Tag: Young Adult (page 1 of 111)

BOOK REVIEW: Everless (Everless #1) by Sara Holland

BOOK REVIEW: Everless (Everless #1)  by Sara HollandEverless (Everless #1)
by Sara Holland
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

What. A. WONDERFUL surprise. I absolutely adored this masterpiece of a novel. When I try to think of what book I want to read next, a weekly occurrence, I immediately think back to this story time after time after time. I read this the first week it came out, yet I’ve been backlogged horribly on time with which to write a review it so rightfully deserves (I was sick, then husband, then daughter-then fast forward and daughter gets it again and BLAH just TOO MUCH)…so I waited. And I waited. And I waited. And do you know when I have finally found the time? While getting my hair done lol. 

Yep. I’m processing right now and I’m just tap tap tappin’ away on the keys. So. ANYWAY. I am so happy I can finally express my thoughts on this beauty-and the amazing characters this author brought into existence.

I think when trying to find a YA fantasy, there are few and far between that really reach into my soul and make me pine for more, wish that, even though terrible things are happening repeatedly, there was more we could read, that the story wouldn’t end. Those books are a dime a dozen…but this story was one of them.

With its lush visuals and deeply flawed, intricately layered characters, I was a goner from the moment I met every single one of them. Vivid storytelling led to endless possibilities, causing me to guess every theory in the book-until I realized I had no way to truly guess what was happening and I just needed to chill out and enjoy the ride.

A strange feeling flowers in me, like I’m standing at the edge of a cliff, looking out to the green-and-blue sea, which I’ve only ever seen drawn in books, its waves sloshing and beautiful and endless—and from this height, deadly.

Jules hates the Gerlings…chased from the castle when she was younger and still ‘in hiding’, she wants nothing to do with the royals that caused her and her father such pain and worry. She can stop time, but doesn’t know why. Blood is the price for security, its value only worth something so long as you’re not paying with your whole life. When backed into a corner with house payments, Jules finds that her father has been paying with his blood to keep them afloat-but she sees that he’s withering away with each pull, years dwindling away into oblivion.

She decides it’s time to take action, and when news gets out that Prince Roan has chosen a bride, help is required to prepare for the big day and it’s the talk of the town-those hired get a hefty amount of money, enough that it would get Jules and her father out of debt. Jules’s father begs her not to go, for that would mean facing the Gerlings once again and maybe being found out after all these years-But we all know what Jules decides to do, don’t we? The next morning she’s off before her father has risen, hoping to be chosen so she can pay off their debts and perhaps find the mystery as to why her father said to NEVER go near the Queen. What is he hiding? And why can’t she be near the Queen?

Lying feels like trying to hold an eel in my stomach: the truth wants to wriggle its way out.
I’m used to the feeling by now.

I’ll admit that I was all in for the romance. I mean, who would I be if not myself? I need a ship, and my ship was a lovely ship. My ship has/had promise. My boy was just…oh my gosh…ahhhh I need it. I just need it. And I need him. I love him. Adore him. I would do anything for him. But…unfortunately, I don’t think I should be saying any names. It’s a mystery until the end, I tell you, and it was a wonderful journey indeed.

Have I grown distracted, my head turned by Ina’s beautiful gowns, Caro’s friendly gossip, Roan’s smiles that seem just for me, and forgotten the promise I made by the lakeshore after View Spoiler »?

I’ll admit I guessed mostly who she might possibly be with or end up with or pine for or what have you (how many different ways can I say I think I know who she will end up with, in the end?), but I second guessed myself on EVERYTHING. And here I am, I find, trying to fangirl about a boy that I can’t say the name of and not able to tell anything that happens or why I like said person. I can’t really say her past or why she likes who she likes or who she stops liking or ends up liking or who she continues to like (holy hell this is confusing lol)….so I feel as though my normal review format is screwed and I’m just left a rambling mess. It sucks. I want to talk about my guy, dang it!!!!

And then all those characters. All these dark corners and twists and turns we go through. The stories and myths and childhood memories-it all builds up into this beautiful story, this seamless weaving of epicness, gripping you more and more with each passing page. I was sucked in until I was drowning, until I couldn’t breathe….and I STILL wasn’t prepared for the inevitably devastating (and STILL devastating) turn of events. I had my suspicions, but I tell ya, this author? She is the definition of epic. No holds barred, she goes all in. No tiptoeing around, she slits your throat and is in your face.

She wins. You lose. That’s all. This story is beyond your imagination. It’s new, imaginative-it seeps elegance out of every pore (eew). When I say this, I mean it-This book is the underbelly of the tainted royalty game. Who can you trust? Who SHOULD you trust? Is everything as it seems? And, almost always, the answer is no. Keep your head high and eyes forward, because you might just miss something. You might think you know where its going, but I can assure you, even if you’re partially right…you’re not even close. And if you are?? You’re a wizard, my friend, because this author is a wonderful, tricky mistress….and I adore her.

Liam doesn’t react for a moment. Then, to my shock, he grins, a wide, earnest smile breaking across his face like sun through storm clouds. It only lasts a moment, but smiling, he looks like Roan. No—he looks like someone all his own.

Sigh. I’ll shut up. But I just…I loved this book. I really loved it. And its been a month, so it’s so hard to write a nice review that’s worthy of such a strong book and a strong set of characters. It’s like…I don’t know. I am so frustrated because I’m reading all these amazing books that mean the world to me, but then I can’t put down my thoughts the next day like I used to…BEFORE. Lol. I love my daughter but UGHHH she puts a damper on mama’s reviewing skills. I like to think I can post a review about a book I’ve read now more than a month ago, but even I find it difficult these days. I’m reading so much faster than I can put out quality reviews and…it breaks my heart.

Oh well. I will continue to try and catch up on past reviews-even if they review is a shadow of what it could have been. I needed this on hardback after reading the ebook-so I got it (that and cruel prince). And if that’s not saying enough, I don’t know what will.

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…


 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.”


 photo 55a425939e9755183d970928_suicide-squad-trailer-1_zpsqmmvvgg6.gif

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

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A Torch Against the Night

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A Reaper at the Gates

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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 & GIVEAWAY – Spies, Lies, and Allies by Lisa Brown Roberts

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY - Spies, Lies, and Allies by Lisa Brown Roberts

I absolutely loved this book! So check out my 4.5 Review below and enter a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY – Spies, Lies, and Allies by Lisa Brown RobertsSpies, Lies, and Allies by Lisa Brown Roberts
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Summers are supposed to be fun, right? Not mine. I’ve got a job at my dad’s company, which is sponsoring a college scholarship competition. I just found out that, in addition to my job assisting the competing interns, I’m supposed to vote for the winner. Totally not what I signed up for.

My boss is running the competition like it’s an episode of Survivor. Then there’s Carlos, who is, well, very distracting––in a good way. But I can’t even think about him like that because fraternizing on the job means instant disqualification for the intern involved.

As if that’s not enough, an anonymous informant with insider intel is trying to sabotage my dad’s company on social media...and I’m afraid it's working.

Review:

Spies, Lies, and Allies had me a laughing, sighing, swooning mess!  This was such an adorable book and it almost had a Breakfast Club feel to it at times, which I absolutely loved!  When I finished that last page, I realized that Lisa Brown Roberts has become one of my favorite authors.  Each time I pick up a book by her, I not only fall in love with the characters and story line, but I always have the hugest smile on my face while I’m reading.  I did just that with Spies, Lies and Allies and I can’t recommend it enough!

Did anyone ever tell you your eyes look just like Hershey’s Kisses?”
Omigod. That was my outside voice.

In hopes of spending more time with her dad, Laurel Kristoff got a job at his company over the summer.  She would be assisting the new interns and at the end of the project she would help vote for which intern would win a $100k scholarship.  You guys…. I loved Laurel right from the start! Yes she was Star Wars obsessed, huge heads up about that, but she had me laughing from the nicknames she gave people, to her Facebook stalking, to her reactions to something as simple as someone else leaving notes in her notebook.  But she was so much more than a teenage girl who made me laugh.  I felt as though I got to grow up right along side her.  So many of her feelings and insecurities took me back to moments in my past where I felt just like her.

I sneak a peek at Carlos. If I had to vote today, I’d vote for him. He was so passionate when he spoke, and he did so much research and he— he— My brain shuts off as he raises his head and meets my gaze, one corner of his delicious mouth quirking up.
Delicious
? What is wrong with me?

There was four summer interns – Carlos, Elijah, Ashley and Jason – competing for the scholarship.  And alongside them was Trish, whose father worked at the company. They were all so different from one another and their first project was to work together as a team.  They had rocky moments with each other, especially Trish and Laurel. But we watched as they tried to put aside their differences and take those first few awkward steps to form a friendship.  It wasn’t easy and mistakes were definitely made along the way. But I loved watching them all figure out how to mesh together as a team.  It was so entertaining and smile inducing!

I’m indignant , but my body is also buzzing from the adrenaline of this… this whatever we’re doing. Are we just joking around? Or are we flirting? Whatever it is, I don’t want it to stop. But it has to. I’d never forgive myself if he was disqualified because of me.

When Laurel was at work, she constantly found herself drawn to Carlos.  They could joke so seamlessly together, but it always had this undercurrent of electricity.  Sparks flew any time Laurel and Carlos were around each other and I found myself gripping onto every word they said to each other.  It made me feel like I was falling in love for the first time, all over again.  But nothing could happen between them.  There was a no fraternizing rule at work and if it was broken Carlos would get kicked off the team and lose his opportunity for the scholarship.  Sigh. I have to say that Carlos was so easy to love. He was thoughtful, smart, and such a hard worker. He also stood up for Laurel and every once in a while a little bit of jealously would peak through.  I loved everything about him. But Laurel? She could be so clueless at times since she didn’t have much experience with boys.

“And you’re a lot smarter than I thought you were.” An ironic smile curves her lips. “You’re still a princess, but you’re more of a Fiona than a Sleeping Beauty.” – Trish to Laurel

There was so many hidden gems in this story about friendships and family relationships.  I absolutely loved the interactions between Trish and Laurel.  Trish could be so bitchy towards Laurel and they seemed like polar opposites.  Yet I loved watching Laurel find her backbone and I have a feeling that a lot of people are going to love this part of the story!  But I also loved watching her relationship with her dad develop. It was funny, awkward, and had moments of hurt and love all rolled together.  Laurel and her dad came to become one of my favorite father/daughter relationships in any book I’ve read. It warmed my heart and there was so much emotion between the two of them.  So if you adore relationships outside of the couple, you are definitely in for a treat!

“But we’re not supposed to fraternize. Rule number eight. Remember all the exclamation points?”
He takes a long sip of water, so I take the opportunity to stare at his mouth.
“I see rules as suggestions.” He sets his glass on the table and his lips take their sweet time curving into a tempting smile.

There is so much I’m not even touching on, but pick up this book and you’ll discover my love for Elijah, or the ridiculous daily jokes Laurel told Miss Emmaline or even the mystery that was in this story.  But my favorite thing was that I couldn’t make it more than a few pages without busting out laughing or having the hugest grin on my face.  And I won’t ever forget how a scene towards the end made me cry.  I absolutely loved Spies, Lies and Allies! So if you adore YA Romance, you definitely have to give one of her books a try!

I wish I was like Rey in The Force Awakens, brave and tough. Or Princess Leia, snarky and brilliant. But right now, I feel like a young Anakin Skywalker, when no one thought he was capable of piloting his own Podracer, let alone winning a race.

PS I have to give a heads up that there were A LOT of Stars Wars references, she even calls her dad Vader.  And at first I was definitely confused.  You see, I’ve seen six of the movies but that was forever and a day ago.  And besides kinda knowing the characters names and what they looked like, that’s it.  Yup, sorry lol. So when we kept getting Stars Wars references I thought this book may not be the best fit for me.  But I was completely wrong. Even if there were probably a few things I completely missed….I totally had to Google stuff like Alderaan….I still loved every single minute of it.  Oh I didn’t get the Harry Potter references too. Yes I know I’m an awful human being lol. But hey I got The Big Bang Theory reference ha!

PPS There were a few moments between Carlos and Elijah that I would have died to be able to know what they were saying!!  Does anybody else feel that way too??

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by Entangled: Teen. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 

About Lisa Brown Roberts:

Award-winning romance author Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn’t recovered from the teenage catastrophes of tweezing off both eyebrows, or that time she crashed her car into a tree while trying to impress a guy. It’s no wonder she loves to write romantic comedies.  

Lisa’s books have earned praise from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and the School Library Journal. She lives in Colorado with her family, in which pets outnumber people. Connect with Lisa at www.lisabrownroberts.com.

Author Links:

Website  l  Twitter  l  Facebook  l  Instagram  l Goodreads  l  Newsletter

 
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