In arc books review the enchanted sonata

REVIEW: The Enchanted Sonata

"What makes music... magic?"

Title: The Enchanted Sonata
Author: Heather Dixon Wallwork
Genre(s):  Fantasy, Retellings, Young Adult, Romance.
Release: October 2018
Rating: ✭✭✭/5

This book has such a promising premise; the nutcracker fused with the Piped Piper sounds like one of my new favorite things. This book brought upon all sorts of wintery goodness.

What is this book about?
The Enchanted Sonata centers around the young pianist Clara, who has a massive crush on the professional pianist Johann. Clara is so smitten that she has planned her entire future around him. She, then, hadn't planned to be pulled into a fairytale world where children are being transformed into toys and by an evil musician.

She comes to the rescue of Nikolai, a prince who has been turned into a nutcracker, to save his empire, and restore his citizens back to human beings.

"Light chords, staccato piano, or pizzicato strings, 
could lighten the heart. 
minor, legato melodies,
could depress and darken one's soul."

What did I think about The Enchanted Sonata?
First of all, I was enchanted by the entire atmosphere surrounding the book. The premise, cover and title pages made me want to add this to my TBR. The cover is absolutely stunning and reminds me of snowy Russia and the Christmas-feeling. 

I absolutely love the book's concept. The combination of the lyrical writing, the retellings of two famous tales; The Nutcracker and Pied Piper were absolute gold together. I loved the inclusion of the musical element and language in the story. I'm a musician myself so this absolutely added an extra layer to the story. 

The characters, too, were absolutely gorgeous. The antagonist, Erik, was very interesting to read about (I expecially liked the inclusion of his origin-story). As an audience, we witnessed Clara's growth as a character. She goes from the naive, dreaming, girl to someone who's sure of herself and someone who forms new resolutions. There's also Nikolai, the adorable prince, who both served as the ideal boyfriend and a good protagonist.

The pacing and length of this story I found enjoyable too. I liked the fact that the action came relatively quickly into the book. I personally don't find books that take ages to build up very attractive. So I was happy to see that the introduction and world-building in this book was done relatively quickly. The flashbacks, time jumps, and parallel universes were very nicely added to create a very fairy-tale like atmosphere, but were in no way confusing for the reader. Instead, they added to the story in the sense that the reader gets to read a story in a story in a story, which adds to the whimsical element of The Enchanted Sonata as well.

A downfall of this book though, for me personally, was the writing. I generally enjoyed the writing style and it was fine for the most part. There were also some good quotes here and there, but I don't know if it was because I received the non-final copy, some of the wording really didn't make sense sometimes. Some of the jokes too, fell a bit flat. I think the author's intention might have been to give the story a comedic spin, but that didn't fully work out.

Overall, I feel like I really enjoyed the story and I read it at the perfect time of the year. The book got me in a perfect Christmas mood. The concept of this, then, remains beautiful, even if the finished product might have some minor flaws. 3.5/5 stars.

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In adam silvera becky albertalli books review simon vs simon vs the homosapiens agenda what if it's us

REVIEW: What If It's Us

"He laces our fingers and shrugs. And I’m dead. I am actually dead. 
There’s no other way to explain it. I’m sitting in fucking Herald Square, 
holding hands with the cutest boy I’ve ever met, and I’m dead. 
I’m the deadest zombie ghost vampire who ever died. 
And now my mouth isn’t working. It's like I'm stunned into silence. 
That never happens."

Title: What If It's Us
Author: Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera
Genre(s):  Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+
Release: September 2018
Rating: ✭✭✭✭/5

Let me start by saying that I'm generally not a huge YA contemporary person. I don't usually connect with the characters anymore, having passed the high school age. However, I make exceptions for books that are insanely hyped (on Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, wherever). The anticipation for this book, for example, was huge; two authors (who are big names within the YA contemporary genre) teaming up to write a LGBTQ+ love story? I couldn't really pass that up, could I?

What is this book about?

What If It's Us centers around two boys, Arthur and Ben, who both live in New York City. Ben has just broken up with his ex-boyfriend and goes to take a box of his ex-bf's stuff out. Then there's Arthur, who has just moved to NYC for the summer only. The two have a meet cute at the post-office, but they end up losing track of each other. After their fate meeting, the two start social-media stalking each other to see if fate will bring them together again. That's basically the gist of the story, and about all I can say without going into the book too deeply and spoiling aspects of it.

"I barely know him. I guess that is every relationship. 

You start with nothing and maybe end with everything."

What did I think about What If It's Us?

Firstly, I want to address the pacing of the book. YA contemporaries are usually quick reads for me anyway, but I really like how quickly this book handled the meet-cute and the events that took place after. It didn't take absolute ages before the romance aspect of the book came to frutition and there wasn't a bunch of very unnecessary drama (or, let me say this differently, there was drama, but not the annoying kind).

I think the struggles both Ben and Arthur faced were very representative for their respective ages and also kind of relatable in a way that doesn't necessarily have to do with romance. Arthur wants the relationship to succeed too bad, and Ben is the one who doesn't try enough, which isn't necessarily only applicable to romantic relationships but also to friendships. This made the book relatable for me, which, as I mentioned earlier, isn't necessarily something I find within this particular genre.

I really liked the pop-culture references within the book. Arthur is a huge Broadway fan, which provided some fun references and quotes within the story (SPOILER: The scene where they both end up listening to Hamilton in front of the building was so cute!). Despite a lot of the earlier reviews I've read for this book, the references didn't annoy me. They didn't feel forced or too much. I liked the inclusion of popular media within the book because it made the book feel realistic.

I also really like how they addressed Ben's ethnicity and his family dynamics, as well as Arthur's ADHD. The book really includes diverse perspectives, which is something I really liked reading.

The only major thing I had issues with was the ending. I'm not a huge fan of endings like these, because I, as a reader, look for gratification. I felt like a lot of things were left unanswered and open, and it didn't really satisfy me as a reader. 

“God, Arthur.” He kisses me. 
“Te quiero. Estoy enamorado. You don’t even know.” 
And I don’t speak a word of Spanish, but when I look at his face, I get it.” 

This book, despite its ending, was really really cute. The characters were cute, the romance between these two boys (the authors also included ADHD and made one of them POC!) was delightful to read. I really enjoyed this quick YA read, so I'm giving this 3.5/5 stars but I hope the authors will work on a potential sequel in the future! 

Goodreads | Amazon

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In arc books crown of wishes review roshani chokshi the gilded wolves the star-touched queen

REVIEW: The Gilded Wolves

"I don't want to be their equals.
I don't want them to look us in the eye.
I want them to look away, to blink harshly, like they've stared at the sun itself.
I don't want them standing across from us.
I want them kneeling."

Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre(s):  Young Adult, Fantasy
Release: January 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭/5

This book. Oh, wow, THIS BOOK. Prior to reading the advanced reading copy, I'd heard some promising things about this story. People described it as having 'Six of Crows' vibes, which is another series I absolutely adore. However, the comparison sells this story short in my opinion. Yes, there are some similarities, but The Gilded Wolves definitely manages to set itself apart from other heist series. 

This is the second book by Roshani Choskhi I've read, (The Star-Touched Queen being the first), but this solidified my love for her writing. This book was all sorts of magical, unique and beautiful, wrapped within an insanely diverse and action-packed story! 

Also, before you continue to read, since the book releases in 2019, this will be a spoiler-free review, so don't worry! 

What is this book about?
Chokshi's newest masterpiece The Gilded Wolves centers around Séverin, heir to the fallen house of Montagnet-Alerie, current hotel-owner and part-time gang leader. He teams up with 5 allies: his brother in all but blood, botanical genius, pet-spider owner, and the definition of 'cinnamon roll,' Tristan. Then there's the Spanish-Filipino pretty boy, bisexual legend and historian, Enrique. The autistic, Polish-Jewish mathematician Zofia, who's also happens to be a huge overthinker. There's the super extra, very friendly, a little shady at times, but a gay icon nonetheless, Hypnos. And last but not least, my personal favorite, Indian performer, 100% kickass female and part-time baker, slash full-time angel, Laila.

The book itself takes place in historical Paris, and the main focus is a heist plot (but with loads of mythical and religious nods) set within a world of forging (the reshaping of objects but also seeing into its existence). In order to reclaim his lost inheritance, Séverin and his crew must find a magical artifact, and all sorts of awesome things ensue!

What did I think about The Gilded Wolves?
This book has everything. EVERY-THING. It is diverse, action-packed, character-driven (which I adore) and filled to the brim with mythological, religious, and historical nods. 

The first thing I want to address is Roshani's writing. The writing is gorgeous, seriously, absolutely fantastic. The world is intricately build, and she uses tons of beautiful descriptions to explain things like alchemy and forging. However, where other books that need a lot of world-building tend to take up half the book, I found this wasn't the case in The Gilded Wolves. Despite the many elaborate descriptions, I found the pacing in this book to be absolutely perfect. As soon as you open the book you jump straight into the action, which is something I love to read, but it wasn't confusing in any way. You learn that these characters all have a history together, which only adds to the appeal of their relationships.

"Everywhere he looked, he was surrounded by gilded wolves. 
And for whatever reason, it made him feel perfectly at home. 
Wolves were everywhere. In politics, on thrones, in beds. 
They cut their teeth on history and grew fat on war. 
Not that Séverin was complaining. 
It was just that, like other wolves, he wanted his share."

Plot-wise, the story was intense overall. The heist-plot in itself is a trope that is an automatic pull for me when it concerns books. I loved the atmosphere in which it was set; high-society Europe with its historical nods and mythical artefacts paints a very aesthetically pleasing picture. The book is filled to the brim with action, and there is a plot-twist at the end of the novel that I can honestly say I didn't see coming at all. 

Character wise, the diverse cast Roshani introduces is absolutely amazing. Each and every character manages to worm its way into your heart by the end of the book, and there wasn't a single character I didn't like. And yes, there is romance (love-triangles (the non-annoying kind!), LGBTQ+ relationships, angst) but romance by no means is the focus. The book is very character-driven, each of them having their own motivations and backstories, that come together to form the found-family trope that I adore in the YA genre.

To conclude, I thought this book was a super strong start to a series that I undoubtedly will enjoy. I think, but don't quote me on that, that this is the first book in a trilogy? Where most first books tend to take a lot of time with world-building and introducing the plot, this one jumped straight to action and introduces its characters along the way.

The comparisons to Six Of Crows and other heist stories absolutely sell this book short because it is a masterpiece in its own right. This is a definite five-star read for me, and I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel to this. This is a literal gem of a book and already one of my 2019 favorites!

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In books girls of paper and fire natasha ngan review

REVIEW: Girls of Paper and Fire

"We might be Paper Girls, easily torn and written upon. 
The very title we’re given suggests that we are blank, waiting to be filled. 
But what the Demon King and his court do not understand is that paper is flammable. 
And there is a fire catching among us."

Title: Girls of Paper and Fire
Natasha Ngan
Genre (s): YA, Fantasy, Mythology
Release: November 2018
Rating: 4.5/5  ✭✭✭✭

This book has been on my TBR list forever, and the premise promised all sorts of awesome-ness. When I got an early copy in my Fairyloot box (which is GOR-GEOUS by the way, it has sprayed edges!), I immediately picked it up. And, let me tell you, I was in no way disappointed! Girls of Paper and Fire did it all... and more!

What is this book about?:
Girls of Paper and Fire centers around Lei, who gets taken from her village to become a 'Paper Girl' at the court of a demon king. The Paper Girls are eight girls that are chosen every year to become  concubines in the Demon King's palace. This year, the Paper Girls have already been chosen, but when Lei attracts the unwanted attention of one of the King's guards, she turns into the unexpected ninth girl. Lei is taken from her village by force, leaving behind her family. Determined to return back to her family, and find her mother who has disappeared a few years prior. Lei must navigate her new life as a Paper Girl and find a way to escape. However, the other eight girls and the king himself promise a great deal of trouble. [BEWARE, THERE'S A MAJOR TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT]

"I don’t realize it until I speak it. And it’s different from the times I’ve said it before, or the way I’ve hoped it, as if dreaming something enough could birth it into being.
I know it now with a certainty that has fitted into the lost core at the heart of me,
as hard and angular as my hope was soft and shimmering.
The King will not have me."

What did I think of Girls of Paper and Fire?
First of all, I adored the atmosphere and the universe Natasha introduces. The world Natasha creates is based around Asian mythology, which was very interesting to read about in itself. The hierarchy in the book knows various different 'castes', which is what adds another layer to the story.

The plot of the book  itself, too, has a level of intrigue I really enjoy.  However, I did think the story could be a little too shocking at times. Again, there's a trigger warning for sexual assault at the beginning of the book, so be cautious, but I would've preferred for there to be one at the specific chapters.

 The characters (in particular Lei and Wren) really stole my heart. I adored Wren's character development. She goes from this seemingly stoic girl, to a very layered character within half of the novel. The book also gains bonus points for the main relationship. The romance in this is so sweet and refreshing. I adored that it was between two girls, since the YA Fantasy genre still severely lacks F/F representation.

Lastly, the pacing of the book was just right in my opinion. It did not drag in any way, and when I hit the 50% mark of the book the plot, was already full of intrigue and action. The writing too, was very enjoyable and nicely done. Unlike other books that contain elaborate descriptions, the plot didn't suffer from pacing issues (there's also tons and tons of beautiful and powerful quotes in there!).

All in all, I thought this book was a story of empowerment, diversity, and unlikely friendship, with certain plot-twists that took my breath away. I don't want to spoil too much of the book itself because I found I enjoyed it a lot when going in obliviously (I tend to not look up spoilers when I read new releases!), but this book is definitely worth a read. It gets a solid 4.5/5 stars from me, and I cannot wait for the second instalment.


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