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Ari Bookzilla

A serial reader.

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Unmasking the Spy
Janet Kent
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Iris Blaire
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Ashes and Ice (Ashes and Ice, #1) - Rochelle Maya Callen This book is actually pretty hard to review. Not because I struggle with what to say about it, but because I don't want to give anything away.Lets start off with... it will leave you hanging. It's not exactly a cliffhanger, yet nothing is really resolved. For some weird reason, I wasn't outraged that it ended like that. I'm super excited to see what happens next, and now I'm (not so patiently) waiting for the next book.The ice chases me, clutches me, and bites at my heels, sending shivers up my spine. The ice wants me back, but I run forward, toward the lights, toward the heat, toward a world that burns me, because I have no other choice.I really liked Jade. She has a wonderful duality about her nature. Confident, but shy. Feisty, but calm. Audacious, but scared. Evil, but she so wants to be good and it's at moments when she is good that she shines. I just don't know how the author pulled it off without making it look like she's all over the place. Ah, but therein lies the beauty of this book. You don't think much of it, but it's important.I liked that she is a proactive heroine - instead of waiting for things to happen, she boldly seeks out the truth, even if she knows that she may not like what she finds.His heartbeat is the most beautiful sound in the world.And the way she was with Connor, I was just... moved. It's her most wonderful traits that come out when she's around him - the way she sees him as so much more than he thinks of himself, the way she recognizes that he's just as broken and she's there for him even if she can't do much.If I was destined to be the invisible by-product of social deprivation, I guess I am bad-ass at it.But it's Connor that made this book for me. TBH, he stole every scene he was in. He's not your typical YA hero - he's not the jock, not the golden boy, not the popular kid that's good at everything.He is such a beautiful character, and I felt for him so much - his grief and loneliness was killing me. He has a peculiar sense of humor (although a bit dark, but I really enjoyed it) and says the most awesome things like:I tried Axe, but it was nothing like the commercial. If anything, on me, it acted more as a repellent against any female contact.I liked that he didn't dwell on just how much of an outcast he is because there are bigger things in life. I liked that he had a lot of common sense and the way the author dealt with the aftermath of... Jade showing her true nature, because it was realistic. And I liked that when he realized he needs to fight, he fought with everything he has.These two were so great together. I mean, the book is pretty low on the romantic even if love played a big part in the book. First, it's not insta-love. They are both intrigued by each other, but their relationship develops slowly and it's not all about the physical attraction. They both see something the other needs in each other.So, Rochelle Maya Callen blew me away with her prose. It's beautiful, at times almost poetic (I sort of want to quote everything, lol), and the book is very engaging and I couldn't put it down. I wrote in my status updates that it's "very readable" but that's a huge understatement. I breezed through it, and couldn't turn the pages fast enough. There is a bit of a lull somewhere halfway through. I welcomed it because I needed it.Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posies. Ashes, ashes. We all fall down.It also got very creepy quite a few times throughout. I was reading it late last night and I started getting all twitchy because of it. The girls, the voices, Jade's memories.It's a sneaky book, you have no idea what's going on - but the thing is, neither do the characters! That's why it's so awesome.But there are clues! There are a lot of clues and in the end I thought How did I not see that? How?I was constantly trying to think up of theories - she's a vampire, she's a beast of some sort, and for one dreadful moment, I even thought she was a zombie. My theories got ridiculous at some point, and the ridiculousness hit its all time high when I thought she's a bloodsucking angel (sidenote: I'd read that! Someone write it!)I won't tell you what she is. It's fun finding it out for yourself.Don't worry, the author's timing is impeccable. Just as I was about to start skimming because I couldn't wait anymore, things start unraveling.The character development in this was really great. I mean, you can literally see the change the characters go through as it's happening. I loved it so much.However, there were things that bothered me, and that's why this is a 4.5 read, rather than a full five star.One, Jade and school. Didn't anyone wonder where she comes from all of a sudden? Seriously, no one even questions this underage runaway - they let her go to school just like that. Wouldn't she have to transfer? Something. I don't know, it just didn't seem thought through.Then, there's a certain character (that I will refer to as TC) who I had suspicions about that turned out to be true. Now, the thing is, while I did figure it out, it wasn't because of the clues given. TC is like "remember when I" and... I didn't remember. I had to go back and find it to see that she's actually shown us this thing TC is talking about.And then the whole mystery that is Jade. While I essentially understood what she is and what was going on - I just felt it was rushed and just... not enough. I needed a bit more.I did like the twist in the epilogue, very much.Oh, for those wondering, this is a clean read. There's kissing, and some fumbling, but that's it. I must say I was a bit annoyed that the kiss didn't happen sooner. But it worked, I guess.So, I think I said everything I wanted to say. I highly recommend this book, I really enjoyed it. It's full of mystery and it has a creepy quality to it that clings to you, and a sense of dread of what's to come because you know it can't be good. I can't wait for the second book. Hurry up, Rochelle Maya Callen!I am proud to be a guest reviewer at ❤ Coffee, Books & Lipgloss Book Review Blog ❤!