June 5, 2016

Ivory and Bone Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone #1)
Author: Julie Eshbaugh
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical/Retellings 

Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen

Rate: 5 Stars!


A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.
Ivory and Bone is the mesmerizing first book in a new young adult series that masterfully mixes several genres to create a unique and exciting story. The novel is described as a blend of historical fiction, fantasy, and a retelling of the classic novel Pride & Prejudice. Who wouldn't be intrigued by a concept like that? I definitely was and I couldn't wait to read the book. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started, so I went in fresh and open-minded - and I couldn't be happier with what the book had to offer. 

I honestly wasn't sure if the description (historical fantasy/retelling of Pride & Prejudice) was going to be even close to what the story was really like or if it was merely being overrated. It doesn't sound like a mix of genres that could blend together to create a coherent novel - let alone one that was good - but somehow the author pulled it off. And when I found out that this is the author's debut - I was stunned. I never would have guessed in a million years that this exceptional novel was a debut. It shows the extreme talent and massive potential the author possesses - and I personally can't wait to read more from her! I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so it's pretty hard to do an in-depth critique of this book without giving away anything. I'll break down the basics and hope that will convince at least some of you to pick this one up!

Nearly everything about this book was incredibly well done. The setting was unusual and isn't one I read about very often, so I loved the vivid imagery and detailed descriptions the author used to bring the world to life before my eyes. I was originally a bit hesitant about reading this book because of the setting and time period, but I'm so glad that I gave it a shot because somehow it managed to work with the story and the rest of the aspects of the plot. The characters were well written and had distinct personality traits (there were a few times when I felt that some of the characters were a little flat and stereotypical, but it wasn't enough to really bother me). I loved getting to know Kol and Mya - and even Lo. They were all fantastic characters and I can't wait to learn more about them in the next installment. The plot was a captivating blend of several genres and the writing was skilled and yet effortless. As I mentioned, I wasn't sure how this story would play out because of the odd mixture of genres - but somehow the author made it work exceptionally well and I was sucked into the world she created right from the beginning sentences. I can't wait for the next book to release so I can find out what direction the story will take and what will happen with the characters (that I now feel like I know on a personal level and have connected with easily). Overall, this was a fantastic beginning to a very promising new series that defies expectations and refuses to be labeled under any particular genre. I very highly recommend it to every reader out there, regardless of your normal genre preferences - this book has something for everyone and I bet it'll blow you away just as it did with me.
By Julie Eshbaugh
Copyright 2016

The darkness in this cave is so complete I can no longer see you, but I can smell your blood.
“I think your wound has opened up again.”
“No, it’s fine.” Your words echo against the close walls. Even so, your voice sounds small. “I ran my fingers over it. It’s dry.”
We need light and heat. I pat the ground, feeling for the remnants of the fire we made in here before.
“The wound is under your hair, Mya, and your hair is drenched.”
“My hair is cold—wet with rain and ice. It would be warm if it were wet with blood.” Injured, bleeding, freezing—yet still stubborn.
“I’m going to try to get a fire going,” I say.
My hands search the floor, fumbling across silt and cinders, until they land on a chunk of splintered wood that flakes at the ends as if it’s been burned. A short distance away the ground drops down into a shallow hole—the fire pit.
I crawl farther into the dark, one hand extended out in front of me, my knees grinding against knots of broken wood and nubs of rock. At last, my hand lands on what I remember as a deliberate, orderly stack of firewood piled against the far wall.
It’s unnerving to be in a place so dark. It’s even more unnerving to be here with you.

As I turn pieces of wood in my hands, my eyes begin to adjust to what little light filters in from outside. Black yields to gray as shadows become objects. I separate kindling and tinder. On a flat rock beside the wood I discover the starter kit—a long whittled stick and fireboard. “Give me just a little longer and I’ll get you warmed up, all right?”
I wait, but you don’t answer.
“Go ahead and make a fire. I think I’ll just sleep a bit.”
“No—no sleeping. I need you to stay awake. I need company. Someone to talk to.”
“What are we going to talk about?”
Rolling the firestick between my fingers, I hesitate. “What do you think we should talk about?”
Maybe I shouldn’t have asked this question. There are countless things that could be said between us, and probably countless more that should be left unsaid.
I grasp the firestick between my palms, one end buried in a notch cut in the fireboard, surrounded by fistfuls of dry grass like clumps of human hair. Rubbing my hands back and forth, I twirl the stick like a drill. My hands pass down the entire length of the stick once, twice, three times. Friction builds, and at last a ribbon of smoke curls around the board.
Distracted by my task, I almost forget the question I asked you. I’m not sure how long you’ve been silent. “Mya?”
“Fine,” you say, the word scratching in your throat like you’ve swallowed bits of gravel. “I’ll try to stay awake, but you need to give me something to stay awake for.”
“Why don’t you tell me a story?”

“I don’t know any stories.”
An ember catches. An orange glow blooms in the kindling. I lie on my side and blow a steady stream of breath into the grass, coaxing out garlands of smoke.
“Everyone who’s ever lived has a story to tell, Kol.”
As the fire spreads I sit up, turning your words in my mind. What could I possibly tell you? All my stories have become entwined with yours. “What do you want to hear?” I ask.
“Tell me something wonderful—a story that’s startling and marvelous.” Despite your grogginess, there’s a lilt of expectation in your voice. “Tell me about the most startling and marvelous day of your life...”
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Follow the Ivory And Bone by Julie Eshbaugh Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Julie Eshbaugh is the author of the upcoming Ivory and Bone (HarperCollins, 2016). She used to have trouble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. Julie eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives with her husband, son, cat and dog. Her favorite moments are when the unexpected happens and she cheers loudest when the pitcher gets a hit.

Everyone who pre-orders the book before June 7, 2016 and submits a valid proof of purchase will receive the Pre-Order Gift as a THANK YOU from me! (You will also receive my appreciation and affection!!!) This gift is for ALL PRE-ORDERS--print and e-book--international included!

In addition to the Pre-Order Gift, everyone who pre-orders will be entered to win a PRIZE!!! There will be THREE levels of prizes:
  • FIVE Second-Place Prizes,
  • FIVE First-Place Prizes, and
The prizes include tote bags, posters, and even an American Express gift card worth at least $60 US dollars! (The value of the gift card has been increasing as the number of pre-orders increases.)
For all the details on the Pre-order Gift and Giveaway, please visit http://www.julieeshbaugh.com/preorder-gift/.

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