[Review] A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2) by Sabaa Tahir


Title: A Torch Against the Night
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publication: August 30th 2016 by Razorbill
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 452
Format: ARC

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

Shelf it on Goodreads!

Also, you can buy it on: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | KoboiBooks

My thoughts:

I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review for a blog tour (that I failed to complete on the desired date–so sorry!). This does not affect my opinion.

I cannot even begin to comprehend how I feel about this series. It has achieved remarkably a ton of reviews that talk about how amazing this series is, but somehow, I feel completely left behind. I keep on seeing my friends loving and raving about the series non-stop, and I mean, this book is undoubtedly great with its raw and different plot line; however, it just did not work for me. It was something between great and OK.

A Torch Against the Night merely continues with the cliffhanger ending of the first book, An Ember in the Ashes. With Laia in a mission to rescue her brother, Darin, from imprisonment, she finds herself assisted by Elias. Both have bounties on their head–making their mission more difficult–with the Commandant eyeing every step they make. They begin to uncover the truth as they reach nearer the prison.

“Most people,” Cain says, “are nothing but glimmers in the great darkness of time.”

One thing I have high praises about this series is its brilliant writing style. Every time I turn a page, I begin to savor the words utilized to craft this fantastical story. The world that the author created through words is just beyond amazing, and all I have is mad respect for her just because of her use of words in this series.

Although, there are still some questions left unanswered which I expected to unravel along the story of the second installment. The story just completely went to a different direction that somehow also interconnects with the original direction. As much as some characters were given deserving spotlight, some significant characters were failed to be given the same, like Teluman or the Resistance itself.

“Don’t lock yourself away from those who care about you because you think you’ll hurt them or–or they’ll hurt you. What point is there in being human if you don’t let yourself feel anything?”

I like how Helene’s point of view was added in this because she plays a bigger role than her from the first book. Her struggles as a characters definitely added to the excitement and thrill that I consumed from every single page of her perspective. From an average road the author took, she then made a huge U-turn to mold and concoct a new kind of story, making use of the characters’ driving emotions to gain a new kind of interest from the readers. I mean, that’s what I felt by reading the first and second book.

A Torch Against the Night is entitled literally–for me. As I see a cliché start, an ember of flame then kindled and sparked my attention. This book has become a medium of light in a darkness that I thought this series will head into.


4 swords4 swords for being a torch against the night–literally!

About the author:

sabaa tahir.jpg

Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Does anyone still read my posts? Sorry for my sudden absence. Comment below and let’s talk about stuff.



[Review] What Things Mean by Sophia N. Lee

what things mean.jpg

Title: What Things Mean
Author: Sophia N. Lee
Publication: May 2016 by Scholastic
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 133
Format: Paperback


What does it mean to be different? 14-year-old Olive is struggling to find out. Everything about her is so different from the rest of her family. She is big-haired, brown skinned, and clumsy in a family of cream-colored beauties who are all popular and Good At Sports. She closely resembles a father she has never known, and about whom her mother never speaks, and no one wants to tell her why. She turns to books and other things in her quest to find answers, and as a way to cope with her loneliness. When she learns the truth about her father, she must decide whether or not she will let the differences in her life define her forever.

Shelf it on Goodreads!

My thoughts:

What Things Mean is something that I like and dislike at the same time. It’s too plain for a book for me, having such a simple story with simple characters. That is what actually what I also like about the book; it’s a sweet escape from surreality and fantasy. It is not a book that will excite nor amaze you, but it’s a book wherein the protagonist’s story is merely narrated.

The short book utilizes dictionary terms to introduce a new chapter. Every word correlates with the life of Olive, the protagonist. Every chapter bring a brief story of her life. Olive, having been the different one in the family, struggles to become like her family. To overcome her sadness, she does anything that will bring optimism to herself. Then, she learns about a father she has never known and she has become curious  to know.

“You are beautiful in all the ways that matter. You don’t need all of this to show that. Nothing you put on your face can cover what already shines through — your good heart, your giving spirit, your sense of humour — it’s what you’re made of.”

In regards with the writing style, it is a bit dull and ordinary. There is nothing really special about it, but nonetheless, it is absolutely an easy read because of its simplicity in writing. It is a beauty I longingly desire to read due to the fact that I often read books that are too complex in their writing style.

The story itself can sometimes become boring, and I do not get the other chapters’ correlation with the story itself. Considering its shortness, it is a great book because the author executed this short of a book with a limited space of elaborating more. Somehow, some stories feel like missing, and I really hope that they would be fleshed out in a sense, so that I could get the whole point of the book.

“The thing about mirrors is that they show you everything — even the things you don’t want to see.”

The book fails to make me connected with Olive. She is a great character with an emotional background, but it does not completely feel like there’s something really going on in the story. Sometimes, it becomes baffling, and I wish that it could have been longer. Descriptions are too concise that I have never had a good connection with the characters. Details like emotions could be taken into consideration because of its simple and interesting plot line, but because of the lacking details, I begin to lose interest with the book as I continued reading. Still, this book is one of the best short reads that I read.

3 swords3 swords for a short yet meaningful book.

About the author:

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Sophia N. Lee wanted to be many things growing up: doctor, teacher, ballerina, ninja, crime-fighting international spy, wizard, time traveler, journalist, and lawyer. She likes to think she can be all these things through writing. She loves words and the meanings behind them. Her favorite word is ‘chance’. What Things Mean is her first book. She lives in Manila, Philippines.

What’s the shortest book that you’ve read? Comment below and let’s talk about it.


Hello, It’s Me

I just wanted to drop by and say I miss blogging. It’s been a while. To be precise, it’s been almost 3 weeks that I haven’t posted anything on my blog. I don’t know if I should feel sorry or not because I’m kind-of enjoying the freedom and liberation from blogging. I know a lot of people like to have a break from blogging because of work or studies.

It’s still summer here, and I’m already having a break from my blog. I don’t want to say that I hate blogging, but as from my previous post, I just joined the men’s volleyball team of our school. It’s been a fun and great experience for me because I’m finally doing other stuff rather than always reading or playing video games. My eyesight could have gone worse.

Aside from that, the reading slump remains intact. I have never finished a book YET, and I’m very upset about it. I JUST WANT TO FINISH A BOOK. PLEASE LET ME FINISH A BOOK, BOOK GODS. HAVE MERCY ON ME! Yeah, I just finished 2 books this month. Not proud. Not very proud. I finished 13 books last month, and now it has gone way, way worse than I have imagined.

Have pity on me, people. Kidding. But seriously, I really need to finish a book, so good-bye. Going to try my best or force myself to finish a book.


Do you miss me? (joke) Comment below and let’s talk about you. How are you?


Why I’m Gone Again and Not Sorry About It

Well, that was a really long title because I want to be frank about it. It’s been a few days since I’m gone. I really miss blogging, but I have been freaking busy with life even though it’s summer break. I know I have a lot of duties to do as a blogger. Book reviews are one of them, and believe me when I say that I have a lot of books to review.

I’m now overwhelmed. Not really. I want to get into them soon, but I’m completely distracted right now. Just recently, I have joined the men’s volleyball tryouts in our school, and now, my body freaking hurts as hell because of that. I’m trying my best to read in my free time, but I just can’t. I smell reading slump, and it got to me in a very, very wrong time.


So I’ll probably be gone again in a while because of life. I also don’t know if I’m going to review for colleges’ entrance exams, but I will probably review someday. I just hope I can read soon and blog more here.

Well, ciao for now. Don’t worry, I won’t be gone for long. I won’t probably be gone. I don’t know.

How often do you get reading slumps (ugh)? Comment below and let’s talk about it.


[Review] The Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine

the season of you & me

Title: The Season of You & Me
Author: Robin Constantine
Publication: May 10th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: ARC

Cassidy Emmerich is determined to make this summer—the last before her boyfriend heads off to college—unforgettable. What she doesn’t count on is her boyfriend breaking up with her. Now, instead of being poolside with him, Cass is over a hundred miles away, spending the summer with her estranged father and his family at their bed-and-breakfast at the Jersey Shore and working as the newest counselor at Camp Manatee.

Bryan Lakewood is sick of nevers. You’ll never walk. You’ll never surf. You’ll never slow dance with your date at prom. One miscalculated step and Bryan’s life changed forever—now he’s paralyzed and needs to use a wheelchair. This is the first summer he’s back at his former position at Camp Manatee and ready to reclaim some of his independence, in spite of those who question if he’s up for the job.

Cass is expecting two months dealing with heartbreak.
Bryan is expecting a summer of tough adjustments.
Neither of them is expecting to fall in love.

Shelf it on Goodreads!

Also, you can buy it on: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

My thoughts:

I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from Harper Collins International in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion.

This book was profoundly cliché wherein I find every part of the romance unoriginal, but I do not blame the author. I mean, somehow, contemporaries only get to an extent where they get to be the same. That’s why contemporaries are a no go for me unless they have been recommended by a lot of people.

The Season of You & Me follows two main perspectives: Cassidy who just broke up with a jerk who cheated on her; and Bryan who recklessly did something and made him seated on a wheelchair. Both meet at a beach camp and unexpectedly fall in love with each other.

“I hate when things end.”

Let me start with the very start of the book – it was terribly dragging, and I don’t know if I’ll continue reading or put it down. After the next several pages, it didn’t begin to feel like it anymore. However, the fact that it didn’t feel original plays a huge role in my rating for this.

I don’t know if I have something that I like about this book. Maybe the characters because the guy, Bryan, is disabled, and most contemporaries portray perfection and normality. This imperfection implies reality, and that’s what I really enjoy while reading this book. Diversity.

“Sometimes I even believed it — that she could like me that way — but I didn’t now how to pursue anything more. One moment I was sure we were friends, and completely content with it, then the next she would pout, or smile, or hell, breathe next to me and I ached for more. I was starting to want it too much, especially if she didn’t, and I’d settle for being around her, even if it meant we were just friends.”

Like I said, reading this book felt like it has been done by another author before. Same summer setting. Same kind of endings. Same problems with life. That’s what I have observed from reading contemporaries, and I’m looking for something new and fresh.

Will I recommend this? Maybe, if you want something light and summery romance read, you can read this, but I don’t fully recommend it because of its similar aspects to other contemporaries. Also, I saw one of my favorite bands in this book – Neck Deep! That also kept me reading further, but that did not affect my review at all.

3 swords3 swords for being cliché?

About the author:

robin constantine.jpg

Robin Constantine is the author of The Promise of Amazing and The Secrets of Attraction. A born-and-raised Jersey girl, Robin likes to spend her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, eventually, but not without a lot of peril, angst, and the occasional kissing scene. She loves swoony books, flip-flops, dark chocolate and the full moon.

Do you enjoy reading contemporaries? Comment below and let’s talk about it.


April Reading Wrap-Up + Monthly Recap

I’m very very proud to have read 13 books last month. Yes, 13. I’m not a reading machine nor someone who does nothing but read. I’m just thankful that I have no distractions last month. Now, guess what, I have. I already read 2 books, but that’s a few number to me because I want to read a lot of books this summer. When school comes, I doubt I’ll be able to read quickly.

This is the month when my 5-star ratings have been given out.

  1. Touched by Elisa S. Amore
  2. Dying to Live by Vincent J. Monteleone
  3. Never Stop Falling by Ashley Drew (e-book)
  4. The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
  5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  6. Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan
  7. The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne
  8. My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin
  9. Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
  10. The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
  11. Ruined by Amy Tintera
  12. The Blood Between Us by Zac Brewer
  13. The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

may wrap up.jpg

My very first 5-star read this year was The Manifesto on How to be Interesting, and it was literally good from start to finish. It was funny and relatable, and I already posted my review of this. You can check it out here. That book is the highlight of my month, and I have never been disappointed with Holly Bourne’s books.

However, the book that was a complete disappointment is, sad to say, Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes. Before you kill me, I want to explain why. The book kept on rambling nonsense about the Queen, and I’m baffled why this one is a book. It has no story at all. I’m warning you – it’s boring as hell.

Also, there’s another disappointment. A lot of people loved this book. I didn’t. It’s a hyped series and when I read The Raven Boys, it felt dull. I didn’t understand the story; the writing was hard to get into. Everything was just pointless, but I continued reading with The Dream Thieves. Questions remained unanswered. I put down the book, and read a new book. Sorry, The Raven Boys fans. 😦

5 stars

  • The Manifesto on How to be Interesting
  • Ruined

4 stars

  • Touched
  • The Darkest Corners
  • Never Stop Falling
  • Swan Boy
  • My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights
  • The Square Root of Summer
  • The Blood Between Us

3 stars

  • The Raven Boys
  • The Outliers

2 stars

  • Queen of Hearts

That’s it for my reading wrap-up. For my blog recap, it wasn’t a really big improvement because I had a mini-hiatus, and to be honest, I feel lazy to update my blog sometimes. I think everyone becomes lazy from time to time. As much as I want to stay from my blog for a while, I can’t because I have a lot of books to review. Even though it feels like a chore, I’m still glad that it keeps me on my blog.

So for last month, my blog has:

  • 1,394 visitors

Not bad right? Hopefully, I’ll be able to improve my stats this month because I’m losing my skills, yo. I need to get my creative juices back. If only grocery stores sell these kinds of juices. Please.

What are your humble-brag-worthy (lol) achievements last month? Comment below and let’s talk about it.


[Review] Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan

swan boy

Title: Swan Boy
Author: Nikki Sheehan
Publication: May 5th 2016 by Oneworld Publication
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Dance
Pages: 352
Format: ARC

When Johnny moves house and starts a new school he has to deal with a bully who can’t leave him alone. But help comes from an unexpected and surprising source and Johnny’s growing power soon puts him in a very special place.

A chance encounter with a swan sparks a series of events that result in Johnny playing the lead in a school ballet. His teacher wants him to live the role, and when feathers start sprouting on his chest, Johnny begins to understand his true potential. But will he be strong or brave enough to beat his bullies, take care of his brother, support his mother and find a place for himself among all the chaos that is prevailing in his life.

Shelf it on Goodreads!

Also, you can buy it on: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

My thoughts:

I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from HMH Kids in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion.

I have never been fascinated with books about dance because I haven’t tried reading one. Ever since I requested this, I didn’t know what to expect. As lovely as the cover, I was astounded by the story itself. It left me emotionally unstable, and I just want to plead for more story in this setting. Well, it’s not just about dance.

Johnny has just moved to a new school where everything feels new and unfamiliar. Since his father died, his mother is the only one supporting them financially, leading them to move into another house and enroll in another school. In this new school, he is obviously bullied and has been called Swan Boy because the onlookers saw him controlled the swan to attack Liam, the school bully. After being continuously bullied and cornered in the school, they are caught fighting and got into detention, but instead of letting them go litter-picking, they are given a chance to join a dance club to be a part of a show.

“You didn’t need to dance. Dancing is mere presentation. You did something better – you became.”

I love how the way this book was written, even though I was in a mid-reading slump, it swiftly took it away from me. Boy, am I relieved. It was a short book and a book that will definitely give you the real emotional feels. I have never been emotional for a long time by reading a book, and now, it finally gave me a deserving read.

As I told you about me being emotionally unstable, it is because of the fact that I was able to easily connect with the character and adapt with the setting. There is a thing about the characters that make them perfect for its genre. Characters with simple and kind personality combined with the writing style of the author that give the emotional aspect of the book are what I completely love, and this book had it all.

“It’s not love. It’s more like . . . awe. Johnny, when you see the beautiful swan, it’s as if a light bulb goes on in your head, and you finally know what, or who, you want to be. You don’t want too be a prince, pampered and spoilt, but ultimately held prisoner by your status. You want to be wild and free. You want to swim and fly.”

There is something about the beautiful style of writing which I really want to read in every book possible. I can feel the author pouring her heart into her book and how she delivered her writing to reality. Every word she’s written breaks my heart (in a very positive way) because she knows how to convey the story through means of making the audience emotional as the story embarks in a negative mood.

A truly recommended read for middle-grade lovers. This will twist your heart in a good way and will leave you emotional in some way. I enjoyed reading this one because of my connection with the protagonist, Johnny. Also my first time reading a book about dance and not being disappointed at all. Good job!

4 swords
4 swords for being dance-tastic!

About the author:

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Nikki Sheehan is the youngest daughter of a rocket scientist. She went to a convent school in Cambridge where she was taught by real nuns in long black habits. She studied linguistics and then psychology and worked as a subtitler for the Simpsons, followed by many years as a journalist. She lives in Hove near the beach with her husband, three children, two dogs, one cat and definitely no more hamsters.

Have you read any book that is about dancing or anything related to it? Comment below and let’s talk about it.