An Ember In The Ashes – excerpt reveal + GIVEAWAY!

 

If you took a look at my MOST anticipated debut novels of 2015 post (you did right??) you will know An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir received a spot on that list. It’s a book I’m SO excited about reading soon especially given my new found love for fantasy….and this one sure does look to be pretty epic!

I’m excited to partner with Penguin to celebrate this series right up until the release date — starting with an exciting excerpt and a giveaway! I’ve read the excerpt and now I’m just not sure I can wait to read it much longer!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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. LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor. When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

 

Check out the excerpt that was revealed exclusively on MTV News HERE!

And now for the giveaway!

Ember giveaway

Penguin is giving FIVE lucky winners the chance to win a signed galley of An Ember in the Ashes plus a t-shirt!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Good luck!!

Save The Date: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

To learn more about why I started doing this Save The Date feature and how it differs from my reviews — go here!

 winnerscrime1

 

* Release date according to Goodreads

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Pre-Order It | Add It To Goodreads


What The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski is about:

The Winner’s Crime is the second book in The Winner’s Curse series and all I will say is that we see how that heartstopping ending in book 1 plays out! (My review of The Winner’s Curse)

Why You Should Be Saving The Date for The Winner’s Crime:

Okay so I’ve never done a Save the Date for a book 2 before but just consider this my PSA to all of you who have NOT picked up what is one of my newest favorite series. The Winner’s Curse absolutely blew me away but The Winner’s Crime solidified the fave status. At this point, all I can think about is 1) how amazing book 2 was and 2) HOW MUCH I NEED BOOK 3.

So if you have not read The Winner’s Curse, this is now your friendly reminder that you should start it so you can jump on this bandwagon in time for The Winner’s Crime to come out on March 3rd 2015. YOU WANT ON THIS WAGON.

So this is why you should save the date for this book/pick up The Winner’s Curse if you haven’t already:

1. Marie Rutkoski is a talented writer: Seriously, the prose in this series is just wonderful and the amount of emotions and damage she can inflict upon you with the words that make up this story is kind of amazing.

2. The complicated relationship between Kestral and Arin is great in The Winner’s Curse and is even more intense in The Winner’s Crime: No seriously. MY HEART. The tension. Knowing each person’s side. AHHH. I also loved getting to know them more individually.

3. Kestral is one of my favorite female characters right now: She’s smart, kind, makes mistakes, learns from mistakes, thinks on her feet and is just perfectly a flawed, REAL human it hurts sometimes.

4. Plot-wise The Winner’s Crime soared: I loved everything about The Winner’s Curse plot-wise and I couldn’t wait to see where Marie was going to take it. Pleased to say, I love where Marie took the characters and all the new developments and things we learn about in The Winner’s Crime. TWISTY AND SHOCKING TOO. I don’t even KNOW what is going to happen in book 3. But I am imagining shattered hearts and broken dreams and my tears flowing like a river. But also good things?

5. MY HEART. OW OW OW. That’s all I’m going to say about how this book left me feeling. Aside from oozing with love for it.

 

Who Should Save The Date: people who loved The Winner’s Curse, people who haven’t started the series but are immediately going to go add this book to their TBR or start it so they can be ready for The Winner’s Crime (no but seriously, if you haven’t read this series yet and want a fantasy that is more of a realistic tone…this is a good one).

 

A Sneak Peek: No sneak peek this time around since it’s a book 2 and I don’t want to give ANYTHING away.

Be on the lookout for my FULL review closer to the release date where I will flesh out my thoughts a little more!

 

Have you read this one? Are you excited for it?? Putting it on your TBR list?

6 Reasons Why I Freaking Loved The Young Elites by Marie Lu

6 Reasons Why I Freaking Loved The Young Elites by Marie LuThe Young Elites by Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites #2
Published by Putnam Juvenile on October 7, 2014
Genres: YA Fantasy
Also by this author: Legend, Prodigy, The Rose Society, Once and For All, Warcross
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

1.  Adelina. THAT GIRL: Adelina is one of the most compelling characters I’ve come across in a long time. If you read the interview with Marie Lu you’ll know that Adelina was originally a side character and was a villain of sorts. When Marie switched her focus to Adelina, The Young Elites really became the origin story of a villain. She’s so intriguing because she does things that you are like WHAT WHAT WHAT NO but also there is whole level of sympathy you have for her. She’s had a rough past where people have been so cruel to her and you GET where that hardness is from. But then you see these moments of greatness and a softer side to her. She’s so compelling and my heart ached for her in all her brokenness but her strength was just so heartstoppingly so — scary almost!

2. The setting is to die for: I LOVED THE SETTING. It’s a fantasy world but you can tell that Marie’s inspirations were Renaissance Venice/Italy. It feels historic but it so wholly a fantasy world. I just couldn’t get enough of it because I could see it so beautifully.

3. The magic: So after this illness ravaged the land, some children had strange markings and such happening and they were labelled as malfettos and were looked at as an abomination. The other thing that some of these children had? These new found, strange powers. They are seen as dangerous and there is a group of them called The Young Elites that everyone is SO afraid of and blame for all these bad things happening which is why queen and king are trying to murder them all. As Adelina comes in contact with The Young Elites I LOVED learning what all their powers were and I loved seeing Adelina develop hers as she is a bit of a loose cannon because she has no idea how to control it and work it.

4. How dark this novel was: In Legend, even though the world was dark in ways, it just doesn’t even come close to the sort of darkness that this story touches. Part of it is, as I said before, Adelina is more of a villain and not as easy to root for as June and Day but there’s just underlying darkness in this world. Sinister characters. The things that these characters have to do to live. The things that they are happening in the leadership. How layered and not black and white the issues of morality are. It was just PERFECT.

5. How Marie was constantly able to surprise me: It takes a lot to surprise me. I’ll be honest. But Marie WENT THERE. Things happened that I never thought in a million years would and certain revelations had me frantically turning the pages. It never once went down the path of predictability for me and THAT my friends is a damn good reading experience that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

6. The exciting possibilities for book 2: HOLY CRAP. It was one of those experiences where I was just bouncing up and down with excitement for how everything is setting up for book 2….and then I realize I HAVE NO BOOK 2. I think book 2 is going to be so exciting with how everything ended and there’s promise of new characters to be excited about from lands we haven’t seen yet. This is going to be a damn good series! I can feel it in my bones.

a6
RATING-beyondloved
factors+ plot, characters, surprises, set up for book 2, writing
NADA

Re-readability: I would probably actually reread this one before book 2.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I’ll probably wait until book 2 to see if this is a series to invest in but I have good feels about that.

a5fantasy lovers, people who love complex characters who aren’t morally easy to pin down, people who love strong female main characters, people looking for a new series to be addicted to, fans of Marie Lu, people who find villain-y type characters very compelling

a8The Young Elites was everything and MORE than I was hoping for this novel. It was a lightning quick, intense read for me because everyone was so compelling and complex, the plot lingered and surged forward at all the right moments and it absolutely surprised me. It’s dark, unpredictable  and I have a good feeling about where this series is going.

review-on-post-it

The Young Elites Marie Lu review

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does this series feel like something you’d be into?
* Did you sympathize with Adelina?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Series Send Off: Under The Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi

So I typically just review the individual books in a series and then I’m done but I had a reader email in my inbox this year asking if I did overviews of the series after I finished them. I hadn’t before but I was thinking about how maybe a little “overall thoughts on the series” when it came to the last book in a series might help some people decide to start the series if they had never heard of it before and are just catching my review of the last book. Also, my feelings on an overall series could grow or break down so maybe it’s important to see the whole picture. So let’s see how this goes? Let me know if you find it helpful. PLUS this helps me close the page on a series (which is exciting because I SUCK at finishing series). And thank you to my awesome reader Angie for sparking this!

 

Into The Still BlueInto The Still Blue
(I received this for review but this ABSOLUTELY did not sway my thoughts or feelings. Pinky promise!)

Upon finishing the series I say to all of you who haven’t started the series:

READ IT. It’s definitely one of my favorite series. It’s just all around great — the world, the characters, the relationships (friendships AND romance), action and more! Also, very satisfying ending!

 

Thoughts On Into The Still Blue (Skip below if you haven’t read the series yet!)

I was so devastated to say goodbye to this world and these characters. Through The Ever Night was so badass and ended in a way where I was sighing a sigh of relief while chewing my fingernails down to nothing KNOWING that things were going to get CAHRAZY in Into The Still Blue. And they did.

I’ve had some disappointing series finale books recently and I was just crossing my fingers and toes that I would not be disappointed. I’m happy to report it was a satisfying conclusion — it felt true to the story, there were some happily ever afters, some sad things, some crazy action and somehow even more dimensions to my favorite characters to make me love them even more. I felt fine with where it ended and I could picture life for them after — lots left to the imagination but ultimately very wrapped up!

I really, really loved watching some of these relationships and how they strengthened. Obvious Perry and Aria and it’s great because they actually get to spend more time together this time around and it’s so sweet. I LOVED Perry and Roar throughout the series (best bromance ever) and it was so hard to watch them have some tension but I felt like it just made that friendship have even more depth. And Aria and Roar. Yay platonic friendships! I love those two. There were so many swoonworthy moments. Some very tender and vulnerable moments in some combination between Aria/Perry/Roar and others. It was just really nice that these beloved characters were given even more life and didn’t fall flat in favor of action and twisty things…which there was plenty of THAT to keep your fingers in shape.

I also really loved watching the Dwellers and the Outsiders have to work together and get to know each other as they were now officially all roomies in the cave. The tension between the two sides was well written and I could feel their distrust for one another and their adversity to change but I so badly wanted them to just STOP BICKERING AND GET TO SOME SERIOUS ASS WHIPPING OF SOME MAJOR BAD GUYS. It was just really nice to see how realistically they worked together and got along.

I’m really sad it’s over but I’m so happy Veronica Rossi delivered — it wasn’t all sunshine and fa la la everyone lives happily ever after but every action and decision made sense for the story while also giving the characters what they deserve in the end. I never knew what was going to happen or what to expect and I was constantly on the edge of my seat for many reasons. I cried when I finished because I was just so damn happy and sad and feeling too many emotions.

What The Series Is About:

Okay so basically in this futuristic world things happened in the past that caused some craziness with the climate and such and these things called aether storms were becoming more and more frequent. They were obvious threats to the Outsiders but not so known to the average Dweller. The Dwellers lived in an enclosed city and they have some pretty awesome technologies and they are able to go to different realms (virtual reality). The Outsiders, well they live outside of this compound in the air that the Dwellers don’t breathe, and they rely on survival and don’t have all the luxuries that the Dwellers do in Reverie. Aria (Dweller) and Perry (Outsider) meet when they are both looking for something important to them and they begin to realize that they mutually need each other to survive/get what they want. And then there’s a whole lot of crazy and twisty stuff….but you should just read.

 

Rating Broken Down By Books (Links to individual reviews):

Under The Never Sky: LIKED IT. (3.5 stars)
Through The Ever Night: FREAKING AMAZING. I LOVED. (5 stars)
Into The Still Blue: LOVED! Such a good ending! (4.5 stars)

Recommended For People Who Love:

fantasy, dystopian/futuristic stories, awesome romance that doesn’t detract from plot, books with great friendships, survival-y stories, fantastic world building world building (I mean, she creates TWO kinds of worlds really that both were so vivid), just a damn well rounded story honestly…it’s got it all.

 

Farewell Under The Never Sky! I loved you so much and Aria/Perry/Roar will remain in the ranks of favorite characters for a long time (dare I say forever) and I can honestly declare you as one of my all time favorite series!

 

What did you think of the conclusion to this series if you’ve read it??

Book Talk: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Book Talk: The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Published by Farrer Straus and Giroux on March 4, 2014
Genres: YA Fantasy
Also by this author: The Winner's Kiss
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

 

book synopsis

The Winner’s Curse is set in completely fictional world where a people called the Valorians conquered the Herrani people who lived there before. They took over their land and turned them into slaves. Kestral, the daughter of a military general, lives a life of great wealth but her only two options as she becomes of age are to be married or enter the military — two things that aren’t exactly what she wants. As she and her friend Jess are out in the market one day she sees an auction taking place for a Herrani boy about her age who seems pretty defiant but Kestral impulsively decides to buy him as soon as the auctioneer says he can sing. As they begin to get to know each other more, Kestral begins to know her feelings for him aren’t something that society will be okay with. In those moments they share, she feels something that ignites her but she has no idea the secrets that lies behind Arin’s  eyes.

good books to read

I finally read The Winner’s Curse — perhaps one of the most talked about books of the season and I have to say, as soon as I closed this book, I had this insatiable need for the next installment. If you like stories where you get lost in the world, The Winner’s Curse will take you far, far away. It took me a little bit to get into, it’s a pretty slow build of the world and characters to start, but the storytelling will just dazzle you when you get into it.

1. OH MY HEART. This romance. The romantical element in Winner’s Curse was brilliant and refreshing. I have always loved forbidden romance type stories but they really need to have some real depth in them and consequences I can feel. This isn’t some predictable kind of love story but this forbidden slow dance that just leaves you breathless and your heart pounding especially at the end. It’s not simple or easy or even really a “romance” but more of these forbidden feelings that are just starting to really be explored before the SHIT HITS THE FAN. Arin is her slave, she bought him herself, but she feels something for him and she experiences these consequences on a small scale as rumors fly about them. I could feel this tension and I loved the slow burn feel to their story. It wasn’t an immediate sort of thing but these great small, scattered moments that were carefully weighed between the two of them. It become even more tense as the reader learns about Arin’s secrets & feelings.  Aching, aching, aching <—— my heart.

2. The writing & storytelling was PERFECTION. I don’t have much to say about it but that. It’s just perfection. Everything is written so brilliantly. And while, initially it took me about 50 pages to really get into it, the way the story is told it’s just so hard not to be absorbed into this new world and its political structure, the character and the romance. And the plot just moved along at a great pace that kept me engaged and at times on the edge of my seat. Marie Rutkoski knows how to tell a good story!

3. Kestral is a fantastic heroine that really stood out to me: So many heroines I read these days are always so much of the ass-kicking variety (which I LOVE) but Kestral was admittedly an awful fighter. But Kestral is SMART. Very strategic and cunning and curious. I also love that she wasn’t really focused on romance but her curiosity is more what initiated her attraction to Arin. There was something in him that she sensed and she wanted to know. I think it’s because they both had this rebellious sort of kindred spirit thing going on but I equally loved Kestral and Arin and who they were and what they fought for.

4. HOLD ON TO YOUR PANTS! This action got quite intense: The story starts a bit slow but like a good chess game the pieces are being moved in a subtle manner until SHIT HAPPENS and oh does it happen. I was gasping for breath when I realized what was going on and what it meant for our heroine and the story and then the action just kept coming at me and was relentless until the very emotional ending. I felt like an emotional piñata — the story just kept beating the hell out of me as all my emotions and FEELS (anger, sadness, shock, betrayal, triumph) exploded out. I was left empty and broken by the end and DYING for book 2 which I think is going to be even thrilling and exciting and political and things between Arin and Kestral will be even more tense.

5. It made me think differently of fantasy as a fantasy newb: As someone who is new to the fantasy genre I was pretty limited in my knowledge to what fantasy was. I was wondering WHERE ARE IS ALL THE MAGIC AND DRAGONS AND THINGS. I saw the completely made up world but I thought fantasy = fantastical elements always but alas after some googling, because I was curious why this had the label of fantasy,  I was schooled on what fantasy is.

 

book reviewsThe Winner’s Curse is a book that really just has it all — great storytelling, absorbing writing, compelling characters, action, a political structure with much depth and a romance that isn’t predictable or flimsy. It’s a book that has this fantasy newb head over heels and anxious for the next installment because my EMOTIONS are a hot mess over that ending and I’m frazzled all my the various tensions (political, romance, etc). Somebody get me a margarita, stat!

 

 

short book reviewThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

Cinder by Marissa MeyerBook Title/Author: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Publisher/Year
: Feiwel & Friends 2012
Genre: YA Science Fiction – Futuristic Fairytale Retelling
Series: Yes!
Other Books From Author: Scarlet (Book #2 Lunar Chronicles series)

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I borrowed this from my library!

 

Set in a futuristic China where a deadly plague is devastating the population and both humans and androids co-exist, Cinder is a talented mechanic and also a cyborg pretty much indentured to her wicked stepmother and two stepsisters after her father, who saved her though she has no recollection of it, passed away from the plague.  She finds herself face to face with Prince Kai, who has just taken on a lot of responsibility and is trying to stave off a war with the Lunar People, when he requests her services to fix his android and finds herself seeing more of him and feeling some sort of spark but she can’t let him know what she is even though it seems their futures are tied together as Cinder learns more about her past.

I’m probably the last person in the world to read Marissa Meyer’s Cinder — a futuristic retelling of Cinderella complete with cyborgs, evil stepmothers and a dreamy Prince — so I don’t know that this review is going to persuade anyone to read it because y’all already have! So how about you all just rejoice with me that  I loved this book?

I love when I put off a book and ignore it because I think it’s not my thing and then I absolutely am proved wrong and quite enjoy it. That was the case here, my friends. I mean, I enjoy some science fiction and retellings and fantasy but cyborgs? Really? So not a me thing. But Marissa  Meyer makes my preconceived notions go right back out the door where they came from.  All “SEE YA..don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out, you beastly preconceived notions.” Her re-imagined story of Cinderella breathed new  and exciting life to a very beloved fairytale from my childhood but still had the bare bones Cinderella storyline that made me fall in love with the story in the first place. It was like visiting that best friend from elementary school when you are all grown up — gone is the toothy grin and the pink jellies and overalls but somewhere in that grown up exterior you can still make out that same playground playmate you spent many great years romping around with and throwing rocks at boys with. Familiar yet wholly new.

While Cinder started out a little slow for me because of my side-eying of the whole cyborg thing, I quickly grew enraptured by the world full of robots and cyborgs that living amongst humans but as second class citizens. The plague with the  unknown origins and the Lunar people from the moon were equally fascinating and kept me riveted. There was so much about the story that I just couldn’t wait to be revealed. I got a really great sense of the world though, being set in “New Bejiing” in China, I would have wished I felt that part of the setting more. The futuristic sense I got but I would have loved a little more of a sense of the Chinese culture. Beyond my love for the world, I really fell hard for Cinder’s story. It wasn’t hard to feel for her. She was a cyborg — half human and half robot — treated like crap and living with a stepmother who resented and hated her every day. You could feel her struggles to retain her humanity but that overwhelming reminder that she’s just NOT fully a human by the world’s standards was palpable. As the story progresses, her story weighs even heavier and heavier on my heart as blows are dealt and shocking revelations – -for Cinder & not so much for me — are made known and add so much more dimension to the story.

As I alluded to in the last sentence, I’ll say that I totally called almost every big revelation and twist and thought they were obvious but I didn’t find that it detracted from my overall enjoyment in this case because I don’t know that it relied on that element of shock. I kept reading with a sense of urgency to see if I was right and then, when I was, to see what the implications of that revelation would mean for Cinder.  I think these revelations, while not surprising for me, set up a lot for book 2 and I cannot wait! I also hope maybe we will learn more of the background of the Lunar people and maybe some more explanation about the cyborgs and how they became because there seemed  to be little detail in  that  and only the groundwork seemed to be laid. Despite the fact these twists and revelations weren’t a shock to me, I thought Meyer wrote it in a way where you could FEEL it so intensely along with Cinder despite any inklings you had.

And to end this ramblefest…can we talk about the characters?? What phenomenal characters! I loved Cinder obviously but Prince Kai was to die for. He was strong but still had uncertainties as he has to make big decisions that affect his people immensely. I could feel his struggle. And he was sweet. So very sweet. I loved Iko — Cinder’s robot sidekick. I smiled every time Iko was on the page. The familiar wicked stepmother and stepsisters could have been lackluster because we know those characters from the fairytale but rather I actually thought they were brought to life and felt very real to me. And OH PEONY. That is all.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer’s made me a believer in a futuristic, science fiction fairytale retelling and I can’t wait to get Scarlet from the library to continue on with this fantastical adventure and continue Cinder’s story which goes so far beyond that of the Cinderella tale. Meyer’s takes the bare bones of Cinderella and, while familiar, adds depth and dimension to it and it feels like a new story with a futuristic world where there are robots and cyborgs, evil queens from the Moon, a deadly plague with unknown origins and a heroine whose story doesn’t just end with that typical fairytale happy ending. I can’t wait for what lies ahead in Cinder’s story. While the revelations seemed pretty obvious to me, I could FEEL those bombs drop for Cinder and think the things she learns take this story into some interesting directions.


Recommends For: People who like fairytale retellings that are truly unique but pay homage to the original, futuristic stories with cyborgs and robots, a pretty fast paced read (minus the start for me)

 

Cindery Marissa Meyer review

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  How did you feel about it? Did you enjoy it or not so much? Was anyone else going into this one thinking it wouldn’t be for them but were pleasantly surprised? Did the revelations surprise you or did you figure them out? Does anybody else wish we really got to feel the Chinese culture a little more? I was so excited about that because it’s not a setting I encounter a lot.

four-stars

Save The Date For: Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Pre-Order It | Add to Goodreads

What It’s About: When Felicia dies, she finds herself in Level 2 — an afterlife that isn’t quite disconnected from the living but isn’t quite the “next life.”  She and the others in her chamber spend their day plugged into computers where they have access to view all their old memories or the memories of others by way of a very elaborate system of credits. When a girl in Felicia’s chamber suddenly vanishes and a very dark piece of her past enters the chamber, a chamber that nobody on the outside had ever come in, and tells her there is an uprising and rebellion happening against those running the show in Level 2. Felicia isn’t sure whether or not she can trust this mysterious guy from her past but her curiosity about what lies outside her chamber, and Julian’s promise to reunite her with somebody important, just might be the push she needs to follow him and align with the rebellion that is taking place.

Why You Should Be Saving  The Date:

1. THE WORDBUILDING. Ok, so I’m going to be honest, at first it was a little slow for me because there  was a lot of info about Felicia’s life in  Level 2 and the way things work being thrown at you in the beginning but very quickly the world just started to come together and I just couldn’t put it down. I found myself so absorbed in this intricate world and SO fascinated by all its elements that kept being revealed.

2. It’s  SO unique in a way that just keeps you reading. I just found this story to be refreshing because it didn’t feel like anything I’ve ever read before. Throughout the story things kept being revealed that blew my mind storywise and the adrenaline started kicking in as pieces start coming together. I never knew what to expect to be honest.

3. Emotionally it’s a winner  — I found myself really attune to  the emotions of this novel.  I felt such a deep sense of sadness at points, I felt anger, the pain of betrayal, longing for what was  lost, the tension, etc. It’s  easy to make me cry but it’s hard to make me feel deeply, to my core, a  ton of different emotions without feeling like I’m on a contrived, whiplashing-inducing rollercoaster.

Who Should Save The  Date: Fans of YA looking for something more science fiction  in nature, those  who like “afterlife”  sort of fiction dealing with heaven, hell, angels, etc,  those looking for phenomenal worldbuilding of a world that they’ve never ever seen, those just plain old wanting to see what this blogger-turned-author accomplished (I am  NOT disappointed in the least).

Have you read this one? Are you excited for it?? Be on the lookout for my FULL review coming closer to the release date.

To learn more about why I started doing this Save The Date feature and how it differs from my reviews — go here!

Review of Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Silver PhoenixTitle/Author: Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Publisher/Year: Harper Teen 2009
Where I Got It: Bought it for the Teen Book Scene tour I’m taking part in!

Ai Ling is at the age where all her other peers are being chosen for marriage and it appears that nobody wants Ai Ling. When her father doesn’t come back from a trip to the Emperor’s palace, Ai Ling knows that she has to go find him…especially when some strange things are happening at home that she can’t explain and she’s being coerced into marrying a man whom repulses her. A lot is riding on her finding her father…even more than she realizes!

Wow. I typically don’t read a lot of fantasy. I’m not sure why exactly but I guess I thought it wouldn’t do much for me. I was wrong. Silver Phoenix was infused with action, magical elements, vivid descriptions and a slice of romantic tension. I could not put this one down and found myself reading it on my Nook while I was stuck in traffic. The writing was phenomenal and Pon created such a believable world with all the mythical and magical elements blended in. I was completely enthralled by the various creatures Ai Ling and company came across and wanted to know more about the fantastical elements and why they were after here. Oh and the descriptions…all the descriptions of the surrounding world, the food, etc. were incredible. I found my mouth watering when she would describe a meal and could feel the travel bug within me bouncing off the walls with her descriptions of the beautiful countryside and the various locations Ai Ling passed through.
Ai Ling was such a refreshing character! She was so kickass and sure of herself…and she certainly didn’t need the men fighting her battles or telling her how they were to get out of the current situation they were in. My only problem with Ai Ling was that she felt very aloof to me. I couldn’t figure out if her aloofness was intentional and that she was the type of girl that just didn’t let people in or if it was a flaw in the character development. I just wanted to figure out what made her tick and what she really felt. It seemed like she had a one track mind to finding her father but I knew there had to be more to her than that. She was so strong but I wanted to know if it were just the necklace she had that made her that way or what was really behind that strength. I wanted to use her special capability to penetrate her thoughts so I could just get a sense of who she was.
My Final Thought: If you are looking for fantasy that is on the brink of YA and adult, I think this one is great. I found it to be a lot more mature than some other YA fantasy I’ve read and it was so unique and definitely refreshing since the driving force of the book was NOT a romance. The magical world and creatures was deftly imagined and the vivid descriptions just added to the enjoyability of the action-packed journey! I will definitely be reading the next one in the series to find out some of the things I’m dying to know and to see if we get to know Ai Ling a little bit more!
 

Review on a Post-It (something new I’ve been trying):

three-half-stars
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