An Ember in the Ashes by Sabba Tahir

“Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after.” 

There is something incredibly hard about going into books that are massively loved, and I’m happy to say I now fall into this category. AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is set in a fictional world, and follows the dual perspective of Elias and Laia. Even though this book is pretty big, it flew by. Its such a faced paced book that sucks you in from the beginning. I never wanted to put it down and had to know what would happen next. This definitely did not read as a debut novel, it was incredible! I expected this to be like every other YA Fantasy that came out around the same time, but oh boy was I wrong.

I am in love with Sabaa Tahir’s writing, her prose is freaking beautiful! There is so many quotes in this book, and as you know I’m a sucker for beautiful prose. The story starts when Laia’s parents are murdered by a mask and her brother is arrested. She is left on her own with nothing, she seeks out a group called the resistance. They are skeptical of her at first until Laia explains who her parents were, in the end they agree to help her rescue her brother. But one one condition, she must enter the academy and pose as a slave to the commandant to gain inside insight on what the empire is planning.

Laia – is one of the Scholars – now ruled over by the Martial Empire, when her brother is arrested, she seeks out Resistance for help. They make a deal with her, in order for Laia to earn there trust she must enter Blackcliff Military Academy as a slave in order to spy on the Commandant. She starts off as weak, and sacred but as the book progresses she becomes stronger. Her character development was so well done.

Elias – He is the son of the Commandant, and a mask in training. He is another really complex character, he wants to live up to his destiny and please his family while on the other hand he wants to escape. He does not believe is all the methods of the empire, he was never afraid to show his feelings.

The Commandant – Is a ruthless and scary ruler, She treats everyone around her like there disposable.

Helena – She is a mask in training, she is also Elias best friend. She is strong, independent and full of fire. She’s a really complex character, truly loyal and devoted to what she believes in.

“There are two kinds of guilt: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.”

What I wasn’t expecting was how violent this book is, some scenes get pretty gory, it really doesn’t hold anything back. There is trigger warning for rape and sexual assault which I was not aware of going into this book. Even though these topics are very horrible, it showed how desperate  hopeless these characters are. Laia’s treatment was awful. I was appalled over and over again by the way the slaves were treated. I loved the trials, there were done so well, and I never knew what to expect.

There is also a hint of a love triangle but it really wasn’t the focus of the novel, maybe it was have a bigger importance in the second book. Overall I really enjoyed this book and will be picking up the sequel really soon.

 Trigger warnings for violence, rape and sexual assault.


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Naturally Tan by Tan France

Thanks so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tan France is one of five TV personalities from the Emmy-award-winning Netflix show Queer Eye. I feel like I should start off by saying that I love Netflix’s Queer Eye to pieces, and Tan is always one of my favorite guys on the show. I don’t tend to read very many memoirs, unless there by some of my favorite people. I find it really hard to rate non fiction, as this is about someone’s life, and how can I judge there experiences. So I tend to rate them for enjoyment, and I really liked this book. Tan’s voice is exactly how I imagined it would be, he is intelligent ,so sassy and his personality shines throughout the novel. He also doesn’t hold anything back, which I really appreciate.

Tan was born in Pakistan and raised in Britain, he is also Muslim. He talks about what it was like going to school and growing up in a mostly white neighborhood. It absolutely broke my heart to hear how desperately Tan wished he were white when he was younger. I’m glad he has come to accept his skin color, as its beautiful! He grew up in a strict Muslim household, so it was so fun reading about his acts of rebellion. I cannot imagine getting on a plan at the age of seventeen and flying to New York, and telling my parents I was sleeping over at a friends. He is a little bit of a bad boy!

I really loved his honesty about the show, he was really nervous and that makes me able to connect with him on a deeper level. Most actors brush off being anxious in front of the camera, but Tan relates how he felt uncomfortable. He is touches on his businesses before the show. He has accomplished so much, but his fame isn’t without struggles or stress.

I really loved reading the stories about his husband Rob, I never knew much about him until reading this memoir. They were in a long distance relationship for years, while running a business from two different countries. Which both things are incredible, while each are difficult in there own ways, Tan and Rob accomplished them both. There story is so sweet and was a delight to read.

Also I highly recommend the audiobook as its read by Tan. I think if you are a fan of Queer Eye you will adore this book.


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Love from A to Z by S K Ali

“Maybe that’s what living is–recognizing the marvels and oddities around you.” 

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book, I thought it was just a cute teen love story. What I got was so much more. This book was filled with so much good and heartfelt moments, about family and friendship. Also about loving yourself, and standing up for your beliefs.  I cried a couple of times during the book, I loved it so so much! The writing is absolutely gorgeous, and the characters are beautiful. SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS BOOK!

Love from A to Z is written in dual perspective, as diary entries in the form of “Marvels” and “Oddities” from both of the main characters’ journals. I really loved this format, as we got to see inside the minds of each character and experience what they were feeling. Our story really starts when Zayneb goes head to head with her extremely Islamophobic social studies teacher and is suspended from school. Her mother thinks it’s best that she leaves for spring break early and is sent to Doha to visit her aunt.

Zayneb –  is a Muslim girl of Pakistani and Caribbean descent,who lives in Indiana. She is headstrong and brave, stands up for herself and her beliefs.  I loved Zayneb and how unapologetically Muslim and unapologetically angry she was.

Adam – He is of Finnish and Chinese descent,who is also Muslim, he attends university in London while his family lives in Doha,he has recently been diagnosed with MS. He is so soft and gentle. He’s incredibly optimistic and likes to see the good in things.

Both characters had such complex personalities, and were very different from each other. We see over and over throughout the novel how Zayneb is treated because she is Muslim. The author dives deep into the daily struggles of Muslims in the US, as well as in Doha. It shows different ways people can be racist from the woman who sat next to Zayneb on the plane, to the staff at the pool and her teacher.

“I’m not a violent person. I’m not advocating violence. But I am an angry person. I’m advocating for more people to get angry. Get moved.” 

The romance between Zayneb and Adam, was really adorable. That scene where they’re pretending to talk about water but actually referring to each other was the cutest thing Iv’e ever read.

I Highly recommend this to everyone,this is such an amazing book.

Trigger warnings for loss of a parent, illness, terrorist attacks, and racism in the form of both subtle and outright comments.


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August TBR 2019

Hello friends! Can you believe its August, it feels like summer just started and here we are with only 4 weeks left. I know the first day of fall isn’t officially until September 21 but to me fall starts when school is back.I don’t usually make TBR’s because I’m a mood reader and I never stick to the lists I make but this month I have a lot of book club picks, so here we are. I’m not saying I will read all of these books, the book club books, yes i will read. However the books i list from my TBR are a tentative selection but at the time of writing this post they are the book I’m excited to pick up.


Book Clubs and Readathon’s

Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Its a Hardback Life Book Club

New Moon by Stephanie Meyers
August 15- 31
#Twilightreadalong

I was Born for This by Alice Oseman
Heartstopper Vol 1 + 2 by Alice Oseman
#aliceosemanreadathon Hosted by Romie
August 10 (24 hour readathon)

Ironside by Holly Black
#faerieathon
August 12-16

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
Dragons and Tea Book Club
August 19-24

Books from my TBR

Get a Life Chloe Brown by Taliah Hibbert
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Naturally Tan by Tan France
The Escape Room by Megan Goldin


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August Anticipated Releases 2019

Hello Bookworms! Can you believe that it is already August,


The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang
Series: The Poppy War
Publication Date: August 6, 2019

Synopsis:
The searing follow-up to 2018’s most celebrated fantasy debut – THE POPPY WAR.

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

The sequel to R.F. Kuang’s acclaimed debut THE POPPY WAR, THE DRAGON REPUBLIC combines the history of 20th-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating effect.


Dead Voices by Katherine Arden
Publication Date: August 27,2019

Synopsis:
Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.

Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.

With Mr. Voland’s help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.


The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
Publication Date: August 6, 2019

Synopsis:
Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:

– Nude pics are by invitation only

– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice

– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…


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July Book Haul

Hey friends! July was a pretty good month, I originally planned on not buying any books this month. But guys, that is really hard. I caved in on Prime day, because there was a couple I had to get and it’s hard to say no to a good deal. Plus I was in vacation so that’s a good excuse right there. I’m so excited to get to these books.

Physical Books I Purchased

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

Ghost of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare 

The Last Guest House by Megan Miranda 

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Bridgid Kemmerer

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Final Girls by Riley Sager

E-Books I Purchased

Crown of Lies by Pepper Winters

Lessons in Thorns by Sierra Simone

Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak

Arcs/Edelweiss/ Netgalley

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera


There we go, that is all the books I got in the month of July. Have you read any of these, let me know down below what you thought of it or what book I need to read right away.


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Well Met by Jenn DeLuca

Thank you Netgalley and Berkley for an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Let me start by saying that this is Jen’s debut novel, and I was blown away. This was so such a sweet and charming story. I read Well Met as part of #Summerathon and I couldn’t be happier it was the perfect summer read. I finished this book in 48 hours because I just couldn’t put it down. I adore stories set in small towns. Willow Creek had all the small town glamour that I just eat up. This book gave me all the warm and fuzzy feelings, I want to jump on a plane and fly to Michigan to attend a Faire so badly !!

After a recent breakup, Emily moves in with her sister, who was recently in a car accident and is on the mend and her niece Caitlin. Emily takes her niece, Caitlin, to sign up for the local Renaissance Faire that happens every summer, as a fundraiser for the high school. Upon arrival she is told that Caitlin needs a parent or guardian to be involved in order to participate. Emily soon becomes a  tavern wench every weekend for the summer.

“I didn’t choose the wench life. The wench life chose me.”

Emily- I loved Emily and her journey to discovering that she is worthy of love. I loved her friendship with Stacey and how supportive they are of each other. I also really liked her love for literature and how much she cared about her family.

Simon – He is the English teacher at the high school, and runs the Faire. He plays the swoonworthy pirate Captain Blackthorne. One of my favorite things about this book is the banter between Emily and Simon. There shared loved for literature and quoting Shakespeare was just everything!

I loved everything about this book. The small-town setting, the summer Ren Faire, the wonderful cast of characters. If your looking for a fun summer romance I highly recomend this book, and I cannot wait to see what Jen writes next.


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I Wish You all the Best by Mason Deaver

Trigger Warnings: Depression, Anxiety, Coming Out, Abusive Parents, Homophobia & Transphobia

I Wish You all the Best is our July book for It’s a Hardback Life Book Club, which is held locally at Chapters Indigo. This is a story about Ben who is a non binary teen and they’re struggle of coming out and trying to find acceptance.This book was everything and so much more than I was expecting. This is an #ownvoices book,the author is non binary.  Mason Deaver can write! They created such a beautiful prose and such adorable character’s. I could literally feel Ben’s emotions, especially when they are experiencing anxiety.

This was the first book I had read with a character using they/them pronouns and I am so thankful that this book is out in the world! This book is much needed to other who identify as non binary and just in general so that we can glimpse into Ben’s mind, and try and understand what they are experiencing. Now, everyone is going to have different experiences and emotions, but I eel really blessed to have read such a beautiful story. Everything starts when Ben decides to come out to his parents, they are full of so much hope and anxiety about how the parents will take it. Well as you can guess it did not go well. With no where to go, Ben contacts they’re older sister whom they have not had contact with in over 10 years. Hannah and her husband welcome Ben into there home, getting them set up in a new school and finding them a therapist to speak with about everything they’re going through.

“Don’t ignore the problems. Learn from them. But also don’t knock what you get right. Every success deserves a celebration.”

Ben – is non-binary, suffers from depression and anxiety. I identify as Cis, so I thought it was really interesting reading about Ben’s feelings towards there body image. It was a great reminder that those who identify as non binary in some form experience some discomfort with there identity and body image. How they feel about there body really affects your mental health. Ben in my opinion, seems to like more feminine things for themselves.

Nathan – He is an adorable ray of sunshine, with terrible jokes, he is loud and outgoing. The connection between Ben and Nathan is  beautiful and sweet and touching all at once. He is the perfect love interest!

Hannah – Is Ben’s older sister, married to Thomas, has a not spoken or seen Ben or her parents in 10 years. She is so supportive and just all around amazing. She is also still learning along with Ben about what they are going through, but its her wanting to learn that really gets me. Also her husband is such a nice man, he is a teacher at the high school that Ben is now enrolled in.

Miriam- non-binary Muslim , they have an online platform talking about being non binary and thy’re struggles. Ben mentions that he found them when researching about they’re identity and struck up a friendship. I loved the premise of Ben having an online friend in which they can confide in and receive support. As internet friendships can be very special and sometimes even better than the friendships we have in real life. As someone can feel more confident talking to someone online and sharing there opinions/feelings. I really loved how encouraging Miriam is with Ben.

This book touches on a lot of difficult issues as well as having a very sweet friendship/romance. I have mentioned how Ben has depression and anxiety, there is a scene in the book I found to be triggering. Ben goes to a party with Nathan and some girls they are friends with. One boy tries to get Ben to drink and take shots even after Ben explains they are not comfortable with it. In the end Ben does take the shots because they want to fit it. But it triggers a panic attack, I could relate to this as it has happened to me many times. I could feel the same emotions they were experiencing, deep down in my stomach and it made me feel sick. Even though this was triggering it just shows how great of a writer Mason is!

The romance is such a slow burn, that starts out as friendship, which I found to be the best way to go. We the readers can see from the beginning that they have feelings for each other but they don’t figure it out until later in the book. Even writing this review my eyes are filling with tears. I cannot say enough good things about it, everyone needs to pick it up and read it immediately. I promise you will not be disappointed.

“Whatever happens, I wish you all the best, Ben De Backe

 

I Wish You All the Best is a beautiful book about acceptance and friendship. I swear I will by and read anything Mason writes in the future!


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What I’ve Been Watching Lately… 12/07/19

Schitts Creek

I’ve only just started watching this show, and I absolutely love it! This just might be the funniest show I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t usually watch a lot of comedies but this one is really worth your time. It is currently streaming on Netflix.

This show follows the Rose’s, a wealthy, spoiled family that fall onto hard times and has everything they own repossessed. They are forced to move to a small town called Schitts Creek.

Eugene Levy plays with the father John, I’ve always thought he was hilarious and he continues to be in this show. He’s always coming up with ideas to try and get them back on top, that don’t always go to plan. This show features a pansexual main character: David Rose who is played by Eugene Levy’s real life son, Daniel Levy. Who is just as hilarious, he is my favorite character in the whole show. This show just makes me so happy!

Stranger Things – Season 3

I’m going to write a whole season review really soon, so I won’t say to much here. I just finished episode 3 and I’m really loving it so far. My favourites are still Steve,Duston and Nancy 💖

This update is a little short but I really haven’t been watching much. I’m on vacation starting Monday and I’m hoping to watch a few movies and finish stranger things. So be on the lookout for a season review soon. What are some movies and shows you’ve been loving?


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Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

“When you’re constantly treated as a pariah and labeled bad, you might begin living up to that expectation.”

When I first heard about this book I knew it was going to be one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. After being denied an arc from Edelweiss I impatiently awaited the release date. This book was so good! I struggled with the beginning, because the Korean words threw me off but once I got used to it the book flew by. This book was everything and more 💖

This is a Korean lore fantasy story about a Gumiho, a fox with nine tails. This story is set in modern day Seoul, following Miyoung. She is on a hunt for Gi, a humans life force. She must consume Gi at least once a month in order to survive. On this particular night, she runs into a Dokubai, a large goblin, attacking a teenage boy. In the attempt to save his life she loses her fox bead which contains her soul.

Miyoung – A 16 year old high school student who is half Gumiho and half human. A nine tailed fox who takes the form of a beautiful girl. She tries so hard to pleas her mother Yena, an old but gorgeous Gumiho. Miyoung struggles with her human emotions, which usually leads to trouble.

Jihoon – A high school boy, who lives with his grandmother over the restaurant she owns. He finds out that Miyoung is a Gumiho and when she starts going to his school, he really wants to befriend her. He has two best friends, who are absolute gems! He is so soft and adorable! I loved him so much.

“When you’re constantly treated as a pariah, and labeled bad, you might begin living up to the expectation. “

I really loved the friendship and later in the book, romance between the two characters. There early interactions reminded me of Twilight which I’m currently reading. Miyoung tells Jihoon to stay away from her and is grumpy when he talks to her in the halls. Eventually she starts to let her guard down, and there adorable together! They both have such strong character arcs, and have a lot more in common than you’d believe a Gumiho and a human boy would have. Such as absent parents and trying to figure out how to fit in.

I also loved Jihoon and his grandmothers relationship, there so tender and sweet, but also hand so many funny moments. I wasn’t expecting this book to make me so emotional but I cried more times than I’d like to admit.

Besides all the cute moments there is also a lot of action. The second half of this book had so much conflict. This was the first book I read that was set in Korea and I need more. The setting and atmosphere was beautiful. Kat Cho is such an amazing writer I can’t believe this is a debut novel, her words transported me into Korea and the I never wanted to leave. This book was an absolute joy to read.

I cannot wait for the sequel! I highly recommend Wicked Fox.


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