Throne of Glass series: Empire of Storms

In the fifth book of the Throne of Glass series, Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, queen of Terrasen, is on the road returning to her homeland after 10 years. She does not expect an easy and welcoming homecoming, but she has her friends and carranam at her side. While the journey from Adarlan to Terrasen is long but uneventful, all is not well after the liberation of Adarlan and the release of magic.

The lords of Terrasen, who have struggled to maintain some semblance of peace after their country was overtaken, do not welcome Aelin and her band with open arms. They do not recognize her as queen but do not deny her the royal bloodline she carries. Forced to stay away from Ornyth, Aelin must come up with a plan to save Terrasen from further destruction when word of Duke Perrington’s – now using his true name, Erawen – movements reach her.Meanwhile, the Ironteeth witches, working as Erawen’s aerial assault team, are ordered to reclaim Rifthold from Dorian Havilliard’s rule. While Manon, as Wing Leader, prepares for the assault, she makes plans to smuggle Dorian out during the fighting. Her actions result in severe repercussions from her grandmother, and a punishment Manon cannot accept. When she confronts her grandmother in the ensuing chaos, a secret about Manon’s past is revealed, one that could potentially change the fates of all witches.
Ultimately, both Dorian and Manon are in their own circumstances forced to join Aelin’s quest to gather an army for Terrasen. They make their way south into the heart of Eyllwe on a quest given to her by Elena and Brannon. Aelin has instructions to find a mysterious Lock, one that could turn the tide in the battle with Erawen. But when she discovers how the Lock must be forged – coupled with Maeve’s armada arriving from Wendlyn on an unknown mission – will she have the strength and resolve to see this war through?
Empire of Storms broke my heart. This is a massive book; at nearly 700 pages, it is full of twists and turns, lots of action (of all sorts), and – as per most Sarah J. Maas books – a good amount of heartache. It took me a bit to finish since I was in a slight reading slump but oh gods, I didn’t think I would survive. It ends on a massive cliffhanger, more so than previous books, which will make the next year before the final book release agonizing. But I loved every minute of it. Especially the Manon chapters. Manon has come to be my precious witchling baby. I so want her to have a happy ending (or a relatively peaceful ending). I also really adored Dorian in this volume as he really begins to come into himself and his magic.
I am so looking forward to the next and final book. The next year is going to be agonizing, but I plan on rereading this volume again before the story ends. Hurry up, 2017. I have so much to look forward to.
My rating: 4.5/5
Side note: This book also holds a special place in my heart. It was released 6 days before my birthday. Two days before my birthday, I got the chance to meet Sarah J. Maas while she was on tour and got my book signed. When I told her she had just made it the best birthday weekend ever, she wrote a happy birthday message for me. Special treasure, this volume. 🙂


Schedule Change

Hello dear followers!

Thank you so much for sticking with my book review blog. It means a great deal to me that you read and value my book reviews. When I started this blog, I really only had the intention of reviewing books so I could keep myself motivated and read more. But it truly means a lot to me that you have chosen to follow my reviews. I cannot thank you enough for your support.

Life is happening, as I’m sure it is for many of you. By the new year, there is the potential for my life to change – a lot. I won’t know for certain until December, but I am hoping for the best. As such, the life change will affect my reading schedule. I won’t be able to read as often as I do now, and therefore won’t be able to put up as many book reviews. But I don’t want to leave you all hanging. Thus I have decided to make a schedule change regarding my book review postings.

As of this week, I’ll be posting book reviews on Fridays. I’ll be posting bookish related things on Tuesdays; these will include reviews of products or sellers who make/produce book related materials, as well as facts and “what do you prefer” prompts. I haven’t posted many of these so I am hoping that will help in the future.

I plan to make every effort to post a book review on Fridays as often as possible. Tuesday postings may be sparse as I attempt to find material to post. If you would like more book related things to tide you over, I invite you to follow my Instagram feed at I currently post book related photos every day (or every other day); some photos I use here in reviews but others are entirely unique.

Again, thank you so much for your support. I really appreciate it and hope for your continued support in the future during my transition. 🙂

Boy Meets Boy

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan is a contemporary novel that has a strong focus on LGBT diversity.

Paul has been openly gay since he was in kindergarten. He lives in a very open minded town somewhere outside of New York City (this is not explicitly stated, but the mention of the Strand bookstore in Manhattan is mentioned). Paul’s family is very loving and open; he is best friends with a straight girl and another gay boy from a very religious family. He is also friends with a transgender football player/homecoming queen, and is well-known at his school. Despite a somewhat recent break-up, Paul is quite happy with life.

One day while out with Joni and Tony, Paul meets Noah, a new transplant to the town. Both boys feel an attraction to each other.  Noah is an artist and photographer who paints music. He and Paul find they have a lot in common and feel comfortable enough with each other to share things they normally keep to themselves. Like Paul, Noah has just come out of a break up. His feelings are fragile and Paul makes a point to try and be careful with their new relationship.

Things are going well – but then Paul’s ex, Kyle, comes back into the picture wanting Paul’s help. Their relationship did not end well, and though Paul is angry at the way things ended he’s too good of a person to just leave Kyle when he needs help. But helping Kyle is more complicated than Paul anticipated; soon the whole school has gotten wind and Noah is hurt.

Paul loses the boy he believes he is in love with as quickly as he found him. The question becomes, how to get Noah back while maintaining a friendship with Kyle? There’s also his deteriorating relationship Joni. And how is Paul going to help Tony, who also needs Paul’s help? High school can be so complicated.

Boy Meets Boy was a nice, quick, and lighthearted read compared to the fantasy novels I have delved into of late. David Levithan is a wonderful writer who captured the complexity of high school life well. He also created a wonderful, imaginary town where everyone is accepted for who they are – no matter what that is. I really enjoyed that aspect of the novel, the open mindedness that is what the world should be like.

However, I still have difficulty getting as engaged in contemporary novels as I do in fantasy. Oddly enough, I have a more difficult time relating to characters in contemporary novels.  I feel this novel warrants a solid 4 stars for writing and story, but a 3 stars for my overall enjoyment.

My rating: 3.5/5

The Raven Cycle: The Raven King

It has finally come to this. The end of a series. This is the fourth series I will have finished this year, and I really enjoyed this one.

Only a week has passed since Blue and her raven boys rescued her mother – and apparently her father, Artemus – from the cave they were holed up in. Only a week since Persephone left them and they found Gwenllian, Glendower’s strange daughter. But things aren’t exactly “back to normal.” Cabeswater is acting strangely, which is affecting Adam and his abilities, Ronan and his dreams, and Noah’s very existence. Something seems to be attacking Cabeswater, but what?While they try to go about their everyday lives, nothing can be quite the same. Gansey is more determined than ever to find Glendower. The last seven years of searching has finally caught up with him. He also struggles with his feelings for Blue; not that she doesn’t return them, but because they are still keeping their feelings from Adam, in an effort to spare his.

As Cabeswater is under attack, so is Ronan’s dreams. Fearful for his family, he has his brother Declan take younger sibling Matthew away from Henrietta to keep them both safe. After their departure, Ronan then confronts Adam about their relationship. As if life was not complicated enough, Aglionby student Henry Cheng becomes a more prominent fixture in all of their lives. But what is Henry’s real agenda?

The pressure becomes more intense when both Gansey and Adam feel as if their bodies are no longer their own. Unknown forces seem to be manipulating their bodies, but to what end? To complicate matters even further, Greenmantle’s rivals are gathering in Henrietta for a supernatural auction. What is the item they are bidding on? And could it have anything to do with what is happening to Cabeswater?

Does it all have to do with Blue meeting Gansey’s spirit on the corpse road?

I really wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through The Raven King. I wanted so badly to know what happened. But at the same time I dreaded it because I knew, KNEW this was going to be the book is Gansey’s death. You do not predict his death in the first chapter of the first book then discuss it intermittently in the following volumes for it to NOT happen.

This book has non-stop emotion. I felt as if my heart was constantly in my throat. While Gansey has become my favorite raven boy, I really felt for all of them and the trials they went through – even newcomer Henry. I really see myself reading this series again because I love the characters so much. I only wish there was more because I really want to know what happens to the gang after the story is over. So much potential! And it’s been announced that there will likely be a series featuring Ronan in the future. So hoping for more from the Henrietta gang!

My rating: 4.5/5

The Raven Cycle: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Cabeswater has been restored. Ronan Lynch has mastered his Greywaren abilities. The Gray Man has quit his employer. Maura Sargent is missing.

Blue’s summer is coming to an end, but the search for Glendower – and now her mother – is becoming more heated than ever.

While they search for Maura, Gansey has asked his old friend, Dr. Malory, to come and help the group continue the search for Glendower. Gansey is beginning to doubt his ability to keep the group together as he feels himself becoming more separate from the group. As Adam tries to master his connection with Cabeswater and with Ronan now in full command of his dreams, Gansey is beginning to feel more like an outsider. Everything becomes more complicated as his feelings towards Blue grows, but the pair are determined to pretend like nothing is happening to spare Adam’s feelings.

Meanwhile, Adam seeks to strengthen his connection with Cabeswater by trying to understand what the ley line is asking of him. He is aided by Persephone but mostly finds himself completing Cabeswater’s tasks alone. When the Gray Man’s former employer , Greenmantle, arrives in Henrietta, Adam must find a way to get get the man to leave – without the Greywaren, the prize Greenmantle seeks. To help him, Adam must depend on Ronan’s dream ability and the Mr. Gray’s knowledge.

As the group goes searching for both Glendower and Maura in various caves, they stumble upon a riddle about three sleepers – one who must be woken, one who must never be woken, and one who is in between. Is one Glendower? Who is the one who must not be woken? Blue and the boys somehow manage to find one of the three sleepers, but it is not yet certain whether the one they found is the one who must be woken or the one in-between. To complicate matters, they will suffer a tragedy no one – not even the psychics of 300 Fox Way – could foresee.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue delves deeper into the search for Cabeswater, but, more importantly, it delves into the character of Blue and her raven boys as they each must face certain emotional trials alone. Each of them grows as they overcome their individual setbacks – but do they, as a group, grow closer together or further apart? As they learn more about each other, one thing becomes certain: they no longer want Glendower’s favor for selfish reasons. By the end of the volume, Gansey, Blue, and Adam have made their decisions on what their favor will be – and it isn’t a favor they would ask of themselves. And how much closer are they to finding Glendower?

As character development is one of the main aspects I look for in a story, this became a quick favorite from the series so far. Each of the characters undergoes some sort of change. Adam becomes more self-confident, Ronan becomes less harsh towards his friends, Blue finds she may not be psychic but that doesn’t mean she is powerless, and Gansey is confronted with an emotional mortality as he feels apart from his friends. I love that, for some of them, there isn’t complete resolution because that means something to look forward to.

How will it all resolve? Only one more volume to go.

My rating: 4.5/5

An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes is the first of a new series by Sabaa Tahir. It has elements of fantasy mixed with inspiration from ancient Rome.

Laia is a Scholar, a group of people that have spent the last 500 years subjected to Martial law. Having lost her parents and older sister years ago, she lives with her grandparents and brother, Darin, in the city of Serra. Laia distastes the Martials, but she lives her life without incident – until the day her brother returns after curfew, which is followed quickly by a raid. Darin is accused of treason and imprisoned, their grandparents killed, and Laia is now on the run.

In order to free her brother, Laia seeks the Resistance, a group of people who want to end the rule of the Martial Empire. In exchange for their help in rescuing Darin, Laia agrees to spy on the Commandant of Blackcliff, the famous Martial military school located just outside Serra.

At Blackcliff Laia meets Elias Veturius, the heir to Gens Veturia, the son of Blackcliff’s Commandant, and the top student of the school. Though Elias’ legacy and upbringing indicates he is a heartless, ruthless killer, he is far from heartless. Elias is efficient at being a soldier and warrior, but he distastes the Martial way of life and treatment of Scholars. All he really wants is to be free of his life at Blackcliff, his life as a Mask.

When Laia meets Elias, she discovers that not all Martials are as ruthless as she has come to expect. He becomes one few people other than her family Laia starts to care about – and the only person who continuously keeps her alive at Blackcliff. Soon, the pair must rely on each other in order to not only survive but escape Blackcliff with their humanity intact.

When I first began An Ember in the Ashes, I wasn’t entirely sure I would enjoy it. At first glance, the novel is written in first person – alternating between Laia and Elias’ point of views – and mostly takes on a present tense perspective. Neither style of writing is my preference in stories. But as I began to read the story, I found that the writing style is well suited to this story as we delve into the thoughts and feelings of both the main characters.

Both Laia and Elias, despite their different upbringings, are very similar creatures. They are both conflicted about who they are; Laia wants to be strong and independent like her legendary mother, while Elias is tormented between being the soldier he was raised to be and following his morality. They both grow to become the person they wanted to be – or at least are on the pathway.

I really enjoyed this novel and can’t wait to read the sequel. Not too long ago it was announced that more books would be added to the series; I’m excited to see what happens to Laia and Elias.

My rating: 4.5/5

The Raven Cycle: The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves is the second of the Raven Cycle books and takes place very shortly after The Raven Boys concluded.

When we last left off with the gang, Ronan had just admitted that he pulled his raven, Chainsaw, from his dreams. It’s been a few months and Ronan is struggling with his dreams – more like nightmares. He is haunted by monstrous shadows that seem intent on killing him. He also has little control over what objects he can remove from his dreams.

Adam, meanwhile, is acting strangely. Since making his sacrifice to Cabeswater, he is becoming more distant and curt with the group. He becomes violently angry when Blue won’t tell him the reason she refuses to kiss him. Often times he sees apparitions that the others do not and wonders if he is being haunted.

As if the trouble with Ronan and Adam wasn’t bad enough, Noah has begun to reenact his last moments but is unaware that he is doing so. He has trouble holding onto his corporeal form and occasionally disappears.

In an attempt to help his friends, Gansey takes them to Cabeswater in hopes of discovering what is wrong and exploring the area more. They are more than startled to find that, while they are in the correct location, Cabeswater has completely disappeared and the energy from the ley lines is fluctuating – and not in a good way.

To compound matters even more, a mysterious man known as the Gray Man has been hired to come to Henrietta to find the Greywarren, a mysterious object that can extract from dreams. This causes him to inevitably cross paths with Blue and her family, particularly her mother Maura. But who hired him? What do they want with the Greywarren? And what is the Gray Man’s connection to Niall Lynch, Ronan’s deceased father?

Let’s throw in the fact that both Blue and Gansey find themselves slowly crushing on each other but don’t want to tell Adam to spare his feelings, shall we?

I found The Dream Thieves to be more fun and action based than the previous novel. Since we are now acquainted with our intrepid heroes, delving into their individual quirks and how it affects not only themselves but each other seems like a good bet. I found myself sympathizing with all of the boys and their plights, but most especially Gansey as he tries to reconcile with life he has had with the life Adam has survived. Gansey genuinely wants to help Adam in any way he can, but often finds that is wealthy upbringing clashes with Adam’s more impoverished life.

Gansey also struggles with the fact that what happened to Adam may be his own fault; if he hadn’t pulled Adam into the search for Glendower, Adam wouldn’t have made his sacrifice. Each of the characters must confront their internal struggles and reconcile themselves with their new situations. All but Blue seem to achieve this to some extent, but there’s still time for Blue.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Dream Thieves, which left off on an even bigger cliffhanger than before. Maggie Stiefvater, why do you do this to us?

My rating: 4/5