An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

“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.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here, back with another review! This one took my a while to finish, and was probably a book better to be read almost all at once, but I still really liked it!

“I don’t need to believe in the supernatural, not when there’s worse that roams the night.”

Stars (Out of 10): 9/10


Overall Thoughts: This book lived up to the hype! I really enjoyed it, and while it’s not my favorite book or series (right now) by any means, I’m really really excited to see where it goes in the next book!


The Good: I really liked the plot, and how every chapter had something interesting happen! In addition, I loved the world building as well, and am super curious as to how that will later develop!


The Bad: While I liked the characters, I had trouble getting “attached” to them to be honest. I enjoyed the plot and the twists and everything, but I wasn’t fully “rooting” for the characters in these moments. Of course I wanted them to succeed, but I didn’t necessarily feel that attached to them either.


THE SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

“Magic can save you.
Magic can kill you.

Students at the Magisterium are supposed to be safe. Under the watchful eyes of the mages, they are taught to use magic to bring order to a chaotic world.

But now the chaos is fighting back. Call, Tamara, and Aaron should be worrying about things like pop quizzes and magic contests. Instead, after the shocking death of one of their classmates, they must track down a sinister killer… and risk their own lives in the process.

As Call, Tamara, and Aaron discover, magic can only be as good as the person who wields it. In evil hands, it has the capacity to do immeasurable harm, unless it is stopped in time.

In this striking third book of Magisterium, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare present us with a school where anything, good or evil, can happen, and the only way to unlock the truth is to risk everything to find it.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hello! It’s Allison again, this time with a less favorable review.

“That’s what heroes did. They ran straight toward danger and didn’t ever give up.” 

Stars (Out of 10): 4

Overall Thoughts: Heroes may run straight toward danger, but this book ran straight toward an abrupt ending. Don’t get me wrong. I love Cassandra Clare’s writing and I loved the first two books Holly Black and Cassandra Clare wrote for this series, but this one definitely fell short. In fact, I felt like I read only half a book. This book is a great example on why foreshadowing and pacing is very important!

 

The Good: The characters developed, I suppose. We got to see more chaos magic. The series overall plot developed. The prophecy was figured out. 

The Bad: Pacing. Pacing is a super important part of every story. When writing a series of books where the first few take place over several months, but have the third book in the series take place over a matter of weeks, you’re going to have to make up for that by adding something in to make it feel like it has the same amount of substance as the first two books. Have more than just romantic subplots. Have more than just the main plot.

Spoilers begin below

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

“Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! It’s Allison. Its been a while since I posted a review due to a reading slump and school, but I definitely chose the right book to get back into reading. So here’s my review for Crooked Kingdom.

“No mourners, no funerals. Another way of saying good luck. But it was something more. A dark wink to the fact that there would be no expensive burials for people like them, no marble markers to remember their names, no wreaths of myrtle and rose.” 

Stars (Out of 10): 10/10

Overall Thoughts: Once you start reading this book, you will not want to put it down. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger, making you turn the page. There was a reason I was so obsessed with Six of Crows when I first read it. Crooked Kingdom produced the same feeling. This book delivers and delivers, working hard to give each character an ending that was just right. This duology will always have a place in my heart!

Spoilers begin below!

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Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

“Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The saga that began with Illuminae continues on board the space station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum may be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival. The fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

“It’s not about what I say right? It’s what I do that matters here.”

Stars (Out of 10): “A whole sky of different stars”/10

Overall Thoughts: I actually needed to give myself a day to fully process this book before writing this review, and yet, I am still just in complete awe of this book. It seemed to meticulously planned, with a plot riveting at every page. The way the book is formatted also seems to bring a whole new layer of immersion in my opinion, and makes the events of the series seem much more real. In addition, the characters were witty, and for a book full of facts and documents, I found a lot of humor in the book, that left me laughing at many points. Overall, no amount of words can describe how much I loved this book, and how fully it completely blew my mind. Super, super excited for book 3!

The Good: The plot was so many layers deep, and every single little detail shared actually has some importance, while it may not always seem that way. In addition, I loved the characters, and they were perfect for the plot in my opinion. I also love how well it connects to book 1, and everyone who survives Illuminae is seen in Gemina, which I was super happy about!

The Bad: Nothing really comes to mind actually, except for some formatting decisions (text speak) or how the audio and ebook files work out. But I didn’t find anything with the story itself that I disliked.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

The Characters: While they were a lot different from Kady and Ezra, I still really loved Hanna and Nik. They felt really real, especially since we only see them through transcripts and chat logs. I also loved the continued use of old characters, and how they still remained really important. While I hope it remains to the crew of 4, as it’ll get a bit crowded otherwise, I probably would just fall in love to anyone new next book regardless!

The Plot: This was definitely the best feature of this book. I loved the plot of this book, and how so many things came together, especially at the end. Even with all the information in front of us, the twists were still amazingly hidden, even though there was plenty of hints and foreshadowing if I go back and think about it. From the lanima, to all the attack fleets, to the attack squad, and lastly, to the super crazy wormhole happenings, there were problems happening constantly, providing for constant action. It felt extremely in the moment, and I was always super nervous and anxious about what was going to happen next, kept on my toes at every moment. In addition, I’m still completely blown away by the inclusion of multiple universes, and the science behind the wormholes. That’s still so crazy in my mind, and I’m so intrigued by it, and how it’ll affect the rest of the series!

The Favorite Character: I really liked Hanna later in the book!

Buy it, Borrow it, or Bin it: Buy it!!!

The Unforgettables by G. L. Tomas

“Neighbors and best friends Paul and Felicia hoped they’d be friends forever. But as they change, so does their friendship.

She shouldn’t have kissed her…He shouldn’t have liked it.

Starting school changed everything. …”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! Unfortunately I’ve got a bit more of a depressing one today, as I don’t give such low scores often! I hope I’ve explained my reasoning for disliking the book well enough though, as it seems this book was rated pretty highly on Goodreads.

Stars (Out of 10): 1/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: Some of you may be shocked at how low this book was, as I usually tend to give books pretty high scores. However, while the beginning of the book originally had me leaning towards 5/10 (an eh plot with eh characters), it’s rating dropped very abruptly very quickly after around 60%. The quality of the book seemed to fall, as well as plot realisticness and character likeability. In addition, the ending nullified every single conflict in the book basically, while also being extremely vague and not truly giving readers closure (which I desperately sought for.)

The Good: There’s a very diverse cast in this book, especially for it being in a really white area, as the character Paul originally explains. The book seems to have a huge variation in both race, gender orientation, and sexual orientation. However, a lot of it is later looked over, and some of it seems to be brought up just so the book can be considered “inclusive.”

The Bad: The diversity the book attempted to show almost had all but disappeared near the end. Characters I was indifferent about I began to hate very very quickly. The plot (which seemed strictly about their romance) was extremely unrealistic, and seemed way way too planned and “fake.”

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

“In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

“It wasn’t freedom she wanted. It was belief in something—a prize big enough to run for and to fight for and to keep on reaching toward no matter what.”

Stars (Out of 10): 10/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book, and a lot more than I thought I would. I didn’t necessarily have expectations going into this book, as I didn’t know the author nor hear much about other’s thoughts about this book, just that it’s one I should read! I ended up loving the characters, and I’m so intrigued by the world and the plot! This book has kingdoms, a looming war, and magic, which all added up to an amazing fantasy book.

The Good: I enjoyed the world in this book, and found it to be pretty well developed so far, and it left me extremely curious as to how it’ll all end up in the future series. I also enjoyed the plot and characters, and the combination of the two left me hanging on to every word!

The Bad: Some of the characters seem a bit unlikable at first, but in my opinion, they did grow throughout the book!

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants…and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! I bought this book recently for super cheap, and the cover had me completely drawn in!

“If war had taught him anything, it was that it took the people who deserved long and happy lives and gave them short, brutal ones instead.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8.5/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. The characters really grew on me by the end of this book, and the plot, while weak at first, grew more and more enjoyable as the book continued on. I also enjoyed the world and races, and learning about the war between the two, and hierarchy of power that each culture had. I really enjoyed this book, and the ending just left me dying for the next one!

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

“Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again, and I just finished Crooked Kingdom!! Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo are my two favorite authors, so as you can assume, I was extremely excited (and deathly afraid) for this finale book!

“When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”

Stars (Out of 10): 1000/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: Ah Bardugo you’ve done it again. Another great series with another greater ending. Few series get me as invested and hooked as this one did (and the Grisha did), and I enjoyed every letter of every sentence in this finale. We learned more about the world, with things finally coming together to make sense. We saw characters outsmart and be outsmarted, and deal with flaws and self-doubt. The plot was also extremely realistic, as the characters only have so much luck, and sometimes they do run out. Overall, a great end to a great series that everyone needs to read!

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

“Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! I picked Hammer of Thor up the day it hit the shelves (as well as a signed copy of Replica, but that’s for later) and was so excited I read it right away! Review below!

“Just like the good old days: marching together into the unknown, searching for missing magical weapons and risking painful death.”

Stars (Out of 10): 7/5/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: While I did enjoy the first book more, I still really liked this installment of the series. The humor felt a bit too immature at points though, and semi repetitive at points. This is a kids series though, so I don’t judge too harshly on that aspect. I did enjoy the plot for the most part, but there seemed to be a few too many “distractions” from the main plot. I also enjoyed exploring the Norse World more, and learning more about the characters, as well as the introduction of new ones. I’m hoping I like the third book more, but overall, I enjoyed this one.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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