Publisher: Random House BFYR


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

To Be Savored, Not Devoured: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

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To Be Savored, Not Devoured: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
Tess of the Road
Rachel Hartman
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, YA
Publication date: February 27th, 2018
by Random House Books for Young Readers

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In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can't make a scene at your sister's wedding and break a relative's nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it's a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl--a subspecies of dragon--who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she's tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.
-A copy was provided by Random House Books for Young Readers for review-

Tess of the Road is not an easy book to read. At 544 pages it is long and those pages don’t fly by. In the traditional sense at least. Here is the thing about Tess though, it is a long book, it is winded and yet, I wouldn’t really have it any other way. The slowness can at times be exhausting but the book isn’t really about a big adventure that Tess takes. It’s about Tess’s character arc and her trauma. This book would NOT work if it was a speedy read you could flip through. It is a painful read but there is so //much// that Tess has internalized that it makes no sense if we could uncover her and her experience in a mere handful pages.

Tess is not a ‘nice’ girl. She has always been seen as the bad influence, the untamed child, the forgettable twin. Always in the shadow of her twin sister and older sister, she no longer knows who Tess is or ever was. On a whim, and maybe to prove a point, she runs away from home. She encounters an old friend, Pathka, and together they journey to find a mythological serpent.

Words are so hard to use for a story that is so full of layers, each one unfurling the more you read. At its heart, Tess of the Road is a deeply feminist story. It examines rape culture in our society, mother-child relationships and the bonds between sisters. And it does all of these things in ways that not only break your fucking heart, but also heal it. There are many a time when I couldn’t help but tear up the more and more we saw how much damage had been done to her by those she should have been able to trust and count on.

Tess isn’t an easy character to like and you know what, there is nothing wrong with her being unlikeable. It is hard if you’re a huge Seraphina fan like moi and spend the first quarter of the book absolutely home-sick for her and the OG squad and yet, by the end, I found myself head over heels in love with Tess and her story. To the point where I wondered if perhaps I liked her even better than Sera? Tess is so nuanced in a way I don’t think Sera was and I can see just how much Hartman has grown as a writer since she first introduced us to Goredd.

The reason why it still isn’t a 5 star read for me (which Sera was and will be if I re-read) is because we’re thrown into a world that readers are expected to pick on right away or be familiar with from Seraphina. Don’t get me wrong, if you haven’t read Seraphina, you won’t inherently be at a disadvantage. Hartman is particularly fond of throwing readers into the midst of the world. But, I still struggled for a bit, trying to get used to the world and to take it in all in so I could enjoy the journey I was being taken on.

So should you read Seraphina? Yes if you’re into good character development because that’s what this book IS. If you’re looking for a breath-taking adventure (much like I usually am), you might not enjoy Tess on the Road as much but I’d still wanna shove it at you because I am 99.9% sure the sequel (and there better be a sequel) is going to give us the show-stopping adventure we deserve.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

Superhero Beginnings: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Superhero Beginnings: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Posted by on 09/14/2017 • 4 Comments

I want this review to start on an honest note and I would like to admit that I haven’t read any of the Wonder Woman comics or watched the movie that recently came out (for reasons I am not going to dive into for the purposes of this review.) However, I’ve always been fascinated by her and when I found out that Leigh Bardugo was the one writing the Wonder Woman origin story for the D.C. Icons series, I knew it was TIME.

The reason I even bother mentioning all of that is because I know that I won’t be able to speak to whether or not Leigh Bardugo did Wonder Woman justice (although, I am sure she did.) However, I ~can~ speak to this as an origin story and…

A Letter Was Found in the Pages Of Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

A Letter Was Found in the Pages Of Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Posted by on 07/28/2017 • 2 Comments

Text:

Dear person reading this,

You might be wondering why I chose this page to write in & that is for several reasons including OTP feels but really, even if you haven’t read this book, you can relate to the way words move these characters in these pages. CATH CROWLEY is easily one of my fav authors and her words never fail to move me. Words in a Deep Blue was no different. The words in this book will make you cry, will make you laugh and most likely, the words in this book will change your life. Read it.

Love, Rashika

***images used in aesthetic do not belong to me***

5 Hot Espressos

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

Posted by on 03/21/2017 • 1 Comment

Hello and welcome to Xpresso Reads’ tour stop for 10 Things I Can See From Here. Today, author Carrie Mac shares 5 books she wishes were around when she was growing up! Her list is full of many wonderful recs (and some new to me titles) so I am definitely piling up on those books! I hope you’ll check the books and 10 Things I Can See From Here!

PLEASE GIVE IT UP FOR, Carrie Mac!

I’ve picked books aimed at younger readers, say 8-12-years-old or so because that’s when kids need to see the people they are, or will become, represented in books. When they don’t—because the book hasn’t been written or they’re not allowed to read it—that’s when feelings of isolation really set in, just…

Reminicient of Breakfast Club: Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

Reminicient of Breakfast Club: Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

Posted by on 02/22/2017 • 4 Comments

My feelings about this novel as about as complex as they get. Optimists Die First does some really great things but also needs a whole lot of work. Keep in mind that this is all based on an ARC version of the book as opposed to the finished copy and ARCs and finished copies can be worlds apart.

For starters, this book is about as cute as it sounds and looks. It is short and sweet and all about friendships and journeys. As one character in the book says, Optimists Die First is a ‘twisted version of the breakfast club.’

There is a complex portrayal of MH without any real labels and that was great. Petula has to go to mandatory art therapy and kind of really hates it. She doesn’t like any…

ARC Review: Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

ARC Review: Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

Posted by on 12/02/2016 • 10 Comments

I am not entirely sure what I was expecting when I dove into Poison’s Kiss. I was hoping to like it because I was intrigued by the premise but even when I was excited to read it, a small part of me was worried that it would not do justice to my culture. As a story, Poison’s Kiss is fine. The romance is way too insta but it is engaging, there aren’t many plot holes and the characters are relatable. The world building is EXTREMELY lacking though. From the small things to the bigger, general things, the world building needs work and this book would have benefited from some Indian beta-readers who might have been able to help fine-tune some of those issues.

The rest of this review will…

Review: Macbeth #killingit by William Shakepeare and Courtney Carbone

Review: Macbeth #killingit by William Shakepeare and Courtney Carbone

Posted by on 12/02/2015 • 3 Comments

I know that I have already review a few of these books, well actually all of them so far, and they are getting harder to review. I can only say how fun they are so many times. Macbeth is one of stories that I really enjoyed reading back in the day when I was in school, so I really liked getting to read it in this format. What’s even better is that the Macbeth movie comes out Friday. Yup, that’s right, December 4th and it looks pretty good. I can’t wait to see it. So, if you haven’t read Macbeth, you should check out the movie, then pick up this book when it comes out in January to see how entertaining reading in this format makes a dark story.

Review: A Midsummer Night #nofilter by William Shakespeare and Brett Wright

Review: A Midsummer Night #nofilter by William Shakespeare and Brett Wright

Posted by on 11/25/2015 • 1 Comment

Every time I have read one of these books I can’t help but smile. They are great fun!! I have actually never read A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I have read little bits, but never the whole thing. Of course, I knew what the story was about, but reading it in this way made it so much fun. Once again, I have to say that these books are amazing because they make learning about these stories entertaining, and in my case, want to read the real thing.

Text and social media are such prominent things today that this is such a great way to write a book. Especially books that some may find boring otherwise. Or have trouble understanding the language since we all know that Shakespeare can be a…