Review: Fireblood by Elly Blake

Series: Frostblood Saga #2

fireblood -elly blakeAll hail the Fire Queen.

Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his throne of ice. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby’s powers and past…

Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fire Queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax—which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, Ruby no longer knows whom to trust.

The fates of two kingdoms are now in her hands.


4 Drink Me Potions


Let me just say that hands down, this novel restores my faith in authors who can make amazing sequels that may even surpass the original novel, especially one where I could see its potential for greatness. Fireblood was both exhilarating and fast-paced while building more on top of this world’s history and ideologies. I would say that is a huge feat.

This story focuses on Ruby’s journey and mission in her home country of Sudesia. I loved learning more about this place and the Fireblood masters’ abilities. There were so many more facets of Ruby’s powers and background that just became more clear in this book as she never really related to the Frostbloods.

Never fear, Frostblood lovers. There were snippets still in Tempesia, though this was mostly restricted to the beginning. I enjoyed seeing the aftermath of book 1 and how things weren’t as rosy as our protagonists had hoped. Frostbloods are still racist and probably secretly hoping for Ruby’s head on a stick!

What came with this was seeing Ruby’s relationship with Arcus now that his mission to take the throne was accomplished. The one thing that made this less than a perfect rating is the somewhat limited amount of interaction with him in this book. Clearly he’s not headed to Sudesia with her unless he has a secret death wish. That’d be irresponsible of him. While Arcus isn’t featured as heavily as book 1, for all you Arcus lovers out there, he’s still relevant as I’ll explain in a moment.

Another main thing that occurs in this book is the introduction of Kai, a charming Fireblood who I can’t decide whether I love him or not. There’s definitely an attraction of sorts between him and Ruby, but honestly, it doesn’t bloom into a hard choice for her to pick between the two suitors. So I wouldn’t necessarily classify him as a love triangle but that brings me to question why any of this was even introduced in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I love Kai as a fun and easygoing friend in this book, but I’m not sure I see the relevance of being potential competition for Arcus when Ruby spent a lot of time pining away for him.

This is where Arcus is still relevant. He makes his appearances in the book beyond just the very beginning (don’t you worry, I’m Team Arcus all the way) although a huge part of me yearned for more interactions between him and Ruby like in book 1. There were romantic tensions that occurred near the beginning when they separated that had my heartstrings crying out for closure and it definitely hastened my page-flipping to see how it all tied up at the end. Without ruining much, I believe Elly handled it amazingly – even with the “love triangle” present for which I’m never a huge fan of in any book – and that’s not usually the case for me and love triangles. Honestly, we just don’t mix very well. So that says something.

Aside from romantic entanglements and such, the last 100 pages had me gripped in a breathless frenzy. Everything’s setting the stage for the big conclusion, and while some things weren’t necessarily unpredictable, I still really enjoyed how it got there and the revelations about Ruby that unfolded slowly. Little tidbits really are starting to fall into place and I’m so looking forward to what the last book brings! Can next year come a little closer? Please?

Overall Recommendation:

Fireblood is the rarity that excels beyond its predecessor, a marvellous feat that has shown us that Elly Blake can really craft a wonderful story that ties so well together beyond a single book. With more world building and character development in Ruby, the pages really go by fast as new revelations are made and relationships are tested. While not truly a love triangle themed story in my opinion, the additional characters introduced in this sequel gave the overall cast more diversity and molded different sides to our favourite protagonists. Honestly? I just cannot wait to get my hands on book 3, Nightblood. And you should too.

Note: meeting the author had in no way biased or affected my review on this novel as I look at a book for what it is regardless of my (positive or negative) feelings about the author.

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Review: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano

Series: The Glass Spare #1

the glass spare -lauren destefanoA banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?


2.5 Drink Me Potions


**The Glass Spare comes out October 24, 2017**

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this copy in exchange for an honest review

The girl with the magical touch that turns people into gemstones. A unique twist on a familiar story about a certain king with a golden touch, I thought The Glass Spare did its best to create a YA-themed story around a young and uncertain protagonist who had yet to figure out who she was and where she fit into this world. But, I’m rather torn with my feelings on the overall novel.

The characters in the story (who were not just mere acquaintances that flash by in a page or two) were few and far between. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I loved how each of Wil’s brothers were different and had a certain role they fit into that wasn’t necessarily stereotypical. My fave may have to go to the smart one who could create anything – protective equipment to deadly weapons – but the kingly brother with a sense of duty on his shoulders and the dour brother who just didn’t fit in with the rest of his siblings were interesting additions to the overall family dynamic. Even the parents had facets to them that weren’t so simple with a superstitious mother who was once a wanderer of the lands, and a harsh ruling father who had a loving side buried deep inside him. I think Wil’s family was one of my favourite parts of the story.

Unfortunately, the story digresses from them eventually (as the synopsis would suggest). Tragedy struck – I totally saw that particular tragic event coming wayyyy before I reached that page – and Wil has to leave. Oddly enough, this happened past 1/4 of the way into the book which made the beginning drag a little, but as mentioned above, I loved seeing Wil in her element as part of the royal family.

The rest of the story was paced kinda slowly too. Aside from the royal family, I wasn’t particularly fond of the love interest, Loom, for a long time. It wasn’t love at first sight – gosh, by far no – but the way their interactions were depicted didn’t really make me feel like there’s that level of chemistry between them either. The action slowed as the main stressor was protecting Wil’s secret ability from anyone else while searching for a “cure”, and only a couple of problems popped up along the way. It just felt like more could’ve happened in the span of these few hundred pages, and I kept holding my breath for that moment to come.

So with both action and romance not fully captivating my spirit, the high from the beginning with Wil’s family just wasn’t enough. The world building was also a little confusing. This land seems like a rather stereotypical place where people walked or sailed or whatever to travel. But then weird inventions such as flying aircrafts and trains and other things you consider as “modern technology” were also present and it just got my head all turned around with it. I still haven’t figured out if I loved it or not, but it almost felt indecisive on the author’s part.

I didn’t come here to bash the book. I do believe The Glass Spare has more to offer than meets the eye, although it has much to live up to (hopefully coming to light in the second book). It ends not so much on a cliffhanger but on a…moment where you know Wil is about to embark on some new adventure in her quest and we don’t know how that’ll turn out. If the romance had struck a larger spark in me, I think the slowness may have dissipated a little ’cause I’d have something else to focus on. As it is, all I can say is that this book could’ve been better, but I’m hopeful things may get better later.

Overall Recommendation:
The Glass Spare was slow in action and in romance. It had all the components to become something amazing, but it fizzled with its confusing world building and diversions from the main quest of the book: to find a cure for Wil’s unusual abilities. With few characters that were 3-dimensional (and only a portion of these whom I actually liked), sometimes it could get dry reading through those scenes, and the romance didn’t convince me enough to care as much as I normally do. I may just be picky as I do see some potential in this book, but I may have to wait until the next book to make that call. I’d say this novel could be pretty great for non-fantasy readers as there’s not as much to offer in this book as other fantasies that we fantasy-lovers may be unconsciously comparing it to.

Meeting Lesley Livingston, Elly Blake, Kristen Ciccarelli

This year must be a good one for me ’cause I didn’t just get to meet one great author (see post on Jenny Han), but now I’ve met 3 more!

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My Canadian pride is shining through as I had this past weekend to meet Lesley Livingston (again), author of The Valiant, and Elly Blake, author of Frostblood. In the sweltering heat that is VERY much unlike the typical weather found around here in our fall season, these amazing authors trekked out to greet their fans and do some fun readings from their latest novels.

First up, Lesley Livingston

What is my personal take from meeting her?

I met her once a long, long time ago back in 2010 when her first series was hitting the shelves. But upon re-meeting her, I was delightfully pleased to see that no matter how many books she’s published since, and the amount of her success, she’s still so down-to-earth. I find myself sometimes nervous around famous people as who am I compared to them? But she made me feel like I could say whatever nervous ramblings that fell out of my mouth without harsh judgment, and for that I love her even more.

But oh, she’s also delightfully hilarious. Her reading of The Valiant was quick-paced and it wasn’t hard for me to keep up as it never lost my attention (and that happens often so audiobooks are pretty much a no for me). She has a wonderful sense of humour, and this translates to her novels. Honestly.

Next, Elly Blake

What is my personal take from meeting her?

She’s easily one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met, and certainly talented. We were lucky enough to get a reading of her sequel Fireblood that just hit stores last week (do I get a whoop-whoop for that?) and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Even though I haven’t known her work as long, I’m already a fan from her debut novel.

What I loved was hearing about the process in which she wrote. I’ve dipped my hands for years into writing (no success so far, but hey, that’s why I’m a blogger) and hearing how someone as successful as her with the trilogy she’s writing was amazing.

“I love the interactions between people the most in any story,” she said, “so world building comes on later after the first draft to create layers on top.”

As someone who easily gets frustrated with the intense effort to create well-thought out worlds while still having a solid plot with emotionally real characters, this may come as helpful advice for any fledgling writers out there.

Last but not least, Kristen Ciccarelli

What is my personal take from meeting her?

I will be honest, I haven’t read her debut book before meeting her (unfortunately, I didn’t get my hands on the ARC), but her reading of The Last Namsara BLEW me away. It’s deeply imaginative with forbidden stories told within the book that felt like I was being transported to storytellings from the greats, like J.R.R. Tolkien (who I absolutely love).

I will also admit that I came to the event solely intent on meeting the other two authors whom I already adore, but I think just from hearing her read her novel and understanding a bit more about the inspirations that shaped it, I became a fan in the span of 20 minutes. Hands down, I’m overall very impressed and I hope her first book does amazing when it hits stores on October 3, 2017.


So, have you heard of these lovely ladies before?

Let me tell you. If you haven’t, you should jump on board one of their novels and see what they’re all about in the beautiful worlds they have crafted with their words. From heavily researched historical fantasies about female gladiators to crafty worldbuilding and magical powers to a tale as old as time with forbidden stories, there really is something for everyone from these 3 ladies.

Last thoughts

I regret not being bold enough and drawing up the courage to ask for a photo with each of these amazing ladies while I had the chance, but I sure hope that this isn’t the last time that I’ll get to see them in person.

Here’s to a photo of the 3 authors (with Lesley signing one of my books!) bravely facing the heat just so they could come to this event with us.

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So, any book signings you’ve been to lately? And what do you think about these wonderful authors?