Review: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

a-torch-against-the-night-sabaa-tahirA Torch Against The Night
(An Ember in the Ashes #2)

By Sabaa Tahir

Hardcover, 452 pages
Published August 30th 2016 by Razorbill
Average Rating: 4.44

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance (Do I even bother?!)
POV: First Person (Elias, Laia & Helene)
Cover Love: So much love for the cover
Rating: 4/5 stars


Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.


Read More »

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

10626594The Scorpio Races
By Maggie Stiefvater

Hardcover, 409 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Scholastic Press

Average Rating: 4.07

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
POV: Dual Third Person (Sean & Puck)
Cover Love: The silhouette of the water horse and (possibly?) Puck with the red spotted background is very artistic.
My Rating: 5/5


It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.Read More »

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

21570318Crimson Bound
By Rosamund Hodge

Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Average Rating: 3.69

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance, Retellings
POV: Third Person Limited (Rachelle)
Cover Love: The spiral with the red cape is gorgeous. It combines the retelling and Hodge’s new world effortlessly.
My Rating: 4/5


 When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.Read More »

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

23437156

Six of Crows
By Leigh Bardugo

Kindle Edition, 462 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Henry Holt and Company

Average Rating: 4.41


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 are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.Read More »

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

22328546Red Queen
By Victoria Aveyard

Hardcover, 383 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by HarperTeen
Average Rating: 4.11

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.


four star

So…I’m rather embarrassed about how long it took me to finish Red Queen. Took me about a year to finally complete the novel… Oops? *sheepish*

I remember when it first came out in 2015, I was super interested in the concept and it seemed like the YA novel to read. Borrowed it from the library, and returned it later not even halfway finished. I picked up more books, and Red Queen kind of got pushed down my priority list of TBR. Now, here I am, a year later, finished the novel and absolutely in awe with the world, the characters and the overall story.Read More »

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

17742222-_sy540_A Court of Mist and Fury
(A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

By Sarah J. Maas

Hardcover, 624 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Average Rating: 4.77

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.


five star

Lordy, lordy, lord. I just finished this book and I’m ready to explode from the intense feels I have stored in my body. Brace yourself for a raving review.Read More »

Review: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

20522640Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3)
By Robin LaFevers

Hardcover, 444 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Average Rating: 4.12

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…


five star

This book frustrated the hell out of me. IT WAS TORTUROUS. I couldn’t take it. The whole time I wanted to punch Annith in the face, then when I finished, I was speechless.

ONE OF THE BEST ENDINGS OF A SERIES EVER.

And the thing is, I hated Annith for half of the novel!!! I don’t know how Robin LaFevers managed to redeem herself because ultimately, I love this trilogy.Read More »

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

wrath and dawnThe Wrath and the Dawn
By Renee Ahdieh

Hardcover, 395 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Average Rating: 4.24


One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.Read More »

Review: The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

mirror kingThe Mirror King
(The Orphan Queen #1)

By Jodi Meadows

Hardcover, 544 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Average Rating: 4.27

Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.


five star

Hsdhfokjdkljdlakjdiwhabcueljkladfhgasdfg. << THAT IS WHAT I FEEL LIKE RIGHT NOW. A complete and utter wreck full of turmoil, happiness, pain, and chaos. I’m a ball of emotions that won’t stop churning inside!!

That was worth every single second of waiting; I’m so wonderfully satisfied!! I cried so much during this novel. My pillow was soaked by the end of my second reread. I finished this book while in class, which probably wasn’t the best idea because I wanted to assume fetal position, but I needed to finish this. I don’t think I focused at all that day even after finishing the novel. I wanted to cry, and I did…subtly. I mean how embarrassing would that be if I really let the water works begin? At school? In front of all my classmates? They wouldn’t understand!! (Okay, some would..but still!!) Anyway, I promptly reread the book and finished it in the comforts of my blankets where I allowed myself to ugly cry, and still managed to be feel those heart-wrenching emotions knowing how it would end. Final words: I’m a broken person inside.

Everything was written to perfection. The book immediately started where we left off in The Orphan Queen, thank god, and Wil immediately went to one of her Ospreys, aka Connor, aka flasher aka healer, in order to save Tobiah’s life. We went right into the action and it was wonderful. Thank you so much Jodi for not writing some filler first chapter!! Tobiah (obviously) doesn’t die but in those first few chapters I really wondered if Wil wouldn’t be able to find Connor in time. AND, there was that damn wraith boy that got in the way of ALLL my hopes and dreams!! But the frustrating thing is, is that I can’t help but be sympathetic and pity him because he is the key to everything. Everything. This novel just moved at such an amazing pace with such beautifulness (I hear by declare that a word) that I couldn’t handle my emotions. Meadows is an expert torturer. It was like she was slowly, veerrry slowly, shredding my heart into pieces then slowly putting them back together again with super glue. Furthermore, the plot and ending was so good and the hype around this conclusion was worth every single minute of intense fangirling. The romance, the heart-breaking devastation that the characters faced, the war(!!), and everything in-between was indeed perfection.

“When Patrick is in the deepest dungeon, the wraith vanishes, and all my friends are safe: then I will be all right.”

So, I reunited with Wil once again and I love her defiance in this novel. She defies James and his guards, she defies Tobiah and the crown, she defies Patrick and the Red Militia, she defies pretty much everyone and becomes this badass, radiant (in both senses) QUEEN. OH THE FEELS. I’m so proud of her! *sniffles* The Mirror King really explores the consequences of her falling in love with [spoiler] Black Knife/Tobiah, with her animating the wraith into a (kinda, sorta) human boy (man was that a tragic and heart-rending scene to read…), and with Patrick leading an army against the Indigo Kingdom in her name. Wilhelmina must face the reality of becoming queen and what that means for her and her subjects. Furthermore, her loyalty, her bravery, her love for her friends and her vow to claim her kingdom again was refreshingly the reason (one of them anyway 😉 ) why I love this book, hell, this series so much. She goes through some serious development and I’m so happy and honored I was along for the ride. This character is the epitome of strength, love and amazingness. She is the best part of this novel, next to Tobiah of course.

Tobiah. OH MY GOD THAT LIST. THAT LIST BROKE ME. THAT LIST. THAT LIST. THAT LIST. I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE MY EVERYTHING. *swoon* Best. ending. ever. Tobiah, you ended Book 1 drowing in stupidity but you redeemed yourself and so much more in Book 2. You are one hell of a character. In my opinion, The Mirror King allowed readers to get to know Tobiah and Black Knife as one. I mean they are the same person but this book blended the two together and I got to see Tobiah deal with his Black Knife persona as the prince and how painful it was for him that he couldn’t be Black Knife anymore. Tobiah had to come to terms with the decisions he made as crown prince and as the vigilante, then later when he becomes king. He had to choose between duty and his heart, and no matter how cliché that sounded, Meadows twisted and morphed that idea so impeccably that it was just amazing. In The Orphan Queen, Tobiah and Black Knife were separate people but in The Mirror King, he became the real Tobiah who was Black Knife. (If I’m still confusing you, which I’m sure I am, GO READ THESE BOOKS AND YOU WON’T BE CONFUSED ANYMORE!!!) Tobiah, along with Wil, learned the tough responsibility of ruling a kingdom and I think Meadows portrayed that perfectly.

(…I’m still not over that list.)

“Black Knife crossed the room, a shifting heat and presence. A gloved palm cupped my cheek, hesitantly…It took everything in me not to lean into his touch; he was warm and solid, and like this he was my friend. But he was also Tobiah, and meant for someone else.”

THE ROMANCE IN THIS NOVEL GAVE ME CHEST PAINS. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t do anything but cry. Then I jumped for joy at the end. Because that ending. THAT LIST. *sigh* This book is perfect. Juuust perfect. I cried, I reread, I loved. That is the best thing that a book lover can do. These novels are the best books to come across. They are diamonds in the rough. Absolutely the best ride I’ve ever read.

I recommend these books to everyone in general and everybody should read them because they are amazing.

The Mirror King is the perfect blend of romance, magic and action. (And Tobiah because Tobiah is goals, and Wil because she is also goals). I’m devastated that Wil and Tobiah’s story is over but there are TWO amazing books that represent the best of the best YA novels. And, guys, I’m seriously book hungover. Go read these books now so we can be book hungover together.

Keep calm and read on,

smallerblogsign2

goodreads / twitter / tumblr / pinterest / instagram / bloglovin’

Side note: Comment how many times I used the word “perfection” or any form of that word. XD

Review: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)

exquisite captiveExquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)
By Heather Demetrios

Hardcover, 480 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Average Rating: 3.69

 

Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?


 

four and a half star

I used to read this Juvenile Children’s series called “Children of the Lamp” and reading Exquisite Captive reminded me of that series but this book was 10x better and for older readers.

Now, I have a new favourite fantasy series about jinn!!!

Demetrios put such a unique twist on the famous genie/jinn/jinni subject that I find it stands out from most…or it SHOULD if it hasn’t. She revamped the common knowledge about jinn and made it her own. I feel like this whole book has her signature on it.

Nalia is one hell of a badass, and powerful jinni. She is a strong, smart and should make her up my list of characters that I look up to. In the world of Exquisite Captive, the Ghan Aisouri are the most powerful jinni and are females. Nalia is the last of them but she lives as a slave to her master, Malek. No one knows she’s the last of the Ghan Aisouri as they were all supposedly murdered, so Nalia must keep quiet yet try to escape her master and claim back her place as heir to her land. This is her story about the hardships and the lengths she’ll go through to find her freedom. Hell, it was one hell of ride that left broken hearts and loud gasps. Nalia’s personality clicked with mine. I became her friend and watched and supported her battle through the terrible cards the world handed to her and I was her best cheerleader. I want her to be real so I can be one of her closest friends! Demetrios wrote such a wonderful character that will definitely attract many types of readers. But Nalia isn’t the only character that I absolutely adored.

“The sensation of Raif’s skin was so different from Malek’s-where her master’s scorched, Raif’s tingled, like fine grains of sand shifting under a breeze.”

Ladies and gentleman, (if you roll that way 😉 ), I give you Raif. Sexy, enigmatic Raif. Leader of Arijinna’s rebellion and yes, Nalia’s enemy. This man will suck you in from the get-go. He is full of sass and sarcasm and his and Nalia’s relationship is sizzling. There was definitely not enough scenes with these two as I loved their banter and chemistry. Raif brings a mysterious feel to the novel and his sister is another fabulous addition to the novel. The presence of Raif gives a whole new meaning to Nalia’s journey to freedom. Because he is the enemy, Nalia should stay far, far away from him, but he wants something from her…and he can give her her ultimate freedom from her master.

The story line should captivate readers from the very beginning. Reading the blurb, I saw potential in the characters and story line, and I was right! The plot moved at a decent pace where there was always something interesting happening. It was full of dark magic but I like to think of this novel as a song. It works it way up to the crescendo in a way that you’re gripping the book, and flipping the pages manically. When you hit the crescendo, the climax, it just feels like your heart is about to explode with all the chaos and emotions happening in the novel. Then it slowly brings the readers back down to prepare for the end, but when the song ends you remain feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus yet content with the events of the novel. The melodies of the song still play in your head and the emotions connected to it are still there.

Well, that was a damn good analogy wasn’t it? 😛

“Soon, he will have the jinni backed up against a wall. Just as she was three years ago. The bodies. The blood. The hunger.”

The details of the Exquisite world are complicated. I mentioned the Ghan Aisouri the highest caste of jinni, but there are also the Shaitan (scholars, and artists), the Djan (laborers), the Marid (peasants) and the Ifrit (soldiers and sorceres). Respectively, that is the second highest to the lowest of castes. The level also governs how powerful their magic is. Each caste is distinguished by the colour of their eyes, the colour of their smoke and how they draw their power. Ghan Aisouri can control all four elements: fire, earth, water and air. The Shaitan draw power from air, the Djan draw from the earth, the Marid, water, and the Ifrit, fire. I’m extremely fond of these type of novels where there are caste-like segregation among the population, and having read many books similar to this, I can say it was well thought-out and creative. The jinni twist was new to me and gained my approval.

I remember finishing Exquisite Captive and remembering moments from the book in the middle of the day and painfully waiting for the release of the next book, Blood Passage. I am super impressed by the quality of this novel, along with the effectiveness of the characters. I’m a very satisfied reader. 😀

Exquisite Captive is fast-paced and never failed at keeping my attention. The plot was well constructed and truly spellbinding. Like your favourite song, it leaves a distinct mark on one’s reading soul, and that is rare.

I recommend this series to fantasy lovers and those who have read Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

Keep calm and read on,

smallerblogsign2

goodreads / twitter / tumblr / pinterest / instagram / bloglovin’