Sunday Sentence: January 26

I’m participating in David Abrams’s ‘Sunday Sentence‘ project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, ‘out of context and without commentary’.

“Recently, instead, there has been a contrasting obsession with authenticity, even though the specificity of an accent might only be noticeable to the community from which it comes”.

Source: ‘Are Authentic Accents Important in Film and TV’? by Rachael Sigee

Reading Blog: January 23

This week I began reading ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern. I’m nearly 100 pages in the story, and I’m really liking it. The development of the characters Celia and Marco is being performed very meticulously, as their life paths were orchestrated to play a part in an intricate game. So far the story jumps from a firmly established entity, to one just beginning to take shape through midnight discussions.

I’m also waiting on a copy of ‘Little Fires Everywhere’, by Celeste Ng. This is the next selected read for the book club at my local library. I’m hopeful to have this book in my hands by the end of the week. I also borrowed a cozy mystery novel, ‘Kneaded to Death’, which I hope to begin very soon!

WWW Wednesday: January 22

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and now maintained by Taking on a World of Words.

There are three prompts for WWW Wednesday:
–What are you currently reading?
–What did you finish recently reading?
–What do you think you’ll read next?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Yes, I’m finally reading The Night Circus! So far I’m really loving what I’m reading!

Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason
A story that has a soldier and an Army counselor solving a murder mystery. The real life issue of veterans grappling with PTSD is described in vivid detail!

Kneaded to Death by Winnie Archer
I’m looking forward to reading this cozy mystery novel!

OwlCrate January 2020 unboxing/Vengence Will Be Mine

I received my January OwlCrate box over the weekend, and I was thrilled with the goodies it contains! Spoiler pics are shown at the second image!
January’s theme is called ‘Vengence Will Be Mine’!

Harry Potter inspired mug, designed by Cara Kozik

Crooked Kingdom inspired socks, designed by Out of Print clothing
Candle inspired by ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ (random selection of 5)

Pin banner with a map inspired by ‘The Hobbit’, designed by ‘In the Reads’
–OwlCrate exclusive mirror/pill container

–OwlCrate exclusive edition of ‘Scavenge the Stars’ by Tara Sim, with a letter from the author
–OwlCrate xclusive monthly pin designed by Forensic and Flowers

What is your favorite item from this box? My personal favorite is the Harry Potter mug, since I adore Order of the Phoenix!

Sunday Sentence: January 19

I’m participating in David Abrams’s ‘Sunday Sentence‘ project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, ‘out of context and without commentary’.

‘People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told that they see’.

Source: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

‘Collateral Damage’ by Lynette Eason/A Review

Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason
Book 1 of Danger Never Sleeps series
Publisher: Revell/Baker Publishing Group
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Christian Fiction
Acquired from Revell Reads Blogger List
Release Date: January 7, 2020

Synopsis:

Honorably discharged from the Army after an explosion nearly killed her, former military psychiatrist Brooke Adams has set up shop to help others–but her days of helping military personnel are over. She’s got her own battles to fight from her time overseas, and she’s not equipped to take on more. Former Army Special Ops Sergeant First Class Asher James could handle anything that war sent his way–terrorists, bombs, bullets. The only thing that scares him now is sleep. As the shadows close in, the nightmares begin.

Finally convinced that he needs help, Asher makes an appointment with a counselor, and Brooke is pressed by her boss to take him on. When he arrives at her office she isn’t there–but a dead body is. Brooke is devastated when she walks in, and Asher is a conveniently strong shoulder to cry on. But she can’t take him on as a client after sharing such an intimate and unprofessional moment, can she? And he’s not sure he can handle sharing his deepest fears with such a beautiful woman.

When it becomes clear that Brooke was the real target of the attack–and that her secrets go even deeper than his own–Asher vows to protect her no matter what.

My Thoughts:

**Thank you Revell Reads for providing me a complimentary copy!**

Collateral Damage is a definite page-turner! As I was reading, I became so absorbed with the characters’ actions in every scene. Brooke and Asher are two individuals brought together through the circumstances of war and trauma. The story progresses as their war-time experiences converge in the normally safe environment of home, now heavily complicated.

I found this story very fast-paced, as the mysteriously dangerous figures in the book kept me in suspense, along with guessing who may be the one out for Brooke’s life. The twist in the book occurs before the mystery is revealed, but its weight carries the shocking consequence of the key players through the end. 

Collateral Damage falls under the Christian Fiction genre. Occasionally, Brooke and the other characters reach out to a higher power when enduring extreme difficulty. The feeling of having faith at all times accompany these individuals throughout the story. It’s the gentle message of reaching out to a higher power in times of conflict that I greatly appreciated.

If you love a book with mystery and suspense, then Collateral Damage is the book for you!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

WWW Wednesday: January 8

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and now maintained by Taking on a World of Words.

There are three prompts for WWW Wednesday:
–What are you currently reading?
–What did you finish recently reading?
–What do you think you’ll read next?

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
I’m only a chapters in, and I’m already hooked! This non-fiction tale involving the demise of a wealthy Native American tribe is the January pick for my local library’s book club.

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
NetGalley provided me a complimentary digital copy of this book, coming out on January 28. I enjoyed this contemporary story about the online gaming world!

Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason
I received a complimentary copy of Collateral Damage from Revell Reads. I’ve received some good material from Revell Reads, so I’m looking forward to reading this story!

Sunday Sentence: January 5

I’m participating in David Abrams’s ‘Sunday Sentence‘ project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, ‘out of context and without commentary’.

‘The stories began pouring in, from meeting future spouses, to awkward family meals, mourning over loved ones, to late-night snacks, all taking place beneath the autumn leaf ceiling’.

Source: ‘Book shares collective tales of longtime neighborhood deli‘, by Rachel Olivier.

Anticipated Reads for 2020

As 2020 is rapidly approaching, there are some really great books that I just can’t wait to get my hands on!

Here’s a list of some books that I can’t wait to read during 2020:

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Release Date: Jan. 28

I recently received the eARC of Don’t Read the Comments through NetGalley, and I’m so excited! This story centers around two teens who turn to the gaming world to escape their ‘real life’ dilemmas, yet they soon face harassment from the same online community they trust.

Heart of Flames by Nicki Pau Preto
Release Date: Feb. 11

Heart of Flames is the sequel to Crown of Feathers, and I can’t wait to dive in! I have Crown of Feathers, and I really need to read it before the second book comes out!

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
Release Date: March 3

We Ride Upon Sticks tells the story of a women’s hockey team with magic on their side! This novel is also set in the 80s. I’m ready for the nostalgia!

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan
Release Date: April 7

I’m so looking forward to picking up Ruthless Gods! NetGalley provided me with an eARC recently, and it left me stunned! I can’t wait to purchase a final copy of the book when April rolls around!

Lobizona by Romina Garber
Release Date: May 5

Lobizona is a urban fantasy tale that also tackles the real life headline of family separation. I’m so prepared for the ride!

The Mall by Megan McCafferty
Release Date: June 9

The Mall is set in the early 90s, following the life of a recent high school grad working a summer job, planning her future in college with the man of her dreams. This immediately brings me back to my mall life in the early-mid 90s in New Jersey (where this novel is also set)!

We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal
Release Date: July 7

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about this book coming out! I absolutely adored We Hunt the Flame, and I know that Faizal’s follow-up will be just as stunning!

More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood
Release Date: August 4

I love a contemporary romance with diverse characters! This story involves finding love and acceptance in the face of familial expectations. I’m definitely intrigued!

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi
Release Date: September 22

The Silvered Serpents is another of my ‘can’t wait releases’ of 2020! I very much enjoyed the eARC of The Silvered Serpents (thank you NetGalley!), and the end of the story definitely left me wanting more! You should definitely run out and buy this book when it comes out during the Fall!

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab (Cover not yet revealed)
Release Date: October 6

The moment I heard about the plot (a woman who sells her soul to the devil, yet he curses her to be forgotten by everyone she meets), I immediately wanted this in my hands!

**Note: I couldn’t find releases during November and December, so here are two more books–also coming out in 2020–that I can’t wait to read**

Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab
Release Date: September 1

Bridge of Souls is the third book in the Cassidy Blake series (a young girl who has the ability to cross over the ‘Veil’ in order to speak to the dead).

A Crown So Cursed by L.L. McKinney
Release Date: September 22

A Crown So Cursed is Book 3 in the Nightmare-Verse series. I can’t wait to learn what happens next in Wonderland!

That’s all of the stories for now! I’m sure that even more tales will emerge as 2020 unfolds!

‘We Hunt the Flame’ by Hafsah Faizal/A Review

‘We Hunt the Flame’ by Hafsah Faizal
Length: 472 pages
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Genre: YA Fantasy
Book #1 of the Sands of Arwiya Duology
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Source: Hardcover and Audiobook

When I first heard about ‘We Hunt the Flame’ being released, I was excited to get it! I’m all for diverse authors putting out content, and this story has a diverse range of characters along with a plotline based in an Asian inspired world. I pre-ordered my copy, and received the book on the day of release. I really wanted to read this book for the Asian Readathon, but my work schedule caused me to have a very slow pace in completing any stories! So I read this story during the day, alongside the audiobook version in the evening. I think I may read in this style moving forward!

‘We Hunt the Flame’ tells the story of Zafira Iskander, a woman who masquerades as the Hunter in the world of Arwiya. In this world, women are not highly regarded as respectable figures, so Zafira feels forced to hide her identity in order to bring peace to her kingdom in Demenhur as a male Hunter. Only four people within her family knows Zafira’s true identity, and encourage Zafira to embrace the notion of a strong female provider, yet she carries her fears throughout her daily life due to uncertainty.

Arwiya is left in a state of peril for decades due to an absence of magic. Once a powerful land governed by the Six Sisters, they suddenly disappeared after a harrowing fight in the island of Sharr. Their absence have left the Arwiyan kingdoms in disarray, causing Demenhur to be in a permanent state of winter. Zafira takes the skills learned from her father and ventures into the dangerous Arz forest as the Hunter, hunting to feed the people of Demenhur. One day she is called by the caliph to venture into the Arz and locate the powerful Jarawat in order to restore peace in Arwiya. Along the way she meets Nasir, the crown prince of the cruel Sultan of Arwiya. Nasir is known as the Prince of Death, and he is assigned to accompany the Hunter in locating the Jarawat for his own gain. Although he is asked to take out the Hunter, being an assassin is the last thing he wants to be in his life.

I found the chemistry between Nasir and Zafira so captivating. Both people are caught up in their own webs of deception, yet feel unable to relinquish their crafted identities due to obligation to their people. Each person is also set out for revenge, as both individuals lost someone they dearly cared for. Nasir and Zafira are also joined by a eclectic cast of characters who encompass the different regions of Arwiya’s vast world. Out of all the side characters, I really appreciated Altair. He and Nasir have an awkward (yet humorous) alliance, and his optimistic viewpoints are a breath of fresh air to an otherwise harrowing situation. Altair’s lighthearted tone and intriguing backstory carries the story with great interest to the end.

The world building was also done very beautifully, as I found the governing rules of Arwiya similar in some ways, as women are not held in a high regard in certain regions in our world also. Patriarchy is very common parallel in both Arwiya and our current way of life, with some regions keeping a matriarchal rule. Obviously, in real life we aren’t ruled and governed by magic. I’m sure most of us would love that to happen, though!

I also loved the metaphors Faizal uses throughout this book. She uses the rule of ‘Show but don’t tell’ in her writing expertly. Lines such as ‘That was life, wasn’t it? A collection of moments, a menagerie of people. Everyone stranded everywhere, always’ sung to my soul amazingly. The lines she used when it came to both Nasir and Zafira expressing love was also equally emotional and heartbreaking. Since both people have loved and lost before venturing into their mission into Sharr, their approach in expressing devotion is done very precariously. Lines such as ‘For you, a thousand times I would defy the sun’ melted my heart.  

‘We Hunt the Flame’ by Hafsah Faizal is beautifully written, and her literary voice was clear in character description and world building. I very much look forward to reading the sequel when it’s released next year.

Rating: 5/5 Stars