An Ember in the Ashes : My Thoughts 💭

“You are full, Laia. Full of life and dark and strength and spirit. You are in our dreams. You will burn, for you are an ember in the ashes.”

Title: An Ember in the Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Published: 2016

Pages: 464

Genre: Ya Fantasy Fiction

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
 
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. 

My thoughts 💭

So I had this book on my TBR for quite some time. It’s one of those books that everyone was ranting and raving about. So I bought it, and never read it. One of my fellow blogger and Instagrammer @gracedwithbooks, encouraged me to read it so I did. I will say it did not disappoint.

From the beginning of the book your immediately drawn in. The main character Leia, who comes from one of the strongest scholar families, is terrified of everything and anything. Until the most tragic thing possible happens to her. She finds herself working for the rebellion and enduring things from the commandment she never thought she could. All just to save her brother. In the midst of all this she meets Elias, who comes from one of the strongest families in the empire and is destined for greatness. She finds herself questioning if maybe not all Mask are the same. However he also is in a position that all he wants is to be free. When his path crosses Leila’s he too finds himself questioning everything he was trained to be. Little did both of them know that their paths were destined to be intertwined.

I loved this book! I thought the character development was done well. From the beginning of the story until the end you see Leia and Elias grow into who they are meant to be. They are both the complete opposite of each other and yet they are drawn together by destiny. They are forced to face their enemies, the empire, and themselves. There was action, friendship, love, lies, and deceit. There were so many qualities in the characters, that even as a reader, I think we can all relate to somehow. You were able to see their fears just as much as their strengths. I also think there was a good balance of action and romance. Neither was overpowered by the other. I also liked how each chapter is told from Leia and Elias perspective. Sabaa Tahir did a wonderful job in keeping the reader engaged and definitely wanting more with every page turn. I know I couldn’t get enough. I was glad to see that this book lived up to the hype. At least for me it did and I would definitely recommend it.

Now I can’t wait to get to book two, A Torch in the Night.

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Kingdom of Ash thoughts 💭

“Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom …

Summary:

Aelin has been enslaved by Maeve and has been made to endure the most awful forms of torture. To the point that she no longer recognizes what is real and what is not. Rowan has not stopped his search across the world to find her. War is finally starting to break out in every Kingdom while everyone is trying to make their way North. Maeve and Errawan have a few surprises of their own. Who will the witches side with? Evil is slowly falling and good is slowly rising, but in the end who will be left standing? You will have to read it to find out…

The end is finally here. I cannot believe I finished this series. I wanted to finish it before 2019, but I do have another life that doesn’t involve reading 😫.

Would you believe me if I told you that I walked by this series so many times in the bookstore, and it took me forever to finally decide to pick it up and give it a chance. Boy I’m glad I did!

Small Thoughts 💭:

So this is not an actual review. I just wanted to put down a few thoughts mainly I guess about some of the characters. Anyway this last book was such a roller coaster of emotions. From the start, everything that Aelin went through, I actually cried with her. For a second I thought they broke her, but….Umm nope I don’t think so, because she’s a bad bitch. And Rowan, Omg! Rowan. All I’m saying is if I had a caranum it would be him 😍. He would go to the ends of the earth, and to hell and back for her. He will forever be my number one bookboyfriend, actually book husband 😆. Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, No matter what anyone says or thinks about her and everything that she is put through, and what she has to possibly give up, she still gives so much more of herself than she has to. All for the love of her kingdom and the love of her friends, so that they do not have to suffer. She barred a burden that no one should ever have to bear and I know everyone has their own opinions, but she will forever be my favorite “Fire Breathing Bitch Queen”.

Dorian Havilliard, what can I say about Dorian? His story had so many twist and turns, especially in this book. I didn’t know what to think. But in the end I love him. He also made so many sacrifices and went through so much loss, and hate, and love, and above all self discovery. He became the king that he was always meant to be. He found love again in the last place he ever thought he would, with a Witch, and not just any witch but a Crochan Queen. Who would have thunk 😲. I absolutely love them together. They are the perfect combination. Mannon Blackbeak is probably the baddest witch I have ever read about. So until another one comes along, she will be at the top of my list. To endure the losses that she had to endure and still come out on top. Yeah definitely top of my list.

There are so many characters that I can just go on and on about, but just to give some name recognitions: Chaol and Yrene, Lorcan and Elide, Aedion and Lysandra, Gavriel, Fenrys. I mean all of them had such an amazing journey, I really could go on for quite a while but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t read it. There we’re so many things that happened, that I definitely did not expect. I cried, I laughed, I cursed🤭(you’ll see when you read it, if you haven’t already).The ending to this series was absolutely amazing and well done. It’s like you know you will miss it, but your also satisfied. It is definitely one that I will reread. People may say what they want about Sarah J. Mass but she definitely has a new fangirl 😁.

Now I need to read her next series A Court of Thornes and Roses 🥀, which I must say I’ve heard is quite juicy and steamy 🤭 hehe.

So until the next one.

Has anyone else read A Court of Thornes and Roses?

WWW Wednesday: What Am I Reading?

Good morning everyone! It’s been a while since I updated what I was reading. So I’m excited for this one. This is originally hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

The three questions to be answered are as follows:

What are you currently reading?

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Mass

I finally made it to this book. I cannot believe this is the finale 😩. This book has been an emotional roller coaster. At this point of the series I’m so invested in these characters that you feel for all them. My goal is to finish it before the end of the year but we will see. It’s a big book 😂. I’m going to be so sad when I’m done with this.

What did you recently finish reading?

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Mass

I just finished this and as in my previous review I have nothing but wonderful things to say about this book. It was a slow start, but after the beginning I couldn’t put it down. I absolutely enjoyed it!🥰 Love me some Chaol.

The Dark Awakening by D. L. Blade

This was an interesting read. I was sent to me by the author for an honest review. And I have to admit it took me back to my twilight days 😆. It was overall a good read.

What do you think you’ll read next?

An Ember in The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

So this is another book that I have heard nothing but good things about. It will be on my January TBR. I’m excited to read it as well.

Time to start setting my 2019 book goals.

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone. Till the next one.

What are you currently reading? Have you read any of these books?

Merry Christmas Eve to All!!!

“If a big, jolly guy grabs you and puts you in a bag, don’t worry: I told Santa I wanted a Good Friends for Christmas.”

“Winter Is here”

I love me some John Snow 😍

Just thought I would share a little holiday humor.

Well it’s Christmas Eve 🎄I hope everyone is with their family or friends or on their way to enjoy some good food and company. I know I sure am 🙂. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe night.

From me and my book characters, to you and yours have a Merry Christmas!!!!🎄 .

Review: Tower of Dawn

Title: Tower of Dawn

Author: Sarah J. Mass

Published: 2018

Pages: 688

Genre: Ya Fantasy

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica–the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both–and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

“Here with her, he was home. “

Summary:

Chaol and Nesryn have been sent to Antica to try to recruit the Kaghanate and his armies to join the war that is happening on the other side of the world. And also to seek out the Tores most gifted healers, to heal Chaol after his confrontation with the late King, which left him bound to a wheelchair. Little did they know that while in Antica their lives would be sent down a path they did not expect. Love is found in places they would never have thought. They experience healing, of not only the body, but also the mind and heart. They find themselves in a place they never would have thought would feel like… home. A healer in the Tore of Antica and a prince who is the leader of the Ruks, become Chaol and Nesryn closest allies. History of the Valg, and the shocking truth About Queen Maeve is revealed to them. From the moment they arrive in Antica they are being hunted by something that doesn’t want them to discover the truth and history that lies in this city, and what may be the key to end this war.

“This was not the end. This crack in him, this bottom, was not the end. He had one promise left.

My thoughts 💭

Sooo…yeah. When I started reading this book, I have to be honest and say that I put it down twice. The first few chapters were a bit slow, which made me think that was going to be the pace of the book (I mean it was all about Chaol, it couldn’t be that good right 🤷🏻‍♀️?). WRONG!!!! Boy, was I wrong. When I finally picked the book back up and got past the first few chapters, I didn’t want to put it down. I’m going to try very hard not to spoil this for those who haven’t read it.

So I’ve had a love / hate relationship with Chaol since the beginning of this series. Well…let me just say that, I absolutely fell in love with him in this book. Everything that he goes through, and everything that he’s been holding on to, UGH!!! My heart broke with him. I just wanted to hug him and tell him it would be okay😭. But then comes Yrene, and yeah, I LIKE Yrene, hehe. If you’ve read Assassins Blade, you know who she is. I was so happy to see her back in the series and I love her character development throughout the book. She is such an important character in this book, for both the war that is happening and for Chaol. Nesryn and Prince Sartaq, what can I say…(nothing without spoiling it). But I love the path they are heading down as well. I enjoyed all the new characters that were brought into this book and also the old ones that were brought back. There was definitely some steamy tension in here as well, for those of you who like that sort of thing 😉. There were some revelations about Queen Maeve that had me like “WHATT!!!(yes say it with a high pitch) I was not expecting that.” Actually I was not expecting a lot of what happened at the end 😂. I think the ending was a perfect intro for (what I’m hoping, will be a great finale) the next book. How is it possible that this was the seventh book in the series, and I was still wanting more. I know it’s not perfect and yes there were some flaws, but I absolutely enjoyed it.

So now, on to Kingdom of Ash to see where this adventure ends. I’m finally not the last person who hasn’t read it or is currently reading it 😂.

See you all in the next review!

Mini Review: The Dark Awakening by D.L. Blade

Title: The Dark Awakening

Author: D. L. Blade

Published: 2018

Pages: 250

Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal

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Synopsis:

This reminds me of how broken I am, every single day when I wake up and see it in the mirror. It’s a scar that will never go away.’

East Greenwich may be a small town, but it is riddled with secrets. Mercy knows this more than most – she still suffers from the scars. The trauma from the ultimate betrayal has caused her to keep her distance from everyone she holds dear. A stranger who lingers in her subconscious seems to be the exception to the rule. His comfort is a refreshing distraction from her tormented fears.

‘I won’t lose you again.’ 

Unbeknownst to her; the past is weaving its dark web, waiting to strike. Upon a startling car accident, Mercy is shocked to find that her enigmatic mystery man, Caleb, is real – and she belongs to him. He reveals that Mercy’s family is strongly linked to an ancient coven; the roots slowly dragging her back to Salem again. 

There may be a spark between Mercy and Caleb, but she is torn between wanting to kiss him – and running from him. Evil forces are awakening, growing bloodthirsty as the days and nights pass. Mercy must Awaken the dormant powers inside her, tackle the lies, betrayal, and blood-drenched past lives rotating around her in never-ending cycles. Can she bear the burden? Will she find it in herself to trust Caleb despite the shadowy past?

To slay a monster; you might need to become a monster.

Summary:

Two weeks from her eighteenth birthday, Mercy finds her already broken world, about to be completely turned upside down. A past that has been kept from her for almost eighteen years, is about to be revealed. Little does she know that everything she has been seeing and feeling was not just her imagination, but in fact fragments of her past. From the moment she discovers who she is, she is sent down a path that she can no longer hide from.

My thoughts 💭:

I was sent this E-book by author D. L. Blade for an honest review. If you are a fan of the Twilight series, this book is for you. That was and still is one of my favorite series, and I found myself having the same feelings when I read this book.

This is the first book in The Dark Awakening The Chosen Coven. When I first began reading the book I found the first few chapters to be a little slow. It felt like there were a lot of fillers in the beginning of the story. However, with that said, once I got past those chapters, I couldn’t seem to stop reading. It was definitely a page turner and I wanted to know what would happen next. The more I read the more I was intrigued. The author definitely made sure you felt connected to the characters. I found myself immediately drawn to Mercy, Caleb and their magic.

There’s witches, werewolves, and vampires. The character development was done well. And you had an opportunity to get to know each one before the action starts. The world that was created in this book is very believable and you find yourself immediately transported there. I’m excited for book two, to see where Mercy’s new found powers, and determination to cleanse this world will take her to. Even if your not a fan of paranormal books you will definitely enjoy this one.

Review: Girls of Paper and Fire

Title: Girls of Paper and Fire

Author: Natasha Ngan

Published: 2018

Pages: 368

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire. 

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge. 

“When the world denies you choices, you make your own.”

Summary:

Lei grew up in the Asian inspired world of Ikhara. Ikhara is divided into cast, which consists of, paper = completely human, steel = part human part demon, and moon = full demon. She is what is called, a Paper girl, the lowest of beings. But she’s not just any paper girl, she was born with moon cast eyes which makes her unique. She’s a human with the eyes of the demon king. Her mom was taken when she was a child and never heard from again, and now years later and after all the rumors about her eyes. Her fate seem to be going much like her mothers.

Every year a selection is held, and the King picks eight paper girls that will become his concubines. Lei did not volunteer for this, but one of the Kings generals who has offended him, tries to make amends by bringing him this paper girl with unusual demon eyes. However the king has no idea that he is being brought this girl. For Lei it’s either play the part and win the kings affection or her family will pay the price. So with a heavy heart Lei does what she needs to do even though it goes against everything she believes.

While in the palace Lei is determined to find out what happened to her mom and also to never give herself to king. But while there, she makes unexpected friendships and  she falls in love with Wren, another paper girl and concubine. But Wren has secrets and plans of her own. With Wrens help Lei decides to protect not only herself but all paper girls and take her future into her own hands.

My thoughts 💭

Has anyone seen the movie Legend, staring Tom Cruise? It is such a classic, and one of my all time favorites. This is the kind of world that my mind went to when I think of the demon King and the characters in this book.

So Wow! I’ve always loved the Asian culture, and this story brings it to life in a unique fantasy way. The writing was fluent and beautifully done. If I had to give any negatives, it would be that the main character didn’t develop the way I had hoped (and that’s all I can say without giving it away🤷🏻‍♀️), and that I have to wait for the next book. However, on the positive side, it brings to life some myths and legends within the culture. There was great world building and supporting characters. There is some sexual violence though not graphic, but if your sensitive to that please be aware. Ngan was able to make you feel what these paper girls go through as the Kings concubines. The fact that they have no say of what is done to them, and forced to believe that this is the only choice that they have, to please their king against their will. But she was also able to show that no matter what, there is always a choice and submitting is not always the right one. I enjoyed this book very much. There was action, love, friendship, and women working with women to achieve a better world for all of them. If your seeking a diverse LGBTQ fantasy story, this one is for you. Girls of Paper and Fire shows how women can overcome a trauma and find a strength in themselves that can never be broken. 

I don’t want an easy life. I want a meaningful one.

Has anyone else read this book? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to comment.