Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Friday, 31 July 2015 4 comments
The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1), by Renée Ahdieh
Publication: May 12, 2015, by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

My Thoughts:

When I close my eyes, I see a thousand and one stars shining right in front of me. Renée Ahdieh's The Wrath and the Dawn was mesmerizing and my head is full of illusions... I just can't stop thinking about it and my life is now complete with yet another retelling, the first of A Thousand and One Nights that's hit me. Arabian Nights? Horses? Daggers and awesome weapons? This book honestly has it all and it killed me of perfection, I'd read it for another thousand and one nights just to be with Khalid and Shazi.

Can we just talk about the hype and what everyone's talking about that has to do with this book? I was so afraid that I'd hate it and it'd all be over-hyped and exaggerated. And that's the kind of thing that was hitting me from the start—I was confused. But let's just forget about that for now and speak of the wise writing which Ahdieh presents to readers. This surely can be classified as the best book I've read this year, and although I know I say that in every 5-star review that gets handed to me, this is something else, and a new experience for me coming from fantasy. A year ago I probably wouldn't enjoy it all, though my horizons have now expanded to see the dawns ahead of me. I apologize for my olden-days talk... I just can't let this one go.

"Love is a force unto itself, sayyidi. For love, people consider the unthinkable... and often achieve the impossible. I would not sneer at its power." (Hardcover, page 77)
I just love the mood which this book presents.
I've never read A Thousand and One Nights or really heard of its premise... so I barely even had an idea of what this book is about. I bet that this is completely different from the real story, to be honest. From the first moment when I saw the cover, I was in love. And then I wanted an ARC so badly because I couldn't wait to read it, and that evidently didn't happen or else a review would've been out in the wild a long while before. When I finally got a copy of this book, I decided to read An Ember in the Ashes first because it reminded me so much of this book and I kind of wanted to save the one I was more excited for last. The whole idea of Shazi choosing to stick up for Shiva, her best friend who Khalid had killed (one of his brides) was absolutely amazing and one of the first reasons and things that led me to adore this book even more.

Shahrzad is a sixteen year old whose best friend gets killed by Khalid, the eighteen year old Caliph who kills every bride with a silk rope wrapped around their throats. When Shazi volunteers to be Khalid's next bride, she wants to kill him and show justice and faith to all of the other families who lost their daughters in the past. But when Shazi gets to know the Caliph, she falls in love with him and can't try to do anything as she discovers the truth behind the whole cursed story. 

WOW. Okay. So beforehand, I'm letting you wonderful individuals know that there's a glossary in the back of the book. Honestly, I wish that publishers actually let everyone know this on the cover or the first few pages or something. If I hadn't gone and checked the extra excerpts and acknowledgments in the back when I had just begun reading, I would've died and got super confused. I already was so confused in the beginning, and that saved my life. Thank you Penguin and Renee for adding that there. You're life-savers. 

RENEE'S WRITING IS SO SHARP AND SPECTACULAR. Everything is so descriptive and imaginative, and I want to gobble up the whole setting and everything it has to give to readers. When Ahdieh describes food, colour, just about anything, I get this perfect clear picture in my head and I fall in love instantly with it all. There weren't any issues with her writing or with anything, for that matter, and I totally get why everyone's obsessing over some lyrical quotes and all, I totally get it. 

"How can I desire him? After he killed Shiva? After he killed so many young girls, without explanation? What's wrong with me?" (Hardcover, page 170)

Including Khalid. Yes.
Nothing's wrong with you, Shazi. You're the utter-most kick-ass protagonist that I've read about in a loooooonnnnngggg time, and I praise you for being a great Calipha. The characters ended up being like friends to me, and they each had such stellar distinctive attributes that made them "them." Readers usually suspect someone like Shazi to always do the right thing, but she actually always had the right thing to say back. Her playful attitude with Khalid was so freaking adorable, and her fearlessness played to so much of the novel and its events. She had so much common sense in her mind, my my. She's a fucking queen bee of all YA heroines. THANK GOODNESS SHE STOOD UP TO TARIQ, THAT LOSER. I can relate to her struggles so damn much, her emotions are so conflicting but the empathy is real.

So when reading, I suspected that I was the only one who shipped Shazi and Khalid together so much. And then I read reviews (I didn't want to spoil anything beforehand!) and found that everyone's with the Shalid OTP anyways. They're a couple who have so much passion and hate for their actions, but when they love each other, nothing matters anyways besides that. Their kissing scenes got me so teary and gushy that I had to basically fan myself of pride for their affection. AND THE SACRIFICES THAT THEY MADE FOR EACH OTHER! *passes out* Brace yourself for running into the sunset all the way to dawn searching for Khalid. If someone thinks that he's a villain, they are so wrong. Wow. I love bad guys, but Khalid has a reason for everything and that shocked me.

"She was a dangerous, dangerous girl. A plague. A Mountain of Adamant who tore the iron from ships, sinking them to their watery graves without a second thought. With a mere smile and a wrinkle of her nose." (Hardcover, page 328)

Again with the descriptions. *fawns* Okay, so there's a love triangle present, but it's an annoying one and there's a couple that obviously rules. (I hate Tariq so much, ugh.) Which reminds me that Tarazi might become a thing in the sequel, WHICH I NEED RIGHT NOW. RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT NOW. And I'll go hunt down a signed copy of this book too, because I'm afraid that I'll need every single edition in my bookshelf. I'm not an obsessed freak, I promise, I'm an obsessed freak, I know.

So the truth is that this book prohibited me from getting more beauty sleep to make me as gorgeous as Shazi, but I didn't give a Tariq. (You know what that name stands for!) I DIDN'T CARE, because I would've stayed up all night, every night (I didn't, I had to finish it this morning) to get another chance to be with my ultimate boyfriend and OTP, seeing more action, more perfection, more of this epic read continuously. Coming from a beautiful world set with imaginative details, characters who are like my close friends and action, Ahdieh writes like she's witnessing this on the street. How I WISH I could live in the Arabian Nights... Give me a time machine, and that's where I'd head first. The Rose and the Dagger is going to change lives, including mine.


Review: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

Thursday, 30 July 2015 0 comments
Emmy and Oliver, by Robin Benway
Publication: June 23, 2015, by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.
She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.
Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.
He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.
Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?
Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

My Thoughts:

Have you ever read a book with romance, but looked upon by readers in a darker way? What about one with thrill and secrets? If you haven't, or if you have anyways, Emmy and Oliver is surely a book for everyone. And by everyone, I mean every teen reader, young or old. Robin Benway's two distinct protagonists surely have changed my viewpoint on contemporary romances so much, because they seize the day and do the unstoppable, even if no one wants them to. 

I can't even shine upon my love for this novel. From the moment when I saw its cover back in the midst of the year, I added it to my TBR list immediately, without even knowing who the author is or what other novels they've written, because I can tell you that I've read SO many books. This my utter-most favourite Robin Benway book. And it definitely hits one of the top spots of my 2015 favourites list. It's something that you'll find yourself reading slowly but all at once to devour its beauty. Brace yourself for something unlike any other book.

"An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you're shaking." (Hardcover, page 6)

I actually can't get over everything. ALL OF THIS BOOK KILLED ME. Oliver's been missing for ten years, and he was Emmy's best friend. By missing, his dad kidnapped him and now when they're seventeen, he has been found and is brought back to their Californian small town. Emmy fears that Oliver doesn't remember who she is or the friendship that they once had, but as they spend more time together to bring back the old times, they may fall in love once again, and never look back onto the dark times that horrified them both.

One expects the dark times to be some traumatizing moments that left you scarred for life, like hallucinations or nightmares. But Benway's contemporary magic persists of just plain, normal things that doesn't really apply to an actual thriller-mystery read. It's all about the aftermath of the events, and the heartbreak that Emmy has gone through, which she hasn't really recognized until they fall in love again. This includes so much pain and tears, and they actually sprawled out, especially in the ending.

You will cry, you will smile and you will feel like this story was made to be written for your likings. Not all authors have that ability to make readers feel like their characters' perspectives speak to them, but Robin surely does. She has written such an unforgettable story that will sneak into my mind when I need it the most. It will, for you too. 

Wouldn't you like some delicate, fresh writing that's just simplistic but lyrical at the same time? Yeah, I always did and some books are just too stumpy and straight. on. with. periods! The plot and writing was magnificent, and by magnificent, it's a huge compliment. I can picture this being some kind of story taken place back in the day without thinking about social networking or any of that. There's surfing, sneaking into each other's houses and finding your soulmate next door. I long for this kind of love story, but in my life as well. Damn, Oliver made everything ten times better. 

HE'S MYSTERIOUS, ADORABLE AND CHARMING. Emmy had that kind of kickass, don't-give-a-damn personality that really made the two click. Usually and stereotypically, it's always the male who gets the rebellious side out of the girl, but it was the opposite case here which I love in a story. And the fact that Oliver has been missing out on real life for ten years and falling in love makes him so lost, and Emmy's there to help him find his way. SQUEALING TO THE MAXIMUM LEVEL, PEOPLE. The connection and relationship between them dealing with their own personal demons makes me cringe in happiness, trust me. 

Whether you're searching for friendship (Drew, Caro and Emmy had the coolest group ever, just saying) or a clean cut romance that's awfully similar to that of Eleanor and Park, I think this is exactly what you're searching for. I freaking need a copy of this masterpiece in my shelves right now or else I'll burst. I want to stay up late, have a romance with the hot guy next door, teach him about reality, and surf. What else can a typical teenage chick ask for? Robin Benway's gorgeous fifth novel is all about that, as well as a shining 2015 couple of literature that we all will never forget about. Marvellous!

What do you think of this simple title? It's like Althea and Oliver or Eleanor and Park... simple but one that has its own story.

Review: Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 2 comments
Hello, I Love You, by Katie M. Stout
Publication: June 9, 2015, by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover Finished Copy
Source: Publisher

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.
She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can't stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can't deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol. 
Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she'll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.

My Thoughts:

Guess who's ready to roll their eyes? *points to self* But I'm OBVIOUSLY not rolling them because I disliked this book or anything like that. I'm rolling them because of the negative reviews! Hello, I Love You is one of those books that has many haters and when you find yourself as the occasional positive-star-rating giver, you really want to pat yourself on the back. It truly is a brilliant novel that is really a page-turner. How can many reviewers give it such a low rating?

At the same time, I see where some people are coming from. It didn't really bother me or impact me because I came here looking for an adorable romance that takes place in South Korea, but it did lack culture. This is about a girl named Grace who's from Tennessee, and she has no clue what Korea actually has to hold, including its dishes, what to do in Seoul, the capital city or the music that it has. It didn't bother me too much, but it was there and lacking. I'd like to give all of the other reviewers a pat on the back because hey, I get you.

"I'm in love with this boy. I love his hair that swooshes across his forehead, the jeans and colorful sneakers, and the way he sometimes cynically responds to life, like it's something to be endured instead of enjoyed. But, more than that, I love him." (205)

Can we just get to the point where I mention how attracted I was to this book from the start? The cover is freaking gorgeous and captivating, and the summary hit me like never before. I FELT THE AWESOMENESS RADIATION FLOWING FROM IT. I've listened to KPOP many times before and I really respect the music, and what's better than reading about it and a gorgeous band called Eden? Not much. And all of the descriptions of the food made my mouth water, at the peak of midnight. I wanted to head to Korea for a midnight snack, just saying. I couldn't stop reading when it came to the end.

What was the most adorable point was how Stout played with the love of music for the characters. It's not like Jason and his band were the only ones who had knowledge in music, KPOP and being a celebrity. Although it was pretty confusing at first, Grace Wilde is a celebrity, basically. Her brother is/was a country music star and Grace misses him so much after his 'accident,' and her father is a music producer who is always too busy to care. She decides to head to Korea to get away from her mother, who blames her for everything that happened to her brother and to get some new scenery. There, she immediately meets Sophie, her roommate and new best friend. Sophie has a twin brother, Jason, who happens to be a KPOP star and they soon find some attraction through a hot and cold relationship.

This does have a simplistic plot, but there's so many issues that Stout touches upon that I can't get the story implied out of my head. It's a real in-depth story that's not only about true love and traveling, but also about grief, alcoholism and friendship—the things that you have to get by with and get help with no matter what. Grace's decision to actually step a foot into her Korea boarding school seemed cliché for the wrong reasons (like picking the school off the first name on Google) but it all worked out. A girl in a new world, exploring her options and life? I like those kinds of stories.

"South Korea is my escape, my RESTART button, where no one asks for my autograph when I go shopping or knows the rumored balance of my savings account. This is where I get to start over." (18)

South Korea sounds AMAZING. I seriously now wonder if Katie actually went there to get her research. Her descriptions seemed so real and now I want to head to boarding school there. Her depiction of Grace was on-point and it's so cool to see all of the diversity in the Southern girl's life. It's usually always the guy heading to a foreign country and falling in love, but this time around it's the girl, and she falls in love with a celebrity who seems to be a tiny bit stuck-up and rude when he's around her in public for her reputation. But I love the reasons for everything.

I have to admit that I would've given this book all of the stars. It's so similar to Anna and the French Kiss in terms of traveling, love and friendship, but it seems to go deeper into other issues as well. But what had disrupted the perfect rating from hitting you right now was the beginning of the book. Grace's character seemed to annoy me far more and I was expecting to give it a 3 star rating for sure. Thankfully it all turned around and made me fall in love with all of the characters.

So what about Grace and Jason? It was freaking adorable. I totally get that they couldn't make out their feelings or understand what was going on between them. They're both from different cultures too, and the way their countries deal or see love's definition certainly differs. I just saw all of the affection and depth which left me shipping them so hard. And thankfully Stout didn't make it all insta-love. *sheds tears* I like bad boys hating the innocent chicks at the start of a relationship.

Hello, I Love You is one of the cutest contemporary romances I've read this year. No other book has ever been written with the same passion which Katie M. Stout adds into her writing. The friendship between Sophie and Grace is just perfect as well as the Grason relationship. *winks* Now I'm just so ready to head to Korea on a trip, I want to meet Eden and tell them that I love them!

*A finished copy has been provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

If you could go to boarding school (travel back in time too) anywhere in the world, where would you go? I think I'd head to NYC, France or Japan.

Waiting on Wednesday #9: Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

Reign of Shadows, by Sophie Jordan
Publication: February 9, 2016, by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.
But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.
With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.
With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.

I'd read anything, ANYTHING by Sophie Jordan. Her writing is seriously BAE. Her first high fantasy excluding all of the dragons in her Firelight trilogy? Luna and Fowlan? Yum. I'M SO EXCITED, but there's so much time until it's released! *cries*

What are you anticipating this week? Do you enjoy Sophie Jordan's work if you've read something by her? I LOVE THE WINTER 2016 HARPERTEEN COVERS! 

ARC Review: George by Alex Gino

Tuesday, 28 July 2015 4 comments
George, by Alex Gino
Publication: August 25, 2015, by Scholastic Press
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: BEA/Publisher

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.
George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy.  
With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

My Thoughts:

Now that pride and books that feature LGBTQ subjects are all over the place, every teacher or young person has been searching for that perfect middle-grade read that just seems to get it. Alex Gino's George did get it, and it gave it its all to readers, young or old. As it was once blurbed—everyone needs a copy of this book, and I surely agree. It's not everyday when us readers are practically blessed with a beautiful novel like this, and the cover is just something to start us off with.

From when its cover was released to the bookish public, I knew that I wanted to read this book. 2015 is a mega-huge year for all things pride and queer, and I'm so glad that this can be that read that shows that people can be different from a young age. There's not only those teenage-finding-yourself situations that impact us, something with only 240 pages can make us so excited and happy. 

"Charlotte was dead, but George was alive in a way she had never imagined. She watched the remainder of the show from the side of the stage, in a heady post-performance glow. Soon the audience began to clap." (ARC, page 157)

I loved this book, and let me mention that it's super cute! George is in the fourth-grade and "she" feels like she's actually a girl. She wishes to call herself Melissa and be happy and wear makeup, read girly magazines and giggle with her best friend Kelly like a girl would. But she feels that it's not normal for her to feel the way she does, and when the Charlotte's Web play comes around, she thinks this is the perfect way to pronounce her feelings to everyone—by playing Charlotte, a girl role. This is her 240-paged adventure that takes us through the hardships of being different in this stereotypical, rude society, especially for a small fourth-grader.

We usually read about these kinds of stories from the perspective of a teenager. Things by then usually become more understanding, and although bullying does increase by that stage, I believe that people are more normal and okay by the situation of someone feeling different, or transgender for that matter. George basically had one of the worst-case scenarios thrown into her life: her being young and not understanding everything. Because by adolescence, we seem to understand being transgender and the actual definition of it. George once believed that it was "typical" of her to be stuck feeling like a girl. Sure, it isn't normal or ordinary, but it's okay and she hadn't thought it was.

I guess that this threw me into a puddle of feels from the start. I felt so much sympathy and guilt for George as her life was turning for the worst. Her dad's out of the picture, she doesn't have many friends because she feels like she doesn't fit in, and her best and only friend is a girl. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS THE POOR GIRL. Feels? Feels. I can't even count on my fingers and toes the number of times I wanted to jump onto my bed and bawl into my pillow, you know? Gino captures this story perfectly into a small bundle of hope. That's what this book was, to educate young people about something that's becoming more and more typical for everyone to see or read about. I love this subject.

"Reading the word transgender sent a shiver down George's spine. She wondered where she could find a safe space like that, and if there would be other girls like her there. Maybe they could talk about makeup together. Maybe they could even try some on." (ARC, page 125)

You might be suspecting that this is a new favourite book of mine: it's not. I see the clear hype around this novel and I ADORE it, but it's not my favourite middle-grade read, though it certainly is one of the better books of the year so far. What kind of throws me into a negative curveball is the fact that I saw this to be more childish, which isn't one of the book's personal issues, it's mine, the reader's. I normally don't read middle-grade fiction, and when I do, I always like to appreciate the younger characters and atmosphere of the story. A lot of this book was focused on the Charlotte's Web play instead of George trying to confide in others (like her mom or brother) until the ending, which I really would've enjoyed far more than a 4 star rating. It sure had that capability.

George is one of the most strongest heroines I've read about in a while. I'M SO PROUD OF MY CUTIE PATOOTIE! Want a load of character development? I think that you're already guessing what I'm going to say but I'll say it anyways: READ THIS BOOK. Want to see a character go from shy to speaking her words out loud? (And it's a tough thing to do, too.) George will grow to be your friend unlike any other character. Gino makes a character-to-reader relationship that feels that she's only telling her story to you and only you. Imagine sitting by a campfire eating smores with one of your friends and they tell you a story—it's like that. And you don't even have to relate to George to understand and love her story. It kind of just happens.

You know how there are some classics that you buy to add to your collection because you JUST KNOW that they have to be in your bookshelf? This is definitely one of them. Whether you're classified as a YA reader forever and always or an adult one, this is a read that you'll devour in an instant and one sitting. The book gods depend on you reading it. GO PRE-ORDER IT NOW, I'M BEGGING YOU. August 25 couldn't come any faster, I bet for you anticipating bookworms. 

*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

I think Alex Gino has done a first... but let me ask you: Are there any other middle-grade reads that feature some LGBTQ elements?

Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Monday, 27 July 2015 0 comments
The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1), by Erika Johansen
Publication: July 17, 2014, by Bantam Press
Genre: Adult Fiction, Dystopia, Fantasy
Pages: 640
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed

It was on her nineteenth birthday that the soldiers came for Kelsea Glynn. They’d come to escort her back to the place of her birth – and to ensure she survives long enough to be able to take possession of what is rightfully hers.
But like many nineteen-year-olds, Kelsea is unruly, has high principles and believes she knows better than her elders. Unlike many nineteen-year-olds, she is about to inherit a kingdom that is on its knees – corrupt, debauched and dangerous.
Kelsea will either become the most fearsome ruler the kingdom has ever known . . . or be dead within the week.

My Thoughts:

Expectations, expectations... This is a book that I've been wanting to read for ages. And by ages, I mean a long time. Told in a kind of Throne of Glass kind of way, Erika Johansen's cover for The Queen of the Tearling captivated me from the start. Is this young adult fiction or adult fiction, you may ask? Well, you'd better think about it. Kelsea's nineteen years old, and she's about to be the queen, and there's no sex although it's classified as adult. I'm pretty sure that everyone can find something good and positive throughout the whole novel.

After hearing about the rave and hype that this book has given out in its first year of being releasing, I had a feeling in my guts that this would become a movie. Guess whose prediction was correct? Emma Watson as Kelsey? This is going to be fantastic, and although it wasn't the best book for me, I'd surely go and see the movie, because I adored Johansen's characters and am looking forward to see the world of Tear come to life. Let's get started with the chaos of this gorgeous world setting!

Everyone living in Tear is self doubting who they are, because of Elyssa, the last queen who reigned and practically didn't do anything. On the other hand, Kelsea has been living in the woods for years, waiting for the right moment when she can become queen. Now that her mother is gone, she leaves the woods and her loving "parents" and goes for it. She finds that it's a horrendous job and the kingdom is at its last straw, almost corrupted as the other kingdoms around it are rich and healthy. She spends a large portion of the book discovering her role and who she is, and everyone's view of her.

It's so interesting to read about these family issues. Kelsea has never met her mother (at least not since birth) and has no memories of a childhood that doesn't have to do with her being the heir to a large throne. And then when she gets to Tear, her uncle is such a loser and sits on the throne like it actually belongs to him. He then protests that the crown is lost when Kelsea goes for her coronation. It's complete bulls**t. I'm so glad to see the decision that she made at the end of the novel having to do with her last name come to life. Kelsea's one of those protagonists in fiction that you'll remember forever, even if you hadn't enjoyed her story so so much, you know?

You'd expect Kelsea to become an assassin and do these mighty tasks that'll help her discover her role in her kingdom. No. She's a normal girl, who may be a queen, but I loved her sense of personality. She loves reading, staying outdoors and learning new things, but often acts like an introvert and loves her job. She sleeps on one pillow, not ten as it's been provided for her. Johansen tries to gear this story away from the obvious and what readers expect it to become, as it does deal with magic and fantasy elements. You'll find a spell or two that'll make the story's plot more captivating, at least when it tries to, but it's mostly about the kingdom, the slavery and hardships that Kelsey will have to deal with. I predict that the sequel goes into more of the action-related scenes, but I don't think I'll go for that anyways.

Johansen's writing is nice, fresh, new, but I was kind of lost through the middle. By lost, I mean bored. The premise and storyline seems nice, but it was slow, with 640 pages. It took me a real long time to finish, too, totally not normal for my typical fast-reading self. FAST-PACE WRITING, WHERE ART THOU?

This took me practically more than five sittings to read. I was ready to fall asleep and rather take a nap than read this, but the ending surely did make me smile and found that it was better than the rest of the novel, which does tell me something. Johansen could've gotten my feels to go all over the place, but it hadn't happened, which totally stinks. At least I had sweet Kelsea by my side to entertain me, her personality and decisions stayed so close to home, reminding me of my relatable self. I WOULD GO AND GET BOOKS PUBLISHED IF I WAS QUEEN!

No medieval cool knights in shiny armour stuff and no action. That was the final outcome of the novel. If you're fine with seeing Kelsea spending night after night by the campfire before she arrives in Tear, then you could enjoy this, and I kind of recommend this for lovers of fantasy, but don't expect all of the magic and dreams coming true. There wasn't any romance, either. So what is left? A nice heroine who can surely make book-lovers smile because she relates to us, and a nice setting. Other than that, I'm just face palming myself, knowing that I won't pick the sequel up in the coming years, I wouldn't waste my reading time like that. *snickers*

Where's some nice adult medieval ToG like fantasy? Gimme the recommendations, fellow knights in shiny armour.