Author: Ashley Poston
Publishers: Balzer + Bray
Published on : Feb 2018
Source: Audiobook listened through Storytel.in
First in a series , not a standalone.
Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him. Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them. When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive. What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?
Heart of Iron is supposedly a sci-fi space retelling of Anastasia which I knew nothing of and had to google it before beginning the book. Let me warn you, I have not read that much sci-fi and haven’t really felt a liking towards the genre because its all very confusing to me. But I liked Heart of Iron and here’s why.
The book is richly packed with diverse characters – Metals (Androids that are both devoid and brimming with emotions), gay couples, a brown skinned female protagonist etc.
The book is told in four POV’s..
- Ana – The girl who was found by Captain Siege in an escape pod in space, along with her companion Metal, Di or D09.
- Di – The metalhead who is devoid of feelings but is very very loyal and protective of Ana.
- Jax – the cool pilot of the Dossier, the pirate ship that Ana belongs to. He is queer and has the ability to read the stars, and has a mysterious past which is not revealed much in the book.
- Robb – the Ironblood who is desperately searching for his father who is presumed dead by the Kingdom, during its Android attack seven years ago that killed the entire Royal family including it’s Princess.
So you would have thought that Robb and Ana would end up together, but no !! If it weren’t revealed towards the beginning of the book that Ana has not-just-friendly feelings for her Di, considering the amount of time Robb and Ana spend together in the latter part of the book, I would have thought that they were the couples too 😛
The plot twists
I’m not talking about discovering who the lost princess is.. There are a lot of tiny little plot twists that make the entire book enjoyable. Good become bad, Bad become good??!!, people end up dead, secrets revealed..
Its simple, fast paced (although a little lagging at the beginning) and has beautiful lines like these.
Her heart beat, and his wires hummed, and they were Ana and Di – and there were no words for that.
If he believed in the Moon Goddess, he’d be praying right now. He’d be praying really, really hard. And he’d be praying something like, Merciful Goddess, if you exist, please hand my ass to me some other day. I don’t want to die. I haven’t kissed Jax yet.
This cute little bot stole my heart!! It can’t speak but comes in handy in several situations and is cutely called by Di as his can opener ❤
What I Didn’t like
Okayyyyy… coming to what I didn’t like.. Basically a little hard to understand who was what.. So Captain Siege has optical fibre hair that lights up different colours based on her emotions. One of the crew member has mechanical leg. But I wasn’t sure if they were also Metals like Di or Human or Humanoids.. And also not very clear about Di too.
I disliked the madman Lord Rasovant, not because he is the supposedly villain of the story but because of how poorly his character was built. He sounded like a lunatic to me and not a very powerful character that needs to be feared.
The world building could have been better, because I wasn’t clear on the planets and the Iron Kingdom or the Solanis. There were random places mentioned, planets and their moons but it lacked some in-depth and clear idea of the world Poston was trying to build. I’m not sure if the books had a map, but I read an audiobook so it was all the more confusing.
Yes, I will be looking forward to the sequel Soul of Stars that comes out in 2019 hoping to know more of that ending!! And more about the HIVE and Jax.
I rate the book 3.75 stars!!
Why you should read Jen Campbell’s Weird Things Customers say in Bookshops?
Because it’s fun and easy to read.
Because you need to read something light after that heavy and long book you finished!
Because the year is about to end, and your reading challenge still needs to be completed and this book can be finished in an hour!
Because you have asked weird questions in bookshops or even heard them being asked and would like to know if they are listed in the book.
Because you have been subjected to such questions being a book lover and ready with book recs.
Because you just need to know what the book has to say!
Because the anecdotes are funny and so heartbreakingly ridiculous !!
Because what bookworm doesn’t like books about bookshops?
Because there’s a sequel too..
Because there are funny illustrations across the book.
Do you still need more reasons? Go get the book now!! (Amazon.in)
I got a used copy from Amazon which was surprisingly new and its hardcover so all the bonus points to the seller!!.
Recommended for all bookworms 🙂
I was in a terrible reading slump and decided to go for my favourite Ya author of all times – Sarah Dessen. I knew I would be out of the slump in no time but I also knew I would be crying heaps.
Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.
Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.
The book revolves around wedding planning and should have been happy, because weddings are! But then Sarah Dessen is known for her books on family dynamics and how each story is so much relatable. The mother of the protagonist is a wedding planner but her own marriage life ended tragically and she is cynical when it comes to happily ever afters. So is her parter at work, William !! You can’t expect Louna to be any different given her tragedy in life.
Ambrose is fun-loving, easy-going and everything that Louna isn’t and she finds him irritating at the beginning. There wasn’t any Insta-love, and their relationship progresses slowly and beautifully.
Louna’s tragic past struck close to home because of me losing a friend couple of months back – the desperation of not-knowing and the falling apart after knowing.
The book is written in alternate time formats – past and present, but the beauty of it is, there aren’t any chapter titles to let you know its from the past and they aren’t exactly alternating… And that caught my attention because I liked reading about the Louna from both times and I liked being surprised to find myself reading an extract from the past after reading two chapters from the present. One was cynical and the other was love-struck. And especially after the tragedy is revealed, it hurt so much read to about it, I was bawling my eyes out 😦
Beautifully written, satirical and yet touching at the same time!
My rating : 4 stars
More about the book
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publishers: Viking Books for Young Readers
Published on: June 2017
Source: E-book purchased from Amazon.in
I recently read Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian and thought I would revive my blog by writing a review for the book.
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here
What I liked
- Character arc – Theo
Theo’s character shows a fantastic transformation from the beginning of the book till its end. When punished brutally and ridiculed among a crowd, you cannot expect a young child to think of revenge. Theodosia suffers under the hands of the Kaiser and for every rebellion that breaks out, the Kaiser takes out his anger on her. When she is ready to give up all hope, the Kaiser makes her do something that inadvertantly sparks the rebel in her. Even then she doesn’t immediately become a rebel overnight. She plots, she manipulates, she acts and finally gets the revenge she wants.
- Concept of magical stones
The Spirit gems, although not much explored in the book, made it sort of interesting and fascinating. The inner conflict that Theo has against using them, only makes you appreciate the fact she wants to be just and deserving in front of her Gods.
- The Two Kingdoms and their differences
The author has painted a vivid difference between Kalavoxian and Astrean kingdoms and their cultures. How Astrea came into being, how brutal Kalovaxians can be when it comes to wars and acquiring other kingdoms is all explained well in the book. The fact that the Kaiser does not allow Theo to grow up as Astrean, but he and his courtiers wear and follow Astrean customs and fashion, is just another way of showing his rank and power to her.
- Other Important characters
Cress!! She definitely needs to be mentioned in the review. She grows in Kalovaxian ways and never realises that her people are to be blamed for the death of innocents because she feels that they deserve it for rebelling. She is sweet enough to her kingdom’s prisoner but what happens in the book and her character transformation after that is absolutely good. I’m looking forward to reading about her in the sequel.
Artemisia is total badass and never cares for Theo’s feelings towards doing right. She feels Theo is not suffering enough like her people in the caves, rather she is living inside a castle and the luxuries it has to offer.
Other characters like Prinz Soren and Blaise didn’t really make an impression, although I did feel pity of Soren.
What I didn’t like
- Definitely, the love triangle
The love triangle felt weak and forced, because of Theo’s feelings towards Soren and Blaise felt meh! I couldn’t really get into the love story and all along it felt like every other YA fantasy. Or more like a game of Kiss, Marry, Kill !!
- Similarities with Sansa Stark
You cannot stop wondering about how similar are the character arcs of these two strong fictional females. Sansa was also ridiculed and abused in King’s Landing in Game of Thrones and Theo’s experiences are almost the same. Especially when the Kaiserin calls her little lamb!
You’re a lamb in the lion’s den, child. You’re surviving. Isn’t that enough?”
Sansa too later becomes focussed on revenge and avenging her dead siblings and parents. Theo wants revenge for all the people who died at the Kaiser’s hands and especially the death of Theyn who slit her mother’s throat. I just want my characters to be different and stay with me without reminding of another literary character.
But overall, the book is written really good. Though its starts off slow, the latter parts regain pace and leaves you wanted for more towards the end. I can’t wait for Lady Smoke, the sequel that comes out in 2019!. I’m looking forward to read more about the Spirit Gems, the fate of Cress and Blaise, more Astrean and Kalovaxian history and of course, the Dragnonsbane!!
I would recommend this book to you if you love YA fantasy and books like Throne of Glass, Red Queen etc.
My rating 4 stars.
More about the book
Author : Laura Sebastian
Published on : April 2018
Source: own copy, purchased from Amazon.in
First book in trilogy.
You can get the book from Amazon.in
If you have read this book, let me know how did you like it?
If you know more books of similar plot line, I’m happy to discuss 🙂
Some books make you want to jump in and write a review so that the whole world knows about it. One such book that I read recently is.. Sarah J Harris’s The Color of Bee Larkham’s murder.
You can find the synopsis of the book from GoodReads
When I first came across the title of the book last year during its cover reveal, I was much intrigued. When I heard of synesthesia, it perked my interest.
The book is about 13-year old Jasper Wishart, who has this condition called Synesthesia because of which he not only hears sound but also sees the color of them. For example, his father’s voice is muddy ochre, the days of the week have specific colors and even knocking doors, whispers , sighs have colors. Jasper cannot also recognize faces, because of which he remembers people through their voices. Or the color of them.
My life is a thrilling kaleidoscope of colors only I can see..
Since Jasper can see colors, he loves painting the colors – the everyday sounds – around him. Having lost his mother who is the only person who understands and shares his ability to see colors, he copes with his life watching people through binoculars from his window. When he notices parakeets, his favorite colorful birds, on his neighbor’s tree, he befriends Bee Larkham, the estranged daughter of his neighbor, just so he could spend time watching the birds from her bedroom window.
An unusual, unhealthy relationship forms between the two of them and when Bee goes missing, Jasper is the only one who knows what happened to her but he can’t really tell. Or can he?
This book is brilliantly written and told in alternate time periods – before Bee went missing and the present – from Jasper’s point of view. You can see the amazing efforts of Sarah J Harris when she talks through Jasper explaining colors and the difficulty of trying to make others understand the colors. The young child misses his mother terribly and this just breaks your heart when you read it. The book also brings to light an important topic – but no spoilers !!
Trying to find his mother in Bee, he falls in a rabbit hole of emotions and is caught between love and hate.
Must read this book, I cant recommend it enough!!
My rating : 5 STARS !!!!
also find this review on Goodreads page
About the book:
Author: Sarah J Harris
Publishers : HarperCollins
Published on: April 2018
Source: Own copy
You can buy the book from here: Amazon.in
Author : Julia Sonneborn
Publisher : Gallery Books
Pub Date: Feb 2018
Source : Own (Kindle copy)
Get the book from Amazon.in.
You can find my review in Goodreads page as well.
An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.
Anne Corey is about to get schooled.
An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.
Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.
Funny, smart, and full of heart, this modern ode to Jane Austen’s classic explores what happens when we run into the demons of our past…and when they turn out not to be so bad, after all.
By the Book is a loose retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I’ve only half read the Classic, but I always love Austen’s writing and no matter what, I love fairytale retellings and Classic retellings. I was prepared for the book because you know how the story is going to unfold.
Anne Corey is an English Professor who is looking for a permanent job at Fairfax college which is only possible of she becomes a published author. Unexpectedly, her ex-fiancé re-enters her life in the form of her College’s new, suave, handsome President – Adam Martinez. And because she hates him at the moment and there really is room for another hot guy, there comes a Booker-Prize winning author Rick Chasen to the college as in-house writer. The book revolves around Anne and the struggles in getting her book published along with her encounters with Adam and Rick in the same campus.
What I did like about the book:
- A book that talks a lot about Classic novels and their authors
- Has description about a beautiful home library
- Makes you swoon when you hear how Adam proposes Anne in the past by using a copy of “Persuasion” to hide the ring.
- Makes you jealous of how awesome it is to have a friend like Larry, Anne’s gay best friend.
- Has little email conversations here n there in the book (which I generally love!)
What I didn’t like:
- There was very, very minimal romance (tension) between Adam and Anne.
- Adam was, for most part of the book, like a character lurking in the shadows. There were very less interactions between him and Anne in the present.
- The hostility between Adam and Rick made me think of Mr. Darcy and Wickham. And in the end, it did somewhat turn out like Pride and Prejudice. So, I’m kind of confused here.
The book could have been more better, with a little bit of originality.
I still give 3.5 stars
Author : Alexandra Cristo
Publisher : Bonnier Publishing
Pub Date: March 6th 2018
Source : Own copy
Get the book from Amazon.in.
You can find my review in Goodreads page as well.
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
If you love fantasy like I do, then what are you waiting for ? This book’s got it all – sirens, Sea Queen, Pirate Prince who also happens to be a siren killer, mermen and mermaids and royal families with secret treasures.
I really liked the writing – simple, whimsical and perfect. No difficult plot lines to follow, just straight to the point without beating the bush. It did get a tad slow in the middle of the book but there were bigger things to consider like no instant love and too-much-romance. No sir, it was just enough, with a little banter here and there and no funny business.
Lira is the anti-heroine, sass personified and is a ruthless killer. She is of royal blood and goes only after the hearts of Royal blood – young princes, who are promised to rule a kingdom only to have their life snatched away and the kingdoms doomed. Thus she earns her name – Prince’s Bane. But let me remind you, she is the heroine after all, so has a tiny bit of humanity in her saved for her little cousin Kahlia, whose mother’s life Lira had to take. (Ruthless killer for you!!).
“Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.”
She wants to succeed her mother the evil Sea Queen because of which she is bound to please the queen by going after Royal hearts. (Do check the blurb for more!)
Prince Elian – though he prefers to call himself a pirate captain, loves the sea and adventure and wants to take revenge for all the royal blood wasted. Together with his unusual crew and his mission to kill all sirens, he is a murderer himself. His character is of the noble guy who gives up everything for the sake of a better world.
There are numerous side characters too – Princess Yukiko, Madrid, Kye – and there’s a tiny background story for all of them.
As I already mentioned, the writing is easy to follow, no big tough names to remember, and goes with the flow. The descriptions of the various Kingdoms and the sea journey in itself is beautifully written. The action scene with a pirate captain was the best written of all, better than the final war.
The only negative that I would say is, the little pit stops they make during the adventure were a bit dragging. Some might have found that zero tension between the two main characters was a little on the downside, but I felt that this was okay because these two were enemies and any sappy romance would have just spoiled the plot.
All in all, I loved the easy writing and its a good fantasy not to be missed.
4.5 stars out of 5
Author : Celeste Ng
Publisher : Blackfriars
Pub Date: November 13th 2014
Source : Own copy
Get the book from Amazon.in.
You can find my review in Goodreads page as well.
Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.
So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.
A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you.
This book is by far the best I have read in recent times. Its absolutely stunning and tugs your heart at all the right places.
1970’s ~ The plot
How much do we know about Interracial marriages in the ’60’s, 70’s. How ‘different’ are the inter-racial kids treated.. The judgmental eyes of people who cannot look beyond the color of skin, the inferiority complex that’s deep set within the children born for interracial parents or even immigrant parents. This book deals with all of that and more – The expectations set on kids by parents who failed to succeed and trying to enforce their dreams on them, the way the kids are obliged to follow on the path set before them and how not keeping up to the expectations leads to depression and suicidal thoughts.
Above all this, the one thing that made this book unforgettable for me is.. the struggle of the last child in the family. Being ignored and unwanted, silently observing the happenings and obviously having a better understanding of all things, craving for the littlest amount of attention. I just wish this book had been told from the perspective of Hannah.
And even when she got older, now and then each of them would forget fleetingly, that she existed — as when Marilyn, laying four plates for dinner one night, did not realize her omission until Hannah reached the table. Hannah, as if she understood her place in the cosmos, grew from quiet infant to watchful child: a child fond of nooks and corners, who curled up in closets, behind sofas, under dangling tablecloths, staying out of sight as well as out of mind, to ensure the terrain of the family did not change.
Tragedy told differently
Be it the mother who lost her favorite daughter who was supposed to fulfill her dream of becoming a medico, or the father who felt that she would be the kid who really had a ‘social’ life and does things that ‘everyone does’ unlike him, or the brother who is guilty of ignoring the sister who is the center of attraction in the family or my favorite, Hannah, everyone deals with the tragedy of losing Lydia differently. And it cannot be more beautifully emotionally portrayed than this.
This book is wonderfully written, that I never felt like I was being pushed to read about race or PoC. The writing is both subtle and strong. Like it hits the nail at the correct spot but slowly.
What made something precious? Losing it and finding it
I give 5 stars in spite of the tears, Because of the tears..
Author : Leah Konen
Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books
Pub Date: 02 Jan 2018
Source : E-book, Own copy
Get the book from Amazon.in.
You can find my review in Goodreads page as well.
A twenty-four-hour romance about two teens who meet—and perhaps change their minds about love—on a train ride to Upstate New York in the middle of a snowstorm
One train ride. Two strangers.
Noah is a hopeless romantic. He’s heading back home for one last chance with his first love, whom he broke up with when he went off to college.
Ammy doesn’t believe in true love—her parents being prime examples. She’s escaping from a mom who can’t take care of her to a dad who may not even want her. That is, until one winter night when Noah and Ammy find themselves in the same Amtrak car heading to Upstate New York.
After a train-wreck first encounter between the two of them, the Amtrak train suddenly breaks down due to a snowstorm. Desperate to make it to their destinations, Noah and Ammy have no other option but to travel together. What starts off as a minor detour turns into the whirlwind journey of a lifetime, and over the course of the night they fall in love. But come morning their adventure takes an unexpected turn for the worst. Can one night can really change how they feel about love…and the course of their lives forever?
After reading a disastrous Fantasy, I was in for something light and cute and boy oh boy! This was everything I wanted, to fish me out of a slump.
Noah & Ammy
The train isn’t as romantic as I thought it would be..
Both Noah & Ammy are travelling via the Amtrak to the same destination (which they don’t know first) and do not get along from the very beginning when Ammy mocks him for reading the Hunger Games (hello, what?!).
Ammy comes off a rude person, harboring a lot of family issues and guilty of betraying her mother when she needed her the most, but she does have her reasons. Noah, too is guilty of breaking up with his girlfriend, who honestly isn’t all likeable and comes off as bossy, but he is blind with love. And guilt. A lot of it! When they are stranded on the train at the middle of nowhere, Noah and Ammy decide to walk to the nearest bus station and continue with their journey as both of them have to be at someplace that day. Begins a series of misadventures but eventful ones that lead them both to spend an awful lot of time together , that’s told in a series of time frames (which I really liked!)
Noah is this huge hearted, romantic and is very likeable. And I don’t understand how he can be that dense about his girlfriend and still wants to get back with her. I loved him throughout the book. On the other hand, Ammy isn’t likeable, and I didn’t like it how she turned mean again towards the end, like for the most stupidest reason. And she is a wannabe feminist! The one who cannot differentiate between actual male domination and sweet humanly gestures.
The book also talks about painful divorces and mental illness which I felt was not overdone. Ammy’s friendship with the step-sister and her weird sense of gratitude towards it, well that was a tad overdone.
The book is cheesy, cute and is apt for a quick read. I loved the writing. I loved cheesy lines like this one..
You are like a book I want to read forever…
And the hitchhiking through the snow (bcos I love snow!)..
Everything looks magical in the snow, like something straight out of a fantasy novel…
I give 4 stars simply because I love some good, light hearted reads such as this one..
Snow image courtesy : Pexels (free Photo)