Together We Burn by Isabel Ibanez

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books

Date of publication: May 31st, 2022

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Dragons, Young Adult Fantasy

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see her father fight in their arena, which will one day be hers.

But disaster strikes during their five hundredth anniversary show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s father is horribly injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Zarela must keep the arena—her ancestral home and inheritance —safe from their greedy hands. She has no choice but to take her father’s place as the next Dragonador. When the infuriatingly handsome dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, withholds his help, she refuses to take no for an answer.

But even if he agrees, there’s someone out to ruin the Zalvidar family, and Zarela will have to do whatever it takes in order to prevent the Dragon Guild from taking away her birthright.

An ancient city plagued by dragons. A flamenco dancer determined to save her ancestral home. A dragon hunter refusing to teach her his ways. They don’t want each other, but they need each other, and without him her world will burn.


First Line:

My mother died screaming my name.

Together We Burn by Isabel Ibanez

I had been hearing a lot of hype around the blogoverse about Together We Burn before I got the invite to review it. With everything I had been hearing, I was very interested in reading it. So curious that I went and put it in my To Read pile. So when the publisher sent me the invite, I jumped on it. I am glad I did. This book was a great read!!

Together We Burn had an exciting plotline. Zarela is a flamenco dancer who lost her mother, a famous flamenco dancer when the dragon her father was fighting went rogue and burned everyone in the arena. Disaster strikes again when, during the 500th-anniversary show, another dragon broke free of his bonds and rained carnage on the arena. One of the dragon’s victims was Zarela’s father. He wasn’t killed but was severely injured. That left Zarela to deal with the backlash. Convinced it was sabotage, Zarela starts an investigation. She is also determined to return her family’s arena to its former glory. Her investigation into that day and her quest to bring the arena back are merged when she realizes that the attack was not random. Failing to convince the Dragon Guild that there was foul play behind the attack, Zarela is left with no choice but to fight the dragons herself. But, she only has days to learn. Can Zarela find out who is behind the attacks? Can she save her family’s arena? And more importantly, can Zarela learn to fight dragons and not get killed?

The plotline in Together We Burn moved slowly during the book’s first half. On the one hand, I liked it because it let me learn about Zarela’s background, the background of dragon fighting, and the tragedy of her mother’s death/the arena carnage. But on the other hand, the book started dragging by 40% of the book. But, after Zarela hires Arturo, the book picks up speed. By the end of the book, the plotline was super fast.

What I loved about this book was that the author included a glossary of the different types of dragons and other guilds in Hispalia. I can’t tell you how many times I used that glossary, and I wish every author would do something like that. I found it helpful while reading.

I liked Zarela. Even though she was devastated by what happened to her parents (and remember, it was two different occasions), she rose to the occasion. She was willing to do whatever it took to keep the arena afloat. That included learning how to fight dragons so she could keep her family’s arena. And that meant hiring a dragon hunter/ex-dragon fighter to teach how to survive in the arena. While doing that, she was also investigating what happened at the arena. I found her to be a very well-rounded character who surprised me.

Arturo didn’t become a central character until the middle of the book. He wanted nothing to do with Zarela at first. But, her stubbornness and resolve won him over. He was hard on her, which didn’t surprise me. He needed to teach her the basics of dragon fighting before the event that could save the arena. He also reluctantly became involved with her investigation into the events at the arena. He was instrumental in several key scenes towards the end of the book. The author wiped away doubts about him before the arena scenes at the end of the book.

Several memorable secondary characters breathed life into the book. They added additional depth to the storyline. I will not go into each one, but I enjoyed the flair they each added.

I loved how the author portrayed the dragons. She went from seeing them as ferocious creatures who lived to kill and maim to creatures who were misunderstood and wanted to be left alone. I loved it!!

The storyline with Zarela and the investigation was well written. I didn’t figure out who was behind everything until the author revealed that person. I was completely surprised by who it was and the reasons behind it.

The storyline with Zarela, Arturo, and learning how to fight dragons was interesting. I liked how Zarela convinced Arturo to work with her (the girl is stubborn). But, I also liked how Arturo showed Zarela a different side to dragons. The lessons made me wince, and Arturo was rough on Zarela. But considering she could die, he wasn’t harsh enough. And the twist to that plotline (what Zarela and Arturo figured out and used) was amazing!!

There was a romance angle in Together We Burn, but I was kind of meh about it. I liked that Zarela and Arturo got together but did the author need to discuss it? In my opinion, no.

The fantasy angle in Together We Burn was well written. I liked how the author chose to portray magic (both good and bad) along with dragons. That alone made me want to see more books written in this universe.

The end of Together We Burn was good. There were no twists (other than the dragon fight), and everyone did have their HEAs.

I would recommend Together We Burn to anyone over 16. There are sex and sexual situations (not graphic) and violence.

December 2021 Wrap Up

I know this is late but my kids were on winter vacation and I decided that I was going to unplug for 2 weeks (well 3 because my 16-year-old tested out of her End of Course testing and she was home). Unfortunately, that did carry over to my reading. I read nothing from December 13th to January 3rd. So, I am very behind on NetGalley ARC’s. Not so much with Indie authors, though. I have those all caught up.

I am behind with reviews. As of right now (and counting the book I am reading), I am behind 4 books and they are all NetGalley. My requests from indie authors have slowed down (I have had two all of December). I have also stopped requesting from NetGalley (as I said in my last Wrap-Up) but still accepted 9 books (yikes!!).

I plan on reading my little head off the next few days. It should be easy with the kids in school and my housework done early in the morning (my 8-year-old is in school by 8:10 and I am done cleaning by 9:30). So wish me luck!!

As always, please let me know if you have read any of these books and what you have thought about them!!


Books I got from NetGalley

Summer Nights with a Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

Quantum Girl Theory by Erin Kate Ryan

Lucy Checks In by Dee Ernst

The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill

Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

The Date From Hell by Gwenda Bond

Together We Burn by Isabel Ibanez

The Favor by Nora Murphy

Never Broken by Lori Duffy Foster (This will be in under Books I got from Author’s/Indie Publishers also)


Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers

Never Broken by Lori Duffy Foster (author asked me to review and sent me a NetGalley link)

Shadow Guard by Reily Garrett (book isn’t on Goodreads yet)

Rupture State by M.B. Bartkowski


Books Read and Reviewed

Heard It in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves (review here)

The First Christmas: A Story of New Beginnings by Stephen Mitchell (review here)

Spies Never Swoon by M. Taylor Christensen (review here)

Glory Unbound by Deborah L. King (review here)

Masters’ Promise by Jamie Schulz (review here)

Diary of an Angry Young Man by Rishi Vora (review here)

Golem by P.D. Alleva (review here)

The Secret of the Rai Zamindars: An Aalo & Adhir Mystery by Tanmoy Bhattacharjee (review here)

Liar: Memoir of a Haunting by E.F. Schraeder (review here)

Silent Depths by Reily Garrett (review here)

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale (review here)

Stocking the Shelves—December 25th, 2021

Welcome to the newest meme that I am doing: Stocking the Shelves. Every Saturday, I will be posting what books I got this week. Stocking the Shelves is hosted by Reading Reality. So, here is my list. Let me know if you have read any of these and what you thought!!


From the Author:


NetGalley:

The Date From Hell by Gwenda Bond

In The Date from Hell, the sequel to Not Your Average Hot GuyNew York Times bestselling author Gwenda Bond brings the journey of Callie, Luke, and their friends to a wonderful close. This is another laugh out loud, action packed romantic adventure you won’t want to miss.

After saving the world and stopping the apocalypse, Callie and Luke are looking forward to a quiet, romantic weekend together. When you’re human and dating the Prince of Hell, quiet moments are hard to come by. But their romantic weekend in Hell takes a turn when Lucifer tasks Callie and Luke with chasing a wayward soul around the world. If they can prove it’s possible to redeem a soul, Lucifer will allow the two of them to make some changes in Hell.

But this wayward soul, Sean, doesn’t have any interest in being redeemed. Instead, now that he’s back on Earth, he’s decided to take a leaf out of Callie and Luke’s book and wants to find the Holy Grail. Now Callie, Luke, and their friends—and enemies—must race Sean around the globe on a Grail quest and bring peace between Heaven and Hell before they can finally (maybe) get around to that date.

I can’t wait to read this book!!!! I have read Not Your Average Hot Guy earlier this year and it was one of my favorite books. Can’t wait to see where this book is going to go with the characters!!!

Together We Burn by Isabel Ibanez

Book Cover
An ancient city plagued by dragons. A flamenco dancer determined to save her ancestral home. A dragon hunter refusing to teach her his ways. They don’t want each other, but they need each other, and without him her world will burn.

Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see him fight in their arena, which will one day be hers.

But disaster strikes during their five hundredth anniversary show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s father is horribly injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Zarela must keep the arena—her ancestral home and inheritance —safe from their greedy hands. She has no choice but to take her father’s place as the next Dragonador. When the infuriatingly handsome dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, withholds his help, she refuses to take no for an answer.

But even if he agrees, there’s someone out to ruin the Zalvidar family, and Zarela will have to do whatever it takes in order to prevent the Dragon Guild from taking away her birthright.

I have been waiting for weeks for St. Martin’s Press to approve my request and they finally did on Monday. I cannot wait to read this book. The cover caught my attention (it is absolutely beautiful) and the blurb sounds fantastic!!!

The Favor by Nora Murphy

Book Cover
Staying is dangerous. Leaving could be worse.

Leah and McKenna have never met, though they have parallel lives.

They don’t—ever—find themselves in the same train carriage or meet accidentally at the gym or the coffee shop. They don’t—ever—discuss their problems and find common ground. They don’t—ever—acknowledge to each other that although their lives have all the trappings of success, wealth and happiness, they are, in fact, trapped.

Because Leah understands that what’s inside a home can be more dangerous than what’s outside. Driving past McKenna’s house one night, she sees what she knows only too well herself from her own marriage: McKenna’s “perfect” husband is not what he seems. She decides to keep an eye out for McKenna, until one night, she intervenes.

Leah and McKenna have never met. But they will.

I kept seeing The Favor floating around on TBR posts and decided that I needed to read it. I requested it on NetGalley and then forgot about it. Well, I did get approved on Tuesday and I was super excited!!! This book reminds me of The Woman in The Window!!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Nature on the Cover

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

She assigns each Tuesday a topic and then posts her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


I was happy that today’s TTT prompt was pretty easy. There are hundreds of books that have nature themes on their covers. I decided that I was going to use my library TBR and my NetGalley TBR for this prompt. If I don’t have enough on those, then onto my regular TBR!!

For nature covers, what do you like? Beaches? Woods? Flowers? Lakes? Let me know!!

So, here are my choices!! Enjoy


1. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

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2. Her Renegade Cowboy by Lora Leigh

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3. All Night Long with a Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

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4. Princess Charming by Nicole Jordan

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5. Frangipani by Celestine Hitiura Vaite

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6. The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

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7. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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8. One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

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9. Every Sky a Grave by Jay Posey

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10. Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez

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