Review: Heart of Ash by Kim Liggett

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“I carved out my heart and threw it into the deepest ocean. And I’d do it again and again. I will never be sorry for loving you.”

“We’re like the dissonant chord in the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, begging for resolution. As long as we’re apart, there will never be peace in the world.”

All that remained were our bodies—vessels for each other’s hearts.”

“But if I gave in to him, gave in to the darkness, I knew it would be my ruin.”

synvia Goodreads

Ash may have escaped the immortal-worshipping cult that killed her mother, but the love of her life is still under its thrall. Dane has been possessed by his diabolical ancestor Coronado, a man who’s fabulously wealthy, dripping with fame, and the leader of Europe’s most dangerous immortal network. Dane begs Ash to join him at Coronado’s castle in Spain, and swears that his blood bond with Ash is stronger than Coronado’s hold over him. Ash is desperate to help Dane vanquish Coronado without having to sacrifice herself to the darkness. But when you’re all in, blood and salt, the only way to hold on to the light might just be by setting everything on fire.

review5 Stars 

Heart of Ash is exactly the book I needed at the right time. As many of you know, my reading record this year has been staggered and less than stellar. In the past week, I have read 3 horrible ARCs and I was questioning what happened to YA. For every 20 books there may be 1 truly great one. When did this become the norm? It could be me. It could be that over the past year, I have changed and become too busy, but I think that it’s because of that I’m okay with passing over books that are not for me and more than fine with slapping a DNF on a book that consumes my time with no heart. I don’t know if you have felt it to, but it feels like a turning point in YA. How has your reading been going?

That being said, Heart of Ash restored my faith in YA and my love of reading. The twists, the angst, the lust, the suspense, everything about this book sucks you in like a sweet and sometimes bloody addiction. When I read Blood and Salt, I was impressed with the story, but Heart of Ash blew the first book out of the water. 

The writing is beautiful, with profound and emotion-laced introspection at every turn.

The twists and turns keep you guessing to the point that nothing is what it seems.

I love this book. From the lush setting, to the deep, pulsating romance. What I appreciated was that while the book was essentially a romance, it felt like more. I was invested in every character, hoping for the HEA when everything seemed destined to end in total destruction. I hoped for more for these cursed lovers.

Great plotting. Better pacing. 

The blood and evil pours off the pages. When the truth is out…it’s astounding and powerful that Ash can withstand and overcome so much. Ash flirts with darkness and makes the choice to sacrifice herself and chance at happiness for the happiness of others.

The chemistry is straight fire. Slow burning sometimes, simmering others, and a blaze the next. There are some scenes that I would mark as mature YA, but they fade to black, not before all that angst and tension builds. Their love is explosive, volatile, and eternal. 

There are so many things I could say about this book, but the most important is: read this. 

If you like dark and twisted with a greater chance at utter devastation than happily ever after, try the Blood and Salt series.

If you like any of the following, enjoy this:

Read your heart out, 
Jordan
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2015 Top Reads

2015 has been a whirlwind of new books and author friends. It’s been a crazy ride that has culminated in my attendance at Utopia 2016 and potential publication.. we’ll see 😉

Happy New Year readers, this blog wouldn’t be anything without all of your kind words and support!

And now…

Top 15 Books of 2015

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Happy reading and here’s to an even better reading year next year!

Jordan

ARC Review: Blood and Salt-Kim Liggett

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Release Date: September 22, 2015

synRomeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.

“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

review4.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Penguin FirstToRead

Reading Blood and Salt is very much like getting lost in a massive corn maze in the dead of night with a sinister presence stalking after you. The more I read, the deeper I went into the chaos and terror. Shock after shock, twists turn into insane revelations. I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t breathe, this story is epic. Throughout the entire read I couldn’t figure out how story elements so far removed fit so well together-Native Americans, Conquistadors, alchemy, a curse, and flesh-eating corn? Somehow it all works and it’s MAGICAL. 

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You want to be scared senseless
  • You adore unconventional horror
  • You’re a sucker for star-crossed lovers
  • You’re looking for a unique story 
  • Seriously…just read it

PROS:

  • I can’t remember the last time I was so disturbed by a book-maybe Girl from the Well. There’s a new level of creepy that takes on a life of its own as the story progresses. From the haunting visions, the grotesque ghosts, the monstrous crows, and several unexplained phenomenons, there’s an overwhelming feeling of being watched, a foreboding that sticks with you even as clues are uncovered. Nail-biting, looking over your shoulder, sleeping with the light on…be prepared to be scared.
  • There’s an eclectic mix of history, folklore, and magic that is woven so well together it’s hard to imagine that they don’t exist that way in history books. The merging of Native American beliefs with alchemy and a Conquistador curse is not something I ever would have expected but it creates a dark tale that almost reads like truth. 
  • As if corn mazes aren’t horrifying enough, add in missing people, blood trails and unnatural behaviors, it becomes the perfect setting for a gruesome horror story. Coupled with this is the cult-like city. It’s intricate, protected by the corn, it’s made of a small history that evolved into worship. The people are solid in their faith that immortality is around the corner, their devotion only adds to the horror. 
  • Characters, for the most part, leave a lasting impression. Apart from the main characters, Ash’s mother is an even more intense version of Misty Day from American Horror Story: Coven.
  • Plot twist central.
  • Relationships are crucial to this tale and extremely powerful. The love between Ash and her brother is heartwarming and potent. Though they’re incredibly different, they get each other. You can feel their connection. Dane and Ash are light sexual tension that builds into something on the verge of lust. One moment it’s playful and sensual, the next it’s explosive. 
  • THAT ENDING. Just cut out my heart and STOMP ALL OVER IT.

CONS:

  • Early on in the story, so much is summarized about the curse and Katia that it feels like being hit with a sledgehammer, totally overwhelmed with information.
  • Some components felt rushed and unfinished. Sections in Quivira, particularly the scenes with the scars, the leader, and what happens to him were short and cut off abruptly. A longer, more developed look into Quivira and the complex relationships there would have not only added to the horror but laid a stronger foundation for the next book.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Jordan