Review: A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Fantasy
Series: An Ember In The Ashes #2
Publication: 8/20/2016 by Razorbill
Pages: 452 Pages
Format: eBook
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

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.

My Thoughts
This was the last book that I read while on vacation. However, it fell flat for me. Would have it have been better if I had read An Ember in the Ashes again? Maybe. But I am not one to re-read books just for the sake of reading the sequel. This series has been kind of forgettable for me. I didn't remember a lot from An Ember in the Ashes, and I especially won't remember anything from this book by the time the next book comes out.

I just found this book was dull. They were travelling to the prison for the majority of the book, and it was slow going. I had a hard time caring about either Laia or Elias for most of this book. They just both refused to grow as characters. I ended up bored during most of their POV's. However, I did really enjoy the introduction of Helen's POV. Her character will make you think and she shows you her moral struggles with her new role in the Empire. I really enjoyed her sections. I also liked how this book wasn't afraid to go very dark. A lot of innocent people are dying and there is serious blood shed. I felt like there was something they should be fighting for but instead of saving the Scholar's they are only focused on saving one person. That just seems selfish.

I was unfortunately disappointed by this book. There were parts that I enjoyed but I was mostly bored while reading this book. There is some potential for the next book in the series. However, this book wrapped up enough of the story that I would probably be fine without continuing. We shall see.

Review: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Genre: Contemporary
Publication: 4/7/2015 by Balzer + Bray
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: eBook
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My Thoughts
I have heard so much about this book over the last 2 years, so it was finally time that I picked it up. I did enjoy this book, but it followed the same kind of story line as a lot of YA contemporaries that I have read. This book is diverse in that it is a M/M romance, which is awesome for someone who is looking for a story that represents them. But for me, it was still pretty predictable. I was much more invested once Blue and Simon met in real life. They were very adorable and I was really rooting for them.

One thing that did throw me off about this book was the description on masturbation. I like that it was normalized (because let's me real we all do it) but I felt uncomfortable reading about a 16 year old doing it. I am much older than 16 and it just felt uncomfortable. However, it was nice to see it normalized, so I am still conflicted about it.

In the end, this was an enjoyable read. I read it on vacation by the pool and I just flew through it. I would recommend if you are looking for a cute contemporary. It was pretty predictable but if you want a book that represents you better, check this out.

Review: Adnan's Story: The Truth for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry

Genre: Nonfiction, True Crime
Publication: 8/9/2016 by St. Martin's Press
Pages: 410 Pages
Format: eBook
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Goodreads Summary
In early 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted and sentenced to life plus thirty years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland. Syed has maintained his innocence, and Rabia Chaudry, a family friend, has always believed him. By 2013, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, Rabia contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life, in hopes of finding a journalist who could shed light on Adnan’s story. In 2014, Koenig's investigation turned into Serial, a Peabody Award-winning podcast with more than 500 million international listeners

But Serial did not tell the whole story. In this compelling narrative, Rabia Chaudry presents new key evidence that she maintains dismantles the State's case: a potential new suspect, forensics indicating Hae was killed and kept somewhere for almost half a day, and documentation withheld by the State that destroys the cell phone evidence -- among many other points -- and she shows how fans of Serial joined a crowd-sourced investigation into a case riddled with errors and strange twists. Adnan's Story also shares Adnan’s life in prison, and weaves in his personal reflections, including never-before-seen letters. Chaudry, who is committed to exonerating Adnan, makes it clear that justice is yet to be achieved in this much examined case.

My Thoughts
I knew I needed to read this book as soon as I finished listening to the podcast, Serial. I am a Forensic Science student and we spent a lot of time discussing people who are actually innocent of the crimes they were convicted of. Adnan's story is so similar to many of them but at the same time very different, especially considering that the ones I learn about generally contain DNA evidence. After listening to Serial, I needed to hear more evidence so that Adnan is actually innocent. This book did help give some clarity to the case and gave a much more personal recount of what happened.

I did have to put this book down the first time I tried to read it. However, I think that was because I was in the middle of school work and this story felt too much like school work at the time. I finished it on vacation, and did really enjoy it. There were some dry parts and at times I felt all 400 pages of it. However, if you loved Serial and want to know more I highly advise you check this book out. If you know nothing about this case, go listen to Serial.

Top 10 Tuesday : Backlist Books That I Have Recently Added to My TBR

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
It's been a hot minute since I did a Top 10 Tuesday and I am very excited to be back. This week we are talking about new books we added to our TBRs. I am going to be talking about the backlist books that I have recently added to my Goodreads "want to read" self. All of these books are 2016 releases or older. Let's get going.


The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock - I just added this book to my TBR a few minutes ago. I heard about it from looking at other people's wrap ups. It's an adult contemporary that takes place in Alaska. 
The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver - Another book added due to someone's wrap up. My favourite way to find new books. This one follows a women who cheats on her husband and the story follows what happened after but also the alternative time line where she didn't cheat. It sounds interesting and it got added.
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel - I added this one because it's a SciFi written by a Canadian author. I have heard lots of good things about it so it's on my TBR.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - I added this after I heard a few people talk about it last month. It's about Henrietta Lacks who's cells were taken to create HeLa cells. I am a scientist so I think this would be an important read for me.
Shockaholic & Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher - After reading The Princess Diarist I need more Carrie Fisher in my life. Right after reading it, I added both her other memoirs onto my TBR and I can't wait to read them.


Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee - This is a memoir of Sungju and his story about trying to survive in North Korea then escaping. I have a few memoirs from North Koreans on my TBR and I seriously need to try them out. 
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith - I recently read The Cuckoo's Calling and really enjoyed it so the rest of the series is now very much sitting on my TBR.
The Fireman by Joe Hill - When I went to add this book I didn't really remember what this book was about. This is a book about a plague that causes people to burst into flames. Plagues intrigue me so I am going to check this one out.
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese - This book is another important book in Canadian Literature. It is about the 1960's in Canada and residential schools. I need to read this.

What have you recently added to your TBR? Let me know :) 

Short and Sweet Reviews: Graphic Novel Edition #12

Descender Vol 2: Machine Moon
Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen, Steve Wands

I am really happy I picked up this series. It's a really good story following a robot in a universe where robots are outlawed. The story is very interesting and the art work is very unique. The art does take some time to get used to but it really does suit the story. Also I never knew I could care so much about a tiny robot. If you are into SciFi I would recommend this series.

4 out of 5 Stars

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Know
Ryan North, Erica Henderson

Squirrel Girl is the most refreshing superhero ever. This series is hilarious and I am already excited to pick up the next volume. This one jumps back in time, and it's a pretty interesting arch but not my absolute favourite from this series. I love how Squirrel Girl will tweet with Tony Stark and The Hulk on twitter, it's just awesome.

3.5 out of 5 Stars

Saga Volume 3 
Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

This series is very much growing on me. Enough so that I bought the rest of the series that is current released, ooops. Anyway, this was another good installment to the series. So far I have enjoyed each volume more than the last. I highly recommend if you are looking for a SciFi graphic novel. This one was kind of slower than the first 2 volumes, but I really enjoyed that aspect and getting to know our characters better.

4 out of 5 Stars

May in Review | 2017


Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir {3 out of 5 Stars}
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now {4 out of 5 Stars}
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas {3 out of 5 Stars}
Saga Volume 3 {4 out of 5 Stars}
Favourite of the Month: Saga Volume 3
Disappointment of the Moth: A Torch Against the Night
General Thoughts: This was a strange reading month. I found myself struggling with most of the books. I have had some huge life changes and I am trying to get back into my groove. Hopefully, with books that I love much more.


Beat the Backlist
6) A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

2017 New Releases Challenge
4) A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas


Summer TBR | 2017

Summer 2017 is nearly here and it's time to talk about my summer reading plans. Summer is one of my favourite seasons for reading and I can't wait to sit out on my deck and just read. I have lots of different books I want to read this summer so let's get to them.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - I am next in line for this one at my library and I am super anxious to read it. It will likely be my first read this summer
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis - I almost read this one while I was on vacation recently I didn't get to it then so it will be a summer read
Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch - I have had this one too long! I really loved the first 2 books in the series and would love to finish it off very soon.

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson - I almost picked this up but ACOWAR came out and I am still stuck in the middle of it. This is sitting on my bedside table ready to go.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo - I have had this series forever and I want to read it before jumping into Six of Crows. Hopefully this summer will be it's time.
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulhurst - This was another one that I almost picked up while on vacation but didn't get the chance. Summer will be it's time.

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski - Summer is a great time to get through some sequels. I read The Winner's Cruse last summer so it's time to pick up the next one
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas - I have been trying to catch up in this series but it has gotten lots of mixed reviews lately. But I am curious to see what is going here.
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan - In my quest to finish this series by the end of the year, I need to read the next one in the series to keep on track. 

These are the books at the top of my list. However, knowing myself I will be lucky to read half of them. I am terrible at sticking to TBR's, but it doesn't bother me as long as I am still reading.
What do you want to read this summer? Let me know.

Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Genre: Mystery
Series: Cormoran Strike #1
Publication: 4/30/2013 by Little Brown and Company
Pages: 455 Pages
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

My Thoughts
Mystery generally isn't a genre that I read a lot in; however, when J.K Rowling writes one then I have to give it a try. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I found the mystery compelling and it kept me guessing until the end. I didn't know who the suspect was until it was properly revealed which was awesome. This might have something to do with me not reading a lot of mystery books, but I am a forensic sciences student so I have looked into my fair share of real life crime.

This book gets a thumbs up from me. It was fun to read but it wasn't anything super groundbreaking or magnificent. I liked it but it just didn't blow me away. It's definitely a good series when I need a break from fantasy. I will be checking out the next book in the foreseeable future. All-in-all, it was a well written and a good mystery but just didn't wow.

What's On My Library Holds List #3

This library holds list is a little different this time because everything is from Overdrive this time. I just recently moved and can only access the online catalogue now. However, my new community has a library which I will be getting a library card for very soon! So here is what is currently sitting in my Overdrive holds.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold
These books have been on my holds list for MONTHS. I am still patiently waiting though.

The Crown by Kiera Cass
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

What are you waiting for from the library? Let's hope I get to read these soon.