An Ember in the Ashes – The book that took over my life, beginning to end.

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Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1

Publication date : April 28th, 2015goodreads

Publisher : Razorbill – Penguin Random House

Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy

Page Count: 446

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.
(From Goodreads)

Rating: 5 stars

An Ember in the Ashes

Content warning: Violence, death, murder, rape, slavery.

(No Spoilers)

How do people review books they adore? Because I, for one, don’t know where to start with this one. First of all, this is a case of a book I’ve had on my TBR for a very long time, haven’t picked up and regretted it deeply afterwards. Imagine how different my life would be if I had been flailing about this book for the past 2 years. Iconic, glorious, but also full of feels, pain and withdrawl so a very small part of me is grateful I waited so long to read it. It’s been a week since I finished it (when I’m writing the review) and I still gasp from time to time when I think about it, I still have feels and I need to know my babies will be okay.

 

I never expected the writing to be quite beautiful and gripping. It’s intricate and yet very simple, Sabaa Tahir has a way with words that makes it seem easy and effortless. An Ember in the Ashes is written in dual POV from Elias and Laia’s perspectives and as much as they are different they’re equally good and I got invested in the two of them so much that I forgot to take notes like I usually do (hence why I’m find this review so hard to write).

I will be honest, there is no easing into this book, it’s fast paced and thrilling from start to finish, it’ll keep you on your toes, fearing for your beloved characters and you’re going to love it (at least, I did). Admittedly, the book takes around a hundred pages to pick up the actual plot but even those early pages are far from boring, they’re actually action packed as well because they are what sets the plot into motion.

The events in this book are very brutal, so I wouldn’t advise reading it if you don’t do too well with the topics in my content warning. The author doesn’t shy away from graphic descriptions of fight and torture scenes, they’re amazingly well done and terrifying. Everything about the plot is raw, brilliant and very well thought out, nothing seems unnecessary or out of place, no event holds the place of a page filler and I really loved that.

When I first read the book description and saw that the world is Ancient Rome inspired mixed with elements from my culture. MY CULTURE *excited squeals*. And since it is ownvoices, I wasn’t much worried about the authenticity part as I was worried about how those elements would work in that setting. AND IT WORKED GREAT, the worldbuilding was so seemless and everything is weaved together in such a mezmerising way and without one single info dump. I was sucked in from the start and fascinated by all the details that were added progressively to flesh it out and make it all real, and every added element was a welcome addition that never felt out of place.

I loved how the jinns, ghuls and wraiths were portrayed, the author described their powers versus describing their physical form which was awesome because we rarely (if ever) know what any of them look like, and there are gazillion different forms people claim to have seen them take, so bonus points for that. And the fact that they were sneaky, powerful and hella scary takes the gold as well because THEY ARE TERRIFYING. You don’t wanna mess with them.

Now to talking about my babies. And the other characters, the inconveniences.

Laia is my queen, not gonna lie, I haven’t loved a female character so fiercely since Lila (Shades od Magic), Inej and Nina (Six of Crows). She starts off thinking that she is a coward and a weakling because she abandoned her brother to save her skin (not a spoiler), which he told her to do. But staying would’ve meant her death too, so that wouldn’t be much help, would it? Anyway. As the book goes on, she grows stronger and more confident in herself and her abilities to save herself and her brother, and thus becomes more resourceful. I also loved how caring and fierce she was. In the smallest and most amazing ways.

Elias is the softest child in the whole wide universe. Okay, he’s not really a child, he’s 20, my age. But, that contrasts with the cold scary heartless brute image he has to convey as a mask soldier and that’s how he’s always perceived (As he’s first meeting with Laia didn’t fail to remind me). But -not so- deep inside he’s such a passionate and gentle soul. He cares about people, wants to change things because he hates them as they are and I just *sigh* I want to hug him and never let go.

Helene is a despicable woman I hated with every part of me. She’s the image of the white feminist girl who should get from her moral high horse because her morals are actual and utter shit. She treats the slaves like dirt and thinks her life is Worth more than theirs. I just wanted someone to shut her up. I learnt that she actually gets her own POV in book 2 and that, I am very mad about. Keenan is cute and all but the fact that he was after Laia was an inconvenience because I obviously ship her with someone else. That being said, I like how he was ready to help her achieve her goals without the whole unnecessary toxic masculinity trope.

There’s no actual romance in this book (but I know there will be in the future) well, actually, this is a bit of a lie because there are few things going on but nothing major and nothing I care about. I am glad it’s not there though, because it gave more space to the story to develop properly and for the characters to actually meet and know each other so I’m super excited to see how things unfold.

Which is why I need A Torch Against the Night. So so so so so bad. And I actually have it. But I’m fighting every part of me telling me to read it right now because Ember 3 is very far away and I’m nor willing to deal with the torture. I’ll be reading it soon though, I can’t resist very long.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read An Ember in the Ashes? If so, what did you think?

Who’s your favorite character?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Under a Painted Sky – Two runaway girls, a sisterhood, a family.

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Publication date : February 11th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Penguin Random House

Genre : Young Adult | Historical Fiction

Page Count : 384

Synopsis : Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.
This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.
(
From Goodreads)

Rating : 4.5 stars

Under a Painted Sky.png(No Spoilers)

Before reading this book, I hadn’t read a historical fiction in the LONGEST time and I really missed it so you can imagine how excited I was to finally pick it up. Plus, I had never read a book about the California Gold rush so that doubled my excitement. And this book truly exceeded all the expectations I had for it which were already high considering a friend whose opinion I trust had read and loved it. And now I love it too. No, I adore it, so so much. AH!

The writing is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s refined and gorgeous and I could feel how much loss and grief Samantha was feeling just from the way the emotions were weaved through the narration. The narrative feels very personal, as if I were reading someone’s journal especially since it’s filled with the MC’s beliefs and superstitions as well as the way she sees the others and feels about them. I just honestly couldn’t get enough of the writing, it had me hooked. The little bits that made me double up are some french translations that were wrong gender wise.

I don’t think I will stop talking about the writing if something doesn’t stop me, the descriptions are just mezmerizing, the way the Oregon trail is described made me feel as if I were there, it’s so vivid and detailed. The author also uses the opportunity given by the time period to unpack racist, sexist stereotypes as well as slavery. This was not only done through the girls’ experiences along their travels but also throughout active dialogue between the two, discussing the anti-blackness Andy (Annamae) is subject to and how each one of them experiences racism differently.

Under a Painted Sky wasn’t what I expected it to be, in the best way possible. It is one of the most heartbreaking but also hopeful stories I’ve ever read. That’s how I came out of reading it, filled with hope for the characters as well as genuinely happy, which wasn’t the case for the biggest chunk of the book. understandably. Samantha, the main characters, and Anna mae are fugitives so you can imagine how full of hardships and obstacles their journey must be but through it all, they had each other, from start to finish.

I truly didn’t realize how much I was loving the book until I had to put it down and go to sleep but found myself not wanting to. The only critique I can give about the book is that a bit of the ending was a bit rushed. As a whole, it was just like I wanted it to be and I was extremely satisfied but I would’ve liked certain events that led up to that point to be more elaborated. I’m not complaining much though, because as I said before the ending made me feel very happy and hopeful because in a way left open so I could imagine that these characters that I came to love and care for will be okay no matter what.

This book has one of the best friendships I’ve ever read, such a tight-knitted, precious relationship. In fact, it felt like more than a friendship, some sort of unbreakable bond that’s created only by having just the only person to count on and trusting them with your life. Sammy and Andy were like sisters by the end of the book and seeing that develop and unfold was beautiful and touching. The girls had each other’s backs no matter what and could understand each other beyond words.

The characters all have a single thing in common, which is loss. They’ve all lost something or someone that they haven’t really gotten over, and that thought was heartbreaking and made me forget that in fact, they are teenagers or barely adults (although, in that time period, people grew up faster and 16 then isn’t the same as 16 now). There was just so much hurt, life experience and wisdom in all of them than I couldn’t help but get attached to every single one of them.

I loved Samantha, she may come off as dull and boring at the start of the book but I think that was done on purpose, because with the development she goes through, she blooms and grows more and more confident. She’s actually very smart and resourceful. Annamae came across to me as an old soul, she’s so full of knowledge and like she had to age before her time came (understandably), she has a sort of quiet strengh and determination embed in her that made her my favorite.

Peety, West and Cay were unexpectedly amazing. When I first started reading, I thought they’d be just ephemeral, people they’d meet along the way and that’s it. But then, when I realized they were there to stay, I worried about them not having depth and being there just for the sake of the girls having companions not as wholesome people but I was wrong and I’m glad I was. The cowboys are amazing, each one of them crafted with depth and attention to make them as real as possible through Sammy’s eyes. I loved how they brought this sort of lightness to the story because they loved to tease and joke around. The banter between them and the girls flowed nicely and naturally and I found myself giggling quite a few times. By the end of the story, all five of them made up their own little family on the road.

I’d recommend this book to everyone, reading it was an amazing, emotional journey that you don’t want to miss out on, full of thoughtful and thought provoking discussions that will leave you thinking about it well after you finish it.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Under a Painted Sky? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Where the Sisterhood Filled my Heart with Joy

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Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1

Publication date : April 15th, 2014goodreads

Publisher : Simon & Schuster

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 355

Synopsis : Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.
They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. (From Goodreads)

Rating: 4 stars

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(No Spoilers)

Well, well, well ! Look what we have here. I think this was on my list of series to read in 2016 and I only get to it now. Five months into 2017 (when I read it). And even back then I’ve had this one for a few months and I genuinely do not know why I kept pushing it until now because my excitement to pick it up has been the same, but I guess other book got in the way, huh? Anyway, I’m glad I FINALLY got to it because I absolutely loved it.

The writing is pretty simple and easy to follow, no over flowery prose and not to simplistic either, I thought it fit the narration and Lara Jean’s voice pretty well. There was one thing about it that I didn’t like, and it was really the only thing that was between this book and 5 stars. The problem that I’m talking about is that here and there I would stumble upon an ableist word like crazy or even bipolar and maniac and… that is not okay in any book. I’m hoping and praying for the day where the use of these words would be eradicated from litterature. Please and thank you. There was even this sentence and… yeah not great.

“Anybody with one eye and half a brain could tell what a tool that guy is.”

“Are you saying my sister is blind and brainless?”

Dear authors, please stop doing this. It’ll cost you nothing and it will actually make your books better.

Moving on. The premise is very interesting, and to me, it lived up to my vision of it and more. Wanna know why? Because IT HAS FREAKING FAKE DATING and holy crap, you put those two words together and I come running because that’s one of my favorite romance tropes. Add to that amazing sisterhood (my favorite thing) and I’m head over heels, like really, once things got moving, I couldn’t put the book down unless my eyes shut on me and I ended up sleeping with my phone in hand. It was so entertaining to see Lara Jean trying to untangle herself from the mess she’s made and ending up messing even more. Oh boy, how entertained I was.

Lara Jean was such a sweet quiet girl. Once her older sister left the house she was lost and lonely and just didn’t know what to do so it was nice to see her progressively gain independancy. To be completely honest, we didn’t click from the get go, maybe because she reminded me too much of myself when I was 16? I don’t know. Either way, I ended up really loving her by the time I finished the book.

Again, as I said, the sisterhood was one of the highlights of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, especially between Lara Jean and Kitty, it reminded me so much of my little sister and I a few years back, plus Kitty is a lot like my sister. She’s fierce and sassy and acts like a grow up and all of that was SO adorable about her. And even if we didn’t see much of Margot, the little I got to see I loved, she’s so mature, keeps it together and would do anything for her family. I loved how the book portrayed the relationship between all three of them, it was so authentic to how sister fight and make up.

I was conflicted about Peter, there was this one side of him that was 100% douchy, obnoxious, loves to talk about himself and calls his friends “my boys” BUT there’s this other side that’s the opposite, gentle, corny and funny. I JUST. I have too many confusing feelings, he confuses me. Josh on the other hand I’m very meh about, he’s a nice boy and all but he did some shitty stuff and I’m very annoyed at him. We’ll see if he does better in the sequel.

Seeing how the book ended, it took all the willpower I have for me not to pick up the sequel on the spot. I’m so intrigued and eager to know where things go from there, I really hope they go just the way I suspect. I can’t believe I’ll have to wait some more to pick it up, because because I have a readathon this month (June) so I won’t be getting around to it but AAH. So excited.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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She wore Red Trainers – Realistic “Halal Love Story” but ultimately alienating

She Wore Red Trainers.pngPublication date : June 10th, 2014goodreads

Publisher : Kube Pubishing Ltd

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count : 256

Synopsis : When Ali first meets Amirah, he notices everything about her—her hijab, her long eyelashes and her red trainers—in the time it takes to have one look, before lowering his gaze. And, although Ali is still coming to terms with the loss of his mother and exploring his identity as a Muslim, and although Amirah has sworn never to get married, they can’t stop thinking about each other. Can Ali and Amirah ever have a halal “happily ever after”?

Rating : 3 stars

She wore red trainers(No Spoilers)

This book is probably the oldest book by a Muslim author on my TBR, from the time when I was still very hesitant to pick books with Muslim MCs up… for reasons. So it got burried under a gigantic pile of books and I only remembered about it while trying to figure out my TBR for Ramadan Readathon. And to be honest, it kind of checked a box for one of the reasons I used to stay away from these books quite some time ago, which I’ll be explaining in detail somewhere in this review. That being said, it was still a true to life, enjoyable story.

The writing is simple enough to follow and easy to read which helped a lot with the pacing on the book, one thing that bugged me about it is how much the words “teeth kissing” (??) and “bro” were used, there was too much of them. She Wore Red Trainers is written in dual POV alternating between Ali and Amirah which was good, because even though the two of them don’t interact much, we still got to see what each of them thought of the other, of the few times they met, etc…

There’s one thing I want to address before moving on with the review, it’s about the fact that a lot of people (non-muslim and western in most of the cases) thought the romance unrealistic because the two of them barely talked so “how can they develop feelings for each other?”. The fact that this is different from western cultures and situations doesn’t make it unrealistic, in fact, this is the reality for a lot of Muslims who get married only after a few meeting because that’s just how things are done and most of these marriages work just fine. So please be careful not to label real people’s lives “unrealistic” just because they are different from what you’re used to experiencing.

Moving on. Even though at first glance the story appears to be a romance through and through, it’s so much more than that. It’s also about family and dealing with different traumas and different kinds of grief. I loved the siblinghood from both the MCs sides, they were different and yet similar in a way that they both cared so very deeply for their siblings. I also loved the sense of community, how everyone got together to do something for the youth and to make their summer better.

As for the romance, I really liked how the author managed to keep it interesting even with Amirah and Ali interacting very little with the stolen glances, the misunderstandings and the awkward but adorable little conversations. The ending was so very cute, I loved how the two of them ended up making things work no matter what was thrown their way.

I loved Amirah‘s personality and how ambitious, strong and witty she was, but under all of that she had a lot of deeply rooted secrets and insecurities and I loved seeing her deal with that and ultaimately break free from itAli is such a responsible, funny guy, I loved how he tried to be his family’s rock after his mom’s death even though he struggled a lot on his own. He went through great development, finding himself, what he wants to do and taking a different direction with his life.

All of this being said, there was something deeply wrong with the narration, and this is my opinion and mine only. The way the characters live in this book is very strict and conservative and there’s nothing wrong with that, I actually quite liked getting a perspective that’s different from mine but what really bothered me is that the book seemed to not know there are Muslims who live their Islam in other ways, so it ultimately alienated me because I felt like it was judging my way of practicing my faith to uplift the way the characters practice it. There was use of sentences like “every self-respecting girl would do X”, implied judging of people who don’t wear the hijab, do or don’t do certain things and that made my reading experience uneasy, because as good as the story itself it failed in keeping an open mind to the other types of Muslims who are on a different level of religiosity. 


That’s it until next time.

Did you read She Wore Red Trainers ? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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What Makes People Come Back to a Blog ?

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Hello guys !

So this post was supposed to go up last week but… if you read last week’s tag post, you know why I went -forcefully- off the grid for a few days. That being said, I’m back and trying to speed schedule posts because Eid is at the end of the week and I’m traveling in a couple of days to my aunt’s house.

Anyway, way to get off topic, Fadwa. When I came back from hiatus I found a few comments from new bloggers asking for advice on how to do the whole blogging thing. Flash news: we’re all winging it. Okay no, more seriously, in my year and a half of blogging, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks that I think could be useful to someone out there. This won’t be the only post of this kind but I don’t know at what rate I will be posting them, it will all depend on inspiration (see, winging it!). But I already have a couple up that I think are somewhat useful:

So, now that that’s said, let’s get on with the post at hand. I want to talk about the things that make us not only follow a blog but also stick to it and keep coming back to read the posts that are put out. This won’t be an all inclusive list and some of these might not work for some people (some of them don’t work for me), but all in all, this is what I’ve seen around. So let’s do it !

Back Blog 1

It doesn’t have to be something fancy or complicated, it just needs to be at your image and not too crowded so that people feel comfortable reading your blog (says the girl with the bright pink blog. Le sigh). You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you like but I’d advise starting simple if you’re new to it, just so that you can pick up some skills (which you’re bound to do) and see what you like and don’t like and THEN you can work on making it into what you want it to be. Speaking from experience, wanting to master it all from the first try get VERY frustrating.

Also, don’t be afraid to experiment, switch things around, see what works best for you. Blog designing isn’t an exact science and no one is going to shun you for wanting to play around with your own blog. I know it sounds daunting and that you want to get everything perfect from first try but none of us have, it took me quite a few tries before getting it the way it is now and really loving it and even then, I still make some small changes from time to time.

Back Blog 2

I don’t do memes anymore because most of them don’t fit my posting schedule and I’m not interested in the ones that do. That being said I’m very very grateful for them because they jump started my blog quite a bit, they were the best way to meet other bloggers and interact with them as well as to fill in my blog with post while I was still trying to figure out who I wanted to be as a blogger. You can find a few meme directories in the first post linked above.

As for tags, they serve the same purpose, tho I still do them from time to time, not nearly as often as I used to (again, I started losing interest) but they’re still fun to do from time to time and have saved my butt from not posting more times than one, so they’re definitely a nice tool to have.

I must admit that this is a double edged sword because they tend to get boring and repetitive so if that’s all that’s on the blog, people may get tired of it and… not come back, which is counter-productive.

Back Blog 3

Don’t be afraid to be yourself, “looks” (read: blog design) can only get you so far and if there’s nothing to back them up, so be as loud as you want to be, as sarcastic as you want to be (believe me, I know) or as quiet, as flowery, as intellectual, as *add adjective that fits you* as you want. Most important is that you. be. yourself. Fangirl all you want, rant all you want, scream all you want, all you need to do is show your likes, dislikes and some traites of your personality, you don’t need to overexpose yourself if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.

I find that my favorite blogs are those that give me a sense of the person writing the posts, and when I read them I can feel that there’s someone behind the screen. This is not as hard as it sounds, most of us do it without realizing it.

Back Blog 4

I know that we’re mostly here as reviewers but we all know (and if you’re a newbie, now you will know) they’re the kinds of posts that get the least engagement out of all types and here’s where I give me two cents about it. So try switching it up with other types that make it easier for people to talk to you, maybe some discussions which can range from serious to hilarious, take your pick, or other original content like character interviews that a couple friends of mine do (Ceillie & Sinead) or branching out of books a bit (the Follow Me Through Morocco series I did a while back, which I might pick back up… someday) or other content that I can’t think of right now because I just had a brain fart.

I know that coming up with these kinds of posts at first seems impossible but as you grow more confident in your blog, the ideas just start popping in your brain? I think? Or you can get inspired from other bloggers but definitely don’t copy. That’s a big no no in the community. And just common sense.

Back Blog 5

There’s nothing better than that, because it builds a trust with the reader and they know whatever your post that it *is* your opinion, no one else’s and it wasn’t influenced by anyone or anything. And at the end of the day, if people trust you, they’ll keep coming back to you. Simple math. Also, showing genuine interest in what they think and have to say is important, especially when they comment, I know it’s hard when comments pile up (Lord knows I’ve sucked at it lately) BUT it’s essential that when people take the time to leave a thoughtful comment to answer and show equal interest. This also goes for when they voice concerns about your content (which you can read a more detailed post about here).


That’s it until next time.

What are things that make *you* come back to blogs?What are your favorite kinds of posts?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Lambs can Always Become Lions – The F/F Robin Hood Retelling your life lacks

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Series : Lambs can Always Become Lions #1

Publication date : May 15th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Self-published

Genre : New Adult | Retelling

Page Count : 96

Synopsis : Robin Hood, along with her group of friends, has been aiding the poor of Nottingham for four years. They have become an hindrance to the Sheriff of Nottingham, terrorising the rich lords and ladies and robbing gold right from under the Sheriff’s nose.
Helping Robin from inside, and proving her most useful ally, is Lady Marian Fitzwalter.
After hearing about a special shipment coming through Sherwood – filled with gold, jewels and weapons – Marian agrees to help Robin gather information so she can ambush it. It is risky and dangerous on both sides but Marian would do anything for Robin. And Robin would do anything to feed her people.
But as the shipment draws closer and tensions rise, Robin finds herself having to decide which is more important: love or duty.
(From Goodreads)

Rating : 4.5 stars

Lambs can Always Become Lions.png(No Spoilers)

You know, I think this is one of those books I’ll keep yelling about until the end of time because IT’S SO GOOD. REAL GOOD. I’ve been eyeing it for MONTHS before it came out, the premise had me super excited, I mean who wouldn’t be. A robin hood retelling? An F/F romance? GIMME, and to be completely honest, it didn’t disappoint at all.

The writing has sort of a whimsical vibe to it that I thought fit the time period perfectly and is easy to follow, which with the fact that this is a novella makes Lambs Can Always Become Lions a very fast read. It’s written in dual POV from both Robin and Marian’s perspectives which gives the reader a more wholesome look at thing and works very well with the plot and how the story is weaved, especially since both spend most of their time apart.

The story starts with a steady pace and picks up very fast to leave you gapping at all the events happening in front of you and YOU CAN’T HELP YOUR PRECIOUS BABIES WHO ARE SUFFERING (If you didn’t notice, writing this review rekindles all the feels). I was deceaved, even though I had a clear idea of the main events from the synopsis/the start of the book, I had no idea Charlotte was going to play my feelings like that. For how short it is, LCABL is action packed, it really is, with amazingly well written high stress fight scenes (some of my favorites ever) and I must admit, this book has a bunch of kickass characters to whom I got attached very quickly.

Robin is fierce and sassy with a soft side to her that cares deeply about her friends and Marian. I LOVED HER SO MUCH. She made me laugh more times than I can remember, made me swoon but most importantly got me cheering for her and rooting for her life and safety, which were put in harm’s way one too many times *glares at Charlotte*. To me, she’s one of those characters who are impossible to dislike because of the witts as well as her kindness.

Marian is a lady, and has more to offer than what meets the eye. She’s brave, loyal and resourceful, ready to do whatever it takes for the people she loves. I was invested in her fate as much as I was in Robin’s because both of them are well rounded, genuine characters. And I love love love girls who kiss and save each other. Let me just tell you about their relationship, IT’S THE MOST ADORABLE THING EVER. I knew I’d love this book early on, why? Because where the books starts, Robin and Marian are in an already established relationship and that’s one of my favorite things ever because there’s no newness to it and it’s just 100% sweet tender love. AAAAH. I CAN’T STOP GUSHING!

I really appreciated the fact that Robin’s crew was made diverse. Little John is asexual (the word isn’t used but it’s very heavily hinted), Edda is a black Muslim woman and Will is non-binary. That being said, I wish we had more of them. I think we see them enough to get a sense of who they are but I wanted more of them and I hope that happens in the next installment. I really loved the family vibe their banter gave off and how easy it was to see how much they care about each other.

All in all, this is a book that you should read. YES YOU. GO BUY IT !! It’s fast paced, engaging, and even has its cute times in the midst of all the chaos. So what’s not to love about that? I am REALLY excited for what comes next considering how things were left off at the end and I can’t to see what adventures the characters embark in next.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Lambs can Always Become Lions? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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TAG #35: The Shocker Book Tag

The Shocker

Hello guys !

It’s been SO long since I did a tag *counts* almost 3 MONTHS. And it was a nice break to be quite honest because they were all starting to sound the same to me and I started running out of books at the rate in which I was doing them (Once a week. Yes that’s a lot). I’m back to doing them, although this time I’ll do them once a month or even less than that. It depends.

Also, sorry for the abrupt hiatus this week, I was planning on staying on schedule but our WiFi shut down last Wednesday and the technician didn’t bother showing his face until a week after that (this past Wednesday) after my dad threatened to cancel the contract (which he’s still going to do). Anyway, that’s the story of how I missed two posts this week.

Back to the tag. This time I’m doing the Shocker Book Tag for which I was tagged by Cris @ My Tiny Obsessions. Thanks girl !

Title = Goodreads page.

A BOOK YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO LOVE BUT ENDED UP HATING

benjamin-alire-saenz-the-inexplicable-logic-of-my-life

The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz. I mean, the story itself I liked, but wow, waaay too many issues for me to enjoy it so I actually ended up disliking it a lot because of all the cringing I did and how it infuriated me.

 

A BOOK YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO HATE BUT ENDED UP LOVING

Sabaa Tahir - (#1) An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I KNOW. I KNOW. Why on earth would I think that? But it just didn’t sounds like the kind of book I’d love but OH BOY I KNEW NOTHING. I just finished this one a couple of days ago and it’s now one of my favorites ever. I’m obsessed, I can’t stop thinking about it and I made a Pinterest board for it. That’s how committed I am.

A BOOK FROM A GENRE OR INCLUDING A TROPE YOU GENERALLY DON’T LIKE THAT YOU LOVED

Whitneey Gardner - You're Welcome Universe.jpg

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner. I generally HATE the betraying bestfriend trope but I loved how it was done in this book because while the MC was betrayed by her so called bestfriend she met someone else and she was awesome. I loved how that situation was used to shed light on toxic friendships.

A COVER THAT TOOK YOUR BREATH AWAY (CAN BE FOR GOOD OR BAD REASONS)A CHARACTER WHO YOU HATED AT FIRST BUT YOU GREW TO LOVE

Stacey Lee - Under a painted Sky

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee. JUST LOOKIT, it’s so stunning and I just can’t stop staring at it. All the colors look so good together and it captures the vibe of the books so well. Okay but the READ. THIS. BOOK. It’s as stunning as the coverand I just… don’t even have words for how beautiful it is. I love it. I love it. I love it. My review will be up soon so keep an eye out if you want more coherent thoughts.

A BOOK WHICH YOU ARE SHOCKED IF ANYONE HATES

Jen Wilde - Queens of Geek

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde. I mean I yet have to find a person who hasn’t liked this book BUT if anyone ever hates I wouldn’t understand. For the life of me I can’t see what it is about this book anyone could hate. It’s the fluffiest, most feel good book out there right now.

A BOOK THAT IS SO UNDER-HYPED YOU FEEL LIKE THE ONLY ONE WHO’S READ IT AND YOU WOULD BE SHOCKED IF SOMEONE TOLD YOU THEY HAVE

yaa-gyasi-homegoing

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Everyone is sleeping on this book so hard you don’t even know what you’re missing. It’s a gem. One of a kind. Brilliant, raw, beautiful, heartbreaking. AND IT NEEDS TO BE MANDATORY READING. I say it everytime I talk about it but you seriously need to pick it up, you wouldn’t know what you’re missing out on until you actually read it.

A BOOK WITH A PLOT TWIST THAT SHOCKED YOU

Julia Ember - The Seafarer(s Kiss

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember. It’s not a twist as much as it is an unexpected turn of events. Which made me laugh but I ultimately felt bad for laughing because it was a bad situation. It was so so well crafted and just Nothing I could’ve thought would happen in those circumstances.


It’s waaay too late for me to think of anyone to tag right now so if you want to do this, DO IT ❤


That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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The Rose Society – The Anti-hero turns out of control Villain

The Rose Society.png

Series: The Young Elites #2

Publication date : October 13th, 2015goodreads

Publisher : G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy

Page Count: 398

Synopsis :Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.
Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.
But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness? (From Goodreads)

Rating: 4 stars

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(No Spoilers)

WOWOWOWOW!!! This is probably the darkest book I’ve ever read, it’s mind boggling. Terrifying, horrifying, shudder-inducing and all the other adjectives. My heart was pounding out of my chest the whole time I was reading it and wow, it’s intense, the darkness got suffocating at times and I just had to take a break because it was more than I could handle. I don’t think I can pretend to have a black soul after this (says the girl with the pink bubbly blog. Irony.). I know I said that The Young Elites is dark, but this, THIS is tenfolds that because Adelina is 100% evil, there’s no light whatsoever.

The writing is intricate and consistant, as in it’s the same as in the first book, it packs a punch of emotions and that’s really all I can ask for. The complaint I had last time about the book lacking POVs is completely solved in this one because it 100% focuses on Adelina but still manages to develop the other characters. That being said, I have another complaint (when do I not complain?). Some of the dialogue felt very off to me, a bit too info-dumpey and convenient. For example, a character would be eavesdropping and the right thing would be said at the right moment for them to have all the information they need and that really bugged me. It was just too easy.

The pace picks up very early on in this one, once the introductions to the world are done with in the first book, The Rose society goes straight into the action with lots of killing, stabbing and fighting and my soul loved it (It’s still a bit black, see?), the action scenes are given the attention they deserve, they’re very well written and described, I could easily imagine everything that was happening and there was no confusing anything anymore. I really liked how everything unfolded and how events were put into motion.

There are two things I’ll always love about the characters in this book. First one is how none of them have a “noble cause”. There’s nothing wrong with that, mind you but it’s a nice change and a welcome twist from every other book. They were all after personal gain, something that would benefit them, may it be vanity or vengeance. Second is how their powers have limits AND a cost, that’s all  I’m gonna say, otherwise I’ll be venturing into spoilery territory

Adelina is a piece of work, oh lord. The more she uses her powers, the more she feeds on darkness, the more she becomes dark and the more she looses control over it, it’s a vicious circle. She’s ambitious, determined to get what she wants and is also a villain mastermind, the way she plot her next steps is genius. I loved her or more like, I loved to hate her because she does all the messed up things and you cannot not hate her for them, especially towards the end.

I really liked her sister, Violetta. She’s this calme presence all throughout the book and ground Adelina for most of it. She goes through great developement from this scared little girl to a confident one who know what she wants and what the limits to what she can accept are and isn’t afraid to act on it. Last but not least, Magiano. HE STOLE MY HEART!! He’s such a sneaky, cunning, mischiveous boy but also has a gentle, sweet side to him. Honest to God, he was the only light in the book, on rare (VERY rare) occasions, he brought up this hopeful, good side of Adelina, which she didn’t fail to smother right away but HE DID THAT. And I ship them, even though he deserves better I can’t help it, and I KNOW I shouldn’t because I’m pretty sure my ship will sink but again, I can’t help it.

I think this will be it for my rambling about this book, it was such a good sequel and was far from suffering from Second Book Syndrome which I was scared would happen. BUT I’m really scared to pick up the finale The Midnight Star because I’ve been hearing very mixed things about it, some loved the conclusion, some hated it so I’ll maybe wait a couple of months before picking it up and I’ll go in with low expectations. WE SHALL SEE.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read The Rose Society? If so, what did you think?

What did you think of Adelina’s actions and motives?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Haven – A Brooding Man, a Sarcastic Woman and a Happy me

Haven

Series : Beards and Bondage #1

Publication date : April 25th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Self-published

Genre : New Adult | Romance – Erotica

Page Count : 228

Synopsis : A week-long getaway…

City girl Claudia Cade’s carefree life is plunged into chaos when a camping trip with her brother in the national forests of Northern California turns into a deadly dash for her survival.
A solitary world turned upside down…
Nature photographer Shepard Olsen has resigned himself to a quiet existence, with only his dog by his side, until a woman in need of his protection shows up on his doorstep and throws his universe into disarray.
Two lives linked by tragedy…
Claudia is desperate to heal from her traumatic loss, but can’t stop thinking about her run-in with evil….or the grizzled mountain man whose quick thinking and good aim saved her life. When she shows up on Shep’s doorstep again, she finds she isn’t the only one who can’t move on.
…saved by bliss.
The two begin an intense, passionate relationship of Dominance and submission, pleasure and pain, but with dark memories haunting them and decisions about the future rapidly approaching, Claudia can’t help but wonder…how long can they be each other’s haven?

Rating : 4.5 stars

Haven.png

Content Warning; Assault and Murder (at the very beginning)

*I got a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

(No Spoilers)

OH. WOW. I’ve seen a few of my friends over on twitter talking about how good this book is and I thought “I’ll add it to the TBR and maybe get to it one day” but THEN, I was told that it was on Netgalley and literally run to get it and I SO DON’T REGRET THAT DECISION because it’s just so good, it has all the element a good smut book needs and then some, I think I’ve said this in EVERY New Adult book review I’ve written but I am SO glad to be back on this horse, I don’t even know why I stopped reading them in the first place *cough* same characters *cough* same things happening *cough* boring, but the ones I’ve picked up lately are truely a blessing.

Back to the book at hand. The writing is blunt and straight forward, the sex scenes are far from being sugar coated, it’s very graphic. The author isn’t afraid of using the words as they are and I really appreciated that. You know me by now, I like my flowery writing BUT I only do when it’s needed, which wasn’t the case here, it wouldn’t have made sense with the content of the book, so the writing style is exactly what’s needed.

I loved how Haven starts, it throws you right into a very fast paced action scene that gets your heart rate going. And no, NOT the sexy kind of action, I’m talking more of a being chased by a murderer kind of action. And even after that, the story takes its time to show the two characters coping on their own before bringing them together and giving us all the smut we need in our lives.

Listen, you’re not ready for how sex positive this book is. I know I wasn’t. I’ve read my fair share of BDSM books where I cringed and felt uncomfortable because of how unhealthy the dominant/submissive relationship was *cough* 50 shades of cringe *cough*. The consent lines are blurred, the rules aren’t set and it’s just a very harmful depiction all around. And BLESS, that wasn’t the case here, there are on page conversations where Shep who is old to the lifestyle explains in full detail what’s done and what isn’t and asks Claudia if she was comfortable with it all.

AND THE SWEET SWEET ROMANCE. Excuse me if I’m enthusiastic about this book to the point of throwing all caps here and there but it’s just such a well balanced story, hot sex on one side and swoon worthy love on the other. Their chemistry is so palpable, and their banter AMAZING, it just flows naturally with teasy back and forths, serious conversations where they help each other cope with what they went through, literal netflix and chill nights and so on. I honestly loved how domestic and cozy the non-sex scenes were, with lots of cooking, spooning, watching The Originals and other things that don’t involve leaving the house. I’m all for that. I laughed, I swooned  and I was close to sheding tears towards the end.

That being said, I wanted MORE of this, of the banter, and simple things, I wouldn’t say they were overpowered by the sex but it was very close. I’m greedy like that, I loved them so much together that I wanted more.

Shep is a brooding, cranky mountain man but at the same time such a soft bear, he made my heart so mushy. When not in his dominant “persona”, he was a gentle, caring and a very attentionate person who was set on taking care of Claudia and genuinely loved doing that, he knew not to overstep, he knew when no meant no and didn’t press. He also tried his best to help Claudia grief and heal BUT he was fully aware that he wasn’t the answer to all her problems.

Claudia is literal goals. She’s an ambitous black woman who knows what she wants, how she wants it and stat. She has ambitions for her career that she didn’t throw away for a relationship. She’s such a strong woman that I lowkey look up to, she is honest, snarky and just the best, okay? I LOVED how confident she is about her sexuality, again, she knows what she likes, makes it known and is super comfortable in her body. I loved how the PTSD was delt with, it wasn’t brushed aside, you could clearly see that she was struggling and bonus point for her having to go to more than one therapist to find the right one for her.

I wanted to mention a few secondary characters as well, like May Bell and Jad, the old neighbors who basically adopted Shep and were like family to him, checking up on him and worrying about him. Liz, Claudia’s bestfriend is a true gem, I loved how positive their friendship was, she’s a keeper.

I was genuinely sad when I finished the book because I didn’t want it to end, I loved the characters and their story so much that I wanted more, I still do. My hopes and dreams are that the second book in the series will be about Liz and that we’ll get glimpses of Claudia and Shep through that. A girl can dream, right?


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Haven? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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