Taylor Swift Album Book Tag

I know I am late to the Swiftie train, but ever since Evermore came out this past fall, I have become completely obsessed with Taylor Swift’s music. It is essentially all I listen to, as I am trying to make up for the years worth of music I have missed from her. I saw this tag over on Kirsten’s blog and thought it looked like a lot of fun!

1. Taylor Swift: an author’s debut book

I haven’t written about this book on my blog in awhile, but the sequel is coming out (fairly) soon so I thought it was about time it made an appearance again! Anna K is Jenny Lee’s debut novel, which is an Anna Karenina retelling with a Gossip Girl vibe. This book was absolutely addicting and I ate it up!

2. Fearless: a book that scared you

I had to dig pretty deep for this one, as I don’t tend to read many thrillers or horror (although I want to get more into the genres!). Ultimately, I decided on The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson. Although it didn’t necessarily scare me, there were still some very creepy moments that left me unsettled.

3. Speak Now: a book with great dialogue

I love this album so much because Dear John is on and it is just a masterpiece of a song. Ugh!

For this prompt, I thought of My Lady Jane! This entire book is just so funny and witty, and I loved reading it. The banter between the characters is so much fun and made me laugh out loud (which I don’t often do while reading!).

4. Red: a book with red on the cover or in the title

This book isn’t out yet, but can we please talk about how stunning this cover is? I’m dead.

5. 1989: a book published the year you were born

Did I have to Google ‘books published in 1999’ to find my answer to this question? Yes, I did.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower was the first book to come up in my search results. I had no idea this was published in 1999 and assumed it was mid-2000s, although I am probably thinking of the movie. I have yet to read this, but I would like to someday!

6. Reputation: a book that lived up to its hype

An Ember in the Ashes definitely lived up to and exceeded its’ hype for me! I have only finished the first two books in the series but already tell people it’s one of my favorite fantasy series of all time.

7. Lover: a favorite romance or book with a romantic subplot

Although the first book I thought of was Red, White and Royal Blue, I decided that book has made enough appearances on my blog for now, and instead wanted to showcase You Deserve Each Other! This was another 5 star romance for me and a super fun twist on the enemies to lovers trope! It is funny and flirty and just a good time!

8. Folklore: a fairy tale, folktale. or myth retelling

I just finished my ARC of Lost in the Never Woods a few days ago and really enjoyed this unique take on Peter Pan! I really enjoyed Aiden Thomas’s writing, and the way they reimagined this classic tale!

9. Evermore: a sequel to a fairy tale, folk tale or myth retelling (Not part of original tag; added by Riddhi B.)

This. Cover!

This is the sequel/companion to A Dance of Silver and Shadow, a 12 Dancing Princess Retelling I read last week! This is the story of the protagonist’s sister, who is being forced to marry ‘The Beast.’ I am a sucker for a good Beauty and the Beast retelling so I am excited for this one!

I won’t tag anyone specifically, but all Swifties are welcome to participate (and tag me in your answers so I can see them!). Also, drop a comment to let me know your favorite Taylor Swift songs! Mine are Dear John, Cardigan, and False God, although I’m sure my answers will change in a week.

Happy reading!

Review: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

“Failure doesn’t define you. It’s what you do after you fail that determines whether you are a leader or a waste of perfectly good air.”

Sabaa Tahir, A Torch Against the Night

Publisher: Razorbil
Publication Year: 2016
Page Count: 452
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4 stars


Listen. I am NOT okay.

As to be expected, this book takes off from the first page. It picks up right after we left off in book one. So much happens in this book, and I absolutely loved it! We get to see more of each of the main characters, and Sabaa Tahir’s writing just really shines.

Of course, the thing that stood out to me in book 1 is the characters. This book is no exception! If you liked Elias as much as I did in book 1, you are not going to be disappointed. We get to see Elias as he is turned into a villain roaming the Empire, yet is only trying to help save Laia’s brother. He is so selfless, and risks himself for Laia so many times. His POV was by far my favorite, because we get to see the internal battles he is fighting, trying to decide where his loyalties lie.

And of course, I love Laia as well. The character development of Laia from book 1 is immaculate. We see her go from an innocent, helpless slave to a fighting, badass warrior. Laia loves her brother so much and will stop at absolutely nothing until he is safe. We watch her discover more about herself as well, which ultimately help her become developed into an unforgettable female lead. Now if only her and Elias could get it together and admit their feelings!!!

I read AEITA a few months ago, and forget whether or not Helene had a POV in that one. She does in this book, and although I enjoyed it, I felt like it did distract a bit from Laia and Elias’s. I just found myself so much more invested in their plots than Helene’s. Of course, Helene is important and her internal conflict is fascinating, but I wish there would have just been… less of it, I guess? Regardless, I can’t complain because I know it will without a doubt come into play in the next two books.

This book was just an absolute masterpiece and it definitely deserves all the hype it has been getting. The only reason I am not able to give it a full 5 star rating is because I think the pacing was just a bit off. Even though there are definitely moments filled with action and angst, there is also a large portion of the book where the main characters are just traveling, and I found myself wishing something more would happen. I also was able to guess one of the major plot twists, which made me a bit sad. However, it didn’t really deter me from loving this book because the characters just make the story.

I am so excited to read A Reaper at The Gates hopefully soon!

What did you think of this book? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

6 Books That Are Worth The Hype- Part 1

If you’re at all like me, you may be skeptical of hyped books. Some of my most disappointing reads this year have been books that were so hyped up, that I was sure I would love them. So when I didn’t, I was quite let down. So, I have acquired a list of books that did live up to the hype for me!

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

I read this book just last month, and I put it off so long because I didn’t think there was any way I would like this as much as everyone else does. However, this book very much exceeded my expectations! The atmosphere was so dark and I loved the dual perspectives that this book follows! I would definitely recommend this book if you are skeptical about picking it up! You can read my full review here.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This book took the entire Internet by storm when it first came out, and so I was hesitant to pick it up because there was no way I would like it as much as everyone else. But guys- this was the cutest thing I’ve ever read! This royal romance has everything you could ever want in it, and will leave you swooning. It has definitely been my favorite contemporary of 2020 so far! You can read my full review here.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

As soon as I started reading this book, I knew it was going to be a 5 star read. Sabaa Tahir is a master story teller, weaving in an intricate world with characters you would die for. This is a book set in a world inspired by Ancient Rome, and follows a female slave and male soldier in dual POV. This is definitely another favorite of mine for 2020, and I can’t wait to read book 2 soon! You can read my full review here.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

This is another book I’m sure you have seen around, and rightfully so because it was so cute! This is a small town f/f romance that follows Liz as she campaigns to be prom queen so she can move out of rural Indiana. Growing up in a small town I definitely resonated a lot in this story, and watching Liz grow as a character was so much fun. You can read my full review here.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

You know, we can honestly just put all of Elizabeth Acevedo’s books on this list, but Clap When You Land is my favorite so far! I’m sure you know, but this book is written in verse and follows two sisters who discover one another after their father is killed in a tragic plane crash. This book will pull at your heart strings. I am still not okay and I read this in June!

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Even though I read this last year, it still definitely has a place in my heart as one of my favorite books of all time. This follows a band called The Six in the 70s as they make begin their rise in fame and their eventual downfall. This book is told in an interview style format and it really felt like I was reading about a real band. I didn’t even know it was fictional until about halfway through! I would highly recommend the audiobook as well, because it has an amazing full cast of characters.

I definitely plan on doing a part 2 of this, so let me know what you think about these books! Were they worth the hype for you?

Books to Read Before 2021

It’s October, which means it’s the time of year where I start panicking because there are many books I want to get to before 2021!

Primarily, these books are going to be sequels because I am so behind. I think in December my TBR is going to be made entirely of sequels, and in November I will focus on 2020 releases I have yet to get to.

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Yes, I am so late to this one! I read the first three books in this series from January-March, and I really enjoyed them! And Cress had such an interesting cliffhanger, so I have no idea where this is going to go. It is a bit on the thicker side, which is intimidating, so I think that’s why I have been putting it off for so long.

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

I absolutely loved An Ember in the Ashes when I read it this summer. I loved the world and the characters were so precious, and I’ve heard this one is even better! I’m afraid if I don’t read this soon I won’t continue on with the series, and I really want to, so this has got to be read before 2021!

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

I have no idea how many TBRs this has been on! After The Wicked King, I have no idea how this story is going to go, but I need to find out. I have heard mixed things about this book so I am excited to see what I think!

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

This book has also been a few TBRs lately, but I have yet to get to it. I loved Girls of Paper and Fire, the world was so lush and beautiful! I am excited to see where the story goes in this sequel. I have heard this to be a bit underwhelming, but I have high hopes because I loved Natasha Ngan’s writing in book 1!

Well Played by Jenn DeLuca

I absolutely adored reading Well Met by Jenn DeLuca last year, so I am very excited for this companion novel. Well Met was an enemies to lovers story that took place at a Renaissance Fair, which was one of the coolest settings I have read a romance in! I believe this one also takes place in a Renaissance Fair, and I am excited go have more of Jenn DeLuca’s writing to dive into.

Majesty by Katherine McGee

I absolutely loved American Royals when I read it last year, and knew I needed to read this book! This alternate history novel explores what would happen if America would have a monarchy rather than a presidency. There is so much drama and gossip in book 1, and so I definitely need to see where the story goes in book 2!

Vicious Spirits by Kat Cho

This is actually on my TBR for this month, and it is a high priority for me! This is the companion novel to Wicked Fox, one of my favorite books of this year! I have heard great reviews about this book and so I can’t wait to read this (hopefully) next!

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

I have no idea why I haven’t gotten to this yet, because I know I’m going to love it. I have heard so many great reviews, and it sounds reminiscent of The Night Circus, which is probably my favorite book of the year. I also heard it gives Phantom of the Opera vibes, and I love that musical so I know this will be right up my alley and I know I will love it.

Kingdom of Sea and Stone by Mara Rutherford

I really liked Crown of Coral and Pearl when I read it earlier this summer, and the conclusion to this duology just came out Oct. 6. The cover is stunning and I have a feeling I am going to really enjoy this one! Not many people are talking about this series, but I really enjoyed it and encourage others to pick it up as well!

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

This book has been on at least 3 TBRs, but I will get to it before 2021, I am determined! This is a YA fantasy inspired by (I think) Nigerian culture, so I’m hoping this will be what I wanted Children of Blood and Bone to be. This is definitely a priority because I want to read the second book when it comes out in 2021!

This is definitely an ambitious list, but I really hope I can get to these! Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Page count: 457
Publication year: 2015
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 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.

Lately, I had been seeing this book everywhere. I was hesitant to pick it up because I am generally weary of hyped books, but this was the group book for my Disney-A-Thon team (which I failed at oops) so I decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did!

I feel like lately in fantasies I have been seeing a lot of characters who don’t actually do much in the story but are rather “the chosen ones,” so it was refreshing to not see that trope in here! Laia watches The Empire murder her entire family and arrest her brother for treason. From here, she vows to do whatever she can to save her only remaining family member, and teams up with The Resistance. Laia’s character development is so incredible as we watch her grow from a scared, broken teenage girl to a strong, defiant one. Furthermore, she makes things happen for herself. She doesn’t sit around wishing things were different, but rather goes out and tries to change the course of her and her brother’s life.

Okay, now of course I must gush over Elias. I loved Laia so much, but Elias was definitely just as compelling, if not more so. Elias is a soldier at The Empire’s greatest military academy and has just graduated. However, he is different from his peers in the sense that he isn’t sure if they are really fighting for the greater good. In the course of this book, we watch Elias on this emotional journey trying to decide who he wants to fight for. While his conscious is telling him The Empire is not as great as it seems, his peers and family are putting pressure on him to remember who he swore his loyalty to. The entire time, I couldn’t tell whether Elias was good or evil, and I loved it.

And of course, I can’t write a review without mentioning the action scenes! These kept me on my toes with all the amazing twists. I could never quite tell the direction the book was going. I especially loved reading the trials that Elias endured. They were so interesting and definitely furthered the character development. Through these, Elias’s greatest fears were revealed as well as how far he would go for power. The action made me fly through this book. Although it was over 450 pages, I read it in 3 days.

Overall, this is probably one of my favorite books of the year. I would highly recommend it and can’t wait to read the rest of the series soon!