Welcome to my stop on the Within Ash and Stardust book tour. This is the third book in the Xenith Trilogy by Chani Lynn Feener.
Huge thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy and for including My Endless Shelf in the blog tour!
Before I get into the full review, if you want to avoid spoilers and haven't read the first two books in the series, feel free to check those out at the following links - Book 1: Amid Stars and Darkness and Book 2: Between Frost and Fury.
Rating: 4 STARS
Series/Standalone: The Xenith Trilogy #3
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
Having gone from kidnapped faux princess to the legitimate heir to an intergalactic throne, an impulsive, sarcastic teen must take charge of her own destiny in this epic YA novel.
On Earth, Delaney is a normal teenager who recently graduated high school with a fantastic best friend and a loving boyfriend.
But Delaney isn’t on Earth. She’s on Xenith, a war-torn planet half a galaxy away. Originally mistaken for an alien princess, Delaney has gone from kidnapped imposter to the recognized heir to an alien throne. Oh, and she’s engaged to the prince of an enemy nation whose ruthless father is on the warpath.
Torn between two planets, two fates, and two loves, Delaney is finally ready to choose her own destiny in Within Ash and Stardust, the stunning conclusion to Chani Lynn Feener’s Xenith Trilogy.
I can't believe it's finally here! The last instalment of a series that I fell in love with back in 2017 and have been desperately waiting for since the cliffhanger that left me absolutely reeling at the end of book two - honestly it was one of the most heart-wrenching cliffhangers ever and gave me ALL THE FEELS!!
I love this author's writing style, I've read a lot of her other books and her writing style is so easy to fall into, her characters are relatable and likeable and her world building is fantastic. She does seem to enjoy writing love triangles and for the most part, I do enjoy the complicated relationships.
I've been following the journey of Delaney from out-of-place Earth girl to the heir of an alien planet with rapture. Delaney is completely relatable, in book one she was frightened, in book two she was angry and in book three she's determined to make her own choices and forge her own path.
Some parts of the plot in this book did give me moments of deja-vu, especially in terms of Delaney being put into corners she can't get out of but there were plenty of new elements too with new character revelations, plot twists and more alien culture.
I did have a pretty big problem with Ruckus in this book. If you've read my other reviews, you'll know that I've been Team Trystan from book 1, so it's no shock that Ruckus isn't my favourite character. Trystan is a big, sullen sweetheart with a cheeky side that's just irresistible. Ruckus was a solid character for me in book 1, who I did like, but who, in book 2, was so clearly not the one for Delaney. Whilst reading Within Ash and Stardust I felt as though Ruckus's character just disappeared in terms of depth, he was pretty pathetic, trailing after Delaney like a puppy dog and with seemingly no personality at all. I mean, at one point the book reads:
"He didn't want to be an Ander anymore, he realised with a start. He just wanted to be Ruckus Wux. Boyfriend of Delaney Grace."
Which is pretty pathetic really, especially for someone who in the first book was portrayed as a tough-as-nails soldier.
The romance in this book is also a little off compared to the last book, where things between Trystan and Delaney had started to heat up despite the frigid ending. In this book, Delaney is all over the place trying to choose between Ruckus and Trystan (when the choice was clear from the start!) and it felt a little awkward, with the ending seeming a little too clean-cut. It had lost some of the sizzle that I'd enjoyed in Between Frost and Fury.
However, there is plenty of action in this book and the pace is great, I didn't want to put the book down at all. There's also more culture and world-building, especially in terms of the Dust Market which is both strange and wonderful.
I like that Delaney finally manages to break free of her chains in this book, to some extent, and can make her own choices and do what she believes is right instead of what's already been decided for her.
Overall, this was a nice end to what I feel is a very underrated YA series and one that opened the gates to sci-fi for me, but with the romance toned down, it felt as though it was suddenly aimed at a slightly younger audience.
My favourite book of the series has to be Between Frost and Fury, with Amid Stars and Darkness coming in at a close second.
I've truly enjoyed following Delaney's journey, exploring these new worlds, meeting interesting new characters and falling in love with Trystan's sweet, cinnamon centre along the way.
I can't wait to see what this author does next!
As always, you can add the book to your Goodreads TBR by clicking on the book cover above and feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below!
To win a print copy of Within Ash and Stardust enter the giveaway below (US/CAN only).
Rating: 4.5 STARS!
Series/Standalone: Light Years #1
How I got this book: Received in May 2018 'Hidden Talents' Illumicrate Box
Reeling from the latest attack by a mysterious enemy, the Quatra Fleet Academy is finally admitting students from every planet in the solar system after centuries of exclusivity.
Hotshot pilot Vesper, an ambitious Tridian citizen, dreams of becoming a captain - but when she loses her spot to a brilliant, wisecracking boy from the wrong side of the asteroid belt, it makes her question everything she thought she knew. Growing up on the toxic planet Deva, Cormak will take any chance he can get to escape his dead-end life and join the Academy - even if he has to steal someone's identity to do it. Arran was always considered an outsider on icy Chetire, always dreaming of something more than a life working in the mines. Now an incoming cadet, Arran is looking for a place to belong - he just never thought that place would be in the arms of a Tridian boy. And Orelia is hiding a dark secret - she's infiltrated the Academy to complete a mission, one that threatens the security of everyone there. But if anyone finds out who she really is, it'll be her life on the line.
These cadets will have to put their differences aside and become a team to defend their world from a cunning enemy - but the danger might be lurking closer to home than they think...
This book took me entirely by surprise - I just did not expect to love it as much as I did!
I received an ARC copy of Light Years as part of the Illumicrate May 2018 'Hidden Talents' book box subscription - gosh I miss book boxes so much (damn you financial responsibilities!!) - and had intended to read it immediately, but I'm sort of glad that I left it for over a year because now I don't have to wait as long for book two (out October 2019) which is already too long because this book has a really, really good cliffhanger that I both did and didn't see coming and I need to find out what happens next.
As is the never-ending circle of pain you get when starting a new series! You'd think I'd be used to it by now...
Anyway, back to the book. It features a 4-way split narrative which at first, I couldn't get enough of because the pace was fantastic, very quick (I finished the book in under two days) and the characters were great. They were each distinct enough that I knew who's chapter it was without looking at the name.
However, as the story became a little more complex, the split narrative and fast pace did grate a little as some things that I felt deserved more time just flew past and also, some of the relationships and character developments seem to happen really quickly because the book would go three chapters between each character's viewpoint, but overall, it was a very immersive read and I still enjoyed the narrative style.
Light Years gave me massive Divergent/Hunger Games/Illuminae vibes the whole way through, which was great. It also has LGBT representation (PRIDE MONTH Y'ALL) and whilst I would have preferred a little more build-up, what I love in particular about the LGBT rep is that it's not a 'big issue', there's no drama because the two characters in question are queer, it's just accepted. #loveislove
This book also contains a racially diverse set of characters, although, without the cover, you wouldn't really know it, as the author sort of leaves the visualising of the characters to the reader. The book does tackle racism, but it's more specifically targeted to where a person is from (i.e. their home planet) than their appearance.
I loved the main plot and the intertwining sub-plots in this book. The whole journey from the character's various planets and through their journey was very vivid and detailed without being overbearingly so.
The characters were all unique with their own backgrounds, challenges, inner demons and abilities. They clash and they gel at different times which made for really interesting relationships both platonic and romantic.
The writing was addictive, it's one of those glorious books that I just couldn't tear myself away from and as I've mentioned twice already, the cliffhanger was great, it was both predictable and unpredictable simply because of the timing. Just when you think everything's going to work out(ish), bam! Everything changes and now I have no idea what to expect, so I'll just be anxiously counting down until book two is released later this year!
Have you read Light Years? Let me know what you thought in the comments!
Rating: 5 STARS!!
How I got this book: ARC from the author
In the spring of 1995, Nate Cartwright has lost everything: his parents are dead, his older brother wants nothing to do with him, and he's been fired from his job as a journalist in Washington DC. With nothing left to lose, he returns to his family's summer cabin outside the small mountain town of Roseland, Oregon to try and find some sense of direction.
The cabin should be empty.
Inside is a man named Alex. And with him is an extraordinary little girl who calls herself Artemis Darth Vader.
Artemis, who isn't exactly as she appears.
Soon it becomes clear that Nate must make a choice: let himself drown in the memories of his past, or fight for a future he never thought possible.
Because the girl is special. And forces are descending upon them who want nothing more than to control her.
You're going to have to forgive me if this review turns out to be incoherent because sometimes there just aren't words to describe how amazing a book is, but I'll do my best!
I want to start by saying that the only other book I've read by TJ Klune so far is The Lightning Struck Heart which is a hilarious, outrageous m/m fantasy romance that I adored. This book is NOTHING LIKE THAT BOOK - but that's in no way a bad thing! From the synopsis, I expected a romantic suspense novel and so I was not prepared for all of the awesome shit that goes down in this book.
Fear not, you know this is a spoiler-free review site, so I'm going to give you my reactions, without giving anything away because honestly, this book is one of the best books I've ever read and I want you all to read it without knowing what to expect!
The plot is fantastic, I absolutely love the authors writing style and was instantly swept up into the story and into Nate's head, seeing this story through his eyes was perfect! I love Nate, and Alex and Art, three completely individual characters who's pain, suffering and love was so vivid that I felt connected to them, desperate for things to work out.
"...somehow we're all made of dust and stars."
Nate is sweet, kind and haunted by his past, Alex appears tough and strong but has a much deeper core, and Art...well, I'll let you discover how amazing Art is by yourself.
I love everything about The Bones Beneath My Skin, the way it makes me smile and laugh, the way it warms my heart, the way it sends my heart racing or just stops it dead, the way it has me holding my breath and even the way it has me on the verge of tears, afraid to keep reading but unable to stop. The pacing, the writing, the realistic dialogue, the genuine, evolving connections be they romantic, sexual, friendly or familial, were all perfectly portrayed.
The enemies-to-lovers style romance itself is such a fantastic, realistic portrayal of an m/m romance, focusing less on the sex and mostly on the chemistry, tension and bond between these two complex characters.
To try and sum this up simply, I couldn't get enough of this book, I read and read for hours, never wanting to put it down and whether you like romance, action, or adventure, I urge you to read this incredible story about oppression, standing up for what matters, appreciating the smaller things in life, and dreaming of an impossible future.
"You can fear what you don't understand, but in the end, you can still be brave. You can still stand up for what's right."
It's a story of laughter, love, caring, anger, pain, suffering, denial, belief, and a whole shed load of bacon.
"Are we going on an adventure?"
Trigger Warnings: There are some dark topics that are explored in this book including; suicide, mental illness, grief and homophobia.
Welcome to my stop on the Between Frost and Fury Blog Tour!!
I have been ridiculously excited for this book ever since I read book one, Amid Stars and Darkness last year and so I just want to say a huge thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for letting me join in the fun and to Swoon Reads for the gorgeous ARC.
Feel free to check out my review of Amid Stars and Darkness and keep reading for my review of Between Frost and Fury!
Rating: 5 STARS!!
Standalone/Series: The Xenith Trilogy #2
How I got this book: ARC from Swoon Reads
Delaney might have done her job a little TOO well…and now her life has once again been turned upside down by aliens, this time by a deadly (and devastatingly handsome) alien prince in this explosive second installment of Chani Lynn Feener’s The Xenith Trilogy.
Delaney has been kidnapped by aliens. Again. After only a month back on Earth with her hot new alien boyfriend Ruckus, the deadly and devastatingly handsome prince Trystan has dragged her right back to his planet.
While some girls may dream of winning a prince’s heart, Delaney just wishes this one would leave her alone. Instead, she finds herself at the center of both a tense political battle between two alien kingdoms and Trystan’s romantic attentions, both of which are absolutely ruining the life she’s built on Earth. Not to mention the fact that she’s about to be crowned queen of a planet she’s barely even visited. Just another day in the life of an ordinary human girl.
Readers won’t want to miss Between Frost and Fury, the compelling, fast-paced sequel to Chani Lynn Feener’s Amid Stars and Darkness.
Okay, so what I LOVE about this book is that it literally jumps right back in where the previous book finished, there's no missing time in between, no catching up to do, you're just immediately immersed back into the action and carried through the story by the amazing pace.
The book actually starts with a brand new P.O.V from Ruckus, and I love that we get to hear from both him and (mostly) Trystan throughout this book.
If it wasn't already clear, am I totally in this for Trystan! ?? I guess I have a thing for bad boys with hidden depths...
Delaney is fantastic. No matter what happens to her, she still manages to keep her composure and her sharp tongue.
"I'm not afraid of you," she told him, holding up a finger when he opened his mouth to argue. "I'm not. I'm afraid of the things you might do, yes. But of you personally? What's to be afraid of? Is it the scared little boy who'd rather steal someone else's toy than fix his own broken one?"
I also can't help but smile in every scene where she purposefully goes out of her way to annoy Trystan! It's too cute, and it's great to see the new depths to these characters.
I could not put this book down, and when I was forced to, I couldn't stop thinking about the characters. They made me smile, swoon and worry. My heart raced, and almost stopped altogether right at the end.
Brace yourselves for another amazing, cliffhanger-style ending! ???
It's strange, because two things I'm generally not a huge fan of in books are cliffhangers and love triangles. This series has both and I LOVE them! I can't get enough of the tension, the drama, the conflict and ALL THE FEELS!!
This is one of my absolute favourite series' so far. In this book, we get to explore more of the author's world, I absolutely loved the new wintry location and the introduction of some fantastic new characters, and foods!
After the jaw-dropping ending, I can't wait for book 3 - I desperately need to find out how this ends, even if I don't want it to end at all!!
What do you think? Remember that you can click on the cover photo above to add Between Frost and Fury to your Goodreads TBR!
Thanks again for stopping by and joining me on my leg of the tour! Click here to follow the rest of the tour!
You can also enter below for your chance to win a print copy of Between Frost and Fury (US/CAN only - giveaway hosted by Xpresso Book Tours)!
Rating: 4 STARS
Standalone/Series: Villains #1
How I got this book: Bought
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
I figured it was about time that I read a book by V.E. Schwab and when I spotted this collector's edition (with hidden cover) of Vicious in Waterstones earlier this year, I couldn't resist.
One thing that I should explain is that I struggled SO MUCH to rate this by book. I literally don't know where it falls. Probably because it's an extremely unique book, for me at least; I can honestly say that I've never read anything like this before.
As much as the synopsis paints a black and white hero vs villains story, it's nothing of the sort. The characters are dark, twisted and every single one is morally complicated. The characters are extremely compelling in their own ways and they drive the story extremely well. The plot is very scifi, and could feature the cast of every comic book villain you've ever seen on TV or read about.
It's a fascinating story, and it's not at all what I expected, which is probably why I'm so unsure how to rate the book.
I know that I enjoyed it, I know that the pace was great, and that the characters kept me gripped and engaged. The only reasons I can think of as to why I'm struggling to sum up my thoughts on this one are that; 1.) There was some tricky/problematic subject matter that I wasn't too keen on. 2.) It wasn't at all what I expected. 3.) I didn't really like the ending, I wanted a bit of a clearer resolution and answers to a few questions. 4.) I don't usually read this type of thing.
Don't get me wrong, this book has all of the components of a 5-star read, and in a lot of ways, it feels like one. There's just something, that I can't quite put my finger on, so for now I'm going to go with 4 stars...although it may change when I've had more time to process.
Sorry for the slightly nonsensical rambling today!
Rating: 5 STARS!!
Standalone/Series: The Xenith Trilogy #1
How I got this book: Bought
Delaney’s entire world is thrown into chaos after she is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess hiding out on Earth in order to escape an arranged marriage.
Kidnapped by the princess’s head bodyguard, Ruckus, and imprisoned in an alien palace, Delaney is forced to impersonate the princess until Olena can be found. If she fails, it will lead to an alien war and the eventual enslavement of the entire human race.
No pressure or anything.
Factor in Trystan, the princess’s terrifying betrothed who is intent on unraveling all her secrets, and her own growing feelings for Ruckus, and Delaney is in way over her head.
Get lost Amid Stars and Darkness, in this YA sci-fi romance from debut author Chani Lynn Feener.
I've been a HUGE fan of Chani Lynn Feener ever since I discovered her Underworld series last year - if you love Greek mythology, strong heroines, swoon-worthy boys and three-headed dogs, go check it out!
When I read Amid Stars and Darkness for the first time it was the first sci-fi I'd ever actually made it through, let alone enjoyed. It was so much fun and definitely a 5-star read! Book two, Between Frost and Fury, is coming out next month and it's one of my most anticipated reads this year, that's why I decided to re-read book one to refresh my memory.
Side note: I have a shocking long-term memory. It really is awful and in all aspects of life it really bothers me, except when it comes to reading books. Forgetting the details helps to make a re-read much more special.
This story is so easy to fall into, one second you're on page one, meeting Delaney and Olena, and the next you're almost finished. The pace is fantastic and I read the entire book in just a few short sittings. I just couldn't put it down and was hooked from the very beginning.
I instantly loved Delaney who's an amazingly strong, resilient and witty character whilst still handling her situation realistically, she's definitely braver than me, I'd have been curled up in a corner panicking the entire time!
The imagery and world-building in this book are fantastic, I love the comparisons between Earth and the aliens, especially the pool room which is simply magical. I hope there's more of this amazing world to explore in book 2.
What I love most is that this book isn't just a typical romance, it's full of action and dastardly plots that keep your eyes glued to the page.
I won't say too much about the other characters in this book as I really don't want to give too much away. Just know that I had so much fun with all of the characters. Ruckus is strong, loyal, sweet and HOT. Trystan is big, brooding and pretty malicious for the most part, so why is he my favourite?!?
Prepare yourself for one hell of a cliffhanger ending! That ending has had me hanging on so long for the sequel. I luckily managed to snag an ARC of Between Frost and Fury from the lovely team at Swoon Reads, so I'm reading it next!! I can't wait! I'm desperate to get jump back into this fantastic world!
If you're a fan of 'enemies/friends to lovers', strong-willed heroines, drop-dead gorgeous heroes & villains, and action-filled plots, you'll love Amid Stars and Darkness!
Rating: 4 STARS
Standalone/Series: The Illuminae Files #1
How I got this book: Bought
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.
BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more--Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
I've been contemplating this book since I finished it last night, and I'm still processing so apologies if this review is somewhat haphazard.
I should probably start by saying that I've only ever read one other Sci-Fi book before, Amid Stars and Darkness, which I absolutely loved, but besides parts of it taking place in space, it was completely alien to this book. See what I did there?
My reactions to this book were a progressing variation of WTF, something like this: What? What the? What the hell? WTF? OMG WTF JUST HAPPENED? WTF AM I READING? WHY BOOK GODS WHY?
Illuminae threw me off from the first page due to its format, and the unusual way in which it's presented. As a side note, some parts were a tad unreadable on my Kindle due to the tiny font size but would probably have been much better in book form.
However, there were 4 parts of this book that I found brilliant: Kady, Ezra, Aidan and the person transcribing the video scenes.
The characters are lively, unique, funny, feisty and believable. I ached for them, almost cried for them and laughed at entirely inappropriate moments.
The story itself is phenomenal. I loved it. The storyline, the plot twists, the unexpected reveals - it was all fantastic, all of the elements in this book made it so good! Incidentally, at no point did this actually seem like a YA read, I was terrified and had trouble sleeping the entire time I was reading!! I am a huge scaredy cat!
Literally, the only reason that I'm not giving this book 5 stars is that I'm just not sure it's entirely my thing. I completely appreciate the storytelling, the characters and the unique way it was delivered but I'm not entirely sure that this type of sci-fi is for me...saying that, I'm still a really curious to find out what happens next, so who knows...
Maybe Illuminae is my gateway drug to becoming a massive sci-fi fan...we shall see!
As an aside, I'm now even more inclined though to read Nevernight because this type of dark humour and insane plot twists in a fantasy novel...bring it on!
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Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
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