The Queen of Nothing

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the queen of nothing by holly black
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Author: Holly Black

Series: The Folk of the Air, #3

Published: November 19, 2019

ISBN: 0316310409

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity

My Mini Review:

“That’s what mortal means…Think of us like shooting stars, brief but bright.” ~Jude

What a satisfying ending to a magical series. Holly Black has woven a tale full of intrigue, court scheming, and assassins, with just the right amount of romance sprinkled in. I found myself constantly torn between wanting to savor every page, and wanting to know what happened next. In the end the latter won, and I finished the book in two days.

“Maybe it isn’t the worst thing to want to be loved, even if you’re not. Even if it hurts. Maybe being human isn’t always being weak.” ~Jude

This story was really about Jude, a girl who became one of my all time favorite female characters. In the beginning of this series, Jude was just a girl who wished to be a knight, but we saw her evolve into something much greater than that. Through her we learned what it means to be human in a world full of immortals. Jude constantly toed the line between doing what’s right and doing what’s necessary, and she was able to remain level-headed and strong throughout. I greatly admired her ambition, and her willingness to give up everything to attain her dreams.

“How do people like us take off our armor? One piece at a time.” ~Jude

Cardan was the Cruel Prince, and then he was the Wicked King, but through his story Black taught us that family sometimes means more than sharing the same blood. He taught us that being a leader is sometimes more than wearing a crown on your head. Some of my favorite side characters included Madoc, Jude’s father who passed on his ambission, and Oak, Jude’s little brother who never wished to become king. As always, I really enjoyed the small graphics and drawings throughout out the book, as well as the covers for the whole trilogy. I recommend this series to all Fantasy fans, and fans of this trilogy need to read it NOW.

Let me know in the comments what you thought about The Queen of Nothing!

Serpent and Dove

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

serpent and dove by shelby mahurin
Serpent and Dove

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Published: September 3, 2019

Publisher: HarperTeen

Series: Serpent and Dove, #1

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

My review:

In her deeply captivating debut novel, Mahurin explores themes such as parental abandonment, survival, and religious zealotry. Having failed to read the synopsis or any information about this book before I began listening to a sample of the audio, I received two happy surprises right away. The first one was that one of my favorite narrators, Holter Graham, is the voice of Reid. The second was that this story includes the “enemies to lovers” trove, one of my favorites, and in this one the characters are actually forced to marry each other.

I started listening to a sample of the audio book and it was over way too soon. Naturally, I ended up spending one of my audible credits on the full book right away. Therein ensued a battle between having to live my life and absolutely having to listen to the book at all times. The plot was fast paced and engrossing. The magic system was fascinating, and I enjoyed the clash between the witches and the Church. The romance aspect of the story was not rushed, and the slow build-up filled me with anticipation.

Lou quickly moved up to the top of the list of my favorite heroines. I found her to be a strong and compelling main character. Reid’s efforts to keep Lou contained were very endearing. He soon figured out that there is not “handling” or “controlling” Lou, she was an unstoppable force of nature. He lovingly called her a “heathen” in his head. I did admire his stubbornness which sometimes bordered on pigheadedness, and his knack for being loyal to a fault. Coco and Ansel were my favorite side characters. Both of them fierce and loyal companions to our main characters.

Serpent and Dove is a 2019 Goodreads choice nominee. The next book in the series, Blood and Honey, is set to be published August 31, 2020. I honestly cannot wait to see how Mahurin ties the loose ends she left at the end of Serpent and Dove, and I also wish for more background and scenes including Ansel and Coco. I recommend this book to all YA/ Fantasy fans who love a good mix of magic and romance.

Ivory

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Ivory by Lola Dodge
Ivory by Lola Dodge

Author: Lola Dodge

Series: Manhattan Ten, #1

Published: October 22, 2019

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

If Ivory’s fellow flight attendants whisper that she has ice in her veins, they’d be right. She’s spent years ruthlessly suppressing her dangerous ice powers, pretending she didn’t grow up wild on the tundra.

Her legendary coolness has held solid—until a crazed attacker snaps her composure, unleashing her ice beast and blowing her cover. And she’s not sure if the man who defuses the situation is any less dangerous.


When Panther’s trans-Atlantic catnap is interrupted by Ivory’s ice spear through his mark’s gut, he doesn’t hesitate to claim her as one of the Manhattan Ten. It’s the only way to shield her from prosecution. It doesn’t hurt that the Nordic beauty puts his inner cat on the prowl.

Panther tempts Ivory in every smoldering way, but to let him melt her resistance is a risk she can’t afford. But when her past rises up to claim her, Pan is caught in the crossfire…and the only way to save him is to let the beast claim her, body and soul.

Disclaimer: I was given a free review copy of this book via Netgalley and INscribe Digital, the Publisher, in exchange for my honest review.

My Mini Review:

This story was fast paced and to the point like a novella should be, but without leaving any major plot holes. I enjoyed the introduction to this group of “Supers” who have familiar super powers such as mind reading, shifting, and ice, but yet their story is told in a new and futuristic setting. I loved the modern take on Super heroes, as well as the adult romantic aspect of it. I enjoyed the chemistry and slow building romance between Ivory and Jag. Even in a novella, the romantic aspect did not feel rushed which is always a plus.

The book was short enough to read in one sitting, and there was enough action and suspense to keep me hooked throughout. There was a serial killer involved, which offered a very interesting and unique twist on the super hero trove. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in this series, and finding out more about the other Supers and what their stories are. Mostly, I want to figure out who the killer is. I would recommend this novella to all Adult Fantasy readers who enjoy a quick, fast paced, action packed read.

Warning: This book includes explicit sexual content.

Darkdawn

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

dark dawn by jay kristoff
Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

Author: Jay Kristoff

Published: September 3, 2019

Publisher: Thomas Dune Books

Series: The Nevernight Chronicles, #3

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

A ruthless young assassin’s journey for revenge comes to a stunning end in the conclusion of this acclaimed epic fantasy trilogy.

The Republic of Itreya is in chaos. Mia Corvere has assassinated Cardinal Duomo and rumors of Consul Scaeva’s death ripple through the street of Godsgrave like wildfire. But buried beneath those same streets, deep in the ancient city’s bones, lies a secret that will change the Republic forever.

Mia and her brother Jonnen must journey through the depths of the ancient metropolis. Their quest will take them through the Godsgrave underdark, across the Sea of Swords, back to the library of the Quiet Mountain and the poisoned blades of Mia’s old mentors, and at last the fabled Crown of the Moon. There, Mia will at last discover the origins of the darkin, and learn the destiny that lies in store for her and her world. But with the three suns now in descent, and Truedark on the horizon, will she survive?

Fear was Can’t. Fear was Won’t. But fear wasn’t ever a choice. To never fear was to never hope. Never love. Never live…Part of having is the fear of losing. Part of creating is the fear of it breaking. Part of beginning is the fear of your ending. Fear is never a choice… But letting it rule you is.”

Darkdawn

My Mini Book Review:

I’m doing a mini book review on this because there is no way I can put ALL my thoughts about this series into coherent sentences. How do I review a series like this one? These books made me cry tears of happiness, of sadness, frustration, and despair. In short, they made me feel everything a good series should.

I did pick Darkdawn up a couple of times to read it in September, but I ended up putting it down twice. First, I did not expect the religious aspect of the books to take center stage in the story, and that is always a turn-off for me. Second, I read so many dark books in September that I felt like I needed some happiness in my life. I finally got my hands on the audio version (the narrator Holter Graham does an amazing job), and this helped me get through it. Once I got through most of the setting up part, I could not stop listening.

I loved all the characters in these books. I fell in love with all their stories and I was proud of their growth throughout. I came to respect Mia and her strength and perseverance, and how she was set on revenge, but not willing to cross certain moral lines. I liked the side stories, the humor, the colorful cursing, and yes even the footnotes. I’m sad that this series has come to an end, and I cannot wait to see what Kristoff comes up with next. If you are a fan of dark Fantasy, read these!

The Monsters of Music

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

The Monsters of Music by Rebecca F. Kenney
The Monsters of Music

Author: Rebecca F. Kenney

Publishes: October 30, 2019

Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing

ISBN: 1693557754

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

A darkly romantic gender-swapped modern retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, with a scarred Muse girl, a rock-star boy, and a singing competition. For fans of The Wicked Deep (Ernshaw), Wintersong (S. Jae-Jones), American Idol, or The Voice.

Mel must share her creative magic or be driven mad by it. But finding her first protégé isn’t as easy for her as it is for most Lianhan Sídhe (muses of Celtic myth). Though the women of her race are naturally beautiful, she carries horrifying scars across one side of her face, inflicted by her mother’s obsessive boyfriend. And Mel isn’t only interested in pouring her creative energy into a man; she wants to use her musical genius herself, too. But the laws of the Lianhan Sídhe, and her own savage appearance, stand in the way of her ever singing onstage.

To relieve the painful pressure of her magic, Mel latches onto Kiyoji, a boy with a beautiful voice, and coaches him through a televised singing competition. But neither of them are prepared for the power of their connection, or for the new kind of magic that happens when the two of them sing together.

Fans of Holly Black’s contemporary fantasy books (Tithe, Valiant) or Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely will enjoy this dark, offbeat retelling with a hint of cyberpunk and a dose of Celtic mythology. The novel celebrates a broad range of music from various decades.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

My Review:

I was a bit hesitant to read this book, because in the past I hadn’t enjoyed other books where the author attempted to mix music into the story (Example: “Wintersong” by S. Jae-Jones, which this book kept getting compared to). I should also say that I’ve never read or seen Phantom of the Opera. But I should not have worried, because the musical aspect in this book blended seamlessly into the story. Maybe it was the more modern setting, the simple precise wording, or the well-known songs that are mentioned, but I really enjoyed the blend of magic and music and I found the story very unique and alluring.

I liked reading the book through all the different points of views. It’s mainly told through Mel’s POV, but it switches to Kiyo, and many of the others as well. Each character had their own unique voice and perspective, and I could always tell when a new point of view was introduced. I liked that Mel was a flawed main character, and that we get to see her change and evolve throughout. Her dark side was a good contrast to Kiyo’s naivete and innocence. Also, the love aspect between Mel and Kiyo did not feel rushed. There was no “insta-love,” and they took their time getting to know each other. My favorite character was Prince, the cat.

I found the miscommunication between the characters in the middle of the story a bit annoying. It was at a point in the story where I felt there was already enough conflict going on, and I kept thinking “Just talk to each other!” Also, there were some unanswered questions and small plot holes when it came to the magic system. I don’t do spoilers, but there is something that happens as a result of Mel using her magic, and I was waiting for a good explanation but never got one.

The world building was well done. I could definitely picture this old school and its many rooms and passages in my mind’s eye as I was reading. The characters were well described, and I felt like I had a good grasp on what they all looked like. Overall, this was a great fast paced read, and I would recommend it to all Fantasy/ YA fans looking for a great story full of enthralling magic, music, and a new modern take on Phantom of the Opera.

TBR Organization…Again!

TBR Organization To be read
My Instagram

Once again I had to re-organize my TBR List on Goodreads. I felt like the list was out of control and it was putting me into a reading slump. Now that I’ve organized it, I’ve been getting a lot more reading done. As you can probably tell I’m a bit OCD when it comes to organization, I hate clutter and everything has to have a place. Here are the categories I put my books into.

ARC- To Read

This category is for any ARC (Advance reader copy) that I need to read. I haven’t been doing a lot of those lately, but when I do I try to get them done as soon as possible so that it can be ready when the book gets released.

Next- Read

goodreads next reads

This category is reserved for any books that have been checked out of the Library and I need to read before my 14 days are over. I put them there to remind me to read those next instead of picking up something new from my TBR and then having these Library loans expire. I also put any books here that I’ve started reading but had to put aside before for one reason or another. Lastly, I put any books here that are about to release within the next few weeks and I already pre-ordered, or any ARC’s that are also about to release and I need to review before they do.

Own

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Is where I list all the books I own so that I don’t make the mistake of buying them again.

Old books to read

goodreads old books to read

By “old” I mean released before 2019. As a reviewer I feel like I must read books that have been recently released in order to stay relevant, but I also want to read older books that have been recommended to me. This is where I put those.

Owned e-books TBR

owned ebooks to be read goodreads

These are e-books that I own, but still need to read. I usually pick the kindle free book of the month and put it here. Also, any e-books I buy on sale for less than a dollar. I don’t tend to spend too much on e-books unless it’s an anticipated read by an author I love.

Series to Catch-Up On

This is where I shelve new series that have recently released new books and I haven’t read yet. I try to read at least one from this list every month to catch up.

Re-Read

re read on goodreads

I like to put books here which belong to a series and the next book in the series is about to release. Sometimes I need a good re-read to refresh my mind on the details of the story so I can thoroughly enjoy a new release.

To Be Released

It’s almost the end of the year so I barely have any books in this list. This is where I put all my anticipated releases for this year.

2020 Releases

2020 releases on goodreads

Another one that’s self-explanatory. I also think it will be handy to change the name of the list to “To be released” once 2020 starts, and I’ll delete the old one.

To Buy

Last but not least is the list of books I’ve loved so much that I must buy. I also put here any books my favorite authors are releasing in the near future, because honestly if I love an author I will buy anything they write. This list definitely comes in handy when I walk into Barnes and Noble, or when there is a sale at an online Book Store, it helps to keep my mind focused on the books that I actually need and want to buy. This helps me not spend my money on random books.

Hope you enjoyed this post and maybe got some ideas to organize your own TBR and become more productive. If you want to be my friend on Goodreads, please add me!

Reveal Me

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

reveal me by tahereh mafi

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Series: Shatter Me, #5.5, Novella

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: October 8, 2019

Brief Goodreads Synopsis:

The explosive revelations in Defy Me have left readers reeling and desperate for answers. This fourth and final novella in the series will bring readers back to the world of the Shatter Me before the final novel installment hits shelves in winter 2020.

My Mini Review:

Let me start off by saying that I love Kenji, and I will always love anything written from his point of view. He is real and down to earth, and I like reading his crazy thought processes, random thoughts, and raw emotions. No one can write emotions like Tahereh Mafi. She gives simple words different and elegant meanings, and her writing is poetic in nature.

All that aside, I just really wish this book was longer. I understand it’s a novella but I cannot stand how short this was, and how instead of satiating my “Shatter Me” thirst until the next installment, it left me feeling empty and wanting. Now, I realize I sound like an addict, but I really needed more! Needless to say, this novella got me super hyped up for the next book releasing in 2020. I absolutely cannot wait!

The Unhoneymooners

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the unhoneymooners by Christina lauren

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: May 14, 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

My Review:

This book was just as hilarious as everyone made it out to be. I’m glad I listened to the hype and finally read it. There were many funny moments as well as real cringy ones. When a book gets a physical reaction from me, like a cringe, then I think it has done its job. Also, I really enjoyed all the Harry Potter references.

I loved Olive’s crazy Hispanic family, but I’m still undecided on whether I want a family like hers. On the one hand, I loved how supportive they were, but on the other I would hate it if my family showed up at my house unannounced at all hours of the day. I did enjoy reading all their texts and back and forth banter. I liked how this book integrated texting into the narrative, since it has become such an integral part of how we interact with each other.

Olive was a strong female character, and I liked seeing her work through different ethical and moral dilemmas and witness the repercussions of her decisions. I also enjoyed Ethan’s personality and how he was able to deal with Olive’s inability to lie, or her propensity to talk to much when she was put on the spot. Their romance was slow building and realistic, even though in theory the author could’ve gotten away with some “insta-love” since they actually had known each other for a very long time.

The only negative for me was the ending was a bit dragged out, and I felt that many parts of it were unnecessary. But overall, I would recommend this book to all Romance readers. The sex scenes were not too explicit, and it was a very funny light-hearted read.

The Whisper Man

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the whisper man by alex north

Author: Alex North

Publisher: Celadon Books

Published: August 20, 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

Sometimes writing can help heal you.”

The Whisper Man

My Review:

This was the perfect spooky October read. The creepy factor wasn’t helped by the fact that I listened to the audio book on my way home from work every night at three in the morning. My road home is sparsely lit and full of ominous trees casting shadows on the road. By the time I finally parked on my driveway and pressed pause there were usually goosebumps up my arms, and I was reluctant to walk into my dark home. I admit the raspy voice the narrator makes for the “whispers” he hears really freaked me out.

I really enjoyed the suspense in this book. I listened to it on my way to work as well, and it was hard to stop listening once I arrived. I wouldn’t call it an action-packed book, but it definitely had its thrilling moments, and it had other moments when I found myself wanting to scream at the characters. It was like I was watching a scary movie, I kept saying things like “Don’t do that!” like the characters could somehow hear me.

I liked the different points of views in the story. It worked really well to be able to see the investigation and action develop from the minds of all the characters involved. I especially enjoyed getting into the mind of the killer, it’s always interesting to see what motivates people to commit these kinds of heinous acts.

My favorite character was Jake, the little kid. I felt like his thought process and narrative was so genuine and realistic for a child his age. I also liked how smart and bright he was, he reminded me of my own kid. I recommend this book to all Suspense/ Thriller fans. It was the perfect read to get into the October mood.

Ash Princess

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Author: Laura Sebastian

Published: April 24, 2018

Series: Ash Princess Trilogy, #1

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

ISBN: 1524767069

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Captive animals grow to love their captors all the time, even when they beat them. It’s not surprising that you love one of yours.”

Ash Princess

My review:

Sebastian’s writing is succinct and poetic in nature. I enjoyed how fast paced the story was, and how it dropped you in the middle of the action, not stopping until the bitter cliffhanger ending. Theo was such a strong main character. The whole time she had me questioning whether I would’ve made the same decisions she did if I was in her place, and whether I could ever be strong enough to withstand the things she did. There were a lot of ethical and moral dilemmas presented in this book, and as similar as I found this story to Throne of Glass, I felt like it went a lot deeper into issues of morality and duty than the first Throne of Glass book ever did.

As traitorous as it makes me, I can imagine it. A life where a crown—gold or ash—doesn’t weigh heavy on my head. A life where I’m not responsible for thousands of people who are hungry and weak and beaten every day. A life where I can just be a girl, kissing a boy because she wants to”

Ash Princess

At some point I feared this was going to turn into a Religion heavy story. It’s okay when stories include Gods and Goddesses and different made up religions and religious entities, but I don’t enjoy it when religion takes the main stage. I found it a bit boring and frustrating that many of these characters, including Theo, had powers but they did not use them for fear of not being allowed into the “After” and rejoin their friends and families. In my opinion, Fantasy books which include magic should have people that can USE their powers. I’m hoping this changes in the future books. There was also some “insta-love” which is always annoying.

Why would the gods allow us to suffer like we have for the last decade? Why wouldn’t they have struck the Kalovaxians down as soon as they set foot on Astrean soil? Why didn’t they protect us?”

Ash Princess

Now, I know it seems like I have a lot more dislikes than I do likes, so how can I give this book four stars? The negative aspects were mildly inconvenient, but they did not make the whole story for me. Also, this has been one of the only Fantasy books that has made me tear up since the ending of Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. I really liked Theo, and I connected with her and her struggle. I’ve now moved on to the second book in this series, Lady Smoke, and I’m enjoying that as well. I have been trying to catch up with this series for a while, and I’m glad I’m finally reading it. I recommend this series to all Fantasy fans.