Mini Review: “A Reaper at the Gates” by Sabaa Tahir

3.5 stars

Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion–even at the cost of his humanity.

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**Note: A Reaper at the Gates is the third book in the Ember in the Ashes quartet and the following review will contain spoilers for the first two books. 

A Reaper at the Gates is the long awaited sequel in the Ember quartet. I liked this book but I have to say, I am a bit disappointed. A Reaper at the Gates didn’t captivate me as much as the first two books did. It was one of those books that I liked well enough but did not feel compelled to pick back up once I put it down.

Helene is definitely the shining light for me in this book. Her chapters kept me engaged while Laia’s and Elias’ did not. And we also get to learn more of the backstory for Harper and he has started to become one of my favorite characters.

There are a few things this book does really well:

  • We get a better glimpse of the world the books are set in, how vast it is, the different types of people. We get to go beyond the Empire to Marinn and see what the other nation is like
  • All three main characters go through a lot of character development in this book. Most of the book has the three MC’s separated so they all have their individual story lines so they each shine through in their own ways
  • We learn more about some side characters I’ve been wanting to get to know better
  • The villains. Sabaa is really good at creating multi-dimensional villains who aren’t evil just to be evil, they all have their reasons behind doing what they do. We learn more about the Keris’ and the Nightbringer’s backstories and because of that, I can never completely hate either of them

Things that could’ve been better: 

  • Some new magical elements were introduced (like a warlock leading a navy against the Empire) and the characters, who were so distraught by the presence of anything supernatural in the first book, didn’t seem to bat an eyelash. And yes, maybe they have just gotten used to their world being weird and unnatural by now but I wasn’t buying it. It seemed like Tahir started adding magical elements for the convenience of it to further the plot without giving a good enough explanation
  • This one is more of a personal preference: I was hoping the main characters would have more interactions in the book but it was mostly just the three of them going through their individual story arcs. This gave them opportunity to grow as individuals but the chapters just started to drag on towards the middle

Have you guys read the book? What did you think?

Review: "Fake ID" by Lamar Giles

3 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~ 

Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight…

My name isn’t really Nick Pearson.

I shouldn’t tell you where I’m from or why my family moved to Stepton, Virginia.

I shouldn’t tell you who I really am, or my hair, eye, and skin color.
And I definitely shouldn’t tell you about my friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy he was about to uncover when he died—right after I moved to town. About how I had to choose between solving his murder with his hot sister, Reya, and “staying low-key” like the Program has taught me. About how moving to Stepon changed my life forever.

But I’m going to.


This is going to be a small review. Hmm… I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would. It’s been a while since I read a book with a sole male protagonist since most YA books tend to have female leads nowadays. Nick and his family are a part of the Witness Protection Program and they are accustomed to always changing their identity stay hidden. Stepton is their fourth change of location.

I think Nick is smart and resourceful. The romance didn’t win me over; it wasn’t necessary to the plot. But I liked Nick and Reya well enough not to be bothered by it.

It’s clear a lot of thought was put into the plot of the book. The connections of the characters were well planned. But… the characters seemed a little static. There’s nothing wrong with static characters of course but I felt that some of the secondary characters needed more… pizzazz?

It’s a good book though guys! Some parts are hilarious and the ending actually took me by surprise.

Review: “A Thousand Pieces of You” by Claudia Gray

3.5 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores an amazingly intricate multi-universe where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.


I liked this book but not as much I thought I would. I was expecting more sci-fi and less romance but overall it was a nice read. The book follows Marguerite whose parents have figured out how to travel in between dimensions. Her father had recently died and she sets out to find the killer Paul Markov who travelled to another dimension and kill him.

The entire time I was reading this book, I kept comparing it to “All Our Yesterdays” by Cristin Terril. Great book if you haven’t read it and both books have similar concepts. And I really loved the overall story line but it could have been a lot better. And there were still a lot of questions that need to be answered but there will be more books so I’m hoping the next installations will be more thorough.
And I have to say, this was the best book cover I have seen in a while. It is absolutely beautiful!

The idea of all these different dimensions existing was terrifying. A single decision you make could create an entire different dimension. And honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was proven to be true sometime in the future.

I thought Marguerite was way too impulsive at times, too quick to judge and made some rash decisions. And I really thought she should have told her physicist mother about the other two Firebirds because the mother would have most likely figured out the whole Theo-is-the-spy thing sooner. I mean, the woman figured out how to travel to other dimensions.

And a lot of the decisions Marguerite made as her other versions would have made things difficult for them. The Marguerite of Russia was to be married off to the Prince of Whales as a virgin bride. It seemed like Marguerite just did what she wanted and then went “Oops”. (For her sake, I hope Russian Marguerite remembered what happened.) And it was also because of her that Lieutenant Markov died. If she hadn’t ordered him to back to the encampment, he wouldn’t have had to go fight.

I wish the author developed their characters more. I understand their basic personalities but they weren’t in depth. Paul was the only character I loved in the book. He is intelligent and very loyal to Marguerite and her family who have pretty much adopted him as their own. He seemed more real to me than even Marguerite. And it wasn’t their dimension’s Theo’s fault but I still dislike him.

I am looking forward to the next book to see what happens with Triad and the dimensional spies.

Review: “Hex Hall” by Rachel Hawkins

3.5 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.


To me, Hex Hall was one of those light reads that you enjoy when you’re reading it but forget about after a few weeks. The main character, Sophie, is a witch who gets sent to this boarding school with other supernatural kids because she messed up a love spell.

I thought the plot was predictable. She was the new girl who fell in love with the hottest guy in school (Archer) who already had a girlfriend. The girlfriend was of course portrayed as one of those snotty, mean girls in a generic high school movie. Sophie’s roommate (who also happens to be a vampire) was the most unpopular person in the school. And then slowly Archer started to fall for Sophie.

However, the book was funny at times. Sophie is witty and able to stick up for herself and her friends. And the ending did make me want to read the next book just so I could find out what happens next. Overall, it’s a nice and quick read but nothing remarkable or extraordinary.

Review: "The Blood of Olympus" by Rick Riordan


2 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Though the Greek and Roman crew-members of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it “might” be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.


This book was, well… disappointing. Not because it was a bad book (which it definitely wasn’t) but because I was expecting something much more. The beginning started off okay; the middle was good enough the ending though lacked closure. It wasn’t satisfying enough for me. There were a lot of questions left unanswered, which might have been because Riordan was trying to leave them up to the reader’s imagination but I wish he had answered them.


I will start off with the parts I loved (starting of-course with Nico). Nico has been one of my favorite characters since The Titan’s Curse. And after HoH, I really wanted him to have his happy ending. In BoO, Nico is the one character who developed the most. He finally started accepting himself and the fact that he also deserves happiness. I liked how close he and Reyna got during their quest and I loved how supportive Reyna was of him.

And let me just say that Solangelo is PERFECT. I absolutely love the idea of Nico and Will (which might have something to do with the fact that I am a daughter of Apollo).

I like Reyna way more than I originally had after this book now that we know more of her background. She is a very strong person and she had gone through a lot (which was the case for most of these demi-gods). The fight between her and Orion was memorable. I screamed when he almost killed Blackjack, that was NOT okay.

I also loved some of the fighting scenes especially the one with Nike. The fact that they kept the goddess of victory hostage was hilarious. And I thought it was very nice of Percy telling Leo he would help him find Callypso again.

And let me just say the fight between the giants and the demi-gods/Olympians was great. I thought it would’ve been even better if we had gotten to see the individual fights and not just from Jason’s POV but that would’ve been very hard to do. I would’ve loved to hear Percy’s and Poseidon’s conversation though. Zeus seemed okay enough (except that he banished Apollo. Did I mention how much I love Apollo?)

Okay, now to the complaints. I have multiple.

First (as many others have pointed out before me) WHERE THE HADES WERE PERCY AND ANNABETH IN THIS BOOK? And Hazel and Frank? Were they just not worthy of being present in the LAST book in the series? It would’ve been better if he just tossed them all to Tartarus instead of this horrible injustice of *shudder* making them background characters.

Again as many people pointed out, where the Hades was Percy’s fatal flaw? It took him no more than three seconds to let Jason and Leo take care of Gaea. There were so many hints about Percy not being able to let go and not being able to see the “bigger picture” when it came to saving his friends. And it only took one line from Annabeth to convince him otherwise? Really?

And I felt that Riordan was trying way too hard to make the readers like Jason and Piper more. Jason saving Percy underwater was good (especially imagining him in this whirlwind tornado type of wind) but it seemed a bit unrealistic to me. Percy seemed almost like a damsel in distress, at-least let him attempt to push the poison out. Yes, Percy mentions that he thought he kind of deserved being poisoned because he used poison to choke the misery goddess to death, but this is PERCY we’re talking about. Even if he didn’t try to save himself for him, he would do anything he could to try and save his friends (which again, go back to his fatal flaw).

And as with Piper, she definitely went through some character development. Her charmspeak has gotten very strong, I mean she made the earth goddess fall asleep. I think that deserves a nice little clap. I also liked that her and Annabeth became such good friends. But again I thought Riordan was trying a little too hard to let readers know they were the best of buddies.

Frank and Hazel were also overshadowed in this book. The only memorable part with Hazel I can remember is their fight with Nike when she started raising those obstacles. I don’t even remember Frank doing anything. Poor Frank.

Leo. Oh my Leo. I am VERY glad he didn’t though. And that Caleo happened. I would’ve enjoyed watching Leo and Callypso go back to camp.

I thought Riordan not killing off one of the characters was an okay decision, a bit of a cop out. After so much hype about someone dying, I was actually disappointed that no one did. No one important anyway. Stupid Octavion.

I also wanted to see a Thalia/Jason reunion. I wanted a Percy/Callypso reunion. I REALLY wanted a Percy/Sally reunion. I wanted a Rachel/Percy reunion. I wanted to hear Blackjack speak for one last time. I wanted one last Percabeth moment in one of their Point of Views.

No, this was not a bad book. But it just left me wanting something more. *Big sigh*

BUT a HUGE thank you to Rick Riordan for writing this wonderful series. It was good while it lasted.