*ARC Review* The Iron Will of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

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Title: The Iron Will of Genie Lo

Author: F.C. Yee

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: January 14, 2020

Page Count: 304 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology

Summary:

The fate of the heavens is at stake in this hilarious and highly-anticipated sequel to the The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rise of Kyoshi

Genie Lo thought she was busy last year, juggling her academic career with protecting the Bay Area from demons. But now, as the Heaven-appointed Guardian of California, she’s responsible for the well-being of all yaoguai and spirits on Earth. Even the ones who interrupt her long-weekend visit to a prestigious college, bearing terrible news about a cosmos-threatening force of destruction in a nearby alternate dimension.

The goddess Guanyin and Genie’s boyfriend, Quentin Sun Wukong, do their best to help, but it’s really the Jade Emperor who’s supposed to handle crises of this magnitude. Unfortunately for Genie and the rest of existence, he’s gone AWOL. Fed up with the Jade Emperor’s negligence, Genie spots an opportunity to change the system for the better by undertaking a quest that spans multiple planes of reality along with an adventuring party of quarrelsome Chinese gods. But when faced with true danger, Genie and her friends realize that what will save the universe this time isn’t strength, but sacrifice.

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

INDIE BOUND

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My Review

Hold it! This is a review of the sequel to the very amazing and kick-butt book, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. This review may contain spoilers from the first book, so you have been warned if you choose to read on. You can check out my review of the first book here.

Thank you to Amulet Books and NetGalley for the e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

In 2017, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo was one of my favorite reads. I remember being so excited when I found out there would be a sequel. And let me tell you, the sequel did not disappoint. It was honestly one of the best sequels I have read. There’s action, back-and-forth character banter, and so much character growth; the characters (and the story) stay true to what the first book brought to the table.

In the sequel, Genie is not just dealing with the demons – protecting them and finding them a home. She’s also struggling with the idea of her senior year and what comes after: college. Genie knows her parents can’t afford the college she wants to go to, and that insight causes another strain with her parents, especially after the health scare with her mom. And then there’s the part where Genie and Quentin are at a stale part of their relationship and neither really knows how to move forward. All in all, Genie doesn’t really have it easy this year.

One of the reasons I loved this book and its predecessor is the witty and sarcastic banter between the characters, especially Genie and Quentin. It makes the story humorous and makes the characters feel real. Genie and Quentin have such a genuine and loving relationship and, ultimately, have each other’s backs through everything. In this book, they’re now dating, which easily becomes another struggle for Genie. She’s figuring out how to navigate their relationship and how exactly it will fit in her life; she wants Quentin in her life, but with almost every conversation between them ending in an argument, she doesn’t know how to get through the rough patches.

So, needless to say, Genie has a lot on her plate. And her plate starts to overflow when she tries to change the system the gods and goddesses have been following for centuries. Which pegs the ultimate question: will Genie be able to handle everything she’s gotten herself into? What I loved about this is that it really did make Genie feel like a real character. This book showcases her strengths and weaknesses and doesn’t hesitate to illustrate when Genie reaches her breaking point. She dealt with stress and defeat and her anxiety of the future, and I could relate to that on a high level because that’s exactly what it felt like for me when I was finishing high school. It was great to see that portrayal and it was executed in such a phenomenal way.

The writing and flow of this story is wonderful and just as captivating as the first book. There was never too much action, nor was there information overload, which I really appreciated. F.C. Yee has a way of bringing a story together with characters that fit so well and feel so real. He will continue to be an instant-buy author for me, and I cannot wait to see what his next work brings.

Overall, The Iron Will of Genie Lo is a wonderful sequel to the first book, one that is equally as good as its predecessor. Those who loved the first book will not be disappointed, and may, like me, end up liking the sequel more.

My rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars

nikole

*Blog Tour + Review* Oasis by Katya de Becerra

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Title: Oasis

Author: Katya de Becerra

Publisher: Imprint Macmillan

Release Date: January 7th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Synopsis:

The oasis saved them. But who will save them from the oasis?

Alif had exciting summer plans: working on her father’s archaeological dig site in the desert with four close friends . . . and a very cute research assistant. Then the sandstorm hit.

With their camp wiped away, Alif and the others find themselves lost on the sands, seemingly doomed . . . until they find the oasis. It has everything they need: food, water, shade—and mysterious ruins that hide a deadly secret. As reality begins to shift around them, they question what’s real and what’s a mirage.

The answers turn Alif and her friends against one another, and they begin to wonder if they’ve truly been saved. And while it was easy to walk into the oasis, it may be impossible to leave . . .

Katya de Becerra’s new supernatural thriller hides a mystery in plain sight, and will keep you guessing right up to its terrifying conclusion.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books 

Apple Books | Kobo

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Author Information

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Katya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology and now works as a university lecturer and a researcher. Katya is a short version of her real name, which is very long and gets mispronounced a lot. What The Woods Keep was her first novel (out now), which is followed by another standalone Oasis in 2020. She has also authored and co-authored academic articles, book chapters, guest posts and opinion pieces.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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Tour Schedule

Check out the amazing bloggers that are part of this tour!

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My Review

Oasis is a story that will capture your attention and intrigue you; you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out the mysterious happenings that plaque this group of friends. Oasis provides nonstop tension with a touch of the supernatural. Katya’s first book, What the Woods Keep, was a favorite of mine last year, so you can imagine my excitement at the release of her second book. Which, I will say, did not disappoint. The idea of mixing science fiction with archaeology is a wonderful and unique idea. And with those two combined, Katya brought to the table a thrilling read.

When Alif and her friends join her dad on his architectural dig site, none of them expect there to be a sandstorm. None of them expect to end up so far away from the campsite that they lose their sense of direction. And none expect to find a beautiful, yet mysterious oasis in the middle of the desert. This intriguing oasis gives the group of friends a safe haven, with food and water and shade from the sun. But only a few of the friends question the surprising popup of this oasis, Alif included.

Alif and Tommy, the guy Alif likes, start to notice strange happenings while they stay at the oasis: delicious fruit and salivating water and beautiful sceneries are great, but something’s not right. But then strange things start to happen: they’re water supply gets poisoned and their rescue seems to never be able to find them, even when they’re in clear site. And there’s this mysterious, yet creepy cave that holds an unknown object that intrigues this group of friends. That’s when they all start to realize that something isn’t quite right with this oasis, that something dark and possibly sinister is taking place. And then tragedy hits this group of friends, which ends up binding them all together. But what that tragedy brings is their rescue and with it, a sense of change in their world and their minds. So, that then poses the question: What really happened at the oasis and was that sandstorm a fluke or a coincidence? And what, exactly, happened at the oasis?

When it comes to Katya’s writing, her writing is descriptive and provides that eerie creepy feeling she had in her first book. As the reader, I was questioning everything and trying to make sense of everything. I enjoyed how Katya de Becerra only released hints of the supernatural plot at certain times and not all at once. Her writing and story structure kept me intrigued and waiting for more.

As with the characters, I was hoping for more character development from the group of friends, as I didn’t feel a true connection with any of them. However, the experience of reading this story and seeing the effects it has on each person physically and mentally did prove for an enjoyable read. There were descriptive scenes with tension and betrayal, where friends were pitied against one another. And I enjoyed how Katya depicted how each experience effected each friend differently.

Overall, Oasis was an interesting and intriguing read with descriptive scenes that illustrated what supernatural traumas can do to the mind. I was pulled into the lush scenery and the mysterious oasis. This was an unique read and a great second book from Katya de Becerra, one that I would recommend to readers that are looking for their next archaeological supernatural read.

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Giveaway

Prize: Win finished copy of OASIS by Katya de Becerra (US Only)

Starts: January 1st 2020

Ends: January 15th 2020

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

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*Book Review* Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao

Blood Heir

Title: Blood Heir

Author: Amélie Wen Zhao

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: November 19, 2019

Page Count: 464 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings

Summary:

This hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

INDIE BOUND

Please note: A Court of Coffee and Books receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above. All commission earned goes toward supporting and maintaining this blog.

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My Review

“This isn’t one of the fairy-tale stories you read in your childhood, where the hero always wins in the end. You’ll have many battles to fight, and you won’t win them all. And at the end of every single day, you’ll always face the same choice: keep fighting, or give up.”

Blood Heir is easily one of my favorite reads of 2019, and possibly a favorite of all-time. With exquisite writing, unforgettable characters, and extraordinary world building, Blood Heir captured my attention from the moment I started reading and left me breathless for me.

The world building is absolutely phenomenal and breathtaking. There’s nothing quite like this world Zhao has created and its achingly beautiful. She describes the world in vivid colors and elegant prose. Her writing is spectacular and she captures the world and characters so well. Zhao’s storytelling blew me away, and I’m so thankful she decided to publish her book this year. She knows how to write a captivating YA fantasy story.

“Your affinity does not define you. What defines you is how you choose to wield it.”

Ana is such a strong and well-depicted character. She’s fearful of her gift – the ability to control blood – and she has every right to be. Unable to control her power, she rarely uses it, so she doesn’t accidentally kill someone (this fear manifested due to a darkly past experience). But, throughout her journey, she starts to realize that her affinity is not something she should fear, but something she should harness. And seeing that growth and understanding was what made Ana a relatable character – she had something to fear but she started to learn how to overcome that fear and fight for her future.

“Show them what you are, my little monster.”

Ramson, I have to say, was such a fun character. He mainly just looks out for himself but he grows throughout this book and starts to feel attached to Ana. And I enjoyed watching him try to piece together her past and her identity. His personality is so much fun. He’s sarcastic and funny and knows he’s good-looking. He’s basically Flynn Rider from Tangled but in an awesome YA fantasy book. I’m very excited to see where his character development goes in the second book.

“‘The Deities have long sent me a message through their silence….It is not their duty to grant us goodness in the world, Kolst Pryntsessa. No, Little Tigress – it is up to us to fight our battles.'”

If you’re looking for romance, there’s not quite much in Blood Heir. Don’t get me wrong, there is romance (in the form of a snarky and dashingly handsome thief), but it’s very much in the background. I’ll set it straight for you: it’s a very slow burn romance, and it captivated my attention the whole book. The slow burn builds from the first page to the last sentence, and I have this wonderful (hopefully right) feeling that the romance is going to really blossom in book two. I was rooting for Ana and her potential love interest the whole time; they both compliment each other and their constant witty banter gave me all the feels.

“Perhaps all monsters were heroes in their own eyes.”

I’m beyond excited (and very impatient, might I add) for book two. The ending to Blood Heir is honestly how I was hoping it would end: with a cliff-hanger but one that didn’t strike a knife straight through my heart. It does have a small cliff-hanger, but mainly in the sense of the agonizing wait for book two. But overall, Blood Heir is a dashingly exquisite debut novel that I will continue to recommend to my friends and bookworms.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

nikole

*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen

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Title: Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance

Author: Jennieke Cohen

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: December 3rd 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Romance, Fiction

Synopsis:

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Jane Austen in this witty, winking historical romance with a dash of mystery!

Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.

But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.

Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exact circumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

iTunes | Kobo| Google Books

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Author Information

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Jennieke Cohen (JEN-ih-kah CO-en) is used to people mispronouncing her name and tries to spare her fictional characters the same problem. Jennieke writes historical fiction for young adults inspired by real people and events because life is often stranger than fiction. She studied English history at Cambridge University and has a master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California. Jennieke loves exploring new locales but always returns home to Northern California where the summers are hot, the winters are mild, and life is casual.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Blog | Pinterest | Instagram

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Tour Schedule

Check out the other amazing bloggers on this blog tour!

TOUR BANNER

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Book Review

When it comes to historical romance books, Jane Austen is one of my go-to authors. Pride & Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite books, so when I heard of Dangerous Alliance and that it’s filled with Jane Austen references, I knew I had to read this book. And this story did not disappoint.

Dangerous Alliance is filled with beautiful prose, witty banter, and charming characters. There were scenes where I was laughing and scenes where I was gasping, not expecting certain things to happen. The characters, especially the male love interests, were delightful and made Vicky’s interactions entertaining and enjoyable.

Even though, at heart, this story is a romance story, I loved the dash of mystery. Mix mystery into a romance story, and you have a captivating storyline with irresistible characters. And that’s exactly what you get here. Dangerous Alliance kept me on the edge of my seat; I was so curious as to what would happen next that I didn’t want to put this book down. I loved the characters and Vicky and the setting is beyond gorgeous – the historical beauty is captivating, and I loved every second of this book.

“Your pride is one thing, Victoria, but when you give it more weight than your health, you do yourself no favors.”

Victoria is a fun and engaging main character who gets herself into quite the predicament. How exactly do you handle multiple men vying for your hand in marriage? And also try to solve a mystery that could potentially put her and her family in harm’s way? It’s not easy for Vicky, that’s for sure, but watching her navigate the world of society’s season was fun and humorous at times. Her reliability on Jane Austen’s words is a delight to read; it’s the right mixture of Jane Austen’s work with Cohen’s story. Vicky is also strong and fiercely independent, which I absolutely loved; she does not want to settle down and lose her freedom, but to save her family, she’ll do anything.

“Of the countless embarrassing moments in all her seventeen years, this one secured the prize for most ghastly.”

Cohen’s writing was spectacular; I mainly loved the witty banter between the characters and Vicky’s interactions with those inside and outside of books. Cohen brings this historical romance book to life. There’s just enough romance and mystery to keep the readers on their toes, which made this book even more enjoyable. Overall, this book was a wonderful read and perfect for fans of Jane Austen!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Giveaway

Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of DANGEROUS ALLIANCE by Jennieke Cohen (US Only)
Starts: 27th November 2019

Ends: 11th December 2019

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

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*Book Review* Pax Novis by Erica Cameron

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Title: Pax Novis (The Pax Archives #1)

Author: Erica Cameron

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Release Date: November 4, 2019

Page Count: 400 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Summary:

Cira Antares is deeply loyal to two things: Pax Novis—the cargo ship captained by her mother that transports supplies across war-torn star systems—and her personal mission to save war orphans. But hiding them as stowaways on the ship is illegal, and if any of them were found, not even her mother could protect Cira from the consequences.

She has successfully kept her secret…until supplies start to go missing. Food. Clothing. Tools. All signs point to her stowaways, but they wouldn’t do anything to risk exposing themselves—or her. Especially not Riston, the oldest of the group and someone Cira has grown close to. Someone she might even be falling in love with…

And petty thefts are only the beginning—whole ships are disappearing now.

Not caught in a firefight. Not destroyed by another planet. Vanishing. Without a trace.

And Pax Novis is next.

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

INDIE BOUND

Please note: A Court of Coffee and Books receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above. All commission earned goes toward supporting and maintaining this blog.

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My Review

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a digital review copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Pax Novis is a fun and thrilling space adventure set far into the future. Earth isn’t the only planet that contains lifeforms, so it was really cool to see how Cameron designs the future. I loved the overall setting and the character representation in Pax Novis, as well as the main plot behind the story.

Erica Cameron provides just enough information to make the reader aware of the world surrounding the ship, Pax Novis, which is where most of the book takes place. There were some instances where I felt there was information overload, but as the story progressed, I understood why so much was revealed at once; it was necessary to know that information for the future of the story. And I loved how everything pieced together by the end of the story!

Even though I did enjoy this science fiction story, I was a little thrown off by the slow plot. I felt that it took awhile for any action to really take place and set the story in motion. It did pick up for the last 100 pages or so, but I was hoping for more of an action-packed science fiction adventure. Those aspects are present, just not throughout the whole book, mainly the adventure part. But the mystery part was fun; I’m all for a good mystery and I loved how this one came together in stellar fashion.

It did take a few chapters before I got used to the writing and identification. One character does not identify as he/she but rather as the ‘Z’ pronouns, which I haven’t read a book yet that did that, so it was really nice to see that take shape. Even though it took a few chapters for me to get acquainted with the use of those pronouns, I thought it added a nice representation to the storyline and character. When it comes to the main two characters, I found them to be well-written and beautifully flawed, yet strong and brave. That’s what I love in characters: that characters are meant to come across as strong, but also highlight their flaws. That’s what makes them human, and Cameron does a wonderful job portraying those traits.

Overall, I enjoyed this thrilling science fiction adventure and I found it to be an entertaining and light read for the YA genre.

My rating: 3.0 stars out of 5 stars

nikole

*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Coral by Sara Ella

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Title: Coral

Author: Sara Ella

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: November 12th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Mermaids, Fairy Tales

Synopsis:

Multiple award-winning young adult author Sara Ella reimagines The Little Mermaid in a powerful and unexpected way.

Sixteen-year-old mermaid Coral has always been different, standing out from her stoic sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease. Said to be carried by humans, the Disease imposes emotions on its victims, causing them to commit unspeakable acts. The growing illness inside her, while terrifying, fascinates her very core. Where others see danger, Coral sees life. Could it be the colorless merfolk who are truly ill?

Above the sea, seventeen-year-old Brooke Jordan has nothing left to give. A homeless girl abandoned and forgotten, the only thing Brooke can rely on is the ocean. Her aching feet find refuge within the cool and comforting waves, while her broken heart grows harder with each passing day. When Brooke’s and Coral’s worlds collide, everything alters in an instant. From learning to stand alone, to discovering the strength it takes to rely on another, the girls find that living requires taking that first painful breath. Each must make sacrifices, and when it comes to finding true love? Let’s just say the boys in their lives must learn to swim if they’re ever going to survive the storms.

Battling the odds against them, the girls will do whatever it takes to survive. But what must end for love and life to finally begin?

Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tale, this modern-day story explores mental health from several perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.

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Purchase Links

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Author Information

AUTHOR (10)

Once upon a time, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a Disney castle. Today, she spends her days throwing living room dance parties for her two princesses, raising her little prince to be a king, and conquering realms of her own imaginings. Oh, and her husband is definitely more swoon-worthy than any Prince Charming.

Sara’s UNBLEMISHED trilogy has received high praise and multiple awards, but none as rewarding as the love and support she receives from her readers every day. Her new story CORAL, a reimagining of THE LITTLE MERMAID, releases in the fall of 2019.

When she’s not on deadline, Sara Ella can most often be found fangirling on Twitter, Instagram, or her YouTube channel. She may or may not be obsessed with #Bookstagram, and she has a serious condition known as “Coffee Snob-itis.” She believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away.”

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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Tour Schedule

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My Review

Please note: Coral includes some potential triggers, click here to see Sara’s note on trigger warnings. 

“Time was a ribbon. She could fold it and tie it, bend it, lose it. Cut it. But if she cut it, she could never piece it back together the way it was before. She could never get it back. All she had left was after. And after was never the same.”

The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite stories (the original and Disney version), so of course I jumped up for joy when I saw that Coral was The Little Mermaid retelling with a contemporary/fantasy twist. This book had a ton of elements I love (retellings and anything to do with fantasy), and to me, this story did not disappoint.

One thing I loved about Coral is how the characters’ stories wrapped with one another with such ease. The way Sara Ella writes their stories with mesmerizing prose is captivating and it truly brings the story together. The characters are so well developed and genuine that it will be easy for any reader to find a connection with one of the characters. I enjoyed the inclusion of mental health and how Sara Ella made the characters feel so human and real; each character, especially Brooke, has something that makes them utterly human; with these characters, I felt like I wasn’t alone, like these characters were my longtime friends.

“True love makes life, even a broken one, worth fighting for.”

I will admit it did take me awhile to get into the story and that’s only because I’m not a big fan of contemporary books, and Coral does present some contemporary elements, but other than that, I became enthralled with the world and the main characters. Sara Ella weaves together a beautiful and heart wrenching story about love and sacrifice and finding yourself. Coral is a stunningly raw story with vulnerable characters that experience the trauma and love of life. However, I did get a tad bit confused toward the end of the book, with how the story got to its ending. But other than that, I loved this story and how much light it shines on mental health.

“It might be impossible to change the past. But who said starting over had anything to do with going back?”

Coral is a beautifully intricate story filled with life and love and hard decisions. Fans of The Little Mermaid would love this story, along with readers who enjoy retellings. Sara Ella addresses the things that make us human in her book and how she depicts everything is what made me love this book. Coral is out on bookshelves now, so grab your copy today!

My rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars

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Giveaway

Prize: Win (1) of (5) finished copies of CORAL by Sara Ella (US Only) 

Starts: 15th November 2019

Ends: 28th November 2019 

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*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh

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Title: Crown of Oblivion

Author: Julie Eshbaugh

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: November 12th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

Astrid is the surrogate for Princess Renya, which means she bears the physical punishment if Renya steps out of line. Astrid has no choice—she and her family are Outsiders, the lower class of people without magic and without citizenship.

But there is a way out of this life—competing in the deadly Race of Oblivion. To enter the race, an Outsider is administered the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memory clear of their past as they enter a new world with nothing to help them but a slip of paper bearing their name and the first clue. It’s not as simple as solving a puzzle, however—for a majority of the contestants, the race ends in death. But winning would mean not only freedom for Astrid, but citizenship and health care for her entire family. With a dying father to think of, Astrid is desperate to prevail.

From the beginning, the race is filled with twists and turns. One of them is Darius, a fellow racer Astrid meets but isn’t sure she can trust. Though they team up in the race, as Astrid’s memories begin to resurface, she remembers just who he was to her—a scorned foe who may want revenge. Astrid also starts to notice she has powers no Outsider should—which could help her win the race, but also make her a target if anyone finds out. With stakes that couldn’t be higher, Astrid must decide what is more important: risking her life to remember the mysteries of the past, or playing a cutthroat game in order to win her—and her family’s—freedom.

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Purchase Links

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iTunes | Kobo

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Author Information

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Julie Eshbaugh is a YA writer and former filmmaker. She made two short films and then spent several years producing an online video series for teens which received several honors from the Webby Awards. Her new YA fantasy standalone, CROWN OF OBLIVION, is coming from HarperTeen November 2019. IVORY AND BONE (HarperTeen 2016) and OBSIDIAN AND STARS (HarperTeen 2017), her prehistoric fantasy duology, are out now. You can learn more about Julie’s writing escapades by visiting www.julieeshbaugh.com.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

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Tour Schedule

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My Review

“Since the day I signed up to race, everywhere I go, I feel the breath of Death on the back of my neck. But tonight is the first I hear its footsteps.”

Crown of Oblivion is a thrilling race where characters’ limits are tested and lives are lost. But at the heart of this story lies a rebellion and a villain who is bent on making sure Astrid doesn’t survive the race. Julie Eshbaugh presents a book filled with action and beautiful character development, as well as captivating prose that kept me reading long into the night.

At the beginning of the story, the reader finds out that Astrid is Princess Renya’s surrogate: every time Renya misbehaves or does something she shouldn’t, Astrid receives the punishment. And there was a time where Astrid’s older brother, Jayden, was the prince’s surrogate, but that was before he escaped and presumed dead. Now, years later, Astrid will do anything to protect her dying father and younger brother, even if it means entering a race where your past is completely wiped from your mind and you fight other racers possibly to the death to win. But Astrid has something the other racers don’t and something that could get her killed: she has powerful magic that no Outsider should have.

“…I bite my lip between my teeth to hold them still, and remind myself what courage really is. Not the lack of fear, but action in the face of fear.”

Astrid is such a strong character; she’s brave, selfless, determined, powerful, and so much more. She has the strong sense to protect her family, which is why she enters the race. She wants to make sure her and her younger brother become citizens, so neither will ever have to worry about poverty or being an Outsider again. But, as Astrid is already a surrogate for the Princess, she’s above the Outsider status. Yet, she needs to make sure her brother is always protected, and that’s when she starts to realize that she could become a Citizen, and no longer be Princess Renya’s surrogate.

But before she enters the race and as she’s given Oblivion, someone commits a murder right in front of her, someone she knows. And because the powerful Oblivion drug has taken its course, she can’t remember who it was. So, throughout the race, she struggles to reclaim her past while fighting for her future; she doesn’t know who to trust, if anyone, and who to believe. By forgetting her whole past, she’s lost the ability to know just who is really looking out for her.

“If I told you monsters could be tamed, would you want to live with monsters? Even a tame monster is still a monster.”

I really enjoyed the side characters in Crown of Oblivion, especially the enemies-to-lovers romance. That’s a romance that I will always love, and the romance in this book is slow-burn, for sure. But it’s a good slow-burn. It offers the readers the chance to get to know both characters during the race and the opportunity to root for both of them, whether it be for wanting one of them to win the race or hoping they become romantically involved.

Eshbaugh’s world building of the race was unique and intricately designed; I could easily picture every scene during the race, and the descriptions and clues kept me intrigued. I felt like I was alongside Astrid trying to piece together the clues (usually before she discovered the answers), and I found that to be really fun. It was a cool way to interact with the story, even if I did end up guessing the wrong answer on almost all the clues.

Overall, Crown of Oblivion was a great book to read; I enjoyed the characters and the world and I loved how the plot thickened as the book went on. Crown of Oblivion is out in stores today, so if you’re looking for a book with mystery, rebellion, a race unlike any other, and non-stop action, then I definitely recommend checking out Crown of Oblivion!

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Giveaway

Prize: Win a finished copy of CROWN OF OBLIVION by Julie Eshbaugh (US Only)

Starts: November 12th 2019

Ends: November 26th 2019

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

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