Reading Update: A Torch Against the Night

Image result for an ember in the ashes series

The only regret I have is waiting so long to read this book. I read the preceding book, An Ember in the Ashes, back in August and fell in love with this world. It was a happy coincidence that I finished that days before A Torch Against the Night was released. But other books seemed to take precedence, so it’s only now that I am finally getting around to reading it!

So far, I’m really liking the sequel. I love how it begins right where An Ember left off, and from there, it’s constantly fast-paced. The stakes are higher than the first, but I don’t want to say anything that will spoil it. I love the characters, and the readers get to see the story from Helene’s point of view, which adds to the textuality and flavor of the book and its world.

I’m only halfway through, but I’m dying to see how Laia and Elias’s relationship develops. Without spoiling anything, I will say that their relationship is much closer in this book and their circumstances force them to work and grow together. However, events may be detrimental to that growth. I don’t know where it’s headed, but I’m personally loving hearing it from both of their perspectives.

If you haven’t read An Ember in the Ashes, I encourage you to do so because it’s a brilliant book that builds such a vast and detailed world. Then, you can read A Torch Against the Night, and talk with me about it!

If you have read either or both books, let me know your thoughts and feelings! I’d love to discuss with you guys in the comments below!


Don’t forget you can find me in other cyber spaces:

Instagram: @bookrecs625

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/SamiG

ALSO: If you’re interested in a blog about feelings, relationships, family, love, life, and the human experience, feel free to check out my other blog:

https://sgilmore625.wordpress.com/

Reading Update: P.S. I Still Love You

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I’ve been recently craving contemporary lately. It’s funny because I usually crave contemporary during the height of summer and really yearn for fantasy/paranormal during the fall and winter months. However, this year seems to be the complete opposite. I read a ton of fantasy this summer, including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceThe Mime OrderThe Lunar ChroniclesThe School for Good and Evil, and many more. Yet, latetly, I’ve been gravitating towards contemporary YA and New Adult books, like Hopeless, Anatomy of a Boyfriend, Anatomy of a Boyfriend, Never Never, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Now, I’m currently reading the sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, entitled, P.S. I Still Love You, by Jenny Han. The first book is about Lara Jean, a girl in high school who has written love letters to the boys she used to like in order to get over them. However, one day she finds that all of her letters have been mysteriously mailed out to each boy she wrote them to. The sequel continues where the first one left off, but I don’t want to say anything about the sequel in order to avoid spoilers.

All I have to say is that these books by Jenny Han are such light and fluffy contemporary reads, and they are really satisfying my craving for contemporary.

Time to get back to reading!

August Wrap-Up!

August turned out to be a really good reading month for me. I read a total of 8 books. This is a miraculous number for me since I recently suffered a terrible reading slump. I’m super content with this number, as well as the quality of the books that I read. There were only 2 low-rated books from the month of August, which is pretty darn awesome!

Below is a list of the 8 books I read in the month of August (in order of date read), along with a brief synopsis and review of each book.

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Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is a fairytale retelling of Cinderella with a sci-fi twist. The story is set in futuristic New Beijing (China) and follows Cinder, a cyborg in a world where that is not socially acceptable. After a chance meeting with a prince, Cinder finds herself caught up in a whole mess of royal/political intrigue.

I really enjoyed this story. I found it to be both fun and captivating. The world Meyer creates is so complex and interesting that it sucks you in so quickly. I love the budding relationship between Cinder and Prince Kai and all of the obstacles they face. Immediately after finishing this I desperately needed to read Scarlet. And I did.

3.5 stars

Goodreads

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Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet is a continuation of The Lunar Chronicles, and it follows Scarlet in futuristic France. Scarlet’s grandmother has been missing for weeks, and Scarlet is determined to find out where she disappeared to and why. Unsure of how to go about doing so, Scarlet meets Wolf, who offers to help her in her quest. However, Wolf may not be who he seems, and as a result Scarlet discovers horrifying truths about the world around her and what happened to her grandmother.

Again, such a fun and exciting read. I love how Meyer interweaves the two stories of Cinder and Scarlet. This book added even more world-building to the initial world of Cinder.  We’re also introduced to more awesome characters. I absolutely love Cinder and Scarlet, along with Kai and Wolf. But my absolute favorite character of this series is Captain Thorne.

3.5 stars

Goodreads

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The Bassoon King, by Rainn Wilson

If you are not yet aware, Rainn Wilson is an actor, most famous for his role as Dwight Schrute in The Office (U.S.). I love Dwight, so that was the main reason I purchased this book. I was not at all prepared for how hilarious, insightful, and resonant this book truly is. In The Bassoon King, Wilson regales the tales of his childhood through to his adult life, discussing the main events of those years that shaped him into the person and the actor that he is today. Unlike most celebrity memoirs, this book is so much more than a window into his life. Wilson offers up the personal truths he came to conclude through his life experiences, and gives advice to those seeking careers in the creative world. He also discusses the importance of discussion when it comes to taboo topics, such as religion and spirituality. Highly recommend this book! (Also, watch The Office).

5 stars

Goodreads

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Cress, by Marissa Meyer

This is third installment in The Lunar Chronicles and follows Cress, a lunar shell and a hostage to the Queen’s right hand. She’s locked away in a satellite in space with the sole job of spying on Earth and Prince Kai by hacking their systems. However, Cress is secretly an Earthen sympathizer who has been secretly helping hide Cinder and her gang. The group attempts to rescue Cress, spurring a domino-effect of chaos.

This book was so crazy action-packed and intense. And again, I absolutely LOVED Captain Carswell Thorne. I NEED Winter.

4 stars

Goodreads

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling

I don’t think this needs a synopsis at all, so I’ll just say that this book was funny, heartbreaking, and amazing. Definitely one of my favorites. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to actually pick this book up, but I’m so glad I finally did. After finishing this book, I nearly cried hysterically. You know why.

5 stars

Goodreads

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Obsidian & Onyx, by Jennifer L. Armentrout

These are books 1 & 2 in the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The story centers around a girl named Katy who moves to a small town in West Virginia with her single mom. Everything seems normal aside from her neighbors being extremely odd. It turns out this oddity is due to the fact that her neighbors are aliens.

I was very skeptical going into this series. I’ve heard reviews from complete opposite sides of the spectrum; I’ve heard people who absolutely love this book and its characters, and I’ve heard people who absolutely hated this book. Unfortunately, I agree mostly with the latter group of people. I found the story to be addicting, but the quality of the writing could definitely be improved. There were several instances where the humor seemed too forced, so the “jokes” ended up being pretty cringe-worthy. The romance was extremely cringe-worthy. It seemed that Armentrout tried to create too much drama between them, causing the main character to appear unreasonably fickle and sort of pathetic. I will give credit to Armentrout for weaving an interesting plot as far as the aliens and their Earthen enemy. I’m debating whether I will pick up the other books or not.

1 star

Goodreads: Obsidian

Goodreads: Onyx

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An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes  is about a girl named Laia, whose family is murdered by the Martial Empire soldiers. All but one: her brother. In an attempt to rescue her brother, Laia acts as a spy for the rebellion and volunteers to be a slave to the evil Commandant.There she meets Elias, the most promising soldier at Blackcliff Martial Academy, and the least loyal.

In one sentence, this book was AMAZING. I was curious to see if I would like this book as much as other people do, and I was pleased to discover that I freaking loved this book. I was completely hooked to the story, and every chapter ended in a fantastic way that made you want to keep reading. There’s so much in this book that is so good. There are great characters, great world-building, great plot, and an amazing writing style. This story is told from dual perspectives (Laia and Elias), so if you’re not a fan of that, beware. But even if you aren’t a fan of dual perspective, this book is so amazing that it is definitely worth a try.

5 stars

Goodreads


Don’t forget you can find me in other cyber spaces:

Instagram: @bookrecs625

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/SamiG

 

Reading Update: Just Finished…

Just Finished:

I just finished The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katirina Bivald. It was such a cute, quirky adult contemporary novel, and I really enjoyed it. The story is about a woman named Sara from Sweden. She decides to visit a tiny, dying town called Broken Wheel, Iowa to visit a penpal and fellow book lover. However, when she arrives in Broken Wheel, she discovers that her penpal, Amy, has just passed away. Sara decides to stay and finds herself falling in love with Broken Wheel and its quirky inhabitants.

While there were flaws with the book, I had a great time reading and laughing at the characters humorous behavior. 3.5/5 stars

Up Next: 

I’m still having a difficult time figuring out what to read next. I picked up 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith, because I’m in the mood for more fluffy adult contemporary novels. We’ll see how it goes, but if I’m not feeling it, I might jump to some other books on my TBR, even if they aren’t necessarily fluffy adult contemporaries.

Happy Reading!

Book News: New Releases that Need to be Added to My TBR Immediately

Book News

2015 has been a huge year for book releases! The transition between summer and fall of this year has seen several book releases. So many new books are coming out that have caught my attention. Here are some new releases that I’m itching to get my hands on!

Coming at #1:

Carry On

Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell (October 6th, 2015)

Rainbow Rowell is the author who wrote the two very famous young adult contemporary novels, Eleanor and Park and Fangirl. These two novels are extremely loved by readers all around the world. In addition to these young adult novels, Rowell has also written two adult novels: Landline and Attachments. As you can see, Rainbow Rowell doesn’t stick to just one genre of fiction, and now she’s venturing even further from her norms with Carry On. This new release is actually a spin-off of her previous young adult novel, Fangirl. It is the fantasy story that her Fangirl character, Cath, was writing fanfiction about. Carry On centers around Simon Snow and his roommate, Baz, and their experiences at magic school.

This story contains parallels to the beloved Harry Potter, as well as various tropes, such as “the chosen one” trope. In addition, it also contains LGBTQ aspects, showing Rowell’s versatality as a writer and reflecting current events. I’m so excited to get this book and read it!

#2:

life and death twilight

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, by Stephanie Meyer (October 6, 2015)

So, we all know that Twilight has so much stigma attached to it. A lot of people discredit this saga because of “bad literature quality” and “sexism” and what not. I can see where these people are coming from and why they don’t like the books, but I have to admit: I am a Twihard. I first read Twilight in middle school, and I fell in love. This greatly enhanced my love for reading, and I wouldn’t be the avid reader that I am today without it. These books, as well as the movies, bring back so much nostalgia and so many good memories that I can’t discount it as one of the most significant books in my life, and some of my favorite books ever.

I first heard that Stephanie Meyer “pulled a Beyonce” and released this fifth Twilight book in honor of its 10th anniversary from Christine’s BookTube channel (polandbananasBOOKS). Her reaction video is so hilarious, and Stephanie Meyer even told her that her reaction video was the best she had seen and summarized the plot the best, so I would recommend watching her video. When I first found out that the book was not more about Bella and Edward’s life together, I was a little disappointed. However, the plot of Life and Death sounds so interesting, so I’m still really intrigued and excited to read this book.

The plot is pretty much the exact same as Twilight, but the gender roles of Bella and Edward have switched. So, pretty much it’s what Twilight would have been like if the human was the boy and the vampire was the girl. (I think this was Stephanie Meyer’s way of shutting up the feminists of the world who hated her books LOL).

#3:

the golden son

The Golden Son, by Pierce Brown (January 6, 2015)

As you can see, this book was NOT released this fall. It was a while ago, but it’s still within 2015, so HA.

I just finished Red Rising, by Pierce Brown (AKA “the hottest YA author in the world”), which is book one of the Red Rising Trilogy, and The Golden Son is the sequel. I am in the process of writing a book review for Red Rising, but let me just tell you that I absolutely freaking loved this book. The fact that there is a sequel available makes me so giddy because I need to know what happens next. I’m not going to write a synopsis for The Golden Son here because I don’t want to spoil anyone if they haven’t read the first book, but I HIGHLY recommend that you go and read Red Rising because this book was absolutely amazing. If you want the synopsis for Red Rising, I will leave a Goodreads link to that here. If you have read the first one and want to know more about The Golden Son, I will leave the link here.

#4:

the rest of us just live here

The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness (October 6th, 2015)

I have never read a book by Patrick Ness, but I’ve heard so many great things about this. I’ve been hearing about this constantly, and was really fascinated by the route he took with the plot of this new release. The story plays with that previously mentioned “chosen one” trope. However, instead of focusing on the “chosen one” character, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is more centered around the other people who are just trying to live their lives. I love how the synopsis put it:

“What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.”

And lastly, #5:

illuminae

Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (October 20, 2015)

This book JUST came out, and has been talked about all over BookTube. I know that this book is very aesthetically pleasing with non-traditional word formatting and cool physical concepts with the book. I’m not really sure what it’s about plot-wise. I know that it’s sci-fi, and it’s set in the future when there’s a war over one planet. There are main protagonists, Kady and Ezra, who are forced to work together to escape the enemy.

There’s a much better synopsis on Goodreads, so I’ll link that here. But this is a book that looks really cool, sounds really cool, and has really good reviews all over BookTube and Goodreads.

So, these are some of  my most-wanted newly released books of 2015.

What are some new releases that you’re really excited to read? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you guys, and if any of these books are on your TBR lists too!

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson – Book Review

The Name of the Star

After a solid month, I have finally finished The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson! There is a synopsis of this book in my last post. Part of the reason I took so long was because of my reading slump, the other part was due to some lagging in the narrative. The first solid chunk of the book read as a contemporary novel, which it is definitely not. So it took a bit of time for Johnson to get to the nitty gritty of what the novel was really about, and what Rory’s (the main character) situation really was. Was this a good or bad thing? I guess it would depend on the reader. For me it was a bit in the middle.

The book starts off with Rory first moving to London, and we see her acclimating to boarding school and the British lifestyle. I think that this was necessary for setting purposes. It takes about 80 pages for Rory to be 100% involved with the whole “Jack the Ripper” situation, yet within those first 80 pages, there are little tiny details that Johnson puts in there that actually really creeped me out as a reader when I found the connections later on.

For those of you who haven’t read it, I’ll just say that it did have its flaws, but overall it was so suspenseful, entertaining, and different from most YA books I’ve read so far. I do recommend this!

**WARNING: Spoilers are to follow from here on out!** For example, Rory, Jazza, and Jerome go to the Flowers and Archers pub where one of the Ripper victims was murdered. Nothing happens while they’re there, so they go to a different pub to actually hang out and have fun. Later on in the book, when Rory actually talks to the Ripper the night of the dance, he says that they met at the Flowers and Archers, but that Rory probably doesn’t remember. I thought Johnson did a brilliant job of making it so that the reader is in Rory’s position in which we do not remember that encounter at all. I was forced to go back to the Flowers and Archers scene and re-read whatever encounter the Ripper was talking about, and sure enough it was there:

“I almost walked straight into a man who was standing right behind us. He was dressed in a suit with a slightly too-large jacket. He was completely and smoothly bald. His lack of hair highlighted his eyes, which were feverishly bright. When I apologized, the eyes grew wider, in what appeared to be shock.”

Now when I first read this, I knew that he had to be important, and that he was most likely a ghost. However, I was unaware that he was the ghost! Then I forgot this encounter altogether until it was mentioned hundreds of pages later!

The suspense factor was pretty spot-on for me. I was constantly wondering what was going to happen, and how in the hell they were going to catch the Ripper when he’s a freaking GHOST. It’s not like they had Zak Bagans on speed dial or anything! As for the whole “Jack the Ripper” concept, I think it was such a genius move for the storyline and the setting. Jack the Ripper is more of a symbol of terror. That name itself connotates horror and blood, and ignites fear in people. As the book points out, Jack the Ripper was never found or identified; no one knows who Jack the Ripper really was, and I think using him as a tool in this story was brilliant.

I was pretty disappointed with the relationship between Rory and Jerome. All their relationship consisted of was them making out. They never really bonded over discussion unless it was Jerome going off on one of his creepy obsessive Ripper rants. I think I’d prefer Rory with Stephen to be honest, and I’m crossing my fingers that happens in the second book. How awesome would that be?! A team of two power couples keeping England safe from ghosts: Boo and Callum, and Rory and Stephen. C’mon you know that’d be cool.

I was also disappointed that the friendship between Rory and Jazza started off so strong, and then Jazza disappeared for like half the book. And really Rory’s character in general was kind of eh to me. She seemed pretty blah and flat through the whole thing. By the end, all I can say about her is that she likes Cheez Whiz (whatever that is), she likes to make out with Jerome in the library, that she can see ghosts, and she has some weird ass family members in Louisiana. I would’ve liked to see more about Rory that I could connect with on a deeper level than liking to kiss boys and eat a warm cheesy snack. Like if she were witty and snarky, or something that made her more interesting on a level that the reader could relate to.

Despite these things, I did enjoy the book and will be reading the second one once I get back to California (which unfortunately isn’t until December :/ ).

I give this a solid 3 stars

Recommend to: Young adult readers, YA Paranormal readers