Misfit by Jo Zaida || Arc Review

Book Details

Title : Misfit

Series : The Asura Chronicles

Author : Jo Zaida

Publication Date : May 24th 2021

Genre(s) : YA Fantasy, Sci-Fi

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Blurb (from Goodreads):

Two clashing orders battle for power over their world and the realm of the dead, using teenagers as their pawns. The teenagers, however, have other ideas.

In the New World, Elle is visited by a ghost from the Asura, a realm existing between the mortals and the Gods. The Asura challenges everything she thought she knew about herself, her family and the Ministry that controls them, and throws her into an adventure of chaos and discovery.

River, meanwhile, has been welcomed into a secret organisation with tantalising promises of a better future. But not everything is as it seems. His loyalty to his father is challenged as he gets pushed into a strategic engagement with a girl he does not like, and starts to discover more about the Alliance’s darker schemes.

Worlds collide for young adult readers who will love the fast-paced thrills, the chemistry between characters, and the interplay of dystopian fantasy and science fiction, self-discovery and friendship in Misfit, book one of The Asura Chronicles trilogy.

Book Review

Thank you to the author, Jo Zaida, for reaching out and providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.

He had made a terrible mistake becoming her friend.

Misfit (Asura Chronicles #1)

What I enjoyed

The immersive world building. The author gave us just enough clarity about the new world this book was set in, without making it look like an info-dump.

The different mindsets of the characters. The book showed us all the different angles and perceptions by which the world (the one in the book) is seen by our different main characters. Elle hated being controlled and monitored constantly, Raine said it made her feel safe. River and Jay appreciated the system, but were not blind to its flaws. These different views made the story all the more interesting.

The ending was satisfactory. When I was halfway through the book, I was getting kinda worried about the ending. But it turned out to be extremely satisfactory, while also promising a continuation to the story.

River appeared calm, but it was not a pleasant calmness. He was numb.

Misfit (Asura Chronicles #1)

What did not tickle my fancy

The lack of action. If you are a frequent visitor to my blog, you’ll probably know that I love extremely fast-paced and action packed books. Unfortunately, this was not one of them. There was very little action (though there was murder).

The ever smooth pacing. The pacing throughout the book was completely even. No one likes a flat, single-line heart rate reading plot, right? There was no climax, no heart-racing moments. An inclusion of these would have made the story so much better.

Overall, I would recommend this book to coming-of-age readers, and anyone who likes some good suspense and enjoys seeing development in family relationships in their reads.

Rating : 3 stars out of 5

In the corner of the room, a shimmering presence watched the joyful celebrations and contemplated the news.

Misfit (Asura Chronicles #1)

Let’s Chat!

How did you like my review? Do you have Misfit on your TBR? Let’s chat in the comments!

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Bertman || Mini-review, some art, and a little “book scavenger” game of my own!

Hello you guys!! Hope you’re having an amazing day so far!

Today’s post is going to be all about Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, which is a (brilliant, if I do say so myself) middle grade fantasy that I read last week. I didn’t want to write a full review on it because I have no idea what to write so I decided to just to a mash-up kind of thing, which, as the title suggests, includes a mini-review, a Book Scavenger-inspired piece of art, and a fun game at the end! Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Book Scavenger (Book Scavenger, #1)

A hidden book. A found cipher. A game begins . . . .

Twelve-year-old Emily is on the move again. Her family is relocating to San Francisco, home of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles. But Emily soon learns that Griswold has been attacked and is in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold and leads to a valuable prize. But there are others on the hunt for this book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles Griswold left behind before Griswold’s attackers make them their next target. 

(If you click on the cover image above, it will take you straight to Goodreads, so you can add this book to your tbr!)

My Rating :

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The concept of a game with hidden books and clues to find them was so cool! What more could a bookworm like me possibly want? (except now I am left praying that this game existed in real life and I could play it ☹🥺)

I think this story was more plot-driven than character-driven, and though I usually favour the latter, its good to know that there are a whole bunch of amazing plots such as these out there!

I also admire the research the author has put in on different kinds of ciphers and stuff. It really showed, and I like puzzles in general, so I enjoyed reading whatever snippets of information was there about decoding different ciphers.

The character development through the book was executed wonderfully. Emily finally reassessed her priorities (being a good friend definitely beats finding an epic new game😉), and Matthew was a completely different (in a good way!) big brother than he had been at the beginning.

I would definitely recommend this book to all of you bookworms, but if you additionally like a good mystery or deciphering clues, you HAVE to read this!!

(This book is actually first in a series, but it can totally work as a standalone, so for those who avoid series in general, don’t hesitate!)


I think I have mentioned before that I am terrible at all things aesthetic, and that naturally includes drawing. But I had nothing much to do that day, and I had just finished reading Book Scavenger, so I drew a little something in my bullet journal inspired by it.

Yup, it’s our main character, Emily who has found a hidden book wedged between the branches of a tree. There is no exact scene in the book as such, I just invented one, considering that I wanted to keep my work really simple and minimalistic. And to be honest, I actually enjoyed working on this. Who knows, maybe I’ll do this more often!


Time for what you all have been anticipating!! Presenting…Book Scavenger 2.0, created by yours truly!

It is in no way similar to, or as huge and amazing as the Book Scavenger game in the book. It is just a little quiz that I made up. And don’t worry, you don’t have to literally go out and “scavenge” books, all the book scavenging is going to happen in your mind😉

Here’s how it will work :

  • Below is a link to a Google Form that I have created. When you click on the link, you will be taken to the Form.
  • I have written the names of three characters each from 8 different books. It could be main characters, side characters, anything.
  • All you have to do is rack your brain (or maybe Goodreads, though that would technically be cheating😉) and write the name of the book/series in the blanks given
  • (The books I have chosen are pretty popular to reduce the difficulty level)

All the best, book scavengers!! Click HERE to access the Form.


Have you read Book Scavenger? Is it on your TBR? Do you have any ideas for me if I want to do (very simple) journal spreads for some books?

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Book Review

Synopsis

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.


My Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

(4.5 stars)


Review

I will be honest, though I had heard lots of good things about this book, I picked it up purely because of that amazing synopsis. The synopsis promised so much, and if there is one thing I am sure about this book, it is that it delivered those promises. I often start reading the book and then try to compare it to the synopsis, and I did the same with this one and found that somehow while being exactly what the synopsis said it was, the book also managed to be something quite different altogether.

The characters made this book for me. I loved each and every member of squad 312, though I still am a little uncertain about whether I like Auri or not. But a fact worth noting is that I haven’t come across many books recently where I loved ALL of the main characters, and that too there are six of them. Each character was crafted so beautifully, it was impossible not to love them. I loved how Scarlett also holds a rather high esteem of Tyler, and there was no sibling rivalry there. I loved the ‘scarcasm’ throughout the book (You rock, Scarlett!). I want longer Zila POVs, please! For some reason, Zila sounds a little like me (don’t worry, I don’t shoot my bunkmates repeatedly with a stun gun😂). But the “Your problem is that you know how everything works except other people” part that Tyler says to her, I get that a lot. What can I say, I can be pretty blunt and straightforward at times🤷‍♀️. And Kal. What can I say about him? My heart melted every time he said “Be’shmai” in that beautiful voice of his (well, I am assuming he has a beautiful voice). I felt a little wary of Finian at first, but he turned out to be all right. I liked how the author didn’t use the classic “nerdy boy who doesn’t speak much and gets bullied by everyone” trope for Finian, because I was kinda expecting that after reading the blurb. I guess now I have to come to the character I have been trying to avoid speaking about. Cat. Oh wait, did my heart just clench at the sound of her name? Yes it did. But I am not going to say anything about the reason because I do not want to give any spoilers. All I will say is that for all her tomboy-ishness, Cat was…adorable. Yes, I am weird like that😉.

Usually, with fantasy books with the Found Team trope, the team begins working together suddenly after some big incident occurs. But in Aurora Rising, our crew gradually warmed towards each other and tried working together. That impressed me.

For those of you who have read the synopsis and are not wanting to read the book because you think it will be the cliche “Future with robots, and humans in space” and that kind of stuff, let me assure you, you have nothing to worry about! I myself feel that this book is less of a sci-fi than a fantasy. So even if you are not a science or space geek, you should give this book a go!

And I also wanted you to know one thing that I have no idea why I rated the book 4.5 stars and not 5. It was purely on impulse. And also, this rating is subject to change, which I suspect it will, once I read Aurora Burning.

Wait, how come my review is already so long? Half of you are thinking of leaving already, aren’t you? Okay, so since I want you to be around for my other posts as well, I won’t bore you to death, and end this post now. I hope my review is reason enough to pick up and read this amazing book!

Have you read Aurora Rising? What did you think of it? Do you want to recommend me any books similar to this one? Let me know in the comments section! See you there!

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review

Synopsis

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(5 out of 5 stars)

Review (non-spoiler)

Wow wow wow! Six Of Crows was every bit as fantastic as I had expected it to be. It makes me wonder, have I already read one of my favourite books of 2021?

I have plenty to say about 3 star and 4 star books (you might have noticed that in my previous reviews😁) but with 5 star reads…I am speechless. But I will still try my best to convince you to pick up this novel through my review.

Six Of Crows was fast-paced right from the beginning. Usually, YA novels start off slow, so this was a surprise. There were no introductions to the characters and to the world, and though all the names and the different groups were a lot to take in in the first chapter, everything was explained later on, through each character’s thoughts and memories.

That brings us to the other unique thing about this book. It had multiple POVs, around 7, which is a lot more than usual YA novels. I feel like this brought out each character’s feelings really beautifully, allowing us to familiarize ourselves with not just the main character, but the others as well. This is one major reason why this book gets 5 stars from me.

Then the action. Six Of Crows made me realize that I love books where things, you know, happen, like, all the time. In this book I felt like there was an action sequence and a climax in each and every chapter, leaving absolutely zero chances for any kind of boredom.

This book hardly had any of the cliche tropes -most books that I come across nowadays have, for instance, the main character was not a teenage girl who suddenly discovers she has magical powers. I mean, I do like those typical kind of books (I love KOTLC, so….) but Six Of Crows was a nice change, you know? All the characters were morally grey, I think, that really added to the book.

Favourite Quotes

“You haven’t been arrested since you were fourteen, and since I know you are not an honest man any more than you were an honest boy, I can only assume you have the quality I most need in a criminal: You don’t get caught.

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”

“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.

“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.

“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.

“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

Jesper could never tell how much of what Kaz got away with was smarts and planning and how much was dumb luck.

Jesper knocked his head against the hull and cast his eyes heavenward. “Fine. But if Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”

Brekker’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”

“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly, and then wondered if the sea air was rotting his brain.”

Rambling/Ranting

Alright, I showed a lot of restraint in the ‘review’ section by writing everything very formally and spoiler-free. But now I want to shout my heart out to the people who have read this book, which is why I present to you, my ‘ramblings’ section. This is going to be very much spoiler-y, so if you’ve not read the book, I’d suggest you go read it, and then later come back to this section.

First of all, Kaz. HOW CAN SOMEONE BE SO SMART? I really admire him for his foresight, I really really do (too many reallys?!). The decoy boat (remember? Ferolind, I think the name was) seriously blew my mind. And that was just the beginning of his amazing planning. I wish I could see his ‘scheming face’ as Inej, Jesper and later Wylan, call it. But when he’s so smart, WHY DIDN’T HE KILL OFF PEKKA ROLLINS IN THE CELL IN THE ICE COURT? (You can’t fool me Kaz, I know you easily could have killed him then and there). He would have got his revenge, and the crew would have one less problem to deal with. That just shows over-confidence, doesn’t it? Like he knows for sure that he would have another chance, and then he would kill him as he pleases. Maybe if he would have killed him, he wouldn’t have got that money from Pekka, but there are plenty of ways to earn that much money in Ketterdam, especially if you’re willing to sell your Crow Club shares, am I right Kaz?

I was beginning to like Inej, but I can’t help being cross about her attitude to Kaz. He is trying, isn’t he? She should understand how hard it is for him.

The one character of the crew that I didn’t care for was Nina. Wasn’t she too showy, and just unbearable, or am I the only one biased against her because of what she did to Matthias? But after finishing the book, I *may* have some respect for her, but only because she took the jurda parem to save the others.

The scientist had been dead all this while?! Serious dampener. It would have been so much more satisfying if after all that effort, they had actually found him.

How did Leigh Bardugo do it? The ending was not a cliffhanger, but was still very much a cliffhanger. Know what I mean? Anyway, I think I have shouted and screamed my heart out a bit too much, thanks for listening!

We have reached the end of this long post. Thanks for staying put. My final say on this book is Pick. It. Up. Right. Now.

And on that very *non-threatening* note, let’s conclude. Oh, and before you go, let’s say it together: NO MOURNERS, NO FUNERALS!

The Red Scrolls Of Magic by Cassandra Clare | Book Review

Name of the book – The Red Scrolls of Magic

Author – Cassandra Clare

Genre – Fantasy

My Rating – ⭐⭐⭐

My Review (non-spoiler)

First I would like to warn you something about this book – brace yourselves for extreme boredom in the beginning. The first half of the book was so monotonous, I nearly DNF’d it. But I was curious so as to who really was the villain (emphasis on curious, because in most books, I am not merely curious, I am dying to find out) so somehow I continued reading. I must admit, I am glad I did, because the rest of the book was much better.

The action and the actual plot began after around 60% of the book. And its not like there was any character-building or world-building in the first half. Come to think of it, the first half of the book wasn’t telling any story at all.

“I’ve realized—I don’t need to change. And neither do you, Helen, or you, Aline. It’s the world that needs to change, and we’re going to be the ones to change it.”

Then I would like to tell you that the synopsis was a little misleading. You know, the “revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping” part. Firstly, there was no such secret Alec had (I was actually looking forward to this) and secondly, Magnus did not reveal his secret.

The twist (I mean the one where we know who was the ‘villain’) was very unexpected and quite clever, I must say. It was one that I should have seen coming, but didn’t. As for the other twist, the one on the very last page, very last sentence, well, THAT was a big and really shocking one.

“He did not want to die in this banal pit, surrounded by the pallid ghosts of past mistakes, but if he had to die, he planned to die with style.”

Raphael Santiago is officially my new favorite character. I loved how he was portrayed in this book, as somebody who pretends he is heartless, when he actually does care about people, and does his best to help them. That moment when Alec found out who Raphael was texting at the party, that just broke my heart.

Although I rated this book 3 stars, which is a pretty average rating, I don’t think I will be reading the next books in this series, because this just failed to engross me and have that need to know more (know that feeling anyone?).

Hope you liked my review and it helped to convince you to read or not to read this book. I would also like to tell you that while this book was not that great, all the other Cassandra Clare books I have read (the Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices trilogy) were really good, so I’d recommend that you check them out!

The Infernal Devices Trilogy (Review)

After finishing the Mortal Instruments Series, I was somewhat obsessed with the fantasy world Cassandra Clare had created. I became irresistibly drawn to the life and world of the Shadowhunters, and that is why I picked up the Infernal Devices trilogy, which is a prequel to the MI series.

I had high hopes of the books in this trilogy, and I must say, they lived up to my expectations. I devoured all these three books last week, and as it often happens with books in a series, now I can’t separate the stories of the three. All three books make up one story for me. So, this is going to be a combined review for the entire trilogy, not the individual books.

THE CHARACTERS

They say that the real story is not the plot, but how the characters unfold by it. So in this review, the characters are the main thing I am going to talk about. In the trilogy, there were few characters, but they left lasting impressions.

Tessa, who can be called the main character of the entire trilogy, was not exactly how I hoped she would be. Call me the heroine hater (I made that up right now, not sure if it even is a term), but she was definitely not my favourite character. I mean, she made terrible decisions all the time, endangering her life as well as of those who were near her. Although everyone tried to tell her otherwise, she WAS actually the reason the lives of everybody at the Institute had turned upside down. They were better off before they took her in, is all I have to say.

Jem. Jem was that character in the story for whom you continue reading the book. He was also that character that made me feel that I would give anything just to go to him, keep a hand on his shoulder, and tell him everything was going to be all right. Through the first book, Clockwork Angel, his illness was a mystery. In the second, we come to know more about his disease, and in the third…well, I can’t really tell you what happens, that would be a dreadful spoiler. But know this, he is the only person in the entire trilogy who is actually, and completely ‘good’, if there is such a thing in this world.

And Will. Will was an…interesting character. Throughout the trilogy, I kept making different impressions of him, as the story progressed. It would be nearly impossible to describe him in a mere couple of words. He was the complex, misunderstood, shrouded-in-mystery character. And although he reminded me of Jace (from the Mortal Instruments series) a lot, Jace was nowhere near to Will in passion and mystery. What I liked about Will was his impulsiveness, his fierce protectiveness of his parabatai, Jem, and his love for novels and poetry.

And of course, all the side characters were charming. The determined Charlotte, the delightful Henry, the Lightwood brothers, Sophie, Magnus Bane( oh, and I AM eyeing the Bane chronicles next) and Mortmain, all did their bits to make up such a wonderful story.

THE PLOT

Although the plot of the entire trilogy was very attractive, and kept me hooked throughout, I wouldn’t say it was entirely unique. There are so many books with the same storyline – the main character is something like the ‘Chosen One’, the fate of the world lies in his or her hands, then he/she gets kidnapped, then there is a rescue, blah blah. So I really had expected something a little more different, but never mind.

THE SETTING

This entire trilogy was set in London, in the 1880’s. This was interesting because there were no cell phones, and because of this the characters were in constant dilemma of how to contact the others and tell them of the danger that lies in await. There were also no cars, and in the ‘rescue’ part of the story, Will rushed off on horseback and traveled through an entire city to rescue Tessa (the horse he took died later, in case you are wondering). I believe due to the year chosen, in contrast to the time of the Mortal Instruments, which was set in the 21st century only, I wanted to read on and find more about the lifestyle of people in those days.

Have you read any of the books of this trilogy? How did you find them? Do you have any recommendations on what I should read next? Feel free to share your views in the comments!

Black Coffee by Agatha Christie (Review)

When the inventor, Sir Claud Amory, discovers that his precious formula for a powerful explosivehas been stolen, he is sure it has been done by someone in his house. Seeking a swift remedy, he locks all doors and switches off the lights to allow the thief to return the formula, no questions asked. But little did he know that he would not live to even regret this decision.

This was a classic ‘the murderer is in this room’ mystery, which I would have otherwise enjoyed, had it not been for the weak plot. Yes, this was one of those rare Christie novels that I had high hopes on, but I was let down. The beginning of the novel was quite promising, but I was disappointed in the end.

Let me tell you, as a Christie fan, that most of the murderers in her books can be of two categories. They are either the main character, whose name has been used throughout the book, or they are a character who has been completely ignored in the story, someone you would never dream of suspecting. The murderer in ‘Black Coffee’ fell under non of these categories, which is quite uncharacteristic of Agatha Christie.

So all I can say is while the story-line was good, the end could have been a whole lot better, because in murder-mysteries like this, it is the end that matters.

Still, it is definitely worth a shot. Who knows, you may even like it! Anyway, everyone has their own taste, and I would love to know your views about this book in the comments section!