An Ember in the Ashes, A Review

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)
Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publication: April 2015 by Razorbill
Format: eBook (borrowed)
Rating: 4/5 stars

Blurb from Goodreads:

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.

I knew this book had a lot of buzz surrounding it. For weeks I have seen updates on various social media outlets raving about this book. I finally decided to pick it up and see what all the fuss was about. I wasn’t aware of the premise of the book before I began reading it. I only knew that I should love it. So I dove right in.

While I was reading I found myself curious where the story would go next. The beginning started out slow but the story quickly sunk its claws into me. I wanted to finish the book in one sitting but didn’t need to finish it. Any free time I had was spent with my nose in this book. It was an enjoyable read and I’ll admit I have a bit of a book hangover after reading this.

My ultimate impression of An Ember in the Ashes was favorable. It was worth the time and set up a great opening for the future book(s). Give it a try at least, let me know what you think.

An Ember in the Ashes, A Review

Whatcha Reading: October 2015

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! The weekly meme formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below to participate:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

My Reading Progress

Currently Reading: Of course I still have Hausfrau and The Jane Austen Book Club on my currently reading shelf because I keep picking up other books to read instead of these. Oh the struggle. I just finished An Ember in the Ashes last night so I haven’t picked up a new book yet. I’m still processing. I think after I write a few reviews I can get moving onto the next read.

Recently Finished: Since my last www update I’ve finished another 6 books (wow! that’s a lot for me):

  • Landline, Rainbow Rowell. I love her writing style so much. Her books are a breeze to read and fun.
  • Everything, Everything, Nicola Yoon. This book was really good. The reading experience while reading this was different, in a good way. Hard to explain.
  • Just Breathe, Heather Allen. I picked this up from the Kindle library because one of my best buds has the same name. This book was missing something for me to really like it.
  • Time Between Us, Tamara Ireland Stone. I have had Every Last Word on my tbr pile for awhile now but never pick it up. I found this instead and it really surprised me. Great read.
  • Twenty Boy Summer, Sarah Ockler. I thought I would like this more but didn’t. I’ll try another Ockler novel but will have lower expectations going in.
  • An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir. The hype surrounding this novel almost ruined it for me. I really loved this book but wasn’t “oohing and ahhing” over it like others have.

Up Next/Reading Challenges:

I will be focusing on my alphabet challenge until the end of the year (only two months left!?!?!) hoping to finish on time. I challenged myself to read 52 books on my Goodreads challenge and I’m currently 4 books ahead of schedule. I think I’ll finish that challenge before this A to Z challenge.


Thanks for stopping in and perusing my bookshelves. If you want to track more of my reading, find me on Goodreads. Happy reading!

Whatcha Reading: October 2015

Where in the World, California

Each week I ponder the question, where in the world are you? Where has your reading taken you this week?

I am currently reading Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.


Twenty Boy Summer takes place in California on the beach during the summer. California is home to me. I was born in northern CA and spent the first 11 years of my life there. The state is large and diverse. I recommend spending time in different areas if you decide to vacation in the state.

I love reading books where the setting is somewhere I’ve been before. It’s like greeting an old friend again. It also sparks my desire to travel and revisit old favorite spots.


Where in the World, California

Top Ten Tuesday, Birthday Edition

Today’s my birthday so I gave myself permission to not follow the topic for this week. Instead I’m going to compile my birthday wish list of the top ten books I’d love to own sometime soon.

Check out The Broke and the Bookish for this week’s true topic and more info on the ttt meme.

Top Ten Books On My Birthday Wishlist

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (yes, the UK one): The Illustrated Edition

Of course any HP enthusiast will have the new illustrated version on their wishlist. I would probably collect any edition if I’m being honest with myself. This series saved me in a way, renewing my love of reading.

2. Pride and Prejudice
: Penguin’s hardback Clothbound Classics series

Another book that I could own all different editions and not think twice about it. This edition would be on display in my future library in my dream home on some bookshelf or another.

3. All Rainbow Rowell‘s books. I’ve only read e-books of her published works to date (except Carry On) but I want to own the physical books.

4. The Penguin Drop Caps. These classics are gorgeous, I’d be afraid to read them but I can get over that. I love the color selection, it would make any shelf pop. I own the letter A so only 25 more to go.

5. Richelle Mead‘s novels. I own the Vampire Academy and most of Bloodlines but I need to fill in the missing books. Her work is fun to read (and reread) and I prefer owning a complete set so I have a few to add to my collection.

6. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. She is funny and lovable. I loved her first book so it’s only natural to pick up her second.

7. The rest of the Pretty Little Liars series so I can finish the set in a more timely manner. One of the worst things about reading a series is waiting to get your paws on the next book in the series. I’m not the most patient person so I struggle with this issue often.

8. The Girl in the Spider’s Web (Millennium Trilogy #4). I’m curious–new author, new book.

9. Two Hester Browne novels, Honeymoon Hotel & The Vintage Girl. I’ve read her other books and LOVED them. She’s one of my auto buy authors. I know I’ll enjoy these when I finally get my hands on them.

10. Anything by Laurie Notaro. I’m especially looking forward to Her Horses Invariably Galloped: A Novel coming in 2016.

These are my “will eventually acquire” books. What books are on your own acquisition list?

Top Ten Tuesday, Birthday Edition

HRC, A Review

I received this book free of charge from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Can you review a book you didn’t finish? Is that allowed?

Title: HRC
Author: Jonathan Allen, Amie Parnes
Format: Paperback, 464 pages
Publisher: Broadway Books (February 17, 2015)

Initial Thoughts
I was extremely curious about this book when I requested it. I haven’t read anything about Hillary Clinton but find the subject matter interesting. I had high hopes for this work.

After Thoughts
I tried multiple times to read this book over a three-month span. I finally gave up and put it on my DNF/try again bookshelf. I hope to come back to this work and give it another go but I couldn’t get into the book on the first attempt. There were too many names mentioned and not enough of a story to follow. Categorizing the names kept my mind off the events being told and I couldn’t concentrate.

I think this is a book you have to be in the mood to read. I was reading other novels at the time and I believe HRC needs full attention to getting hooked.  If you’re more of a politico you might enjoy reading this more than I did.

HRC, A Review

Top Ten Tuesday, Reading Habits

TTT is the brainchild of The Broke and the Bookish. Head over to their blog to learn more.

Ten Bookish Things I Want to Quit

Bad Reading Habits

Back in March I posted some reading habits I wanted to maintain or change, so nearly 7 months later I thought I would revisit the idea to see how I was doing.

  1. Reading too fast. Sometimes I am too concerned with what will happen next that I forget to savor the details between events.
  2. Staying up late. Just last night I stayed up way, way late to finish a book. I love getting sucked into a fictional world but hate when I have to leave it, even if for only a handful of hours. Sometimes I wish sleep weren’t so necessary.
  3. Juggling too many books. I am a mood reader so I tend to read more than one book at a time (honestly I usually shuffle between 3-5 books). Many of my books are sitting around waiting to be finished. I either have to reread them or forget that I started them in the first place.
  4. Book shaming. I used to get embarrassed about what I was reading (*cough* Twilight) but now I don’t judge others based on the books they are reading. I didn’t start reading for pleasure until I got to university. It was usually over breaks, especially summer, and it was most likely a romance novel. I slowly progressed into other genres and then Harry Potter ignited the reading fire and I haven’t looked back since. Reading is reading and we should celebrate all genres and formats.
  5. Reading, no matter what. I need to learn to set books aside either for good or for another time maybe even in a different format. I have always had a rule that I have to finish reading a book. I know many have this issue as well. I’m not sure where I learned this but I’m slowly training myself that giving up on a book isn’t something to feel guilty about and obsess over. Sometimes a book just needs to be marked DNF.
  6. No words. I am trying to get into the habit of reviewing the books I read. I sometimes do it and often don’t get around to it. I’m working on changing that because I enjoy reading other’s thoughts on books I’ve read. Being more active in the book community is a goal I’m still working on improving.
  7. Ignoring recommendations. I read reviews and follow numerous book bloggers (obviously since I’m a TTT participant) so when someone recommends a book I will consider it but often don’t follow through with getting my hands on the book. I will forget, the book will get lost on my “tbr” shelf, or I doubt the integrity of the recommendation. I’m not a picky person but how do I really know that what one person likes I too will like.
  8. Ignoring my books. I have reading slumps (or pauses, to be more positive) twice a year and spend many days in a row or even a week or more not reading. I’d love to read something, anything daily because I’m a firm believer in ‘use it or lose it’ when talking about your brain. Reading is the key to learning. Every time you pick up a book you have the opportunity to learn something new–about a new world or even about yourself. Basically, reading should be in my daily routine even if for only five minutes in the morning before starting my day.
  9. Comfort zone. I tend to go through phases with reading. I’m currently in my young adult genre phase. Most of the books I’m reading are in that genre and I can’t take the blinders off to peruse other genres. The same thing happens with format. During the summer I was on an audio-book kick and now I’m back to physical books. I’m trying to balance between e-book and physical books but there is always a preference. Huge books also intimidate me or long series. In this instant gratification world I tend to let societal norms dictate my choices in reading material. I am aware of these shortcomings in my choices and working to change that about myself.
  10. Book club or bust. I am 0/6 on finding a book club that fits my needs. One of my goals for 2016 is to find a group to join and become an active member of book discussions. The groups I have joined in the past have fit some of my reading needs but ended up not being a good fit. The next group I join will be a success.

My goal in March was to read more to get that “to be read pile” smaller. I am not too concerned about the quantity of books I read but with the quality of my reading time. I want an enjoyable experience. There is something about the euphoria a good book can bring. Reading is my drug of choice. The good reading habits outweigh the bad habits but one struggle will always be present–too many books, so little time.

What reading habits do you want to change/struggle with?
Top Ten Tuesday, Reading Habits

Top Ten Tuesday, To Finish or Not To Finish

Finished Series I Have YET to Finish/Read


Percy Jackson and the Olympians series


The Infernal Devices series


Delirium series


Legend series


Shatter Me series


Hex Hall series


Summer series


Dark Swan series


The Grisha series


Pretty Little Liars series

Number ten is the only series that I have started reading (getting a jump start on it since there are so many books). Of course there are many series that are finished but I didn’t list. They are on my maybe someday list and the list above is a more realistic goal.

which of these have you read? do any make your list of not read yet?

I saw this on Pinterest, a little book humor for you.

When you finish that book series:

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog for bookish fun!
Top Ten Tuesday, To Finish or Not To Finish