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Young Adult / October 28, 2016
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Date: 4th June 2015
450 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
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Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?

For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.

For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.

When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.

But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.

I read An Ember in the Ashes by the wonderful Sabaa Tahir last year after receiving the beautiful UK hardcover from my boyfriend. Honestly, if you haven’t seen it, it is beautiful. Once the jacket is off, it is this lovely gold and I am basically in love with it. Anyway, enough about how in love I am with the cover and more about this review! I thought I would do a mini review for An Ember in the Ashes before I share my review of A Torch Against the Night, the second book in this series. As I read Ember in Summer last year, I thought it would be best to post a short review, although I know that I may omit some details as I have read quite a few books since last summer. read more

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By: Vicky
Review, Young Adult / July 8, 2015
The Cost of All Things by Maggie LehrmanThe Cost of All Things
Author: Maggie Lehrman
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Date: May 2015
416 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Contemporary
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets We Were Liars in this thought-provoking and brilliantly written debut that is part love story, part mystery, part high-stakes drama.

What would you pay to cure your heartbreak? Banish your sadness? Transform your looks? The right spell can fix anything…. When Ari's boyfriend Win dies, she gets a spell to erase all memory of him. But spells come at a cost, and this one sets off a chain of events that reveal the hidden—and sometimes dangerous—connections between Ari, her friends, and the boyfriend she can no longer remember.

Told from four different points of view, this original and affecting novel weaves past and present in a suspenseful narrative that unveils the truth behind a terrible tragedy.

The Cost of All Things is a book that reminded me a lot of We Were Liars, except I finished this book. I did not finish We Were Liars, so that made me almost put this book down. Several times I almost quit this book yet I pushed myself to finish. This is a story about four teenagers in a town (civilization?) where it is the norm to go to special people, Hekamists, to buy specific spells. That is right – spells. Either you can purchase one for yourself or it could be for someone else. Regardless, nobody is fazed by the fact that it can be done and it seems to be done often by parents and children alike. In this particular story, these four teenagers each react very differently to the death of a fellow high school classmate. As a result, friendships are tested, lines are crossed, and truths are revealed. Now I am not saying this was a good story, I am saying that the concept of the story was interesting. This story fell short of the low expectations I had set for it. read more

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By: Sara
Review, Young Adult / June 2, 2015
The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle PaigeThe Wicked Will Rise
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #2
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date: March 2015
304 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Fantasy
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In this sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die, who is good—and who is actually Wicked?

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.

After a tornado swept through my trailer park, I ended up in Oz.

But it wasn't like the Oz I knew from books and movies. Dorothy had returned, but she was now a ruthless dictator. Glinda could no longer be called the Good Witch. And the Wicked Witches who were left? They'd joined forces as the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and they wanted to recruit me.

My mission?

Kill Dorothy.

Except my job as assassin didn't work out as planned. Dorothy is still alive. The Order has vanished. And the home I couldn't wait to leave behind might be in danger.

Somehow, across a twisted and divided land, I have to find the Order, protect the true ruler of Oz, take Dorothy and her henchmen down—and try to figure out what I'm really doing here.

I was so, so, so excited when I received a copy of The Wicked Will Rise because I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen in the next installment of this series. Oh how that excitement was misplaced. The sequel to Dorothy Must Die was a very slow read about how Amy Gumm was on the run in Oz after a failed attempt to kill Dorothy, the self-declared Princess of Oz. The Order feels Dorothy needs to be removed from power and trains Amy on how to use magic and how to kill Dorothy. read more

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By: Sara
Review, Young Adult / May 7, 2015
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle PaigeDorothy Must Die
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date: April 2014
480 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
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The New York Times bestselling first book in a dark new series that reimagines the Oz saga, from debut author Danielle Paige.

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still a road of yellow brick—but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas. I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I've been trained to fight. And I have a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman's heart. Steal the Scarecrow's brain. Take the Lion's courage. And—Dorothy must die.

When I first heard about the sick and twisted retelling of the famous Wizard of Oz story, I have to admit I was very interested. A friend read the book, devoured it really, only to tell me to skip the story. She didn’t recommend it at all. She didn’t care for any part of it. That certainly didn’t stop me! It actually pushed me even more to read the book. My friend and I will always be friends and I will do anything for her, but our taste in books differs (I usually really like to read what she can’t stand and vice versa). read more

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By: Sara
Review, Young Adult / March 30, 2015
Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStayEverything That Makes You
Author: Moriah McStay
Publisher: HarperCollins, Katherine Tegen Books
Date: March 2015
352 pages
Source: Review copy from publisher
Genres: Contemporary
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One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.

And what if there hadn't been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn't everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.

Everything That Makes You started out as solid 4 wing rating until my curiousness wore off and I became bored and uninterested in the story. I had very high hopes for this book as I do enjoy the “What If?” stories. What if Fiona never had her accident and grew up as a normal teenager? The thought behind how one event can change your life entirely is a great premise for a book. It makes the reader start to wonder how their life might be different if certain events hadn’t taken place. Sadly, once the intriguing factor wore off, this book started to become boring and you find yourself not interested in the characters or what happens to them. read more

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By: Sara