A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir — A Review

33359446A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

But you, Helene Aquilla, are no swift-burning spark. You are a torch against the night – if you dare to let yourself burn.

We pick up A Torch Against the Night where An Ember in the Ashes left off. Laia and Elias are running for their lives, the Commandant is up to her usual evil ways, and Laia’s brother is trapped inside Kauf prison.

Like all traditionally published YA novels, this was well-written and suspenseful, and it had me wanting to turn page after page even when I was exhausted. I really enjoyed the incorporation of the Tribes into the story, the relationship development between Elias and Laia, and the struggle that Helene, now Blood Shrike of the empire, goes through in trying to choose between her friend and her duty to the empire. Honestly, the development of Helene’s character in this book was in large part why this book rated so high with me.

However, there were a couple of story lines that did not feel complete to me, and I found that a bit surprising considering how many hands this went through prior to publication. I think this book may have tried to accomplish way too much in too few pages.

  • The love triangle from book one carries over, but it’s sketchy and thoughtlessly handled.
  • Not nearly enough time is spent explaining the world of the jinns and the Waiting Place, which I assume will play a large role in book three (or at least, I hope it does).
  • That twist at the end felt a little cheesy, but all right I’ll go with it.

Despite these issues, I still enjoyed it very much, and want to know what happens with Elias and Laia in book three.

I picked this book to fulfill the Read Harder Challenge #20, A Book with a Cover You Hate. I know why Tahir wanted to change the cover design, and I respect that reasoning. I just think the execution (specifically the single color and the Throne of Glass knock-off style) was poorly done.

 

Which one do you prefer?

 

 

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1001 Islands by K. T. Munson — A Review

 

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1001 Islands by K.T. Munson

RaeleighReads rating: love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236

The sliver of moonlight cast eerie shadows across the deck of The Dark Revenge. The Silence at the helm stood embracing the obscurity. His foreboding presence matched the anticipation aboard the ship, and no one spoke for fear they would break the stillness that encompassed them.

Tonight, everything changed.

The Dark Revenge gained on the Regatta. The raiders said nothing but he could hear the shuffle of taut female clothing and the tension in the air. It hadn’t sensed their existence, and drifted like heedless prey. Princess Roxana slept, unsuspecting of what was hunting her in the inky blackness of the night.

There was only one thing on the minds of The Silence’s crew as they drew near; Hang the Kings, Crown the People.

This was a really hard review for me to write. I wanted to love it, but this ended up being disappointing for me. I thought I was going to get a rip-roaring, swash-buckling adventure, where pirates put their over-seers in their place, but it turned out to be a wishy-washy romance (two romances) novel with a few action scenes that were not nearly satisfying enough, and a few fantasy-esque references. Sad 😦

At the very beginning I was hooked, but as things progressed I kept wondering where my action was and when that amazing opening would come back into play. It did eventually, but it was way too vague. THEN, there’s the whole deal with a captive falling in love with her captor. Stockholm syndrome is not sexy and should not be represented as such. Nope. I don’t care if he was ultimately a “good guy”. This should not be done.

I found the main male characters (yes, there were two), annoying. Both of them. For different reasons, but it is hard to keep yourself going when you don’t like the main characters.

I will say, the writing itself was pretty good (needed another comb-through from a copy editor), and it was a quick, simple read. My update stats (this is a pretty typical timeline for me FYI):

  • January 25, 2018 – Finished Reading
  • January 24, 2018 – 78.0%
  • January 23, 2018 – 60.0%
  • January 22, 2018 – 50.0%
  • January 20, 2018 – 33.0% 
  • January 20, 2018 – 25.0%
  • January 19, 2018 – 16.0%
  • January 19, 2018 – Started Reading

I have a feeling those who like romance novels, and who are not bothered by the questionable use of Stockholm Syndrome, will like this. Everyone else, spend those 4-5 hours reading something else.

Has anyone else read a disappointing novel recently? If you have, please let me know in the comments section below what the novel was and why it was disappointing to you.

Happy reading, friends!

Hope by Grier Cooper — A Review

26170198Hope by Grier Cooper

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

 

Dudes! Two romantic books back-to-back! What even is my life right now?

Okay, it’s not really a romance like Hate to Want You, but the main character’s feelings do get put through the wringer when a fellow dancer seems to be interested in her. She starts to like him back, and it seems like they may be starting a relationship, but then…maybe not? And this does-he or doesn’t-he nonsense is really the last thing she needs.

Hope is about the lives of teenage dancers, ballet (obvs), and pushing yourself to be your best you, while still being a decent human being to those around you. Indigo is the main character, a teenager who struggled very hard to gain her spot at the New York School of Ballet. This school is just a stepping stone on her way to becoming a professional dancer. Following are her thoughts at the beginning of Hope.

Here’s what I’ve realized in the one hundred and fifty-one days since I first arrived at the New York School of Ballet:  Every second counts. It isn’t enough to work hard and sweat; there has to be something more. Each moment is a new chance to reach just a little further, move one step closer to perfection.

Indigo and her group of friends struggle to maintain the balance between dance classes, high school classes, friendships, and boys. Felipe is the foreign, and super sexy, boy who seems to like Indigo, and then maybe he doesn’t, and then he definitely does, and then he doesn’t again. C’mon boy! Make up your mind!!!! Pauvre Indigo. 😦 At least he’s a first-rate pas de deux partner!

Image result for ballet gif

Anyways, these professional teenagers are under a huge amount of pressure. Their ultimate goal: to get a job dancing for a good company. Remarkably, most of them make it to the final performance, the workshop they’ve all been busting their buns (pun intended) to be cast in, without completely falling apart.

I really enjoyed reading Hope. It is the second book in Grier Cooper’s Indigo Dreams series. I didn’t read the first book, Wish, but I felt okay going into book two without much background information. Currently, Cooper does not have a book three. I really, really hope that she plans to write one!!!! Hope ends well enough, but I want to know what’s next for Indigo. Does she get a job? Does she tank the workshop and have to find an alternate career? I NEED TO KNOW.

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy YA fiction, stories about ballet (obvi), stories about friendship, and stories about going for your dreams. I will definitely be seeking out the rest of the series. I just cannot resist a well-told story about ballet and dancing. Who am I kidding, I can’t resist anything ballet! Pretty sure my patronus is toe-shoes. 😉

Image result for ballet gif

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai — A Review

Sorry for the late posting! I’ve been out of the country on a cruise (no WiFi). 😀

29422692Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

One night. No one will know. Those were the rules.

Hate to Want You has a Romeo and Juliet feel, but with a very modern, exes with benefits, twist.

Two lovers — Livvy (Olivia) Kane and Nicholas (Nico) Chandler — were hot and heavy in their late teens/early twenties, but they were torn apart by their families. The Chandlers and the Kanes had been business partners before two deaths and a shady business deal turned them into enemies, effectively ending the relationship between Livvy and Nicholas. For the next ten years, the two would meet for a single night of unbridled passion. But when Livvy moves back home to care for her mother, their carefully honed pattern is ripped to shreds.

This is the first book in Alisha Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series, and I have to say, Rai has made me re-think my stance on romance novels. Her focus remains on the action of the novel, which you guys know I love, and the steamy, heat-your-cheeks scenes are like icing — they enhance the already delectable story taking place.

I CANNOT stand bodice rippers. Those stale, reusable plots? Ick. Now, this plot is not ground-breaking, or new per se, but I really enjoyed reading it (in only two days!).

I will definitely be checking out the rest of the Forbidden Hearts series, and you should too! IF you like family drama, steamy romance, a hint of chaos, and characters who grow. Probably NOT IF you are at all prudish or dislike tattoos.

fanning myself

If taking part in Read Harder 2018, this checks off #10, a romance novel by or about a person of color, and it could also check off #15, a one-sitting book.

Read Harder stats: 1/24

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George — A Review

23278537The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

“He wanted her to sense the boundless possibilities offered by books. They would always be enough. They would never stop loving their readers. They were a fixed point in an otherwise unpredictable world. In life. In love. After death.”

Oh my gosh, this book was so sweet!!! I had all the gushy, fuzzy feelings reading this. Following are my various GoodReads updates, complete with gifs.

Around 18%:

This book warms my heart!

something in my eye

Around 25%:

I had no idea a simple caress could be so scintillating. Whew!

fanning myself

Then for the rest of the book:

This book makes me feel a serious range of emotions. So. Many. Tears!!! I’m enjoying every minute of it!

my emotions

Okay, if you made it this far, this book is so incredibly moving. I don’t normally like books that are so overtly romantic and sentimental, but I didn’t want to put this one down. It made me grin. It made me giggle. It made me blush. And it made me CRY! Like, a lot!

I read this as part of the Read Harder Challenge 2017, #3, Read a book about books. I mean, it was pretty much guaranteed that I would like this challenge. I ❤ reading books about books!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

2017 Read Harder Challenge Stats: 8/24