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

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 ~

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~

Draekora Cover Reveal Competition

So… The point of this post is to enter the Pantera Press Cover Reveal Competition for Draekora by Lynette Noni, but seriously; if you haven’t read Akarnae, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you check it out. I mean really, how good does it sound:

With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes—literally.

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora?


So without further ado, here’s my entry:

The Medoran Chronicles is an amazing series that combines elements of my favourite fantasy series, but still maintains a unique, fresh take on the fantasy genre. The world is so rich (just wait until you see the library?!) and I love seeing all of the science/magic come to life as we follow Alex on her adventures.

Alex is a super-relatable protagonist. She is down-to-earth, isn’t afraid to make mistakes, and I loved seeing Alex grow as she learnt new skills and meets new people. Alex, Jordan, Bear and DC are actual #friendgoals, and I feel like I truly know them. Also, I ADORE the focus on friendship, rather than romance.

As far as Draekora goes, I would love to see the plot twist (no spoilers here) at the end of Raelia resolved (as it shattered my heart into a billion teeny tiny pieces). I would also love to see Alex and her friends explore more of Medora (and I wouldn’t mind too much if we bumped into Aven again, hehe!!).

Speaking of Draekora, I can’t wait to see what the cover looks like, and I’d love the chance to reveal it for you all on my blog; I’m sure you’d all love to see it! I hope there’s another metallic colour on the cover, perhaps it’ll be bronze this time, since we’ve had gold and silver already.

As The Medoran Chronicles became a fast favourite of mine, I’d be delighted to have the opportunity to reveal the cover, and I can’t wait to blabber on about this incredible series for hours (pages?) more in future. I believe that my passion for this series and strong social media presence would make me a great choice to reveal Draekora’s incredible cover.

 

 

Signed