Blog Tour- A Reaper at the Gates- Reasons to Read the Ember Series


As you know I am a huge fan of Sabaa Tahir and the Ember series in general! I haven’t read A Reaper at the Gates yet but I can give you reasons why you don’t want to miss this series!

  1. Elias- Yes, I said it. This character is one of my all time favorites! He is so conflicted and bold I love him. Tahir has created such an incredible character with so much depth and feeling.
  2. The strong women! The women in this book are strong as hell! They are tough as nails especially Helene. Her story has developed so much over An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night.
  3. The Feels- Sabaa Tahir isn’t afraid to make her readers suffer. Yes, this can be painful but it also is one element of a great story. You want to feel emotions for the characters and story and you so do with these books.
  4. The Covers- aren’t they gorgeous? I love the old ones (and UK versions) so it gives you a lot to collect. You can literally have a Sabaa Tahir shelf. I love that!
  5. Each book improves upon the last. Ok, so I haven’t read the latest book yet but I just KNOW it will be an even stronger book than the prior two.

There you have it folks! Have you read any of these yet?

 

Blog Tour for Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong

Aftermath
By: Kelley Armstrong
Release Date: May 22nd 2018
Publisher:  Crown Books for Young Readers

Summary
Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there’s no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn’t a victim; he was a shooter.

Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don’t heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend–Skye.

Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can’t resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer.

My Thoughts:

Aftermath was my first book by Kelley Armstrong and I am so impressed with her writing. She has taken such a tough subject matter and made it easier to digest. School shootings are sadly on the news every month it seems like now- Aftermath deals with how it changes a community and what it might feel like to be related to a suspected shooter. It was a very emotional read but really well done.

It was hard to put this book down- there’s an over arcing mystery and so the book read like a thriller. I loved that it was fast paced and kept me guessing the entire time.

There were flash back to the day of the shooting. Our two main characters Skye (chapters in first person) and Jesse (chapters in third person) were both so impacted by the tragedy and each lost their brother. Only, Skye’s brother is accused of being one of the shooters. I can’t imagine the impact that would have on a friendship.

I can’t say too much about the storyline because I don’t want to give anything away but you should read this book. It is so timely and though it is on a rough subject I think it is really an important read.

Final Thoughts:

I highly recommend reading Aftermath. It was so well done and kept me riveted to each page. I will be checking out more of Armstrong’s books!

Blog Tour Review for Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh


Are you a fan of Renee Ahdieh? I have loved all her books and am so honored to be on the blog tour for her latest, Smoke in the Sun.

About the Book


Smoke in the Sun
By: Renee Ahdieh
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Putnam’s Books for Young Readers

Summary:

The highly anticipated sequel to Flame in the Mist—an addictive, sumptuous finale that will leave readers breathless from the bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn.

After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice—to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor’s ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead.

With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and very the safety of the empire.

My Thoughts:

It didn’t take me long to get right back into this world and characters that Ahdieh so expertly created. The setting was much different than Flame in the Mist since Mariko is in the Heian Castle. I found it so interesting to read about her character adjusting back into this lifestyle- the one she was always supposed to have. Her determination to make a change and even put aside her own wants was so impressive. I’ve loved watching her character grow and develop.

Her relationship with her brother was strained but also one that moved me. These two have so much standing between them but Kenshin begins to see things differently in this novel. He has lost so much and maybe he can find hope in his sister.

Poor Okami is being tortured and held prisoner and Mariko knows this but she really doesn’t have much power to help him. Between pretending to be rescued from the Black Clan and an unassuming bride to be she also plots ways to help free Okami. Because of her time with the rebels she is not trusted by her betrothed or the emperor. She is constantly trying to placate them into trusting her. I really enjoyed getting to know Raiden a bit more. His relationship to his younger brother, the emperor, was interesting if not disturbing. Ahdieh has created some really intriguing character dynamics.

The pacing of this book was a tiny bit slower than the first to me since there wasn’t as much physical action sequences. I loved the descriptions and tidbits about the supporting cast of characters. I found Ahdieh’s writing to be beautifully done and once again I was swept up into the world and setting. I recommend these books to anyone looking for immersive characters!

Tour Schedule

FLAME IN THE MIST

WEEK ONE
May 21 – Velaris Reads – Makeup Look + Creative Instagram Picture
May 22 – Live Laugh Read – Favorite Moments from Book 1
May 23 – My Friends are Fiction – Creative Instagram Picture
May 24 – Novel Novice – Creative Instagram Picture
May 25 – Enchanted with Words – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

WEEK TWO
May 28 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – Spotlight + Giveaway
May 29 – That’s Normal – Social Media Promo
May 30 – Seeing Double In Neverland – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
May 31 – One Way or an Author – Playlist + Book Graphics
June 1 – Book Is Glee – Creative Instagram Picture

SMOKE IN THE SUN

WEEK THREE
May 21 – Velaris Reads – Makeup Look + Creative Instagram Picture
May 22 – Live Laugh Read – Instagram Picture
May 23 – My Friends are Fiction – Review
May 24 – Novel Novice – Styled by Books
May 25 – Enchanted with Words – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

WEEK FOUR
May 28 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – 5 Reasons To Read It
May 29 – That’s Normal – Giveaway
May 30 – Seeing Double In Neverland – Moodboard
May 31 – One Way or an Author – Playlist + Book Graphics
June 1 – Book Is Glee – Creative Instagram Picture

Blog Tour Re-Review for A Torch Against the Night

A Torch Against the Night
By: Sabaa Tahir
Release Date: August 30th 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

Summary:
Elias and Laia are running for their lives.
After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf – the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison – to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene – Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own – one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape… and kill them both.

My Thoughts:
It is rare indeed when a sequel is capable of being even better than the first book- and A Torch Against the Night actually succeeded in this.

This time we join Laia and Elias as they run to escape the fall-out from the last book. We get a much broader look at the world, the Empire, and how things are for people living in this land. Laia was determined as ever to do whatever it took to save her brother from his fate in Kauf Prison. This book had a lot of traveling (which if done poorly can be dreadfully dull) but it was done so beautifully with a very even pacing and just the right amount of description to give the reader a vivid vision but never veering on too much.

One of my favorite aspects of Torch was that we got a point of view from Helene- I think we all grew to love her in the first book and I loved being able to see from her view point as well as learn more of her inner thoughts and motives. She was such a complex character, pulled in so many directions I couldn’t help but have my heart break for her. To have her tasked to find the now traitor Elias and be responsible for his demise- just AHHH. What a cruel twist.

Elias was by far, once again, my favorite character. I am so intrigued with his backstory and really everything about him. His chemistry with Laia was perfect though I could always use more scenes with the two of them together (I’m a greedy reader).

All of these characters are so well developed, and all straddle what’s good and what’s not. I love that I never exactly know who to trust-this adds a level of connection to Laia since I am learning as she does. I’m as unsure as she was about who to trust, what other’s motivations are and this adds so much to the tension. Even slower paced scenes were enveloped in tension which to me, made the entire book an incredibly fast read since I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.

I was so happy also that we get to learn more about the fate of Laia’s brother. He was such a pivotal character for her story arc it was wonderful to learn a bit more about who he was as well as what happened to him after he was taken. And, I’ve not even mentioned yet how unpredictable the story-line was for me and how there were twists, turns and reveals that sort of blew my mind

Reaper at the Gates Campaign- Re-review of An Ember in the Ashes

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I am a long time fan of Sabaa Tahir’s series. An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night are two of my very favorite books ever. Tahir’s writing is so incredibly powerful and the characters she has created are well round and so complex. I can’t wait to read Reaper at the Gates. I am so excited to be part of this campaign! I’ll be re-reviewing An Ember in the Ashes from my reread.

Review

36506218An Ember in the Ashes
By: Sabaa Tahir
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill

Summary:
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

My Thoughts:

An Ember in the Ashes is a marvel because it introduces the reader to this complex world without being an info dump. We, as the reader, are thrown into the story with Laia watching as loved ones are brutally murdered in front of her and then her fleeing for her life. Tahir never lets down on the action in these books. The reader always feels how high the stakes are and each page adds to the overall sense of ‘what will happen next’ Of course this keeps you riveted to the page.

This novel touched on enslavement, murder, duty and honor. This was the third time I’ve read this book and each time I’m so astonished with the depth of world building as well as how brutal things are. I think I mentally glossed over some things the first time I read. I was so eager to see what would happen next I didn’t pay as close attention to the smaller details.  I was impressed that Tahir was able to show so many aspects of her world with just two view points, Elias and Laia. The story alternates between the point of views every chapter giving the reader a look into both sides.

The characters really drove the story for me. I felt Laia’s pain and drive to save her brother from imprisonment- I have an older sister so the idea of her being held captive and not knowing if she was safe is terrifying. Because Laia left her brother and ran for safety at his bequest she is overwhelmed with guilt. The level of character growth she experienced over the course of the novel had me loving her even more and cheering for her.

Elias oh Elias. I love how complex of a character he was. I tend to enjoy his POV just a tiny bit over Laia’s. I find him a tiny bit more compelling because of his immense guilt and struggles with his duty vs. what his heart wants.  Though each time I read I do fall more and more in love with both characters. Laia is so brave and bold.  And honestly the mix of these two characters is incredible.

Helene, Elias’ oldest friend is a bit harder for me to love just because at times she allows duty to overshadow what is the right thing to do. I appreciate her dedication to Elias and each time I read I find more to appreciate about her and how well Tahir has written her character.

The world that Tahir has created was brutal and hard to read about in many sections. There are mentions of rape, abuse and all the ugly elements of what some humans are capable of. I found it disturbing, but for me, it didn’t detract from the story but helped to cement my hate for the Empire. Yep. I still felt the same- but boy some aspects are so hard to read.

Final Thoughts:

Now is the perfect time to pick up these books for the first time or again if you’ve read them! With the third book’s fast approaching pub date it is a great idea to reread and I have grown to really love the new covers. I was a bit iffy on them at first due to it being a change and change is hard. Having them on my shelves though I really love them (if only I could get them in hardcover!)

If you’ve read An Ember in the Ashes– who is your favorite character?

Campaign Schedule

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES

WEEK ONE

April 30 – PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture

May 1My Friends are Fiction – Review

May 2YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures

May 3Star-crossed Book Blog – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

May 4ButterMyBooks – Review

May 5Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture 

WEEK TWO

May 7PaperTrailYa – Reasons to Start Reading The Series

May 8The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram

May 9A Perfection Called Books – Reasons to Start Reading The Series

May 10ABibliophilesbkm – Creative Instagram Picture + Observations Blog Post

May 11The Young Folks – Reasons to start reading the series with GIFS

May 12@DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture

 

A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT

WEEK ONE

May 14PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture

May 15My Friends are Fiction – Review

May 16YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures

May 17Star-crossed Book Blog – Favorite Moments In The Series + Hopes For Book 3

May 18ButterMyBooks – Helene Aesthetic

May 19Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture 

WEEK TWO

May 21PaperTrailYa – Theories About Book Three

May 22The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram

May 23A Perfection Called Books – Helene Appreciation Post 

May 24ABibliophilesbkm – The character’s choices, consequences, and expectations

May 25The Young Folks – Author Interview

May 26@DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture 

WEEK THREE

May 28Fiction Fare – Reasons Why You Should Be Reading The Series

May 29Book Is Glee – Creative Instagram Post

May 30That’s Normal – Catch Up + Book Three Predictions + Fan Art

May 31Bibliophile Gathering – Favorite Moments From Book 2

June 1The Fandom – Fan Casting

June 2The Eater of Books! – 100 Thoughts I had While Reading Book Two 

 

A REAPER AT THE GATES

WEEK ONE

June 4PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture

June 5My Friends are Fiction – Reasons to Read the Series

June 6YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures

June 7Star-crossed Book Blog – Elias Appreciation Post 

June 8ButterMyBooks – What to do after reading the book

June 9Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture 

WEEK TWO

June 11PaperTrailYa – Theories About Book Three

June 12The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram

June 13A Perfection Called Books – How our lives will never be the same

June 14ABibliophilesbkm – Creative Instagram Post + Character’s Playlist

June 15The Young Folks – What to read after you’ve finished REAPER AT THE GATES

June 16@DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture

WEEK THREE

June 18Fiction Fare – Books To Tide You Over While You Wait For The Next Book

June 19Book Is Glee – Creative Instagram Post

June 20That’s Normal – Review + What To Read Next

June 21Bibliophile Gathering –  Favorite Character Appreciation Post

June 22The Fandom – 5 Most Important Moments in the series so far

June 23The Eater of Books! – Top Ten Reasons to Stan Laia