Tag: Dystopian (page 1 of 27)

BOOK REVIEW: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

BOOK REVIEW: Ready Player One by Ernest ClineReady Player One by Ernest Cline
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

It’s not escaped my attention that this is an extremely popular book that has exploded on my feed for YEARS. I’ve always seen such wonderful sentiments and tons of 5 star ratings-so why did it take me so long to read, you ask? Well. I don’t know. And, for those of you wondering, NO-I am not reading this because of the upcoming movie. It might have REMINDED ME I had this on my iPad, but in no way do I choose to read stories just because they are being made into movies.

I loved our main character, Wade. He made this story worth coming back to, even after I had to take a break for a while to finish some other books. There was SO much 80’s/pop culture talk that I both got and didn’t get. Most of it was before my time. But I really enjoyed reading about all of it in this format because it felt close to home. I was born in 1989 so it was all on the cusp of what I know/grew up with-even so, it felt like nostalgia. I’m a nerd, but not so much so that I know every little pop culture reference or every piece of trivia-but I do know a lot.

Wade (obviously) breaks the mold when he is the first person to get the first key and clear the first gate. He becomes a phenomenon, someone who the people admire and adore…and public enemy number one. What follows is a grand chase to reach the end, a company that will not stop until they get what they want…and they don’t draw the line at murder.

I enjoyed Wade’s journey and the friends we get to know around him. And, I’m sorry, but I did love the little romance. It was just too cute and I loved how devoted he was to her…even though she was in a race for the egg, as well-and, did I mention, that the winner receives billions of dollars?

Fun, fast-paced, and addictive as all get out, I fell in love with this story. It had its moments I didn’t just geek out over, but it was such a fun book I didn’t even seem to care. To those of you on the fence, like I was, I suggest you read it. It’s worth it. But, just know, it is a lot of pop culture references and a lot of gaming gaming gaming-lots of terms I couldn’t begin to comprehend, as I’m not a computer whiz. But, if you get past all that, it’s truly an excellent story with a character you can’t help but to fall in love with and root for.

View all my reviews

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.

 

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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 – 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

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY – ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network #1) by Mary Ting

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY - ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network #1) by Mary Ting

I loved every single minute of ISAN and it’s going down as one of my favorite books from this year! So check out my 5 Star Review below and enter a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY – ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network #1) by Mary TingISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network #1)
by Mary Ting
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED.

SCIENTISTS WARNED IT WOULD HAPPEN.

Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.

Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum, Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.

While on a training mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out.

Review:

ISAN was an explosion of action and emotion and I loved every single moment of it!  From that very first page, this book had me in it’s grip.  I was addicted to the story and the characters, which made it impossible for me to put this book down.  So if you’re a fan of dystopian, kick ass girls and a sprinkling of romance then you have to check out this book!  Or even if you liked the Bourne movies (one of my favorite movies!), then you’ll probably enjoy this story as much as I did.  ISAN is definitely going on my favorites list and I can’t recommend it enough!

My destiny had been set. They owned me. They would use me. I had no choice.

Right from the start we got brought into Ava’s world.  As the story progressed, so did our understanding of everything.  It all unfolded beautifully, but be patient because there were things even Ava didn’t understand.  And we got to learn right along with her. Ava had found herself in juvenile detention when she was given a chance to join ISAN.  ISAN was a secret organization that trained girls without much of a future, let alone any family, into killers. ISAN also used experimental drug on them to enhance their abilities.  The girls constantly found themselves training with either simulations or tests. And their training was intense, page turning, and made me forget to breathe.  I was completely consumed with what they were doing.  But Ava started to question if ISAN was the better option.  She was their killing machine and there was no way out.

I’m not giving up. This isn’t over. His words echoed in my mind.
Sniper haunted me while awake and in my dreams.  My gut told me something wasn’t right. And the
what ifs nagged at me. I shoved Sniper out of my mind.

I loved Ava with my whole heart and soul!  She could be so selfless and I loved how smart she was.  And I was impressed that she was able to see the bigger picture during their training and missions.  She was born to be a leader. So Ava quickly earned my respect and her plight easily made me connect to her.  But Ava was special since she could see a map in her head, no matter where they were.  And as I started to have a firm grasp on the world Ava lived in, things started to happen.  Strange messages from someone named Sniper started to appear on her TAB and a comment from a higher up made her pause.  He acted as though she had done something in the past, yet Ava had no recollection of it. I felt as lost and confused as Ava during those moments, but I loved every single minute of it!

None of my planning mattered. When the door slid open, Rhett stood as if he knew I would be there. His eyes roamed intensely over my body, causing me to blush, and then landed on my hand with the syringe.
Crap
.
Wearing an irresistibly sexy smirk, he planted his hands on either side of the doorway, muscles flexing, blocking me.
“Going somewhere?”

While out on a mission, Ava got abducted by Rhett.  Rhett claimed he had a past with Ava, yet she had no clue what he was talking about.  And while Ava questioned what she felt towards Rhett, I loved what little bit I knew about him.  Rhett was protective and intense, but he continuously made me laugh and smile.  And at the same time, my heart hurt so horribly for him.  Rhett was tortured since Ava didn’t remember him. I even found myself with tears in my eyes during a few of those moments.  But I kept holding out hope that Ava’s heart would find her way back to Rhett.

Without thinking, I reached for his hand and stood next to him under the night sky, under the stars and the moon. The universe joined us in a mesmerizing moment of awe. Nothing mattered. I drifted to another place and time where Rhett and I were a real couple, and I was not an assassin, but a simple girl.

So while Ava had created friendships back at ISAN, she also found herself trying to figure out how she fit in with Rhett and his crew.  Well, if she even did.  Ozzie was one of Rhett’s friends and he made me laugh so much.  He was definitely one of my favorites! Ozzie added so much light, humor and the friendship he tried to establish with Ava warmed me to the tip of my toes.  He was such an adorable guy! But back at ISAN she had Brooke and Tamara who were her friends. I have a huge guess about Brooke, but time will tell!! And while Ava and I adored both Brooke and Tamara, things happened with Rhett that made her second guess everything.

“….I’ll tell you this, no one in this world loves you as much as I do.” – Rhett to Ava

There is SO much more that I want to say and it’s going to kill me!  But ISAN was the hugest surprise ever. I hoped that I would like this book, but I had no clue that I would fall head over heels in love with this story!  So if you love action packed stories, strong friendships, being in the dark at times, kick ass girls, a boy with a tortured heart and a little bit of romance mixed in then definitely pick up this book.  I am so excited to see what will happens next.  It ended at a perfect spot, but my heart is begging for that next book to be released asap!!

PS I don’t care how hot Mitch was, I never liked him.  Ha!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by Xpresso Book Tours. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

About Mary Ting:

International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

Giveaway:

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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 – Undone (Unknown #3) by Wendy Higgins

BOOK REVIEW – Undone (Unknown #3) by Wendy HigginsUndone (Unknown #3)
by Wendy Higgins
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins, brings you the gripping, sensual conclusion to her apocalyptic trilogy.

Amber Tate never dreamed their heart-wrenching escape from the enemy’s attack would lead them to the most beautiful place she’s ever seen, marred by one ugly fact; it’s under enemy control. Like everywhere else in the world, Elmendorf military base in Alaska has been captured, and it’s time to take it back—all of it—one base, one city at a time. After losing so much, Amber clings to the only precious person she has left, and vows to sacrifice everything to help save the Earth.

Remy Haines is a lover, not a fighter, so when she finds herself in enemy territory, expected to feign allegiance while gathering intel for the rebel cause, she’s never been more out of her element. Tensions only increase when her feelings for Jacob “Tater” Tate won’t go away, and the enemy’s leader takes an interest in her. She’s torn between what her heart wants, and what she knows she should do. As for what her body needs…well, it’s always had a mind of its own.

Review:

*Spoilers for Unknown #1 & Unrest #2 but the first paragraph is safe to read. *

Undone was a stunning conclusion that had me on the edge of my seat!  I kept hoping that all of those that I loved would get their happily ever after, even though the odds were stacked against them.  And in this final book, there was a completely different element that didn’t appear in the previous two books.  We alternated views between Amber and her best friend Remy.  And let me tell you, while I loved Remy, I couldn’t believe that I became just as obsessed with her.  I loved that they each added a different view of what was happening in the world.  It made this story that much more emotional and I felt as though the stakes were even higher.  

A lump filled my throat as Rylen pulled me aside and pressed his forehead to mine. We didn’t kiss. No hugs either. We just stood there, foreheads touching, eyes closed, breathing each other in, letting the urgency of our hope rise up and twirl between us, spinning until it was a powerful cyclone of unspoken words, holding us together.
Be safe.
Stay alert.
I love you more than life.
Don’t you dare die.
– Amber & Rylen

But before I can talk about anything else, I have to say that I absolutely loved Amber and Rylen together!!  Thank goodness they finally took that step and found some happiness in the bleak world that surrounded them.  And now that we got to see all sides of Rylen, I fell even harder for him.  He was so passionate, in control and sooooooo sexy.  The scenes of them together, in Undone and Unrest, was scorching hot!  But underneath it all, I loved that their relationship was based on the most beautiful friendship.  Their love truly encompassed it all!  So of course I was scared any time they weren’t together or when they went on missions together.  My heart was in my throat hoping that they would stay safe and alive!

As scared as I was, we had so much to live for. We had to win. – Amber

This book had a ton of action that had me flipping through the pages as fast as I could.  But at the same time, there was also some slower, heartfelt moments.  It all meshed together so perfectly and made the pace feel just right.  While there were moments of horror and sadness, I easily found strength in Amber and Rylen’s love for one another and the friendships that surrounded them.  But I wish I could have said the same for Remy.  While my heart hurt for Amber and Remy in different ways, I was beyond terrified with the hell Remy found herself in.

He’s the enemy.
But he wasn’t looking at me like an enemy. – Remy

Remy had been captured at the end of Unrest, and was taken to the aliens compound in Nevada with Tater and Linette.  They found themselves prisoners, well more like slaves.  Not only were they worked to the bone, but the aliens flipped their world upside down.  Family units no longer existed.  Touching no longer existed.  And if anyone wanted to rebel in any way, then they would either die or have the worm *shudders*.  It felt as though I was constantly holding my breath, frightened with what was going to happen next to Remy, Tater and Linette.  But there was one element I never even considered, since I didn’t read the synopsis.  And that was Remy’s interaction with the enemy’s leader.  

I feared him. I took comfort from him. I was disgusted by him. I admired him. I pitied him. I was drawn to him. – Remy

We witnessed Remy interact with those monsters.  And while the majority of them were easy to lump into the enemy category, they weren’t all like that.  I hated seeing those shades of humanity in the few aliens we become close with, because then I felt guilty wishing for their annihilation.  And that’s exactly how Remy felt too.  But then it got taken up a level when Remy started to feel something towards their leader.  I felt as though my emotions were being torn in different directions and that my brain was a convoluted mess.  Especially when I thought about Tater, ugh.

My vision swam with tears, and the loudest sobs in history rose from my soul. I fell forward, begging myself to calm down, but finding it utterly impossible. – Amber

But before I wrap up my thoughts, I have to say that I did have three issues with this book.  The first was that there was a scene that was a mesh of two scenes from Independence Day.  I’ve seen that movie probably a hundred times, so it stuck out very clearly in my mind.  The second issue was that there was a discrepancy between book two and three View Spoiler ».  And my third issue was that the epilogue left me desperately wanting to know so much more.  Yes we got a fabulous closure, but there were so many questions hanging in the air for me like View Spoiler ».  So while these three issues made me remove a half a star, this series is still going down as one of my favorite dystopian series ever.  Don’t let this paragraph deter you, I just wanted to give a heads up.

“They’ve tried to break us.” Rylen released my hands and brought his fingers to my neck, weaving them through and down my hair. “They wanted to break us apart.”
“And they failed,” I said.

So a huge yes, I definitely recommend this book to dystopian and Wendy Higgins fans!  It was full of action, love, friendship, and heart stopping moments.  Plus it had the most amazing book boyfriend ever.  You have to meet Rylen!  He was fierce, protective, loyal, seductive and definitely sexy!  I’m so glad I read this trilogy and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some day down the road we’ll get a peak at this world and characters again.  I already miss them!

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Unknown #1
Reviews:

Jen

Unrest #2
Reviews:
Jen

Undone #3
Reviews:
Jen
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