Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review: An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember In The Ashes 

Genre: Young Adult - High Fantasy
Release Date: April 28th 2015 by Razorbill
Book: ARC, Won from Michelle Krys
Recommended for: Readers who adores High Fantasy! Also to readers that are not very fond of fantasy novels, you'll surely change your mind about fantasy novels once you read this.
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.

It's been a while since I've written a review but worry no more because I'm back! I won an ARC of this book from the wonderful Michelle Krys. I actually don't know much about this book (except that it was a debut + a fantasy novel) when I won this but I had a gut-feel that it was going to be amazing and I was damn right. IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

Reasons Why An Ember In The Ashes Is Amazing:
1. Because I said so.
2. Massive character development.
3. Flawed, genuine characters.
4. Two swoon-worthy guys, respectively Keenan and Elias.
5. The author has an absolutely brilliant writing style!
6. It's such a compulsive read.
An Ember In The Ashes is told from two point-of-views. From Laia, a Scholar girl, and Elias, a Martial/Mask. Both are very different persons considering their "label". Scholars and Martials are enemies because Martials invaded the Scholar lands and enslaved the Scholars. 

Before reading the book, I had quite a problem because the "bad government versus slaves/poor people" scheme is CLICHE and I wondered how Tahir will make this story much more amazing than other novels in the High Fantasy genre with the almost same storyline as her debut novel. And you know what? She made this story much more amazing from all the other High Fantasy novels with her brilliant, eloquent writing style and a well-constructed, convincing world-building.

Off to the story's characters; Laia seemed like a weak Scholar girl in the beginning of the story but I saw her transformed into a BAD-ASS HEROINE. The story started with Laia's house being raided by Martial soldiers (AKA Masks) and by the end of the chapter, her grandparents were killed and his brother, Darin, was held captive by the Masks which provoked her to seek help from the Scholar rebels known as the Resistance. She's hoping that the Resistance would help her in getting Darin out of jail because he is the only family she has left. When she found the Resistance, they made a deal. The Resistance will help Laia in freeing her brother from jail if Laia is willing to be the Resistance's spy at Blackcliff (the Empire's greatest Military academy) by being the Commandant's slave. The Commandant is the one who rules over Blackcliff where Martials are being trained to be soldiers/Masks.

Elias, on the other hand, is a Martial/Mask. He is Blackcliff's most finest soldier but he secretly hates being in Blackcliff and watching innocent people die. Martials are cruel, ruthless, and just purely evil but Elias is way different from most Martials because he has a HEART. Yes, he has a heart, people. He's compassionate, brave, wise, and smart. I adore him because he admits his mistakes -- that's what makes him so genuine. Both Elias and Laia are genuine, actually. I love them both! <3

But there's also another character that I loved and it's... Keenan! A Scholar rebel who eventually had feelings for Laia. Usually, I'm not okay with love-triangle but in this book, I adored it! I SHIP IT. I ship Keenan + Laia as much as I ship Elias + Laia. My heart goes to Elias and my mind goes to Keenan. WHY IS LIFE SO HARD?!?!
Another thing about this book, it left me torn between two HOLY OF ALL HOLY swoon-worthy guys, Keenan + Elias.

One of my problems in Fantasy novels are there are SO many characters but while reading this book, it felt like it's not a problem for me anymore. This novel proved that "the more, the merrier." And of course, THE ENDING. It was kind of a cliffhanger that wasn't a cliffhanger, you get what I mean? I'm fine with the ending but it can't just end there! LIKE, NO WAY! Give me more, give us more! I NEED MORE. There must be a sequel! Seriously. 

I must say, An Ember In The Ashes is a novel that should not be missed! A novel with amazing, strong characters, brilliant writing style and a brilliant world building. YOU. MUST. READ. THIS!

Troglodyte forever,

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #22: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

Carmel's WoW Pick:
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Expected Release Date: June 2nd 2015
(Dutton Books for Young Readers )
Goodreads Summary:
I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

Aside from loving anything with lies and deception, I LOVE STORIES OF REVENGE! REVENGE!!! *insert evil laugh*
I hope the main character will be hellbent on revenge. 
I hope this will not turn to a mushy love story.
I am seriously excited for this! 


Or you can always Pre-order on Amazon!
About Carrie Ryan:
Carrie Ryan is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Forest of Hands and Teeth series, which has been translated into over eighteen languages and is in development as a major motion picture. She is also the editor of the anthology Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction, as well as author of Infinity Ring: Divide and Conquer, the second book in Scholastic's new multi-author/multi-platform series for middle grade readers.

Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Carrie is a graduate of Williams College and Duke University School of Law. A former litigator, she now writes full time. She lives with her writer/lawyer husband, two fat cats and one large rescue mutt in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are not at all prepared for the zombie apocalypse. You can find her online at or @CarrieRyan.


Do you like stories of revenge? Do you know of any other story that centers on revenge?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Blog Tour: All The Rage by Courtney Summers (Interview + Giveaway)

Hello, troglodytes! Thanks for stopping by my blog stop for the All The Rage blog tour arranged my St. Martin's Press. I am beyond happy and honored to be a part of this! That's all for my intro and let's move on to the post. Enjoy! ;)

All The Rage

Young Adult - Contemporary, Mystery
Publication: April 14th 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin
Amazon || B&N || iTunes || Kobo 
The sheriff's son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything-friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy's only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn't speak up. Nobody believed her the first time-and they certainly won't now-but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.


With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.


1. Your novel, All The Rage, sounds really dark and interesting at the same time. How did you come up with the idea of it?
  • Thank you. All the Rage is a response to and exploration of rape culture, victim-blaming and how we fail victims and survivors of sexual violence. It’s been something I’ve been working on since around 2009 and the idea evolved over the years, but it always began with two girls disappearing on the same night.
2. What is the best part of writing All The Rage?
  • All the Rage was a really intense and tough book to write—so I have to say the best part about writing it was actually finishing it. It was worth how hard it was to write, though. I’m very proud of the end result.
3. Recommend your novel [All The Rage] to the readers.
  • All the Rage is a gritty, realistic young adult novel that examines a culture that refuses to protect its young women.
Courtney Summers: Thanks for having me on your blog!
C&K: No problem, Miss Summers! It's an honor to have you on our blog.

Courtney Summers lives and writes in Canada, where she divides most of her time between a camera, a piano and a word processing program. She is also the author of What Goes Around,This is Not a Test, Fall for Anything, Some Girls Are, Cracked Up to Be, and Please Remain Calm.


Time for a giveaway! The amazing and kind people at St. Martin's Press are giving away one copy of All The Rage to a one lucky blog reader! Unfortunately, this giveaway is restricted to US/CAN residents only.

Giveaway Rules:
• Giveaway is open to US/CAN residents only.
• Must be 13+ or have parent's permission to join this giveaway.
• Carmel & Kyla or St. Martin's Press shall not be held responsible for lost/damaged mails.
• Do NOT cheat. We do not tolerate cheating and everyone knows that cheaters never prosper!
• Once the giveaway ends, an email will be sent to the chosen winner. If the winner doesn't reply within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Questions? Suggestions? Violent reactions? Email me or tweet me.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

An Open Letter to My YA Self + Giveaway

Ginger of GReads! is hosting a lovely blog feature called An Open Letter to My YA Self , wherein the participants (including me) will have to write a letter to their young adult self. You can view the full schedule of the different posts here. Thank you Ginger for this wonderful opportunity. Now, here goes my letter...

Dear (Young) Carmel,

Hi… *insert cricket sounds* I know you are probably nervous as you are reading this and you probably would not want to hear from your future self. Just let me be. I was in the mood (read: bored). Plus, there’s a power interruption so I got nothing else to do. So, I have to remind you of a few things: DON’T GROW UP. IT’S A TRAP! I AM CONFIRMING IT TO YOU. Seriously, lighten up!

You will be overwhelmed on how awesome you will be in the future. Haha. I know you’re probably giving me the side eyes now. Just listen to me, okay? You will meet the man of your dreams aka Piolo Pascual during one summer vacation. Don't take it lightly! He will visit you at your house. SO, BE PREPARED! Aside from that, you will survive high school. School is school. Nothing special or notable. You won't be miss popular, but in college, you will stand out. It would be hard at first, but college -- despite the intrigues that were thrown at you -- will be easy peasy for you. You will be rewarded for your hard work. You deserve that award! I will not elaborate the award, but trust me, IT'S GOOD! Anyway, like what I said, I’m here to remind you of a few things in life:

Don’t change who you are for someone else. As cliché as it seems, but the best advice I can give you is to be yourself. There will be people who will accept you for who are (and who you are not.) Yes, not a lot, but there will be. Stay with those people. Besides, you will gain (fictional) friends in the future. You will know what I mean when you are done reading this letter.

Take your own sweet time on things. I know you are very mature for your age. Don’t decide on a whim unless you are buying for books. You may not understand certain things, but patience is a virtue.

The world is not as bad as they paint it to be.  I know you are NO girl. But you have to enjoy! You don’t need to overanalyze everything. Don’t take life too seriously. No one gets out alive as what your friend Sandy said.

Lastly, I am here to recommend you some books. These are contemporary novels that I am certain you can relate to and enjoy as well.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
 Auden’s too serious like you. I am sure you will see yourself in her.

 “Who says there has to be a point?" he asked. "Or a reason. Maybe it's just something you have to do.” ― Sarah Dessen

Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
Leigh’s over analytical mind is definitely something you can relate to.

“I've never told another soul about the stories I make up while I'm trying to fall asleep, and I would never even consider writing them down. They're just too personal. Nathan fell silent as well, and I realized that maybe I wasn't the only one who felt that way. I wondered how many people in the world have daydreams spinning around in their heads that they would never put into words. Probably more than you would think.”  ― Alicia Thompson  
Golden by Jessi Kirby
This will remind you to take risks. You have to take that chance!

 “But what I realize, here, now, is that it's not actually making the choice that takes courage. It's facing it afterward. Owning up to it, whether it's good or bad.” ― Jessi Kirby

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
You and Ruby are alike. You don’t like accepting help. It’s okay to accept some help, you know!

“Needing was so easy: it came naturally, like breathing. Being needed by someone else, though, that was the hard part. But as with giving help and accepting it, we had to do both to be made complete- like links overlapping to form a chain, or a lock finding the right key.” ― Sarah Dessen

Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick
The truth is ambiguous sometimes. You just have to read this!

“In my experience, the truly evil are few and good people, with the very best intentions, often make very bad decisions and get in way over their heads before they know it. People drown, quietly before our eyes, all the time.” ― Ilsa J. Bick
Okay, you may go back to daydreaming about Sam Claflin, to conspiring with Joe Carroll, and to reading more awesome books. One more thing, you will to go to Disneyland and visit other countries. Life is good. SMILE!

(The Not So Young) Carmel


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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #21: In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

Carmel's WoW Pick:
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Expected Release Date: April 28th 2015
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Goodreads Summary:
Imagination takes on new meaning for a uniquely talented teen in this debut novel that is a breathtaking blend of contemporary, fantasy, and romance.

Sometimes Jonathan Aubrey wishes he could just disappear. And as luck—or fate—would have it, he can. Ever since coming out of a coma as a kid, he has been able to create alternate worlds. Worlds where he is a superhero, or a ladies’ man, or simply a better version of himself. That’s the world he’s been escaping to most since sophomore year, a world where he has everything he doesn’t have in real life: friends, a place of honor on the track team, passing grades, and most importantly, Kylie Simms as his girlfriend.

But when Jonathan confuses his worlds senior year and tries to kiss the real Kylie Simms, everything unravels. The real Kylie actually notices Jonathan…and begins obsessing over him. The fantasy version of Kylie struggles to love Jonathan as she was created to do, and the consequences are disastrous. As his worlds collide, Jonathan must confront the truth of his power and figure out where he actually belongs—before he loses both Kylies forever.

The synopsis got to me. What if the life that you wish you could have is right there, would you take it?
I am sure there were moments in our life that we wish we could change. Personally, there were things I wish I said, there were things I wish I did. SIGH. I have a feeling this will break my heart into a thousand pieces.

Add IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT on Goodreads!
Or you can always Pre-order on Amazon!
About Jen Brooks:
Jen has a habit of being deeply moved by profound ideas, and her writing reflects her interest in exploring human goodness, relationships, and the feeling of being a part of something greater than oneself. She loves the science fiction and fantasy genres because of their dazzling possibilities for portraying characters and ideas. She credits her undergraduate experience at Dartmouth College, her MFA at Seton Hill University, and her fourteen years of English teaching with shaping her writing.  She is grateful to her family, friends, and students for inspiring her to write.


What book are you excited about? Link them up below!