Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by  Jill at Breaking the Spine  and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

A Madness So Discreet: Mindy McGinnis 
Publication Date: October 6th 

Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

I think a lot of people have been anticipating this book! Insane asylums are something that really intrigues me and I think that books about them are so interesting. I can't wait till this comes out! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Velvet: Temple West

First rule of dealing with hot vampire bodyguards? Don't fall in love.

After losing both her parents before age seventeen, aspiring designer Caitlin Holte feels like her whole world has been turned upside down, and that was before the terrifying encounter with a supernatural force. Then, she learns that her hot bad-boy neighbor, Adrian—who might have just saved her life—is actually a half-demon vampire.

Suddenly Caitlin is stuck with a vampire bodyguard who feels that the best way to protect her is to become her pretend boyfriend. Trouble is, Caitlin is starting to fall in love for real, while Adrian can never love a human. Caitlin trusts Adrian to keep her safe from his demon father, but will he be able to protect her heart?

I freaking love vampire stories. It is no secret that I'm still super obsessed with The Sookie Stackhouse novels, even though the series is over now :(. I love everything about the vampire genre, except I've never actually read Twilight. I don't have anything against it, but I just never really picked it up. However, I do know that paranormal books aren't for everybody! I'm pretty particular with vampire stories just because my expectations are so high after the Sookie series. 

"Maybe actually punching someone in the face instead of just wishing 
I could punch someone in the face would make me feel a little better."

So - why am I particular about vampire stories? I just like the original folklore surrounding vampires. You know - they can't go out in the daytime, they are sensitive to silver, a stake through the heart kills them, superhuman strength, etc. It's hard to find fun vampire novels that have all of these things because  I guess it's pretty inconvenient for the storyline if main character's can't go out in the daytime. Velvet didn't really follow the original folklore of vampirism, which kind of bothered me. Adrian is the vampire bodyguard. He can go out during the daytime - but he did have superhuman strength and needed blood to sustain himself. There was really no mention of silver or stakes, but maybe just because it was a topic that really didn't have an opportunity to present itself. Anyway, I just feel like books that say a character is a vampire but they just do all the things humans do is kind of useless, like a pretend vampire or something. 

There were a few things that I'm still kind of confused on. Caitlin would have these nightmares, but we never really figured out why. It kind of seemed like they only started after the whole demon thing was brought up but I wish there was more explanation about them. It is a series, so maybe that will be explained more in the upcoming books. Another thing I was confused on was Adrian's brother, Julian. Julian kind of seemed to hate humans in the beginning, but by the end he was not really minding Adrian and Caitlin together. Was there a turning point for him or did he just not really care anymore? OMG Adrian's other brother Lucian was so freaking cute. I guarantee you'll love him if you read this! He was a young vampire so he really didn't feel any hate towards humans and didn't understand why they couldn't be friends with them. 

"'Hi'. I returned, and climbed into the passenger side. 'You're still a vampire?'
'Cool, yeah, just checking.'"

This book was super fun. That's not really the first thing that comes to mind when you think of vampires and demons, but it honestly really was. Even though the vampires in this book weren't my all time favorite, it was still a great read. Caitlin and Adrian was a blossoming romance, and it wasn't really insta-love either. It was a great paranormal romance! I was never bored, which is really important for me when reading a book. If you liked Velvet, I guarantee you'll love the Sookie Stackhouse series! It's like Velvet but New Adult-y and the vampires follow the original myths without it becoming too monotonous. I definitely think that I'll be continuing with the Velvet series, especially because it ended on a little cliff-hanger! Will you be reading Velvet? Do you have a favorite vampire book series? 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Beautiful Disaster

Beautiful Disaster: Jamie McGuire 

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand. 

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

Ah, I'm sorry I haven't been on in a week! I graduated college last Saturday, and moved Sunday to where I'm attending grad school. I started grad school this past Monday so I've been pretty busy this week! However, I did get a chance to finish Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. I was in the mood to read New Adult and I've heard so many mixed things about this book that I wanted to give it a try! Abby's description definitely reminded me of myself a little bit, since I wear cardigans all the time and don't drink haha. 

"I need to hear you say it. I need to know you're mine. 
I've been yours since the second we met."

After reading it, my feelings about it are sort of all over the place. In theory, Travis could have been a great character. His constant mood changes, while erratic and dangerous, still made for a good story. A lot of people didn't seem to like that part of the book - but I think it was my favorite. I don't think all characters should be written the same, and I like characters who aren't perfect. I think that you can still like this book without condoning the behaviors of a guy like Travis. I felt there were holes in Travis's character, though. A guy who spent his entire life sleeping with different girls and not respecting them will not fall in monogamous love with someone in the matter of so few days. If you know a guy like this, then you have to know what I mean. Another thing I didn't like about Travis was his tribal tattoo. My ex-boyfriend had a tribal tattoo, I always hated it. It doesn't make you look tough, just kind of stupid. (No offense to any tribal tattoo lovers out there). That didn't sway my opinion of this book, just Travis's character, haha. 

The biggest problem I had with this book was how unrealistic it was. Like, EVERY college has campus security. However, the college here just seemed to find a way around it whenever it was convenient to the storyline. If this were a real college, Travis would have been kicked out during his lunch room fights. Another thing that bugged me was just how back and forth things seemed to go with Travis and Abby. Like how many times can a couple fight and get back together in the course of a book and it still be interesting? Well, read this book and you'll find out! 

"-It's over. Go home.
You're my home."

While this book wasn't my favorite New Adult book, I did enjoy it. When I pick up a New Adult book, I really just want fun and sexiness and I think that I definitely got that out of this book. Despite being unrealistic, it still managed to capture my attention and I wanted to keep going till the last page. I will probably not read Walking Disaster, which is the same book told from Travis's perspective. There is just something about reading the same storyline that really bores me. However, I do think I'd like to read Beautiful Oblivion, which is the story of Travis's brother and a girl named Cami. Did you ever read Walking Disaster or any of the other Beautiful/Maddox Brothers books? 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Between Us and the Moon

Between Us and the Moon: Rebecca Maizel
Publication Date: June 30th 

Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett.

Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not a huge fan of contemporary novels. I'm really picky with them, and some contemporary novels just really bug me because they are so cliche! By this description, this book also seems like it fits that contemporary YA cliche, but I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I felt like Between Us and the Moon was more dynamic than your normal YA romance, and it focused on what is actually important in a high schooler's life instead of just drama and love. 

I totally feel for Sarah. Her whole family doesn't get her love for science and why she'd rather study than go out and party. They basically make her feel like something is wrong with her just because they don't understand what she's doing. She kind of yearns for anyone to appreciate her. Even though she acts immature and childish at times, a lot of it is warranted. I can totally see why she would act that way. The characters in this book are so multidimensional. While most of the story is the love story between Andrew and Sarah, there is almost a secondary story between Sarah and Scarlett and their relationship with each other. 

Sarah meets Andrew while she is spying on Scarlett, so he happens to be in Scarlett's group of friends. Andrew is 4 years older than Sarah, and like I said before she just wants someone to accept her for her. When she realizes Andrew is accepting her for her, she thinks she is too deep in the lie and doesn't know how to get out of it. It's definitely one of those books where a bunch of lies pile up to one heart wrenching moment. Andrew is a perfect guy. If you read this book, you will totally love him. He is damaged but yet he still wants to love Sarah and open himself to her. He doesn't push her to do anything she doesn't want to do, he just lets it happen on it's own time. I want my own Andrew. 

"'You sure you won't be sick of me?' I ask and clear my throat. I unlatch the car door.
'You?' he says with a smile. 'Never.'"

I am satisfied how this novel wrapped up in every aspect except her and Andrew. I wish there would have been more of an epilogue showing what was to come. I definitely was not pleased, but I guess the little epilogue there was is better than leaving it without it. If you like romances, stories about siblings, or even coming of age stories, I would recommend this book to you. I think it's great that this book is coming out in June because I think it would be so fun to read at the beach or by the pool - it's just a great summer read in general! This book definitely has me reconsidering my indifference for contemporary novels. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at  Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Even When You Lie to Me: Jessica Alcott 
Publication Date: June 9th 

Charlie, a senior, isn't looking forward to her last year of high school. Another year of living in the shadow of her best friend, Lila. Another year of hiding behind the covers of her favorite novels. Another year of navigating her tense relationship with her perfectionist mom.

But everything changes when she meets her new English teacher. Mr. Drummond is smart. Irreverent. Funny. Hot. Everyone loves him. And Charlie thinks he's the only one who gets her.

She also thinks she might not be the only one with a crush.

This looks like a really fun contemporary! I am really picky about contemporary novels because a lot of them just don't appeal to me. However, this one definitely caught my eye!  Even though I've heard mixed things about this so far, I'm still really excited to read it. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Heir

The Heir (The Selection, #4): Kiera Cass

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible. 

But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.

As a somewhat fan of The Selection series, I definitely think I would be lying if I said I didn't have certain expectations for this novel. In the beginning, I found Eadlyn to be extremely annoying. She was nothing like America, who I really liked. I realized she grew up under different circumstances, but there was no reason for her to act the way she did for the majority of the book. Even when she did let up, I still wasn't her biggest fan. I think it was Kiera's intention to make her come off as a cold and distant character, but she just never grew on me. She never seemed too cold or too distant - she just seemed like she wanted to disobey her parents and be kind of childish. 

"Didn't they know who I was, what' they'd trained me for? I was Eadlyn Schreave"
No one was more powerful than me.
So if they thought I was going down without a fight, they were sadly mistaken."

While it wasn't as predictable as America's Selection, I don't think it was as exciting, either. There were so many times that I was bored. Eadlyn was indifferent about practically every single Selection participant. It seemed as if she couldn't have cared less if they stayed or left. If she would have just been sure about a guy or two, I would have been happier. The little romance there was left me confused and unfulfilled. There were really only two guy characters I was rooting for in the whole book - and one wasn't even part of The Selection. Do you care if I tell you who I like? I don't think that's a spoiler, because everyone makes up their own decisions about people. Personally, I liked Kile and Erik. There wasn't enough alone time with anyone to make a definite decision. America had so much time with Maxon in The Selection, so I was really able to get to know them as people and a couple. I literally have no idea how she is going to choose anyone because it didn't seem like she really got close to anyone in particular. 

It was still a fun read, though. Kiera Cass is able to make me zip through a book pretty fast. This one definitely took me the longest in her series. I read the other books in a day or two. These books are really light and they never make me think, they are just addicting. This one not as much as the others. This book doesn't really set up for the last book, and I'm not really any closer to guessing who she is going to choose than I was in the first few chapters of The Heir. Overall, I'm a little disappointed - and it kind of seems like this book was an afterthought to the first 3 books in the series. Have you read The Heir yet? How did you like it compared to the first 3 books? 

Monday, May 11, 2015

NYCC 2015 - Are you going?

Should you go to New York Comic Con? Tickets go on sale this Wednesday, the 13th! They also sell out extremely fast. If you consider yourself a member of any fandom, NYCC will have something that you like! Even though it is called "comic con", they have so many bookish events there. If you wanted to, you could probably spend all of the 4 days doing just book things between the author panels, author signings, booth giveaways, and in-booth signings. I'll have some pictures of some random things I got at NYCC 2014' throughout this post! 

Who goes? 

This year - Cassandra Clare already announced on twitter that she and the cast of the Shadowhunters will be attending NYCC! I'm not sure if they're doing just a panel, a panel and signing, or a panel and a screening, but she said they will be there! Last year - there were some amazing authors that attended! Some that you might have heard of are: Alexandra Bracken, Ransom Riggs, Amber Benson, Cinda Williams Chima, Garth Nix, Jennifer Donnelly, Maureen Johnson, I.W. Gregorio, James Dashner, Kim Harrison, Pierce Brown, Scott Westerfeld, Romina Russel, Arwen Elys Dayton, Brandon Sanderson, and many more!

They also had some really cool panels, like "How to Survive in a Dystopian World", "Playing with Magic", "These are my People/ Aliens/ Zombies/ Vampires/ Dragons!: Building Community in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy World", "Villains: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly", "Sexy Beasts: Paranormal Romance Heroes and Why We Love Them", and "Not Your Mother's Fairytales".

I'm sure there are a lot more but I forget any others! The panels are really fun and they aren't as crowded as BookCon panels or other panels at NYCC. You definitely should get in line a little while prior, though to get a good seat. Mostly because seats aren't cleared in-between panels and you have some people who will just kind of sit there the whole day. However, there are a lot of people who do only go there for one panel because there are more things they want to see at the con besides a day full of panels. The really cool thing about NYCC is that pretty much every single author signed books after their panel. They also had enough time to take pictures with people who wanted their books signed if they asked for it. It's definitely a far cry from other book signings.

I got my bottle of True Blood
signed by Deborah Ann Woll
 at the Daredevil Signing
HarperCollins, Penguin, Random House, Disney Publishing, Simon & Schuster, Tor, Little Brown, Qurik Books, Hachette Books are all some of the well known publishers who go to NYCC. The publishers had different free books every single day plus in-booth signings, which are different from after panel signings. The in-booth signings, they usually give you a free book to get signed compared to the after panel signings where you are expected to supply your own books to be signed. Publishers will usually supply a schedule of all of there signings and giveaways a month or two before comic con on their website. Probably the best arc giveaways I felt at NYCC last year were from the HarperCollins booth. Everyday, they had a Spin 'N' Win where you spun a wheel and got a free arc. Red Queen was among one of the chances! They also had a Scratch and Win where you just scratch it off and won a book! However, Ember in the Ashes was also given away at NYCC last year which was also amazing so it was hard to pick a favorite booth.

 Besides authors - I also met Stephen Amell, Manu Bennet, the cast of Daredevil and a lot of comic artists/writers. I didn't spend my time around the book publishers and panels because I do like comics and the TV shows that were there, I also collect Funkos which are pretty big at NYCC. The panels in the main room are a bit more annoying to get into, but I managed to go to the Gotham panel and get a pretty good seat.

So - tickets aren't too expensive. Head over too this link to check out the ticket options. Have you ever been to NYCC? Are you planning on going this year or in the future?!

Friday, May 8, 2015


Wicked: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn't your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren't the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun... and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she'd sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.
Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He's six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that's surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants... she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.
But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she's not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There's something he's not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She's no longer sure what is more dangerous to her-the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.
Honestly, this was my favorite Jennifer L. Armentrout book! I haven't read all of them only the first Lux book and both of the Dark Elements books, but for me this one definitely tops those! It was somewhat different because those were young adult and this was new adult and I think that's actually what I liked most about it. It was a little more mature than the others and the plot definitely intrigued me more because I love New Orleans and really just Louisiana in general. 
I had my own predictions with what was going to happen with this book. Then I realized I was just predicting what I wanted to happen! I am not super into the Fae, which is what paranormal entity we are dealing with in this book. I think the book gracefully deals with it and doesn't shove a bunch of Fae mythology down your throat like some books try to do. The main characters were hilarious. I loved every single thing about Ren except for the whole "sweetness" and "hun" thing. It just didn't do anything for me. Ivy was fantastic, the cover pictures her as curvy but I really didn't hear her described as curvy very many times in the book. There were plenty of references to her red frizzy hair, though. 

"Who in the hell is Merida?"
One side of his mouth kicked up again. "The chick from the movie Brave with-"
"The frizzy red hair. Got it. Thanks"

Why 4 stars? I loved the plot - it was amazing and I was never bored. I feel like it had too many similarities to her other books, though. By that I mean that Ivy, Katy, and Layla seemed to resemble each other in many ways. I understand that JLA wants to have strong female characters, which isn't at all what I have a problem with. They are too similar in their personality! I literally feel like you can take sentences from either of them and paste it into her other novels, and you wouldn't even know the difference. That is a huge problem with me. For me, I want to be able to know the characters so well that you can read a sentence and totally know what character from the book said that, you know? One thing I will say is that Tink is an entirely new kind of character and I've never seen anything like him before! I hope she keeps writing new characters like that into her novels. 

"You wouldn't lie to me, would you, Tink?"
"No." He grinned. "You have Amazon Prime"

According to the end of the book, the second book is set to be published in summer 2015. Right now, there isn't even a cover so I'm not sure if that is still the case! Regardless, I'm super excited for the next book! 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spineand spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Dumplin': Julie Murphy
Publication Date: September 15th 


Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

This book sounds so amazing. It definitely hits a special place for me because I was kind of chubby when I was little so I know what kind of bullying can come along with it. I am very excited to see what direction this book goes in. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

End of Days

End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days #3): Susan Ee 
Publication Date: May 12th 

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

This is the conclusion to the Penryn & the End of Days trilogy, and I know a lot of people are anticipating this book! If you are a fan of the first two Angelfall books, you will not be disappointed by this book! If you haven't started this trilogy yet, it's amazing and you should add it to your TBR pile ASAP! First let me just start this review by saying how beautiful and touching Susan's dedication page is in this book. It was the perfect start to the last book. 

"Dedicated to readers like Penryn who have it tough at home, who had to grow up fast due to life circumstances, and who have no idea how much potential they really have. You are being fire forged, just like Penryn. And like her, you can turn your greatest trials into your greatest strengths."

Right from the beginning of this book I was very emotional. This book has a lot more emotions and feelings than the other two books, probably combined. So, get ready to have lots of feels while reading this - I know that I did! I think this in part has to do with Raffe being back with Penryn because he was gone for the majority of the last book. I feel like there were a lot of pent up feelings between Raffe and Penryn since in World After they didn't see each other for almost 3/4 of it. I'm really glad there was a bit more time that Penryn and Raffe were spending with each other in this book. It was definitely nerve-racking throughout the book because can Penryn and Raffe really end up together when Raffe will have to ultimately have to choose between Penryn and the angels?  

"She is a Daughter of Man. And she is traveling with me. But she is not my Daughter of Man." 

Aside from the initial excitement of Penryn and Raffe, there is much more to the final End of Days book than romance. On Raffe's side, we learn more about his Watchers. We have been getting glimpses and descriptions of them throughout the first two novels. If you forgot, they are a major reason why Raffe has sworn off of Daughters of Men. So, I was extremely excited to get a large portion of this book dedicated to them. However, it wasn't in the context I expected-  so anticipate some surprising twists in this book! 

"'You want to know how many Daughters of Men he's gone through? How many hearts do you think have shattered over Raphael, the great archangel?'
'You're telling me he's a heartbreaker?'
'I'm telling you he's heartless'" 

The book not only wraps up questions regarding Raffe's past, but Penryn's as well. She has to make huge decisions that either pull her in Raffe's direction or her family/the human's direction. As expected, there is an ultimate face-off between the humans and the angels. There is betrayal, savagery, romance, and adventure.  This book is shocking, and it is everything I want in a final book. A lot of final books of series end up disappointing me - not because I don't like the ending, but because the pace is really slow. The action never lets up in End of Days, there is always something happening and the romance between Penryn and Raffe is electric. This was definitely a great conclusion to a series and I hope one day soon we can see an Angelfall movie! 5 stars! 

"We're your family too." His breathing slows. His eyelids droop. 
"We need you." He puffs out his words between breaths. "Humanity. Needs. You." 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

An Ember in the Ashes

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.

I was so nervous about this book. It seemed to me that lately the extremely hyped books were very anticlimactic. Not that they are bad, just that I can think of books that come out that same month that were better and deserve the hype more. Regardless, An Ember in the Ashes deserves the hype. It is clearly obvious why this book was already optioned for a movie. I just have to wonder how they are going to translate so much book awesomeness into the usual two hour movie time frame. 

The world-building was fantastic. The world is amazingly believable and totally awful. Even though it's setting is ancient Rome,  I don't see some of the things that happened as a far exaggeration - it's definitely scary. I feel like some of the things may hit too close to home or may be sensitive for some people. There is a lot of violence and talk of sexual assault, but all great books come with controversy. 

So, one thing I'm seeing around the Internet is how many people are Team Helene and how little people are Team Laia. I had the complete opposite reaction. For half the book, I thought Helene was a pretentious snob. I definitely think she grew as a character eventually, but honestly not enough that I'd be #TeamHelene. Given, there were times I understood her and could empathize with her. There was never a time I liked her more than Laia. I do understand that she was super badass, though. The argument I saw people give was "Laia just kind of moped around". My reaction to that is - did we read the same book? I thought Laia tried to fight every chance she got! At first I thought I was going to favor Elias's point of view over Laia's, but I found myself loving both of them equally. Laia had her entire life turned upside down and she never managed to be sulky or annoying. Anyway, I definitely liked Laia enjoyed Laia much more than I originally thought I was going to. 

"There are two kinds of guilt, girl: the kind that drowns you until you're useless, 
and the kind that fires your soul to purpose "

ELIAS VETURIUS. Swoons. all. over. Talk about the definition of a perfect guy! He has so many internal struggles going on inside of him that he just wants to be a good person but everyone around him is doing wrong things and he doesn't know how to stop them. His mom is the commandant who rules over Blackcliff Military Academy and she's a sadist bitch. That's also who Laia ends up being slave to since the commandant's slave killed herself a week prior. Elias seemed to go along with what his comrades wanted in the beginning of the story, but when he met Laia it really seemed like he was risking everything to keep her safe. 

"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."

The only thing I wasn't 100% sold on was the fantasy portion. I thought it would have been great without it, and there wasn't enough of it in the book to hold it's own as far as that goes. I wonder if Sabaa has something in mind about the fantasy portion for another book, which I'm sure will definitely bring things together more as far as that goes. But as a standalone, I don't think it was cleared up enough. Besides that, the book was entirely fantastic and I'm hoping there's a sequel! Did you read An Ember in the Ashes yet? If so, what did you think?