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RE-READ BLOG TOUR: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

RE-READ BLOG TOUR: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

And here we are-onto book two of the Ember Re-Read Campaign! I will begrudgingly admit that book one still owns my heart completely, but book two was just the punch to the gut I needed. After all, I do seek peril quite frequently! 😉 And Sabaa never fails to deliver! Below you will find my favorite quotes (yes, again, sorry not sorry), my favorite moments so far (though, it's so hard to put them ALL!), what I hope will happen in book three, and our bookstagram picture and link for this amazing novel! I hope you enjoy my zany takes on what I believe to be one of the best series in the world!

RE-READ BLOG TOUR: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa TahirA Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2)
by Sabaa Tahir
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis:

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

Favorite Moments in the series so far:

Elias and Helene friendship (1)

When Elias saved Helene in the trials-this moment of loyalty and friendship nearly undid me (1)

When Elias first sees Laia (1)

When Elias sneaks away to make sure Laia and her friend are safe (1)

When Elias shows how vulnerable he is, when Laia is in his room (1)

How Elias admits he can’t keep his eyes off Laia, even though he shouldn’t (2)

When Elias and Laia make funny faces at one another-it made my heart soar, so cute (and, admittedly, light-hearted)!

THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE FOR YOU KNOW WHO (2, end)

What I Hope Will Happen in Book Three:

Elias will find a path that allows him easy access between…well…View Spoiler »

ELIAS AND LAIA WILL FIND SOME TIME ALONE TOGETHER COME ON NOW

Laia will grasp just how weighty Elias’s heroic act was-that it won’t be glossed over, because it’s important

Helene will find a way to follow her moral code, but also do what’s right (this is ambiguous, I realize)

Elias and Helene will get a moment (not romantically, but as friends, as comrades, perhaps)

Elias won’t have to sacrifice everything

Laia and her brother will accomplish something great

MARCUS WILL GET WHAT’S COMING TO HIM

I realize these are super generic sounding/vague, but I just want all my cinnamon rolls to be happy, OKAY?! And I don’t want my favorites to die! It’s just so simple, Sabaa, be KIND!

Purchase Links:

An Ember in the Ashes

Amazon I iTunes I Book Depository

A Torch Against the Night

Amazon I iTunes I Book Depository

A Reaper at the Gates

Amazon I iTunes I Book Depository

Bookstagram picture (Find us here):

My favorite quotes (or, at least, a small fraction of them):

“Laia. The Scholar girl. Another ember waiting to burn the world down,” she says. “Will you hurt her, too?”
“Never.”

(my heart, oh my ghad, my hearttt^^)

…“We should talk about it.”
Oh skies. “Talk about what?”
“Whatever it is that’s bothering you. I can take a guess, but it might be better if you tell me.”
“You want to talk now? After weeks of not even looking at me?”
“I look at you.” His response is swift, his voice low. “Even when I shouldn’t.”

“She told me I hurt people,” I blurt out as we huddle together. “I let them get hurt.”
“Who told you that?”
“I’m going to hurt you,” I say. “I hurt everyone.”

Right now, all I want is for that loneliness to fade-even if it’s for a moment. So I do what Darin used to when he wanted to cheer me up, and I make an absurd face.
Elias stares at me in surprise before cracking a grin that lights him up-and then he makes a ridiculous face of his own.

“What about Elias? You’re always staring at him.”
“I am not-“
“Not that I blame you,” Afya continues as if I haven’t spoken, casting an appraising eye back at Elias. “Those cheekbones-skies.” My skin prickles, and I cross my arms, frowning.
“Ah.” Afya flashes her wolfish smile. “Possessive, are we?”

“Your emotions make you human,” Elias says. “Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose. Don’t lock them away. If you ignore them, they just get louder and angrier.”

Let him think he’s cowed me. Let him think he’s won. Soon, he’ll realize his mistake: He vowed to play fair. 
But I didn’t. -Helene

Laia is curled in a ball on the other, one hand on her armlet, fast asleep.
“You are my temple,” I murmur as I kneel beside her. “You are my priest. You are my prayer. You are my release.” Grandfather would scowl at me for sullying his beloved mantra so. But I think I prefer it this way.

 

And I could go on like that for days…

 

 

A little about our amazing, EVIL favorite author:

Sabaa Tahir is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of An Ember in the Ashes and its sequel, A Torch Against the Night. She grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s eighteen-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash, and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks, and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

 

FacebookTwitter I Instragram I Goodreads

And follow the tour HERE!

 
AN EMBER IN THE ASHES
 

WEEK ONE

April 30 – PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture

May 1 – My Friends are Fiction – Review

May 2 – YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures

May 3 – Star-crossed Book Blog – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

May 4 – ButterMyBooks – Review

May 5 – Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture

 

WEEK TWO

May 7 – PaperTrailYa – Reasons to Start Reading The Series

May 8 – The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram

May 9 – A Perfection Called Books – Reasons to Start Reading The Series

May 10 – ABibliophilesbkm – Creative Instagram Picture + Observations Blog Post

May 11 – The Young Folks – Reasons to start reading the series with GIFS

May 12 – @DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture

 
A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT
 

WEEK ONE

May 14 – PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture

May 15 – My Friends are Fiction – Review

May 16 – YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures

May 17 – Star-crossed Book Blog – Favorite Moments In The Series + Hopes For Book 3

May 18 – ButterMyBooks – Helene Aesthetic

May 19 – Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture

 

WEEK TWO

May 21 – PaperTrailYa – Theories About Book Three

May 22 – The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram

May 23 – A Perfection Called Books – Helene Appreciation Post 

May 24 – ABibliophilesbkm – The character’s choices, consequences, and expectations

May 25 – The Young Folks – Favorite Moments

May 26 – @DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture

 

WEEK THREE

May 28 – Fiction Fare – Reasons Why You Should Be Reading The Series

May 29 – Book Is Glee – Creative Instagram Post

May 30 – That’s Normal – Catch Up + Book Three Predictions + Fan Art

May 31 – Bibliophile Gathering – Favorite Moments From Book 2

June 1 – The Fandom – Author Interview  

June 2 – The Eater of Books! – 100 Thoughts I had While Reading Book Two

 

 
 
A REAPER AT THE GATES
 

WEEK ONE

June 4 – PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture

June 5 – My Friends are Fiction – Reasons to Read the Series

June 6 – YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures

June 7 – Star-crossed Book Blog – Elias Appreciation Post 

June 8 – ButterMyBooks – What to do after reading the book

June 9 – Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture

 

WEEK TWO

June 11 – PaperTrailYa – Theories About Book Three

June 12 – The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram

June 13 – A Perfection Called Books – How our lives will never be the same

June 14 – ABibliophilesbkm – Creative Instagram Post + Character’s Playlist

June 15 – The Young Folks – What to read after you’ve finished REAPER AT THE GATES

June 16 – @DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture

 

WEEK THREE

June 18 – Fiction Fare – Books To Tide You Over While You Wait For The Next Book

June 19 – Book Is Glee – Creative Instagram Post

June 20 – That’s Normal – Review + What To Read Next

June 21 – Bibliophile Gathering –  Favorite Character Appreciation Post

June 22 – The Fandom – Top 5 Most Important Moments in the series so far

June 23 – The Eater of Books! – Top Ten Reasons to Stan Laia

BLOG TOUR+REVIEW: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir

BLOG TOUR+REVIEW: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir

The Ember Quartet is one of my absolute favorite series of all time-with strong characters (I think I was a goner the moment I met Elias), an addicting and brutal story line, and an emotional force so strong you can hardly breathe, it's no wonder that the world goes crazy when Sabaa releases each of her installments. There's a sort of frenzy that can't be replicated when the Emberlings get wind that the next release is on the horizon. I am so honored to partner with Penguin Teen during their re-read tour. I have posted my original review [in all it's fangirl glory], explained why you MUST start this series if you haven't already, really emphasized some of my favorite quotes, and did a bookstagram post with the beautiful new paperback editions Penguin Teen blessed me with. Below you can find the rest of the tour, so follow along! I hope everyone finds some enjoyment out of this obsessive Ember testament that shouts my love from a mountain (har har) with each neurotic word, picture, and quote. And, as we all now know-THE WAIT FOR REAPER BEGINS!

BLOG TOUR+REVIEW: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1)
by Sabaa Tahir
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Duty first, unto death.

You can’t see me. I can’t see you. But let me just tell you what I’m doing. I’m silently screaming. I’m cursing myself for not reading this book sooner, because I was nervous. I’m internally fangirling even though I finished this almost 24 hours ago. And most prominently? I am on my knees. I am bowing down to this author. And I am eternally fucking grateful for this absolute masterpiece. If I could, I’d give it a gazillion stars.

Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after.

Epic. Thrilling. Brutal. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t sit still. This story was so gripping, so addicting, so mesmerizing that I was a prisoner held under it’s intoxicating spell. It hooked me with it’s razor sharp claws, bleeding me out like a stuck pig. It clawed all my sanity away until I was a raging lunatic…


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And I didn’t want to be anywhere else but nuzzled up within these extremely deep and painfully appealing pages.

“Please,” I say. “It was a mistake.”
She leans in close, her lips inches from mine, those dead eyes lit, for just a moment with terrifying fury.
“Stupid girl,” she whispers. “Haven’t you learned? I don’t abide mistakes.”


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This review won’t be long. It won’t be coherent. It will obviously be in short, abrupt sentences. Have you ever read a book that was just sooooo perfect that you felt inadequate as you tried to write your review? That’s me. I just…I can’t find the words. I’m so rarely speechless-my reviews border on crazy, because they are so long it feels as if it takes twenty minutes to read them and eternities to write them. But here, now, in this moment where I could put my crazy to good use…I’m coming up blank. And I just Do. Not. Know. What. To. Say.

“You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.”

I am determined, though, to at least say what was so utterly compelling about this story, to me. What made it shoot to an absolute favorite and kept my stomach perpetually churning. For once, the romance wasn’t what made the story for me. I loved it, yes, but it was so much more than that. It was about family and friendship, love and loss, war and betrayal…making decisions that no one at their age should have to. It touched deeply on the subjects no one dare go, yet the author made them so alluring, so mesmerizing, that you just couldn’t look away. There was beauty in it’s depravity, almost like a gorgeously woven spider web, crafted to capture and constrict it’s prey. Even now I am breathless as I reminisce about what happened and what all our main characters had to go through.

Death supplants everything. Friendship, love, loyalty. The good memories I have of these men-of helpless laughter, of bets won and pranks hatched-they are stolen away. All I can remember are the worst things, the darkest things.

And here we are, right at the core of the story where all the addiction comes into play: The characters. You name ‘em, I likely loved ‘em. From the villains to the main leads, I adored them all-but for very different reasons. It’s no secret that I admire the main male lead and his counterpart in almost every book-sue me, I like boys-and even as I was a psycho fangirl for our beautiful Elias, I could actually, for once, see past just him.

Sometimes, I talk to those I’ve killed. In my head, I hear them whisper back-not accusations, but their hopes, their wants. I wish they would curse me instead. It’s worse, somehow, to hear all that would have been had I not killed them.

There was Helene, his best, most cherished friend. Dear God I loved her and their friendship. It struck a chord deep within me and I shipped them so hard. The tears, heartache, and struggle were real. I wouldn’t care if they ended up together-hey, it is what it is-she rocks (Even though I want him with Laia Lalalalala). There was Dex, there was Zak, there was Markus, Cook, Izzi, there were so many more that surrounded our leads and I never disliked any of them-They only added to the story, whereas normally I’m like ‘Shoo! Be gone!’ But not once did I feel this way. All of their turmoil and struggles gripped my heart like a vice, and I was captured in their snare.

Monster, murderer, devil. Dark, vile creature. I hate you. I hate you.

And I’m sorry, I just have to-Elias gave tormented and tortured a whole new name. He was the face of what it feels like to be unloved, cast aside, despised…with only his platoon and his best friend, Helene, beside him. His voice is very powerful, drawing you in immediately, curious to learn more about his story and what has driven him to such misery. I am not going to lie: There is a whole lot of fangirl being held back right now, and it’s really costing me something. But just know-He is perfect. He is loyal. He would do anything for the greater good even as he is facing the most disgusting trials known to man. He is good. He is kind. And he is stuck in a world where he feels he doesn’t belong-he is a leaf in the wind, and all he craves, what he’d sell his very life for, is freedom….freedom of body, mind, and soul. My heart aches for him even now. And I was an absolute mess as I went through each and every new phase with him….I don’t think I could breathe past chapter two when we first meet him.

I’ve never seen her before, because if I had, I’d remember. Despite the heavy silver cuffs and high, painful-looking bun that mark all of Blackcliff’s drudges, nothing about her says slave. Her black dress fits her like a glove, sliding over every curve in a way that makes more than one head turn. Her full lips and fine, straight nose would be the envy of most girls, Scholar or not. I stare at her, realize I’m staring, tell myself to stop staring, and then keep staring. My breath falters, and my body, traitor that it is, tugs me forward until there are only inches between us.


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(I realize I broke the Suicide Squad theme, but come onnnn, how perfect is this??)

And boy oh boy, Elias and Laia are the epitome of Star Crossed Lovers. Whoops…did I reference my blog in comparison to the book? Yeah, well, this is why I read, people. This story, this beautifully constructed forbidden romance…it’s what my favorite books are made of. I will touch lightly on this and then I will move on: THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE, SQUARE, PENTAGON-there is nothing. There is lust. There is attraction. There is curiosity and exploration…but nothing is stronger than a life long friendship forged from cruelty. The main story is about Laia and Elias, and it never once implies otherwise. I wanted to make that clear. And, on top of all that, this story doesn’t center around the romance…but leaves you gasping for more.

“I don’t know what happened to you,” I say. “I don’t know who my father was or why you hate him so much. But I know my death won’t free you. It won’t give you peace. You’re not View Spoiler » Because I’d rather die than become like you. I’d rather die than live with no mercy, no honor, no soul.”

Barbaric, depraved, devastating. Artfully crafted, deserving every bit of the hype, and almost understated in it’s severity. It made me crazy, it stole every bit of spare time I had even when I should have been doing something else, and it’s all I could think about when I wasn’t able to be reading it. I wish for more words to express my utter, undying love for this story, but they aren’t coming to me. I want to say more and I want to leave it as it is. Like I said, it’s making me crazy I can’t say more, but this is where it ends. I loved it. I devoured it. I needed it like oxygen, gulping it in deep, greedy breaths. I need book two….but now I wait. But, for once, it will be worth it. It’s totally worth the wait. Elias…..until we meet again, soldier.


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Why you should read it right now:

The Ember series only gets better and better with each new installment-Sabaa raises the stakes to spine-tingling measures, causing you so much grief you almost burst into tears…only to immediately offer your soul for the next installment (wait, is it only me who has sold her soul and many other body parts for the chance to get her hands on the next copy??) even though you swore your heart just couldn’t take it anymore. With lush, vivid story-telling we are left breathless with the intricate layering of each character’s story arc. Just when we think one character is in the clear, or another begins to look a little murky, Sabaa bursts through that barrier and shows you just how little you actually know about each and every plot twist and character. Think your (MY) boy is safe? EH. WRONG (Actually, I think she has something against my beautiful, loyal, amazing [ahemmmm, moving on], flawed hero). Think Laia is going to do the right thing? EH! Wrong again. Think you know what Helene will do when faced with duty, honor, and loyalty? Nope. No way. So, you see, even though we all would love to think we know what’s about to happen, we’re all basically wrong :P.  And I truly hope that if you haven’t given this series a chance, or even stopped reading it for some reason, that you’ll give it a chance. Words are woven so intricately and seamlessly around every heartbeat, moment, BREATH that there is no way you won’t, at the very least, find solace in this author’s amazingly talented writing. So go forth, have fun…and dive into a world that’s as brutal as it is unputdownable. That is to say-it will steal your soul. Yeah, I said it-sad, but true.

Purchase Links:

An Ember in the Ashes

Amazon I iTunes I Book Depository

A Torch Against the Night

Amazon I iTunes I Book Depository

A Reaper at the Gates

Amazon I iTunes I Book Depository

Bookstagram picture (Find us here):

Amazing quotes that I think put emphasis on Sabaa’s truly impeccable and beautiful writing (ie why I fell in love):

“That day, I thought my world was ending. In a way, I was right. Now it’s time to remake my world. Time to redo my ending. I put my hand to my armlet. This time, I will not falter.”

“Death supplants everything. Friendship, love, loyalty.”

“All the beauty of the stars means nothing when life here on earth is so ugly.”

“Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be.”

“There are two kinds of guilt: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.”

“The field of battle is my temple. The swordpoint is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.”

“I’d rather die than live with no mercy, no honor, no soul.” 

“Fear can be good, Laia. It can keep you alive. But don’t let it control you. Don’t let it sow doubts within you. When the fear takes over, use the only thing more powerful, more indestructible to fight it: your spirit. Your heart.”

“It will get better. You’ll never forget them, not even after years. But one day, you’ll go a whole minute without feeling the pain. Then an hour. A day. That’s all you can ask for, really.”

“Once, I’d have wanted that. I’d have wanted someone to tell me what to do, to fix everything. Once, I’d have wanted to be saved.” 

“The best lies come from the truth.”

“Elias is here, before me, warm and beautiful and broken. He’s a Martial. A Mask. But not here. Not tonight, in this room. Here, now, he is just Elias and I am just Laia, and we are, both of us, drowning.”

Did I mention there are so many more?? I literally have to stop  myself. Luckily I used quite a few in my review 😛

A little about our amazing, EVIL favorite author:

Sabaa Tahir is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of An Ember in the Ashes and its sequel, A Torch Against the Night. She grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s eighteen-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash, and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks, and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

 

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And follow the tour HERE!

 
AN EMBER IN THE ASHES
 
WEEK ONE
April 30 – PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture
May 1 – My Friends are Fiction – Review
May 2 – YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures
May 3 – Star-crossed Book Blog – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
May 4 – ButterMyBooks – Review
May 5 – Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture
 
WEEK TWO
May 7 – PaperTrailYa – Reasons to Start Reading The Series
May 8 – The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram
May 9 – A Perfection Called Books – Reasons to Start Reading The Series
May 10 – ABibliophilesbkm – Creative Instagram Picture + Observations Blog Post
May 11 – The Young Folks – Reasons to start reading the series with GIFS
May 12 – @DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture
 
A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT
 
WEEK ONE
May 14 – PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture
May 15 – My Friends are Fiction – Review
May 16 – YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures
May 17 – Star-crossed Book Blog – Favorite Moments In The Series + Hopes For Book 3
May 18 – ButterMyBooks – Helene Aesthetic
May 19 – Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture
 
WEEK TWO
May 21 – PaperTrailYa – Theories About Book Three
May 22 – The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram
May 23 – A Perfection Called Books – Helene Appreciation Post 
May 24 – ABibliophilesbkm – The character’s choices, consequences, and expectations
May 25 – The Young Folks – Author Interview
May 26 – @DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture
 
WEEK THREE
May 28 – Fiction Fare – Reasons Why You Should Be Reading The Series
May 29 – Book Is Glee – Creative Instagram Post
May 30 – That’s Normal – Catch Up + Book Three Predictions + Fan Art
May 31 – Bibliophile Gathering – Favorite Moments From Book 2
June 1 – The Fandom – Fan Casting
June 2 – The Eater of Books! – 100 Thoughts I had While Reading Book Two
 
 
A REAPER AT THE GATES
 
WEEK ONE
June 4 – PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture
June 5 – My Friends are Fiction – Reasons to Read the Series
June 6 – YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures
June 7 – Star-crossed Book Blog – Elias Appreciation Post 
June 8 – ButterMyBooks – What to do after reading the book
June 9 – Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture
 
WEEK TWO
June 11 – PaperTrailYa – Theories About Book Three
June 12 – The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram
June 13 – A Perfection Called Books – How our lives will never be the same
June 14 – ABibliophilesbkm – Creative Instagram Post + Character’s Playlist
June 15 – The Young Folks – What to read after you’ve finished REAPER AT THE GATES
June 16 – @DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture
 
WEEK THREE
June 18 – Fiction Fare – Books To Tide You Over While You Wait For The Next Book
June 19 – Book Is Glee – Creative Instagram Post
June 20 – That’s Normal – Review + What To Read Next
June 21 – Bibliophile Gathering –  Favorite Character Appreciation Post
June 22 – The Fandom – 5 Most Important Moments in the series so far
June 23 – The Eater of Books! – Top Ten Reasons to Stan Laia

BOOK REVIEW: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

BOOK REVIEW: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa TahirA Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2)
by Sabaa Tahir
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.

…“We should talk about it.”

Oh skies. “Talk about what?”
“Whatever it is that’s bothering you. I can take a guess, but it might be better if you tell me.”
“You want to talk now? After weeks of not even looking at me?”
“I look at you.” His response is swift, his voice low. “Even when I shouldn’t.”

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So…this might be the hardest review I’ll ever have to write. It’s never easy when something lets you down so harshly that you actually want to throw the book across the room. Even harder is when, surrounding those two or three moments that wreck your whole reading experience, everything you could ever ask for is happening. So why the low rating on a series that I never thought I’d ever be able to rate below a 5? Honestly, it’s simple: A couple of my biggest pet peeves happened…and even though I told myself it didn’t bother me afterwards when things were ‘rectified’, days after I find these events still haunt me and were so out of character that I can’t be bothered to give back that fourth star.

“She told me I hurt people,” I blurt out as we huddle together. “I let them get hurt.”
“Who told you that?”
“I’m going to hurt you,” I say. “I hurt everyone.”

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I feel it necessary to say up front that, for those of you who worship-adore-admire-obsess-LOVE Elias, he never ONCE breaks character. He is still the most self-sacrificing, amazing, beautiful, tortured guy that we met in book one, and I truly thought this book was off to an epic start. There wasn’t a moment I didn’t clutch my heart and sigh when he was on the page. Not one single event did I feel disappointed by the boy who wanted more for himself than to be a slave of an empire forged by blood, violence, and brutality. He is still that man, and he honors every vow from book one…and he only has eyes for Laia (SERIOUSLY-I wouldn’t have thought this was huge, but boy was I wrong) even as he longs for the lost friendship of his dear life-long friend, Helene.

Right now, all I want is for that loneliness to fade-even if it’s for a moment. So I do what Darin used to when he wanted to cheer me up, and I make an absurd face.
Elias stares at me in surprise before cracking a grin that lights him up-and then he makes a ridiculous face of his own.

I LOATHE being misled. I do NOT like being led to believe that things are one way and then, in the next instant, we are thrown a totally opposite direction ‘just because’. I don’t buy that. I don’t accept that. I. Don’t. Like. BULLSHIT. So when I am fed complete and utter bullshit that shatters every wonderful thing the story has built up, you might say I get a little angry. In fact, you could say I was fucking furious. My number one pet peeve people…oh boy did it happen. And oh boy did it happen nonchalantly and out of left field.

“What about Elias? You’re always staring at him.”
“I am not-“
“Not that I blame you,” Afya continues as if I haven’t spoken, casting an appraising eye back at Elias. “Those cheekbones-skies.” My skin prickles, and I cross my arms, frowning.
“Ah.” Afya flashes her wolfish smile. “Possessive, are we?”

If any of you wanted to avoid a love triangle-whether this is legitimate in the end is beside the point-then perhaps you should pretend book one was a standalone as it was intended to be and give your heart a break. Not once did I lose faith in my dear Elias or Laia. I mean, for fuck’s sake they were traveling together 24/7 and making damn moony eyes at one another every fucking night. So when my least favorite bastard from book one showed up and ‘swept’ our Laia away with his beautiful mane of red hair *gag-seriously* and dark eyes, I was pretty confident his ass had no chance. *snorts* Yeah. Right.

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I’m not going to give anything away. I feel like that’s wrong and everyone needs to make their own decision. Because, frankly, if Penguin messaged right now and offered me a copy of book three (As they did for two (though this review is ruining any chance for that)) to read immediately, I wouldn’t hesitate. In fact, if I had to BUY book three, I’d do it. I adore Elias and these stories, despite the crow I ate, the bull shit I ingested-They are extremely well written, vivid, imaginative, and without a doubt some of the best story-telling I’ve ever had the opportunity to read. So no, I would NEVER stop reading about my Elias nor would I give up on his journey or his quest to make Laia happy. But it also doesn’t change the fact that I have a right to be upset, hurt, and disappointed by about 5% of this story. It broke my heart and I doubt I’ll ever get past it.

“Your emotions make you human,” Elias says. “Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose. Don’t lock them away. If you ignore them, they just get louder and angrier.”

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Oh fuck it, here is PART of why I’m upset-perhaps THE WHOLE REASON I’m upset….who knows- (view spoiler) And that’s maybe 1/8 of the part and 1/8 of WHY the thing I mentioned is happening and I refuse to tell you the catalyst of my ire. Maybe when the book is released I will, but for now, I am staying mum.

Let him think he’s cowed me. Let him think he’s won. Soon, he’ll realize his mistake: He vowed to play fair.
But I didn’t.

-Helene

So. Yeah. I’m fiercely protective of my BBFs, especially Elias. He holds a special place in my heart that hasn’t ceased since I met him last year. He is just everything I could ever ask for in a book guy. As for the rest of the characters, I really did still like them. I feel as though the lines are blurred at this point, though, because my heart is just still in shreds. I love the violence of Marcus, the cunning (and mercy) of Helene, the heart of Elias, the loyalty of Izzi and Cook, the poisonous personality of the Commandment, the determination of Laia (even though I’ve got my eye on her, now), and the passion of Dex and Farrus (notice I did NOT say Keenan-he was ALWAYS someone I was disinterested in). Nothing changed there. Nothing at all. I still love the beauty behind each character’s struggle and what they go through every day to become who they are. Add the story and you really did have a 4-5 star book.

Laia is curled in a ball on the other, one hand on her armlet, fast asleep.
“You are my temple,” I murmur as I kneel beside her. “You are my priest. You are my prayer. You are my release.” Grandfather would scowl at me for sullying his beloved mantra so. But I think I prefer it this way.

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But add in my personal issues (DAMN IT DAMN IT DAMN IT-right or wrong I give no fucks) and a new, hmm, otherworldly….umm…thing….and it isn’t without its flaws. I never cared about that until paired with those things that bothered me. And Laia’s new ‘ability’. It’s cool, but I don’t know how I feel about it. So, the otherworldly vibe on top of the new ability….it definitely made me a tad incredulous, despite how cool it might have been had I not been a pissy pink elephant.

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I think if I had loved this and my heart hadn’t been broken I’d still keep going. But, as it is, I think I’ll stop. I both loved and hated this book, so I refuse to continue the negativity. See, look:

The first half- 5 stars
The event 1 star
The last 20% (maybe more, I forget when anger happened)-5 stars
Battles-5 stars
Brutality- 5 stars
Violence- 5 stars
ELIAS-1 BILLION STARS

See? SO much love…all tainted with that horrid taste in my mouth. I love desperation. I love torture and brutality and pushing away the person you might love to keep their heart safe, I love dystopian through and through, and this series is all of those things for me. So I am going to suck it up, love the fact that I was chosen to get this book before anyone else, cherish it and squeeze it and snuggle it and remember every amazing moment (with or without Elias (but mostly with)). I may have been disappointed at one point, but it doesn’t take away from all the love and enjoyment and giddiness I experienced throughout. I literally gasped out loud at some plot twists, laughed, cried, and got so angry I wanted to rip the book in half. In the end, I consider that a win…..even with the debacle. And yes, I mentioned that about a million times-that’s how mad I am that it tainted my enjoyment.

“Laia. The Scholar girl. Another ember waiting to burn the world down,” she says. “Will you hurt her, too?”
“Never.”

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Alright so, I don’t know what to say. I am SO conflicted about this story. It didn’t even get close to holding a candle to book one, in my opinion, and while the first 50% was a 5 star, things happened that I find wholly unforgivable. So unforgivable, in fact, that I almost rated this a three. But, as it is-and always will be-I am so in love with Elias I can’t bear to give this a three because of some dumb bitch of an MC (okay I tried to sleep on it but clearly I’m not cooled off). I will always love Laia…but she hit my protective bitch BBF switch in the matter of an instant…and I can’t see past it.

As for the rest of the story-Very dark and without remorse (which I love). And it even was mostly a five. But sometimes things just don’t go as they should and have an adverse effect that isn’t what the author intended. In my particular case, it was revulsion. I don’t like eating crow…and I feel like I had to. So. There’s that.

Not a favorite, but I didn’t hate it either. I loved so many parts of this story, and I will always love Elias..but there are so many things I can’t overlook to make this a 5. Plus-So much traveling. Sigh.

RTC.

************

So…yeah. This just happened.

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My life=Complete.

#DYING.

View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir

Okay, so, this is me doing a re-read before I receive my A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT ARC in the mail...which, as you can imagine, I am SLOWLY DYING INSIDE BECAUSE I AM SO FREAKIN' EXCITED. I hope you all will take a look at the book that made my life complete last year, centering around my wounded and tortured soul, Elias-the soldier who never wanted to be a part of the cruel society he's stuck in.

BOOK REVIEW: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1)
by Sabaa Tahir
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

I WILL TELL YOU THE SAME THING I TELL EVERY SLAVE.

THE RESISTANCE HAS TRIED TO PENETRATE THIS SCHOOL COUNTLESS TIMES. I HAVE DISCOVERED IT EVERY TIME.

IF YOU ARE WORKING WITH THE RESISTANCE, IF YOU CONTACT THEM, IF YOU THINK OF CONTACTING THEM, I WILL KNOW

AND I WILL DESTROY YOU.

Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

  Duty first, unto death.

You can’t see me. I can’t see you. But let me just tell you what I’m doing. I’m silently screaming. I’m cursing myself for not reading this book sooner because I was nervous. I’m internally fangirling even though I finished this almost 24 hours ago. And most prominently? I am on my knees. I am bowing down to this author. And I am eternally fucking grateful for this absolute masterpiece. If I could, I’d give it a gazillion stars.

Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after.

Epic. Thrilling. Brutal. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t sit still. This story was so gripping, so addicting, so mesmerizing that I was a prisoner held under it’s intoxicating spell. It hooked me with it’s razor sharp claws, bleeding me out like a stuck pig. It clawed all my sanity away until I was a raging lunatic…  photo giphy 32_zps0vjezxfs.gif

And I didn’t want to be anywhere else but nuzzled up within these extremely deep and painfully appealing pages.

“Please,” I say. “It was a mistake.” She leans in close, her lips inches from mine, those dead eyes lit, for just a moment with terrifying fury. “Stupid girl,” she whispers. “Haven’t you learned? I don’t abide mistakes.”

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This review won’t be long. It won’t be coherent. It will obviously be in short, abrupt sentences. Have you ever read a book that was just sooooo perfect that you felt inadequate as you tried to write your review? That’s me. I just…I can’t find the words. I’m so rarely speechless-my reviews border on crazy, because they are so long it feels as if it takes twenty minutes to read them and eternities to write them. But here, now, in this moment where I could put my crazy to good use…I’m coming up blank and I just Do. Not. Know. What. To. Say.

“You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.”

I am determined, though, to at least say what was so utterly compelling about this story, to me. What made it shoot to an absolute favorite and kept my stomach perpetually churning. For once, the romance wasn’t what made the story for me. I loved it, yes, but it was so much more than that. It was about family and friendship, love and loss, war and betrayal…making decisions that no one at their age should have to. It touched deeply on the subjects no one dare go, yet the author made them so appealing that you couldn’t look away. There was beauty in it’s depravity, almost like a gorgeously woven spider web, crafted to capture and constrict it’s prey. Even now I am breathless as I reminisce about what happened and what all our main characters had to go through.

Death supplants everything. Friendship, love, loyalty. The good memories I have of these men-of helpless laughter, of bets won and pranks hatched-they are stolen away. All I can remember are the worst things, the darkest things.

And here we are, right at the core of the story where all the addiction comes into play: The characters. You name ‘em, I likely loved ‘em. From the villains to the main leads, I adored them all-but for very different reasons. It’s no secret that I admire the main male lead and his counterpart in almost every book-sue me, I like boys-and even as I was a fucking psycho fangirl for our beautiful Elias, I could actually, for once, see past just him.

Sometimes, I talk to those I’ve killed. In my head, I hear them whisper back-not accusations, but their hopes, their wants. I wish they would curse me instead. It’s worse, somehow, to hear all that would have been had I not killed them.

There was Helene, his best, most cherished friend. Dear God I loved her and their friendship. It struck a chord deep within me and I shipped them so hard. The tears, heartache, and struggle was real. I wouldn’t care if they ended up together-hey, it is what it is-she rocks (Even though I want him with Laia Lalalalala). There was Dex, there was Zak, there was Markus, Cook, Izzi, there were so many more that surrounded our leads and I never disliked any of them-They only added to the story, whereas normally I’m like ‘Shoo! Be gone!’ But not once did I feel this way. All of their turmoil and struggles gripped my heart like a vice, and I was captured in their snare.

Monster, murderer, devil. Dark, vile creature. I hate you. I hate you.

And I’m sorry, I just have to-Elias gave tormented and tortured a new name. He was the face of what it feels like to be unloved, cast aside, despised…with only his platoon and his best friend, Helene, beside him. His voice is very powerful, drawing you in immediately, curious to learn more about his story and what has driven him to such misery. I am not going to lie: There is a whole lot of fangirl being held back right now, and it’s really costing me something. But just know-He is perfect. He is loyal. He would do anything for the greater good even as he is facing the most disgusting trials known to man. He is good. He is kind. And he is stuck in a world where he feels he doesn’t belong-he is a leaf in the wind, and all he craves, what he’d sell his very life for, is freedom….freedom of body, mind, and soul. My heart aches for him even now. And I was an absolute mess as I went through each and every new phase with him….I don’t think I could breathe past chapter two when we first meet him.

I’ve never seen her before, because if I had, I’d remember. Despite the heavy silver cuffs and high, painful-looking bun that mark all of Blackcliff’s drudges, nothing about her says slave. Her black dress fits her like a glove, sliding over every curve in a way that makes more than one head turn. Her full lips and fine, straight nose would be the envy of most girls, Scholar or not. I stare at her, realize I’m staring, tell myself to stop staring, and then keep staring. My breath falters, and my body, traitor that it is, tugs me forward until there are only inches between us.

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(I realize I broke the Suicide Squad theme, but come onnnn, how perfect is this??)

And boy oh boy, Elias and Laia are the epitome of Star Crossed Lovers. Whoops…did I reference my blog in comparison to the book? Yeah, well, this is why I read, people. This story, this beautifully constructed forbidden romance, it’s what my favorite books are made of. I will touch lightly on this and then I will move on: THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE, SQUARE, PENTAGON-there is nothing. There is lust. There is attraction. There is curiosity and exploration…but nothing is stronger than a life long friendship forged from cruelty. The main story is about Laia and Elias, and it never once implies otherwise. I wanted to make that clear. And, on top of all that, this story doesn’t center around the romance…but leaves you gasping for more.

“I don’t know what happened to you,” I say. “I don’t know who my father was or why you hate him so much. But I know my death won’t free you. It won’t give you peace. View Spoiler » Because I’d rather die than become like you. I’d rather die than live with no mercy, no honor, no soul.”

Barbaric, depraved, devastating. Artfully crafted, deserving every bit of the hype, and almost understated in it’s severity. It made me crazy, it stole every bit of spare time I had even when I should have been doing something else, and it’s all I could think about when I wasn’t able to be reading it. I wish for more words to express my utter, undying love for this story, but they aren’t coming to me. I want to say more and I want to leave it as it is. Like I said, it’s making me crazy I can’t say more, but this is where it ends. I loved it. I devoured it. I needed it like oxygen, gulping it in deep, greedy breaths. I need book two….but now I wait. But, for once, it will be worth it. It’s totally worth the wait. Elias…..until we meet again, soldier.

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Buddy read with my favorite chicks ever: Anna, Harriet, and Jenny! ♥

We’re coming for you, book!

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