Waiting on Wednesday // Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
Ash Princess Trilogy #1
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 24th, 2018
Pages: 432

Summary (from Goodreads):

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed “Ash Princess.” Pretending to be empty-headed and naive when she's not enduring brutal whippings, she pushes down all other thoughts but one: Keep the Kaiser happy and he will keep you safe.

When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can't keep her feelings and memories pushed down any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser's warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn't expect to develop feelings for the Prinz. Or for her rebel allies to challenge her friendship with the one person who's been kind to her throughout the last hopeless decade: her heart's sister, Cress.

Cornered into impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she's willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she's willing to sacrifice to become queen.

What books are you looking forward to this week?

Review // Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine

Monday, March 19, 2018

Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine
Of Metal and Wishes #2
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: August 4th, 2015
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320

Summary (from Goodreads):

War erupts in this bittersweet sequel to "Of Metal and Wishes", inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and called “relentlessly engrossing” by The Romantic Times.

In the year since the collapse of the slaughterhouse where Wen worked as her father’s medical assistant, she’s held all her secrets close. She works in the clinic at the weapons factory and sneaks away to nurse Bo, once the Ghost, now a boy determined to transform himself into a living machine. Their strange, fragile friendship soothes some of the ache of missing Melik, the strong-willed Noor who walked away from Wen all those months ago—but it can’t quell her fears for him.

The Noor are waging a rebellion in the west. When she overhears plans to crush Melik’s people with the powerful war machines created at the factory, Wen makes the painful decision to leave behind all she has known—including Bo—to warn them. But the farther she journeys into the warzone, the more confusing things become. A year of brutality seems to have changed Melik, and Wen has a decision to make about him and his people: How much is she willing to sacrifice to save them from complete annihilation?

So, Of Dreams and Rust takes place about a year (I think?) after the events of the first book. I did enjoy this book more than I enjoyed the first book, but as I am writing this review, I can only think of the things I didn't like. I think I could have liked this book a lot more if it hadn't went into the first book so blindly.

I really don't even think that this post is a review so much as a discussion of the things about this book that I didn't like, but I will try to say some review-y things as well. Also, this is your warning, that I didn't really try hard to avoid spoilers.

So, Wen and her father are working in the clinic of the Gochan Two factory after the Gochan One factory was destroyed at the end of the first book. Melik has gone back to his people and Wen has been spending a lot of time with Bo, the "ghost" of the old factory. He's healing from his injuries in the last book and seems to be dead set on turning what little human parts are left of him into machine parts.

One day, Wen finds out the factory she works in is upping their production of war machines to crush the Noor rebellion. Wen runs away to go warn Melik of what is to come. Because the Itanyai are going to be totally ruthless and probably just kill everyone.

When the train that Wen is on gets blown up by Melik's rebel group and she and the mostly unharmed Itanyai soldiers are taken hostage and the ones too injured to travel are killed, Wen really starts to question whether or not she should reveal what she knows to the Noor.

Okay, so I can think of three things about this book that I didn't like or that annoyed me. One of them was resolved in an understandable fashion in the story. The main thing that bothered me was the conflict that Wen was having with herself over revealing the information she had about the war machines.

Okay, so... Wen left everything behind to go find this man that she loves to warn him that her people are coming with weapons of mass destruction to demolish his people. For no reason. Because the Itanyai look at the Noor as less than animals. They don't even seem like they consider them actual people. And the Noor are only rebelling because they want a say in the government that rules them and they want to be able to own the land that they work. They want to be seen as equals to the Itanyai. Which shouldn't be that much to ask, but considering the Itanyai are AWFUL, it's apparently not gonna happen.

And Wen gets there and gets taken hostage and sees how the rebels are killing her people (who were on their way to where the Noor were to kill THEIR people), and she decides that she's not going to share the information she has. She is so butthurt that Melik is involved in a group that is fighting for his peoples' rights and is defending his people from outsiders that are coming to kill them for no real reason, that she's just going to let it happen.

She knows that the Itanyai soldiers that were killed were on their way to the Noor to kill innocent men, women, and children for no justifiable reason. And she knows that there was probably nothing that she could say to persuade them to not go kill people for no justifiable reason. So she's going to let it happen because the man she loves is a soldier now, trying to defend his people, the people that HER people want to kill for kicks and giggles.

Like, she leaves the Ring because she knows that war machines are going to slaughter innocent people and she believes that's wrong. She grew to see the Noor as actual people and love one of them and care for others. But the second they defend themselves from that slaughter, it's unforgivable. How dare they kill the people that were on their way to kill their people? How dare they save their women and children from HER people who are plotting to come in with machines that they could never hope to defend themselves against?

So she's just gonna zip her lip and let it happen. I think she even resigned herself to the fact that she was probably going to die too. I could be wrong about that, but I think she did. But then she gets to a village and sees the innocent people that WILL die by these machines and decides, yeah, okay, I'll spill.

That part made me so rage-y. I literally could not understand the back and forth she was having there. She knows her people are in the wrong. I really generally liked Wen in the first book, but this REALLY brought down my opinion of her. She doesn't even act like she really even likes her own people, but defending innocent people against murderers was OVER THE LINE.

After that, things did go a bit uphill for me. But I really think that whole part tainted my general opinion of this book.

The next thing that bugged me was the thing that was fixed in the story. Wen gets brought before the Noor general or whatever and tells her story and he doesn't believe her. He sentences her to death and  she gets taken away to a cell and Melik just watches her go. He doesn't really say anything. He doesn't argue or fight for her that I remember. And I was just sitting there thinking about how HARD Wen fought her own people for him in the first book. She didn't care about her reputation really, she did everything she could to help him, every chance she got!

And this was quickly taken care of when Melik broke her out of her cell and took her to safety in his home village. And I can understand why it happened the way it did. I was probably still seeing red from the last thing that annoyed me.

The last thing that I can think of that really bothered me happened when Wen and Melik and the rest of the Noor men from Melik's village arrive back home. No one was happy to see an Itanyai person and so Melik did the only thing he could think of to keep her there and make people accept her. He claimed her as his wife. He didn't discuss this with her beforehand. The situation wasn't so heated or dire that he couldn't have run it past her real quick. And the gesture of claiming your wife wasn't something she was familiar with so she didn't even know what he did until someone else told her.

Like, I don't have any doubt that she would have been fine with it had she known what was going on, but it just rubbed me the wrong way that he didn't even consult her when the situation wasn't one where there was super immediate danger for her (as far as I remember, it's been like two weeks since I read this, I could be wrong here, but I don't think I am).

And that is really all of the problems I had with the book. I mean, I didn't really like Bo. At all. He acts like he has some say in Wen's life and tries to order her around and acts like she somehow belongs to him and I really kind of hated him for it. And I hate that this book ended up making me care about him even a little bit in the end. But okay, that is for real the last thing about this book that I didn't like.

I thought the war and the war preparations were interesting. I liked seeing how Wen fit in with the village after arriving. I liked Melik's family. I loved how brave Wen was, marching into war with the rest of the Noor. She made her own medicine pack so that she could apply first aid where it was needed. She had to make some hard decisions on who she could save and who was beyond her help. I liked seeing Wen and Melik fall back in love and seeing their relationship grow. I loved how Melik treated her and how he understood that if she wanted to leave after all of this was over, it was fine.

This book had some high stakes and there were some heartbreaking moments and some rage-inducing ones, but overall, I did enjoy this book. I doubt you will believe me from reading this review because I mostly talked about what I hated, but that was not really that much of the book and the rest of the book was a lot better and more interesting. Not to mention, with Wen traveling to find Melik, the world expanded so much. It felt SO MUCH bigger, which was a problem that I had with the first book.

Have you read this series? What did you think of it? Did you have any of the same problems as I had?

Waiting on Wednesday // Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
The Shadow Game #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: April 10th, 2018
Pages: 400

Summary (from Goodreads):

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn't have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne's offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems. 

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi's enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

What books are you looking forward to this week?

Review // Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
Of Metal and Wishes #1
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: August 5th, 2014
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 321

Summary (from Goodreads):

There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her... for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her... and she might go down with it.

Of Metal and Wishes was a series that I picked up, probably like 90% because I remembered reading a review of the second book and I thought that it sounded really interesting. I honestly don't think that I ever looked up what the first book was about.

I probably would have liked this book better if I had read the synopsis and knew what it was actually about, but I went into this book pretty blind and I don't think that my reading experience benefitted from it in this particular case.

This book is kind of a steampunk retelling of Phantom of the Opera. The main character, Wen, lives in the Gochan One slaughterhouse factory that is "haunted" by the ghost of a factory worker that died on the job. There is an altar in the factory where workers leave offerings with little notes detailing their wishes and the ghost will grant wishes if it's within his power.

This book takes place during the busy season so the factory has just hired on a group of Noor boys and men. The Noor are like... another race or something, they're somehow different from the Itanyai, which is what Wen and the rest of the factory workers are. But the Itanyai really look down on the Noor as being less than human. They just want to make enough money to live and to send some home to their families, but with the way the factory bosses do things, that really isn't going to happen.

There is an accident in the factory involving a Noor boy that humiliated Wen in the cafeteria. The incident was brought about by a challenge that Wen issued to the ghost because she truly didn't believe in him. This accident brings Wen closer to the Noor and she ends up falling for the leader of the Noor, Melik.

So, the most notable thing about this book that I have to say is that I HATED the setting. The world feels so incredibly small in this book. The majority of the book takes place in the Gochan One factory and a little bit of it takes place in the Ring, which is like the group of businesses and houses just outside the factory. It literally doesn't feel like there is any world at all outside of the Ring. And I really just can't get over how much I hated the slaughterhouse factory setting.

The people in this book are awful too. I liked the Noor, and Wen and her father. And that's about it. I didn't like the ghost. I didn't like any of the Itanyai people. And I mean, honestly, I think that's the correct thing to take away from this book?? The Itanyai are awful to the Noor because of how they view them as less. They're also awful to women. They kind of act like their women need to be pure, but once they no longer are, they're like.... free game to whoever wants them? I would definitely say there should probably be a trigger warning for rape in this book. There isn't any ACTUAL rape, but there is at least one scene where some men try to take advantage of Wen because her relationship with Melik is out in the open and her reputation is 'ruined'. And it's gross.

Probably the only thing I liked about this book was seeing Wen's relationships bloom. Her relationship with her father. Her relationship with the Noor. And especially her relationship with Melik. Wen looks at the Noor the same as the rest of the Itanyai do in the beginning. Her views change after the accident that happened after her challenge to the ghost. She definitely blames herself and she ends up spending a lot of time with the Noor taking care of them when they're sick because her father is the doctor and she's kind of his unofficial assistant.

This is how she starts to get close to Melik. And they go through SO much in this book. There is literally something going wrong at every turn. Sometimes from the ghost. Sometimes from the Itanyai people. Sometimes it's one of those things where Wen sees something and immediately and vehemently believes the worst of Melik. Even though at the point that I'm thinking of, they barely know each other.

But by the end of this book, they definitely deserve to be together because of all the hardships they went through and how hard they fought for each other. I loved it. I loved them. And I hated the ending of this book because, of course, they get separated.

Overall, this book was mostly meh for me. It was a quick read, I read most of it in one day. The setting and people left a lot to be desired from this book, but the romance 100% saved this book for me. I don't know if I would actually recommend this book though. I mean, if you're a die hard Phantom of the Opera fan or you like steampunk stuff, maybe you'd like it.

Have you read Of Metal and Wishes? What did you think of it?

Waiting on Wednesday // Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: April 24th, 2018
Pages: 352

Summary (from Goodreads):


Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

What books are you looking forward to this week?
CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan