Life and Death comparing with Twilight – Stephanie Meyer
Vampires, werewolves, romance. YA, fantasy, fiction.
I was curious and decided to read this novel as well as the other Twilight series books that are out. It became popular once again since Stephanie Meyer made Midnight Sun as of recently and currently working on a novel spin-off that takes place after Breaking Dawn staring Renesmee and Jacob. I will be comparing both this with the original work. Just know this is my opinion and everyone is entitled to have their views towards this franchise. I’m just critiquing the two works side by side. I will also reread the entire saga plus Midnight Sun. In no shape or form is this to harm the author. Just as a disclaimer. And spoilers ahead… Anyways…
This was marketed as the gender-bent Twilight version but the character is Edith as Edward’s female counterpart and Bella’s male counterpart is Beaufort. Not all characters were gender-swapped which is lazy work honestly. Edward’s parents were gender-swapped but Bella’s parents weren’t which was odd. This new form made Edith look like a mean girl with her attitude towards Beaufort. In the original version Edward came off as a douche bag but with the female counterpart, this didn’t make the novel any better.
As far as the events go, most events happen just like the original novel except for the endings. The gender-swapped one was vastly different than the original which is cheating and being ultimately lazy and a little misogynistic. Beaufort had the decision and was given it whereas Bella wasn’t allowed to choose. Basically whether or not the bite from James or whatever the female version of him turned the main character into a vampire or not. This could be the author trying to establish that men can freely choose and women can’t with this work. Either way, I was disappointed with the ending. That did bother me slightly because I was suspecting that Meyer kept the original ending but I do see the understanding to create a standalone work.
Overall, both novels weren’t my favorite since the love interest was a complete douche bag towards the main character, and the main character still chose the douche bag love interest that is a vampire. That is just how I see it because both Edith and Edward had gaslight Bella and Beaufort plus acted towards them in an unfavoring way. I still plan to read all the other works minus Twilight because I read that to do this comparison.
Arsenic and Adobo – Mia P. Manansala
Mystery, whodunit, fiction.
Lila moves back home and begins to work in her family’s restaurant. Her ex-boyfriend walks in with his dad ordering food again. Derek always complains about the cooking and makes horrible reviews. While he was eating the dish he passed out. Lila, thinking this is a joke, tells him to stop acting. She eventually finds out the hard way that he was slowly dying from eating the food. Her family is devastated to hear that they have to close down until Lila’s name and the restaurant is clear of being a suspect. She and her best friend go to all the restaurants that Derek has reviewed and talk with them. She finds out she wasn’t solely singled out for being horribly criticised for her family’s restaurant food. When the detective finds new evidence and that Derek’s toxicology report came up with loads of arsenic, this makes Lila race to find the culprit that was trying to frame her.
I loved this mystery novel. I got it through Book of the Month (not sponsored) as one of my book of the month options. I liked the synopsis and the cover was so interesting. I was expecting one ending but got another ending. This novel threw me into so many possibilities of who killed Derek. I don’t usually read whodunit novels because they all were cliched but this was rather new and fresh. Also this had food mentioned throughout so reading this will warrant an appetite for not only wanting to know Derek’s killer but also food. I recommend this novel.
Amari and the Night Brothers – B.B. Alston
Supernatural, magic, missing persons, African Americans, fantasy, adventure, POC representation, children’s literature, fiction.
Amari is trying to fit in and not feel much like an outcast. Also, she wonders what had happened to her brother and wants answers. She gets mystery mail that reveals that he nominated her to join the Night Brothers. She ventures to get accepted into this magical society but before she has to go through training and tests. Ultimately she will try to fit in and be accepted into this society while trying to find her brother. Some strange and unusual things occur at the Night Brother academy and she has to obtain the stolen items to return as well as find the traitor of the Beauro.
I had seen a TikToker read and review this book. I instantly knew I was going to love this book. This takes parts that I enjoyed about Harry Potter and parts of Percy Jackson, combined into this beautiful and stunning children’s book. I love a good female heroine and Amari was that for sure. I finished this in one sitting and I am still stunned by the magicalness of this novel. This had POC representation and a lot of lore but not too much that it would be overwhelming. I have to say that I am sort of mad that there are no sequels to this novel, but when the moment that Alston produces another book I will be instantly buying. The writing is amazing and adventure packed. This novel is good for all ages really because I think this is really fun to read. I highly suggest to not only get this book for one’s self, but as a gift for a middle grade, high school, or a gift to anyone. All ages can enjoy this phenomenal novel.
Takane & Hana (Vol 2) – Story and Art by Yuki Shiwasu
Romance, contemporary, manga, teen, fiction.
Still having to continue to pretend to be Takane’s prospective wife, Hana wishes that her sister who was actually the real person had taken up the responsibility. Takane invites her to a party where she has to meet his grandfather and still pretend. Hana wishes that the pretending would eventually end but fate has other plans for them.
I was finally able to get my hands onto the second volume after waiting so long. I really like this faking it trope because I do find it hilarious. Especially since the outcome might be that the two of them will have a real relationship when the truth is revealed. This party that Takane invited her really made her probably be more into the idea of being his wife but she is too young as she is still in school. I do have an issue with the age but they aren’t doing anything inappropriate. Seems like she is pretending to be her sister for the sake of the dude more so and she gets stuff in return for helping out. I’m hoping that she is aged up more later and they do have a consensual relationship. I am pissed off that her sister got mad that she turned down this opportunity. Helping Hana is like living vicariously through her sister for this arranged marriage that she turned down and made her sister go through with the pretend facade. I can’t wait to get my hands on the third volume. This is really comedical and I also love the interactions between Takane and Hana.
The Wrath & The Dawn – Renee Adhieh
Fairy tales, reimagining, retelling, Arabian Nights, young adult, fiction.
Shahrzad volunteered to be Khalid’s bride. Everyone knows that each bride was dead by sunrise and she doesn’t care. She wants revenge for her best friend who was murdered by him. The first night she tells him a story but doesn’t finish telling the story. He demands her to finish but she wants to live another day. He let her live another day to finish the story. Second day goes by and he is enthralled by her storytelling. She intends to drag out these stories as long as she needs to create a plan to murder him. Along the way, she loses interest in murdering him and falls for the monster who isn’t really a monster. He is simply misunderstood.
I had read this novel before and wanted to reread it. Mainly because I remembered how good this novel was and how different it was. I love different retellings and I got tired of beauty and the beast retellings even as they all are great in their own ways but it gets repetitive. This is a retelling of Arabian Nights and I loved it. She tells a story every night or so to stay alive and to prolong the possible execution as a form of revenge. She does learn about his history but honestly it should have ended differently. I’m fine with the ending. The author outdid herself in this novel with the characters and interactions. I recommend this if one loves Arabian Nights. Its a fun read and I would go on this journey of rereading it for sure.
A Heart So Fierce and Broken (The Curse Breaker Series: Book 2) – Brigid Kemmerer
Fairy tales, retellings, fantasy, young adult, fiction.
Grey is on the run with the new information that can get him killed. He is the true heir to Ember Fall. He nearly escaped and murdered the Enchantress who told him the truth of his birth. Karis Luran and her two daughters travel to Ember Fall to try to make a treaty of marriage to solidify the two nations. Lia Mara knows the true intentions of her vicious sister and wants peace between the two-warring kingdoms. Karis Luran meets with Rhen and blackmails him into trying to make a treatise. Rhen doesn’t want any of that. Lia decides into her own hands that led to her to becoming her mother’s pawn. Rhen finds Grey and confronts him about the heir. Grey is the heir but Rhen doesn’t know. The manhunt becomes benevolent.
I wasn’t fully into the second installment of the trilogy. The writing is amazing, and organization of the different narratives helped build the world in making this world easier to understand. The new characters in this story were interesting and this revealed a lot more than the first book of the magical world. I should say not fully invested as I was with the first book. For those who have read the first book would be into the second book. Someone let me know if the third is good or comment below if I should continue. Convince me in other words without spoiling. I see this series all over TikTok and so many others. For those who are into the first book and are deeply invested in the series then this book is for those who are into it. I just personally am good with having the first book as a standalone because the second book was all over the place for me personally.
Children of Blood and Bone – Toni Adeyemi
Fantasy, young adult, magic, fiction.
It has been a long time since the maji had their magic. The magic was taken away by the rulers of Orisha and there is no hope of the magic ever returning. Until one day, in Zelie’s village she is approached by a girl with a scroll claiming it can bring back magic. She introduces herself as Amari, she is on the run from where she witnessed her father kill someone over the magic. Zelie and her brother, Tzain, under Mama Agba’s vision go try to bring back magic to the maji people along with Amari. Amari’s father instructs her brother Inan to stop them from bringing back magic. This becomes a race against time to bring magic back.
This was so fun to read and I simply loved the book from the first sentence to the last. I never had read any young adult fantasy novels that were this interesting. The pacing is excellent and there are multiple points of views that enrich the storytelling experience. I couldn’t stop reading this book and it took me two days to read due to how rather large this novel is. The characters are so unique and perfect to the plot. The idea of Zelie going and getting magic back to her people as well as learning about her identity was phenomenal and beautifully put together. There is a lot of world building along the way and such beautiful descriptions. I would love to reread this and possibly continue the series soon. I highly recommend going to a nearby bookstore, snatching this book, and reading it.
Love and Lockdown – Alyce Caswell
Romance, lockdowns, fiction.
Angela is struggling to make ends meet and with her relationships. Collins is trying to make the best of the lockdown as well as trying to come up with a solution for his DJ show. Angela tries to convince her boyfriend to let her stay, but she doesn’t want to tell him the true reason. When Collins sees Angela in distress, he offers her a room rent free at his loft. She takes the offer, and he is delighted to have the woman he was crushing on for a while to be living with him. Collins introduces a new aspect of his life to his audience they demand more. Just as when life doesn’t get anymore complicated, Angela confesses that she and Collins might have the virus because her ex-boyfriend and they must be quarantined together. A lot of can happen in close quarters.
I really enjoyed this novel. It had felt very comedic rather than romance. This made fun of the roommate romance trope and used it. Like it was breaking the fourth wall. I loved that honestly. I couldn’t put the book down or rather in the format I was reading this was an eBook on my tablet. I’m glad that this book touched upon a lot of topics that occur during a pandemic and when we all are on a lockdown. It is essential to like to think of the positives rather than the negatives. To always be cautious of our health of ourselves and those around us. This wasn’t solely negative, but rather brings light in a rather dark situation. I enjoyed reading this and hope to find more of this type of book on shelves.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian – Rick Riordan
Children’s fiction, Greek gods, fantasy, demigods, gods, goddesses, fiction.
Percy gathers his allies and many forces to fight in this battle against Kronos. Also, he forges some new allies along the way. Percy and his friends take a final stand against Kronos before the revengeful titan destroys Mount Olympus.
This book was very action packed and that is why I did the review so short because there are mostly fighting and action. However, I loved how this was the perfect end of the series. Usually, series are left unsatisfied or I was sad that it ended. This book was the exception. I heard from one of my friends that this is to become a Disney series and I am convinced that it should be. This series was so good. The writing was phenomenal and amazingly put together. The pacing is perfect and there is a lot of interesting chapters and scenes that made me laugh. I do recommend the series.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan
Children’s fiction, Greek gods, fantasy, demigods, gods, goddesses, fiction.
Percy must go into the Labyrinth to do a mission with Annabeth, Tyson, and Grover. In hopes of preventing an all-out war between the Titan Kronos and the Gods and Goddesses, they must find the inventor to turn him onto their side. They get split up into two and race against time to prevent the war. Percy discovers some new powers that aid him. Nico is the focus of trying to turn him away from joining Kronos. Percy tries to tell him that his sister’s death was not his fault and she died heroically. When Nico soon discovers he feels sorry that he almost made a terrible mistake. The crew reforms with Nico and a human on their side, they all shockingly discover that Luke is long gone and now Kronos is reformed. The war begins.
I liked this part because there were more interesting events going on. There was so much lore packed into this one and I loved every single minute of reading this. I feel bad for Annabeth because she loved Luke, but he turned traitor. It is heartbreaking but I think she can do better honestly. All in all, cannot wait to read the final installment but I feel I do not want to read it because that means the end of a series. Either way I must read on otherwise it would be simply delaying the inevitable.