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Monthly Recap: February


I would say that February needed to not be so emotionally overwhelming, but I'm used to that state of being now.

LIST OF NEWSWORTHY

January was 100uary and February is now Marchettuary because Melina Marchetta.
Travelling woes // Hello spring // Bookstore adventures // Harry Potter for life
Living in Between
In the middle of the month, I had to travel with my mother to another state for her kidney transplant. It's still in the process of being approved (hopefully) and they ran some more tests so we're all just sitting tight right now. And oh, my mother met the donor and we're all so grateful.

TV Shows Be My End
This month, The 100, Suits, and How to Get Away with Murder crippled me with feelings. Clarke Griffin owned everyone, that Darvey moment, and all those twists in the How to Get Away with Murder season finale meant mindfuckery upon mindfuckery.

Two Weeks of Marchetta
I know everyone already knows, but I read and loved the hell out of Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. I made Ellis die so many times with all my updates and I'm still crying over the perfection that is my latest OTP: Froi and Quintana.

Turkish Food
I had a döner platter for the first time ever and it was a strange experience. It was good but a little too bland for my taste? Also, I didn't like how the beef tasted. Still, I'm glad that I'm all for trying out new food because food is important.

TV WATCH

Why do TV shows make me feel so much?

THIS SCENE ASDFGHJKL // Suits
The Flash keeps getting better with every new episode that airs and I want more. The ending of the latest episode, though.
Still need to watch the latest episode of Arrow but
Loving Brooklyn Nine-Nine whereas, New Girl and The Big Bang Theory are going okay.
I watched a few episodes of Daria and it's the best.
Oh, I also watched a couple episodes of Criminal Minds and damn, mind is blown. I need to continue bad.
Fresh Off the Boat is hilarious and so freaking relateable. Us Asians, man.
Okay, I loved how emotional the Sheriff Forbes scene was in The Vampire Diaries but still, the show mainly sucks.
Revenge should just call it off after this season. Please.
I caught up on The Originals and it's going pretty intense.
The 100 knows how to do intense and rock at it in. Every. Single. Episode.
Suits got so good! Loving the Harvey-Mike-Loius trio and all the Darvey moments but Jeff Malone can go suck it.
The first season of How to Get Away with Murder ended and HOW COULD THEY DO WHAT THEY DID WHY. ALSO, LEAVE COLIVER ALONE.

MOVIE WATCH


What are those again?

APP WATCH

I didn't try out any new apps this month except one.


Dreamdays
Dreamdays - I wanted a minimalistic countdown app and Dreamdays it is.

LIST OF READS

The more fantasy I read, the more fantasy I love.

Lumatere Chronicles, everyone!
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

LIST OF BLOGPOSTS

I wrote so many reviews this month, I feel proud of myself. I even scheduled a few, woot!

I posted my review of Rebound by Noelle August.
I posted my review Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.
I posted my review of A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas.
I posted a top ten Tuesday list of favorite heroines in books and TV.
I posted my review of Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.

LIST OF BOOK BUYS

Only bought an eBook which tells me that December is book buying month. Yay!

Pretty cover is pretty.
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

PLAYLIST

A slow month for music hmm.

Marina is back! // RAIGN is whoa // New music by CHVRCHES is always good
How was your February?

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Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta


ABOUT THE BOOK

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
young adult fantasy published by Viking on 19 Septemeber 2008
first book in the Lumatere Chronicles

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself.

THE RATING



THE REVIEW

I had no idea what I was getting myself into with Finnikin of the Rock; I wasn't expecting it to be so dark and full of despair. I found myself utterly fascinated. Finnikin of the Rock is about struggle; every one of the characters have their own story about the choices they have had to live and how those choices affected their relationships. Isn't it all so human? The struggle, the difficult choices, the search for identity, the feeling of belonging and how they change us, mold us, and shape us for better or for worse. And that's how I'm describing Finnikin of the Rock: human.

Ten years ago, Lumatere was a prosperous land until a merciless slaughter of the royal family left it in a state of hopelessness under the rule of an impostor king. Sent by their enemy country, Charyn, the impostor king stood to gain everything under such a rule but a curse trapped some of the people of Lumatere inside. Those fortunate enough to escape found themselves in exile but in no better conditions. What remains of the royal family are only the bloody hand-prints of the rightful heir to the throne, Prince Balthazar, on the walls of Lumatere as he ran for his life.

Thrust into the care of the dead King's First Man, Sir Topher, ever since, Finnikin had hopelessly traveled the land of Skuldenore, visiting exile camps and recording the names of the dead in the Book of Lumatere. However, the year he is to finally go in search of his father and Captain of the Gaurd, Trevanion, he is called upon the cloister of goddess Lagrami to meet Evanjalin who claims that Prince Balthazar is alive. Refusing to divulge in hope, Finnikin cannot bring himself to truly believe such a claim. Until he does.

Evanjalin of the Monts is a novice of the goddess Lagrami who has the ability to walk the dreams of the Lumaterans trapped inside Lumatere. Evanjalin is a trickster who keeps information to herself until she can trust others with it. From the beginning, she has a plan to take back Lumatere which includes betraying Finnikin and lying through her teeth. At first, I wasn't sure what to think about her but gradually, she became the protagonist of the book for me. Fierce and flawless, Evanjalin has seen more horror than all of the Lumaterans combined. She has a quiet strength and her extent of caring about Lumatere and its people is unmatched.

Finnikin, however, is as stubborn as they come and the base of his stubbornness stems from Sir Topher agreeing to follow Evanjalin on nothing but a claim. Still, I could understand his reluctance and his indecisiveness. His character development is mainly due to Evanjalin as he's compelled to face his worst fears and slowly come to the realization that Evanjalin is in charge. Where Finnikin is scared, Evanjalin is fearless and that's how they compliment each other. Also, they share a whistle and that is enough to break me down.

Finnikin of the Rock features some of the most layered characters who are lost without their land, their language and their culture. It's about complex family dynamics and the most important of relationships. The relationship of Finnikin and Trevanion is one of the best and it truly shines in the mines of Sorel. Froi has a mean streak and some of his actions are truly despicable, but he somewhat redeems himself. Lady Beatriss, Tesadora, Perri, Sir Topher, the Priest-King; every character and their relationship with others are just so damn admirable. Just know that Marchetta writes the most incredible of characters and the most real of relationships.

Marchetta took the most essential elements from the word we live in to create the world of Skuldenore and that's the incredible beauty of it all. The word-building in Finnikin of the Rock is so intricately done from the Mont valley of Lumatere to the town of Pietrodore in Yutlind. I cried, I laughed and I cried again because the story of Finnikin of the Rock spoke to me. Ultimately, Finnikin of the Rock is the biggest lesson on humanity and all kinds of love, be it filial, patriotic, or romantic and both of these things drive a powerful message home.

THE QUOTES

'Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?' 
'Somehow, even in the worst of times, the tiniest fragments of good survive. It was the grip in which one held those fragments that counted.' 
'We have a dilemma, then,' Finnikin said fiercely. 'Because I prayed that you would grow old and hold my children in your arms as you held me. My prayers have not been answered yet, Trevanion. So whose prayer is more worthy? Yours or mine?' 
'It’s against the rules of humanity to believe there is nothing we can do.'

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Heroines in Books and TV Shows


I considered doing a list of ten reasons about Celaena Sardothien being my favorite heroine ever. But I didn't. It's just that I'm already writing a post about her and it's been an emotionally exhausting experience. So here's a list of my favorite heroines in books and TV shows in alphabetical order.


Adelina Amouteru // The Young Elites // Marie Lu (Source)
Adelina Amoutero is such an interesting character who's morally ambiguous. Thought to be abomination incarnate, Adelina is full of anger. I love that Lu chose to tell a story of a villain because damn, she really is one. Bad to the core and so very complicated, Adelina is truly one of a kind.

Allison Argent // Teen Wolf
Damn that Allison Argent. Oh, how I admire her. She started out as an awesome character on Teen Wolf and then she just got awesomer. She has a bit of a rebellious streak, mad archery skills, and is incredibly strong-headed. If you want to know how a character can be strong and brave while also being vulnerable and complex, look at Allison Argent. She went through so much, but her strong-willingness made her a kickass character and the best best friend Lydia Martin could ever ask for.

Allyson Healey // Just One Day // Gayle Forman
Allyson Healey is an ordinary, play by the rules girl until she isn't. We all have an Allyson Healey inside of us, the one who craves to abandon her life behind and just give in to the wanderlust that builds up inside  of her everyday of her life. One day she just goes ahead and embraces that side of hers and it's glorious to see her do it.

Art3mis // Ready Player One // Ernest Cline (Source)
Art3mis is a brilliant Gunther and forget Wade's crush, I think I've the biggest crush on her. She's a damn good player, highly perceptive and she ain't got time for romance. She's so damn secretive which makes her all the more alluring and I really, really want to know more about her in the sequel.

Blue Sargent // The Raven Cycle // Maggie Stiefvater (Source)
Her favorite food is yogurt and she hates pretentiousness, she's Blue Sargent, resident of 300 Fox Way. She's very sarcastic, adventurous and most importantly, sensible. Blue values education, her relationship with Ronan is the best and I fucking adore her.

Blair Waldorf // Gossip Girl
Blair Waldorf, Queen B of the Upper East Side on Gossip Girl, is not be messed with and for good reason. She's brilliant and nothing gets past her. Combine that with her meanest of streaks, she's easily the most love-to-hate character to ever grace our TV screens.

Clarke Griffin // The 100
Clarke Griffin is in charge and whoever says otherwise can go float themselves. Clarke didn't have an easy life on the Ark and then it only got worse on the ground. She had to make some really tough decisions that affected her to her core but you know what? She took it all in stride. She's the face of a natural born leader who would do anything to save her people. That's Clarke Griffin for you.

Celaena Sardothien // Throne of Glass // Sarah J. Maas
Celaena Sardothien is my queen and that is all. The extent of her character development from The Assassin's Blade to Heir of Fire is one for the history books. She was at her proudest in The Assassin's Blade and then to see her holding herself back in Throne of Glass, opening herself to pain again in Crown of Midnight, and finally seeing her at her darkest in Heir of Fire is such a profound thing to experience. Whether Celaena's being arrogant or whether she's being struck down over and over, she excels. Sarah J. Maas doesn't go easy on her and it's fascinating to see just how everything affects her, because it's Celaena Fucking Sardothien who would bow to no one.

Emily Hughes // Since You've Been Gone // Morgan Matson
Emily Hughes is an introvert which is the reason I connected to her on such a deep level. She showed me that it's okay to not want to step out of your comfort zone but once in a while, it doesn't hurt to do just that. 

Evanjalin of the Monts // Finnikin of the Rock // Melina Marchetta (Source)
Evanjalin starts out as extremely outspoken who doesn't trust others with information until it becomes necessary to. She's brilliant and tenacious despite going through the worst life had to offer her. Evanjalin is cunning and will do anything to take back her land. I will forever love her because of her immense love for her people and Lumatere.

Hermione Granger // Harry Potter // JK Rowling
What Google is to us, the library is to Hermione Granger. Of fucking course, she is going to make the list of my favorite heroines. I grew up with her and she was pretty much the only person in my life as a kid who loved going to the library as much as I did.

Katniss Everdeen // The Hunger Games // Suzanne Collins
Katniss Everdeen is one of the first female main characters in dystopia whose survival instincts are impressive as hell. Family is important to her and she's much more concerned with putting her resourcefulness to use by taking care of them more than anything else. Unwillingly thrust into the role of being the mockingjay for all of Panem, Katniss comes through and it is incredible to see her defeat her enemies. Oh, the bitter satisfaction.

Karou // Daughter of Smoke and Bone // Laini Taylor - Art by Jim DiBartolo (Source)
Karou is one complex character who's rebellious and curious with a dash of vindictiveness. Life hasn't been the most easy on her and she has struggled to maintain a positive outlook about everything. She's always had the unrelenting support of her best friend, Zuzana which is amazing to read about. Karou is easily the most creative and mysterious heroine I know and love.

Quintana of Charyn // Lumatere Chronices // Melina Marchetta
Quintana oh, how I adore thee. She's a savage who rages and snarls and speaks her mind. She's the most blunt of characters and that's why I love her. Quintana had a very rough life but she persevered. What could be better than a princess who defeated death sixteen times and counting because I'm still reading Quintana of Charyn.

Penryn Young // Penryn and the End of Days // Susan Ee (Source)
Penryn Young doesn't rely on anyone but herself and that's why she made the list. She took self-defense classes and that makes complete sense because of the kind of a world she lives in. Family is very important to her and she is way stronger and wittier than she looks. Raffe can vouch for that. Also, her confidence is an entity in itself.

Rose Hathaway // Vampire Academy // Richelle Mead
Rose Hathway starts out as impulsive and reckless and then she grows out of it, learning to be more grounded and awesome. But the one thing she never learns to control is her sharp tongue and man, I love her for that. If anyone is a smartass, it's her. Body positive? She is fucking proud of her body and it's something to admire in her. And oh, she has a set of core beliefs that she follows and believe me, there's nothing more attractive than that.

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Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas


ABOUT THE BOOK

young adult fantasy retelling published by HarperTeen on 24 February 2015
first book in A Wicked Thing series

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept. 

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

THE RATING


THE REVIEW

A Wicked Thing is one of those retellings that Rhiannon Thomas did something different with by taking a fairy tale and forwarding its plot. We all want to sometimes read on to find out what happened after the happily ever after because surely, all the troubles don't just end. A Wicked Thing confirms they don't. But as much as the concept is interesting and the twist to the fairy tale unique, I found A Wicked Thing lacking.

Aurora has been asleep for a century and as per the curse of Celestine the witch, has been kissed countless times by a number of princes only to be woken up by the most dull of them all, Prince Rodric. The people of Alyssinia rejoice for Prince Rodric is the son of King John the Third and Queen Iris of Falreach, the current rulers of Alyssinia.

As can be expected, Aurora is devastated to be woken up after a century only to find that the world as she knew it to be is no longer. Forced to marry a stranger within weeks and being warned by the Queen to not step out of line and do as expected from her, Aurora is reluctant, to say the least. Naturally, she tries to resist and prolong the inevitable wedding that is said to bring prosperity into the land of Alyssinia once again. As much as she wants her land to prosper, Aurora isn't ready to sacrifice herself for the good of Alyssinia.

Feeling utterly trapped, Aurora sneaks out of the palace from the escape route in her tower for a few hours at night where she meets Tristan, a bartender. The next day, Prince Finnegan of Vanhelm arrives with an offer to help her escape her fate. Torn about who to trust and who not to, Aurora feels overwhelmed and starts to resent poor Prince Rodric as the one responsible for everything.

At first, Aurora is portrayed as naive and unaware who just knows that marrying the prince isn't what she wants to do. The realization that everyone is out to gain something from her even from people she didn't expect it from is a welcome one. The secondary characters aren't fleshed out much as Queen Iris is mostly two-dimensional in her supposedly evil tactics and Prince Rodric is just meh. The only character that I did feel anything about was Prince Finnegan who hails from a country where dragons live. I do want to see more of him in the sequel.

As much as A Wicked Thing is character-driven, it hardly moves forward plot-wise and the shocking twists are only mildly surprising. When there's hardly anything happening, one would think that that twists in the plot would be a welcome surprise, but they failed to blew me over. A Wicked Thing is a series starter and as series starters go, it promises a lot of awesomeness in the future, like dragons and a different side of Aurora as she discovers herself more. However, what I would have liked to see in A Wicked Thing is a gradual character development of Aurora instead of shocking-discovery-BAM-character-growth as well as going beyond to where the book just ended. In all, A Wicked Thing is an okay, nothing out of the ordinary start to a series that has a potential to be mind-blowing.

THE QUOTES

'You've seen flowers, have you not? Such delicate things. A rough hand, a strong breeze, the slightest frost ... they die so easily. Even left to their own devices, they shrivel and die so quickly. But a weed ... a weed is strong. Almost impossible to kill. And if someone tries to destroy a wee,d it ill hurt them back.' 
'For a wild moment, she wanted to smear it over her face, hide that oh-so-beloved beauty under a taste of her messy insides.'

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Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


ABOUT THE BOOK

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
young adult fantasy dystopia published by HarperTeen on 10 February 2015
first book in Red Queen trilogy

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

THE RATING


THE REVIEW

Intrigue, poverty, politics, and power, Red Queen is a highly addictive book that you just don't want to stop reading. A sweepingly gorgeous setting with lavish dresses, elaborate feasts and vivid action, Red Queen seems to have it all. With a centuries old war raging between classes and the dying hope of rebellion, there's no lack of drama and betrayals in Red Queen. Given that, there were quite a few elements that didn't sit well with me and that's what made all the difference in my opinion about the book.

When it comes to dystopia, some things can get pretty repetitive and fantasy dystopia is no different. Red Queen is a mixture of Aimee Carter's Pawn, Amy Ewing's The Jewel, and X-Men thrown in together in a world divided by the color of blood. Moreover, there are certain elements from Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games and Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone that come into play. As a result, while the concept is nothing short of gripping, the mash-ups are hard to ignore. Yet what makes Red Queen stand out is not class inequality or how one Red can challenge Silvers all on her own, it's how shock and awe have been put to use.

In the world of Red Queen, Reds are far from impervious to poverty and exploitation and Mare Barrow is no exception. Born in the slums of Norta, Mare is a no-good Red who only knows how to be a thief. From the get-go, Mare Barrow is a flawed character and it shows. Forced to give up her home and work under the Silvers is the last she wants, but has, to do. She knows that otherwise she'll be sent to war once she turns eighteen, what with there being a severe lack of employment and high disposability of Reds.

The characterization of Mare is somewhat impressive despite the few clichés thrown in. What bothered me is the high amount of antagonism shown towards Mare by female Silvers. It's a classic case of mean girls ganging up on the timid one, only Mare isn't timid and that's appreciable. Her hate towards Silvers propels her into discovering just how powerful she is, because she knows she'll be eaten alive if she isn't prepared. All in all, she ends up as a pretty standard heroine in a typical dystopian world.

Given the hype, I can understand the potential of and appreciation for Red Queen. For me, despite the ample amount of captivating action and court politics, there's something lacking in its execution. The romance is quite telling as I found it a bit predictable. Mainly, what I found off-putting is that an essential part of the plot relies upon romance. With a rebellion growing stronger day by day, that's something that just didn't make sense to me. Consequently, Red Queen is a kind of a book that one can only make up their mind about after reading it themselves.

THE QUOTES

'Here on the road with nothing but darkness around me, I tell a stranger how terrible I am.'
'And I know there are thousands, millions more. A million forgotten wrongs.'