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From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #1)

[A quick note: I’m a hardcover snob. I admit it. I didn’t realize this series came in hardcover till a bookish friend told me they could be purchased through B&N. While it was a little pricy it was so wroth it. I sprayed the edges myself. Yes, my friends. I officially learned how to spray edges this weekend. My hubby taught me. Cue the music...a whole new world...So these edges are red, and the second book edges are yellow. And they look gorgeous together. I’ll do more photos in the future that showcase their edges. You can’t really see the red in this picture unless you squint and look at the top of the book.]

“𝐅𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐦𝐞. 𝐈𝐭 𝐞𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐚 𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐫 𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐜𝐨𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞.” ― Jennifer L. Armentrout

Poppy’s life has never been her own. Chosen from birth, she is the Maiden. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Forever caged. Her life is solitary, spent counting the days until her Ascension. But everything changes when Poppy is attacked. Her life is in danger. Enter Hawke. Poppy’s newest body guard. He challenges her, makes her question everything she’s ever known and believed, inciting desire and need. He might just be the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Or the worst.

I completely understand the hype around this book. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It has taken every ounce of self control I possess to keep from diving straight into the second book. While it started off a little slow for my tastes, the story completely sucked me in to Poppy’s struggle. By the half way mark, I couldn’t set it down, couldn’t stop thinking about it. Poppy was a relatable character on so many levels. And her relationship with Hawke was so delectable. Their banter. I’m a sucker for good love interest banter and JLA completely NAILED it. JLA’s writing is detailed and thorough, her world building was intriguing, and her story telling compelling.

I loved Poppy’s character. She was dealt a shitty hand from birth, forced into a life that was never her choosing. Kept in the dark. Never given answers. Bullied. Treated poorly. This made her a relatable character on so many levels. Yet, despite everything, she had so many strengths. A true fighter through and through. I loved that Hawke helped bring that side of her out.

The story premise is interesting. At first, readers aren’t given very much information as far as how the political structure works. But as the story evolves, questions are answered in a satisfying way. I wasn’t expecting supernatural type vibes from this book. Not at all. Pleasantly surprised there. Like vampire/werewolf meets fantasy. Definitely liked that. And the fall of the old kingdom vs the rise of the new kingdom thing setting the historical background for the story isn’t new for storytelling, but JLA made the idea her own, and it works really well.

The romance factor is HIGH. I freaking love fantasy when romance takes center stage. I like my fantasy books to be half romance and this delivers. The sex scenes were oh-so-satisfying. Steamy. And very well done.

My only gripes are that the story does start a little slow in the beginning. It’s a little repetitive in a few places, and a little wordy here and there. But none of this took away from my overall enjoyment. It was just that damn good! Like I said, I cannot stop thinking about it. My fingers are itching to grab the next book. I’m officially on the hype train! 𝗠𝗬 𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚: 𝟰.𝟱/𝟱⭐️


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