BOOK REVIEW: Ice Like Fire – by Sara Raasch

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Title: Ice Like Fire
(Snow Like Ashes #2)
Author: Sara Raasch
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: October 13th 2015
Finished reading: April 4th 2016
Pages: 479
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“Magic is all about choice. Choosing to use it, choosing to surrender to it, choosing to take it from the chasm – choosing to let it break in defense of a kingdom. The most powerful magic of all is choice, and of that power, the strongest choice anyone can make is an act of sacrifice.”

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I remember feeling a bit hesitant to pick up Snow Like Ashes earlier this year, but I ended up really enjoying it despite the love triangle. The worldbuilding of this series is more than excellent and I have been wanting to read the sequel ever since to find out what happens next. Did I have too high expectations of Ice Like Fire? Maybe. But what I can honestly say is that the sequel isn’t nearly as good as Snow Like Ashes. This seems to be yet another series suffering uffering from the weak-second-book syndrom… It has a slow pace, a love triangle and main character (Meira) that are both terribly annoying and I don’t really like the new plot either… It all feels a bit chaotic, unnatural and not really believable. While I liked Meira in the first book, in Ice Like Fire she seems to have lost her charm and she really started to bother me. I don’t particularly like her new ‘mission’ either and the many plot twists didn’t make a lot of sense other than being able to confuse you even further. Sure, the worldbuilding is interesting and probably still the best part of this sequel, but I’m not sure what to make of the rest of the story. Do I still want to read the third book? Probably yes, but I do hope things will improve drastically in Frost Like Night.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book yet. I’ll keep the summary short but it’s almost impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Meira had to ask for the help of Cordell in order to free her Winterians and she is about to realize the full extent of this decision. Sure, it has been three months since the Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared, but she is not sure Winter is actually safer for it… She just wants her people to be safe, but it looks like Cordell isn’t going to ease its pressure until her debt is fully paid for. The still weak Winterians are forced to dig their mines for payment, but that is not the only thing they are looking for… As Cordell wants them to try to find Primoria’s lost chasm of magic as well. Theron sees the chasm as an opportunity to finally stand against threats like Angra, but Meira fears this much power would be dangerous. The last time the world has access to that much magic, it spawned the Decay… And while Theron wants to find a way to open the chasm, Meira secretly wants to gather support to keep the chasm shut. They all seem to be fighting for different reasons; what consequences will their actions have?

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In a way I wish Snow Like Ashes would have been a stand-alone and I would never read the sequel, because it kind of spoiled the series for me. While I really enjoyed the first book and even tolerated the love triangle (which is a miracle on its own), I can’t say I particularly liked Ice Like Fire. The ‘new’ plot is mostly chaotic and doesn’t make a lot of sense after one too many plot twist, the love triangle becomes more important than ever (and thus annoying) and I didn’t like how the main characters behaved either. The worldbuilding is still good and I liked the descriptions of the different Primoria kingdoms, but unfortunately the rest of it just didn’t convince me.

Teaser Tuesdays #88 – April 5th: Ice Like Fire

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Books And A Beat. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I started reading Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch last week, and while I ended up enjoying the first book quite a lot despite the love triangle, I can’t say the same for the sequel. The love triangle is really starting to get on my nerves and the pace is a bit slow as well… Hopefully things improve later on, but for now I’m not convinced by either Meira or her new quest.

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My teaser (45%):

“Uncertainty gnaws at me, my ever-present worry growing in a new direction, and I look at the magically covered pit again. No heat anymore, like it never existed. Only the lever in the wine cask sits as a hint of the pit’s existence.”

What are you reading right now?

WWW Wednesdays #84 – March 30th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I started both my current reads yesterday evening, so there’s not much to say about them other than that I have been looking forward to read both. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley has been recommended to me numerous times, so hopefully it’s just as good as I have been told. And I have been looking forward to pick up Ice Like Fire ever since I finished the first book; I love the worldbuilding of this series!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* After quite a few disappointing reads I decided to pick up one of my guilty pleasure books: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. Although I normally don’t like vampire stories, this series has turned out to be an exception. I loved the True Blood TV series and this first book is just as entertaining.
* Another book I really enjoyed was The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell. It can read a bit slow at points, but I loved reading about all those amazing-sounding bookshops all over the world. It really made me wish I could open my own bookshop one day…
* I read Apple And Rain by Sarah Crossan as well. After enjoying One earlier this month I was looking forward to read more of her work, but unfortunately this one wasn’t as good. I liked the poetry bits, but the story itself was not that interesting.
* The last book I finished was Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia. I read and enjoyed the first book last year, but the sequel didn’t really manage to convince me. It’s quite a fast read and still entertaining, but the introduction of a love triangle or two and Lena acting the way she does didn’t exactly make me enjoy it as much as the first book.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have been saying I want to read Random by Tom Leveen for weeks, so I should just pick it up soon… But I might just give in and read A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab next (and the sequel A Gathering Of Shadows). If I’m not in the mood for fantasy, I have Stolen by Lucy Christopher on my list as well. I’ve heard great things about it, so I’m looking forward to finally pick it up. My new TBR jar pick is The Conspiracy Of Us by Maggie Hall.

WWW Wednesdays #83 – March 23rd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I needed something light and entertaining after a few disappointing reads and I decided to give in to my guilty pleasure. I loved watching the first seasons of True Blood a few years ago, and I finally found the time to pick up the first book in the series the show was based on: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. So far it’s definitely working; I’m flying through this book! I’ve also started The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell yesterday evening, but it’s too early to tell what to feel about this book about books.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* It took me literally ages to finish Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard, and that wasn’t a good thing at all. My Red Queen reread left me liking the first book slightly less (mostly because Mare), but I still really enjoyed it. The sequel was a different matter. Glass Sword is pretty slow, Mare is really annoying and the whole plot is basically a repeat sequence of the following: Mare blindly trusts someone –> Person betrays Mare –> Mare is in deep trouble –> somehow she manages to not get killed. More complaints in my full review…
* The other book I managed to finish is Disclaimer by Renée Knight. Unfortunately yet another title I didn’t enjoy… March has been pretty unlucky so far! I couldn’t connect to the characters and the plot is a bit of a chaos and not exactly believable.
* The last is actually a DNF (probably my first DNF ever!): The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney. It was really hard to make the final decision to just stop reading this book and I still feel a bit guilty, but the thought of having to waste more time reading this story was even worse. DNF at 42%; bye bye annoying characters, unnatural and forced prose, character development and unbelievable plot!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably pick up Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch as soon as I’m in the mood to read fantasy again… If not, I might read Random by Tom Leveen or Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard first depending of which genre I’m in the mood for. My new TBR jar pick is still Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl… I’ve also been wanting to start a new fantasy series; feel free to vote on my poll to help me decide which one to start next. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays #82 – March 16th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I finally picked up my last TBR jar pick The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney a few days ago, but I am not exactly enjoying it so far. The story is pretty bad and I don’t like the prose or the main character for that matter. The way the story is told feels really unnatural and forced… So I decided to put it on hold and continue my Red Queen marathon first. I finished the first book last night, so I’m about to dive into Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard as soon as I can find some free time.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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I ‘only’ finished three titles since last week week, with one of them being a quick reread… Why? We were invited to a wedding party last weekend! 😀 A lot of fun, but it did take away a lot of my reading time.
* The first title I finished was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. It turned out to be a really interesting read and I loved the Amsterdam setting and its many descriptions! Not perfect, but without doubt recommendable.
* I then finished Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover; a book a really wanted to love, but unfortunately I didn’t. I really didn’t like the main characters or their actions and some of the prose really annoyed me… That doesn’t take away that I still think Colleen Hoover is a genius though.
* The last book is a reread I’m not going to review again, because I already wrote one last year: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Just as enjoyable the second time around and I’m glad I did the reread, because I had forgotten a lot of details that will help me enjoy the sequel a lot better.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably pick up Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch as soon as I finish Glass Sword… I’m trying to read/finish as many series as possible this year, and since the third book is recently coming out in September I’m counting this one as well. I might read Random by Tom Leveen or The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell first depending of which genre I’m in the mood for though…  And I have a new TBR jar pick: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I read the first book of the series last year and really enjoyed it, but somehow I never continued the series until now. I guess my renewed TBR jar thought it was about time. 😉

WWW Wednesdays #81 – March 9th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m normally not a romance fan, but ever since reading and loving November 9 I have been wanting to pick up another Colleen Hoover book. It was between Ugly Love and Maybe Someday, but the first one won… I’m still not that far into the story yet, but hopefully I’ll find time to continue soon. I’m also still reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton; I really like it so far, but I haven’t been in the mood for historical fiction lately and I don’t want to rush it. Fingers crossed I’ll feel like reading historical fiction again soon!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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A lot of finished reads this week, but most of these are short and easy reads…
* The first novella I finished was Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell, a Star Wars-themed story she wrote for World Book Day and very entertaining!
* I then read both Red Queen novellas Queen Song and Steel Scars by Victoria Aveyard. I can’t say I was impressed… The second was slightly better than the first, but I don’t think they are actually worth reading.
* I then read One by Sarah Crossan, which turned out to be a superfast and interesting read. The prose reads almost like poetry and the story itself is intriguing.
* I decided to continue with Eve by Iris Johansen afterwards because I didn’t want to bring my kindle with me during my trip… I kind of wish I brought another book instead because it was almost a torture to have to read this story. I will have to work on my DNF skills…
* The last book I finished was a lot better: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. I already knew I liked her writing style after reading Why Not Me? and this one is without doubt entertaining as well (although a bit slow at points).

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to finish my Red Queen series read and both reread Red Queen and read Glass Sword… Although I might pick up Random by Tom Leveen first depending of which genre I’m in the mood for. I have also been wanting to read Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch since I really enjoyed the first book; The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my latest TBR jar pick.

BOOK REVIEW: Snow Like Ashes – by Sara Raasch

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Title: Snow Like Ashes
(Snow Like Ashes #1)
Author: Sara Raasch
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: October 14th 2014
Finished reading: February 4th 2016
Pages: 416
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“That’s why literature is so fascinating. It’s always up for interpretation, and could be a hundred different things to a hundred different people. It’s never the same thing twice.”

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I have been wanting to start this series ever since I first saw the gorgeous cover and read the blurb, but somehow I was afraid to actually pick it up. There has been quite a hype around Snow Like Ashes and I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews, but luckily I ended up enjoying it better than I thought I would. First of all, the worldbuilding is more than excellent and it really made me wish I could visit the fictional world myself. Sara Raasch created a magical world of different seasons where Winter is trying to get their kingdom back by defeating powerful Spring. I liked the characters in general, especially Meira, and I really enjoyed seeing her character develop along with the story. I experienced a minor setback about a third into the story when a love triangle was introduced, but luckily Snow Like Ashes didn’t turn out to be one of those YA fantasy series where the sappy romance scenes are the main focus. It is actually the exact opposite: the story follows the last Winterians in their struggle to survive, protect the King and win back their kingdom… A lot of action, a lot of suffering and a very interesting story to read. It might not be my all time favorite YA fantasy series, but that doesn’t take away that I’m really looking forward to read the sequel.

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Only a handful Winterians are left to try and win back their Kingdom of Winter. Sixteen years ago their kingdom was conquered by Spring and most citizens enslaved, but the future King, baby Meira and their companions managed to escape. They have been training all their lives to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild Winter, but things are not easy. Without their magic it is hard to fight against the powerful Spring kingdom, and there are only a few Winterians left… Meira is determined to help the cause, but Winterians’ general Sir doesn’t want to risk her life. Her best friend, future king and the boy she is hopelessly in love with, Mather, helps Meira convince Sir to let her go on a mission, and things get more complicated from there… And soon they are forced to enter the world of dangerous and treacherous politics to help their cause. Will they succeed?

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I was a bit hesitant to read Snow Like Ashes after all those mixed reviews, but I ended up enjoying it a lot better than I thought I would. The story does have a love triangle which is a minor setback, but fortunately it doesn’t play too big of a role in the novel. I loved the worldbuilding and Meira is a great character; I will definitely try to read the sequel Ice Like Fire soon to see how the story continues.

WWW Wednesdays #77 – February 10th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m still not that far into Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, but I plan to change that today. Hopefully I will like it as much as everyone that has recommended this novel to me! I’m also still decided whether to DNF Eve by Iris Johansen or not. I have put it on hold for now, but the combination of a misleading blurb (it was supposed to be the first in a trilogy, but ended up being book number twelve in a series, so a lot of background is missing) and sexual attraction/romance scenes that make me cringe really make me not want to continue reading it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, a book I ended up enjoying despite my initial reservations about the love triangle. I loved the worldbuilding, plot and action and will be picking up the sequel soon.
* I then picked up Never Never Part Three by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher to finally find out how the story ends, and I ended up being VERY disappointed with how they decided to conclude the story.
* I was actually going to DNF the last read, Death Of Secrets by Bowen Greenwood and in a way I wish I did, because it really was a bad read. Lousy characters, chaotic plot and I didn’t like the prose either… I just couldn’t concentrate on the story even though the general idea of the story does have potential.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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As soon as I finish Me Before You, I will pick up All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I was actually planning on picking it up during the weekend but I didn’t have a lot of time to read… I also want to make a start with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon so I can finally begin with this series I have been wanting to read for ages. And I want to give Gillian Flynn another go and read her other novel Sharp Objects as well. My latest TBR jar pick is still Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.

WWW Wednesdays #76 – February 3rd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m close to finishing Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch… It took me long enough! I still love the worldbuilding and the story is quite interesting, although I’m not completely blown away by it either. I also picked up my copy of Eve by Iris Johansen during my days away camping, but I don’t really like it so far. The case sounds interesting, but I feel I miss a lot of background information and the whole sexual attraction/romance scenes are cringe worthy. Fingers crossed things will improve later on!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Only one book finished this week: Confessions by Kanae Minato. It took me a little while to get used to the writing style, but as soon as I started reading the second confession (chapter), I was hooked. A very dark, disturbing but intriguing read!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I finally have a copy of All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, so I’m planning to pick it up soon. I might read Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas first though, since I really loved the first book in the series… And I want to give Gillian Flynn another go and read her other novel Sharp Objects as well. My latest TBR jar pick is still Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.