Mini Reviews #29: September 2022 Reads (3 four stars and 1 DNF)


The Kingdom by Jess Rothernberg

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Kingdom first caught my attention due to its pretty covers and its premise as Disney x Westworld mash-up stories. I didn’t know what to expect since the reviews sound pretty decent, but when I picked it up, it was a great and unique story that lived up to its premise!

Ana is a robot who lives inside The Kingdom, a futuristic Disneyland-esque theme park that promise immersive happily ever after experience. Together with her other 6 sisters, she’s tasked to help the customers experience this happily ever after and forget the barren, deserted outside world. Throughout the story we saw that even though inside The Kingdom and during its business hours people cherish Ana and her sisters, outside world and its employees sees them as less than human. We readers saw the unsettling things and slow realization together with Ana that they’re not as accepted and hints that something bigger and darker are at play here. I love how we slowly, but surely, peel the layers of Kingdom’s technology and the story of happily every after they’re selling. It’s mixed media medium between the past and present through Ana’s interview transcript and some news clippings helps us experience Ana’s confusion, realization, and then growth as we moving back and forth between the past and the present. The plot is also fast paced and written in short chapters so it’s really easy to breeze through. Not to mention, it has so many intriguing mystery from the murder mystery, unveiling The Kingdom plans, as well as what’s going on with the other Fantasists.

Overall, this book is truly a compelling read and something you’ll definitely want to read in one sitting!

Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule.

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom™ is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species—formerly extinct—roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty—and what it truly means to be human.
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101 Essays To Change How You Think by Brianna Wiest

Rating: 0 out of 5.

This one is a huge disappointment for me, not only because it’s extremely popular but I’ve seen my my friends bookstagram account highlighting some interesting passages which really resonates with me. Maybe that’s why I had such a high expectations for this, but what disappoints me the most is that it is not an essay collection, but rather popular writing collection. For comparison, I was expecting something published on Psyche but getting Buzzfeed lists (no offense to Buzzfeed). Then the writings themselves have repetitive themes repeated times and times over and has a lot of fluff surrounding it or worded differently to cover for the repetitiveness of the writings.

DNF at 39%, I couldn’t finish this one.

Over the past few years, Brianna Wiest has gained renown for her deeply moving, philosophical writing. This new compilation of her published work features pieces on why you should pursue purpose over passion, embrace negative thinking, see the wisdom in daily routine, and become aware of the cognitive biases that are creating the way you see your life. Some of these pieces have never been seen; others have been read by millions of people around the world. Regardless, each will leave you thinking: this idea changed my life.
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It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Surprise surprise, I actually continue with the series and actually liked this second installment! Focusing on the aftermath of Susannah’s death, this one deals with grief and we see more than just the confusing romance or Belly’s pining for Conrad. We actually see Belly’s friendship with Conrad and Jeremiah (and obviously the love triangle), the relationship the boys have with Laurie (belly’s mom), as well as their relationship with Mr. Fisher. It basically has more depth and interesting backstory rather than Belly’s fixation with Conrad. I also really like the inclusion of Jeremy’s pov and the “real” Conrad we saw briefly at the end of the book :’) I can see why Belly fell for him but his hot and cold game is really hurtful. The ending was really bittersweet but also… can’t wait to see what kind of drama waits these trio in the final book 👀

Is it really summer without the beach? Or the boys? After spending every single summer at Cousins Beach, Belly’s life is about to change. Since her brief relationship with Conrad fizzled out this past winter, she’ll be staying home for the first time. Her best friend, Taylor, has lots of plans for them – boat parties and tanning by the pool and new boys to obsess over. But when Jeremiah calls and says that Conrad has disappeared, all roads seem to lead back to the beach house. Will Belly spend another summer chasing after Conrad, or will she finally be able to let him go?
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Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The final book in His Fair Assassin series and this book finishes up the series with a bang! Seriously guys, if you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it 🔥 Mortal Heart focuses on the third Mortain’s daughter, Annith, who we saw have long been in the convent and have strong desire to go out as with her other sisters. In this book, we follow her journey as we made her drastic decisions to run away from the convent and made her own mission. It is not so political as with the previous two books, after all, Annith spent a lot of time on the road and less on the court. But it still has so many twists, strong female friendship, great historical fiction, and action packed! And out of the all romantic interest, I do think I like Balthazar the most 😄 If you’re looking to learn more about the old religion, this book definitely has more explanations to them compared to the others.

Overall, Mortal Heart is a strong finale to what’s becoming one of my all time favorite series!

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…

5 thoughts on “Mini Reviews #29: September 2022 Reads (3 four stars and 1 DNF)

  1. Great mini reviews! I really enjoyed The Kingdom as well and I feel like it’s such an underrated title? Glad to hear you enjoyed it as well 😃 That Robin LaFevers series sounds interesting! I’m not sure that I’ve heard of it before but I’m gonna go check it out now.


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