Top Ten Tuesday | Authors I’d Love to Meet

Happy Tuesday, readers!

 

Who is excited for October? I can’t see to see what this month has in store for all of us! So many great releases are coming up, and I’m a ball of nerves.

Top Ten Tuesday, originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a weekly meme. For this week’s topic, we get to fangirl/boy over our favourite authors we’d love to meet. Oh God, this is not good. I have too many options and not a lot of room to fit them in. What have you done when you picked this prompt?!

I’m good. Not really. I’m I’m slightly calmer. Anyways. As a Canadian, I don’t always have the opportunity to meet my favourite authors. But, if the chance arises, I’d probably die if I met these ones:

 

Jay Kristoff

I’m a new fan of Kristoff. And even though I haven’t read a lot of (if not, most) of his work, I’d probably flip if I met him. The man is a literary genius. He reaches out to his dedicated followers, and I love that kind of interaction. And honestly, I want to see the height difference between us, given that I’m 5’2″ (and ¾).

 

V. E. Schwab

I have immense respect for Victoria. She isn’t afraid to discuss her disability and her struggles. And her writing brings such joy to my dark days.

 

Leigh Bardugo

My goth Queen—frankly, she’s a goddess—will be at the top of my list. I adore her. I admire her. And I respect her strength. She gave me Kaz, who has inspired me to fight my demons. And I can’t thank her enough.

 

Sarah J. Maas

I just want to talk about the Inner Circle boys with her and find dirty fanmade illustrations of them, then giggle like 10-year-old girls together. Odd? I don’t care. I can’t make this list without her on it. No dice.

 

Sabaa Tahir

I arrived late to the Sabaa train, but I was an instant fan. I adore her writing and her strong female leads. I don’t know what I’d say, but I’d love for the chance.

 

Kelley Armstrong

Okay, this list cannot be complete without a Canadian author. So here she is. Yes, I’ve met Kelley before. And I still remember the day. She’s the reason why I continue to blog and stick it out in publishing. I’d more than likely fangirl like I did before, but I might be more coherent. I doubt it though.

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Monthly Wrap-Up | June 2018

Seriously?! June is over? I cannot believe it is. I’m kind of freaking out at how fast this year is going. So I needed to take some time away from blogging. My life has been too hectic. And just for the sake of doing so, I didn’t want to publish something half ass. But you’ll be seeing me around much more though!

Let me know how your June has gone! I’d love to check up with all of you.

 

Yeah, last month, reading took a back seat. I couldn’t decide which book to read, which one to hold off on, and which one to finish. I went back and forth from one book to the next. Don’t you hate you that? I know I do. I can’t stand it when indecisiveness rules my every choice.

But with the books I did read, I enjoyed. And I was finally able to read two of my most anticipated reads of this year!

 

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

⭐⭐⭐⭐½

I need to find my fellow Dantella groupies because I need to squee about this book. Caraval is one book that snuck on me when I didn’t expect it. And I’ve been eagerly waiting to read Legendary. But like other readers, I was hesitant to read a book solely on Tella’s POV. Tella is a tricky character for me. She bothered me in Stephanie’s debut novel, but I loved her in this one. Stephanie blends magic, intrigue, and politics and creates an enchanting experience.

I cannot wait to read Finale.

 

Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book is GORGEOUS. It rivals Flame in the Mist, and I thought that book was too beautiful for words. Smoke brings on a rollercoaster of emotions for me. Going in, I knew my favourite characters, Mariko and Okami, would suffer, but I was not anticipating the need to punch a wall and scream, “don’t hurt my babies!” at 2 in the morning.

Renée beautifully crafts a historical fantasy you’ve been hoping to read. And while the book is a slow burn, it will satisfy her dedicated readers. I’m hooked.

 

Winter by Marissa Meyer

This book is BEAST. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m enjoying it. Even though I’m late to the game, I don’t want this series to end. Finally, the entire crew joins forces to take down the evil bitch queen we call Levana (bless my swearing skills). I feel the story starts off slow and then builds off of that. I enjoy seeing how each character interacts, and I hope to finish this monster off shortly.

I cannot wait to find more sci-fi books. I don’t want to miss any great series. So shoot me some of your favourite picks! I’d love to discover more!


Give it to me to buy more books than I read for the month. Okay, I can’t put the blame on that. I had several pre-orders, so don’t judge. What am I saying?! I’m talking to fellow book nerds.

I wanted to keep my book haul short for June since I wasn’t sure if I’d read this all (I’m glad I decided ahead of time, or I’d be kicking my butt right now). But I was able to pick up books I’ve been dying to read. And hopefully, I’ll get to them soon.

Who am I kidding? I’ll just keep adding to my pile. 😂

 

So what was your most anticipated book for June? Did you get into a reading slump like me? Let me know in the comments!!

Wrap-Up: October 2016

Monthly Reads


So I haven’t had a productive month. Blame that on school. But I’ve read quite a few great books. I’m just two away from my Reading Challenge, but I expect to surpass it soon enough. 😊

 

october-wrap-up

Rex by Cody B. Stewart, Mark Rogers, and Adam Rocke

It transports me back to the 90s, and I can’t help but adore this book more. You get a mix of E.T. and a children’s version of Jurassic Park. It’ll delight the young, the youth, and the young at heart! So get your nerd on, grab your copy today, support indie publishers, and stroll down memory lane. You can’t get much better than a dinosaur book.

I hope the authors make a sequel for this little book. If not, we may get more of Rex, TJ, and Sam if it gets picked up for a movie! Here are more details.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US  | Publisher’s Website

 

Omari and the People by Stephen Whitfield, narrated by Curt Simmons

Jess @ Audiobookworm introduced me to Stephen’s work. It’s one of the books that you didn’t think you’d pick up, but now you’re happy you have. It’s my first audiobook. Curt’s narration makes Stephen’s book mesmerizing. And the author’s storytelling keeps you intrigued from the first sentence to the last.

I definitely recommend you to listen to the audio!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads | Amazon US | Audible

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I haven’t finished this book yet. But I can safely say it’ll be one of favourites of the year! I still question myself why I hadn’t picked it up sooner. It’s been sitting on my shelf since May.

I’m irrationally in love with every character, and I’d beg Leigh to write more stories about them, but alas, I get only two books. Thankfully I’ve ordered the sequel. So you might see a squeal-filled post or a Tweet about me getting it. 😂

But I can’t recommend this series and book enough! BUY IT.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Book Haul


October’s Book Haul

 

Posts


Reviews and Blog Tours

Rex Blog Tour Review

Rex Blog Tour Author Spotlight and Q&A

Omari and the People Blog Tour Audio Review

A Torch against the Night Joint Review

Empire of Night Review

 

Features

Bookish Finds (3), Halloween edition

Joint Review: A Torch against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

atorchagainstthenight_051116-1A Torch against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Published by: Razorbill

Publication Date: August 30, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Dystopian

Extent: 464 pages

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purhcase


Following the events of the Fourth Trial, an army led by Masks hunts the two fugitives as they escape the city of Serra and journey across the vast lands of the Martial Empire.
 
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—and save her brother, whose knowledge of Serric steel is the key to the Scholars’ future. And Elias is determined to stay by Laia’s side…even if it means giving up his own chance at freedom.
 
But Elias and Laia will have to fight every step of the way if they’re going 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.

Helene’s mission is horrifying, unwanted, and clear: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.


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I just. No. I. Ugh. WHY. Why do you do this to me, Sabaa? Why? That ending. No, wait, this book. And honestly, I thought––clearly wrong––I understood your plot twists, but no. To be fair, I was expecting spectacular arcs, unbelievable despair, blood-stained streets, redemption, and an unsatiable desire to kill the Commandant, Marcus, and, surprisingly at the end, someone else who shall remain nameless. Clearly, I’ve received all these goodies, except they broke me. ANYWAYS. Now let’s move on to the review so I can wallow in my pain.

And don’t forget to check out Dana’s review @ Dana and the Books as well! I also want to thank Hafsah Faizal @ Icey Books for allowing me to use this ATATN quote banner! I love it.

***

A Torch against the Night quickly starts off where An Ember in the Ashes ends. While the fury of the Commandant, the Academy, and the Masks sweeps up behind Elias and Laia, they escape the ruins of Serra by travelling through the catacombs. Fighting against time, destiny, and unforeseen forces, Elias must find a way to rescue Darin, Laia’s brother, who’s trapped in Kauf Prison. Yet what is he willing to give up to break out Darin, protect Laia, and redeem himself? Everything. Sabaa sucks you back in this world by starting off Torch with heart-thumping and nail-biting action.

She weaves in a cold brutality into her world. It snakes through the darkened streets and touches every single person in the Empire. Either it kills those people, or it moulds them into something fierce, hard, and sometimes maniacal. She creates such a superb world building that may outshine her first book and offers much more backstory, which I love. The Nightbringer’s decision to decimate the Scholars brings a whole new twist to the series.

She also opens up this world through cut-throat politics. You delve more into this complicated realm, where one-upping your opponent doesn’t mean you impale them on your sword. You outwit them. And I have to admit that Kauf Prison scares me. Not many things do. Well, okay, beauty pageant kids, peacocks, and blue jays unnerve me, but everything else is fair game. Sabaa’s prose evokes images of the unkempt bodies, tortured screams, and death on your skin. Reading the prison scenes are torture.

The characters and their journey shape this book into a solid character-driven story. They become the book’s backbone. Sabaa expands on her characters as well. You get to see Mamie Rila, Avitas Harper (I DID NOT see that plot twist coming), Afya Ara-Nur, Helene’s family, Shaeva, and many memorable others. She continues with the first-person, multiple POVs. And she gives you Helene’s! Helene’s honour and her vow to Empire and Emperor will tear you apart. She, the new Blood Shrike, feels the crushing weight to keep order, find and possibly kill Elias, and restore power to an Empire that she ultimately questions.

 

“Failure doesn’t define. It’s what you do after you fail that determines whether you are a leader or a waste of perfectly good air.”

Laia, the Lioness’ daughter, goes from a scared girl who spies for the Resistence to a woman who won’t let pain or fear control her. Her failures and missteps turn her into a leader and break that little girl who made jams with her Grandmother. Instead of wallowing in self-doubt, she learns from them and learns how to be the leader who she must be. What I love the most is that she refuses to let this betrayal destroy her. She rises above and and lets the past, these mistakes, and the people who help her shape her.

 

“You are my temple,” I murmur as I kneel beside her. “You are my priest. You are my prayer. You are my release.”

Elias. Oh my, Elias. I thought I had fictional crushes before, but I was wrong. He stays true to who is. His character development jumps off each page I read, and I lapped it up every chance I got. He devotes his life to redeem himself so he can change this world. And he will not let destiny outsmart him. He won’t let his training turn him into his mother or won’t allow this world destroy him. Besides Helene’s growth, his is one of the best I’ve read. God, I can’t get enough of this character!

And I can’t help but say that MY OTP LIVES! And no, I won’t tell you who it is! MUAH! 😈

 

Sabaa’s writing will take hold of you and won’t let go. Prepare to cry, rage, throw your book (lightly please. Book abuse should be criminal!), and cry some more. I’m emotionally unstable after this book. Wake me up when the third book is out!

 

What did you think of A Torch against the Night? Did it meet your expectations? Bore you? Tell me in the comments! I’ve been dying to talk about it.

 

And here’s the perfect GIF for THAT moment in the book:

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And at the end:

giphy

 

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Bookish Finds (2)

The Bookish Find Banner 7_edited-1

Bookish Finds is a monthly series that features bookish products. This month’s post will showcase book-inspired candles! (Oh, my mother will be so proud of me. 😌)

So Owlcrate inspired this post. This month’s box contained The Melting Library‘s Celaena’s Cake. These little delights will be a great treat for anyone who wants to enhance the reading experience, who reads an ereader (my sympathies to my electronic friends, smells do not apply), or who, well, love everything bookish (AHEM. Yeah, that’s me. My house will smell like books and nothing else!). SO here you go, dearies.

 

Lallybroch Soy Candle

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I can’t ask much else than to smell Jamie Fraser’s home, Lallybroch. Well, if I can get a whiff of him, I can die happy. So this beauty is made by Frostbeard, which makes an array of candles based on books and is soy based (no carcinogens!). The scent combines whisky, peat moss, and wood smoke (so the Scotland Highlands). This 8 oz. candle has a rather strong scent, according to the maker, so be prepared!

 

Always Victorious Candle

il_570xN.1041323857_tcgw.jpgSabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes inspired this torch (if you don’t get this reference, I may hurt you). Just like the Celaena’s Cake candle, this one comes from The Melting Library as well. This candle combines cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, firewood, and fresh rain to create a delightful smell that will remind you of Elias Venturius (I see what you did there, The Melting Library). Always Victorious is also an 8 oz. soy based. I wish I had this when I was reading A Torch against the Night.

 

Bookish-type Candle Set

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Oh, look at how cute they are. THEY’RE SO FLUFFY. Ahem… These cute darlings are made by Novelly Yours. You receive four 2 oz. candles: Villainous: storms, forest, fire; Book Boyfriend: cologne and cotton; Shipping It: ocean, outdoors, and cotton; and Currently Reading: book pages, coffee, cotton, and fire. I love the names!

 

Fandom Candles

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You have a choice to pick two of these 4 oz. soy candlesPret a Geek is rather cruel. The store forces you to decide which candles you want. The horror. That decision may be harder than you think. You can choose the following: Wizard’s Feast, Mrs. Weasley’s Cookies (!), Butter Beer (!!!), Merrier Place, The Shire (Oh, I want this), Rose Tyler I, Police Box Blue, How You Brewin’?, and Winter Is Coming (there goes my bank account).

 

The Night Court Candle

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Ugh. I need to read this series! Anyways, Seven Hearts Co. has perfected this faetastic candle. The scent includes citrus, star jasmine, and ocean water, which will make you think you think Rhys is right next to you (according to the maker, not me). This candle is 8 oz. and burns for approximately 55 hours (the longest burn time out of all these).

 

 

August 2016 Book Haul

Ah! My first blog book haul (for the blog at least). Look at these beauties. I’m about to cry. So, as you can see, I’m a tad late with last month’s book haul post. But at least I got it up.

 

Harry Potter Box Set: The Complete Collection by J. K. Rowling

IMG_0319This box set is gorgeous, much more gorgeous in person. I had spent some time looking for the right set. I’m not a huge fan of paperbacks, so hardcover it is. With the children’s box set, I feel as if I can relive my childhood thrill of opening up my first Harry Potter book.

I wasn’t as dedicated to the books as I was with the movies. A teacher ruined the series for me back in Grade 6. But I’ve read about half of the series, though.

But when I opened up this set, I was more giddy than a child on Christmas (sadly enough, the set is for a Christmas gift, so I’ll have to wait reading the books (WHY did I agree with having these as a Christmas gift? Why?!).

Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong

IMG_0325.jpgI received an ARC from Random House Canada, so I know what happens in the book. But I want to complete my collection, so tada, another Kelley Armstrong book!

This book has a tons of backstory in fae lore, and it sets up for a fantastic finale. The love triangle in Betrayals can be dicey for some readers, but the way Kelley has handled it moves the story and the characters in a great direction.

You get to see Ricky shine in this sequel, and I can’t help but feel sorry for him. You also see more POVs, which I appreciated greatly. I’m still hesitant with Gabriel because of Gwynn’s sway on him, but Gab prevails in the end.

I cannot wait until I read the last book in the series.

Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

A Torch against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

img_0351It’s here. It’s finally here! I haven’t waited as long as other readers, but doing so was tough. I fell in love with Sabaa’s debut novel. I’m currently reading this one, and I’m blown away! My fangirl is screaming and crying. I have bigger hopes for this book than I had for the first one, and so far, Sabaa is meeting all of them.

And the book is so pretty. Instead of being wrapped in traditional black, the book is in a navy blue, which matches the colour theme in the cover. And there are maps on both endpages! The back endpage shows the Kauf Prison! Eee!

I really don’t know how I can wait for the third book.

😍😍😍

Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Waiting on Wednesday: A Torch against the Night

WoW4_edited-3

Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, is a weekly meme that showcases upcoming book releases that readers are eagerly awaiting.

My first WoW post will spotlight Sabaa Tahir’s second novel, A Torch against the Night.

atorchagainstthenight_051116-1A Torch against the Night

Sabaa Tahir

Publication Date: August 30, 2016

Extent: 464 pages

Following the events of the Fourth Trial, an army led by Masks hunts the two fugitives as they escape the city of Serra and journey across the vast lands of the Martial Empire.
 
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—and save her brother, whose knowledge of Serric steel is the key to the Scholars’ future. And Elias is determined to stay by Laia’s side…even if it means giving up his own chance at freedom.
 
But Elias and Laia will have to fight every step of the way if they’re going 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.

Helene’s mission is horrifying, unwanted, and clear: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

Why Am I Waiting? 

Sabaa has captured my attention for sure. Her first book, An Ember in the Ashes, is my favourite book, so far, for 2016. I wish I read it sooner, but I’m glad I have. Sabaa has created such an undeniably magnificent world. And I hope to revisit it soon! I’ve heard a lot of buzz for her first book, so having her second book on most eagerly anticipated book lists is no surprise to me and her other readers. I hope to see more of Laia, Elias, and Helene. T-minus 20 days!

Wrap-Up: July 2016

roundup

In July, I found some memorable reads and some fantastic ones. I’m only eight books away from my Goodreads Reading Challenge! Woo!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

A thought-provoking WWII story that explores the heart-breaking journey of two sisters who survive in occupied France. I haven’t cried so hard when I finished this book.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

 

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

A heart-pounding and character-driven fantasy that is sure to captivate any reader. Sabaa has a rare and upcoming talent that I hope will enchant me even more. I simply adore her debut novel. Her characters are one the best I’ve seen in years. I can live in her book for weeks!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

 

The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

I can’t ask more from Kelley. She sure knows how to write a suspenseful and action-packed thriller. I love how Kelley brings out the psychologist in her. Her ability to address mental illness is superb.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

 

The Unquiet Past by Kelley Armstrong

A great Canadian read from my favourite author. This novel has a sprinkle of mystery, suspense, and supernatural. I love the banter between the two main characters.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

 

Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong

A heart-wrenching fantasy that will not let you go! Kelley excels in her fantasy worlds. She is a master in her craft. I’m in love with this Cainsville series. I was not expecting this ending. Wow, I’m blown away. I can’t wait until Rituals is out!

Kelley’s fourth book in the Cainsville series will be out on August 9. You can also find the first five chapters here.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (4.5 actually)

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

 

Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

20560137An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Published by: Razorbill

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Dystopian

Extent: 446 pages

Rating: 5/5


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.


 …As long as there is life, there is hope.

I AM AN EMBERLING. Just so that I can get this declaration out of the way. An Ember in the Ashes was risk for me. I thought that either Sabaa’s debut novel will burn, or it will fall. And it burns indeed! I have not devoured a book with such intensity in a long while.

Lately, Goodread has been heating up with fantasy stories that take place in the desert, have non-Caucasian protagonists who kick ass, and destroy many expectations. I hoped Ember might contain the same traits. But Sabaa’s work is more than these qualities, though. It morphs into a character-driven gem that travels with you for days after finishing it. Sabaa has a raw talent that, I hope, will continue to evolve into something breathtaking.

At first, I didn’t think that having two POVs would hold up, but Sabaa creates an effortless transition from Laia, who is a Scholar, and Elias, who is a Mask at the Blackcliff Military Academy and son of the Commandant. I enjoyed both POVs. From them, I could see how this haunting and savage world breaks its people. Sabaa creates such a captivating realm that entrances and scares you.

Laia––who escapes being arrested with her brother, Darin, or killed with her grandparents––becomes a spy (and therefore the Commandant’s slave) for the Resistance, the very one her mother and father led, so it can save her brother. Her character development is slow, but she beautifully evolves from a self-doubting child to the Lioness’ daughter who gives her her body and her safety in order to find Darin. Now Elias is my favourite character. I first thought that he might be cliché. But his rebellion is more than defiance. Relentlessly beaten down, he must conform to the Empire’s will. The Martials give him no choice but to desert. But his desire for escape is destroyed when the Augurs, the Empire’s holy people, declare the Trials. Cain, the leader of the Augurs, gives him the choice to run or to fight. He doesn’t surprise me when he picks the latter.

I’d rather die than live with no mercy, no honor, no soul.

What I love about Ember is that Sabaa brings back long-feared creatures that the Empire forgets and how she creates her multi-complex world. On every page, she builds on this dominion. From beginning to end, every dark alley of Ember enchanted me. Sabaa keeps you on the edge; she has a way of tricking you into believing you’ve figured out her work, when, in reality, she weaves in these surprises that will floor you.

What surprised me the most was the love triangles. Yes, they’re in Ember, yet they’re not the central point. I do not find them distracting. They illustrate how people have little to live for and will risk to find solace in a dark and twisted world. It is indeed sick. Not many books will conjure up strong emotions in me, but there were times when I was livid. I was rooting for the Commandant’s and Marcus’ death. Sabaa does the Roman Empire great justice! I believe the only downfall Ember has is the cliffhanger. Coming in at a later time, I’m glad there’s sequel. But I’m still counting down the days to A Torch against the Night pub date!

Sabaa forges a heart-pounding fantasy that will certainly stand among the great YA novels.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CA | Amazon US