Kingdom from Ashes by Megan Linski

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis:

Princess Bennua is to be married. The daughter of a sultan, her duty is to marry a powerful yet cruel warlord to be her husband, sealing an alliance that will scare the desert of Sahrahn into submission. But the wedding is halted in place when the infamous Raider Prince, king of thieves and leader of the dark city Ashana, threatens to take her city by force.

Sacrificing her freedom for her country, Bennua agrees to accompany the Raider Prince on his travels if he leaves her homeland alone. Stolen from her charmed life Bennua begins to learn the truth of what lies beyond the palace walls and the suffering that plagues Sahrahn’s people. Bennua begins to plan her escape, but the more she learns from the thieves the more she finds herself becoming one of the them…all while falling hard for their leader, the Raider Prince himself.

A portion of the author’s royalties from the sale of each Kingdom Saga novel will be donated to furthering the education of girls around the globe.”

My Review:

This is the second book I read for the #MakeMeRead readathon and after a disastrous start, I’m glad that Kingdom from Ashes was able to salvage some of the leftovers of my expectations.

I don’t know if there’s a real time frame for Kingdom of Ashes, but it was definitely not modern. Truthfully, it seemed to be set in the Middle East and it had a religion that seemed similar to Islam. For example, the women had to wear veils, they followed a god called Alshams (Allah), women aren’t encouraged/allowed to be in charge (in this book), the men were allowed to have multiple wives while the women were only allowed one husband, and some other things. Although this opinion is coming from someone is who not a follower of Islam, from my perspective, the representation of the religion Alshams didn’t appear to be a mockery of Islam or anything of the sort.

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Awakening (Absence of Song series) by C.B. Stone

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Price: Free!

Official Rating: 1.5/5

Synopsis:

Though music is forbidden and could get me in big trouble with the Ministry, I nevertheless often find myself singing softly in spite of the danger. Little do I know just how much hot water my strange compulsion to sing will actually land me in.
What is happening in the world around me? How is it happening? How does the stranger Noah fit into things? And most importantly… why me? I’m no more special than the next person.
So many questions and so many dangers. All I can do is trust that whatever is happening, it is good. I can see that it’s good, and I refuse to let anyone convince me otherwise.

My Review:

This was a weird experience and not in a good way I’m afraid. A world where singing, humming, and music in general is banned is difficult to imagine. It is undoubtedly a horrifying thought. Yet, this is the world that Jaelynn lives in.
I think that maybe Awakening was some sort of a “pre-book,” but there is no excuse for the rather poor quality. It was not engaging, it was not descriptive, it was emotionless, severely under-developed, and drab. Now here’s why.

Jaelynn Rose is the heroine. Why? I have a strong guess, but for now, I don’t know and neither do you. Since neither you nor I know why she’s the heroine, I would assume that Stone would give hints. Maybe try to make it less obscure as to why she decided Jaelynn is the heroine I want to spend some of my limited time on earth reading about. Instead, all I am given is that when she sleeps, she hears songs. Phenomenal. Not to mention, at one point, Jaelynn isn’t sure what her own name is. She introduces herself as Jaelynn and her parents call her Jaelynn, but then she called herself Jaclyn when she was thinking. It happened once, but it was there. I for one would be terrified if I relied on a heroine who forgot what her name was.

I felt that Jaelynn was pretty naive. A few sentences here and there did their best to make her seem intuitive and always questioning things, but it didn’t happen. If anyone’s ever experienced a really long winter with a ton of snow, they know that there are huge potholes in the road and they easily fill up with water. Now, anyone with common sense wouldn’t look at a pothole filled with water and think “Haha! I’m going to jump in, it can’t be that deep.” because that’s just not a good idea. Sadly, that was mostly what Jaelynn did. She had no self-control whatsoever for example: “Whoa! A strange man is approaching? I’m totally safe if this fence is between us. Let’s exchange names! I want to tell you my secret that could get me and my family killed.” or even “I barely know you, but let’s cramp ourselves in this very small room all alone and hope nothing bad happens.” Really? Are you kidding? That is very dangerous, please don’t do that. Her inability to lie to her parents was eye-roll worthy. Of course she can’t lie to her parents, what does she have to lie about? She doesn’t do anything at all, besides a mundane routine and then hears some songs in her dreams. I’m sure this is just a tool to make sure in later books it seems like her “innocence” is being taken away because of the government. I didn’t see a leader in Jaelynn and while it could be a way to show character development throughout the later books, this wasn’t the way to do it. Instead of making me interested in seeing Jaelynn develop, it made me write her off the “Could Be a Heroine” list.

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The Trouble with Flying (Trouble series) by Rachel Morgan

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Official Review: 3/5

Synopsis:

When nineteen-year-old introvert Sarah boards a plane to fly home after an overseas holiday, the last thing she expects is Aiden, the guy sitting next to her who’s never flown anywhere before and refuses to shut up. Hours of random conversation later, they part ways. Sarah can’t stop thinking about Aiden, though, and wondering if she made a terrible mistake letting him go.
Should she abandon her safe, predictable life and go in search of him, or would she be chasing a happily ever after that could never exist in real life?

My Review:

This was a cheesy romance book with a bit of religion slipped in, but it was cute. The synopsis, in my opinion, makes the book seem bland, but it wasn’t. There aren’t any hair-raising incidents or edge-of-your-seat issues, but it isn’t boring.

Sarah Henley is a shy push-over that isn’t aware of how easily controllable she is. She was an unique and interesting character and her point-of-view was refreshing. She enjoys writing, but she’s allowed herself to try to get her Bachelor of Science instead of pursuing her dream, despite the fact that she’s miserable. Her character development was done tastefully. Aiden pushed her out of her comfort zone because he was out of his comfort zone and she benefited from it. I liked watching her slowly step outside of her protective bubble more frequently as the book continued on, even though it obviously made her uncomfortable at the start. She’s a talented writer from the responses the other characters have made towards the things she’s wrote, but she doesn’t believe it due to a verbally abusive and manipulative boyfriend. I was really rooting for her by the time the book ended.

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