‘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

The Breakfast Club Book Tag

I discovered this tag on The Bibliophagist’s page. When I was younger, I enjoyed watching The Breakfast Club. I loved finding out the quirks and secrets from each of the characters stuck in that detention hall!

Princess: a book that is very popular and pretty on the outside, but you thought was uninteresting on the inside

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‘In Her Shoes’ by Jennifer Weiner. This story features two sisters as they navigate life’s challenges and romantic misadventures. I really wanted to enjoy this novel, but I found myself disinterested after a few days.

Criminal: A book that looks/sounds rough and bad, but ended up completely stealing your heart

‘Six of Crows’ by Leigh Bardugo. It seemed like a story filled with unexpected events based on a heist, and that plot line usually doesn’t flow well with me. However, it turned out to be a story with captivating characters, and strong female roles. It was an amazing tale.

Brain: A book that made you think

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‘The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace’ by Jeff Hobbs. This story features the life of Robert Peace, a man living in an inner city who achieved graduating from Yale, but fell under difficult times in the years that followed. Despite his mother and school mentors doing everything possible to ensure his success in life, the pressure of instant gratification (and the temptation that accompanies it) overcomes him.

Basket Case: A book that people would call you crazy for reading

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‘Miss America’ by Howard Stern. He’s such a wild radio personality, but I enjoy his sense of humor! I read ‘Miss America’ and ‘Private Parts’. No regrets!

Athlete: A book that made you struggle/work to finish

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‘Minion (Vampire Huntress #1) by L.A. Banks. I began reading this book a few years ago, and couldn’t finish it. Last month I received it from the library, and I finished it in a week, but I realized that I wasn’t as eager to read it as I once was. I motivated myself to finish for the sake of finally figuring out the plot and what happened throughout the story. But it will be a while before I pick up Book 2.

February 28, 2019: My Feb. Wrap-Up

I’m happy to say that read four books this month! While it’s one book short from January, I’m reading more than I did a year earlier, and I’m very happy about that!

One of the books was categorized as adult, the rest were YA. One of these novels was a NetGalley ARC.

The Oyster Thief by Sonia Faruqi

I gave this story 5 stars. I absolutely loved this book! It’s an underwater tale centering around a mermaid on a quest to save her brother poisoned from an oil spill. She meets a merman while on her adventure , with a hidden agenda of his own. I enjoyed Sonia Faruqi’s description of her underwater world, and the merpeople community’s way of life. I can wait to see what Faruqi writes next!

See the source image
Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay

I gave Ever Alice 3 1/2 stars. This book is an ARC I received from NetGalley. The format for this novel was a bit frustrating to read, but I managed to complete reading it in a couple days. I loved that it was a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland, set in the 19th century. There were a couple of gory scenes in this story that made this book quite interesting. I also loved reading about Alice’s return to Wonderland.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

I gave this novel 4 stars. I heard many mixed reviews about this story, but I really liked this final installment of the Grisha trilogy. It follows Alina on her quest for third amplifier while Ravka is on the brink of sheer chaos. It was fulfilling to follow Alina and her crew through foreign lands, all while avoiding the Darkling and his minions.

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

I gave this book 5 stars. This story was a modern day retelling of Alice in Wonderland. I truly loved how Alice is a fighter in this version, battling Nightmares while journeying through a Wonderland dangerous at night. The ending brings on quite a surprise. I’m very much looking forward to the second book of this world, which comes out in September!

I wanted Six of Crows to be my fifth novel, but I’m at the halfway point in the story. It’s just getting interesting!

Professional Reader

February 26, 2019: Some March Book Releases

I can’t believe that February is almost behind us! As much as I feel that time is passing by quickly (since I’m in wedding planning mode, it will be that special time before I know it!), I’m also excited for Springtime and new book releases. Here are a few titles I’ve come across in my search.

**I came across all titles mentioned on the Penguin Random House website**

Coming out on March 19

The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George

Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley are forced to confront the past as they try to solve a crime that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of a quiet, historic medieval town in England.

The cozy, bucolic town of Ludlow is stunned when one of its most revered and respected citizens–Ian Druitt, the local deacon–is accused of a serious crime. Then, while in police custody, Ian is found dead. Did he kill himself? Or was he murdered?

When Barbara Havers is sent to Ludlow to investigate the chain of events that led to Ian’s death, all the evidence points to suicide. But Barbara can’t shake the feeling that she’s missing something. She decides to take a closer look at the seemingly ordinary inhabitants of Ludlow–mainly elderly retirees and college students–and discovers that almost everyone in town has something to hide…

Coming out on March 5

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Everyone knows DAISY JONES & THE SIX, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ’n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend…

Coming out March 5

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian meets Jane the Virgin in this poignant but often laugh-out-loud funny contemporary YA about losing a sister and finding yourself amid the pressures, expectations, and stereotypes of growing up in a Mexican American home. 

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.
 
But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.
 
Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.
 
But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend, Lorena, and her first love (first everything), Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

Coming out on March 12

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #MeToo and #TimesUp, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.

February 24, 2019: Reading to Escape

I’ve been very happy with my reading goals thus far. I know we’re only a couple months into 2019, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that I’ve done a considerable amount of reading. At this time last year, I don’t think I picked up a book to read for enjoyment. Aside from searching through books for my classroom (equally valuable, since they enrich my students’ love of reading), I didn’t really pursue reading for personal enjoyment. This year, I’ve read 9 books so far in 2019, and one my way to begin another one. I’m very excited about this fact! I’ll write about my February reads in a post later this week.

This weekend I’ve been experiencing a heighented amount of stress. I’m planning my wedding for August, which brings on details that I would rather not deal with! Through all of the craziness, I’m relieved that I can turn to reading and escape the madness for short periods!

February 10, 2019: ‘Ever Alice’ by H.J. Ramsay/A Review

**I received an eARC of ‘Ever Alice’ from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.**

‘Ever Alice’ is a retelling of ‘Alice of Wonderland’. It takes place a few years after the classic story, and it finds Alice in a mental asylum. She manages to flee, returning to Wonderland, and finds herself embroiled in a plot to kill the vicious Queen of Hearts. This story features many characters from the classic Lewis Caroll tale, as well as some new figures.

Although I felt like this story has a predictable ending, I appreciate that it takes a slightly darker turn from the regular ‘Alice in Wonderland’ story, and it kept me interested until the very end.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

Professional Reader

New Book Releases in February 2019

I always found February to be a very special month: my birthday and my anniversary both fall around this time. New book releases make February extra special for me!

Here are some titles coming out next month:

The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons #1) by Jenn Lyons
Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn’t what the storybooks promised. Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins. Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin is not destined to save the empire. He’s destined to destroy it.
(February 5, Tor Books)

  Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh Farrokhzad is told that Persian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel—gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother’s walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glacé. During the summer of 1950, Forugh’s passion for poetry takes flight—and tradition seeks to clip her wings.
(February 5, Penguin Random House)

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

  American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant, but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club. Her career has stalled out, she’s overlooked for every high-profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Sankara is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent.

(February 12, Random House)

My First NetGalley ARC

Yesterday I began reading my first book from NetGalley, House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig. The story follows a young woman named Annaleigh, who attempts to uncover the reason why her sisters are dying one after the other. I’m about a quarter of the way into the book, and I enjoy the amount of paranormal scenes that are in this book. I’m looking forward to reading more and see what direction this story takes.

NetGalley provides reviewers ARC’s (Advanced Reader’s Copies) in eReader format only. This does not bother me, since I enjoy reading books in both physical and digital forms. Since I’m waiting for a copy of The Oyster Thief to become available in the library, I enjoy this NetGalley selection to keep me busy.

Professional Reader

Currently Reading Book Tag

I came across this book tag through BookHookedNook‘s page. It looked like a fun tag to complete!

How many books do you usually read at once?
Just one book at a time for now. My current work schedule is too hectic for more than one!

Do you ever switch bookmarks when you’re partway through a book?
No, I stick to the same one.

Where do you keep the book(s) you are currently reading?
On the desk, and in my purse when I head to work.

What time of day do you spend the most time reading?
I read during the evening. Once in a while I read during my break at work, if there’s time.

How long do you typically read in one sitting?
It depends, between 1-2 hours.

What position do you mainly use to read?
Sitting at my desk, or in bed.

Do you take the book you are reading everywhere you go?
During the week, sure!

How often do you update your Goodreads progress on the book you’re currently reading?
I update my progress once a day.

Have a good evening everyone! I’m off to read some Siege and Storm!

OwlCrate January 2019 Unboxing (With Spoilers)

I received my January OwlCrate subscription box a couple days ago! I’m excited about the items I received. (All descriptions are taken from the OwlCrate Magical Artifacts spoiler card,   pictured above)


  • Antler bracelet
  • Wooden letter opener (inspired by Juniper and Ivy Designs)
  • Alchemy and Ink enamel pin for January 2019
  • Harry Potter inspired socks, designed by Michelle Gray
  • Luggage tag, inspired from The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
  • Zipper pouch, designed by Stella Bookish Art
  • The Golden Compass wall tapestry, illustrated by Holly Dunn Design
  • OwlCrate exclusive edition of The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (signed by author)
  • Letter from the author
  • Sneak preview card of next month’s OwlCrate (shown with zipper pouch, described above)

I’m looking forward to reading The Gilded Wolves, and I fully intend to do so upon completing my current reads for this month. Have you received your OwlCrate for this month? If you did, feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment section below.

Happy Reading!