IT’S FINALLY OUT. I’ve been waiting for the trailer ever since the first movie teaser was released! Beauty and the Beast is by far my all-time favorite fairy tale and I am ecstatic that it is finally getting a live action film. I also want to gush about all the recent book retellings of BatB so I will be listing several of my favorites below the trailer.
They are listed from my least to most favorite retellings:
7. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L Jensen (Review here)
6. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
5. Beauty by Robin McKinley
4. East by Edith Pattou
3. Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Check out my review here)
I’m finally back (for now lol)!!! And this time, with a review!! I finally found time to read and this was one of my most anticipated sequels for this year and let me tell, IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. **No spoilers**
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Crooked Kingdom was everything that I did not know that I wanted. Those subtle hints in the first book where readers shipped some people together…they have sailed. Bardugo knows how to pack a tense, action-filled adventure and I loved how the plot was almost like a mystery where small hints are dropped throughout the story and then a full-blown reveal occurs near the end. Typical, I know, but it is quite alluring and ingenious when it is done right. I’m so enamored by the writing because it has the right amount of detail, wit, and complexity. Half of the battle I have with reading is whether I enjoy the writing style.
And the characters. The book is told from different perspectives and it was easy to distinguish each voice as each character is so unique. We get a lot more background information and there were a few flashbacks that helped me understand the context of the current situation. They felt seamlessly written into the plot and I really enjoyed getting to know each character. I was frequently reminded that the cast were predominantly teenagers and it sort of changed my view on them. They were cynical but not to the point that it was unrealistic. They didn’t act like adults even if they sometimes planned like one. This made them much more tangible to me as genuine people. The antihero theme is now cropping up everywhere in literature and I really liked how the book portrayed its cast. There were delineations of exactly who the bad guys were but the good guys weren’t exactly cookie-cutter perfect. Kaz makes a lot of difficult choices and tries to change for the better, but his scars run deep and he lets no one close. I would love to have a spin-off about Kaz’s future because he has so much potential impact that’s tied with Ketterdam’s fate.
The story line was flawlessly intertwined with subplots and small snippets of anecdotes scattered throughout. The world-building has been impeccable from the start so there was an obvious shift in focus onto character development and Ketterdam. I would categorize the book into scenes of confrontations, conning, and scheming. Even on the downtime when plans were coming into play, I was heavily invested and engrossed by the interactions. The plans were very meticulous that I felt muddled sometimes because I would lose track of which roles each character would take. However, that is something an author must sacrifice in order to accommodate a wide range of characters. Honestly, this book would be so fun to read again just to watch how events unfold.
Shout out to Henry Holt for the pre-order gift! Slice and dicee
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This morning, I woke up in a country ruled by kakistocracy. Yesterday, we were a democratic republic and we exercised that right by voting for our presidential candidates. We, the people, had the power to vote and I am so disappointed to say that this will probably go down as one of the poorest decisions the U.S. citizens have ever made. The extent of the damage we will incur doesn’t just stop at Donald Trump. In case you forget, Mike Pence will be elected into office too. This isn’t just limited to our nation. This affects the world. Look at how South Korea’s stock market just crashed in light of last night’s events. People have been trying to justify their support for Trump but in the end, I just pity them for their lack of information, ignorance, and blindness. Just because he promises to ‘make America great again’ doesn’t mean he will go through with it. However, we already have proof of his bigotry, racism, sexism, and classism. He is corrupt in the truest sense of the word and yet people continue to praise him higher than Clinton. Clinton has her own pitfalls but they are not powered by hate. We see proof of the aforementioned aggressions and white privilege, and yet we continue to allow it to fester. Today, hate prevailed. Where underlying tensions and oppressions were subtle to say the least, they are now fully exposed. We, America, are truly a divided country.
I truly hope those who voted for Trump understand the full ramifications upon the lives of people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and orientations. I can only speak this as a second-generation Chinese-American female millennial and future educator, someone who will be deeply impacted by his values and future actions. My parents and grandparents did not immigrate here with the expectation of institutionalized hate crimes, racism, sexism, and bigotry hurled at them. We thought this country was progressive. We thought we changed but instead, we traveled back in time. This is the result but I ardently hope this will encourage political discussions with peers, families, and friends because it is relevant. The history we learn in class is necessary, and it is all the more reason for civics to be deeply integrated into the educational curriculum. For the next 4 years and on, please educate each other and stay informed, so that rather than a precedent, this election will serve as a cautionary tale for young generations as they emerge into their own respective beings.
So I have been neglecting the blog ever since the end of finals in May (AGH IT’S ALREADY NOVEMBER) and it doesn’t seem like I will return anytime soon. I can’t believe it has been half a year since my last entry! I’ll be lurking around but this semester is super hectic as I am taking four STEM courses. In addition, leading a life group (some people call it a bible study group), heavy involvement with the dance team, cultural club, tutoring, and part-time job has all but exhausted me. This semester has marked new changes in my life as I read less and less, and spent more time glued to my textbooks. In short, education has truly taken over my life and it is quite overwhelming to say the least.On a side note, the biology and math courses are different from the typical pedagogy classes I took in previous semesters, but they are highly engaging and interesting. Biology presents a different sort of challenge as I discover how to apply concepts, write lab reports, and create examples to supplement graphs and equations. The enjoyment of learning and participating in these classes has surprisingly reassured me that I am in the right major. For those who do not know, I am first and foremost an elementary educator major, and I recently picked a specialization in biology for my second major in STEM. The course workload is difficult but I enjoy how profound and complex life systems can be. The enjoyment of learning itself is such a blessing which almost invalidates the grade I receive for it.
I hope to return to reading and writing routinely but chances are slim for now. Since I am so preoccupied with my academic studies, I will attempt to pen anecdotes and ruminations about my current life in lieu of the book reviews. To be honest, I don’t remember the last time I actually sat down and journalled. I have a strong feeling that I will most likely ‘word vomit’ and say whatever comes into my mind. Already, I feel like this post is a train wreck…I admit, I am so out of practice that my writing skills has downgraded to the level of a high schooler. Which is all the more reason that I should start writing again!
P.S. Here, have a picture of me by the lake! (I am the one on the left.)
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Star-Touched Queen is heavily infused with Indian mythology and purple prose. The lyrical metaphors and lush descriptions really makes this book stand out from the plethora of books that are released this year. It is definitely a book to savor and it is not made to rush through as many would with the typical straightforward writing in YA.
I admit the premise intrigued me and I’ve always been interested in the Persephone and Hades mythology. There’s some sort of allure that defines that myth and it’s interesting how it plays out although it does technically center around Stockholm Syndrome. Of course, there are ways to play around that particular sore spot and that is exactly what the book does. However, nothing is what it seems and Amar is never portrayed as a villain. The circumstances of Maya’s position in society makes her an expendable pawn in the game of kings. Thus, when Amar and Maya meet, it’s not the ideal situation but Amar does not commit any nefarious deeds. There’s a lot of mystery shrouded around his character so there is a shaky ground of trust that forms their relationship. I think the dynamic between the two is a weak part in the story because they barely know each other. A strong relationship, as Maya has mentioned, requires trust and no secrets. Although secrets are interwoven as a necessity in the plot, it is the root of conflict and it could have been better portrayed without making it seem like a redundant obstacle. I did not feel like the chemistry and Amar’s character was not as fleshed-out as it can be. In short, his background felt lacking and could have been expanded on to make him a viable love interest.
The strongest point of the plot is the ethnic culture and the wealth of vocabulary that enriched the story. The worldbuilding was well-written which makes sense because a lot of it was taken out of the history books. I can definitely see that the author did her research and the fashion, specific vocabulary, and labels for certain items all fit to create a rich realistic storyline. I don’t have extensive knowledge of Indian culture and history but I felt immersed into the world and the glossary in the back of the story definitely helped me get more acquainted. The mythology is interesting and I loved the passages when Maya told a myth. They were relevant to the plot and added more depth into understanding how her life can be fitted around these myths. Chokshi weaves a simple but elegant story that mixes eloquent prose to create a tremendously powerful book. It is a retelling and thus people who know the tale may not be impressed. And this is where the writer’s strength shines the most because she takes this type of retelling and maximizes the charm of each part through her descriptive writing. If it was any other author, I am not sure she/he would be able to pull off the same effect that Chokshi’s writing did. I anticipate the next book she writes.
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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine
that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2015
Goodreads: Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.
But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.
In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.
Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.
That sounds like a lot of revenge and I kind of like it.
Hello!~ It’s actually been a while since I got nominated for an award so it’s going to be fun fun fun! Thank you, Summer from xingsings for nominating me for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. I saw that she used a customized thumbnail for the award so I googled the original picture for the award. Erm…yes, so I’m going to also use a different picture because the original tag is not that appealing.
1. I am part of a traditional Chinese dance team that goes by a name with ‘Dragon’ in it.
2. I used to be a psychology and elementary ed major but I switched my psych major to iSTEM with a bio specialization so I will be graduating a semester late.
3. I think Zootopia is better than Frozen.
4. I don’t really watch any TV shows (believe me, I’ve tried) and I don’t have Netflix.
5. I love orange juice (not from concentrate). And 2% milk. Skim milk is so sickly-looking.
6. I rarely wear makeup. I’m just honestly lazy and even if I do, I just wear eyeliner.
7. I’m afraid of heights but I still go on roller coasters and ropes courses for the thrill of it.
Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and a link back.
You must share seven things other bloggers may not know about you.
Nominate up to fifteen bloggers for Dragon’s Loyalty Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.
I’m nominating my new followers because I hope to converse with you more and get to know you better through this!
thebookllama at thebookllama.wordpress.com