Monday, January 20, 2020

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao book thoughts

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

Synopsis:

This hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father's murder.

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

In a Nutshell: A YA High Fantasy Retelling of Anastasia

Published: Nov 19th, 2019
Format: Physical
Number of Pages: 453
Finished: January 2020
Rating: 4.25⭐
Diversity: An Asian-inspired fantasy by a Chinese-American author.

My Thoughts

I found the writing mostly accessible. I've heard people mention it's a bit repetitive, which I could see but it didn't personally bother me any. The "mostly" accessible part is all the words and names I couldn't pronounce which is normal in a high fantasy story. So words became shortened versions of themselves to get me through the story. Otherwise I had no trouble with the writing and it flowed well for me.

I fell in love with the characters. Ana and Ramson being the main characters. At times I wanted to smack them but they felt like real characters with their own motivations, feelings, stories and flaws. I liked seeing the side characters as well, all playing their part in the story and the world.

The plot kept me wanting more and wanting to know what was going to happen next. There were a couple of twists I didn't see coming and the second half of the story I didn't want to put the book down! There are deaths, lies and truth hidden inside lies, blood, affinities which is like the avatar bending. Ana has a blood affinity. Plenty of action and feels too.

I loved the atmosphere and world-building. It was snowy, has a map of the world in the book, has cities, forests, desert...animal spirits...the people have their deities and traditions. It was all weaved into the story.

The themes hit me in the feels. Trafficking of the affinities, indentured servitude, fear of the affinities because they are different and controlling them. Ana is supposed to be the princess but ends up being an affinite, like I mentioned with an affinity for blood. She was framed for her father's murder so she goes on a mission to find the murderer and try to clear her name. I cried, laughed and got very angry through-out the story, because I was supposed to.

And there are so many shades of gray which I absolutely loved to see! Life isn't black and white. A revolution, people fighting for their rights, fighting for goodness in a very corrupt world. Yaeger's that are affinities with an affinity to control other affinities, used against their own kind. The entire book made me think and ask myself some questions.

I'm rooting for the romance which is barely in the first book but is still obvious. I look forward to continuing the series (but I do not look forward to the wait lol).

Quotes

"Your affinity does not define you. What defines you is how you choose to wield it."

"Humans, it seemed, tended to fear things that were different."

"My child, we are but dust and stars."

"Do you think I have a choice?" His voice was raw. "In this empire, if I am not the hunter, then I become the hunted."
She would never forget the way he gazed up at her, yaeger and Affinite in one. Trapped in a corrupt system."

"You can achieve everything in this world, but if it's for someone else, it's pointless. Figure out what you want to do in this life. Live for yourself."

"We take what we are given and we fight like hell to make it better."

"The world doesn't exist in black and white. But I would like to believe that it is our choices that define us."

"there is good and bad in everything, Ana. And it is the good of this world that makes it worth saving."


There was also some controversy surrounding this book, if you want to know about it I'd just direct you to This article on it.

My review on Goodreads

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Jan 12th to Jan 18th, 2020 Book Haul +

Amazon Freebies

Using Caprice by Mazy Rain: A f/f erotic short story

First Time Lesbian Pool Girl by Mazy Rain: Another f/f erotic short story

Jeopardy in January by Camilla Chafer: A cozy mystery

Voyeur by Fiona Cole: A contemporary erotic romance

The Ghosts of Kali Oka Road by M.L. Bullock: A ghost story

K.A.R.M.A by Grant McKenzie: A Mystery/Thriller

Scrooge McFuck by May Sage: The second book in a contemporary romance series. I already had the first book so...

Tower by Measha Stone: A bdsm erotic romance

Stitch by L. Wilder: The second book in a romance series and I have the 6th book (also was a freebie)

Audiobooks

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier: I read this last year and loved it! So in an effort to get into audiobooks by listening to books i've already read (makes it easier for me) I got this. A classic romantic suspense.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker: A classic historical fiction novel. I've read it before and loved it, so like Rebecca, I got it on audio.

Physical

The Knight in Screaming Armor by R.L. Stine: A give yourself goosebumps/choose your own adventure type book

You're Plant Food! by R.L. Stine: Another give yourself goosebumps book

A Nest of Nightmares by Lisa Tuttle: A paperbacks from hell anthology horror book

The Tribe by Bari Wood: Another paperbacks from hell horror book. I actually got this awhile ago on kindle, because I didn't really know about Barnes and Noble and Amazon always seems to say it'll take months to get a paperbacks from hell physical book. Normally I don't mind reading ebooks but if possible i'd like the paperbacks from hell books physically, and now realizing I can get them easier via B&N...I haven't even read it yet but oh well.

The Reaping by Bernard Taylor: Same story as The Tribe actually

Night Thunder by Ruby Jean Jensen: A horror story

Jump Rope by Ruby Jean Jensen: Another horror story

Other Stuff

Sorry I haven't had anything else to really say, i've been mostly focusing on reading books for the Cancelathon readathon, trying to sleep, going to the Dr...boring life stuff.

Blog Posts over the past week.

The New Year's Party by R.L. Stine book thoughts
Books I want to re-read!
My Most Disappointing Reads of 2019

For the Amazon freebies, I just happened to see they were free (usually because of bookbub). Often they are only free for a short time so I can't guarantee they still are when you see this. Of course I can't review what I haven't read yet so when I say what they are about it's just from what I see on Goodreads/have heard.

So what have you picked up recently? Any of these sound interesting? Comment down below! :)

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Friday, January 17, 2020

My Most Disappointing Reads of 2019

To be honest I kind of don't want to make this post, just because I don't want to dwell on the books that didn't work for me personally. But I want to be completely honest too and not every book works for every person. The normal disclaimer: If you enjoyed these books, that's great. I'm happy you enjoyed them. If you want to check them out, do, and I hope you enjoy them more than I did. Truly. Opinions on a book are largely subjective and we bring different experiences, ways to read and tastes to the table. With that said, here are the books I read in 2019 that disappointed me personally and just my opinions.

The Ones I actually Finished

1.

Kim Reaper Vol. 1: Grim Beginnings by Sarah Graley

I love diversity in books and we need more of it. I'm queer and disabled. My queer goth heart thought i'd love this. I'm sorry but diversity in and of itself does not make a good book.

I couldn't stand the characters, the writing or the plot. The word "cute" was used so much I got sick of it. The romance felt rushed and not believable. I found Becka..manipulative. And their romance had issues I couldn't see any healthy way to work out. Kim, a part-time reaper, a job rooted in morality, didn't seem to have a trace of much needed empathy. The muscle man cat dad plot got very weird and not in a good way. I just...hated every thing about it. I gave it 1 star. Most people love it though so i'm the oddball here. I don't know what I missed but hey, no book is for everyone. My Review on Goodreads

2.

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin

I knew better. I really did. But I wanted to read this "horror classic" anyway and thought I could get over it. I couldn't. I read it for a group read too.

I am so over "witches and witchcraft are evil. Pagans are devil-worshipers in league with actual Satan". I'm pagan. I've experienced first hand how we are still discriminated against and hated to this day. All the awful stereotypes and misinformation thanks to media. "Product of it's time" doesn't work when we still have that discrimination going on in this day and age in my honest opinion. I'm not sorry, you don't need to demonize an entire group of people like that to make a horror book. It has real life consequences.

There was stuff I liked about the book. Rosemary's character arc for example and it DID keep me interested enough to finish reading it, but how much of that was just the "It's a classic" and it was a group read I don't know. I gave it 2 stars. My Review on Goodreads

3.

Glitter blood: A Chapbook by Kayla Bashe

I...didn't understand like 98% of this. I'm sorry. I didn't think it was bad, and I liked a few things but it mostly just went over my head. I don't think this kind of poetry is for me. I gave it 2.25 stars. My Review on Goodreads

The Ones I DNF'd (and won't go back to)

4.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Oh dear, if Rosemary's Baby didn't get me hated this one probably will! I DNF'd at 41%. I didn't care what happened. There is quite a bit of racism, sexism, transphobia and misinformation and stereotypes about paganism and at first I thought there was a reason but honestly it got to the point it just felt like (to me) too much with no point. I hated the MC, I was bored, I don't feel well at the time and I'd rather not waste my time on a book i'm not enjoying. Glad I got it from the library.

It was also a group read so I felt bad that I couldn't push through it. Maybe there was a point in the end or something, I just didn't care to push through it to find out. Also I read it when I had recently came out as trans and there is a bunch of transphobia currently going on in the world...government...so I just didn't want to deal with it in a book. It might have just been the characters but I still wasn't enjoying it anyway so *shrugs*. My Review on Goodreads

5.

The Dead House by Billy O'Callaghan

I'm just going to leave My Review on Goodreads copy/pasted here..

I was liking it ok enough but not loving it. It's told in Mike's POV, which the story isn't about Mike it's about Maggie, his "friend" that treats him like an ATM machine, and the house where he doesn't even spend much time in apparently. Mike's a bit of a jerk too and a good part of the story is useless information on his art dealing business. They end having a seance because Maggie, after using Mike's money to fix up the house she just bought that was in ruins, has a house warming party with him, Ali and Liz. There is a dull romance between Mike and Ali. A ghost of an evil pagan dude gets summoned. I am so done with evil pagan stories.

Also TW for domestic abuse, suicide, rape. All of which are personal to me. And I found it all kinds of no. I was thinking i'd make it through but no, I can't. DNF at 44%. I initially got it from Netgalley but never read it so I tricked myself into finally getting around to it by borrowing it on Hoopla. Stupid decision.

6.

Bent at the Spine by Nicole Markotic

I read 34% and that was a struggle...and it's a poetry book. I'm sorry but I didn't understand a damn thing. Bent at the Spine...hell I have scoliosis and multiple disabilities. It sounded like it was perfect for me but I truly didn't understand it. It just went completely over my head. My Review on Goodreads

7.

Honey Girl by Lisa Freeman

I didn't get it and it just made me very angry, in 65 pages. I thought my queer summer loving heart would love this novel.

There are a bunch of stupid rules that I couldn't wrap my head around. Girls can't be smart. Girls can't surf (if I wasn't disabled I would LOVE to surf-i'm afab and grew up as such). Don't eat in front of guys (I didn't get to that part but saw it in another review) among more than 20 others. And apparently they never bother to question them. They bow down to the rules that aren't written anywhere but are some unwritten code.

The girls all seem to be spoiled stuck up air heads and I couldn't stand them any longer. The number of things that angered me in just 65 pages is just... What is it with needing to fit in? I don't understand it but even if I could, to this level...just...why? And why would you want to fit in with a bunch of stuck up arrogant girls of all people?

Personal things I won't mention also got to me. My Review on Goodreads Sidenote: I keep having to edit reviews on Goodreads because of these blog posts, due to having realized and come out as non-binary trans and a demiguy. I only edit them as little as needed but it can still be awkward because Goodreads acts like I just read it when all I did was edit a couple words.

8.

Red Rain by R.L. Stine

I got 300 pages in, or 70%. I found it to be a hot mess and it seemed painfully obvious Stine doesn't normally write adult novels. I usually enjoy his kid and teen stuff as I love Goosebumps and Fear Street over-all. It was a buddy read with a few other people and I think all but one of us DNF'd and none of us liked it. I don't even know how to describe it but a hot mess. My Review on Goodreads

Have you read any of these and if so what were your thoughts? If you enjoyed them, I am truly glad for you. Feel free to discuss what you liked about them, we can have different opinions on a book. Maybe i'll see something I missed. What were your disappointing reads of 2019?

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Books I want to re-read!

Honestly these are just SOME of the books I want to re-read! There are so many more! There are so many first books in a series I want to re-read so I can continue with said series that I didn't put on here for example. Not to mention a lot more simply because too many. But here are some books I really really want to re-read. No idea when i'll get around to doing so though.

1.

The Forbidden Wish

I read this back in December of 2015 because I won an arc of it in a Goodreads giveaway. They also ended up sending me a finished copy of it when it released in February of 2016 that I wasn't expecting! So i've only read the ARC but I have a finished copy, and I want to read it! I loved this Aladdin retelling! There is also a short story on wattpad called The Jinni in the same "series" that, despite knowing it's short, I still haven't read. I figure i'll re-read The Forbidden Wish (though this time the finished copy) and then read it.

2.

Krampus: The Yule Lord

I've read this 3 times. In December 2015 and December 2018, physically, and December 2019 on audio. I freaking love this book and it's definitely one I would like to make a yearly December read!

3.

The Across the Universe series

I read this trilogy, and 2 short stories, when I first wanted to get into reading in late 2015. I loved it and I want to re-read it! There are apparently some short stories to do with it in some anthologies I guess i'll have to pick up, hopefully, that I haven't read.

4.

The Vampire Chronicles 1-3

I have read the first 3 books in The Vampire Chronicles series but it's been awhile and I want to re-read them and then continue with the series. I love vampires and really enjoyed the first 3.

5.

Harry Potter series

I've only read the entire series through once, in 2015. I have been wanting to re-read it ever since.

6.

Killer Pizza trilogy

Buffy-like monster hunting with characters I fell in love with. And pizza!

7.

IT

Yes, I want to re-read this massive book! I've read it once. My Mass Market Paperback fell apart. I now have a bigger paperback. Wish that one luck.

8.

I Hate Fairyland series

This was a fun and hilarious comic series that I want to re-read!

9.

The Abyss Surrounds duology

Lesbian pirates fighting genetically engineered sea monsters in a near future dystopia with a slow burning enemies to lovers f/f romance. I read the first book, loved it, then read the e-arc via netgalley (after re-reading the first book as it'd been awhile) before the second one came out because I was so excited. I now have the finished copy of book #2 though I don't think i've read it, just the arc. And upon getting the link above I JUST found out there is a prequel! And it is on Amazon thankfully (it first appeared it was no longer available). I want to re-read this awesome duology!

10.

Frankenstein

Yes, I want to re-read Frankenstein, again. Maybe a yearly re-read perhaps? Frankenstein❤️.

11.

Pomegranate Juice

Truthfully this will be a *partial* re-read because since I read it the first time an update (ebook) has added 4 more stories to this anthology and revised one of them. I really enjoyed it initially.

12.

Becoming

I loved Becoming! I read it physically and i've heard Michelle narrates the audio book herself, which I now have, and would like to listen to.

So these are just some of the many books I want to re-read. Have you read any of them? Do you re-read books? What books do you want to re-read? Comment below!

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