Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Blog Tour: Of Fire and Stars

Title: Of Fire and Stars
Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Expected publication: November 22nd 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Source: eArc via Netgalley courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other. "

Thoughts: A standalone fantasy novel? Really? Okay, I'm in. The cover brought my attention to the novel, the synopsis got me invested, and the overall promise of something amazing is why I decided to pick this one up. While it's a cute story and I liked it, I can't say full heartedly that I loved it.

What I loved about the novel: Denna and Mare. I absolutely adored these two. If you're a fan of strong heroines with a lot to offer, this is the book for you. They're very much opposites in a sense, but they also fit well together. Denna is training to be queen of Mynarian, and as most leaders or anyone how has ever tried to work in a group project knows, there will always be people who clash, argue, or simply don't appreciate your opinion. Enter Mare. Mare is Denna's fiancé's sister and her riding instructor. They just click, and I loved reading their love story unfold. It was super cute and definitely put a smile on my face. That's not to say it doesn't come with its own set of complications (like every relationship on the planet), but the times where things were great is what got me through this book

Things I didn't love about the novel: Denna and Mare's relationship was pretty much the only pro for me. The rest of the novel just felt rather bland and very slow-moving. I guess I just expected more. I wanted more action, world building, character building, something, anything!

I felt like the secondary characters were just there to be there, and was it just me or did the horses play more of a complex role than anyone other than the two main gals?

Pacing in fantasy novels usually takes a backseat in favor of world and character building. In this case, the story just goes for it without much of either, and I found myself struggling to get through. To be honest, it probably took me a lot longer than it should've to finish this novel, but I did blow through the scenes that involved Denna and Mare (the pro!).

All in all, while OF FIRE AND STARS had a lot of promise, it just fell a bit too flat for my taste. Honestly, I think I'm in the minority in this case, because I've seen a lot of people online who love, rave, and cherish this novel. This is just my opinion, so don't take my word for it. While it's not the book for me, maybe it's the book for you!


2 Stars

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

Audrey Coulthurst writes YA books that tend to involve magic, horses, and kissing the wrong people. Her debut novel, Of Fire and Stars, will be published on November 22, 2016 by Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. When she’s not dreaming up new stories, she can usually be found painting, singing, or on the back of a horse.

Audrey has a Master’s in Writing from Portland State University, is a member of SCBWI, and studied with Malinda Lo as a 2013 Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow. She lives in Santa Monica, California.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

3 Finished Copies of OF FIRE AND STARS (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:
11/14: What Sarah Read - Review
11/15: A Backwards Story - Mood Board
11/16: Addicted 2 Novels - Review (Welcome, Y'all!)
11/17: Caught Read Handed - Guest Post
11/18: Lisa Loves Literature - Review

Week 2:
11/21: The Irish Banana Review - Fast 5
11/22: IN WONDERLAND - Review
11/23: No BS Book Reviews - Q&A
11/24: Don't Fold the Page - Review
11/25: Arctic Books - Top 5

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Blog Tour: This Is Our Story

Welcome to the next stop in the This Is Our Story Blog Tour! Today, I'll be reviewing this novel as well as posting a giveaway. Enough small talk. Let's have at it, shall we?

Title: This Is Our Story
Author: Ashley Elston
Published: November 15th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
Source: eGalley courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she and Stone investigate—the ageing prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot—she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own."

Review: Is it cliche to call this book addicting considering my blog's name is Addicted 2 Novels? Well, I don't know how better way to describe it other than that. The mystery, the romance, the twist and the turns, THIS IS OUR STORY will offer you plenty of reasons to stay up late until you reach the very last page.

What originally drew me to this novel, as superficial as it sounds, was the cover. It doesn't give much of anything anyway yet was interesting enough for me to pick it up and read the synopsis. Once I did, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

The novel is told through our main character Kate's POV and sometimes switches to the murderer's POV. Kate is one of those likable characters you root for from the very beginning. Her mom is works for the local DA, which actually lands her an internship with them. Naturally, once the murder case lands on the DA's desk, Kate is instantly drawn to the mystery. She wants to know who killed Grant and find justice. I don't want to go into further details without giving too much away, but I do want to point out that Kate would definitely give the girls (especially Spencer) from Pretty Little Liars a run for their money.

Oddly enough, even though THIS IS OUR STORY is more of a mystery-thriller novel, there is a bit of romance in it. Swoony boys are definitely a plus, but again, I don't want to name names without giving too much away. Just know that if this is something you have to have in all of your novels (*raises hand*), it's there.

All in all, if you're looking for a book that will keep you up in the wee hours of the morning, THIS IS OUR STORY is the book for you. I loved the setting, the complexity of all of the characters, and the overall flow of the story. Piece by piece, my curiosity grew, and though the ending didn't take me completely by surprised, I loved going on the journey to get there.

Really, there's something for everyone in this novel.


5 Stars

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

Ashley Elston lives is North Louisiana with her husband and three sons. She worked as a wedding and portrait photographer for ten years until she decided to pursue writing full time. Ashley is also a certified landscape horticulturist and loves digging in the dirt. Her debut novel, THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING, was published by Disney Hyperion in 2013 and the sequel, THE RULES FOR BREAKING, in 2014. Her latest novel, THIS IS OUR STORY, will be published on November 15, 2016.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

3 Finished Copies of THIS IS OUR STORY (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!

11/7: Bookiemoji - Review
11/8: The Book Addict's Guide - Book Scents
11/9: Fiction Fare - Review
11/10: Adventures of a Book Junkie - Q&A
11/11: Caught Read Handed - Review

11/14: The Irish Banana Review - Fast 5
11/15: Addicted 2 Novels - Review (You're here!)
11/16: In Wonderland - Guest Post
11/17: Ex Libris - Review
11/18: The Fake Steph - Top 10