An Ember in the Ashes Review

**WARNING: Minor Spoilers**

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Title: An Ember in the Ashes 

Author: Sabaa Thair

Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)

Flap:

“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.”

So I will admit, I didn’t think I was going to like this. I had heard from that it wasn’t that good, and when I looked at the sample pages, I will admit I was not excited to see alternating points of view (POV).

But HOT DAMN!

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I started reading this on a cold weekend when I was in the mood to just sit in bed, under heating blankets, and read. And I DEVOURED it. I could not stop! I legit texted my mom that I wasn’t going to the gym, she was like “the book will still be there if I went to the gym”, and I was like “nope, too good to stop.”

I love the complexity of both Laia and Elias. Laia is a character I can relate to you from the first page. She is not Katniss or Hermonine. She shows a healthy dose of fear when trained killers come for her family. But then she spends the rest of the novel trying to atone for her cowardice (or as I see it, as reasonably healthy dose of self-preservation).

Elias is awesome! One of my favorite childhood books is Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. Elias reminds me of one of the characters in that series (I am not telling which one just so you can go and read the books and then guess who he reminds me of).

I could go on and on about this book. But seriously, this was a book I didn’t think I would love and then it was so beautiful, I couldn’t NOT love it.

Would I have tried to acquire? YES, I would have tried my hardest.

The Heartbreakers Review

Heartbreakers

Title: The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreak Chronicles)

Author: Ali Novak

Publisher: Sourcebook Fire

Flap Copy:

“ “When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. And he had no idea that I was the only girl in the world who hated his music.”

Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara―even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.

Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver ― dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band ― when her sister could be dying of cancer?”

This book was a bit of let down. As you all know, I am on a teen romance trip, but nothing seems to be hitting the spot. I like Novak’s previous book, but I just wasn’t feeling this one as much.

I like the secondary characters of the band more than Stella. But I wish Novak would have either embraced the full Hollywood teen romance, or the sick sister story. It waffled in between and as a result, I felt like neither side got the full attention it deserved.

Would I have acquired this? Not sure. I like Novak, and I feel like she has some solid stories, I just am not sure I could have pulled the story out of her that I wanted.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Review

Thorns and Roses

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Flap Copy:

“When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever.”

Welp, what can I say? This is definitely a book for older teen readers. But it was soooo good. Beauty and the Beast  meets Cupid and Pysche. I loved the give and take between Feyre and several of the characters. Maas is brilliant when it comes to creating tension and witty dialogue.

The book is on odd size though so it looks slim but it is actually a good size book. And I am not a fan of the jacket itself but Maas seems to be doing a good job with illustrated books for YA.

I would definitely acquire this.

Another Year, Another BEA

As the title suggests, another year has passed, and one of my favorite events of the publishing industry has arrived: BEA (Book Expo America). What is BEA, you might ask? Well it is a trade show where publishers from all over come together. There are panels, author signings, free books, everything you can possibly imagine.

Last year, I made out like a bandit. Last year, I went as a volunteer for two days and had one day to just spend fangirling over books. Last year, I didn’t work for a trade publisher.

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This year was a whole new ballgame.

This year, I could only attend for 3 hours, on a shared pass among the other staffers. This year, I didn’t have a suitcase to fill, only a canvas tote. Whatever I took needed to be worth it to haul across town later and back to work.

This was not the BEA I was used to but the one I should probably come to expect.

First off: some of the books I wanted were not available until later in the day when I was going to back at work. Some of the books are only available certain days, and some of the books were already gone.

So what did I grab? What was worthy of going into the tote?

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  1. Heartbreakers by Ali Novak. I have wanted to read this forever. I heard about it last year when I was an intern at Sourcebooks and it is FINALLY here.
  2. Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson.
  3. A Whole New World by Liz Braswell. Disney is doing this re-imagined YA series about some of their films. EPIC.

These were the books I wanted. But I had to hunt down one of my favorite smaller publishers, Thunderbay Books, to get to their line, World Cloud Classics.

Honestly, if you are looking to buy some classics for your home library or as a gift to someone, ALWAYS opt for these bad boys.

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Every year, I swing by and pick up a ton of these. They are gorgeous to look at; they are gorgeous to touch; they rock.

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This year, they have something new: Novel Journals. Same basic design style as the other line, BUT the lines where you usually write is the TEXT of the novel.20150529_144508

This is too beautiful. They gave me two bookmarks and a tote bag but let’s be honest:  I LOVE these people and their design team.

Unlike in year passed when I was on a roll for books, this year I slowed it down. I talked to people I know, I fangirled at Adam Silvera (I totally showed him the notebook), looked at a book I might want to buy (::gasp::), and I got a back massage.

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BEA as a working professional was different, but some things stay the same.

And I earned a post BEA treat.

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Notice!

Hello all! I have finally heard back from my job about this blog. Good news: I can keep it!

So now that everything is settled, you should expect to see awesome content soon; namely, BEA and BookCon posts after this weekend so until then…

The Hollywood Teen Romance I Need to Happen

Lately I have been feeling like I am all about the book reviews, which is fine, because it means I am reading (yay for reading!) and I have so many books to read.

But I am oddly not satisfied with my reading.

Don’t get me wrong, I have loved so many of the books I read. They are truly great, and I would love to have found them. But have you ever loved something so much, you ate it all the time, and even though you still love it, you also wonder what else could be done to make it better?

Take The Royal We for instance. If you read my review, you know how I feel. And as most of my friends can attest, I have been hankering (much like I would for tacos) for a princess book or a Hollywood teen romance.  A Royal We came along and I DEVOURED it. (In case you can’t tell, I am hungry). But it oddly left me wishing for something more.

Actually what I really want is an insightful book about Hollywood and romance. Rebecca Serle’ Famous in Love, which I was soo excited for, and then it fell flat for me, was a good spring board, but I want more.

I would recommend for anyone in the same boat to check out Emily Evans’ The Accidental Movie Star. It was closer to what I wanted to see then Serle’s book, though the TV show might end up fulfilling the things I wanted to see expanded on in her book.

Basically, I have been saying Hollywood Teen Romance would be the next thing. I have wanted it for at least three years now.

So the Hollywood teen (new adult?) romance I want would explore what happens after they get together. Say for instance, you ( a regular girl) met and started dating the heartthrob of Hollywood (I have no idea who I am imagining in this role, to be frank.  So for the time being just say the girl met a Henry Cavill looking man at a Starbucks (side note to my side note: He’s hot)).

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Marry me.

How would this relationship work? How would she feel about him being away to work? Maybe she is cool with it because she is not looking for a relationship, and is in her first year of college. How would he feel about having to be away? All those college parties are just ripe pickings for a hook-up. How to they navigate keeping their relationship secret from the paparazzi? Kate Middleton storyline!  And how do they deal with these hurdles as they become more involved?

I want this book. I want the nitty gritty of navigating this relationship. I want to see the actual Hollywood process!  This is my Hollywood teen romance.

Let me just orchestrate this.

UPDATE: I just found out Map to the Starsa Epic Reads Impulse title, is on this same premise. I promise to read and report back my findings.

Glass Arrow Review

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Title: Glass Arrow

Author: Kristen Simmons

Publisher: Tor Teen (Macmillan)

Flap Copy:

“Once there was a time when men and women lived as equals, when girl babies were valued, and women could belong only to themselves. But that was ten generations ago. Now women are property, to be sold and owned and bred, while a strict census keeps their numbers manageable and under control. The best any girl can hope for is to end up as some man’s forever wife, but most are simply sold and resold until they’re all used up.

Only in the wilderness, away from the city, can true freedom be found. Aya has spent her whole life in the mountains, looking out for her family and hiding from the world, until the day the Trackers finally catch her.

Stolen from her home, and being groomed for auction, Aya is desperate to escape her fate and return to her family, but her only allies are a loyal wolf she’s raised from a pup and a strange mute boy who may be her best hope for freedom . . . if she can truly trust him.”

I finished this book about two weeks ago. I have been sitting on it, mulling it over. In the heat of the moment, it was a really good book. It reminded me a lot of Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden Trilogy. And America being what it currently is (not getting into a rant about the validity of women’s rights), this book really struck home for me.

However, it is two weeks later, and my instant love of this book has dulled a bit.

When I think back on the book, I feel like there wasn’t that much done. It definitely could have been a bigger book. I don’t want to outline the whole plot, but trust me when I say, while things happened, timeline events felt like nothing happened.

I still like the book and definitely would have acquired it. I just might have asked that she added another 100 pages or something.