bullet-point review: the twisted tree by rachel burge

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Title: The Twisted Tree

Author: Rachel Burge

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Release Date: January 10th 2019

Pages: 180 (Kindle edition)

Rating:

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

what i loved

+ So first off, Rachel Burge’s writing is hella solid. Very descriptive, very emotive. Makes it easy for the reader to picture both the isolated island upon which Martha travels to and the monstrous creatures that reside there.

+ The suspense was definitely the strongest point. Burge kept tensions high and you on the edge of your seat for the majority of this novella. Plus the horrorish nightmare fuel involved here was hecka powerful for such a short piece.

+ The mythology and the world = perfection. I really enjoyed all the Norse mythology and how it connects to Martha’s family.

+ I enjoyed Martha’s character and she had decent character development. She went from a person hiding away to someone who embraces who she is, even questioning some of her past actions. Solid growth for a book that is so short.

+ The ability to feel people’s emotions/see their history through touching cloth is ACE. Completely unique, I’ve never read anything like it. Thought it would be quite weird and pointless but it really wasn’t. Top notch ability!

+ I liked Stig as a character! He was mysterious and contradictory and basically left you with so many questions about who is his and what is in his past. Honestly, I wanted far more about whoever this dude is.

what i didnt love

– Why romance ????? Considering how short it was, a lot of time was focused on this relationship between Martha and Stig but it didn’t seem necessary??? Felt like it was there because it’s something that YA books have, ya know? It could have easily been a platonic relationship and Martha’s development still would have happened exactly as it did.

– Also, far too short. Burge does well to fit as much tension and suspense and action into such a short space but it would have benefitted for even a few more pages

– There’s like a weird cliffhanger about Stig and it just doesn’t go anywhere??? a few more pages could have solved that.

overall

The Twisted Tree was a good read. It was super atmospheric and I really did enjoy Rachel Burge’s writing style. I loved the unique twists on usual mythology YA books and it managed to get a lot of interesting story into few pages. I would recommend it those who enjoy suspensive writing and new takes on mythology.

However, I felt it was a lot shorter than it should have been and when those few pages are focused on a fledgeling relationship that seems kind of pointless and still leaves loads of questions to answer, it does feel like aspects of the story are missing.


Have you read The Twisted Tree? What did you think? If you haven’t, has this review made you want to pick the book up or not? Let me know what you think in the comments!


happy reading

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www wednesday: january 9th 2019

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Welcome to WWW Wednesday, a weekly bookish meme host by Sam @ Taking On The World Of Words, where I will speak about my reading plans for this week!

I haven’t done one of these in a long time but the new year is the best time to start fresh 🙂


The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

I’ve set myself a goal for the new year to try and read as many Brandon Sanderson books as I can manage, and I’m starting strong with The Way of Kings. I’m only a handful of pages with a long way to go but I already enjoy how Sanderson writes. I can see why people enjoy his books and fantasy worlds so much. I’m super excited to see exactly where this book goes as I know very little.


What did you recently finish reading?

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The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burges

So The Twisted Tree was a super short novella I received as an ARC from Netgalley. It’s a mixture of Nordic mythology mixed with a supernatural thriller so expect suspense and drama and violence and a lot of Odin. There will be a review by the end of the week (fingers crossed I keep to my own schedule…) but as a preview – I did enjoy it but it was a bit of a mixed bag.

Nothing But The Truth by Dick Lehr

I received this as an ARC from Walker Books and it was definitely an enjoyable read. Super easy, I sped right through it. Dick Lehr’s writing style was somewhat basic, however, take that as you will. My review of Nothing But The Truth is already up!


What do you think you’ll read next?

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Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes

A friend at work gave this book to read after she’d finished. I had never heard of it until she handed it over, but reading the synopsis I’m honestly really intrigued. I want to know so many things!!! This is quite a short book too (less than 300 pages) so it will be a fast read as well.

The Girl King by Mimi Yu

I received this book as an ARC through Netgalley and, despite the mixed reviews I’ve read, I am super interested in giving it a try. Hopefully, it’s a book I’ll enjoy because I do like Asian inspired stories and I want to read more diverse reads this year.


What book are you reading now? What do you plan on reading next?
Tell me in the comments!


happy reading

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top 5 tuesday: books I need to read in 2019

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Top Five Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm where bookworms get to chat about their top five books based on different topics.

A new feature for the new year! This week’s topic is ‘books I need to read in 2019’.


Renegades by Marissa Meyers

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I’ve never read a Marissa Meyer’s book but I’ve heard great things about this series! I got this as a Christmas gift so I have no excuse not to pick it up!


Vicious by V. E. Schwab

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Okay so this has been on my TBR for a very long time and yet I haven’t picked it up (don’t judge me pls). Last year, I got my hands on the pretty hardcover reprint along with the matching Vengeful (which was signed !!!!) so it’s a goal this year to read both.


Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

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I wanted to read this before the movie came out, and then I forgot. I wanted to read it when the movie came out and I forgot. I got this for Christmas and I will not forget to read it this year!!!


Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

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I have been meaning to read Brandon Sanderson since forever but I’ve always been stupidly intimidated by them. Not this year!!!


On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

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I adored The Hate U Give, was my favourite book of 2017 hands down, and now I find out that Angie Thomas is writing another book ????? You got me.


Phew….it was a lot harder to narrow the list down to five than I originally thought. It turns out I have a lot of things I’m looking forward to reading in 2019.

What’s on your must-read in 2019 list? Do we share any? Have you read any of the books above and want to urge me to read them ASAP? Leave me a message in the comments!


happy reading

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review: the poppy war by r.f. kuang

35068705flower bannerTitle: The Poppy War

Author: R. F. Kuang

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: May 1st 2018

Pages: 544

Rating:

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Poppy War is a ridiculously intense, brutal and nerve-wracking work with so many twists and turns and moments that made you gasp and wince. It is immersive, completely absorbing and succeeds in keeping you hooked from beginning to end.

I had heard so much about this book before I picked it up. It had been circulating online – Instagram, booktube, other book blogs – and the more I read about it, the more desperate I was to get my hands on it. A fantasy based on Japanese and Chinese history? Yes please! Incredibly luckily, I managed to find an ARC copy to download on NetGalley.

And boy, was it worth the wait!

One of the main reasons that The Poppy War is so entertaining is the multitude of engaging characters that can be found on every page. Rin, as the main character, definitely steals the show. Her voice is so strong and consistent, growing in depths with her journey throughout the course of the book. You understand her struggles and confusions, her anger and her happiness which all add to making the difficult decision at the end of the book all the more powerful.

All the characters managed to have this strength, the good and the bad. The motives and reasoning for each character’s actions are interesting whether you agree with them or not. It was especially interesting to read about how they grew and changed over the course of the book, making it feel incredibly organic and real. This was reflected in the relationships between characters too, friendships growing and enemies being made in one moment and then quickly changing within pages. This also helps keep the pace as it is quite a hefty book.

Another strength is the worldbuilding. This land is so well described from its physical appearance to its history and its people – no piece of information is missed out and really makes these seem like a real place. This is definitely one of the places where Kuang’s research into Japanese and Chinese history has paid off!

But despite the amount of detail, it doesn’t seem overwhelming or affects the pace, which is a real benefit to the writing. In particular, most of the information is given to you in the training chapters, when Rin herself is learning and growing and becoming more aware of the world outside of the tiny town she grew up in.

Kuang’s descriptions are incredibly visceral – which is both a strength and a weakness. Most of the book is about war and with war comes atrocities. Kuang does not shy away from them. This book is not for the faint-hearted or easily squeamish. As someone who doesn’t usually react to such grotesque imagery in books, I did have to stop in one particular section (and if you’ve read this book, you know what I’m talking about) just because the harsh reality of what was being described was so horrific that I needed a few moments to settle myself.

Overall, I adored The Poppy War. I have been in a massive reading and reviewing slump recently, and this was the book that dragged me out of it. If you like South East Asian history, if you like fantasy and magical worlds, if you like epics and character growth, this is definitely the book for you. At the moment, it seems to be shaping to be a fantastic story with at least one more book already announced and I cannot wait to read it!


Have you read The Poppy War? What did you think? If you haven’t, has this review made you want to pick the book up or not? Let me know what you think in the comments!


happy reading

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www wednesday: june 20th 2018

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Welcome to WWW Wednesday, a weekly bookish meme host by Sam @ Taking On The World Of Words, where I will speak about my reading plans for this week!


The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Between The Blade And The Heart by Amanda Hocking36404186

I’m just over halfway through this book right now and I am enjoying this book so much. I’ve had the ARC for this book sitting on my desk for months now and I’m honestly kicking myself that I didn’t pick it up sooner. I’ll speak more about this book in a review once I have finished it entirely (perhaps, I’ll do a series review as I received the sequel as an ARC last week) but if you haven’t picked up this series yet, you will enjoy yourself!

 


What did you recently finish reading?

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Legendary by Stephenie Garber

As I mentioned last week, this is a sequel I have been super excited for, from a series that holds a special place in my heart as Caraval was the first book review I ever made on this blog. Legendary did not disappoint at all! A more detailed review is coming – hopefully up by the end of the week/beginning of next – but just know, if you enjoyed reading Caraval, you will enjoy this book.

 


What do you think you’ll be reading next?

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I still have books from last week, such as The Poppy War and White Rabbit, Red Wolf but here are two others that have been added to my TBR that I hope I get through soon!

1. From The Earth To The Shadows by Amanda Hocking

This is the sequel to Between The Heart And The Blade, a book I’ve already said that I adore. I received this on June 9th – my birthday in fact! – and since I have started the first book and I have been loving it, I have no doubt that I will want to start this book as soon as possible!

2. Ruthless Magic by Meghan Crewe

This is a book I have received through NetGalley. I adore magic and urban fantasy – this book seems to hit all those checkpoints that would make me pick up this book. I’m interested in giving this new book – and new author – a shot!


What books did you recently finish reading? What do you plan on reading next?
Tell me in the comments!

Galley Review: S.T.A.G.S by M.A Bennett

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Title: S.T.A.G.S35154365

Author: M.A Bennett

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Release Date: August 10th, 2017

Pages: 294

Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin’ shootin’ fishin’. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry’s parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports – hunting, shooting and fishing – become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school… 

 

my thoughts

I was excited for this book from the first moment I heard about it. The very premise was something that pricked my interest. I was able to get a copy of this book signed by M.A Bennett during YALC this July and I impatiently waited for The Reading Quest to start so that I could start this book. As you can tell, there was a lot of build up and a lot of anticipation for this release.

S.T.A.G.S reached all of my expectations.

From the very first line – “I think I might be a murderer” – I was engaged in this story.

It’s written like almost like a memoir, everything told in retrospect which I think adds to the tension and thriller aspects of the story. You know something happened, you know someone died, you know who is responsible – you just don’t know what it is.

Bennett is really good at keeping the tension up throughout the story. The events of the deadly weekend are paralleled against the posh blood sports that take place each day – day 1, huntin’; day 2, shootin’; day 3, fishin’. Details about each bloody hobby are described and then seen acted out by the perpetrators. It’s a great way of adding foreshadowing – and therefore tension – to each arc of the story.

I really liked Greer’s voice. I enjoyed the moments of uncertainty that she felt, I liked all the movie references because that was something that was distinctly her and gives her a fantastic voice that you can follow with ease.

All the characters really were charismatic and entertaining in their own way. From the ‘Medievals’, blond and beautiful, to Shafeen, who wants to find out the secrets and save those he cares about, to Nel, who just wants to fit in. Each of them have you questioning intentions or feeling empathy deep in your chest for these feelings of inadequacy.

There’s a lot of focus on the modern world vs the old, and the social commentary that comes with that is incredibly interesting to read. Positives and negatives are both raised, the romanticisation of the past repeatedly challenged. In the end, this questioning is something that sets the characters and the world that S.T.A.G.S inhabited apart from everything else.

And as for the plot twist, well, let’s say – M.A. Bennett, is there going to be a sequel?

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Blog Tour/Book Blitz: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

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So this is the release week of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee, a book that I’ve been excitedly waiting for since I found out about it months ago. I haven’t had a chance to read it as of yet, but if you’ve seen my weekly wrap up post, you’ll know I’ll be starting it soon.
Until then, I thought I could at least participate in the book blitz and encourage as many of you as possible to pick up this book and get reading!


About The Book

Title: THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO
Author: F.C. Yee
Pub. Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon | Barnes&Noble
Synopsis: The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbours an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength
that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her
true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…


Excerpt

“GREETINGS,” HE SAID, HIS ACCENT THICK BUT HIS VOICE LOUD and clear. “I have arrived.”
 
Now, I’d done my best to describe this guy to the police. They pressed me hard for details, as apparently this wasn’t the first group mugging in recent weeks.
 
But I’d let Officers Davis and Rodriguez down. Nice eyes and a winning smile weren’t much to go by. I was too frazzled to notice anything before, which meant this was my first decent look at the boy without the influence of adrenaline.
 
So a couple of things.
 
One: He was short. Like, really short for a guy. I felt bad that my brain went there first, but he wasn’t even as tall as Mrs. Nanda.
 
Two: He was totally okay, physically. I didn’t see how anyone could be up and about after that beating, but here he was, bruised and unblemished. I felt relieved and disturbed at the same time to see there wasn’t a scratch on him.
 
And his mint condition just made Point Three even more obvious.
 
He was . . . yeesh.
 
Nothing good could come of our new classmate being that handsome. It was destructive. Twisted. Weaponized. He had the cheekbones and sharp jawline of a pop star, but his thick eyebrows and wild, unkempt hair lent him an air of natural ruggedness that some pampered singer could never achieve in a million years of makeup.
 
“Argh, my ovaries,” Yunie mumbled. She wasn’t alone, judging by the soft intakes of breath coming from around the room.
 
“Arrived from where?” said Mrs. Nanda.
 
Quentin looked at her in amusement. “China?”
 
“Yes, but where in, though?” said Mrs. Nanda, trying her best to convey that she was sensitive to the regional differences. Fujianese, Taishanese, Beijingren—she’d taught them all.
 
He just shrugged. “The stones,” he said.
 
“You mean the mountains, sweetie?” said Rachel Li, batting her eyelashes at him from the front row.
 
“No! I don’t misspeak.”
 
The class giggled at his English. But none of it was incorrect, technically speaking.
 
“Tell us a little about yourself,” Mrs. Nanda said.
 
Quentin puffed out his chest. The white button-down shirt and black pants of our school’s uniform for boys made most of them look like limo drivers. But on him, the cheap stitching just made it clearer that he was extremely well-muscled underneath.
 
“I am the greatest of my kind,” he said. “In this world I have no equal. I am known to thousands in faraway lands, and everyone I meet can’t help but declare me king!”
 
There was a moment of silence and sputtering before guffaws broke out.
 
“Well . . . um . . . we are all high achievers here at SF Prep,” said Mrs. Nanda as politely as she could. “I’m sure you’ll fit right in?”
 
Quentin surveyed the cramped beige classroom with a cool squint. To him, the other twenty-two laughing students were merely peons on whom his important message had been lost.
 
“Enough wasting of time,” he snapped. “I came to these petty halls only to reclaim what is mine.”
 
Before anyone could stop him, he hopped onto Rachel’s desk and stepped over her to the next one, like she wasn’t even there.
 
“Hey! Quentin!” Mrs. Nanda said, frantically waving her hands. “Get down now!”
 
The new student ignored her, stalking down the column of desks. Toward mine.
 
Everyone in his way leaned to the side to avoid getting kicked. They were all too flabbergasted to do anything but serve as his counterweights.
 
He stopped on my desk and crouched down, looking me in the eye. His gaze pinned me to my seat. I couldn’t turn away. He was so close our noses were almost touching. He smelled like wine and peaches.
 
“You!” he said.
 
“What?” I squeaked.
 
Quentin gave me a grin that was utterly feral. He tilted his head as if to whisper, but spoke loud enough for everyone to hear.
 
“You belong to me.”

About The Author

F. C. Yee grew up in New Jersey and went to school in New England, but has called the San Francisco Bay Area home ever since he beat a friend at a board game and shouted “That’s how we do it in NorCal, baby!” Outside of writing, he practices capoeira, a Brazilian form of martial arts, and has a day job mostly involving
spreadsheets.
                       
 
 

 

 


Giveaway

5 winners will receive Genie Lo prize packs—complete with a finished copy of the book and a special Genie Lo horoscope (that doubles as a bookmark!), US Only.

click here to be redirected to the Rafflecopter giveaway!

 

Thank you for reading! What do you think about The Epic Crush of Genie Lo? Are you excited for it, or have you read it all ready? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!

happy reading

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