first person POV, following her inner dialogue was relatable and had me laughing too! She is so ambitious, independent, and driven and I loved following her in her journey through senior year!

Her inner thoughts about talking to guys is so me! XD I could relate to the nervousness she was feeling and just being unsure of how to approach them! 

When she falls for a new student in her class, Luca Drakos, she devises a formula using plots from Korean dramas to see if she can plan out her first love, but of course she has help along the way!

Friendship and family were a big part of this novel! Even in her plan to find love, Desi tried to keep her friends Fiona and Wes in the loop no matter what and they stuck by her, even when her plans went a little overboard at times :’)

While I’m pretty new to K-Dramas myself, I was still able to understand the tropes that are mentioned and above all just loved how Desi referenced different K-Dramas + tropes through out the story!

With her mother having passed at a young age, she worries for her single, mechanic father and throughout the novel, its clear they have such a strong relationship! I adored the family dynamic!! Throughout this story, its clear family is such a huge part and while YA tends to put family off to the side, I Believe In A Thing Called Love kept this theme as such an integral part!

Goo’s writing delivers such well-developed and in-depth characters, that through Desi’s POV, they feel so real! Desi’s father, Luca, Wes, Fiona, even side characters like Cassidy and Violet really came to life on the page.

While this novel does have its sweet and fun moments, there are also a lot of important themes and messages (being true to yourself, following your dreams, independence) inclusion/diversity! There was so much depth to IBIATCL!

There was Korean, Mexican (Desi’s BFF Fiona) and lesbian representation! Above all, loved the diverse representation throughout this novel!! ❤

While there was a little bit of slow pacing for me personally, it worked really well with this novel! Through it, you really get time to understand Desi and her world. 

Through Goo’s writing the setting of Orange County, Desi and friends, themes/messages, and above all just the atmosphere of first love comes to life all through out the novel and I loved that so much!

I Believe In A Thing Called Love is filled with fantastic characters, romance, humor, K-Drama scenario’s, themes of family and friendship! A delightful journey from beginning to end! Highly recommend this novel!

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan Review

Amina's Voice by Hena KhanAmina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Publisher: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 208

Summary: A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: Amina’s Voice is a beautifully written and above all fantastic novel which weaves in important themes, following Amina Khokar as she navigates culture, family + friendship, and identity!

Amina’s Voice is a novel I highly recommend! It was fantastic!

Khan’s writing delivers so many facets to Amina’s story! Not only do we see Amina’s strong family dynamic, her struggles with shyness and fears of losing her closest friend Soojin, but also the questions she has about her culture and religion.

This novel discusses the importance of culture, faith, and community.

I don’t think I’ve read any novels with Pakistani/Muslim representation, but I’m glad Amina’s Voice was the first! I adored this novel so much!

Amina and Soojin are best friends, however when Emily (a classmate who’d bullied them in the past ) begins talking with Soojin and gets invited to join them on a class project, Amina feels she may be losing her best friend.

Additionally when Amina gets signed up by her parents for a Quran recitation (being extremely shy/nervous in front of crowds) she begins to feel her world is falling apart.

The first person POV allows the reader to get into Amina’s head, follow along her journey to find her voice and slowly but surely find strength to tackle the problems she encounters.

Family is a huge part of this novel. The importance and discussion of culture and faith is prevalent all throughout, especially when Amina’s uncle comes to visit.

I adored the family dynamic all through out this novel. Not only with Amina’s parents and brother, but also the dynamic of her strong/supportive community.

Regardless of age, I was able to relate to Amina so much at times I find it difficult to find my voice/speak my mind, but reading this novel just left me feeling hopeful and overall was an amazing + inspiring reading experience.

This novel is filled with such unforgettable characters and plot! If you have not read this book, definitely pick it up! You will not be disappointed.

As the story progresses, we learn that the local mosque is vandalized, and the community is devastated. However, the mosque slowly gets rebuilt with the help of so many people/communities rallying together.

Amina’s Voice is a novel that is relatable to anyone! Throughout the novel Khan weaves in themes of faith/religion, importance of family, identity and community, friendship, and the complexities of growing up. 

April 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 4

The Golem And The Jinni1.The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker (The Golem & The Jinni #1)

The Golem And The Jinni Full Review

Publisher: Harper

Release Date: April 23, 2013

Pages: 486

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: I hardly ever rate books a full 5 stars, but this novel truly deserved it! It captured my heart! I loved everything about this novel from the characters, writing, world-building…I could go on & on about this book! It follows both Chava (a Golem) and Ahmed (a Jinni) as they learn more about  themselves and the world when they find themselves in 1899 New York. There is multiple POV, but Wecker does a fantastic job at differentiating them through the 3rd person POV. This is a novel I will never forget! A true gem + Highly recommend!

Hunted by Meagan Spooner2.Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Hunted Full Review

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: A magical and captivating Beauty & The Beast retelling! Spooner delivers such complex characters and makes them + their development a huge part of the novel! The writing really delivers a “magical” tone to the novel and I loved that! I do wish there was more description for setting + faster pacing towards the middle/end. Regardless, this is a captivating tale with an immersive plot and wonderfully written characters/atmosphere! Spooner takes a classic fairy tale and makes it her own!

A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi3. A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (TSTQ #2)

A Crown Of Wishes Full Review

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Pages: 369

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Chokshi’s previous novel, The Star-Touched Queen was one I felt dispapointed me, however A Crown Of Wishes blew me away! It was phenomenal! Following Gauri and Vikram, they find themselves teaming up to compete in the Tournament Of Wishes! Chokshi’s writing is exquisite, she elegantly crafts her characters, world/setting and plot through both 3rd + 1st person POV! The plot is filled with twists & turns + is nothing short of magical! I adored it! ❤

Every Heart A Doorway4. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #1)

Every Heart A Doorway Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: April 5, 2016

Pages: 173

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: This novel takes the idea of of portals and other worlds and gives it depth. The main characters struggle when they find themselves returning from their Door, eager to find a way back. Filled with a diverse cast of characters, atmospheric writing, and a good amount of mystery, McGuire’s novel is engrossing and unique! My only issues were slow pacing towards the middle and a few disappointments plot-wise. Regardless, this unique tale will keep you turning the page!

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