If you have been feeling that you'd never find another book you could love like The Hunger Games, then have no fear, An Ember in the Ashes is here! Laia is a Scholar, one of the oppressed people living under Martial rule. Her family has been destroyed by the rebellion against the empire and now she's on her own, trying to save her brother from a Martial prison. Elias is a Mask, one of the Empire's most elite soldiers, but he doesn't feel fully connected to the Empire. He plans to desert on the very day he graduates from the military academy, but he's not sure he'll actually be able to go through with it.
Laia's story is one of covert operations, family, and endurance. To save her brother, Laia is placed as a slave in the household of the ruthless leader of the Empire's military academy. Her need to collect information is quickly sidelined behind a greater need to survive. Elias meanwhile is chosen to compete in the Trials, a ruthless test that will leave one of the chosen few standing tall as the new Emperor, one as his second in command, and the others will not survive.
Readers will find themselves quickly pulled into Laia and Elias' story. With two heroes to root for and two separate lives to follow, the narrative is very fast paced. You might think this is just another story of a chosen one, but you'll be surprised where An Ember in the Ashes will take you!
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is one of my favorite series of all time. These science fiction retellings of fairy tales are exciting, romantic, smart, funny, and all around awesome. The first book in the series, Cinder, introduces readers to the world and its conflicts. Scarlet brings in some great new characters and sets the plot moving along. Cress also introduces new characters, new conflicts, and new allies. I loved all three of these books, as well as Fairest, the prequel to the series. The most recent book, Winter, is exactly what fans have been hoping for. At just over 800 pages, it's long enough to completely lose yourself in the world and feel like you get enough time to spend with all your favorite characters. Although, I was still disappointed when it was all over.
In Cinder the reader learns that humans have colonized the Moon, now known as Luna. The Earth is broken into fewer, large countries. Cinder lives in the Eastern Commonwealth, one of the largest and most powerful countries. The Commonwealth is ruled by an Emperor and his son, Kaito, is a very handsome prince. Cinder is a cyborg, a human with robotic components, who is also the best mechanic in the Commonwealth. She lives with her adopted mother and two sisters, working hard to earn her keep and never feeling like a part of the family. When Prince Kaito shows up at her booth to inquire about her ability to fix his favorite android it's the start of something much larger for both of them. Cinder finds herself drawn into the political power plays of Queen Levana of Luna, a cruel leader with her sights set on the Commonwealth. A plague is ravaging the people of Earth and Levana has an antidote, but the young prince must first give her what she wants if he's ever to save his people.
This series is great for fans of action, romance, fairy tales, science fiction, Sailor Moon (trust me on this), and characters you wish you could be friends with in real life. The library has these books on audiobook, ebook, and traditional format. Choose one and get started enjoying your new favorite series! Then come to The Ground Floor and talk to me about them!
Winter break is just around the corner and if you find yourself looking for something quick and fun to read while you get ready for finals or just something cozy for a cold, winter's night, My True Love Gave to Me is the perfect choice. This collection of romantic, holiday short stories has something for everyone; a New Year's Eve story of friends who keep missing each other, a boy and girl falling for each other at a Christmas tree farm, and a story of a girl who might be having a romantic New Year with a Krampus. These stories are written by some young adult heavy hitters, chances are good you already like at least one of these authors.
Pick up a copy of My True Love Gave to Me and enjoy it with an extra large hot chocolate as the perfect finals de-stressor/a relaxing evening over winter break.
Six young outcasts must come together to break into an impenetrable fortress, kidnap a scientist with dangerous knowledge, and save the world from a drug that makes Grisha (magic users) infinitely powerful.
Kaz - a strong leader of an underworld gang.
Inej - the Wraith, able to move silently through the world, gathering all its secrets.
Jesper - a sharp shooter with a need to gamble, but very bad luck.
Nina - a Grisha heartrender who can use her magic to stop a man's heart or pull the breath from his body.
Matthias - a former Grisha hunter who knows the fortress better than anyone, but might not be trustworthy.
Wylan - an explosives expert who ran away from a life of privilege.
If they can pull off this impossible heist they'll be rich beyond imagining, but to do that, they'll have to trust each other and work together without killing each other first.
This fast paced story features narration from all six of the main characters allowing readers to get to know each of them. The world building is fabulous and so is the story itself. The shared narration and lack of trust among the characters means that the reader also never knows the group's full plan. Pick up Six of Crows if you want to be blown away by some impressive scheming.
Halloween is on the way, so you're probably in the mood for some scary stories. These books are guaranteed to make your heart beat faster and have you checking for ghouls around every dark corner.
Anna Dressed in Bloodby Kendare Blake is about Cas Lowood, a seventeen year old who travels the country fighting ghosts and the undead in an effort to avenge his father. Cas meets his match in Anna, a powerful spirit capable of great evil.
The Diviners by Libba Bray takes place in the roaring twenties. Evie O'Neill gets the best punishment ever when her parents send her away from her small town to live with her uncle in New York City! But Evie has certain abilities that draw both of them into investigating a series of occult murders that might have been committed by a serial killer...who is already dead.
Scowler by Daniel Kraus proves that the scariest monsters are sometimes the most human.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is soon to be a Tim Burton movie (March 2016). Before it hits theaters make sure to read this incredibly original and spooky tale of an abandoned orphanage and the unlikely children who lived there.
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey is the journal of Will Henry, apprentice to Dr. Warthrop, the Monstrumologist, who studies monsters in an attempt to fight them. This book is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach.
This week (Sept 27th - Oct 3rd) is Banned Books Week. A banned or challenged book is one that has come under fire for various reasons. Sometimes libraries are asked to move a book to a different section (out of a teen section for example), to place a warning sticker on books considered "inappropriate," or they might be asked to remove a book from the library completely. The American Library Association keeps track of these attempts to ban/challenge books, here is a list of the top most challenged titles from 2014. The number one most challenged book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, also just happens to be one of my favorite books.
It's the story of Junior, a talented cartoonist, leaves his local school for better opportunites at a new school. However, Junior lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation so in leaving his reservation school he's also leaving his tribe for an all white school, "where the only other Indian is the school mascot." Junior has trouble fitting in at his new school and even more trouble at home on the reservation where his friends and family view his transfer as a betrayal.
Junior's life is made more complicated by physical limitations and family obligations. His story is deeply affecting and will make readers laugh and ugly cry. Sherman Alexie's writing is completely engrossing. Seriously, you won't be able to get enough, and why should you, he has written tons of amazing books!
This week, think about the books you've read that have really meant something to you. The books that stayed with you and helped shape the person you've become. I bet at least one of them is on the banned books lists. Join me! #IStandWithTheBanned!