Review: Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch

Book Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Published Date: October 14th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Book 1 in Snow Like Ashes trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.


“Even the strongest blizzard starts with a single snowflake.”

Oh my goodness, why didn’t I read this book sooner? I really should have read it months ago, but I wasn’t really feeling the Fantasy genre, so I was holding off until I was ready for it. I really wanted to love this book because the cover is gorgeous, and I wanted the insides to match the gorgeousness of the outside.

I was not disappointed. At. All.

Meira was a total bad ass and I loved her as a character. She was well rounded and so awesome. I loved her relationships with Sir and Mather especially. They were both protective of her, possibly too protective. They refused to allow her to fight in battle, or to do anything physical like that. Meira and Mather have an undeniable connection from the beginning and for the first 125 pages, I adored Mather, and I wanted Mather for my own.

Until we met Prince Theron. Sa-woon!

He was hot, and quickly turned into my favorite guy in the entire story. There was much more to him and why Meira was meeting him, than initially met the eye. Meira seemed to warm to him pretty quickly, which surprised me big time. I didn’t expect the connection to be what it was, so I was pleasantly surprised when truths were revealed. 

“We have all the time you desire, Meira. I will not rush you.”

Holy hell, he’s totally swoony and I love that about him. He’s more than just a prince. He’s got a good heart, and he’s essentially trapped in Cordell, forced to do what his father, King Noam, demands.

“Don’t you want more than this?”
“Every day of my life.”

It was sad because Theron wanted so much more than to be king. He wanted to explore his artsy side. His artistic abilities included poetry and painting, but as future king, he was unable to explore that side of him.

On the other side of the triangle, we had Mather, who was also struggling with everything. He was in love with Meira, but according to Sir, Winter had to come first. Before his own happiness, even. That was rough on both Meira and Mather. They were attracted to each other, but nothing could happen between them.

King Noam was a complex character and I was never sure what he wanted or who, if anyone, he was loyal to. Watching him was fascinating because I never knew what to expect.

The world was described so vividly that I could see it as I read it. That excites me. Being able to visualize what I’m reading about makes a book even better in my eyes. I was worried that this world wouldn’t be described well, but I am so glad I didn’t need to worry. It was beautifully & clearly described.

Oh, and I want a chakram

There are so many other things I want to talk about, but I cannot mention it. It’s too spoilery and I don’t want to ruin it for others. Yes, you definitely need to read this glorious fantasy novel. I loved it, and will happily give it 5 stars.

Review: Diamonds in the Rough (The Secret Diamond Sisters #2) by Michelle Madow

Book Title: Diamonds in the Rough
Author: Michelle Madow
Published Date: October 28th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Book Two in The Secret Diamond Sisters Trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
All-access doesn’t mean no problems.

The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah’s YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganza—with complimentary enemies on the side. Dangerous flirtations don’t keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters’ archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusion—and turn their lives upside down all over again.

Sisterhood, first crushes, and scandalous secrets explode in book two of Michelle Madow’s riveting series, The Secret Diamond Sisters.

Disclaimer: Library book.


I wasn’t a huge fan of Book One, so I was nervous about continuing the series. I didn’t want to be disappointed, but thankfully I wasn’t. Diamonds in the Rough is a significant improvement over The Secret Diamond Sisters in many ways, so I was very excited about that.

It was no longer a problem for me to keep all the POVs straight. Each girl had their own distinct voice, and there was so much more character development for all three of them which really made me happy. There seemed to be a concentrated effort on Madow’s part to explore each of the sisters individuality in this second book, and I think that really helped out a lot. 

I am very character minded and if the characters are well developed, then I’ll definitely enjoy the book more. Character development was fairly weak in The Secret Diamond Sisters, but thankfully that issue did not carry over into Book Two.

I got answers to so many of my questions from book one, and the two explosive secrets were revealed. One of them I had guessed before I started the book and the other one came as a complete shock to me and left me in tears. That was another thing that the first book didn’t have. It didn’t have any truly feels-y moments so I was grateful for the feels-y moments in Diamonds in the Rough.

I really want to talk about two supporting characters from The Secret Diamond Sisters, who really became main characters in Diamonds in the Rough:

Adrian for starts, I was dying to know more about him after the first book, and while I did get to know a whole lot more about him in Diamonds in the Rough, I still feel like there’s something else we don’t know about him yet. I really hope the third and final book of this series will give me the answers I’m looking for about him.

Madison, I really did not like her at all in the first book, but man did I warm up to her significantly in the second book. She seemed much nicer and less bitchy overall and I responded well to that and she quickly became one of my favorite characters. She goes through an emotional roller coaster in this book, but I was happy to see that she was a different person and she was a different person due to the secret she had found out. I actually started to like the idea of her and Oliver together despite the fact that Oliver is a bit of a tool.

As for Courtney, Savannah & Peyton, they too go on a crazy ride full of ups and downs throughout this entire book. Courtney in particular struggles with certain things she learns in the course of this book. Savannah and Peyton willingly stand by her as she struggles to figure out how she should handle certain things.

This book was much better than the first book. I am giving it four stars and I am so excited to see where things go from here. I think Madow could take it in a lot of different directions, but I don’t know what’s going to happen. I am now eagerly awaiting book 3, Diamonds are Forever.

Review: The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu

Book Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Published Date: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Book 1 in The Young Elites series
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

Disclaimer: Library book.

It was no secret that this book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2014. I hadn’t read Lu’s previous work, but this one sounded so good and I was so excited for it. It was described to me as a dark fantasy and that it would cause me pain, but that I would enjoy it.

My blogging friends were right on the money. I loved this book, and especially Adelina. The role of “evil” character is usually reserved for the man in the story, so I loved that in this story Adelina was the one who was “evil” and instead of being sweet and demure, she was passion and anger filled. Awesome-sauce.

It took me a long time to warm up to Violetta, I was actually angry with her for not defending her sister against their abusive father. We later found out more about her which definitely changed my opinion of her. I still don’t love her, but I’m warming up to her definitely.

For a little while there I was convinced that this story was going to include a love triangle between Enzo and Raffaele and Adelina, thankfully I turned out to be wrong. I adored Raffaele though and he did remind me a lot of Finnick Odair from The Hunger Games trilogy. Finnick was another character I adored. The light romance was beautiful, and I was glad that not much emphasis was put on the romance. I think any more romance would have made me not love the book.

The world building was utterly glorious, it was so vivid an I could totally picture it in my mind’s eye. It was beautifully described and it made me want to jump into the book and live in it. It’s been a long time since a Fantasy book has made me feel like this. Good world building always makes me happy and this world building was beautiful so kudos to Lu for creating this world.

5 stars to this fantasy novel that has the power to turn into an epic series and I think it will do just that. I now need to go pick up Lu’s previous trilogy from the library because her writing is so fabulous.

Review: Famous in Love (Famous in Love #1) by Rebecca Serle

Book Title: Famous in Love
Author: Rebecca Serle
Published Date: October 21st, 2014
Publisher: Poppy
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Series: Book One in Famous in Love trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The romantic story of a girl who gets plucked from obscurity to star in the next major feature film franchise based on a book and the ensuing love triangles she gets entangled in on—-and off screen. 

Meet Paige Townsen, Rainer Devon, and Jordan Wilder…

When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a crowded movie set on the shores of Maui, and is spending quality time with her co-star Rainer Devon, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie’s famous love triangle, Paige’s crazy new life gets even crazier.

In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is – and who she wants – while the whole world watches

Disclaimer: I read this book with On The Same Page ARC Tours.

I was honestly a bit unsure about this book. I had had so many hopes for The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle, but it hadn’t worked for me. I wanted to give the author another try, so I joined the ARC Tour for this book and boy am I glad that I did.

Normally I dislike the books that are all about the romance. I love books that are grittier in nature, ones that give me those feels. Yet as it turns out, I really needed a fluffy romance book this time around. I’ve been experiencing a bit of a slump lately, and it was really starting to drive me crazy. Once I started reading this, I couldn’t stop. It was exactly what I needed. A fluffy book with a love triangle (I don’t normally like love triangles but this one worked somehow)
Paige has been a normal teenager, until she gets plucked from obscurity to play August, the female lead in a blockbuster movie. I liked Paige a lot even though I couldn’t really relate to her. She was dealing with a lot of sudden changes, and at first she seems to want to stay connected with Cassandra and Jake, her friends from back home, but then she seemed to let things shift, where it became more about the movie and becoming August, and less about still being herself.
I normally don’t root for the “bad boy” but Jordan was awesome. He showed more of his personal side to Paige than Rainer ever did. He treated Paige like an equal, and that was something Rainer didn’t do. He protected her and coddled her and acted like she was a poor helpless little girl just because she was brand new to the scene. Rainer used to be the type of guy I’d go after. The fiercely protective type, and in fact my ex fiance was very much like him.
The cliffhanger! It’s gonna be a long wait to find out what happens next. I’m sure the drama is only beginning now that Paige picked her man (for now at least) Definitely read it if you’re up for a fun read with drama and love triangles at the center of it all. I’m giving this book 4 stars and I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Book Title: Beware the Wild
Author: Natalie C. Parker
Published Date: October 21st, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Thriller
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp — the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance — and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her. 

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Disclaimer: I received this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

This book was straight up, freaking awesomesauce.

I really needed something creepy, so I was hoping that this book would deliver the creepiness that the cover teased us with. And it DID!
When the book really gets going, everything is different. Phin is not only gone, but no one remembers him. Not even his own mom. Sterling remembers him, but she also remembers memories of Lenora May. The Lenora May that appeared out of the swamp shortly after Phin disappeared. Nothing makes sense. She knows Lenora May isn’t actually her sister and she does remember her older brother Phin.
It isn’t until she begins talking to the town loner, Heath. Heath has his own secrets. The most important secret that he carries with him is that he believes Sterling. He knows she’s telling the truth. He remembers Phin and he remembers his best friend. His best friend disappeared into the swamp a year ago and, Heath’s been living with the knowledge that only he remembers his best friend. 
No one else in Nathan Payola’s life or home remembers him. Not his mom or dad. Only Heath.
Sterling knows she’ll be labelled as crazy if she talks to anyone about the swamp and the fact that she believes both Phin and Nathan and probably others have been taken by it. Even her friends Abigail & Candace “Candy” This book had a healthy dose of great friendships, which really excited me.
“I’m trusting you not to get eaten Saucier. And if that trust is misplaced, so help me, I’ll tell all of your worst secrets at your funeral.” -Candy-

As the book goes on, and we learn more of who Lenora May is and how she came to be, Sterling feels herself fighting the ever present pull of the swamp. It’s lights are enticing and her desire to save Phin is constant and relentless.

“As much as I hate that my brother is trapped here, I somehow can’t wish the swamp away.” -Sterling-

Lenora May’s past was one of my favorite things to learn about. I was so curious to figure out how she was connected to the swamp, why she had come out of the swamp shortly after Phin disappeared. I wondered if she had some sort of history with Sterling’s family. The idea that she could simply walk into the house and it was like she had been there all along was so mind boggling to me. I felt sympathy for Sterling who was so clearly confused initially.
I absolutely loved this book. I am so glad I read it when I did and I cannot wait to get a finished copy of it soon. The twists and the turns were there in abundance. The creepiness factor was very high as the world building was spectacular. I am giving this awesome and unique story 5 stars. I cannot wait to see what the author writes next.

Review: Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir

Book Title: Bleed Like Me
Author: Christa Desir
Publish Date: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
From the author of Fault Line comes an edgy and heartbreaking novel about two self-destructive teens in a Sid and Nancy-like romance full of passion, chaos, and dyed hair.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon (just “Gannon” to her friends) is invisible to almost everyone in her life. To her parents, to her teachers-even her best friend, who is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days the only way Gannon knows she is real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach.

Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels like she is being seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged, and addictive, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment together is a passionate, painful relief.

But as the relationship deepens, Gannon starts to feel as if she’s standing at the foot of a dam about to burst. She’s given up everything and everyone in her life for him, but somehow nothing is enough for Brooks-until he poses the ultimate test.

Bleed Like Me is a piercing, intimate portrayal of the danger of a love so obsessive it becomes its own biggest threat.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. 

Trigger Warning: Self Harm.

Oh boy, I think this review will be on the long side because I have a lot to say. I just love the way Desir tells the stories. She writes stories that most authors would never write. She’s got the guts to write the tough stories and the stories that not everyone will like. She goes for it and goes for it hard.
Michael Brooks and Amelia Gannon are not characters that you’re gonna like a whole lot. This isn’t a sweet, romantic love story, Desir doesn’t write those. What she does write are thought provoking, complicated stories that leave your thoughts conflicted. 
Brooks has his own demons. He’s got a father he’s terrified of. He’s been abused by his father and he’s been in foster care for a very long time. Nothing is really “his” anymore. He’s been in juvenile hall and he’s done drugs. Not the kind of guy any reasonable parent would want around their daughter.
That is, if they are even present in their daughter’s life. Gannon’s got more of a “typical” family. Things were great for so long when she was a child. All that changed when her parents adopted three boys from Guatemala. These boys have so many issues of their own, that Gannon has been pushed to the back burner since they arrived.
And that’s when she started the cutting.
There was so many times in this book that I wanted to shake Gannon. Brooks was controlling, he was abusive and he got her into so many things that she had never been into before. Breaking and entering, drugs like Ecstasy. Things only got worse as the book went on and Brooks wanted to know who she talked to, why she talked to them. He also kept telling her that he was all who mattered. Her parents didn’t matter, her best friend Ali didn’t matter. It was hard for me to like her. She was making all the wrong choices and at one point, after I had screamed in frustration, it hit me. 
Relationships like this are so prevalent, particularly among teenagers. I have never experienced one myself, but I know a couple of girls who had experienced this when we were all in high school together. Just because it wasn’t something that I had personally experienced, did not mean that it wasn’t an important book.
The ending was incredibly intense. I had to put my Kindle down and actually physically walk away from this book because the ending was so intense. I do wish there had been a little more in the epilogue. I wanted just a little bit more closure. 
I can’t really say that I enjoyed this book, because a book like this, you can’t really enjoy, but I will say that it was an incredibly important book that needs to be required reading in high school. It’s not just girls who fall victim to controlling & abusive partners. Guys do too. 4 stars to this book. I’ll read anything this woman writes.