Obsidian and Stars – Review + Giveaway

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book cover.jpgObsidian and Stars (Ivory and Bone #2)
Julie Eshbaugh
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

In the sequel to Ivory and Bone—the prehistoric fantasy novel that New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman described as a “richly crafted world of life-and-death stakes”—the story shifts to Mya’s viewpoint as vengeful adversaries force her to flee the life she once knew.

After surviving the chaotic battle that erupted after Lo and the Bosha clan attacked, now Mya is looking ahead to her future with Kol. All the things that once felt so uncertain are finally falling into place. But the same night as Kol and Mya’s betrothal announcement, Mya’s brother Chev reveals his plan to marry his youngest sister Lees to his friend Morsk. The only way to avoid this terrible turn of events, Morsk informs Mya when he corners her later, is for Mya to take Lees’ place and marry him herself.

Refusing to marry anyone other than her beloved, and in an effort to protect her sister, Mya runs away to a secret island with Lees. And though it seems like the safest place to hide until things back home blow over, Mya soon realizes she’s been followed. Lurking deep in the recesses of this dangerous place are rivals from Mya’s past whose thirst for revenge exceeds all reason.

With the lives of her loved ones on the line, Mya must make a move before the enemies of her past become the undoing of her future.

About the author:
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Julie Eshbaugh is the author of Ivory and Bone (HarperCollins, 2016). She used to have trouble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. Julie eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives with her husband, son, cat and dog. Her favorite moments are when the unexpected happens and she cheers loudest when the pitcher gets a hit.
The Giveaway
Win a finished copy of Obsidian and Stars (US ONLY). Giveaway ends June 17th.
My Spoiler Free Thoughts:
Last year I was highly anticipating the first book in this duology, Ivory and Bone. I was so disappointed when I read it and it didn’t completely blow me away.
I decided to pick up Obsidian and Stars anyways and I’m SO, SO, SO GLAD that I did.
I adored it so much! If you had doubts about the first book, I’d highly recommend you read it and pick this one up. I related so much more to Mya, who tells the story in first person, and my attention was held the entire way through the book. There is so much more action, emotion and all-round greatness packed into this sequel.
Despite originally being marketed as a trilogy, this book definitely wrapped things up perfectly to complete the duology.
What I Liked:
  • Mya is a great perspective to read from. I loved her internal conflicts and thought processes, and I could really relate to her
  • The plot. There was way more action in this book than the first, and it definitely kept the story flowing.
  • I read this in just two sittings. It was so fast-paced and the pacing was super consistent throughout.
  • A really thorough conclusion to the duology. I loved the ending.
  • It explores responsibility/duty, friendship, love and family in a great way.
  • The world-building was really good, and I could picture the landscapes and villages easily.

 

What I Disliked:

  • I really struggled to picture the characters in my head. It’s probably due to the fact I read the first book over a year ago, but I found it difficult to see what each character looked like.
  • That’s it. That’s all that I disliked.

 

All in all, this was a fantastic conclusion to the Ivory and Bone duology, with just the right mix of action, adventure and super cute romance. I gave this book 4 stars.

Signed

Edge of Everything : Wonderful, unique, heartbreaking

22296822.jpgIt’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods–only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.(Goodreads)


Published in January 2017 by Bloomsbury, Edge of Everything is a sci-fi/fantasy thriller with a delicious romance and interesting family dynamics. A really fast, clever read.

This novel was an easy 4 stars for me. The Edge of Everything starts with action and adventure. We follow the story from both Zoe and X’s perspectives, and because of their unique voices I was quickly invested in the story.

It was such a fast-paced, easy read with a different take on hell and bounty hunters, and it looked at family relationships and friendships. I loved it so much, but I felt that the romance overtook the plot in the end, and the other elements fell away as the story progressed. But anyways I would highly recommend this book. Fantastic read.

~ Find Edge of Everything on AMAZON and BOOK DEPOSITORY ~

Caraval: The ultimate deception

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I was sent an ARC of Caraval by Hachette Australia, but this did not impact my opinion in any way.

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever. (Goodreads)


Published in January 2017 by Hachette Australia, Caraval is Stephanie Garber’s debut novel. Full of magic, deception, romance and incredible writing, Caraval is sure to delight and confound every reader.

To start with Caraval was a bit slow. We meet Tella and Scarlett, and the handsome Julian, and debate going to Caraval for a few chapters. Quickly though, the pace picks up, and we are immersed in beautiful, descriptive writing that drowns us in the sounds, smells and sights of Caraval.

Every chapter explores new aspects of Caraval, and you’re never quite sure what is real, and what isn’t. The entire book is a maze of deception and trickery, magic and romance, and I loved every second of it. I really enjoyed following Scarlett’s perspective, and seeing her love for her sister, and watching a potential romance bloom.

Caraval is a beautifully written trick of a novel with a cliff-hanger style ending that has me wanting more. Loved it so much. 5 stars.

 

~Find Caraval on AMAZON and BOOK DEPOSITORY ~

Dreadnought: Fun, important, diverse.

30279514.jpgDanny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, she was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But then her second-hand superpowers transformed her body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but between her father’s dangerous obsession with curing her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and the classmate who is secretly a masked vigilante, Danny’s first weeks living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined.

She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer, a cyborg named Utopia, still haunts the streets of New Port City. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction. (Goodreads)


April Daniels’ debut novel, Dreadnought, was published in January 2017 by Diversion Publishing. Think superheroes, trans-representation and all-round awesomeness. This has immediately flown onto my all-time favourites list, and I will be reading this again and again.

I obviously gave this one 5 stars. From chapter one I was intrigued, and this book had one of THE BEST opening chapters that I’ve ever read. Straightaway Danny has a unique voice, I felt connected to her, and there was so much action. You’re thrown straight into this superhero world, but not once did I feel lost or confused.

The background info about Danny, Dreadnought, and the world in general, really helped me to feel immersed in this world, and I loved it so much. Whilst this novel is incredibly fun, its also an own voices trans novel, which is fantastic. Through this book difficult topics are explored, such as family problems and the difficulty with transitioning, and it was done in a great way (NB: some trans people have felt affected by slurs that are used in this book, so please be aware of this).  It gave me an interesting perspective on how differently trans people are treated, especially after transitioning, including how their friends and family respond.

Danny is a fantastic, kick-ass, relatable character, with fears and insecurities, and despite having superhero powers she felt incredibly real. I loved reading from Danny’s perspective and seeing her grow. The ending of this novel was just as strong as the beginning, and it was amazing from cover to cover. A new favourite.

~ Find Dreadnought on AMAZON and BOOK DEPOSITORY ~

 

Frostblood – Elly Blake

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The frost king will burn.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating—yet irresistible—Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her—and from the icy young man she has come to love. (Goodreads)

Published in January 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton, Frostblood is a fantasy story following Ruby, a strong-willed, independent girl with a unique power to wield frost and snow. In a world where Firebloods rule, her power can only get her into trouble.

I gave this novel 2.5 stars. I adored the writing style and pacing from page one, but the plot took about a third of the novel to pick up. The beginning, whilst slow, did give great background info about Ruby and the world she lives in.

The plot twists throughout really didn’t surprise me, and the entire story felt familiar (think Red Queen). Ruby felt bland as a character to me, and I really struggled to connect with her.

Overall, whilst I didn’t love this novel, it was still a solid fantasy story involving powers, royalty and fighting, so if that’s your ‘thing’ then this might be a worthwhile read for you.

~Find Frostblood on Amazon and Book Depository~

Possibly the most sarcastic title I’ve ever heard… but it’s not, I swear

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Published in December by Harmony Ink Press, Thanks A Lot, John LeClair is a YA contemporary with a focus on hockey, family, and coming out. Johanna Parkhurst explores themes of sexuality, sport, family and finding yourself in this super cute, yet super important novel.

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Goodreads ~ BookDepository ~ Amazon

A quick read, I gave this one 3 stars. It took me a bit to become invested in the story and its characters, but thanks to the interspersed letters, I soon loved Emmitt and Dusty as the main characters. These letters definitely helped me to understand Emmitt and his family, and whilst they did tend to interrupt the flow of the novel, I really enjoyed reading them.

This book follows Emmitt as he tries to discover what he wants in life. A skilled ice hockey player, he is concerned that coming out as gay might affect his future career. As the story progresses we see a change in Emmitt’s attitude, and I felt that his character development was really good.

Keeping it short and sweet, but this book is definitely a great read for anyone with an interest in sport, diverse reads, or super cute boys in love.

NB: I was sent a copy for review by the publisher, but this in no way impacted my opinion. All thoughts are my own.