Favorite villains

Hi friends, here comes another Top Ten Tuesday post from me. Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is all about villains.
Alright, so it’s Wednesday where I live, but let’s pretend it’s still Tuesday okay? Because I really want to write this post. Because I LOVE VILLAINS! I do not condone doing evil things (okay, maybe sometimes, like taking over the world), but well-written villains are complex with motive you could totally understand if not support.
Also, I somehow think I’ve written this sort of post in the past (like, one year ago), but cannot find it. Anyway, some of the ‘people’ in this list would have changed anyway.

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Review: Front Lines (Michael Grant)

Book Review: Front Lines (Michael Grant)
book cover Book title Front Lines
Series/standalone Soldier Girl #1
Author Michael Grant
Pages 480
Year published 2016
Category | Genre Young Adult | Historical Fiction
Rating 4 star

Official Summary

1942. World War II. The most terrible war in human history. Millions are dead; millions more are still to die. The Nazis rampage across Europe and eye far-off America.

The green, untested American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled—the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

But something has changed. A court decision makes females subject to the draft and eligible for service. So in this World War II, women and girls fight, too.

As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering. Not one expects to see actual combat. Not one expects to be on the front lines.

Rio, Frangie, and Rainy will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. They will fear and they will rage; they will suffer and they will inflict suffering; they will hate and they will love. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant has created a masterful alternate history of World War II in Front Lines, the first volume in a groundbreaking series.

Review

She is going on a date.
And also, going to war.

I have a complicated history with Michael Grant books. Some I was obsessed with, others I didn’t enjoy as much. This is why I approach Front Lines with dread, hoping that this will be more like Gone than Messenger of Fear. I’m glad to report my expectation came true.

Let me draw you a parallel. If you’ve ever read Gone, either the book, the whole series, or just the synopsis, you might remember the premise. It was about a world without adults. What will happen if all the adults in your world suddenly disappear while you and the other kids are trapped with limited resources. In Front Lines, Grant trying to explore another question. What if we let females to be drafted and to enlist to fight on the front lines during WW2? Through 480 pages, Grant showed us his alternate version of WW2 while otherwise trying to stay true to history. The question he’s trying to explore was not only “will females make a difference in the outcome of WW2 has they were let to fight on front lines?” but also “what will happen to the dynamics and what issues will arise if said things happened?”

Before I begin the review, I have to point out that there are in fact tenth of thousands of females enlisted in US military during WW2. They did not fight on the front lines, but their contribution is certainly not to be dismissed. I just feel I need to say it because when I had just finished the book, I thought there wasn’t any women in the US military during WW2. Perhaps it’s because I am not familiar with US history, but either way I don’t want other readers to jump to the same conclusion as me. I hope they won’t, but I do wish that Grant pointed this out in a prologue or thank you page or something. Erasure could be hurtful, even though it’s accidental or unintentional.

With that, let’s begin the review.

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Books on My Fall TBR

Hi everyone, welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday post, a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Books on your fall TBR.” We don’t have fall season where I live, but I always enjoy making this TBR post so I’d do it anyway. 🙂
There are so many books I promised myself to read, but haven’t had time to do it. Here are books I plan to read.

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REVIEW: Saint Anything (Sarah Dessen)

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Book Review: Saint Anything (Sarah Dessen)
book cover Book title Saint Anything
Series/standalone Stand-alone
Author Sarah Dessen
Pages 417
Year published 2015
Category | Genre Young Adult | Contemporary
Rating 3.5 star

Official Summary

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

Saint Anything was one of my pick for ReadThemAllThon. I failed the read-a-thon as expected, but I decided to read the book anyway. I have read most of Dessen books in the past, opted to binge-read them because they were so easy to read. Looking back, however, I regret my binge-reading decision because after 3 books I started to mix them all together. I cannot tell you who is the MC in The Truth About Forever or the plot of What Happened to Goodbye. So when Sarah released The Moon and More and Saint Anything, I didn’t rush to read the books. Now seems a good time to catch up on my Sarah Dessen reading, started with Saint Anything.

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Favorite Podcasts

Helloo, welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday post, a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is an Audio Freebie. I decided to go with Favorite Podcasts because I love listening to podcast while commuting, it’s such a great way to past time while learning about something new … or entertaining.
Here I listed some of my favorites, and I apologize for the fact that some of them are not books-related 😛

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Review: The Wrath & the Dawn (Renee Ahdieh)

Book Review: The Wrath & the Dawn (Renee Ahdieh)
book cover Book title The Wrath & the Dawn
Series/standalone The Wrath & the Dawn #1
Author Renee Ahdieh
Pages 388
Year published 2015
Category | Genre Young Adult | Fantasy, Retelling
Rating 3.5 star

Official Summary

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

Review

First and foremost, we got Shahrzad, a brave and headstrong young girl volunteered to marry a murderer to avenge her best friend. Then there’s Khalid, the murderous boy-king. Shazi is a strong heroine, one that could gain sympathies from readers… once they got over their disbelief of her impulsively rushing to meet her end. There, that’s my biggest gripe with The Wrath & the Dawn, that this brave and smart girl who was supposedly cunning enough that she believed she could kill her husband, the king, would rush wildly toward death without any concrete planning. The only signs Ahdieh shows us of Shazi’s plan to kill her husband were when she showed off her archery skill and that one time she thought to kill him but couldn’t make up her mind.

Then there’s the fact that the Khalid married her without any background check. Like… wouldn’t someone find out that Shazi has a best friend who was murdered right there in the palace. But noo, they all rushed in to get the two to wed.

But I digress. Let’s go back to Khalid. For a murderous boy-king, he is not at all a monster – as one would already find out by reading the synopsis. I like Khalid. He was a tortured soul trying to do what’s best for his people while sacrificing himself a bit at a time. As a matter of fact, I like them both. Khalid and Shahrzad were both characters with their own agenda and for once I actually liked the romance in the book. It was not cheesy, you could totally see they’re both trying to stay true to their course, trying not to fall in love, and I cannot help but rooting for them.

On the other hand, there was the jealous boyfriend, who for me was just unnecessary. Not to mention his relationship with Shazi were not shown on-screen making it hard for me to sympathize with his cause. Similar thing could be said of Shiva’s friendship with Shazi. Of course, the best friend is dead by the time the story started, but if only I was given more than a glimpse of how close the two girls were I could probably understand Shazi’s impulsive behavior.

Okay, enough with the negativity. Let’s get to the good stuff. As I mentioned before, the romance is well-balance and complement the story nicely. Shazi’s anger was balanced by her feelings and compassion for other human beings, and so did Khalid’s despair with his feeling for Shazi. Despina was another character worth mentioning. Her interaction with Shazi showed us another side of the latter, and I adored their friendship.

The writing was another highlight of the book. I’m trying to be objective here, so bear with me. Ahdieh’s writing was beautiful, but at times she’s getting way close to flowery prose. For some people, this might be the book undoing. For me, though, it’s exactly what the book needs. It made the book atmospheric, and Ahdieh’s writing was vivid enough to transport the readers to Khorasan. The magic, one of the thing I expected to find in the book was non-existent for the large portion of the book, but that’s okay as there’ll be time for that in the second book. I hope.

Verdict

The Wrath & the Dawn made me feel conflicted, but it certainly worth reading for the diverse cast, the well-balance romance, the atmospheric setting, and the great writing.

Final Score

35st
3.5 stars (out of 5 stars)


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Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite YA Contemporary Books

top ten tuesday

Hello friends, it’s been a while >_> I’m sorry for taking a sudden hiatus without telling anyone, but HEY I’M BACK NOW. Hopefully for good.

As I’m adjusting back to my blogging habit, I realize that it’s Tuesday which means it’s time for Top Ten Tuesday! I certainly haven’t done this for a while, but I totally recommend this weekly fun feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish to all book bloggers. It’s fun (have I mentioned that? :p) and it’s a good way to get in touch with other book bloggers.

Anyway, let’s get on to business. This week’s topic is Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d probably know that SFF is my go-to genre. Which means it’ll be so hard for me to pick Top 10 for that genre (also, it might turn into Top Ten Brandon Sanderson Books and … well … I’ve accidentally done that so many times. LOL). I decided to go with YA contemporary instead. Truthfully, I haven’t read that many contemporary books so if anyone wants to give me recommendation based on these top 10, I’d appreciate it very much! Here they are in no particular order.

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Review: And I Darken

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Book Review: And I Darken (Kiersten White)
book cover Book title And I Darken
Series/standalone The Conquerors Saga #1
Author Kiersten White
Pages 475
Year published 2016
Category | Genre Young Adult | Historical Fiction
Rating 4.5 star

Official Summary

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

This was the first book I finished while taking part in ReadThemAllThon. I chose And I Darken to obtain my Thunder Badge because it was one of book that got overwhelmingly positive hype during release weeks. Does it deserve all those hypes? Let’s see.

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Blogwarming Party

Hey everyone!

Welcome to the new home of Geek Apprentice, henceforth will be known as Dip into Books.
I’ve been working on this site in the last 1-2 months, but I’m still working on cleaning/fixing some posts format, but otherwise please feel free to browse around.

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Pokemon Indigo League TBR Pile #ReadThemAllThon

Hey everyone, yes I’m still here. I know I’ve been absent from the blogging world for quite some time and worse I barely read anything in the last 1 month or so (*gasp* the horror) so it’s a good thing Aentee from Read at Midnight created this awesome Read-A-Thon based on Pokemon games.

In fact, I was so excited to join this read-a-thon that I made a spreadsheet to automatically calculate my Pokemon CP as evidenced my this tweet:

What can I say? I’m all for procrastinating but too lazy to do math. Here’s a screenshot of the (nearly-)final version of the spreadsheet, complete with my Pokemon of Choice (Gastly. I LOVE Gengar, I’m so strange) and my TBR pile.

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