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This Debut’s On Fire! | A Shadow Bright And Burning by Jessica Cluess Audiobook Review

Title: A Shadow Bright And Burning
Author: Jessica Cluess
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Fiona Hardingham
Running Time: 12 hours, 49 minutes
Publisher: Listening Library
My Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Summary: I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?
Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city–and the one she loves?


Can I squeal? Okay, I’m gonna take a second to squeal because…OHMYFREAKINGGODILOVELOVELOVEDTHISBOOKY’ALL!!! Let me just say that as of right now, Jessica Cluess very well might be my favorite 2016 YA debut author so far! And let me also just make  a side note since ’tis the season and all: if you’re looking for a good Halloween read that fits the seasonal mood but isn’t super scary, then look no further because Jessica Cluess has got you covered! Oh my gosh! Where do I begin? There were three things about A Shadow Bright And Burning that I really loved and those are: the characters, the plot, and the themes (not necessarily in that order).

Let me start out out with the lovely darlings who are our characters, beginning with none other than Miss Henrietta Howl, the main character. I adored Henrietta! I personally related to her very much. She’s down to earth and compassionate but she has a stubborn streak, a fiery temper, and quite a vulnerable side. I love that Cluess showed us so many facets of Henrietta; it made her seem so real and true. And then there’s the boys! Each of the was such a character, so unique! The main two we get to know are the flirtatious Magnus and the brooding Blackthorn. Magnus befriends and flirts with Henrietta while Blackthorn is not exactly Henrietta’s enemy, but certainly isn’t her friend. Each is a great character in their own right and I definitely want to know more about them.

I loved that while this book does have a hint of romance, it mainly emphasizes male-female friendships, which I think we don’t see enough of in YA. Henrietta’s newfound friends are loyal and loving and had a great dynamic with her. I loved the teasing and banter between Henrietta and the boys and how they kind of became a sort of new family to her.

But it wasn’t just the characters that were great–the plot was awesome too! Fast paced and action packed, the plot just sucks you in and moves you along quickly. Tropes were turned topsy-turvy, leading to me never being able to trust my first impressions. It became a fun game to try to guess what would happen next. There honestly was never a dull moment.

By far my favorite thing about this A Shadow Bright And Burning, though, were the feminist and anti-discrimination messages and themes threaded through the book! Victorian England is already an incredibly patriarchal setting and on top of that, Henrietta is one of the only female sorcerers in the history of this world and because of that she’s constantly asked to prove herself to this society. Henrietta fights against these anti-women sentiments at every turn, proving herself over and over on a personal and professional level. In addition, this book talks a lot about socioeconomic discrimination, which I was so glad to see because that topic isn’t discussed much in YA, let alone in YA fantasy! Henrietta comes from a girls school and is lower middle class and her best friend Rook is a servant, meaning he is essentially poor. This leads to them being looked down on. In one section of the book, Henrietta gets into a fight with Blackthorn about this, arguing with him that the poor are not less than the wealthy simply because they are poor and that when you are wealthy and in a position of privilege in society, it is your responsibility to take care of the poor and those less fortunate than you. There are also anti racial discrimination themes woven into the mix, as Henrietta witnesses how different magical “races” are discriminated against and the injustice of such racial discrimination. I was so happy to read a fantasy book which was so open and forward about its anti discrimination messages as I think we need more of that in YA. A Shadow Bright and Burning is a brilliant example of how to perfectly weave such themes into a YA fantasy story without being preachy and overtaking the story.

As for the audiobook format, I enjoyed it very much! Fiona Hardingham is one of my favorite narrators and has one of the most musical voices I’ve ever heard. In addition, her pacing is steady and even and her emotion would please even Goldilocks as it’s not too much and not too little, but just right! I would definitely recommend listening to the audiobook o A Shadow Bright And Burning as it was totally A+!

So that’s it! I think it’s pretty obvious that I really enjoyed this book all in all! Cluess has certainly made a brilliant debut and I can’t wait to see what more she has in store!

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Over Three Dark Hours Of Boredom | Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake Audiobook Review

Title: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Amy Landon
Running Time: 9 hours, 52 minutes
Publisher: HarperAudio
My Star Rating: DNF/★☆☆☆☆

Goodreads Summary: Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.


Man! The hype sure has scorched me on multiple occasions this year! You’d think that by now I’d have learned my lesson but apparently not as I keep getting my hopes up. This time around I was promised darkness, death, and destruction–you know, all of the delightful D’s. And were those things delivered? Sadly, the answer is a firm no.

Though synopsis of Three Dark Crowns promises antiheroes and deadly duels, for at least the first 60% of the book, none of those are present (and I stopped reading after that). Instead we get three surprisingly kind main characters fawning over their incredibly dull love interests! And the misleading marketing is only the beginning of my problems with Three Dark Crowns! In fact, the misleading marketing looks downright trivial when compared to the fact that there was literally no plot and that the characters were incredibly shallow.

I made it about 6 hours through this approximately 10 hour audiobook and there still hadn’t been an inch of plot yet! The only thing that took place was each girl mooning over her respective love interest. And the thing is, none of the love interests were interesting or compelling. They only defining trait they all had was the distinct quality of “blah”. But that’s not the point of this paragraph. The point is that nothing happened during the majority of the book!

Maybe you’re okay with plotless books, so long as there are compelling characters. Then let me tell you, my friend: this book is not for you either. I was drawn in to this book by the promise of darkness, depth, evil, and moral complexity. LIES! LIES, I TELL YOU!!! Arsinoe, Katherine, and Mirabella aren’t just ridiculously nice, they’re also insanely bland. None of the girls had any defining traits or personality. I swear, they were so interchangeable that if you took away their names, you’d be hard pressed to convince me I wasn’t listening to a book about a single person.

Speaking of listening, in all honesty the only thing I remember about the audiobook and the narration is how bland, unremarkable, and, frankly, unmemorable it was. The narrator wasn’t horrible and her voice wasn’t unpleasant, but it carried no weight or emotion and had no musicality. I’d say the audiobook format of Three Dark Crowns is most likely equally as pleasant as the physical format.

All in all, this was not the book for me. I’d say don’t go in expecting evil and fights to the death and maybe then it’ll be more enjoyable.


Month In Review + Obsession Confessions | September 2016

So you can pretty much equate a quiet blog with a hectic life. At least, in my case you can. Cause honestly, that’s pretty much the short summary of my September: quiet blog, hectic life. I spent the majority of my days adjusting to being in school and doing homework. I tried to squeeze reading, eating, and sleeping into what time I hard left, which, unfortunately, left me with little time for blogging. So I kind of vanished. I’m still running around like a crazed, debt-riddled, twenty-something college student though, and life doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down anytime soon so my content will probably be a little sparse for a bit longer….

The Reading Review

Books Read + Mini Reviews

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen | 5/5 Stars

I seriously enjoyed this book and its soooooo ironic because I was so resistant to reading this book due to the fact that it involved trolls and I just thought that wouldn’t be interesting. Boy was I wrong! Stolen Songbird is fast paced, action packed, and full of swoonworthy romance! I highly recommend picking it up!

A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir | 5/5 Stars
This book sold me on the Ember series because is was just amazing!!! A Torch Against The Night definitely stole the spot of “favorite book of September 2016” because…wow. I’m still reeling. I can’t say much more because this book is a sequel but just know that it’s so incredible!

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron | 4/5 Stars
I was pleasantly surprised with this book I went in not expecting much since there wasn’t much buzz surrounding the book and came out pretty pleased. I was intrigued by the mystery The Forgetting presented and was enraptured by the plot. The one thing I’d say about this book is that the first 3/4 of the book is kinda slow, but it’s made up for by the action packed ending.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake | DNF/ 1/5 Stars
This book and I did not get along. I went in expecting darkness, evil, and fights to the death. Sadly, there was none of those things. The characters weren’t just all nice, they were boring. The book was made worse by the fact that t had no plot whatsoever. I finally decided to set this book down after listening to 60% of it.

Book Haul

Book Bucket

Blogging Recap

Monthly Snapshots

for more, follow @thebookkeeper5 on Instagram!

Around The Blogosphere/Vlogosphere

  • Carolyn has one of the most important discussions on diversity that I’ve read and I highly suggest you read it

Obsession Confession


So after my rousing endorsement in the Read + Mini Review section above, is anyone really surprised that I’d choose A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir as my bookish obsession of th month??? A Torch Against The Night was an absolutely phenomenal whirlwind of a ride! It is my honest opinion that the Ember series is one of the best YA fantasy series out there and A Torch Against The Night proves that! As this is coming ffrom the mouth of someone who wasn’t on board with the hype surrounding the first book, An Ember in the Ashes! But trust me when I say now that I see so much potential in this series!


Whenever this song starts playing, I legit get a tingling in my toes that translates into, “Time to dance!” I love the way “Life Itself” mixes different sound and beats! In a way, it kinda reminds me of old school 90s rap mixed with a funky pop tune and semi-ethereal vocals. Definitely a great song to jam to!

Movies & TV

And thus we have come to my favorite movie/TV show/trailer of the month. This past month, the movie added to my “to watch” list was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (directed by Tim Burton and based on the popular YA series of the same title by Ransom Riggs). I have yet to actually see this movie, but I honestly can’t wait! After reading the book, I can’t wait to see what Burton brings to this story, especially as I think there  is no better person to bring this story to life! From the look of the trailer and from what I’ve heard from reviewers and audiences, the film does differ slightly from the book, but that’s only to be expected. Regardless, I can’t wait to see this sure to be kooky, crazy film myself!


This month I’d like to give Shannon at It Starts at Midnight a shout out for running an awesome blog! I love how Shannon infuses each and every one of her posts with her own unique brand of sass, snark, and sarcasm. Shannon’s reviews are always interesting and engaging and her discussions are alway so insightful. I’m always excited to see a new post from Shannon on my timeline and I look up to her as a blogger so much! Definitely run over and check out her blog!

Quote of the Month

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I Won’t Be Forgetting This Book | That Forgetting by Sharon Cameron Audiobook Review

 Title: The Forgetting
Author: Sharon Cameron
Format: Audiobook (Digital)
Narrator: Therese Plummer
Running Time: 13 hours, 6 minutes
Publisher: Scholastic Adio
My Star Rating: ★★★★☆
Goodreads Summary: What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes.Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

I was so intrigued when I heard the premise of this book. I mean, a city where everyone forgets but one girl remembers? Cue my intense curiosity! My instinct told me this book had to be pretty darn good. Turns out my instinct was right!
From the moment I started listening to The Forgetting, I was enthralled! It starts out with a boom, right in the middle of a Forgetting, then jumps ahead 12 years and introduces readers to Nadia, our main character.
Nadia was one of my favorite aspects of The Forgetting. Why? Because she wasn’t your typical “strong female character” who’s bold and brash and snarky. Nadia is quiet. In fact, she rarely speaks to anyone, even her family. She doesn’t like to get close to people, but you could say that’s because she loves so deeply and does’t want to get hurt by them forgetting her, as has happened once before. She’s cautious, but curious and in the end her curiosity overrides her caution. Above all, Nadia has a deep need to know the truth. This need plus her curiosity propels her through the story, leading her to unravel the mysteries behind her city, it’s creation, and the mysterious Forgetting that occurs every 12 years.
I didn’t just fall in love with Nadia, though. There was also Gray, the charismatic son of the glassblower. Gray, who is everything Nadia’s not. Yet somehow the two of them fit. Perhaps it’s because of their shared curiosity and desire to learn the truth. Whatever it was, it lead to a smokin’ romance that I couldn’t resist. Gray starts out as kind of a prick, but as he grows on you and Nadia both, you can’t help but come to see him as totally swoonworthy!
Let’s talk about the plot because in all honestly that’s where The Forgetting lost stars for me. Let me be clear about one thing: the plot itself wasn’t bad–in fact it was pretty good. BUT! The pacing was pretty slow. Now, granted: the plot isn’t wasted because of the slow pacing. The story builds and builds and builds, it’s just that it doesn’t do it all at once. I didn’t mind the slow pace too much, but it did make my focus slip at some points and I’ve seen other readers who have been really put off by it. So consider this your forewarning. That being said, the tempo does increase drastically in the last quarter and the book gets incredibly action packed.
Another reason The Forgetting lost stars was that I felt like the discoveries and connections Nadia made were often really confusing. The way new information was described just seemed really jumbled and I had to take a moment to pause and think through what the author was trying to tell me. This meant that I was kind of hazy on major plot developments.
Yet even still, at the end of the book, despite my two qualms, I was pretty satisfied and enjoyed the book very much! It really was quite a fun ride and a compelling mystery. If you go into the book expecting to have a good time and not expecting a work of literary genius, then I think you’ll really enjoy it. So, while I can’t totally, honestly say “10/10. Would recommend,” I can honestly say, “Maybe about 7.5/10. Would recommend!”
As for the audiobook format of the book, I thought it was decent. Therese Plummer had a good voice, very smooth, and nice pacing. She read with a good amount of emotion and drama in her voice as well. However, although she did distinguish between male and female characters’ voices, there wasn’t much vocal distinction between characters beyond that. Another issue I found with the audiobook was that there was a significant amount of inner monologue from Nadia and I couldn’t distinguish between when Nadia was saying something aloud or when she was just thinking it. I don’t think this was Plummer’s fault, I think it was just that the material didn’t translate perfectly to an audio format. But other than those two issues, I thought the audiobook was good. However, I think because the source material didn’t translate perfectly to audio format, it may be better to read the physical format of The Forgetting.
So that’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed and maybe I helped you decide whether or not to read this book! Tell me in the comments if you want to read The Forgetting or if you have read it and what you thought! Ttyl!
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I Can’t Think Up A Clever Title But Holy Freaking Heck This (Audio)Book Was AMAZING!!! | A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir Audiobook Review


Title: A Torch Against The Night
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Format: Audiobook (Digital)
Narrator: Katherine McEwan, Fiona Hardingham, Steve West
Running Time: 15 hours, 9 minutes
Publisher: Listening Library
Rating: 5/5 Stars

Goodreads Summary: 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.


Hold onto your hats, folks, because I’m about to say something totally blasphemous. I…wasn’t completely aboard the massive Ember hype train before this book. I mean, I enjoyed An Ember in the Ashes–I even thought it was above average. But I didn’t exactly think it was the best thing to grace the earth since sliced pie, ya know? In particular, I just didn’t find the characters especially compelling in that they seemed a little flat. But this book? A Torch Against The Night? Let’s just say I’m so aboard the hype train, I might as well be driving the gosh darned thing! Because this book? It was absolutely stunning. A Torch Against The Night left me with so many visceral emotions. I’m in love. I’m angry and vengeful. I’m heartbroken. Most of all, I’m desperate for more.

Let’s start with the characters because oh my freaking god. I completely fell in love with the characters this time around. To me, they felt so much fuller and rounder! And I was so happy with the addition of Helene’s point of view! Elias and Helene are my babies!!! I swear if Sabaa even touches them, if I spy even one hair out of place, I will die of heartbreak! I feel like in particular, Helene’s character was very full. We learn a lot about her and her motives and motivations and her background. I swear each bit of new info we got on her and each action she took and every emotion she felt just made me love her more–my poor baby Helene!!! And Elias! I just love him so much!!! He’s such a good guy and you can sense that his kindness and honor is so deep and genuine and heartfelt and real! It broke my heart to see him struggle and continue to do the right thing no matter what. Which brings me to Laia. She was the odd one out of the main characters for me in that I really started to dislike her in this book. I just feel like she was so selfish and she didn’t really actually do anything, but in the end she got all the credit–from other characters and from the author. She wasn’t horrible she just wasn’t exactly…likable.

The secondary characters were also full of incredible depth and I have so many questions about them and want to know more! I feel like this is the kind of book series where each and every character–big or small–has an important role in the overall story. I’m particularly interested in Cain, Harper, and Sheva (? is that how you spell it??? I listened to the audiobook so I don’t know but the woman who is the Soul Catcher). I feel like they’re are going to play really important roles in the upcoming books. Of course, I also loved Afya and her tribespeople! They added such color to the story and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of them either.

The one character that felt kind of awkward and throw in at the end was the Big Bad. If you’ve read the book, then you know who this is, but I don’t want to spoil anything if you haven’t. The Big Bad just felt like they were kind of tacked on as an afterthought to fit some plotlines together. I don’t know but I guess we’ll see.

Moving on from the characters to the world! It expanded so much in this book! We get to see beyond Blackcliff’s halls and to journey across The Empire. That’s largely due to the fact that this is one of those “journey books.” Ya know–the kind of book where you spend the vast majority of it traveling? Anyways, back to the world. We got to see a lot of interesting places. By far my favorite is The Forest of Dusk. I just love that it’s kind of this place between worlds where the spirits wander. I feel like Sabaa did a great job with her descriptions–she built the world little by little, managing to avoid the infamous info dump while still giving readers enough information to color their imaginations. It was superbly done!

Now on to the plot! It was absolutely excellent! It was so delicately and beautifully crafted! Like I said before, the majority of this book is spent on a journey, but the story doesn’t fall into the trap of dragging or getting dull because the entire time–and I literally mean right up until the very end–we’re learning vital pieces of information and the whole time Sabaa is weaving those strings of info together and planting clues. There were also a ton of plot twists from the get-go. From the start the plot kept me engrossed, entertained, and on the edge of my seat!

The writing of A Torch Against The Night was absolutely excellent! I felt like Sabaa grew so much as a writer and that this book was totally a notch above the last in the writing arena. In particular one technique I noted that Sabaa expertly utilized was dramatic irony, especially in Helene’s chapters. For those of you who might not be familiar with this term, dramatic irony is when the audience/readers know something that the characters don’t know. Sabaa used a lot of dramatic irony to drive the tension and the plot and it made me so emotionally invested in and engaged with the characters.

Let me take a second to talk about how great the audiobook of A Torch Against The Night is because…wow! All of the narrators–Katherine McEwan, Fiona Hardingham, and Steve West–did an amazing job! Each of their voices was soft and lyrical and had this musical quality that was just so incredible! Each POV had a different narrator and all of the narrators were so in character that I’m convinced if I heard their voices in a crowd, I’d truly believe they were actually Laia, Helene, or Elias! All of them used just the right amount of emotion for the characters–not too little, not too much, just perfect! And the voices they did for every character! Incredible! Their pacing  and rhythm was also perfect! I never felt like they were talking too fast or too slow! I highly recommend you listen to A Torch Against The Night on audiobook if you get the chance because I can honestly say it was one of the most stunning audiobooks I’ve ever listened to!

That’s it for the non-spoilery section of this review! Let me know in the comments if you’re planning on picking up A Torch Against The Night! If you’ve already read the book, what did you think? Any conspiracy theories over what will happen in future books? BE SURE TO MARK SPOILERS!

Now. I usually try to keep my reviews spoiler free BUT I have so many feels after reading this book that I just can’t not talk about it so….


So I need to get out my feelings on this books because,as I said, I have so many so this section might be a little jumbled, but I will try to keep it as organized as possible.

Let’s talk about shipping. At the end of An Ember in the Ashes I was pretty on board with the Elias/Laia ship. However. With the addition of Helene’s POV, I switched over to the Elias/Helene ship pretty quickly. Part of that was because I just fell in love with Helene, part of it was because Helene’s and Elias’s relationship seemed better developed whereas Laia and Elias’s relationship felt more like instalove, and part of it was that I started to dislike Laia (which I’ll get to later). Unfortunately, I don’t think that Helene and Elias will be endgame because of Helene’s comment about how Elias’s and Laia’s songs are counter melodies. Soooooooo…

Let’s come back to the subject of Laia. I felt like she was sooooooo selfish and honestly kind of useless. She did nothing throughout the book yet at the end everyone was like “Laia’s so important! People are going to tell legends about how Laia saved everyone all on her own!” Um, excuse me, but when exactly did she save everyone? Because to me, it looked like most everyone else was doing the planning and work while Laia kind of sat around sulking. I’m just sayin’…

Anyways moving on! The ending totally broke my little Elias enamored heart! I can’t believe he’s stuck as Soul Catcher now! I hope he’ll be freed and brought back to life because he deserves a happy ending, especially after all he’s done for Lazy Laia! But then again, maybe having him as Soul Catcher will increase his role in the overall plot. Idk. Whatever happens, I need Elias to have a happy ending. As for Helene’s ending, I thought it was so powerful! I can’t wait to see her and Livia get their revenge on Marcus and The Commandant because I have no doubt it’ll be brutal and epic and absolutely glorious! My theory is that it’s endgame for Helene to become empress. What do y’all think? Do you think she will?

What do you guys think of the addition of The Night Bringer as the ultimate Big Bad? I honestly thought that plotline was kind of weak. I understand that his addition tied together a lot of the plotlines, but it feels…flimsy. I don’t know why, it just doesn’t feel as epic or solid as the usual addition of a Big Bad is…Ya feel me?

Let’s see…I think that’s all of the spoilery stuff I wanted to get out of the way! Again, feel free to leave your thoughts on A Torch Against The Night and/or conspiracy theories about this and future books in the Ember series in the comments BUT BE SURE TO MARK SPOILERS!!! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed! Talk to y’all later!


The Monday Must | Moana’s Torch Against Life Itself

Hellllllooooooo, ducklings! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? But I’m popping back in to say hi and to tell you about this week’s Monday musts! The Monday Musts is a weekly meme hosted by Jessica at Lovin’ Los Libros in which we let you know our must reads, must listens, and must watch picks of the week! So let’s jump right in!

Must Read

In case you weren’t aware, I gonna let you in on a little fact of life right now: Sabaa Tahir is the freaking master of tension. All I can say after getting 95% through A Torch Against The Night, the second book in the An Ember In The Ashes (or, “Ember“) series, is oh my freaking god wow! The tension just never stops! The book starts on the go and just keeps building from there! I’ve been on the edge of my seat this entire time! If you haven’t read the Ember series, do yourself a favor and get to it, stat.

Must Listen

I realize I say (or at least imply) this every week, but this song (“Life Itself” by Glass Animals) is seriously groovy! It’s got spunk and funk–a winning combination if there ever was one! I love the funky harmonies and delicious mixture of sounds! I honestly can’t stop listening to this song! Take a listen and let me know what you think!

Must See

I don’t know about y’all, but this trailer has me so! freaking! pumped! for Moana! I mean doesn’t it just look freaking adorable?!!! I sense a new favorite in the making! Plus Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the music so it has to be great, right? RIGHT??!!! Anyhow. Yeah. I’m excited for this one.



Hey y’all! Boy oh boy, do I have something special for y’all today! Today, I’m happy to have Ms. Kendare Blake, author of the Anna Dressed in Blood duology, the Antigoddess trilogy, and the upcoming Three Dark Crowns, here on The Bookkeeper’s Secrets! Shall we get rolling?

The Interview

Hello Ms. Blake! My readers and I are so happy and super ecstatic to have you here on The Bookkeeper’s Secrets! I know that, personally, your upcoming book, Three Dark Crowns, is one of my most anticipated releases of the year, so I am very excited to get to talk with you! So without any further ado or fangirling on my part, let’s get this show on the road!

So really quickly, can you tell us what Three Dark Crowns is about?

Sure! Three Dark Crowns is about triplet queens on a magical island. Only one can wear the crown, and in their sixteenth year, two must die so the third can be crowned. Which sister will rule?

What was the inspiration behind the story of Three Dark Crowns?

A swarm of bees, actually. They were in a tree at a book event, and I started talking to a beekeeper. Hey, what’s that ball of bees doing up there anyway? And she said they were protecting their queen, who was snuggled in the middle of the ball as they look for a new hive. I said, What happened to the old hive? And she said that the old queen had probably laid four or five queen eggs, and when the new queen daughters hatched, one would murder the others and take over. I loved that idea. On the drive home, the concept that would become Three Dark Crowns was born.

Did you have a favorite aspect of Three Dark Crowns to write?

I really loved writing the poisons, all the poisoned food, etc. I love to write food! It was also a lot of fun to create the three cities, and the cultures within the three dominant gifts of the island. But my first love is character, and these girls and women managed to surprise me several times, which is always a pleasure.

What do you hope readers take away from Three Dark Crowns?

I hope they have fun with the scheming. All the scheming and the plots. I hope they enjoy the matriarchal aspect. I hope they find a queen (or several) to worry about J

What made you fall in love with writing?

Reading! I was a reader first. I read so much as a kid. Voraciously. Spent hours in bookstores as a teen, and in the library as an elementary schooler. The world of words has always been my second home.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Being able to write! To live these stories that find their way through my fingers onto a page. The act of writing feels pretty damned magical, at least when it’s going well. Like channeling. Like I’m along for the ride, Bastian Balthazar Bux trying to keep up with a tale that’s really happening in some other dimension. That probably sounds kind of hokey but what the hell.

What are some of the challenges you face as a writer and how do you face them?

Challenges, let’s see. Well, there’s the dreaded middle of a manuscript. And there’s juggling story vs what you think readers want or expect, and there’s the pressure to stay in the game and continually write better and better…but in the end the story is the story, and you just have to get through that manuscript middle, and you can’t predict reader expectations/desires because they differ with practically every reader (individual tastes, ftw) and pushing yourself should be exhilarating. So…you just have to do what you can do.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Read, read, read, and write, write, write. Learn to finish something. That’s important. Whether it be a short story or a novel, learn to finish.

Now on to the fun portion! First off, can you describe Three Dark Crowns using only song titles?

Shadowboxer, Fiona Apple. Caught a light sneeze, Tori Amos. Breath of life and Ship to wreck, Florence and the Machine.

You come across your main characters at midnight. What are they up to?

Arsinoe is practicing blood magic. Katharine is petting her snake, Sweetheart. Mirabella is running along the cliffs, calling down lightning to illuminate the sea.

If you were to plan a road trip in the world of Three Dark Crowns, what would be your must see stops?

The Breccia Domain, in Innisfuil Valley. The Black Cottage at the base of Mount Horn. The capital city of Indrid Down, with a special tour of the Volroy (the queens’ castle). I would want to buy clothes, jewelry and glassworks from the elemental city of Rolanth. And I would want to have lunch at Wolf Spring market.

If you could give one gift to your readers, be it physical or otherwise, what would you give them?

Oh wow, how much power do I have? What can I bestow? And it would depend on the reader, because some gifts could turn some readers evil. I could accidentally make a villain. Like, you wouldn’t want to give just anyone the power to teleport. I can think of certain readers right now who would so abuse it in and out of bank vaults.

But I suppose if I was to give one gift to all readers, it would be one day in Hogsmeade. The real Hogsmeade. Because I’m a genie in this scenario, right?

That’s all! Thank you again Ms. Blake!

 More About Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

unnamed-2Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

Amazon | B&N

More About Kendare Blake

unnamed-1Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.

She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their two cat sons (Tybalt and Tyrion Cattister) and their red Doberman dog son, Obi Dog Kenobi.

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Hey What’s Up Hello!

Ohmygosh! Howdy, my  lovely little ducklings! How are y’all? It honestly feels like it’s been forever and a day since I’ve talked to you! I know it’s only been about two or three weeks but…wow! I’m so sorry for being absent. Why have I been gone? Well here’s the sitch!

I’m back at college!

I’m still technically on medical leave but I’m taking a sixteen week biology 101 level class (with the mandatory extra lab class each week as well) and a fourteen week Arabic 201 level class. I have class for four consecutive days each week and my weekend is three days. The classes are basic and I’ve actually taken both of these classes before, so they’re an “easy” review, but it’s still a lot of work. On top of my classes, each week I meet with an academic success coach for at most an hour and I also have a weekly academic success workshop. I also walk a mile and a half over huge hills each day to get to and from school. This is all packed in with my regular bi-weekly/monthly appointments with doctors and grocery shopping (which, I have to walk a mile to and from the grocery store). All while struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome. So I’m jam packed! I’m positive it’ll seem a little less hectic, overwhelming, and energy sapping as I adjust and get used to my new schedule, but at the moment it’s a lot. But even still I have great news which is…

I love school and my classes!

Why is this big news? Well, for those of you who don’t know, I’ve struggled with major academic performance anxiety for the past four to five years. I got into one of the top schools in the world and basically fell apart–physically, mentally, and emotionally. But in the community college I’m attending now, I feel very at ease and hopeful. First off, I have a ton of accommodations for my disabilities and medical condition. Second off, the classes are much smaller than at my university. So small that the professors actually make an effort to get to know each student one-on-one. And the teachers don’t do research, so all of their energy and interest is in teaching, which makes a huge difference. Finally, the school devotes an entire department to helping students learn the skills they need to succeed in college. They have free academic coaching, free one-on-one tutoring, free group tutoring, free academic success classes, and free writing help for writing all kinds of papers and reports. They offer free rooms to study in which are low distraction spaces as well! It’s just so incredible! It’s exactly what I needed. So if I ever have a problem or my anxiety gets in my way, I can rest assured that I will get  the help I need!
The people at my current school are also incredibly kind and welcoming! I’m making friends fast and the nice thing is they’re sincere friends. The school is the most diverse community college in the country and it’s such a joyous and accepting atmosphere. I just love everything about it! But enough about that. I’ve been even more hectic than usual because…

I Helped My Friend Move

My friend moved out of state last weekend and she lives alone so she needed a lot of help packing up her entire apartment. So for the last two weeks I’ve helped her pack and kept her company. It was nice to spend time with a friend but it sure did suck my energy up as well!

Now Let’s Get To The Books…

What I’m Currently Reading

I started reading A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir just the other day and so far I’m really enjoying it!  The book starts out fast and really pulls you in so I’m hoping that it keeps up the pace and maybe it’ll help move me out of this horrid reading slump!

What I’ve Been Reading

So if y’all can recall, last time we chit chatted, I was in a reading slump. Well guess what? That slump lasted through the month of August and still has me in its grips. So because of that, I only read two books in August. And one of those was technically a comic bind-up I began in July. I read and loved Ruined by Amy Tintera and I finished Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona and, honestly, I waas kinda disappointed with it. So yeah. August wasn’t my best reading month by far. September’s started out slow, but I did finish Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen and I loved it! It took me ages (three whole weeks!) to finish it, though! So this month has definitely started out slow. I’m hoping, though, that with the release of Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas, my reading will speed up!

What I’m Planning On Reading Next

Ohmygosh guys! Just look at this gloriously overambitious TBR! Especially given that I’m still in a slump! But I couldn’t help myself–there were just sooooooo many incredible books for sale and available to borrow at the library! I know it’s optimistic but I really do hope I get to all of these this month because I’m just uber excited for them! I’m not even gonna list the all because there’s waaaaay too many and I’m lazy and tired, but I think the above gives you quite the picture (literally!).

The Haul

I had a great month for buying audiobooks in August, despite the fact that I didn’t actually listen to any of the audibooks I got. Nevertheless, I’m really excited about the audiobooks I got and I can’t wait to listen to them! I nabbed Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, Reliquary by Sarah Fine, A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir, and Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas.

“Recent” Links I’ve Been Lovin’

And Now For Some Recent Obsessions!


Okay. So I’m going to make a big admission here and that is that I am a major idiot. Why? Because I didn’t pick up Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen sooner, despite the buzz it was getting! I thought, “Nah! I’m not into trolls! Yuck!” BOY WAS I WRONG!!! I can’t account for my past stupidity, all I can say is that I’ve now corrected it. Please. I beg of you. Don’t be as dense as I was. Pick up Stolen Songbird ASAP! It’s got romance, adventure, magic, and, yes, trolls. It’s ridiculously good! So go read it now!


I honestly couldn’t get enough of this song in the past month and yet it’s still going around in my head! “Genghis Khan” has such a great groove and the perfect touch of good ol’ funk. The tenor vocal, which verge on becoming ethereal at points, really add a different flavor to the song. This song is sure to have you bobbing your head for days!

TV & Movies

As a young, African American woman in STEM myself, this is a movie I can seriously get behind! I always love learning about my people’s history and this seems like a wonderful story of strength, intelligence, and overcoming crazy odds! I can’t wait to see Hidden Figures!


Okay so I may be a tad biased as we’re blogger pals, but Lauren over at Wonderless Reviews runs an absolutely superb blog! Lauren is the biggest sweetheart and her blog is simultaneously honest and fun! Lauren regularly does reviews, tags, and discussions as well as general bookish fun posts, but recently, she also began making book inspired wallpapers and they’re insanely good! So go check her blog out and say hi to her–you definitely won’t regret it!


Recently Maggie Stiefvater incited total and complete chaos within the Raven Cycle fandom by tweeting that she’d outlined (outlined–not even written or proposed it to her publisher!) a new trilogy centering around Ronan Lynch!


“She runs. Not away, but toward.”
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
So that’s all for this update, ducklings! I need to say that I’ll probably be posting a little less just because of school and my crazy schedule but I will be posting. I’m sorry for the brief, unannounced hiatus but I’m so happy to be back (and betta than eva)! That’s all for today! Tata for now! (sidenote: does anyone remember when we used to text “ttfn” which stood for “tata for now”?)
sunday shelving

Sunday Shelving | August 21, 2016

Hey, ducklings! Welcome back to Sunday Shelving! Sunday Shelving is a Frankenstein-esque mishmash of the weekly memes Staking The Shelves and Sunday Post, with my own twist on things! Here I’ll be giving you my weekly recap and haul, as well as giving some love to my favorite posts of the week and to my favorite pictures from my bookstagram and recaping my week personally and blogging wise!

The Week In Books

Read And Reviewed


Currently Reading

Sooooooooo…Does it count as “currently reading/listening to” when I’ve only listened to the first 15 minutes of an audiobook??? Because if so, I’m totally currently listening to Reliquary by Sarah Fine.

The Haul


Okay. So on to the good news! I did receive a decent sized haul of review books this past weeks and their all books that I’ve really been anticipating! I nabbed Scythe by Neal Shusterman, P.S. I Like You by Kasie West, Disruption by Jessica Shirvington, and Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake!

Sunday Snapshots

You can follow me on bookstagram @thebookkeeper5

Link Lovin’

Personal & Blogging News

Whew! It’s been one heck of a week running around and doing stuff! College begins tomorrow and, though I’m not a freshman, I’m at a new school so I feel super nervous. Consequently, I’ve had to do a lot of stuff surrounding school, like register and pay for classes, talk to a school advisor, buy school supplies, you know the drill. I also had two major doctor appointments this past week, so that added to the craziness! On top of that, I had two blog deadlines to meet! So I was running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off (I’m curious, does anyone say this expression outside of the South???)! I was doing well until Friday and Saturday when I had two major panic attacks, one of which lasted hours. So that was a minor bump in the road. But it’s just a bump, not the road and though I’m sure it won’t be totally smooth going from here, I am sure that I can make it through.

In blog news, my last discussion on if I’m being unfair in my reviews went really well! Y’all gave really great, long, thoughtful responses and I loved all of them! In other blog news, I have some really exciting things coming up, but I don’t want to give them away! Just know that something awesome is coming your way!

That’s all for me this week! How was your week? Do you begin school soon? Are you excited or nervous? Any tips for doing well in college? Let me know in the comments!

Over and out!


Friday Fashion | Reliquary by Sarah Fine

28171973Goodreads Summary: Mattie Carver’s engagement party should have marked the start of her own personal fairy tale. But when her fiancé, Ben, is violently abducted the next morning, her desperate quest to find him rips her away from small-town life and reveals a shattering truth: magic is real—and Ben is hooked. It’s not the stuff of storybooks. It’s wildly addictive, capable of producing everything from hellish anguish to sensual ecstasy almost beyond human endurance.

Determined to find out who took Ben and why, Mattie immerses herself in a shadowy underworld and comes face-to-face with the darkly alluring Asa Ward, a rogue magic dealer, infamous hustler…and her missing fiancé’s estranged brother. Asa has the power to sense magic, and he realizes Mattie is a reliquary, someone with the rare ability to carry magic within her own body, undetected. Asa agrees to help find Ben on one condition: Mattie must use her uncommon talent to assist his smuggling operations. Now, from magic-laced Vegas casinos to the netherworld clubs of Bangkok, Mattie is on a rescue mission. With Asa by her side, she’ll face not only the supernatural forces arrayed against her but the all-too-human temptation that she fears she can’t resist.