Wednesday, August 31, 2016

An Ember In The Ashes ~ Do Not, Not Read This Book!

An Ember In The Ashes
Sabaa Tahir

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.

My Thoughts:

Oh boy, where could I possibly begin? At the beginning I suppose.  But can I just say, what a thrill ride!?  Reading the bio of this book doesn't do it justice in the slightest!  And I am an audio book lover!  However, if the actor's voice is annoying in anyway, I'm turned off immediately and will most likely not read the book, unless its been so hyped and comes off with a very unique story.  In my case, the voice of Laia is the same voice for a different character of a different book.  Now I know, I sound a bit crazy and that I shouldn't let that bother me, but how could I not?  While trying to picture Laia, I could only picture so and so from the other book!! Huge deal.  So what did I do? I deleted the audio book and said I guess I'll read it eventually.  And then that didn't work.  After seeing more reviews and pictures posted and A Torch Against the Night (the sequel to An Ember In The Ashes) promoted, I said to myself, "Self.  You really should try to listen to this again."  And so I did.  And after about 15 minutes of consecutive listening, I was hooked!!!  I do not say this lightly!  Ok, ok, to the actual review of the book!  

Elias has very quickly become my most favorite fictional boyfriend of all!  He is determined, resilient, and simply dreamy.  A little complexity, makes Elias a very intriguing character.  He knows what he wants, but seems to have so much doubt in his own capabilities that he holds himself back.  He seems to second guess his gut on more than one occasion, not always leaving him with the most desired outcome.  On the other hand, he seems so comfortable with other settings.  He does know where he wants to be, just maybe not so sure on how to get there or who to go there with.  The love triangles in the book, are definitely twisty and turny and I love them!!!

Laia on the other hand, is full of confidence.  Maybe not so much in herself, but in her mission, she is set like a stone.  She is determined to find her brother at all costs and willing to sacrifice herself and pretty much anyone else along the way, in order to achieve that goal.  I can totally relate because I have a strong relationship with my brother and would go to the ends of the earth to find and free him from any evil!  Back to Laia, a scholar, she was born a pheasant, but feels free.  Enjoys the little freedoms she has and doesn't take things for granted.  Very humble which makes for a strong willed character.  I love that slowly but not too slowly, Laia find her confidence and drive to continue and tries not to be too distracted by the handsomely charming roguish men that might stand in her way.

An Ember In The Ashes did not disappoint in any chapter.  It was one of those books that you want to slow down reading because you don't want it to end, but you also want to hurry up and get to the end because you want to know what its going to happen. With such vivid imagery, Tahir write the novel of a lifetime.  One that I can without a doubt 100% deserves to be a New York Times Bestseller.  I'm not any professional of course, but if I had to pick one book from here on out to recommend to someone interested in YA fiction, this would be it.  This will probably always be it, I can't even imagine another book having as much detail, love, stress, anger, devotion, and loyalty all wrapped into one YA book.  As you can probably guess, I highly recommend this!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Girl In Pieces ~ A Heart Wrenching Masterpiece of a Contemporary

Girl In Pieces
Kathleen Glasgow
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press 

For fans of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen Reasons Why, and All the Bright Places comes a novel Nicola Yoon, author of Everything, Everything, calls "a haunting, beautiful, and necessary book that will stay with you long after you've read the last page."
   Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you. 
   Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge. 
  A deeply moving portrait of a girl in a world that owes her nothing, and has taken so much, and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together. Kathleen Glasgow's debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.

"A haunting, beautiful, and necessary book that will stay with you long after you've read the last page." —Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything

My Thoughts: 

A bold and emotional tale of a young girl suffering from a mental illness, Girl In Pieces, is a tale like no other.  From the beginning of the book, Charlotte Davis is at rock bottom, where a lot of us have been before or are at in the current moment.  The setting of the book is mainly at a mental institution, where through a long and trying journey, Charlotte, or Charlie, strives to fight her illness and regain her sense of independence.  

The empathy I felt for Charlie is what really drove me into reading this story so quickly.  One may not be able to connect with the character instantly if they haven't undergone anything similar to Charlie's story; however, if one keeps reading, the experiences this girl is coping with are almost unimaginable.  To read of a 17 year old girl going through such trauma, is heart breaking and devastating.  I admit I cried more than once while reading.  Kathleen Glasgow, has such a uniquely intense and blunt style of writing that draws the reader in and puts them right there in situation with her character.  I truly felt like I was walking in those halls with Charlie.  I could almost feel the pain on my own arms and my heart, well quite frankly, it's been a very long time since I've read something that was so real and truly authentic.  

The topics Glasgow covers are legitimate real life issues, such as drugs, sex, violence and discrimination from health care to patients on any type of state funding , making this a perfect crossover book for adults too.  I myself am 30 and was utterly and completely captivated by this novel.  

Charlie is a very complex character fighting to overcome a mental illness but at 17 years old is still trying to find her own identity as well. I truly appreciated that this novel didn't focus too much on a romance, considering Charlie's state.  I think the book community needs more of young men and women pulling themselves up, saving themselves from real life situations.  Glasgow portrayed exactly this.  I was mesmerized, and completely enveloped by this story and would recommend this to all.


The Vrai Domicile and Giveaway!

Goodreads Review:

Q437B was ready to die for the Second Revolution. Then she entered the Muertre…
Q and B expected death when the Elders ordered their execution. What they discover instead changes everything they thought they knew about their world. Saved by the mercy of the Elders, they awaken in the Vrai Domicile, a mysterious place hidden below the Sixth Domicile housing hundreds of former rebels.

Except these rebels have been brainwashed, conditioned to be blind followers.

Q quickly learns of the Elders’ new plan for her – she is to become their warrior, to reunite the Vrai and Sixth Domiciles with purity, love, and unwavering faith. But to Q, she’ll be undoing everything she and the rebels fought for.

Now Q and B must fight to survive once more, forced to forge new alliances with strangers who promise nothing is as it seems. But surviving comes with a choice – follow the Elders and squash the Revolution, or defy them and free the people, putting B's and Grandmother’s lives at risk.

In a place where the fire of rebellion is extinguished at every turn, can Q continue to be the spark that fuels the Revolution?

Book 2 in The Sixth Domicile Series by Courtney Ruggles: a 5 star Readers Favorite!

My Thoughts:

In a future where uniformity is required, chaos is not to be expected, or tolerated for that matter.  Rules are set in place and they are meant to be followed or death is the only option.  But when the muertre is not what you expect, and death does not seek you out, rules are broken, lives are changed and a perfect society begins to crumble. 

The Vrai Domicile picks up right where The Sixth Domicile leaves off, and we are reunited with Q437B once again. Only things are much different than even I expect.  Lives seem to be more at risk in this installment than they were in the last which is a thrill ride to say the least.  I love that Q is still guarded and doesn't give her trust out easily which proves to be the right choice!  I can't stand when a book has a gullible and naive female lead, just makes me want to throw the book halfway across the room, so I'm so glad this wasn't the case with this one. I love how strong willed Q is, and I want to be her while reading and analyzing her character arc here.

A lot of violent scenes were portrayed with precise detail and not so delicate to worry if someone is offended.  Another reason I love this book and the New Adult genre!  Ruggles, doesn't hold back.  Her writing is honest and clear.  You will not sit back and wonder, what it is your reading, because she puts your mind in the book.  

There didn't seem to be as much of B in this chapter as the last, but I loved it more for that reason. I loved that even though, there was a romance, it didn't consume the story.  With so many new characters like U218A and Maddox, the storyline continues to grow stronger even still,  Q had this story Aand she wasn't letting go of that spotlight.   I was captivated by her strength and her determination to see everything through without a faltering. The ending of this one will hook you like no other ending ever has!  I am so captivated by this story now and cannot wait to continue with this adventure!!  I highly recommend this!

About the Author:
Courtney’s love for writing started pretty much when she learned to read, which her mother would tell you was a feat in itself back when she was in the first grade. Once she aced those flashcards with vocabulary words, Courtney’s writing took off.  And her love with it.  In school, she was always writing short stories on a word processor (What?? Word processor with floppy disks?). Oh yes, she literally had a card filing case full of floppy disks.
Now getting her Doctorate in social work, she’s used this education to help her write some of the gritty issues entwined in her stories. When Courtney isn’t writing her next book while drinking coffee, you can find her doing homework (drag) with chocolate chip flavored coffee, reading series of books (because school books are only so interesting) while drinking pumpkin flavored coffee, playing with her little boy, or daydreaming of future beach houses while drinking some other scrumptious flavor of coffee.

Media Links
Instagram: @courtneyruggles

Swag bag with bookmarks, Domicile keychains, an exclusive Domicile poster, and bracelets; open to US residents only.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Sixth Domicile and Giveaway!!!

The Sixth Domicile (The Domicile Series Book 1) by Courtney Ruggles

Published on January 20th, 2016
Published by Elephantine Publishing
Genre: New Adult Dystopian
In a future ravaged by greed and war, The Domicile has emerged. A new civilization governed by clandestine Elders where citizens are united by white masks and uniform identities. To remove one’s mask, to go outside the Domicile, to show defiance, means being sent to the Meurtre, a horrifying death sentence.
Q437B doesn’t follow the rules. She craves sunlight, dares to love her childhood friend B116A, and–the most forbidden of all–has seen the true face of her beloved beneath his mask.
But when Q becomes an Adulte, The Domicile threatens to take away everything that makes her happy. She is forced to marry an abusive soldier who demands she conform.
Whispers spread about the unconventional lessons she teaches her new students. And when Q openly disobeys the Elders, the people become restless, questioning the truth of the world in the wake of such defiance.
Rumblings of discontent stir as others begin to follow the path toward their freedom. The Revolution has begun, and Q is the spark that ignited the flames.
The Sixth Domicile is book 1 in the Domicile Series, A New Adult dystopian. Fans of Veronica Roth’s Divergent and Ally Condie’s Matched series will love The Sixth Domicile.

My Thoughts:

As a New Adult/Dystopian novel, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  The summary of the novel sounded very intriguing, with a Divergent/Hunger Games appeal to it. As a fan of dystopian I was ready for a New Adult twist on things, something with a little more bang and so I decided that The Sixth Domicile was perfect for me.  And to my delight, my intuition was right.  

Taking place after war has caused complete turmoil, The Sixth Domicile formed and is supposed to be a place of protection and uniformity, keeping everyone in their rightful place in a society of order.  That initial plot is captivating because we all, at one time or another, wonder what a world would be like if war was to completely devastate us and Courtney knows just how to reach our fantasizing minds.  It's easy to imagine ourselves in the primary roles in a book like The Sixth Domicile, imagining we can handle it just like these characters.

Q437B, our protagonist here, holds a strength that even she is unaware of, the perfect world slowly unravels secrets that indeed caught me by surprise, but Q is able to roll with the punches. Even when B116A, her childhood friend and desired love seems to confuse her with his true desires, Q remains concrete, and fights to push on. With the life path chosen for her in this tale, Q teaches her students to question what she has questioned, and therefore unintentionally drawing too much spotlight on herself.  But sometimes that's what it takes, to get truth out there and into peoples minds.  I can totally relate with this character on so many levels. The character arc here was well thought out and organized, leaving Q, an intelligent, charming, and real character on so many levels that myself and I'm sure many other readers out there, can quickly and easily relate to.

I also love the government portrayed here.  The familiar elites, hiding secrets and holding a people back from not only reaching their full potential in life, but simply taking away freedoms to choose even the simplest things in life as well.  A right of who to love.  A right to choose one's own occupation and a right to choose one's own clothes are all examples of what is stripped away here.  When people are hurt and freedoms are taken, whispers begin to form.  Alliances are made and plans are designed to take back what is rightfully theirs.  I loved every aspect of The Sixth Domicile and so I highly recommend this read for all dystopian lovers.  The romance, the adventure, the politics, all of which gave life to this novel, held my attention from beginning to end and I am beyond excited to read The Vrai Domicile and continue with Q's story.

About the Author:
Courtney’s love for writing started pretty much when she learned to read, which her mother would tell you was a feat in itself back when she was in the first grade. Once she aced those flashcards with vocabulary words, Courtney’s writing took off.  And her love with it.  In school, she was always writing short stories on a word processor (What?? Word processor with floppy disks?). Oh yes, she literally had a card filing case full of floppy disks.
Now getting her Doctorate in social work, she’s used this education to help her write some of the gritty issues entwined in her stories. When Courtney isn’t writing her next book while drinking coffee, you can find her doing homework (drag) with chocolate chip flavored coffee, reading series of books (because school books are only so interesting) while drinking pumpkin flavored coffee, playing with her little boy, or daydreaming of future beach houses while drinking some other scrumptious flavor of coffee.

Media Links
Instagram: @courtneyruggles

Swag bag with bookmarks, Domicile keychains, an exclusive Domicile poster, and bracelets; open to US residents only.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Rose Society ~ The Young Elites 2

The Rose Society
Marie Lu

My Thoughts:

I listened to The Young Elites on audio book at work and while driving and it was my first Marie Lu book at all.  While I did have 1 or 2 things I remember not liking about the first book, I ultimately loved the plot and the character arcs portrayed in this series.  With a character as unique as Adelina Amouteru, I had to keep reading to find out what was in store for her next in The Rose Society...and...

It was amazeballs. Seriously.  It picked up mostly where the first left off with Adelina and her sister Violetta beginning their journey to help free the malfeto's from Queen Julieta's reign and Teren's fear fest. Adelina and Violetta must battle the inquisitors and their own demons in order to free themselves and the malfettos that are literally dying to be free as well.

With so many new characters in The Rose Society, the story grew more intense and intertwined.  The Beldish Queen, whom, I really didn't care for at all, plays a very important role in showing us what a good queen can look like, therefore possibly giving Adelina a bit of an example to follow. However, as we all know, Adelina is no way a good character.  She is not our normal heroine and doesn't really try to be.  Which makes The Rose Society all the more intriguing.  Raffaele rejoins us with the other daggers and a big part of me hopes that some type of reconciliation will occur with them and Adelina, but is that too much to hope for at this point?

And then there is Magiano.  Ahhh Magiano.  This book couldn't have been as good as it was without Magiano.  The ruggedly handsome thief is mysterious and charming and gives Adelina a run for her money.  He is the perfect character to contrast Adelina and I hope to read much more of him in the next installment. With surprises left and right in this chapter of The Young Elites series, I couldn't stop listening to this audio book.  I have to know what is going to happen next and share "My Thoughts" with you guys again!

I was more than pleased to say the least with The Rose Society and I am counting the days until I have The Midnight Star in my hands!  I highly recommend this read to everyone!

Goodreads Review:

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?

Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites.

Friday, August 12, 2016

An Epic Story of Ivory and Bone

Ivory And Bone
Julie Eshbaugh

Goodreads Review:

A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

My Thoughts:

I can't rave about this one enough!  I knew from seeing it first promoted a few months back that I had to read this!  A pre-historic YA novel?  I would've never even guessed a plot of this nature could exist in this genre and yet here it was!  

Julie's articulate writing in the second person's POV is superb.  I was a little apprehensive because I don't ever recall reading such a POV before, but I immediately fell in love with her writing.  Very non-discursive, Julie gets to the point quickly.  An empathetic Kol meets Mya and is done.  I was so jealous over his immediate feelings for her when her attitude was just, well an attitude from the beginning.  He had done nothing to deserve to such rudeness. He knew it was it though, and I love characters that are so thought out, that when describing how they feel is in play, not many words are needed.  

Mya was a complex character.  I didn't like her at all at first and was relieved when Kol met Lo, but when a character's heart belongs to another, there's no amount of distractions that will sway them from their desired love.  I loved that about Kol.  Oh.  That's right, I was talking about Mya haha Ok, well I didn't like her at first, but slowly I could see that she was just a guarded girl and has her reasons why.  Which, I know myself and probably many other girls can relate to, so in that sense, I grew closer to Mya as the story continued.  But when Low comes along, I'm ready for her kindness.

Lo is new and sweet and innocent.  She's beautiful with way less attitude than Mya but Lo is by no means perfect. Is she more  perfect for Kol than Mya?  We like to hope so, because Kol is well, Kol.  Perfect and ready to take his rightful place in his tribe and just needs the right person to be with him.  Did I mention that Kol was my favorite character here? lol I think I made that probably obnoxiously clear at this point.  

Julie has such an amazing talent in writing.  She also apparently knows how to research her topics very well, giving so many historical examples of hunting and gathering and explaining tribal rituals in such an expertly way.  She eloquently expresses how her character's are feeling in such a way that you can see the pulse in Mya's temple when she's furious.  You can see the flush in Kol's eyes as he gazes into Mya's hardened eyes or on Lo's sweet face.  The poetic language used to describe such a time period, it's flora and fauna, was very captivating as well.  I pictured myself standing there in the fields, watching the hunters gather and stalk the beastly mammoths.   

I am more than excited to read the second in this series and highly recommend this one to any young adult ready for a new experience in this genre!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Oh My Arabian Stars!

The Wrath & The Dawn

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One NightsThe Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

My Thoughs:

I love audio books and I'm so glad I listened to this one.  I would suggest that, even if you've already read the book, you might still want to listen to the audio book.  It was more than captivating.  The world building itself is perfectly designed. Ahdieh, is a master of writing and you can read it or listen to it and be utterly amazed!

When Shahrzad decides to basically be the bravest person ever, she does so without haste and readily sacrifices everything, including her heart, in order to discover the truth.  I loved Shahrzad's tenacity in all of her thinking. Relentless but careful, she goes toe to toe with Khalid and pushes a little bit at a time, just as much as she THINKS he can handle.  But can she handle what truths she discovers?  Ah, that is the question.  

Khalid is king to be fearful of.  He takes a bride every night and has killed her the next morning. A little greedy I thought.  He gets what he wants when he wants. So, then why does he take head to Shahrzad and her tactics?  I started off hating this man, and then loved him, and then hated him??  The perfectly constructed character for such a notorious role.  

You will find yourself not being able to stop reading this or if you'll like me, stop listening to it.  Seriously ya'll, in my car, at work, and in bed. I had to hear this story and I did in two days!  I highly recommend it to anyone that craves adventure, foreign settings, and suspense in their YA novels!  

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Read Along: Before The Snow by Danielle Paige

A Wonderful Novella

Paving the way for Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige   

Enter a world of elemental magic, forbidden romance, and betrayal in this prequel to New York Times bestselling author Danielle Paige's upcoming Stealing Snow.

Young Nepenthe is half-princess, half-mermaid. Though she longs for the sea, her father wants her to stay on land. But only love can make a mermaid give up the water, and Nepenthe doesn't love anyone the way her mother loves her human father. She wants to live as a mermaid and become the River Witch, like her mother.

Then Nepenthe meets Prince Lazar, the son of the all-powerful Snow King of Algid, and she can't help but fall for him. After a horrible tragedy strikes, Nepenthe joins forces with a young fire witch named Ora to save Lazar and protect the kingdom. But it soon becomes clear that Ora loves Lazar just as much as Nepenthe does... And now Nepenthe must decide: inherit the power of the River Witch, or betray her friend to be with the boy she loves.

And Nepenthe's role in the prophecy is only just beginning. . . In the future, she is destined to cross paths with a girl named Snow, who will have the power to change Algid forever-for better, or for worse.

My Take:

I had no idea what to expect with this novella, because it was my first Danielle Paige novel.  I had seen post after post on Twitter about Stealing Snow and was totally getting hyped up everyday I signed on.  So when the Before The Snow novella was revealed and available on Amazon, I was all about buying and reading that!  

I am so glad I did! 

Nepenthe is the daughter of Princess Ariel and Prince Eric and though her father wants her to remain on land, she feels the calling of the sea, talking to her. Oh, the feels you guys!  And then of course, a young charming prince makes his debut and eventually, Nepenthe must choose between her calling and her heart's desires.  Oh and BIG PROBLEM, her sister Ora, loves the same prince.  With betrayal, friendship, and magic, this novella surprised me constantly! 

Danielle has a key sense on providing vivid imagery for her readers.  I felt like I was being pulled into the story, to stand side by side with Nepenthe as she goes on this trying journey.  I can only imagine what Stealing Snow has in store for us, and I will be in the highest state of anticipation waiting for this read! 

This is a must read for any fantasy+magic+romance+fairy tale lover!


Ink, Ivory and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare

Goodreads Synopsis: Can she write a world gone wrong? A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new wo...