25 March 2017

An Amber in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Publication: April 28th, 2015 
# of Pages: 446
Source: Purchased Copy 

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.

This was probably one of the few books that I have read so far this year that has caused me a great amount of conflict. I thought at some point that I liked it, but then I found that I couldn't stand it at all. There were a few things that I enjoyed about this book, but a lot of things that I didn't. 

One of the aspects that I did enjoy was the concept of this broken world and the leaders who have utterly destroyed culture, the people, and generally anyone's way of living. It made me really think about what is going on in the world with various leaders who have spent a great amount of time limiting the resources of one or two groups because they do not fit into the mold of what may be typically expected. I also enjoyed the supernatural elements. While I thought that this novel was going to feel completely like a dystopian, I found that there were actually aspects of it that made it supernatural and more along the lines of fantasy. To be honest, it was those specific elements that actually continued to draw me in as a reader. 

There are several things about this book that drove me completely insane and actually made me dislike the book greatly. The first was the love "square." It's enough when a book has a love triangle, but a love square was more than my mind could actually handle. In addition to this, I found the world development to be lacking. It's a fantasy book; however, the world building was done so sparsely that I had a hard time even imagining what it was like in the world that these characters were living in. And since the world building wasn't there the plot fell through for me. There were times when I really enjoyed it and other times when I just thought "why am I still reading this book." To be honest, my opinion wraps down to the most simple of thoughts. I don't understanding the hype behind this book. I don't understand why people love it and I don't understand how it went from being marketed as a stand alone to now being a four part series. With that being said, I have been told that the second book is better so I will be giving it a try. 

If you're interested in reading this book, I won't completely discourage you from reading it, but I wouldn't highly recommend it either. 

24 March 2017

Friday #56, #28 American Street by Ibi Zoboi

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:

  • Grab a book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

**Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

Happy Reading!

So this week I've been currently reading one of my anticipated reads for the year and it's American Street by Ibi Zoboi. It's an #ownvoices book that focuses on a young girl who is forced to navigate Detroit on her own after her mother is detained in the airport when they are trying to immigrate from Haiti to America. It's gritty and often makes the reader uncomfortable, but so far I'm really enjoying it and I can't wait to give you guys my full insight to the book as a whole. 

"I do as she says. She takes the Bible and pats the seat next to her on the bed. I sit beside her and feel warm against mine. It almost feels like my mother's almost." 

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.
Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream? 

23 March 2017

Beauty & The Beast Tag

So I'm so excited about this tag for the simple fact that the movie has finally come out and I plan on seeing it this weekend. This tag originated on the blog Du Livre! Definitely go check it out. I wasn't tagged by anyone, but I thought that this would be a fun tag to do.

A Villain You Can't Help But Love
Draco Malfoy is a complete brat, but for some reason  I still completely love him as a character in this book. He goes through so much and ends up making a complete 180.

Your OTP 
Nana K and Nobu are like my dream couple from this manga, but I just have this sick little feeling that it's not going to work out :( 

A Character That's Destined for Bigger Things
August is an amazing character and I truly believe that he will have a lot more going for him past his success at his 5th grade graduation.

A Book That Makes You Hungry 
I don't know anybody who doesn't think that this manga makes them hungry.

Opposites Attract 
Okay, Evie and Sam are complete opposites, but in this book they are DEFINITELY attracted to each other haha.

I don't have anyone in particular to tag so just go ahead and have at it! haha It's a great tag! Especially if you are a fan of Beauty and the Beast. 

22 March 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday #3, The Woods Vol. 6

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at WishfulEndings. She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Expected Publication: March 23, 2017 

I fell in love with this comic book last year and just binged volumes #1-4. I decided to wait to read volume #5 until the closer release date to the 6th volume and it's finally here. Haha it actually comes out tomorrow so you know I'm really excited to read it. The artwork is different and it definitely can be classified in the genre of science fiction. If you haven't checked it out I would definitely recommend getting it as soon as possible. 

A Midwestern high school is transported into the middle of an Alien forest. This is the story of what happens next.

Having been stranded in an alien wilderness for well over a year, the former students of Bay Point Preparatory High School have had to grow up fast – first simply to survive, and later to build some kind of life on this foreign moon. But conflict rears its ugly head again as The Horde begins conscripting athletes to raise an army, separating and scattering the other survivors throughout New London. And as the growing threat of an upcoming massacre approaches, time is quickly running out to salvage the society Bay Point has become . . .

Written by James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, Memetic), and illustrated by Michael Dialynas (Gotham Academy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), The Lost collects the critically acclaimed sixth arc of this bestselling series.

21 March 2017

Top 10 Tuesday: Books To Read When You're Short on Time

Happy Tuesday everyone! It's Tuesday so that means another Top 10 Tuesday hosted by the ladies over at the Broke and the Bookish. This weeks theme focused on books that either are really short, books that we've read in one sitting, books that have kept us reading all day, or as in my case books to read when you're short on time. A lot of books on my list are either comics or manga! I hope this gives you some new stuff to try out! : )

Persepolis. This is a great graphic memoir that illustrates Iran in the late 1970s during the Iranian Revolution. I had to read this my freshman year of college and I've read it twice since then. It is an unforgettable book that takes no time to read. Percy Jackson & The Olympians. I used the cover for the Battle of the Labyrinth; however, this entire series is great to read when you're short on time. I know this because I binged the entire series in about a week. : ) Fables. This list wouldn't be complete without including fables. Like all comics, this series is really great to read when you are looking for a quick read and some fairy-tale retellings.

Food Wars. Once again I used volume 3 for the artwork, but this entire series is great for anyone who is interested in reading a great manga when they are short on time. It has dynamic characters and an amazing and interesting plot line. Alex + Ada. This series is short and contains a great plot for those who are interested in science fiction. Lying Out Loud. I know that this is a quick read because I read it in one sitting. In fact, if you ever need a book to read in a short period of time I would definitely recommend anything by Kody Keplinger.

Nana. This is another great manga series to check out if you are looking for great characters and storyline even if you don't have enough time. Zodiac Starforce. Kick-ass females is all I need to say here. Impulse. If you ever don't have enough time to read, any works by Ellen Hopkins are great.

Between the World & Me. This is such a powerful book and to be so short you'll be amazed that this book leaves you with such a powerful impression. I absolutely loved it when I read it.

If you're interested in learning more about some of these books or books by the same authors check out my reviews below:

Nana Vol. 1 & 2 
Food Wars Vol. 1, 2, 3, & 4
Alex + Ada 
Jack of Fables Vol. 1 & 2 (same author as Fables series)
Embroideries (same author as Persepolis)
Between The World & Me 

20 March 2017

Thrive by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Publication: July 18, 2014
# of Pages: 425
Source: E-book 

When rumors spread like wildfire—like having three-ways with her boyfriend’s rock climbing brother—Lily Calloway spirals into a dark place. Her bedroom. Loren Hale is more confident and determined to keep their sex life private, even from their friends, and he helps Lily in the only way he knows how. But how much love is too much? 

Their lives are filmed, watched, and criticized. And through it all, Lily and Loren have to face enemies they never thought they’d see, demons they don’t know if they should bury, and setbacks they didn’t think they’d meet. Not this soon. 

And one rumor could be too much for them to handle. It will test their greatest limitations, and if they don’t hold onto each other, someone is going to drown. 

I am such a huge fan of this series. The writing style and the characters are phenomenal and I'm so happy that I was recommended this series last year. If you haven't read any of these books I would definitely be cautious reading this review as it may contain spoilers for earlier books. Keep in mind that this series must be read in a particular order to get the full picture that the authors intended for the readers. 

Thrive is what can almost be considered a flash back to the things that took place during the first two Calloway sisters books. While I found those two novels spectacular, I honestly didn't find that much interest in this installment. Here's the thing, a lot of the information that was found in this novel was information that we already knew from the other novels. The reader just got the opportunity to see everything from the perspective of Lily and Lo. While I love these two characters, they aren't my favorite couple. Regardless of the fact that I felt as though the information in the book was quite repetitive, there were some things that I did enjoy. 

I loved being inside the heads of Lily and Lo again. The series began with their struggles as a sex addict and alcoholic. It was particularly interesting to see how Lily and Lo were affected by the hardships of their fellow housemates and also with the introduction of all six characters being placed on a reality show. It is heartwarming to see how much they have grown as a couple and how much they have grown individually. It isn't a perfect love story and each character still struggles with their internal demons. Lily still has trouble controlling her impulses for sex, not with other men but simply controlling the amount of times she has sex with Lo. And Lo still struggles with the concept of not reaching for a drink every time he struggles with life, the media, and his relationship with his father. 

As with all of the other novels, I love the fact that although these books contain explicit content they have an amazing and thorough plot. The description may throw some individuals off; however, it definitely is a great series that everyone should give a try at some point especially if you're interested in checking out more new adult. The writing and the characters of this series continue to amaze me. I just wanted a little bit more from this novel. I definitely will be continuing and hopefully finishing the series this year. 

14 March 2017

TLC Book Tours: All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today I'm working with TLC Book Tours to showcase Dorothea Benton Franks's novel All Summer Long. Below you'll find the schedule for others that have also read and reviewed this book as a part of the tour. 

# of Pages: 
Source: Review Copy 

Filled with her trademark wit, poignant themes, and rich characters, the perennial New York Times bestselling author returns with a sensational novel that follows the travels of one couple though a tumultuous summer.

Dorothea Benton Frank’s magical stories take us deep into the heart of her beloved Carolina Lowcountry. In her novels, this lush landscape comes alive in all its vibrancy and color. She ignites all of our senses with her vivid descriptions of landscape and atmosphere. In her novels you hear the ocean washing the shore on different islands so profoundly that you can nearly hear the sea gulls squawking, too.

This is a story of people whose lives are changing—a southern gentleman returning home to lead a more peaceful life and his talented New York wife who is not quite sure she is ready to make the transition. They are moving north to south, fast pace versus slow pace, downsizing. And while they are doing this, they are getting glimpses into other people’s lives over the course of a summer, holidays that will amuse, shock and transform them.

This irresistible story is home to captivating characters as funny, complicated, and real as our best friends—husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, friends and family who wrestle with the complexities, pain, and joys familiar to us all.

Finally, we’ll come to recognize the face of love, the kind that deepens and endures but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. That leap changes them all.

For the first time in a very long time I don't really have much thoughts or words to say about a book which makes writing this review extremely difficult. I wasn't able to finish this book. I tried and tried and tried; however, I couldn't for the life of me relate to the characters. I found them to be shallow and at some times condescending. At first I thought I was going to be able to relate to the fact that Olivia was genuinely struggling with funds and finances as an interior designer; however, it didn't make it any more entertaining and Olivia was still surrounded by money and luxury. 

In terms of location, I loved that the book took place in the low country considering that's where I'm from, but I just feel like it was painted as a place of money and glamour and it definitely isn't that way, at least not everywhere. The drama between the women was unnecessary and to some degree took away from aspects of the novel that could have actually been enjoyable. The plot moved fast enough, but I really do feel as though the characters lacked the depth and sincerity that I was looking for. 

The one thing that I did like about this book is the fact that for the parts I did get through the writing was smooth and easy almost lyrical . It's clear to see that this authors books aren't difficult reads and are definitely great for spring or summer time reads. I can't genuinely recommend this book because I didn't enjoy it, nor did I finish it. If the summary sounds like something you might enjoy then go for it, but otherwise I don't think I'll be reading anymore of her books. 

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She resides in the New York area with her husband.
Find her on the web at www.dotfrank.com, or like her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.