Posted in 2016 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Rebel Magsiters

30530741Title: Rebel Magisters

Series: Rebel Mechanics #2

Publication Date: July 12th, 2016

Publisher: NLA Digital

Author: Shanna Swendson

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Summary: Tea, Love … and Revolution!

The Rebel Mechanics aren’t the only group plotting revolution against the magical British Empire. There are rebel magisters, as well, and Verity Newton and her magister employer, Lord Henry, know that the only way for the revolution to succeed is if both groups work together. A diplomatic mission seems like the perfect opportunity for them to meet with rebels in other colonies and gather support—right under the governor’s nose.

From drawing rooms, ballrooms, and the harbor in Boston to the streets of Charleston, Verity and Henry find themselves up against stubborn factions of both magisters and Mechanics and increasingly aware that they can only really count on each other as their relationship deepens. It may take a real crisis to unite the rebel movements and rally them to the cause—but could such a crisis also tear them apart?

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
 Verity & Henry
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Verity, Henry
Needed BROTP: Verity & Flora

Actual Review: Rebel Magisters is the sequel to Shanna Swendson’s Steampunk HIstorical YA alternate reality, Rebel Mechanics. RM and it’s sequel R Magisters is how she percieves the American REvolution and subsequent history would have been if the British have magic.

Verity and her employer, Magister Lord Henry have already met the Rebel Mechanics and helped them escape out of the city with their machines to avoid being captured by the British Government so they can keep working towards an eventual revolution. RMagisters finds Verity and Henry beginning to entertain the idea of how can they manage a revolution that could win. They undesrstand that it would most likely need to be a combination of the Rebel Mechanics and Magisters that are more positively inclined to a revolution. All the while keeping Verity’s magic hidden and any budding feelings at bay.

We get to see a whole new side to quite a few of the beloved characters which is quite fun as well as meet some new characters as well who will be vital to the plot. Flora gets some much needed character growth and is set up to have even more in book 3 which is delightful.

Another surpise is that we get to see other cities within the world Shanna has created and how some of their magisters see the world. It’s setting up to be quite the revolution if it pans out properly.

Rebel Magisters has some major plot twists come up and makes me eager to read book 3 and hopefully there is even more in this world because i love it all.

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Posted in 2017 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Queens of Geek

28245707Title: Queens of Geek

Publication Date: March 14th, 2017

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Author: Jen Wilde

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Summary: When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
 Charlie x Alyssa, Jamie x Taylor
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Charlie, Jamie
Needed BROTP:  Jamie & Brianna
Fave Quote: “In one brief conversation, she made me see that there’s nothing wrong with me.”

Actual Review:  It seems I am to read diverse books lately and this one did not disappoint. It’s got a MC who is Chinese-Australian and is openly Bisexual and another MC who is Autistic/Asperger’s with major Social Anxiety. While i’m not sure of anyone else’s Ethnicity mostly because it’s not really described/stated in the book, unless I missed it.

Queens of Geek takes place in a version of San Diego Comic-Con that is probably SDCC but just not called that. So the whole story takes place over one weekend where our 3 main characters, CHarlie, Jamie & Taylor are planning on taking by storm.

Charlie Liang is a popular Australian Youtuber who has also now made it big time in an indie-film that turned out to be the Next BIg Thing so she is at the Con as a big guest ready to make her mark and start the next chapter of her life.

Jamie & Taylor are her two best friends that she has invited along for the ride. Jamie is her best friend since Year 7 who has some major Social Anxiety but knows how to keep it handled. And Jamie is an American transfer to Australia 4 years prior. Taylor & Jamie are the case of mutual hidden unrequited love aka the over used trope of best friends falling in love and will probably be together by the end of the story. Sorry I like the story but just once in a while I want to see a boy & girl friendship that NEVER has romantic feelings within it at all. It is very rare to find, especially in YA novels.

Jamie is not only socially Anxious but she views this weekend as a stepping off point that if things go as planned she can take college by storm in the future. But of course, this is life and stuff doesn’t go to planned. Also i think she has a super power because she constantly makes tumblr posts on her PHONE and they are all long and gramatically correct and perfectly spelled and all this pretty formatting that just DOESNT HAPPEN FOR NORMAL PEOPLE! Jamie is a die hard fan of this book’s version of HP, majorly popular series with movies based off books. She desperately wants to meet the author to tell her how much an impact the series has made on her and has helped her with her Anxiety. Jamie is basically every fangirl on Tumblr come to life…er i mean page. This weekend ends up being a huge transformation weekend for Jamie as she has to overcome fears and really dig deep on her identity and how she views her self.

I really loved the plot and just overall setting of the story. As I have never been to a Comic-Con, it definitely makes me feel transported there with ease and I can just imagine the Green Room and panels and all the SWAG!

The only thing that kinda takes away is how YA books are beginning to handle sex in relationships. Like just because I personally believe to save it til marriage, It’s not that bad when i know the relationship has been developed and is a deep bond between the two. But lately i’m seeing people suddenly putting out practically on the first date which just seems a bit much to me. Especially for these people who are just barely 18. It’s not a problem with the book that should turn anyone off because it’s so subtle and alluded to in YA books, just a problem i am having with a growing trend.

Queens of Geek, i think at least, really handles the Anxiety and Jamie’s character really well. You can see how she thinks and acts but no one really treats her differently because of it. I loved her growth in the story and would love a sequel about her and her new friends she makes at the con.

Overall, QUeens of Geek is a great summer read that you will just fly through. I highly recommend it to all fangirls and fanboys.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: When Dimple Met Rishi

28458598Title: When Dimple Met Rishi

Publication Date: May 30th, 2017

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Author: Sandhya Menon

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Summary: A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
 Rishi x Dimple
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Rishi, Celia
Needed BROTP:  Celia & Dimple
Actual Review:  When Dimple Met Rishi is the diverse YA Contemporary that we’ve all been dying for and it does not disappoint in any way. It is one of the most adorable and well written Contemporaries this year and is sure to be the Hit of the Summer.

WDMR is the diverse book that people all over the globe have been wanting because it gives them something that many of us take for granted, a book with MC’s and references that they truly can identify with. That being said, almost anyone can identify with Dimple or Rishi, even if they are white. Dimple Shah is a class A geek, she loves coding and wants to branch out on her own and find her independence. She is such a computer geek she even wants to go to a Summer Camp that is all about coding and web app design before the start of her freshman year. Rishi Patel on the other hand has an Artist’s heart. But he feels pulled to please his parents and be the perfect eldest son and is currently lined up to go to MIT (which is nothing to sneeze at) and get an Engineering Degree. He feels conflicted between what would be the ‘sensible’ route and going with his heart, which is something many people can identify with, myself included.

Dimple and Rishi’s parents are extremely traditional Indian parents, meaning they want to arrange their children into marriages and ensure their happiness. This being said, Dimple is 100% against this idea where as Rishi wants the stability and security this idea gives. But unbeknownst to Dimple only, this Summer Camp is the primed place to drop some hints and do some subtle or not so subtle nudges from Rishi and both set of parents.

From adorable and awkward meet cutes to amazing dates with perfect views, WDMR is the perfect summer Contemporary YA Romance to sit by the pool and soak in. I recommend drinking an Iced Coffee beverage, 😉 i myself prefer Iced Vanilla Lattes.

The setting was gorgeous California and you definitely felt transported htere and this story is just rife with Hindi and Bollywood references that you feel easily immersed into this culture.

I’d say I personally would want a pronunciation guide but that’s just because I like to pronounce things correctly, and i screw up things in every genre…may or may not still think Tobias has a different pronunciation in Divergent than a friend says is correct. But i digress.

Definitely pick up this story when next possible, or even better yet, order it online and have it delivered. Either way, read this adorable story.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday

33629245Title: A Poison Dark and Drowning

Series: Kingdom of Fire #2

Author: Jessica Cluess

Publication Date: September 19th, 2017

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

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Summary:  The magicians want her to lead.
The sorcerers want her to lie.
The demons want her blood.
Henrietta wants to save the one she loves.
But will his dark magic be her undoing?

In this seductive and explosive second book in the Kingdom on Fire series, Jessica Cluess delivers her signature mix of magic, passion, and teen warriors fighting for survival. Hand to fans of Victoria Aveyard, Sarah J. Maas, and Kiersten White.

Henrietta doesn’t need a prophecy to know that she’s in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.

Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook’s system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own. So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients’ past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth.

Why I’m Desperately Waiting: The world of demons and various magic users that Cluess created is one I inhaled upon first reading it and one I want to revisit time and time again..now that i think about it, it’s time for a reread. As this series is set to be a trilogy, we have many more demons to encounter and so much more magic to explore. I can’t wait to revisit all the characters Cluess has imagined into this world and I will definitely be pre-ordering this one. Sign me up!

Posted in 2017 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Eliza and Her Monsters

31931941Title: Eliza and Her Monsters

Publication Date: May 30th, 2017

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Author: Francesca Zappia

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Summary: Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
 Eliza x Wallace
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Eliza, Emmy, Max
Needed BROTP:  Eliza & Emmy & Max
Fave Quote: “There are monsters in the sea.”

Actual Review:  ALL THE STARS! This book was absolutely delightful.

I was lucky enough to receive Eliza and her Monsters in my May Owlcrate which not only was an exclusive cover but we got to receive it before publication date on May 30th. What more can i say but BUY AND READ THIS BOOK AS SOON AS YOU CAN!!!

While I find myself tending to lean toward fantasy YA novels over contemporary, I do love a good contemporary and this one is as good as it can get. Eliza is such a lovable character that is just so… human. She has her fears and her anxieties and slowly you see her realize she needs help even while still not truly changing who she is on the inside or out.

Wallace is an absolute delight of a boy to have as a book boyfriend…though he can’t top Clark from Matson’s Unexpected Everything. But Wallace is definitely a close second, you just want to wrap him up in a blanket and give him a big hug. Such a sweetheart. And while he has moments that are less than stellar, he’s human and it shows just as much as it does with Eliza.

The story is absolutely amazing and I just about inhaled it. IT was one of those books I just didn’t want to put down. Just as people in EAHM inhaled her Monstrous Sea, I inhaled this story.

Eliza and Her Monsters is definitely going to be one of my top reads of 2017 and I plan to explore more contemporaries that have nerds as main characters. Geeks and Nerds are the best.

I also thought this story handled Eliza’s anxiety and introvertedness rather well. I don’t know much but I didn’t feel like it was fake or wrong.

Seriously guys, pick this book up when it gets released. I wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for Owlcrate and I’m incredibly grateful because I ADORED this story.

Posted in Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Persuasion

2156Title: Persuasion

Author: Jane Austen

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Summary: Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
 Anne x Wentworth
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Anne, Mrs. Smith
Needed BROTP:  Anne & Mrs. Smith
Fave Quote: “My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.’

Actual Review: Persuasion is the 4th Jane Austen book i’ve read this year and I would say I definitely enjoyed it. Anne Elliot is probably the oldest main character I’ve encountered in a while. Many books I’ve read lately have had people in their late teens or maybe early 20’s, but Anne is in her 27th year and it’s refreshing because she has already lived and learned from her teenage years.

I quite liked Anne as a main character because she is thoughtful and pensive and is a quiet MC. Even though she has family that is selfish and rude and could get hit with a truck and I wouldn’t care, she doesn’t let them shape her or overly influence. The influence comes from a family friend who has been like a second mother to her ever since her own mother died when Anne was young. Lady Russell is quite fond of Anne and wants the best for her. So for most of Anne’s life she has been persuaded and pushed in certain ways by lady Russell.

The story starts off 8 years after Anne was persuaded by Lady Russell to dissolve an engagement she had with a young captain named Wentworth. So naturally we already know where this is probably going to be headed, just like all other Austen novels.

The host of characters that Austen assembles around Anne in Persuasion are all unique and original. I thought the families of Uppercross were interesting and would love to have had even more of them. Wentworth’s characterization was interesting and believable for how he acted and treated Anne when first seeing her again after all those years. Anne’s younger sister is a hoot and half and you have to think of how much patience her husband must have when dealing with her, it almost rivals Mama Bennett…almost but not quite. While i think Anne’s father and older sister can go fall off a cliff, it’s clear that Lady Russell has her best interests at heart. She just wants to ensure that Anne is taken care of and will be happy in her married life.

While the book feels a little slow, it’s more of an adjustment period that i feel many of Austen’s books must have as there really isn’t supposed to be action or jam-packed. It’s more of a reflective story that focuses on the growth of people and learning life lessons.

This book does give you quite the tour of England with Bath and Lyme making quite the appearance for these characters which is slightly refreshing as I have actually been to one of those places. It is not surprising that Austen pulled Bath in as that is where she lived and was quite acquainted with.

Overall, the book was enjoyable and so much better than Emma but I wouldn’t say that it is my favorite of Jane Austen’s. That still seems to be S&S.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Wintersong

24763621Title: Wintersong

Series: Wintersong #1

Publication Date: February 7th, 2017

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Author: S. Jae Jones

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Summary: Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
 Liesel & Mein Herr
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Mein herr
Needed BROTP:  Leisel & Kathe
Fave Quote: “There is music in your soul. A wild and untamed sort
of music that speaks to me. It defies all the rules and laws you humans set upon it. It grows from inside you, and I have a wish to set that music free.”

Actual Review: 4 Stars for a very lyrical and music filled story that carried me slowly and beautifully through it’s settings.

S. Jae Jones decided to take the movie/story of Labyrinth and make it something completely her own. Granted i have never seen the movie so i know next to nothing, tbh i think my only knowledge of Labyrinth/Goblin King is a fanfiction i read a few years ago for the Bellarke ship…so yeah.

The plot was interesting and went in ways i didn’t really expect. I thought some actions that were going to take a majority of the time ended up being only a third of the book. So the book wasn’t choppy per say but it definitely had this feeling of multiple stories within a story.

I think the writing is positively beautiful and paints so many pictures in your head of the Goblin Grove & Underground. Even though the majority of it is in the “Underground” you get this amazing scenery of where the goblins dwell.

What i found most intriguing was the Goblin King/Mein herr/ Der Erlkönig/ that dude who is the main LI and probably modeled after David Bowie. He had so many masks and facets, that were just really interesting to pull out. But what struck me was his sense of faith. He had a chapel built in the Underground that only he worships and he still prays and keeps his faith. Heck, this guy knows the LATIN prayers. It really struck me to see a sense of a modern faith in such a mythological world.

Liesel was an interesting MC. She is “plain” but talented. I wouldn’t say she’s one of those “special snowflake” MC’s but idk she is just so down on herself. She knows that she is plain and doesn’t understand why the Goblin King is in anyway interested in her. But what is interesting, is how much she identifies with her music. She feels as if it’s a large part of her identity alongside where she was born and who her family is.

Her family is interesting and I hope we get a new sense of their dynamic in the sequel that will be coming out in 2018.

I definitely liked the story but it didn’t grab me and make me want to drop everything and read it. But I will definitely be picking up the sequel next year.