[ARC] The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

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4stars

Title: The Empress of Salt and Fortune
Author: Nghi Vo
Release date: March 24th 2020
Number of pages: 112 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Very well written and intriguing.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, worked perfectly the way it was.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

Pretty peculiar book, it read as a sort of fairy take giving you little pieces of a puzzle in the shape of stories in each chapter to show you the bigger picture.

It was a bit confusing at first with all the different terms I didn’t know the meaning of, but the more I read the more I was tuned to the story and its characters.

A non binary cleric, a talking animal with fantastic powers, and an old lady with a story. An incredible story.

I don’t think there’s a way to explain this novella. You have to live it.

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[ARC] To the Flame by A.E. Ross

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4stars

Title: To the Flame
Author: A.E. Ross
Release date: February 3rd 2020
Number of pages: 72 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It was really interesting even if short.
Bad things about this book: It was too short, I wanted to know more.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

What a cute little book that was more than I was expecting! I knew it was about cryptids, but I got also so many many feelings. My heart!! Emerson was such a sweet guy, and Morrie all mysterious, afraid, and also so so sweet! I loved all the diversity packed in only a few pages; it didn’t feel forced at all, it felt like it should feel in real life, pretty freaking normal.

I’m glad I requested this book and got to read it. Brought a smile on my face. So so cute!

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Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett

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4stars

“This was what made the beating heart of America: not a sense of civics, not a love of country or people, not respect for the Constitution – but fear. And there you had fear, you had guns.”

Title: Vigilance
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Number of pages: 208 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Raw and violent and so very likely to happen.
Bad things about this book: I would’ve loved another short chapter to explain a bit the ending, because it left me like whaaat.
Do I recommend it? I do!
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This was terrifying in the most realistic and dystopian way. I was glued to the pages until the very end. The fact that made it all the more scaring was that I could see it; I could see that reality being our reality. As much as I like visiting the US as a tourist, I’m always afraid when I go there.

What if I happen to be on the Empire State when someone decides to attack it? What if I’m taking a stroll in Central Park when a crazy person decides it’s the perfect day to shoot random walkers? What if I’ taking a picture in Times Square and a street pirate decides that’ll be perfect to just run over some tourists? It’s terrifying. Terrifying as hell! The fact that whoever can buy and carry a gun is something already dystopian in my opinion.

So this fact made it so real I could see it. In a not very far away future people are sort of trained to be ready when a threat comes around. So there are “vigilances”: surprise environment controlled shootings where criminals are introduced and people have to kill them to earn money. But people can and will die. They are trained to be scared because fear is what the government wants them to feel. Fear is how they control them.

It was a very short book but I enjoyed it. It gave me the chills. Made me want to shake some sense into someone! Shake hard. I recommend this book. Robert Jackson Bennett knows how to write a story. Check out his other books, you won’t regret it.

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Ten Simple Tips for Surviving the Apocalypse by Cari Z.

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There was home, and for me it was objectively a place but subjectively a person.

Download the ebook HERE

Title: Ten Simple Tips for Surviving the Apocalypse
Author: Cari Z.
Why you should read this book: Because it’s a short story about a plague that makes you purple and cool unless, of course, it transforms you into a monster or kills you.

I don’t remember how exactly I came to find this story but I’m glad I did because it has humour, adventure, a road trip, the apocalypse, romance and two very different but equally charismatic characters.
It has a “The walking dead” kind of vibe and also a little “Avatar” in it. Avatar-ish, just because the ones with the plague have purple skin, claws, bright yellow eyes and white hair; I thought it was a hot look. HOT!

The truth will not set you free during the apocalypse, folks.

The main character is Javi; he wrote this guide to help whomever finds him/herself in an apocalypse to survive. Ten simple tips that will make us know him better and also know better the plague that is mutating human beings and animals into raging monsters. Javi is fun and a pun enthusiast and he has seen and experienced so many ugly things since the plague started. He travels by bike and his destination is his grandfather’s cabin where he may be reunited with his family, hoping they may be still alive.

I made everything into a pun—shut up, puns are the most accessible form of humor.

On his way he meets Conrad and they start traveling together. Conrad is a little bit mysterious and he is affected by the plague that is changing his looks. Javi and Conrad start out as frenemies but of course their relationship is destined to become something else, something more. They spoon every night to keep themselves warm; cuddling companions, how cute is that?

Yep, there it was, the rumble of a genuine chuckle. If there was a god, I hoped I got some points for offering my name up as a sacrificial humor lamb.

I don’t have troubles picturing mutant Conrad in my head: a beautiful purple man, long white hair, claws instead of nails, yellow eyes like the sun and vampire-ish canines. Hot, right? I thought he looked hot.

Conrad frowned. “I never had Botox.”
“Whatever, dude, your forehead was not natural when we first met, is all I’m saying.”

Their interactions are really interesting and funny. Javi loves Shakespeare and carries a 5-pound book with all his works. He torments poor Conrad with his readings and Conrad repays poor Javi singing awfully the same song over and over again. Aren’t they adorable? Even before being something more for each other, they already behave like a married couple.

He put both his hands back down, then did some weird shimmy that ended with his whole body arched, hips low to the ground, head back. It was either some sort of yoga move or something he’d psychically copied out of one of my sexual fantasies.

The story is too short but it’s satisfying and even if it leaves you longing for more, you are left happy with the ending. It’s incredible how the author did in such few pages, I fell in love with both of the characters, I got scared of the plague and it made me realize I have to get fit if I want to survive the pending apocalypse. There’s a lot of running involved and I’m not ready!

“I don’t frown,” I objected.
“I thought it was a kinder description than ‘resting bitch face.’”

Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s funny and really interesting.
Rate: 5/5

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Spectacularly Broken (+ short story) by Sage C. Holloway

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“Just because other people might have worse problems doesn’t mean you’re not allowed one.”

Title: Spectacularly Broken
Author: Sage C. Holloway
Why you should read this book: It’s not a long book but it’s really good and it’s worth it.

Summary from Goodreads:

Turns out naked and hungover on the floor is not the most strategically sound place to be when your dad comes home early. Take it from someone who learned the hard way: nineteen-year-old Lysander Shepherd – son of movie stars, spoiled brat, enthusiastic proponent of drugs and orgies… and now, unwilling resident of Oak Hill Manor, a retreat for troubled teenagers.

Before he knows what’s happening, his designer duds have been switched for tie-dye shirts in therapy team colors, and he is surrounded by an assortment of misfits: a timid nerd, a mute girl, a hyperactive kid… and captivating loner Cai Fields, who is admittedly pretty hot, but seems to hate the world in general and Lysander in particular.

Soon Lysander struggles with lies, withdrawal, and several uncomfortable revelations that he never intended to make, but he also gains surprising amounts of support right in the middle of secret late-night parties, fisticuffs over doing the dishes, and, of all things, croissant blackmail. Even as Cai and Lysander finally give in to the irresistible attraction between them and make a grasp for happiness, their darkest secrets remain – secrets with the power to destroy everything they’ve fought so hard to have.

“Fuck you. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows just ’cause I have money”
“Yeah, well, it still sounds a hell of a lot better than not having money.”

Deep, moving, important. You don’t get to choose what happens to you, your life can go on smoothly until the day you die or you can find your path filled with so many obstacles that makes you just want to give up. The important thing is reaching out, having people around who sees something wrong about you and gets you the help you need. It’s not truly a road to be cured, it’s a journey to get better and learn to live with whatever issues you may have, surrounded by people who loves you.

Such a short book with deep characters, each of them with hard pasts and on going issues keeping them from living their lives to the fullest. The only bad thing about this is that it’s too short. I could’ve read about the characters for hundreds of pages more.

“My full name is Lysander Aurelius Cassius Shepherd. Can you tell my father hated me from the start?”

Lysander is spoiled, rich, son of a famous actor, lives his life between parties and shopping. Not a healthy life. But why does he feel the need to do that? Why is he so bored with everything that he feels the need to drown himself in every addiction he can think of? Lys is a good guy, sweet and caring. He has an attitude, that can’t be denied, but he tries his best and it’s oblivious of the effect he has on others.

He is sent to a camp for troubled kids and makes friends with his group’s companions. There is one friend in particular who seems to have caught his attention, at first because they hated each other, then feelings were all over the place, one thing lead to another and, kaboom, one big mess.

His interaction with Cai is sweet and adorable, painful and intense. Lys is hiding his identity but strips himself of every other thing he’s been hiding inside of him. Lys feels so good with Cai and it’s a scary feeling, never felt before. What the hell is love and why he, of all the people, has to feel it? Oh boy, you cuddling beautiful human being, you were meant to fall head over heels for him.

“Hello.” I purred and raised my hands to stretch seductively.

Not everything is good, they share a lot of hot and romantically sweet moments, that’s true, but Cai is troubled, has so many issues he knows can’t be fixed. It’s okay not be perfect, to have pieces missing, pieces you know can’t be replaced because they are lost forever. Cai found in Lys someone who can fill his void, not fix his problems but help him moving on to new things in life, getting better and be loved, giving his best to shine even in dark situations.

I love how important is the support of one another. How every single one of the members of Lys’ group, opened up for one another, feeling safe in their little group, feeling it was okay to share their experiences to lift a weight that was keeping them from seeing that, no matter how black they feel, there is always place for a ray of sunshine, hope for a better future, for a smile, an understanding, a helping hand, a friend.

Do I recommend it? Yes, read it, I know it will give you lots of feelings.
Rate: 5/5

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Title: Of Candy Canes and Fuzzy Handcuffs (Short story)
Author: Sage C. Holloway

“Transatlantic economy would have killed me dead.”

I feel you, man. Unfortunately, I’m not rich, I fly economy and it’s hell.

Too short, I need at least another chapter….our a hundred. After that last couple sentences, I am grinning like an idiot and I need confirmation about what is going on! Come on!!! Don’t leave me like this, I need more!

“Aw, you’re going all territorial caveman on me.” I grinned. “That’s kinda hot.”

I love how we can experience spoiled rich brat Lysander with his boyfriend! He is hilarious and Cai is sweet as hell. They sure are crazy about each other and that makes me so happy I want to cry.

Lexa and Finn, how cute! It’s incredible how they found each other and complement each other. They are adorable! Jarret, poor thing, I wish there were more parts about him, he was a little neglected.

Too short, I repeat, too short! Love me some more Lys and Cai!

“How do I come across?”
“Spoiled,” Cai said succinctly while he unlocked the door.
“I am not!”
“You own over a hundred pairs of shoes!”
“Yeah, but I need those,” I tried to argue my case. “There’s not a single pair that doesn’t go with at least one outfit I own.”

Do I recommend it? Yes, it gives you a sweet short story of our boys we came to love.
Rate: 5/5

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Sock it to Me, Santa! by Madison Parker

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Maybe the way it is isn’t the way it ought to be.

Title: Sock it to Me, Santa!
Author: Madison Parker
Why you should read this book: Because it is not a book, it’s a short story, you will read it really fast and you will like it a lot.

Such a sweet little story! Ryan is not ready to come out, he starts having feelings for Jamie, a boy everyone call emo twink because of how he dresses. So many bullies making Jaime’s life difficult, it’s not fair and it’s frustrating. Leave the poor guy alone, he wants to do what he likes, he doesn’t care what you think but if you keep bothering him, how can he really enjoy what he loves doing? Stop it!

I’m not gonna let the bullies keep me from being myself or doing things I like.

Ryan is really sweet and adorable but he is very afraid of being the centre of unwanted attention, so he doesn’t let anyone know he doesn’t like girls. His friend is awful!! How can he say such terrible things? I hope Ryan stops being his friend after the end of the book. He is not a good person! A good person doesn’t say those things.

I thought about staying home from school Thursday, but I couldn’t bear missing out on the chance to see Jamie. That’s how fucked up I was.

Secret Santa happens and whom does Ryan get? Jaime, of course! Three handmade gifts must be given. It is going to be difficult because our Ryan is a little dumb but he is clearly falling head over heels for Jaime. He gets flustered, he thinks about him a lot; he hurts him and feels terrible about it. Those two are so sweet. This book was too short; I needed more of their sweetness, their wonderful smiles, stares, and the sock monkey from hell!

I could no longer deny my attraction. Just looking at him made my insides flutter.

Do I recommend it? Yes, it is short but full of love.
Rate: 5/5

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1° Review: The Sage of Theare by Diana Wynne Jones [short story]

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Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman

This is my first review and since it’s a new thing for me I chose to write a review of a short story.

This story is from the book “Unnatural Creatures” containing stories selected by Neil Gaiman. I have to say that I bought this book because of the cover. It has a beautiful and detailed cover. Then, of course, I bought it because of Neil Gaiman. That man can write marvelous things. I still have to read a lot of books by him but what I’ve read until now is making me love him a lot as a writer.

Let’s start the review.

Title: The Sage of Theare
Author: Diane Wynne Jones
Why you should read this story: Invisible dragons (they only make a cameo appearance but it’s worth it; I love dragons)

Gods have fun in an orderly way. Even if it’s an orderly way they still go down to Earth and procreate with humans. Gods are different in this story but they make the same mistakes as the more famous Greek Gods. In this Heaven, Gods want everything in order: humans makes prayers, they live because they are believed in and everything goes smoothly. Well, everything until the prophecy of the Sage of Dissolution becomes a reality. The Sage will ask questions, he will question everything and by questioning everything he will destroy everything they’ve built.

Asking questions, big problem. Humans are curious, we like questioning everything we have in front of us. We want answers. Why does the water flow? How does a baby grow inside a human belly? Why bugs are so ugly? Why am I afraid of things?
There are still places where asking questions is not allowed and that is extremely wrong.

That’s what this book is about! The ones controlling the world are worried that someone might tell the population that they don’t have to accept everything they’re told but they can question their leadership and if they want, still follow them, but if they don’t agree it’s still ok. The world will be divided but it will be free.

Do I recommend it? Yes, of course.
Rate: 4/5

I hope this first review is ok. I still have to learn how to write properly. I will try my best for this blog to grow and bloom!

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