Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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The Kingdom of Winter fell sixteen years ago.  Its people were made slaves but eight escaped determined to regain their kingdom.

Meira was orphaned sixteen years ago when the Kingdom fell and now she is a refugee training to be a warrior.  Desperately in love with her best friend and future King, Meira will do anything to restore Winter to power despite the fact that she has never been there.  So, when scouts find the location of an ancient locket which can restore Winter and help its people, Meira decides to find it and prove that she can do something to benefit her kingdom.  But everything does not turn out as she imagined and soon she is caught up in a web of politics and evil magic.  On her journey, she realizes that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.


This book was amazing and unique!  The world was wonderful and intriguing because of the seasons and varying cultures.  The characters were exceptionally developed.  However, the main character got on my nerves sometimes.  At first, she seemed like a lovesick cow which was highly annoying but as her journey started she forgot about Mather, the King.  As the book continued she freaked out a little too much about the fact that Mather and Sir were pushing her destiny onto her.   Despite that the book was phenomenal and I am so excited to read the next books in the series.


Night By Elie Wiesel

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Night is a tale of woe shining to show the world the horrendous acts committed in Germany to the Jewish people by the Nazi party.  We follow the story of Elie Wiesel’s struggle to survive Concentration camps when he was but a lad of fifteen.  The deaths, the murders, and the everyday struggle for survival are displayed through a lad who should not witness things at such an age, in fact never should.  Night is an insight into the lives of those in camps, never knowing when it would be their turn to leave this mortal coil.  That time when reason was left behind and instinct reigned.  We see the heartbreak and sorrow of the concentration camps through the eyes of a witness and we begin to slightly understand that humanity can be cruel and wonderful.

This book was heart rendingly tragic.  It led us on a journey, a journey through which the reader saw what man was capable of.  The capability of cruelty, evil, endurance, love, faith, and hope.  The many characteristics in man kind are displayed in Night for the world to see so that we may take away the good and use it but remember the bad so that we may never repeat it again.

Below is Elie Wiesel’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Image result for picture of elie wieselIt is with a profound sense of humility that I accept the honor you have chosen to bestow upon me. I know: your choice transcends me. This both frightens and pleases me.

It frightens me because I wonder: do I have the right to represent the multitudes who have perished? Do I have the right to accept this great honor on their behalf? … I do not. That would be presumptuous. No one may speak for the dead, no one may interpret their mutilated dreams and visions.

It pleases me because I may say that this honor belongs to all the survivors and their children, and through us, to the Jewish people with whose destiny I have always identified.

I remember: it happened yesterday or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the kingdom of night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.

I remember: he asked his father: “Can this be true?” This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?

And now the boy is turning to me: “Tell me,” he asks. “What have you done with my future? What have you done with your life?”

And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.

And then I explained to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remain silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.

Of course, since I am a Jew profoundly rooted in my peoples’ memory and tradition, my first response is to Jewish fears, Jewish needs, Jewish crises. For I belong to a traumatized generation, one that experienced the abandonment and solitude of our people. It would be unnatural for me not to make Jewish priorities my own: Israel, Soviet Jewry, Jews in Arab lands … But there are others as important to me. Apartheid is, in my view, as abhorrent as anti-Semitism. To me, Andrei Sarcharov’s isolation is as much of a disgrace as Josef Biegun’s imprisonment. As is the denial of Solidarity and its leader Lech Walesa’s right to dissent. And Nelson Mandela‘s interminable imprisonment.

There is so much injustice and suffering crying out for our attention: victims of hunger, of racism, and political persecution, writers and poets, prisoners in so many lands governed by the Left and by the Right. Human rights are being violated on every continent. More people are oppressed than free. And then, too, there are the Palestinians to whose plight I am sensitive but whose methods I deplore. Violence and terrorism are not the answer. Something must be done about their suffering, and soon. I trust Israel, for I have faith in the Jewish people. Let Israel be given a chance, let hatred and danger be removed from her horizons, and there will be peace in and around the Holy Land.

Yes, I have faith. Faith in God and even in His creation. Without it no action would be possible. And action is the only remedy to indifference: the most insidious danger of all. Isn’t this the meaning of Alfred Nobel’s legacy? Wasn’t his fear of war a shield against war?

There is much to be done, there is much that can be done. One person – a Raoul Wallenberg, an Albert Schweitzer, one person of integrity, can make a difference, a difference of life and death. As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our lives will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs.

This is what I say to the young Jewish boy wondering what I have done with his years. It is in his name that I speak to you and that I express to you my deepest gratitude. No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.

Thank you, Chairman Aarvik. Thank you, members of the Nobel Committee. Thank you, people of Norway, for declaring on this singular occasion that our survival has meaning for mankind.


Shadowcry by Jenna Burtenshaw

x500.jpg (428×648)In a world where fear of Wardens tearing apart towns for a war abound, special people called the skilled can cross the veil between the world of the living and the dead.   They are hunted and feared.

When Kate Winters accidentally raises a blackbird from the dead she realizes that she is skilled.  Immediately, she becomes the most hunted person in Albion for she is the only one that can unlock the secrets of an ancient tome, Wintercraft, which holds knowledge and power about the veil beyond anyone’s imagining.  She is captured and taken to the ancient graveyard city of Fume where her parents were killed ten years ago.  To harness her powers and escape she must make a deal with one of the most feared killers in Albion.  But, can she live up to that deal without dying before she has a chance to fulfill it?

This book was unique.  I loved the storyline and the take it had on life and death.  The characters were also intriguing especially Silas Dane who is a collector.  He is not fully dead nor fully alive and it was interesting to read about his struggles and how he hid them beneath his formidable veneer.  I liked how the author portrayed him as a fighter with sheltered hurts that plagued him.  I did not find Silas understandable at the beginning of the book and I hated him.  However, as the chapters went on he became my favorite character.  Overall, his character was excellently rendered.

The main character, Kate was fun to read about but her character could of been developed further.  Kate grew in her understanding of the veil but emotionally I felt that the growth could have been improved.  I still liked her character and the book was stunning as a whole.  I would recommend it especially to those who want a unique and darkly emotional book.



























Ransom My Heart by Meg Cabot

2862984128_12214a0978Finunula, a maiden who flaunts the rules of society, needs money for sister’s dowry.  So, she does what most young women do when they need money she kidnaps a man to hold for ransom.  Hugo Fitzstephen, Earl of Stephensgate, is returning from the crusades loaded down with jewels and gold.  It should be easy to hold the man captive but Finnula makes a terrible mistake by falling for her hostage, only to realize that he’s been lying about his identity all along…. But then, so has she.  Now their lives and the lives of everyone they know and love could be in danger.

This book was wonderful.  The main character was fiery and not afraid to state her opinion while dressing like a man and gallivanting about.  Hugo, the man she kidnaps was boorish at times but by the end of the book I adored his character.  The book did take a little time to get into the plot of of the story but I was entertained by Finnula and Hugo’s constant bickering.

I especially enjoyed how the author used both Finnula and Hugo’s perspective so that we could get both sides of the story.  I think it helped move the story along while portraying each character’s view on the other.  It was compelling to read how each character rendered themselves and compare it to the other character’s view.  Overall, how it was told made the story more intriguing.  I would highly recommend this book especially to people who enjoy medieval romances or are looking for a quick and somewhat cheesy story.



Author Highlights Two

This is the second Author Highlights which I started recently an will only do once or twice a month. Our first one was about Melanie Dickerson and her Romance books which can be found Here. Now this time we have……Drum roll……..

Anne Blankman

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Anne Blankman is the author of Prisoner of Night and Fog, Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke, and Traitor Angels.

I have read all three of her books and adored them. They are wonderful. Each of her characters are lovable and have secrets that I itched to uncover. Anne wonderfully portrayed the world surrounding the characters and by the end of each book I felt that I had a better understanding of the times in which the characters lived.

The Prisoner of Night and Fog and the Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke are a series entailing the life of the beloved fictional character of Gretchen, Adolf Hitler’s niece. She leads a the sheltered life as the pet of a rising politician until one day she meets a Jewish reporter, Daniel who is intent on telling her a story that disagrees with everything she has been taught. As she sets out on a journey to find the truth she begins to feel an attraction for Daniel and question the beliefs and ideals that she has been taught as the Nazi darling.

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Traitor Angels is the story of Elizabeth Milton, daughter to the notorious poet John Milton. By day Elizabeth transcribes her father’s latest masterpiece, Paradise Lost and by night she trains in sword fighting. When soldiers arrive to arrest her father Elizabeth sets out on a mission to save him. With the help of Antonio Viviani who is a young Italian scientist. Soon the two discover that there is a secret hidden within Paradise Lost’s lines that the king and his supporters are desperate to keep hidden. Can they uncover the truth and save Elizabeth’s father before all is lost?

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For more information on Anne Blankman or her books visit

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

8835379.jpg (289×475)Gwen is like any other sixteen year old except for the fact that her family has a time traveling gene that is expected to show up in Gwen’s cousin, Charlotte.  That is until Gwen suddenly starts making random leaps into the past.  She is then yanked into a world where traveling into the past happens every day but Gwen is woefully unprepared for the clothes, archaic ways, a secret society, and Gideon.  He is obnoxious, a know it all, and one of the best looking guys she has met in any century…..


I have always loved time travel books and this is no exception.   Ruby Red is amazing.  The characters and plot line are intriguing and keep you on edgeThe reader never knows what is going to happen next.  However, the love story was a little predictable and overly dramatic.  Despite that I adored the book.  I especially liked how Gwen could see ghosts.  I was fascinated by how she interacted with the ghosts surrounding her.   I would highly recommend Ruby Red.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Agnieszka  lives in a beautiful valley but on the edge stands a malevolent forest, the Wood.  The people of the valley are protected from this evil by a wizard known as the Dragon but he demands a terrible price in payment.  Every ten years he takes a girl to serve him and after they are freed the girl leaves the valley and never returns.

The time for another choosing is approaching and everybody knows who it is going to be; Kasia.  Beautiful, brave, graceful Kasia who is Agnieszka’s best friend.  However, when the Dragon comes he will not choose Kasia and all things become even less certain.

I loved this book.  The characters were wonderful and the character development was stunning.  I especially liked the Dragon who started out cold and aloof but by the end of the book was a beloved character.  The Wood was also intriguing to me.  I was drawn to it by its supposed evil and the hidden stories contained within it.  The main character was astounding.  She drew me into the story and from the first page I wanted to know how she was going to overcome the problems presented to her.  As the story went on Agnieszka grew in her knowledge of the world and I thoroughly enjoyed going with her on her journey of exploration.  Overall, the story was a haunting tale of romance, hate, and finally, understanding.