12 Jun 2017

Epic! Obsidian and Stars

Series: Ivory and Bone #2
Publication: June 13th 2017 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Format: ARC, 359 pages
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      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.

The definition of the word ‘understanding’ on every dictionary I find was not as I was expecting and so as I understood the meaning of it. There are different explanations on how a person understands simple or complex things and it gives different interpretation from another person.  And this… is how I misunderstood Mya in Ivory and Bone.

As I’ve mentioned on my review of Ivory and Bone, I hated her for being obstinate and I understood for she has her reasons. My understanding on her part was shallow. But as I read the first chapter of Obsidian and Stars, I cried. I wanted to kneel and apologize that I have wrongly judge her.  In this sequel of the series Ivory and Bone, Mya thought me much better than Kol – on how to be a good leader and at the same time a sister and a lover. She has let me understood on why you need to hold back. Mya is a brilliant character, a good influence for being a brave heart.

Obsidian and Stars talks about the reluctance to forgive, to trust, and to accept. I have learned a lot of lessons other than that but I can’t quite recall. Also, there are points of the story that I want to know more because I felt they were cliff hangers but I told myself that I would wait for it on the last book. Regardless, it is the right book to share to your grandchildren someday. Well, just let them realize that the killings were part of it since this is set in prehistoric.

Lyrical; depictions from difficult hunting scenes to speechless grief – Julie Eshbaugh has done a of surpassing excellence on writing Obsidian and Stars. Unlike Ivory and Bone, it started epic!


Source: Author - Thank you! · I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

23 May 2017

Ivory and Bone

Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Publication: June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Format: ebook, 400 pages
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Rating:
The only life seventeen-year-old Kol knows is hunting at the foot of the Great Ice with his brothers. But food is becoming scarce, and without another clan to align with, Kol, his family, and their entire group are facing an uncertain future.
Traveling from the south, Mya and her family arrive at Kol’s camp with a trail of hurt and loss behind them, and hope for a new beginning. When Kol meets Mya, her strength, independence, and beauty instantly captivate him, igniting a desire for much more than survival.
Then on a hunt, Kol makes a grave mistake that jeopardizes the relationship that he and Mya have only just started to build. Mya was guarded to begin with—and for good reason—but no apology or gesture is enough for her to forgive him. Soon after, another clan arrives on their shores. And when Mya spots Lo, a daughter of this new clan, her anger intensifies, adding to the already simmering tension between families. After befriending Lo, Kol learns of a dark history between Lo and Mya that is rooted in the tangle of their pasts.
When violence erupts, Kol is forced to choose between fighting alongside Mya or trusting Lo’s claims. And when things quickly turn deadly, it becomes clear that this was a war that one of them had been planning all along.


I told myself that I would stop reading Ivory and Bone if it is still boring until 30%. But I found myself reading until its half because I was waiting. I was waiting… for Lo. The plot picked up when she came into the story. Kol and Mya’s was just plain boring. I know there is something wrong with Mya towards Kol, and I have guessed it right at the end why because it was obvious - Ivory and Bone spoils itself. Warning: The next sentence may spoil you and lose your interest. Highlight at your own risk. Also, I was hurt that I have encountered Kol killing a mammoth down, but I understand since this is set in prehistoric.

Despite the weak points, Ivory and Bone is a moving-read towards family responsibilities. Kol is a great clan-leader in training who pays close attention and is exquisite. He is also a great brother and a son. All I can say of Mya is that she’s obstinate. I may have hated her for that but then have understood her side for she has her reasons, not just stubborn-because-I-like-it-to-be stubborn.

The plot was not that compelling but I still have enjoyed reading it since Kol TELLS. YOU. EVERYTHING. BEAUTIFULLY. His perspective was well done written.

If you love saber tooth cats running (towards you), spear throwing and bee hunting and Pride and Prejudice, you will assuredly be delighted reading Ivory and Bone.



9 May 2017

Review: The Bone Season

PublicationBloomsbury USA
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
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In 2059 Scion London, Paige Mahoney works for one of the most powerful crime-lords in the city, scanning people's minds with her clairvoyant ability. It isn't that she particularly wants to be part of a gang- it's just one of the only options for a clairvoyant seeking even a measure of protection in a country where simply being born with an ability like Paige's carries a sentence of imprisonment and death.

Then she's caught, and finds herself transported to Oxford- a city that has been kept hidden for two centuries under the control of the otherworldly Rephaim- to be trained to fight creatures that enter through rifts between worlds. 

Sorry for the long description... as you might gather the story is rather difficult to convey succinctly- there's a lot to the world of the clairvoyants. The book even starts off with several pages of diagrams detailing the different types of clairvoyants- which includes everything from those who can walk in others minds, to those who can see the future. This book does focus strongly on the world-building- and sometimes does that by info-dumping, which slowed down the story, especially at the beginning.

The world is a lot of familiar elements combined in  really interesting way. It's a paranormal fantasy with a fairly strong dystopian edge. I also quite enjoyed the long-term power squablling and history of the Rephaim. The relationship that humans have with them tends toward a "the enemy of my enemy is also kind of my enemy, why are we surrounded by enemies how did this happen" kind of feeling. Because they're generally somewhat awful, but are also stopping something even worse from happening.

There's also a pretty big cast of characters. While they're written dynamically enough, something about the story kept me from really connecting to anyone- even Paige, the narrator. was a character that only sometimes resonated with me. I'm planning on reading the next book, and hoping I'll connect more with the characters this time. For me, The Bone Season was driven more by the plot and world than by the characters- which was alright, but it would be great for it to be both.

Overall this was quite an interesting first novel, and I'm curious to see where Samantha Shannon plans on taking what's planned to be a seven book series... it kind of doesn't feel like the set up for that many books, but we'll see.

28 Dec 2016

Review: The Impostor Queen

PublicationMargaret K. McEldery Books
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
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Elli is destined to be Valtia, a Queen of the Kupari and the only person who can wield both fire and ice in service of her country. But when the previous Valtia dies, the magic does not enter Elli- doesn't seem to go anywhere. In disgrace, she flees for her life to the outlands, and a world she doesn't know. As she finds her footing, she learns more about the magic of her people, and grapples with her true purpose.

Joining a proud history of fantasy novels whose covers feel like they don't quite suit them is The Impostor Queen! (It technically suits the book... but it doesn't quite capture the feel for me?)

This was kind of a twist on the chosen one trope- girl raised to be the most powerful magic-user in history discovers that she's not exactly the chosen one.

Initially, this book felt very similar to a lot of YA fantasy, but rapidly deviates when Elli can't access the magic she was meant to wield. The world changes veers rather quickly away from what I was expecting, especially in terms of the priests have a great deal of power over the country- and the Valtia. It was refreshing to have a book go in a direction that was that different from my expectations. It got pretty dark and a bit creepy and quite interesting.

The storytelling took a little while to find it's footing... things really only pick up once Elli gets to the outlands, and she meets the outcasts living there. Watching her learn more about herself and form relationships with others. While Oskar didn't stun me as a love interest, I definitely didn't hate him either, and he definitely had his admirable qualities... it just took a while for his character to grow on me, I suppose. (Except his name. For some reason I didn't like his name. I just didn't work for me and I was weird and judgmental about it.) It nice to watch Elli grow from a person being groomed to be a leader in name, but without all that much practical power, into someone who could and would take on a real leadership role on the ground.

The magic of the world was interesting too. It did seem to have an awful lot of arbitrary-feeling rules, but once I got used to the system it worked for me. This did very much feel like the first book in a series and, while a lot of light has been shed on the magic since the beginning, I'm really hoping that it will be built on in the next book. While this one didn't end on a huge cliff-hanger, it was definitely a tense ending and I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens next!

15 Dec 2016

Review: The Sun is Also a Star

Publication  Delacorte Press
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Romance
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
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Natasha believes in facts, not fate- she definitely doesn't believe that you can fall in love with someone in 12 hours- especially when those 12 hours are the last ones you have before your family is deported. Daniel meets her when he's on the way to a college interview that his parents want and he doesn't and immediately knows that they're going to be something

This was a bit off the beaten track for me, since contemporaries really aren't my thing. And, okay, at least 20% of the reason I picked it up was because I really like the cover and title.

This was a pretty interesting read! One of my favourite parts was getting to see how the lives of our two main characters touched effected the little stories about those around them, and the coincidences that ended up bringing different people together and pulling them apart.

(My other favourite part was Natasha mentioning how she had to prove to her teacher that favourite was spelled with a "U.")

In a way, this reminded me a lot of Dash and Lily's Book of Dares and maybe a bit of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. It's about two people who meet (through a series of random chances) and sort of... learn each other over the course of less than 24 hours, through a series of questions and misadventures. I also remember reading about the study they mentioned in passing a while ago. It's a little less fluffy than either of those books though, with the main characters both struggling with some tougher stuff, especially in Natasha's case. While the relationship did seem a little strange (possibly because of how fast it was), I felt that it kind of found it's footing more toward the end.

I've mentioned how my favourite parts of this book was how intertwined with Natasha and Daniel's lives were with other people's, and seeing the ripple effect that even the smallest actions had. These glimpses into everyone else's lives really gave the story a unique and almost whimsical feel. The word sonder, which means the realisation that the people surrounding you have lives as complex as your own, that comes mind. It was so fascinating to see some of those stories come full circle.

While this book is mostly a contemporary, the degree to which the universe seems to be invested in the meeting and relationships of the two main characters lends it a somewhat surreal and borderline magical quality. It wasn't something I disliked- it was definitely another thing that made this novel stand out, and almost pushed it outside of being a standard realistic fiction novel. It was so neat watching all the coincidences that let them find their way to each other.

Touching on the stories of other people was what made this book stand out for me. While the relationship between the two main characters felt... strange, probably because of how quickly it developed, I still enjoyed seeing them get to know each other. Though I'm not much of a contemporary reader, but I did quite enjoy this one!


11 Dec 2016

17 Twenty-Seventeen Anticipated Reads

I am linking this post to my monthly Anticipated Reads - a monthly meme hosted by Mel at Reviews In A Pinch that will be occurring the first Wednesday of every month that showcases at least three books releasing each month; letting you know what new books are coming out that I'm excited about.

Click the book cover photo to redirect to Goodreads.


Series: Red Queen #3
Publication: February 7th 2017 by HarperTeen

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl's spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.


Publication: January 31st 2017 by Flatiron Books

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.


Series: To All The Boys I've Loved Before #3
Publication: April 4th 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?








Publication: April 11th 2017 by HarperCollins

Saying good-bye to Scotland is the hardest thing that Jenna MacDuff has had to do—until she meets Lord Pembroke. Jenna’s small clan has risked their lives traveling the countryside as masons, secretly drumming up support and arms for the exiled King James Stuart to retake the British throne. But their next job brings them into enemy territory: England.

Jenna’s father repeatedly warns her to trust no one, but when the Duke of Keswick hires the clan to build a garrison on his estate, it seems she cannot hide her capable mind from the duke’s inquisitive son, Lord Alex Pembroke—nor mask her growing attraction to him. But there’s a covert plan behind the building of the garrison, and soon Jenna must struggle not only to keep her newfound friendship with Alex from her father, but also to keep her father’s treason from Alex.

Will Jenna decide to keep her family’s mutinous secrets and assist her clan’s cause, or protect the life of the young noble she’s falling for?


Publication: April 25th 2017 by Balzer + Bray

Being a pretty girl is who Rosie is, but it’s the start of a new school year and she wants to be more. Namely, she’s determined to be better to her best friend, Maddie, who’s just back from a summer program abroad having totally blossomed into her own looks. Rosie isn’t thrilled when Maddie connects with a football player who Rosie was hooking up with—but if it makes her friend happy, she’s prepared to move on. Plus someone even more interesting has moved to town: Alex, who recently garnered public attention after he stopped a classmate from carrying out a shooting rampage at his old high school. Rosie is drawn to Alex in a way she’s never really experienced for a boy before—and she is surprised to discover that, unlike every other guy, he seems to see more to her than her beauty.

Then one night, in the midst of a devastating storm, Rosie suffers an assault that tears apart her life and friendship with Maddie. Forced to face uncomfortable truths about beauty, reputation, and what it really means to be a friend, Rosie realizes that change doesn’t always happen the way you want it to—every disaster has consequences. But with a lot of help and the right people around you, there might also be a way forward.


What are your most awaited books? Is one of them included in my anticipated reads?
Do you have upcoming releases that would like to share? I would love to add them on my growing reading list. Share them below!

15 Nov 2016

Review: Nemesis

Publication Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
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Princess Sepora of Serubel's world runs on spectorium- and, as the last known person who can create the precious substance, she is a highly valuable resource. When her father devises a way to weaponise spectorium and begins to eye neighbouring countries, threatening to plunge her nation into a war, Sepora disappears into the night. Presumed dead, she journeys to Theoria, hoping to live out the rest of her life as a civilian there, where her power will not be turned to destruction. When she is captured on the road by Theorian slavers, she finds herself in the Theorian royal palace, thrown back into the world of politics- this time in the court of her father's enemies.

Getting this out of the way right now: the cover is kind of weird and doesn't suit the novel very well, nor is the title really well suited to the story being told. Okay, now that the judging a book by it's cover is done, onward.

This book was... entertaining, but didn't function terribly well on any greater level of engagement. It's like... Kingdom Politics Lite. I don't entirely understand the means of governance of Theoria... despite the fact that the novel ostensibly focuses on politics of the country, it was mostly superficial glamour the grossly underestimates the complexity of managing a country. So that challenged my suspension of disbelief a bit. (Yes, inadequate governance systems stretch my ability to suspend my disbelief, but dragons don't. The human brain is weird.) Moving on.

I feel like I never quite got a handle on Sepora as a character... or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I didn't really connect with her. A lot of her decisions didn't make much sense to me.... and I found it really hard to believe that some of the things she suggested hadn't, you know, been suggested before...? She's impulsive in the extreme, but it seems to work for her, if only because of narrative convenience. I feel like I understood Tarik at the beginning of the book... but I actually lost any grasp I might have had on his character by the middle of the novel.

Something that was kind of interesting to me was the parallels with and references to Egyptian and Greek mythology. I'm not sure how much of that was intentional, but I assume at least some of it must have been.  Ones I caught:

  • Nemesis is the Greek goddess of revenge. I'm fairly sure they intended the more colloquial meaning of nemesis, though
  • Set(h) is the name of the Egyptian god who cut out Horus's (a.k.a. god-king/pharaoh, falcon-headed deity) eye. (Maybe. Depending on what version of the myth you listen to.) I'm not saying direct parallels, but there are... certain thematic similarities.
  • obviously the pyramids and some of the more basic characteristics of Theoria were inspired by ancient Egypt

The plot was a bit scattered... they often felt like they only happened because it was convenient. Also surely, surely there was a way for Sepora to secretly provide spectorium without telling everyone she was a Forger?

Overall, I feel like the book had a fairly strong concept, but didn't deliver well on a lot of fronts for me. I am curious about how the story ends, however, and will likely be picking up the second half of the duology.


4 Nov 2016

Unparalleled, The Graces

Series: The Graces #1
Publication: September 6th 2016 by Amulet Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: Kindle Edition, 352 pages
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Rating:
Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. But what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.

There are lot of definitions a person could give you with truth. But mostly, his answer is not the whole truth, it’s just part of the truth.  That part is his experience to another person or the world not telling the truth to him. The other part is that, the truth on his self.

I was filled with the emotional impact of overwhelming surprise on how Laure Eve exposed the truth of ourselves—on how we crave and crave for the entire truth yet we cannot give it back totally. On most chapters of The Graces, I have a lot of queries to what’s the point of this? What’s the point of that? Then what? There is no clear shot, yet, that my questions would be answered. I also thought that this would be a draggy read because of the rising number of my unanswered questions and I would end up DNF-ing it but it wasn’t, instead, those questions lead me to further to read The Graces.

This may spoil you a bit. You might want to skip it? But it’s good to know this first especially if you’re so into magic. Your expectations on The Graces magic might deadened and you would DNF it. The magic on this book was different but it was one of the reasons I have read it until the end. It’s a bit of a disappointment to those who have been fed up of breathtaking supernatural powers. So if you are interested to read The Graces, don’t expect much on its magic. Expect more on the magic of Laure Eve.


If you are finding the truth in yourself or of the world, The Graces is desirable for you. Just don’t let your anticipations get ahead of you. It’s a light read and it’s easy to adapt on its quality of being one of a kind. Resplendently written, The Graces would grant you coup de grâce.



Source: Publisher via Netgalley - Thank you! · I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.



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