An ember

Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

emberintheashes_jkt_5-1Manipulative, Stunning, Heart-Breaking and Threatening. This book completely exceeded my expectations. I’ve never thought that I will be consumed by this novel in less than forty-eight hours and leaving me of wanting more. The story is destructive as its characters, you could sense the helplessness and the selflessness of the characters. I couldn’t fathom whether Sabaa Tahir is an evil sadist for inflicting pain towards her readers and loves to make her reader’s heart cry or just someone who is great with her work.

I was compelled and awestruck by the author’s magnificent and beautiful writing style that made me yearn for a character’s hurtful thoughts. At first, I was too confused what was happening, then pieces by pieces, through the story you would appreciate when they interconnected – it was swift, carefully written and gruesome plan for a story. I hate the Empire on the story, I hate the resistance — what’s left for me to love? The broken soldiers of the empire produce? Or the victims of a vast tragedy that their soul was bound to serve the nobility? It was too painful. I couldn’t fathom how did Sabaa Tahir write this book, I couldn’t understand why would she write something horrible and yet beautiful at the same time.

“This life is not always what we think it will be.” Cain says. “You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark, burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.”

I underestimated this book. I was so caught up with the story that I was emotionally unstable whether I should be rooting for Laia to find her purpose and to fix her mind or to Elias, to find his freedom and fight for the higher position of the Empire, or to Keenan, who keeps bugging me, that he only wanted what was best but given a limited options, he can’t comply with what he want but for what he needs, or to Helene, who only wanted was happiness, mixed feelings course through her, and completely betray her heart for someone she loves.

“Loving you is the worst thing that has ever happened to me — worst than the Commandant’s whippings, worse than the Trials. It’s torture, Elias.”

Why do authors need to write this kind of book? It was too broken, too fragile for the readers to take – it felt that the winds become storms in front of you without giving you a second thought, struck by a lightning and setting your flesh into a fire. It was terrifying, I could feel the characters into my minds, I could see myself as themselves, I could understand their misery, longing, and sorrows. I know. It feels like I’m writing a eulogy for a character but it does feel, at least, for me.

“Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be.”

I’ve felt a little joy, I would say that there are some butterfly scenes but those are just least, It was not the focus of the author, which is I’m so grateful for. It looks like she tries to focus more on the story and the myths of the story. How everything was manipulated by one another and how actions by the peers affect the outcome of the events. It was simply aprraisal, I couldn’t imagine what was running on Sabaa Tahir’s mind when she was writing this book. It was fast-paced and you could easy fall in love with the characters – which is I’m warning you right now, that, that would be the mistake you could have done when reading this book.

My ratings: 5 stars!

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About the Author

7770873.jpgSabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Cover Reveal: Oak & Mistletoe by J.Z.N. McCauley

Oak & Mistletoe: A Novel by J.Z.N. McCauley


 A Druid Curse, A Prophesied Love, A Consuming Vengeance…

 Catherine Green, along with her twin sister and older brother, travels to Ireland on a college graduation trip. Her vacation takes a permanent turn when she lands her dream job at an art and history museum on her beloved Emerald Isle. She meets a handsome stranger named Bowen, an expert of sorts on local ancient studies. Though their first meetings are turbulent at best, Catherine finds herself drawn to him.

 Unaware that she is the key to breaking a hidden curse, Catherine unleashes the evil madman Conall and his druid followers, imprisoned since ancient times. Tragedy and loss ensue, sprouting within Catherine the deep seeds of rage that thrust her onto the damaging path of vengeance. Confused by the enigma that is Bowen, his mixed signals, and her own feelings, she is swept away with him on an unexpected journey surrounded by myth and long-forgotten knowledge. In order to stop the evil plans of Conall and his reunified army, Catherine must entwine her fate with peril. Her survival is trivial to her as long as Conall dies. She’ll do whatever it takes.
Release Date: October 11th, 2016


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Author Bio:J.Z.N. McCauley resides in lovely New England, where she loves wearing jackets and boots in the unpredictable weather there. She is a wife and mother who enjoys life to the fullest. Also, being a nerd across many genres is something she expresses openly.McCauley spends most of her spare time writing, drawing, or reading. She loves archeology, mythology, history, music and many other forms of art as well. Always having a variety of interests and talents, she could never pick just one. When the chance pops up to travel to any of her favorite places, she takes way too many pictures. Otherwise she is exploring a mystical land in a daydream. Which all provides fuel to her immense joy of writing.

Follow J.Z.N. McCauley on Goodreads


Book Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

27362503By far, It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, is the heaviest, realistic and most painful among her books. Naked Truth: I felt so much numbness when I started reading It Ends With Us. I couldn’t get connect with the book and yet I could feel the intensity of the characters emotions. You feel me? The feeling when you are so numb reading a certain line that you wanted to retreat to your own cave so you wouldn’t felt more pain than what you have felt? It was disastrous, horrible, terrifying and beautiful all at the same time. I didn’t expect Colleen Hoover will write something like this. Something that will make me feel shit and will leave a huge impact on my chest. It hurts. It fucking hurts. I thought I knew what was pain before not until this book. Not until It Ends With Us.

This book is the manifestation of bold and brave, something to remember and to ponder on. It was magnificent and truthful. It will leave you a mark on your chest, on your mind, on your heart and probably on your soul too. It was breaking me into pieces, slowly, painfully, and when I was so lost, I didn’t know that it will heal me at some point and tear me apart all over again.

I never knew that both emotions, love, and hate, go hand in hand. I never knew that both feelings could exist at the same time, at the same moment, and at the same person. It was so painful. IT FUCKING HURTS. I couldn’t imagine how a person can handle so much emotion, so much stress, so much pain all in once and suffering from longing and agony and care. Deep inside, my soul is crying for Lily, for everyone. And I couldn’t do anything for them – just to cry my heart out.

I just felt the most difficult decision that a people could have done in her entire life. And I just witnessed both beautiful and ugliness at the same time, shaking the presence of my mind, I just experience a lifetime of commitment, of sacrifice for someone you love and for someone you wanted to protect. It taught me to fall in love, to live with my decision, to stand on my principles, to protect those who I love and especially that even if you wanted to save a relationship; if it isn’t meant to be, even if you love that person so deeply that eventually will hurt both of you, it isn’t meant to be. There are so much in life and loving a person doesn’t mean you’ll ended up together, sometimes love exist for two people even if they aren’t together.

It Ends With Us, taught me to forgive – to fix my mistake and give options. It was entirely new. It was new kind of pain, a pain that could last for a lifetime. And If I will ask if I will read this book all over again? I would totally say yes. This book is full of life lessons. An eye-opener to a lot of people. And I know in myself, that, maybe not today nor tomorrow, but to my future self – that I will do anything just not to end up my future relationship like that.

To Colleen Hoover, I don’t know how to thank you enough for writing this book. No words. No descriptions. No feelings could portray this book. I just wanted to Thank you. Just Simply, Thank you for writing this book and being the voice for those people who can’t speak for themselves. And please don’t cry anymore. Beautiful ladies shouldn’t be crying. Just keep swimming.

PS: If you are going to ask me which book is my favorite among Colleen Hoover’s book? I would say, It still Slammed.

My ratings: 5 stars! Definitely. 


Interview with Joel T. McGrath!


  1. Could you tell us something about yourself? How you ended up writing a book or something, what inspires you to write a book?

1A) Well, I think the people I encounter every day inspire me to write. The places I’ve been inspire me, too. I’ve been writing for quite a while now. I write tons and tons of nurses’ notes, which if you think about it, are tiny eight-hour stories about a person’s life.

During a mandatory, all day nurses’ meeting many years ago, I took the seat farthest away from my boss at a large boardroom table. Everyone at the table was taking notes with paper and pen, but I just politely nodded every so often and wrote my first draft during that nine-hour meeting. To this day, no one in the room of fifteen nurses and mangers knows, well, I guess they will now.

  1. I don’t have any clue what your book is all about, can you tell us a short story about your book and something we should really look forward to?

2A) Something Eternal explores how we see ourselves, individually and collectively versus a third party roving about, hidden in plain sight sees us. It’s about raw emotions and restrained emotions. It’s about the person we present to the world versus the person we truly are inside. As for looking forward into Something Eternal, you’ll find yourself in amazing backdrops and… I bet you’ll even find a part of yourself in at least one of my characters along the way.

  1. How was your journey being a writer? What are your struggles and obstacles that you have to endure to published a book? How was it feel that you are going to be a published author in a number of days?

3A) My “journey being a writer” is my journey through life. I first faced rejection when my father left. I was three years old. Sure, we reunited a few years later, but it was never the same again. I’ve sold foreign rights through my agent abroad, but I’ve yet to land a domestic agent in three hundred and seventy-five tries. I’ve had several editors at large publishing houses and agents say, “Wow, this is really intriguing, but it’s not on our list.” I believe Something Eternal can transcend any list once readers catch a glimpse into a world full of refreshing, organically crafted storytelling. 

  1. Can you recommend us your top five favorite books?

4A)  (5) How They Croaked (4) The Great Gatsby (3) Pride and Prejudice (2) Bunnicula (1) Body Language in Literature (I know, I have an eclectic palate.)

  1. What do you do when you are in a book hangover? Is there any particular book that made you in a book hangover?

5A) I listen to music when I’m “in a book hangover.” I certainly don’t write; it screws up my writing. I also meditate or go to the ocean. I would have to say…Middle School Blues gave me a serious book hangover, and anything else that jumps around too much. Ouch, my aching head!

  1. What was your childhood like? Any happy memories or something funny that you could share?

6A) I don’t know, I grew up the eighth of nine kids. I feel kind of detached from my childhood. My parents were pretty old when they had me, so they were more like grandparents who were never around. All of my older siblings had left home long before, and they didn’t come back around much. My parents took me out of public school in the fourth grade, so I was very isolated until I left home and enrolled in college seven hundred miles, and many years later. I guess that’s when my life really began. Sorry, I’m not trying to be a downer. I have happy and fun memories, they’re just so scattered and sporadic though. I’m making my happiest memories now.

  1. Top five favorite foods! Pizza and Bacon are exceptions!

7A) Yum! (5) Lobster ravioli with Alfredo sauce (4) Shephard’s Pie (3) A BBQ burger at Breakers in Florida (2) Chicken Marsala (1) Baked Spaghetti

  1. If there is one genre that you least favorite and what is it? Why?

8A) I’m fairly open minded. I’ll read anything that catches my attention. Conversely, I won’t stick with a book if it’s the genre I like, yet is full of tropes, clichés, and is just plain stupid.

  1. What is/are your hobbies? What do you do when you are not writing?

9A) I collect Transformers, yes, the toys. I have to say, my collection has reached it’s limit. Don’t worry though, I don’t play with them. It’s much worse than that. I just look at them, all posed for action in my large glass case.

When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. Is that crazy?

  1. Your favorite quote from your latest book and why is it your favorite among them?

10A) Something Eternal: “Who are you? WHO ARE YOU?” Vincent whispered with frustration. His eyes grew large. He gasped and dropped the beaded necklace. Reaching toward the window, he sat up and yelled aloud, “She needs me!” He slid back into bed and repeated, “She needs me. She needs me.” An orange, black, and white spotted butterfly briefly rested on the glass before it flew off, and Vincent gently faded into sleep.


This is more of a passage. Um, but I really enjoy fleeting emotions displayed through spoken, non-verbal, and subtle environmental happenings.


Joel T. McGrath is a proud member of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project. He is a four-time top 20% choice for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award with four different manuscripts. He has sold foreign rights to his first novel through a literary agent in Turkey. Joel is currently working with a Disney illustrator on a graphic novel and hopes to release portions of the work in summer 2017.  Website | Facebook 



Interview with Andrew Stanek!

1. What is your motivation and inspiration on writing Wild Sky? What made you write a science fiction novel for the first time? (as stated at the end of your book)

I’ve been writing for a while, and I’ve been trying to find a genre that suits me. While searching, I’ve written fantasy novels, mysteries, political fiction, historical fiction, comedy, and more. My foray into science fiction was just me trying to write in a new genre.

2. Will there be a sequel or a prequel for this book? If yes, How many are you planning to write?

I have not planned any sequels or prequels for Wild Sky, unfortunately. When I wrote my first published novel, Empire, I got very excited about it, and I was convinced that everyone was going to love it, and I’d have to write lots of sequels to satisfy the demands of fans. I planned lots of sequels. No one ever readEmpire. I don’t plan sequels in advance anymore.

3. Based on your letter for your readers, you said there that you have no intentions to write Wild Sky the way it has, what is your original plan on writing it?

My original plan for Wild Sky was basically this: I wanted to explore the implications a one-way teleportation device would have for humanity. Would it be useful for industry? Transportation? Art? Science? I suddenly realized that a gate would actually be an extremely dangerous thing if used for military purposes. Hence Wild Sky.

4. Halen is a mysterious man and has a disciplined personality. Will we know more of Halen’s past on your future novels if there will be (it has to be!)? Where did you based Halen’s character? Are there some characters of yours that you put into Halen’s p

Halen’s character was based on an earlier character of mine from a novel called Ambition. The main character in this novel was also named Halen, and he was a hero general operating in 19th century Europe. Unfortunately, I was not able to publish this novel because I got into a copyright dispute over it, so I decided to at least reuse Halen’s name. His personality somewhat carried over.

5. Instead of asking Sir Andrew Stanek, I wanted to ask Halen’s 5 favorite books and his personal favorite quotes from those books.

I don’t really have an answer to this question because I haven’t thought about. In Wild Sky, we get the sense that Halen really likes quotes from famous speeches rather than books (although he also has a lot of books). At one point he quotes Martin Luther King Jr. I would say that quote is his favorite. His second favorite quote would probably be Noam Chomsky’s “War does not determine who is right, only who is left.” Then, “On the day when two army corps may mutually annihilate each other in a second, probably all civilized nations will recoil with horror and disband their troops.” (Alfred Nobel). I don’t know what the other two would be. There are many good quotes about war.

6. Let’s say that you’ve been given an opportunity to dine, talk and have a one day opportunity with someone who is already dead. Who would it be and why?

I’d probably choose to dine with my grandfather, who died when I was very young. I didn’t get a chance to know him, and I have a lot of questions I’d want to ask.

7. What was the difficult part on writing Wild Sky?

Wild Sky was pretty easy to write. My biggest problem was that I actually don’t know anything about the navy or running a vessel, so I had to try to come up with jargon and procedures that sounded realistic.

8. Deaf_mute is mysterious. What is on your mind when you are building his/her character?

The entire character of deaf_mute is based on a character called “the Laughing Man” from the anime series Ghost in the Shell. The Laughing Man is a genius hacker who is pursued by the main characters in that show. The name deaf_mute is based on a quote from The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, which is itself written on The Laughing Man’s emblem in Ghost in the Shell.

9. Top 5 Favorite Foods!

My five top favorite foods are pasta, pizza, ice cream, sesame balls, and soup.

10. Your favorite quote on Wild Sky and why you chose it?

“If I have a gate, you can’t shoot me, but I can shoot you.” I’ll leave it to the reader to read Wild Sky and find out why it’s my favorite quote.

11. How many hours of research did you do to write Wild Sky? What kind of reasearch do you do?

Zero. There was no research involved in writingWild Sky. The only research I recall doing was looking up the names of various naval bases in the US, which only took 15 minutes at the most.

12. Share a story of your daily life!

No stories from my daily life spring to mind. Most of what I do is writing.

13. A little message for those who wanted to become a writer in the future.

Write a lot! If people don’t like one of your novels, then write another and another. Also, promote your books. Otherwise, people won’t read them.

14. What do you think the most sensitive subject on your book? I think it was killing without the feeling of guilt or hesitation on doing so. Your thoughts?

I thought the most sensitive subject of the book was mankind developing an escalating capacity to destroy itself. I don’t really have a lot to say about this except that I don’t like the idea of militarized gates, which Wild Sky is all about.

15. What made you choose to be a writer?

Even I don’t know that. I just couldn’t not write, and I didn’t like the path I was on before I became a writer. So I became a writer.


Book Review: Wild Sky by Andrew Stanek

What really caught me off guard every time I read a science fiction books is when the protagonist of the story question on the middle of the book about his principles, strategies and morality along the way when in fact it has been decided that he won the fight.

Wild Sky is intriguing, fascinating, unique and interesting science fiction novel that will divert you to a new kind of terrifying technology, advanced knowledge of hacking and outstanding power of deduction. With the absolute definition of war and understanding the complexitiy of the space cruise, it will lead you to a magnificent warfare.

What I liked about this book is how great minds empower and gather information in a simple statement, combined with collision of great ideas, opinions and perspective. This book made me awe, shocked and stunned. It is indeed terrifying and crazy.

I couldn’t fathom that Sir Andrew Stanek’s first Science Fiction Novel is this great. How could he write something so good and destructible at the same time? Pointing out that this was his first time on trying a science fiction novel that turns out really great.

Honestly, Wild Sky is an exhausting book. There are a lot of words that may be confusing if you are a reader that is not familiar with scientific literature. However, you’ll learn the gist of it along the way. I actually found this book interesting. I never knew that I will love it.

And I tell you, one of the mind blowing book that I have ever read! All I could think of at the end of the book was this author is so fucking brilliant. How would he turn those events upside down?! I was mesmerized, thrilled and amazed. Andrew Stanek brought us a possibility and a theory that may haunt the entire humanity in the future.

Along with Omnilogos by Michele Amitrani, Wild Sky by Andrew Stanek are the first two books that will definitely on the top of my best books of 2016. You will never know what a indie author has to offer in the book community.

My ratings: 5 stars!