Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry (Thunder Road #1)

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“Nowhere But Here” by Katie McGarry

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Emily is happy with her quiet, peaceful life. She loves her mom and adoptive father, Jeff, and she doesn’t feel the need to explore her family ties on her biological father, Eli’s, side. Once a year he comes to visit, upsetting Emily’s comfortable routine, and then he leaves and her life returns to normal. After Eli goes back to his side of the tracks, Emily resumes her daily life of peaceful, safe predictability, and she is perfectly happy with the arrangement. But when a family member dies on Eli’s side, her parents take her to Kentucky to say hello and goodbye to someone she hasn’t met before.

What was supposed to be a short visit for Emily becomes a summer stay. The opposing motorcycle club across the tracks are after Emily for reasons unknown to her, and the only way to remain safe is to stay with Eli’s family. The unexpected shift in plans aren’t ideal, but the longer Emily stays in Kentucky, the more this off-beat family grows on her. Emily had always understood that family was more than blood, thanks to her adoptive father, but the bond between this group of people is fascinating to her. As long as she’s been separated from this half of herself, Emily wonders if she can somehow be accepted by this loyal family that has chosen to protect her?

But bigger problems are at hand than whether the Reign of Terror motorcycle club will accept her or not. Lies surround Eli’s and her mother’s past together, and Emily doesn’t know who she can trust. Despite all of her doubts towards the rest of the club, Emily feels drawn to Oz, as if she can, should, trust him. Caught between the Reign of Terror’s and the Riot Club’s age-old war, Emily desperately searches for answers concerning her past and a way to unravel the lies everyone has told her. With the Riot Club determined to see her hurt or worse, Emily wonders how she and the members of the Reign of Terror are going to survive the coming storm.

 I am such a huge Katie McGarry fan! She is such an amazing writer and really the only contemporary author that I like to read. I’m sure that there are other good YA contemporary authors out there, but Katie McGarry has been the only author who has continued to keep my attention and capture my heart as I read her books. For me, it has been basically Jenny Han’s “To All the Boys I’ve Love Before” duology and Katie McGarry’s series in the contemporary world that I have loved to read and reread. That being said, I was both anxious and excited about Katie McGarry starting a new series.

I loved “Dare You To” and “Crash Into You” from Katie McGarry’s “Pushing the Limits” series because of how they made me cry and cheer for her different characters; I especially loved “Crash Into You” because Isaiah and Rachel were so great together, and I loved how each of them grew as individuals. “Crash In You” was one of those books that just completely melted my heart, and it remains a favorite of mine. As much as I love Katie McGarry and her previous books, I was a little scared about starting a new series with a completely different concept. I think that most dedicated book readers eventually feel that way when they are madly in love with a series/trilogy an author has written, but then something new and unfamiliar comes along and it makes them anxious as to whether the new series/trilogy will be as good as the previous one. I was there before I read “Nowhere But Here”; I was really excited for a new, fresh story from Katie, but I was also a little worried that I might not like it as much as her other books. I wasted a lot of energy worrying because “Nowhere But Here” was a fantastic new story to start off what looks to be a great series!

“Nowhere But Here” felt very different from both “Dare You To” and “Crash Into You,” and I kinda liked that. As much as I love those two books, it was refreshing to have the same caliber of writing from a beloved author while experiencing a new concept. I loved how the motorcycle club and the family it had formed was at the heart of this story, and that aspect did remind me a bit of a motorcycle version of “Crash Into You.” I definitely prefer cars, especially when they’re classic sport cars, but the motorcycles were very cool and interesting. As important motorcycles were to the people in this book, family meant more.

Oz was a very interesting male lead. When I first started reading “Nowhere But Here,” I assumed that he was going to be the bad boy character that the girl would help to redeem. I’ll admit it, I was completely wrong. My sister pointed out that Oz, if anything, was like Ryan from “Dare You To,” and I have to agree with that assessment. Yes, Oz was in a motorcycle club, but he was straight-laced, high school graduated, law-abiding citizen. Dare I say it, but he was kind of goodie-to-shoes in “Nowhere But Here”! Honestly, I thought that was smart of Katie McGarry because there are a lot of bad boy characters out there to the point that they are fairly unoriginal, and Oz felt pretty distinct from that stereotype due to his more straight-laced personality. Obviously there will come a book with the bad boy who will get redeemed, and definitely I’ll enjoy it, but I liked that the start of this new series ended up being a little from what I expected in both characters and approach. I ended up liking Oz as a character, and I thought that his loyalty to the club, which was his family, and it was quite interesting.

Emily reminded me a little bit of Rachel from “Crash Into You,” (I got to stop comparing these books!), and I liked her. She had her fears which were the result of some traumatizing events during her childhood, and I thought that it was interesting watching her grow as a person in “Nowhere But Here.” Despite all of the stuff she had gone through and the way everyone was lying to her in this book, she did not choose to cower and hide from what was happening. Emily had her moments of being afraid, but don’t we all? I enjoyed that she felt a bit more real than some of the female characters that I have read in contemporary fiction, and that was nice. Rachel from “Crash Into You” was the most relatable female character that I’ve read, but Emily was a close second.

I liked Emily and Oz together, but what really hit me in the feels about this book was the relationship she had with her adoptive father, Jeff. Jeff and Emily hurt my heart in a good way, and their’s is the best father-daughter relationship that I think I have ever read. They had a truly beautiful and heartwarming relationship, and I kinda wish that there had been more of them interacting in “Nowhere But Here” than with the other relatives on the motorcycle club’s side.

There a fair amount of side characters in this story, all with bit parts except for Eli and Olivia. I hate to say it, but I REALLY disliked Olivia. Maybe it’s because I was comparing my gentle, sweet, and spunky grandma to the very abrasive Olivia, but I did not like her. I felt really bad that she had cancer and I was so sad that she was suffering, but I still wasn’t a fan. Another thing that I didn’t like was that she was really judgemental of Emily’s mom and pushy with Emily when she really had no right to be. I especially didn’t like when she wouldn’t give her granddaughter the full truth, and when she did give her something, it was always in riddled pieces that took a lot of time to put together. Honestly, just be honest and tell Emily! I liked Cyrus, her husband, but the matriarch of this family bothered me. Now that I’ve rambled on about Olivia, I just want say that I thought Eli was a pretty good character. I disliked how much he lied to Emily, but I do get why he did it even though it was wrong of him to do so. Plus he was no Jeff.

This book was really enjoyable, and it was a fast read too! I sat down for an afternoon reading session and finished it just before dinner; considering the fact that it’s nearly 500 pages, it was definitely an addictive read. I really liked “Nowhere But Here” and I thought that it was just as good as Katie McGarry’s previous books while feeling really new and fresh. “Crash Into You” will forever and always remain my favorite Katie McGarry book, but I really liked the story of “Nowhere But Here,” and I am really looking forward to reading the next book in this series. I have a feeling that Razor’s story will be a very interesting one!

Food for thought…

Now my sister was reading “Crash Into You” earlier tonight, and she recognized a name in it from “Nowhere But Here.” McKinley was the family name of Eli, Emily’s biological father, and in “Crash Into You,” Isaiah talked with his mom about his dad and they went to the cemetery where his dad was buried. The name on the headstone was “James McKinley.” Isaiah’s mom told him that James was a great guy, came from a big and good family, and that he died in a car crash before Isaiah was born. The real kicker (besides the same last name) was when Isaiah’s mom said, “James loved motocycles…”—“Crash Into You” (page 456). My sister literally blew my mind with this connection of the two series, and I read that scene for myself to fully let it sink in. I am really hoping that there might be a possible crossover of Isaiah in the “Thunder Road” series.

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So far I haven’t read any review that have made this connection, so I am really curious if anyone else picked up on this subtly hint like my (observational genius) sister did. Thanks for reading!

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)

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“A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Hard times have taken nearly everything away from Feyre, and even though she is the youngest of three daughters, she has become the sole provider for her family. The burden of a promise she made long ago weighs Feyre down, but so far she has managed not to break it and has kept her family alive for all of these years. But one cold, harsh day in winter changes Feyre’s life forever.

Driven deep into the dangerous forests near the Wall, the only thing that separates the Mortal Realm from the realm of the Fae, Feyre kills a what appeared to be a great wolf so that she and her family can eat. But the creature she killed wasn’t a wolf at all, but a Fae that had crossed the Wall, and such a mistake will cost Feyre her future, her life. After a deadly, beast-like creature bursts into her family’s home, Feyre is given two choices: die now for her crime or live out a life sentence across the Wall in Prythian. The choice Feyre makes takes her to Prythian, a land unlike any other she has ever seen, as a prisoner of the beast, Tamlin.

The Spring Court appears as beautiful and bright as the ancient legends have said, but looks are just as deceiving in Tamlin’s land as they can be in Feyre’s world. Her first impression of Tamlin was also deceiving, and the longer Feyre lives in the Spring Court, the less beast she sees in him than man. Feyre doesn’t understand why, but she is drawn to him and the mysterious land he lives in. Secrets encircle the faeries of this Court, and Feyre is determined to find out why everyone on Tamlin’s manor wears a mask and why they act so suspiciously all the time. Something dark and vicious lives within the Spring Court, and some unknown force drives Feyre to uncover the truth behind its link to Tamlin before it is too late.

“A Court of Thorns and Roses” was a truly addictive read. My older sister was super sweet and she let me borrow it, and I sat down that afternoon, consuming it in practically one sitting. I was utterly captivated by Sarah J. Maas’s new version of the beloved “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale, and I was surprised by just how much I ended up liking it. I had read “Throne of Glass” a few years ago, and I enjoyed Sarah’s writing style, but high fantasy fiction is just not my deal. A much as I liked “Throne of Glass,” I didn’t end up following the rest of the series because of the high fantasy themes in it. “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” however, became one of the first traditional (fae, fairy tale themes, etc.) high fantasy books to truly hold my attention. Sarah J. Maas completely captured my heart with the fantastical world she created within this book, and I adored how it transported me to the beautiful and fierce land of Prythian.

The world that Sarah J. Maas created in “A Court of Thorns and Roses” was stunning and layered, with parts of the book shifting from the dreary coldness of the human world deep in the winter season to the bright, earthy, and ethereal atmosphere of the Spring Court. Each land that Sarah took me through was distinct in feeling and looks; I was so impressed with how markedly different each of her lands felt within this book, and it made for such an all-encompassing story. It was truly magical!

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One of the things that I am really looking forward to in the next book in this series is learning more about the Courts, how they function, and what kinds of fae live in them. I loved the map in the front of this book and I can’t wait until I can fill in the “blanks” concerning all of the Courts!

In the past year or two of reading, I have really grown to love world-building. I love how it draws me into the story as well as giving me a taste of the environment that the characters live in, and I love how it feels be taken to a place I’ve never visited before. But what I love most of all about world building is that it gives me the opportunity to understand the characters in the book. When an author builds their world well, I feel that I can connect with the story and characters so much better because I understand where they come from; it doesn’t always mean that I’ll adore the characters, but it really does help me. Sarah J. Maas not only delivered on the requirement of fabulous, in-depth world building, but she also managed to create equally fantastic and intriguing characters.

I ended up liking Feyre as the protagonist a lot. In the beginning of this book she came off a bit prickly because she’d had a rough life, and the toll of taking care of her family all by herself had jaded her. I was completely okay with that fact because I understood where Feyre was coming due to Sarah’s effortless world building; the human world I was introduced to was cold and heartless, and only the strong could survive in it. Feyre had a tough exterior with a mildly tough interior because, in her eyes, that was the only way for her to survive in the Mortal Realm. I found it interesting while reading “A Court of Thorns and Roses” that the environments, whether it was the Faery or Mortal Realm, reflected what was happening internally with the characters and vice versa. Feyre appeared to be neck-deep in despair during the first act of this book which could be seen in the cold, harsh undertones of the human world, but as the second act commenced, Feyre began to blossom into a more hopeful individual while she lived in Tamlin’s Court. The Spring Court had its own dark underbelly, but the way Sarah J. Maas wrote it made the Court seem like it was brimming full of life and light with its gorgeous gardens, thick magical forests, and ethereal creatures. There were a few scenes that displayed the Spring Court’s brokenness, but mostly I envisioned it to be beautiful and bright.

There were designated Lords over each of the Courts in this world, and Tamlin was Lord of the Spring Court. I went into “A Court of Thorns and Roses” without any expectations for the character of the Beast. Traditionally, the Beast was initially cruel towards Belle and her father, and he was a fairly ferocious creature. Obviously Belle brought out the good in him, but I went into this book being a little wary because, yes I loved the movie, but I didn’t know how I would feel about a guy character being that unkind towards the heroine in a book. I shouldn’t have worried, though, because Tamlin ended up being the less prickly of the two main characters. I liked Tamlin a lot because he never acted like the Beast in that he wasn’t brutish or vicious (he was a little broody at times, but I could get over that). Obviously, the Beast from the original fairy tale was pretty mean at first, but I felt like Tamlin was never that way except for when he first came and got Feyre to take her to Prythian. It was an unexpected, but not unwelcome, twist to the original tale. After I had finished reading “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” my sister and I started to chat about it and she pointed out that Tamlin was actually the one to engage Feyre in conversation and he helped her to become less wary of her surroundings. Tamlin had his moments of being the Beast, but for the most part he acted more kindly towards Feyre than she did to him. I really liked that Sarah wrote it that way because even though I wasn’t in his head while reading “A Court of Thorns and Roses” I could still get a feel of his character while reading. Tamlin was a strong male lead and I liked what Sarah did to the original fairy tale’s character to make him her own.

Both Feyre and Tamlin were really great characters, and Sarah J. Maas did a wonderful job developing them. I thought that the romance between them was well-founded and it never went into insta-love territory, so I really appreciated that while reading “A Court of Thorns and Roses.” I also really loved some of the side characters like Lucien, who ended up being fabulous! I’m hoping that Lucien will be a main player (or hero) of the next book in this series because he was just so great! One thing that irritated/scared me about this book, though, was Rhysand. I am sorry, but I hated him! Most of the bloggers that I follow really liked his character, but he was just SO evil and he never showed me that I should consider him as anything more than wicked; if anyone was a beast in this story, it was Rhysand. I really hope that Sarah J. Maas doesn’t take us readers into love triangle territory concerning this character, and that is honestly my biggest fear for the next book.

Rhysand aside, another aspect of this book that I found interesting was how the “Beauty and the Beast” curse was approached, and once again Sarah did a lovely job of making the original fairy tale her own while paying homage to it. I loved that I could almost see both the scenes of this book and the movie “Beauty and the Beast” playing-out side by side, and I could pick out which moments matched up and also what was different about them. It was really ingenious of Sarah J. Maas to write and recreate this beautiful fairy tale.

As I said before, I basically read this book in an afternoon. It was addictive and consuming, and page after page I kept reading until I got to about page 300, and at that point, the story slowed a bit because it got darker in feeling and theme. I wish that it had stayed in that etherial, magical place forever, but I did understand that Sarah had to change it up so that numerous issues could be addressed. I didn’t like it, but I understood. Seriously, though, those last hundred pages were brutal, so prepare yourself. I kinda wanted to yell at Sarah a couple of times to stop all of that from happening!

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Considering the chaos that Sarah unleashed upon her characters in the third and final act of “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” I thought she did a pretty good job of wrapping it up so that some questions were answered before new ones were introduced. “A Court of Thorns and Roses” was a really great read, and Sarah J. Maas did a fantastic job of creating vivid, dynamic characters and a beautifully fearsome world. Sarah also managed to take the story of “Beauty and the Beat” and stayed true to it while having made it entirely her own; “A Court of Thorns and Roses” read like a fairy tale, but it also felt unique and fresh. Overall, I think this book was one of the best retellings I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes #1)

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“An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

After a raid by Martial legionnaires, Laia is left without a family, without a home. She would be dead alongside her grandparents if it hadn’t been for her older brother, Darin, who sacrificed himself so that she could flee into the night. The guilt and shame of her cowardice that night is suffocating her, and Laia is determined to free her brother from whatever terrifying prison the Martials have condemned him to. Afraid and alone, Laia discovers a rebel group that agrees to help save her brother from the Martials, but the deal is not without its risks. To get Darin back, Laia must pretend to be a slave at the Blackcliff Academy and serve the most deadly person within its walls: the Commandant. One wrong move and Laia could die, and then she’ll lose her one and only chance at redemption, at saving her brother.

Elias has been planning his desertion of the Blackcliff Academy for some time now. He loathes the Academy for all of the death and pain he has inflicted upon others in its name, and he wants nothing to do with it anymore. The day he graduates, Elias plans to leave Blackcliff and its horrors behind him forever; his only regret is lying to his best friend, Helene and that he will have to leave her behind when the time comes. But if she knew, faithful Mask that she is, she would tell on him and he would end up in a Martial prison or worse. Secrets and false sincerity before the Martial Empire has kept him alive at Blackcliff, and a few more days of it won’t kill him. Freedom is within his grasp and he won’t waste his one and only chance at having it.

 As Elias and Laia fight to gain their freedom from the Martial Empire, their paths cross and these two unlikely allies will have to rely on one another to survive. With the odds stacked against them, can Elias and Laia find the freedom, the redemption, they crave, or was fate against them from the start?

Sabaa Tahir’s debut was truly amazing. I am so impressed that this was her first novel because of how well-paced and developed the story of “An Ember in the Ashes” was, and I was also impressed with how dynamic and fleshed out her characters were. Sabaa created a vivid, lush, and evocative world that drew me in from page one. For world building alone this book deserves four stars!

Sabaa Tahir’s world in “An Ember in the Ashes” resembles the Roman Empire, and her social dynamics between the Martials and the Scholars were reminiscent of the relations between the Romans and Greeks. Rome conquered Greece, they stole their culture and “Romanized” it while enslaving the Greeks, and they claimed all of the Mediterranean as theirs. The Martials did to the Scholars exactly what Rome did to Greece, and another similarity was that the Scholars were the philosophers and slaves whereas the Martials practiced warfare and dominated by force, killing or enslaving those who do not submit to their authority. I really liked “An Ember in the Ashes” for the fact that, at moments, it felt like a historical recounting of those two civilizations, and I loved how I could see the influences of Grecian and Roman dynamics reflected in this book’s social and cultural atmosphere. Another reason why I loved learning about Sabaa’s world was because the more I knew about it, the more easily I could understand her characters and where they were coming from.

I really enjoyed Laia’s as a character. Most of the reviewers on goodreads and on some of the blogs didn’t like Laia’s perspective because they felt like she was weak and too timid to be a “good” heroine. In their opinion, she was no Tris or Katniss, and I thank God for that! To be quite honest, the things that reviewers didn’t like about Laia are the things that actually made me like her. Laia had grown up under the tyrannical and oppressive rule of the Martial Empire, and Scholars such as herself were treated like dirt. Because of that, Laia fears and timidity made sense to me. She wasn’t a go-out-and-conquer-the-world kind of person, even though she desperately wished she was; Laia wanted to be brave and courageous like her brother and her parents, but she didn’t know how. I loved Laia because she was real, she had fears that overwhelmed her and made her keep quite when she should speak up, but she was also kind and she loved her family fiercely and wanted to protect them. Characters like Katniss and Tris are very irritating to me because of how cold and unfeeling they can be towards people, and yet they are hailed as amazing people and strong females. Yeah, sure, they can kill someone at the drop of a hat and without batting an eyelash, but those kinds of actions don’t equate a strong person. I liked Laia because she had an amazing heart and she wasn’t a warrior in the physical sense. As “An Ember in the Ashes” progressed, however, she started to grow a lot as a person and she became a much stronger, and more courageous individual. Laia had paralyzing fears, but she slowly learned to not give in to them or allow them to control her life.

I also loved Laia because she responded to the horrors of her world similarly to how one of us actually would, yet she grew as a character into a strong young woman who could be brave despite her fears, even if she couldn’t wield a sword all that well. I think one of the things I loved so much about this book was that Elias’s and Laia’s characters showed very different kinds of strength: mental, emotional, and physical strength. Both Elias and Laia were strong individuals, but they had very different forms of strength.There are so many ways a person can be strong, and I like that Sabaa showed so many of the forms that strength can come in through each of her characters and the journey she took them on.

Elias was a pretty good male lead. I thought that he was interesting considering his situation (being a Martial, and a Mask at that) and how he’d still retained his humanity, and that made him a more dynamic character. Elias’s main struggled was with figuring out if he could still have a soul after what he had done throughout the years, but as a reader I could see that he still had a good heart. He wasn’t malicious like a lot of the other Masks and despite some of the awful things he had done, I ended up liking Elias. He was a pretty well-developed character, and I found his struggle between surviving and keeping true to who he actually was to be really interesting. I wanted for him to be free of Blackcliff and its never-ending horrors, but time and time again, Elias got sucked back into that awful place, and it wasn’t until he met Laia that the cycle shifted so that it could be broken.

It took until about halfway (or just over) through “An Ember in the Ashes” for Laia and Elias to really meet each other; they had encountered one another before, but not like this, where I as a reader could see something come in the future from that moment. This wonderful scene that Sabaa Tahir wrote happened when Laia and her little friend from Blackcliff were in the Scholar district while a festival was taking place. In those handful of chapters, Laia and Elias met, and it was so lush and vivid compared to the grit and grime of the rest of the book that those chapters ended up being my absolute favorites in this book. I wish that there had been more scenes like that one because I think they would have made me like this book more! I felt like that scene also helped to develop Laia’s and Elias’s personalities outside of Blackcliff, and I liked seeing them in a different environment. In that moment, “An Ember in the Ashes” wasn’t just gritty and harrowing, it was dynamic and interest, especially with Keenan and the Tribal woman added into the mix. Sadly, though, this was also the only real moment where I felt like Elias and Laia connected. I kinda wanted to ship them during that scene, but there just wasn’t enough of moments like that one in the remainder of “An Ember in the Ashes” for me to fully jump on the Laia/Elias train; I liked Elias and Laia separately, but I’m definitely not a shipper..

Helene, Elias’s best friend, is the last character I want to discuss in-depth. Helene was the other “main” character in “An Ember in the Ashes” despite the fact this book did not shift entirely to her perspective.  A lot of people preferred Helene to Laia as a female lead, and I can see why: she’s a more likeable version of Katniss Everdeen. Helene is a warrior, a Mask, who held her own in the Blackcliff Academy. She was also the only female recruit on the Academy’s grounds, and she and Elias had a lot of history together. Helene was far more likeable to me than Katniss, but she still exuded the same instinct to kill rather than evaluating the consequences that could result from her actions. She was fiercely faithful and loyal to those she loved and I really admired that about her, but I still felt like she was too abrasive for my taste. I didn’t dislike Helene, but I was not the hugest fan. She was a strong female character in both determination and physical attributes, so I won’t discredit that. Helene was a strong, independent, and smart character, and I thought that her and Elias’s dynamic was interesting, but I just preferred Laia’s quiet determination of overcoming her fears to Helene’s ferocious desire to be the best at the Blackcliff Academy. At times, it felt like Helene forsook her humanity to get business done, and that’s just not my style.

All of Sabaa’s characters were pretty amazing, so I think that the only thing that I didn’t like about “An Ember in the Ashes” was the supernatural element. For me, the creatures and special powers that were interspersed throughout this book felt a bit unnecessary; Sabaa’s world was already amazingly well-designed and I was completely engrossed, and I also liked that idea of it being more like a high fantasy in the sense that the world was epic, yet had those Greco-Roman themes. Lots of people loved the supernatural creatures added to this book, but for me, they were a little off-putting and they felt a bit random in the already extremely gritty world that Sabaa Tahir had written. I did love the metal-like masks that soldiers like Elias wore, but beyond that, I don’t feel like the supernatural elements ended up being pivotal to this story.

Other than the mythical creatures and supernatural abilities that were incorporated into “An Ember in the Ashes,” I enjoyed this story. A lot of brutal things happened in it because the world itself was brutal and unforgiving, but Sabaa Tahir did a great job of creating characters and moments that reminded her readers that there is always hope, and people have the ability to change the world if they let that spark stay alive. Laia and Elias were sparks, embers, in a world of despair and pain, and they held great power within themselves because they didn’t let their hope burn out. They fought back against the soul-crushing hopelessness that consumed those around them with all they had, and I’m interested in seeing how Sabaa plans on revolutionizing the world they live in.

This book is definitely not for the faint of heart or those looking for a light read, but I ended up enjoying; I didn’t love it, but it was a well-written and interesting book to read. I would recommend “An Ember in the Ashes” to fans of the “Prince of Persia” movie, or anyone looking for an epic fantasy book to read.

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

I had entered a giveaway about two months that was posted by a blogger who hosted an interview with one of my favorite authors, Katie McGarry. Nova and Katie McGarry are fabulous ladies, and I was so excited when I got an email from Nova a week ago telling me that I had won the giveaway! The prize was a Katie McGarry book of my choice, and so I asked Nova if I would be able to choose “Nowhere But Here,” which wasn’t slated to release until May 26th. I kind of put it out there knowing that it wouldn’t happen, and I ended up writing that if “Nowhere But Here” wouldn’t work out, then I would love “Crash Into You.” I didn’t expect my prize to be “Nowhere But Here” and I was personally just excited to have won a Katie McGarry book in a giveaway, but lo and behold, the mail lady came and dropped off a yellow bubble envelope with this heavenly item inside of it.

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When I began unwrapping it, I could see the ‘n’ peeking out from behind the yellow paper and the tape, and I immediately started to shriek as only a fangirl can.  

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I was in shock that Katie McGarry had sent me “Nowhere But Here,” which isn’t out for two more weeks, and she even signed it!! *faints* I ended up running into my sister’s room screaming, shouting, and jumping up and down! (I honestly did not know I could jump that high…) Once the shock wore off, I was kinda just like,

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Thanks for reading, and hopefully I will have a review to share with you all soon!

Release Day Blitz: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

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I am so excited that “The Wrath and the Dawn” by Renée Ahdieh releases today and that I get to share the news, along with a special introduction from Renée herself! If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Renée Ahdieh, be sure to check out all the details below. This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed copies of her book and some beautiful book inspired scarves, courtesy of Renée, Penguin Teen, and Rockstar Book Tours. If you’d like a chance to win, keep reading and then enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post!
 
18798983 The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
 Title: THE WRATH & THE DAWN
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Pub. Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 388
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads
 
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A
Thousand and One Nights
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Summary of “The Wrath and the Dawn”:
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn.
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 Letter from the author:
  There are not enough words to express how thrilled I am to share THE WRATH AND THE DAWN with you! From the moment I typed the first word, I felt connected to Shahrzad and her world in a way that carried me through the long process of publication to where we are today. Everything about this process has been a dream come true, and hope you love my book half as much as I enjoyed writing it.
In celebration of release day, I’ll be giving away a signed, first edition hardcover of the book, as well as a gorgeous scarf . . . or two!
Always remember to make it a story worthy of you!
 
Renée
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Renée author
About Renée:
Renée lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, she likes to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.
She’s also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and
Illustrators, as well as an active member of theScience Fiction &
Fantasy Writers of America.
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Renée

Comments are always welcome on my blog, and I’m sure  Renée would love to hear from you all!

Here’s an optional question to answer if you comment: What are you excited about that makes you want to read “The Wrath and the Dawn”?

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Giveaway Details!
 3 winners will receive a hardcover of “The Wrath and the Dawn” and a beautiful book inspired scarf! US Only.
Ends on May 22nd at Midnight EST!

Click on the link to enter! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZTIzODliYTI4ZTEzMGVjODBhNzA2MmFmMTU3YWM3OjI5OQ==/

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Cover Reveal: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Guys, it’s here! The cover for Marie Rutkoski’s “The Winner’s Kiss” has officially been revealed and a summary with it.

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Saying I’m excited for “The Winner’s Kiss” is an understatement. Marie Rutkoski is a magician of a writer, and “The Winner’s Trilogy” is one of my most favorite series/trilogies that I have EVER read! *starts to cry* Her writing is just so beautiful and I want more!

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Okay, here’s the cover for the magnificent conclusion to “The Winner’s Trilogy.”

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I’m SO excited for “The Winner’s Kiss,” and it’s going to be a long year waiting for its release….

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If you’re interested in reading the synopsis of “The Winner’s Kiss,” visit this link to the blog that did the official cover reveal: http://www.bustle.com/articles/82384-marie-rutkowskis-the-winners-kiss-closes-her-winners-trilogy-with-more-secrets-and-deception-exclusive

Exciting News…

So, the amazing news that I hinted at in my “Rook” by Sharon Cameron review arrived yesterday in the mail! About two weeks ago, Sharon Cameron was giving away books on Facebook and Twitter to random contestants each day if they posted the book trailer for “Rook.” I ended up tweeting it, and as a result, I won copies of Sharon’s three books (including “Rook”)!!! *commence fangirl screams*

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I was pretty darn excited to say the least, and Sharon Cameron was so wonderful and she signed them all for me! I was ecstatic when they came in the mail and I got to touch their covers! Aren’t they pretty?!!!!

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I’m so excited to add these gorgeous books to my collection, and hopefully after finals I’ll be able to read and review the two books in Sharon’s steampunk duology! Alright, thanks for reading!