The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye (Review)

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Started: 8/1/2017
Finished: 8/5/2017
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Disclaimer: I looked up the mazurka on YouTube last night and started crying in the club, so one might say I am quite emotional over this book.

How Evelyn Skye managed to write a sequel better than the first book makes her a magical writing fairy and deserving of all of the respect in this dark, dark world. I loved The Crown’s Fate and now it is my child. I will cherish and love it forever.

The Crown’s Fate picks up pretty much where The Crown’s Game left off, so if you haven’t read that then what are you doing reading this review? Go read The Crown’s Game quickly! Please!

Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, Pasha is set to become the Tsar, and Nikolai is supposedly dead. Also Yuliana is still a hard-ass and one of my faves because she is so gosh-darn unlikable. Vika is adjusting to having to abide by every one of Pasha and (mostly) Yuliana’s strict rules, forced to wear a bracelet that ties her directly to the will of the tsardom. Meanwhile, Nikolai is in the Steppe dream bench and unable to procure a physical form and escape. It’s not without the help of his (undead?) mother that he is finally able to leave the Steppe and reenter the real world as nothing more than a shadow of himself. Literally.

The Crown’s Fate continues the magic and whimsy of the first book, but this time with more dire consequences and higher stakes. Nikolai is tainted by his mother’s energy and vindictive over the ending of the Crown’s Game. He sees that Vika had moved on and believes her to be in love with Pasha, fueling the fire burning inside of him. Nikolai finds that he has the strange desire to kill Pasha and overtake the tsardom.

I’m not sure why, but lately I have been loving the sequels in duologies more than the first books. This same thing happened with Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Crooked Kingdom has become one of my favorite and most cherished books.

The Crown’s Fate has beautifully built off the world that Evelyne Skye built and the transition is smooth like butter. Emotions are heightened, characters are further developed, and we get more of Yuliana. And with Nikolai back in the real world, the love triangle continues.

One of the things that I have enjoyed the most about The Crown’s Fate is how little romance plays a part throughout the narrative. The story is not dominated by who Vika will choose and her love (though differing) for both Pasha and Nikolai. The story is about magic and intrigue and the intense politics of an Imperial Russia on the brink of revolution. While The Crown’s Fate is a few decades before the actual Russian Revolution and deals mostly with the Decembrists, the urgency to save Russia is palpable.

This book is such a treasure and gift to my life and my love for Russian history and culture. I love the way that Evelyn Skye makes it known how vast Russia’s culture is and how diverse of a country it is. Russia spans two continents, and sometimes when people write about Russia they forget that. The ethnic diversity in Russia is well-highlighted in this duology.

There is nothing bad I could say about this book. I love it and I’m so glad that I have had the chance to read it and experience the Imperial Russia that Evelyn Skye has created in her historical fantasy.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (Review)

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Started: 7/31/2017
Finished: 7/31/2017
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

READ THIS BOOK! That would be all I have to say, but I am pretty much bursting at the seams with how much I love this book! Jen Wilde has created a story that can, will, and does speak to so many people and it has provided so much happiness, support, and understanding for me as well. Here we follow two different perspectives. One is of Charlie who is a Chinese-Australian budding YouTube and movie star who has been invited to appear at an American convention called SupaCon. The other perspective is that of Taylor who is one of Charlie’s best friends and she’s a super fangirl who is autistic and also has anxiety. The entirety of the book takes place at the convention and hi-jinks, love, and fun ensues!

I loved the representation and diversity in this book. One of our main characters, Charlie, is Chinese-American and embraces her culture. There is also autism and anxiety rep (Taylor), bisexuality rep (Charlie), and lesbian rep (Alyssa – Charlie’s love interest).

The description of anxiety in this book is spot on. I have never read a better representation of what anxiety feels like on a day-to-day basis as I have in this book. It’s as if Jen Wilde has tapped into my brain and put into words what I have never been able to explain to other people. I really wish people in my life who don’t have anxiety would read this book and finally understand what it’s like. I felt like I could really relate to Taylor and the things that she’s gone through trying to understand and relieve her anxiety.

The romance in this book was top-notch. It was so sweet and angsty and fluffy and absolutely wonderful! It was so much fun watching the romances blossom and lines get crossed and misunderstandings unfold. Sometimes I read so much fantasy that I forget how much fun contemporary romances can be.

Just as a little warning, I wanted to let people know that there are some bimisic comments from the antagonist (Charlie’s ex-boyfriend Reese) so beware of that if that is something that makes you uncomfortable.

Over all, I absolutely loved this book. I am so impressed by the contemporaries I have been reading this year. None of them have disappointed me thus far and Queens of Geek is no exception. This truly is a love letter to fandom members and I can’t wait to reread it in the future!

Prom Queen Perfect by Clarisse David (Review)

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Started: 7/7/2017
Finished: 7/7/2017
Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

This was such a sweet novella! I was expecting something light and quick and fun, and that’s exactly what I got and more. It’s definitely a mix between Gossip Girl and quintessential teen rom-coms, with the feeling of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Prom Queen Perfect follows Alexandra dela Cruz (I was so excited to find that we share a first name!!) and she is the most popular girl in her school and is currently in the running to win the coveted title of prom queen. But her once less-than-kind feelings towards her classmate Adam Cordero turn romantic and she finds herself helping out a socially-invisible girl at school who turns out to be her best friend.

I don’t read too many novellas, but I loved the pacing and the way that it felt like this was a complete story. Nothing was missing and there was enough drama and romance and teen angst to make the reading worth-while.

Also, the fact that Alex isn’t exactly the most sympathetic narrator was one of my favorite parts! I have a soft spot for main characters that are rough around the edges, and she goes through such a nice and realistic character arc, which was certainly refreshing. I also loved Adam and how serious, but funny and witty he was. The characters’ romance was completely believable and I was definitely rooting for Alex by the end of the novella.

All in all, I completely recommend this novella for anyone looking for a fun, short, and easy contemporary to dive into and read in one sitting.