Book Blog, Book Talk

Are they as good as I remember?

Last year being remarkably the most draining year for me has made it hard to remember the details to things. The fact that so much bleeds into one another to the point that I no longer can distinguish between days, months and even the books I read. I’m fairly good with recalling details in books especially when they’re favorites but for the life of me these books I remember the v i b e s and almost nothing else lol.

Which makes me question myself when recommending them because are they as good as I remember or is everything else so terrible this felt like gold? I wanted to re-read these stories immediately upon finishing them but I also wanted to conquer my ever growing tbr pile. Honestly, I’m glad I didn’t jump back into these books until now because it gives me an opportunity to go in without the high and find out if I do still consider these favorites.

I did something similar to this last year and found that my initial enjoyment was not there the second time around. I still enjoyed the books but critically I saw things that if I had read that book at any other point in time I would not have favored it so. I think that’s also something that should be noted when reading things based off others enjoyment of a story is that sometimes it isn’t the book or you but the timing.

Anyway, I’ve rambled long enough on to the books!

A Spark of White Fire (The Celestial Trilogy, #1)
The Last Namsara (Iskari, #1)
Empire of Sand (The Books of Ambha, #1)

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna YA Science Fiction. In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back. Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali. It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart. Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.

The Last Namsara by Kirsten Ciccarelli YA Fantasy. In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer. These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl. Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri Adult Fantasy. The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited. When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda. Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance.

My findings are…

Drumroll

I LOVE them still!!!


I was worried but it was for naught, thankfully. I’m so happy I did this because I forgot so much from the first time. I guess that’s to be expected because your trying to take in so much that some things will slip through. Just another reason why I adore re- reading because it gives you a chance to reconnect and find new things. I do think I love the books more now than initially which is also a great discovery!

I also discovered that these books have a few common traits such as gods and myths. I really appreciate magic systems that establish new or remixes older myths to make them fresh and new. And all three of them do that. Another trait is they all have the fierce girl paired with soft boi trope *heart eyes 4ever*

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna I forgot how much gods play into this series. I love the friendships and relationships in general. They’re just so real in their complexity. This story still managed to make me cry so this book has my heart forever in a chokehold.

The Last Namsara by Kirsten Ciccarelli The way in which this story is told fits so beautifully with the story at large. Stories nestled inside stories s one of my favorite things. There is a lot of layers to this story and watching them unfurl is incredible.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri Out of the three this is my least favorite because it feels like its missing something. It’s still a wonderful read it just isn’t in my top five. There’s a lack of comradery in this book. I need friendships in books. Basically I need an ensemble cast of characters.There is a solid friendship established in the romance which I love but I need more character interactions.

Thank you for reading this very long post. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books or if you plan to!

Book Blog, Book Talk, Review

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

The beginning of the book was my favorite part. I didn’t want to put it down.

Thea wants to be a great Alchemist and she almost is but her mother has kicked her out of their laboratory and is pushing for her to leave the country. Thea just wants to finish what they started with the Philosopher’s Stone.

Things go awry and Thea finds herself with her father who didn’t even knew she existed.

Terrible things happen when people get near the making of the Philosopher’s Stone. They all go mad. Now Thea has to find a way to save the people she loves and herself before she goes mad.

This is a really interesting story and I found myself intrigued with what will happen but when we hit the halfway point the full steam engine died. A lot of relationship drama is introduced which slowed down the story but also felt very out of place.

I didn’t know or I didn’t remember this was a standalone going into this which could also explain the awkward pacing near the end.

Honestly, if she kept the relationship aspect out of this and just focused on the dramatics of the consequences of making the stone and becoming one with it would have had a more satisfying ending.

Overall, I would read something else from this author, as I did enjoy a majority of the story and characters.

IndieBound | Amazon US | Book Depository

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Book Blog, Book Talk, Reading Challenge, Review

ABC Reading Challenge “D, E, F”

Going forward these will be grouped together as these are short snippet reviews.


A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell, #4)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Agatha Christie meets Edgar Allen Poe in the fourth installment to the Veronica Speedwell Series.

This is an adult mystery historical series that takes place in Victorian London where our main characters solve crime as a side hobby.

Technically you can read this in any order but I HIGHLY recommend you read all of them to really appreciate the slow burn element.

I absolutely adore these characters and seeing them on the outskirts of each other and learning to navigate that they may indeed actually have feelings all the while denying it!!!

In this book we see more of Stoker’s oldest brother and why he is the way he is today. It was nice to get away from Veronica’s estranged highly public family drama and delve into a spooky atmospheric mystery.

This was an incredible ride. I think this might be my favorite tied with the first book. It’s darker and I really really loved it.

We also get a confession that has nothing to do with a murder.

I have read the fifth book and my review can be found at this link

We are getting at least two more books but I will take a hundred please and thank you


Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson

The Empire of Dreams (Fire and Thorns, #4)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed being back with in this world with these characters. I will say I went in thinking this was going to be a spin off series, not a standalone. I also for some reason was under the impression that the other formed kingdoms, or Queendom’s would feature more prominently. I don’t know why I thought this.

Too many people slept on this series. The original trilogy centered around religion, magic and politics. This series masterly crafts amazing character development and has the MOST amazing relationship to ever exist, between a straight couple. It deals with sex and birth control in a fantasy world. Its practically unheard of in most books. All I’m saying is pick up Girl of Fire and Thorns.

Now back to Empire of Dreams, I adore Red. We finally see where she comes from and how she ended up where she did when Elisa finds her. Her backstory is heartbreaking and sometimes hard to read. She deals with PTSD, which in the book is called soldier’s sickness.

I liked Rosario and Red’s sibling relationship. There is no romance in this story which I found refreshing but I know that’s not everyone’s feelings. The message of love in this story wasn’t romantic it was about the bonds of family. They don’t have a traditional looking family which is all more the realistic and fantastic to see depicted.

My only complaints are small like some predictability, and the rushed ending. I would have loved more flashbacks or time spent with Elisa and Hector and their family times.

Overall, I think if you’re a fan of the series and you’ve always been curious as to Red’s story pick this up. I definitely think it’s important to read the series first to better understand things.


Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was fantastic and just what I needed. The world building is amazing just such wonderful unique magic system. I really liked the characters and their interactions. My only complaint is the made up curse words. I just personally really hate that.

Links to the previous Reading Challenge Posts:

The first Reading Challenge Post

Reading Challenge “B”

ABC Reading Challenge “C”

Book Talk, Review

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Rosanne A. Brown

This was such a wonderful story. I loved everything about this from the characters to the mythology and magic.

One of our main character’s is Karina who is the princess of the city of Ziran. She comes from the descendant who created this place as a safe haven from the slavers. Karina is next in line and she isn’t ready for that. She wasn’t raised to be and she finds it even less appealing when she discovers secrets about the role of Sultana.  

Our second main character is Malik, him and his two sisters leave his war torn town but here in this new place are seen as the enemy and must be careful to not get caught. The minute they’re papers are being checked things go awry and everything changes for Malik and his family. An ancient creature is brought forth with an ultimatum if he wants to see his sister back safely he will kill the princess.

This story has so many twists and turns that you really can’t put this book down because you just need to know where this will go next.

My small complaint is I wanted more scenes with Malik and Karina. They have such differing personalities and it’s the kind of intensity that makes for such swoon and fun.     

You can experience this story for yourself by purchasing your own here

I’m looking forward to seeing how this story concludes. I can’t wait to see more of the magic and lore of this world.

The sequel A Psalm of Storms and Silence is due to be published in 2021

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, #1)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.