“The Winner’s Curse” by Marie Rutoski- Book Review

16069030

About The Book:

“They were never meant to be together. As a general’s daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can’t help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.”

My Review:

I’ve seen some praise for this book, and I’ve seen some disappointment for it, too. But I’ve see more “YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK” than anything else, and the cover was just so pretty… So yeah, I caved in, bought this book, and proceeded to think that I’d read it one day. Well, over a year later, the day came, and I finally got to see just what the fuss was about this book. How did it measure up for me?

I think it measured pretty well. I mean, I finished it. Goodness, I’ll just go and ahead and say that I overall liked it. I found it awesome how the heroine was different from so many of the popular female leads in YA fiction. She wasn’t some naturally gifted warrior queen. At least, not in the way that seems to be more often portrayed in YA. She’s good with battle technique, and is resilient enough to get through some fairly difficult situations. But she’s just not one of  those girls who picks up a sword and excels in battle. In fact, she’s trained for some time with weaponry, and still isn’t great with them. I think I majorly liked this because it gave us a heroine who didn’t need to be a skilled, combat fighter to be strong, which resounds with the type of heroines we see/read about in real life.

Other things I liked were, one, the setting. I feel like the author did just enough world building to make me feeling I visited some fantasy world without throwing a bunch of unfamiliar things at me that could cause confusion from trying to keep everything straight. Secondly, the romance was also interesting to read. It was full of drama, and I like drama, so… There were also some pretty interesting plot twists that made this book unique from many other fantasies I’ve read.

As much as I liked some parts of this book, I did have some issues with the book. The world of this book is not a pretty place, plus there was some use of foul language. I’m also not one of the readers who were blown away by the book’s ending. Maybe I was expecting a more exciting plot twist than what this book ended with…? Whatever the case, I wasn’t flailing with wonder. Yes, I admit the ending was not something I saw coming, but it just did leave me feeling AMAZED. This isn’t really a problem, but it just makes me wonder why others were so excited by the end?

However, despite its lack of having a heart-pounding finale for me, it did leave me curious to find what happens next. And again, I over all did like this book. So I think I’m going to give “The Winner’s Curse” by Marie Rutkoski a rating of four– I’m taking off a star for the negative stuff.

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish.

“Beyond the Rising Tide” by Sarah Beard- Book Review

Beyond-the-Rising-Tide-FINAL-COVER 2-2-16 MED

About:

Kai met Avery only once–in the moment he died saving her life. Now when he’s not using his new healing powers to help people, he watches helplessly as Avery’s life is unraveled by his death. To help her, he risks everything by breaking the rules, dangerously blurring the barriers between life and death.

My Review:

Ghost stories aren’t ones I’ve often read. In fact, until I read “Beyond the Rising Tide,” it had been years since I’d read a ghostly story. But when I saw this book available for review, there was something it that appealed to me. Yes, it has a lovely cover, and that may have helped in my decision to read it. But the synopsis also fascinated me, and I decided to give this book a try.

I think I’ll start with the lovely aspects of this tale, such as what beautiful writing this author has. Seriously, it has some– if not THE– prettiest writing I’ve seen in a YA with a contemporary setting. It made me want to read more of this author’s works, for sure.

Secondly, the romance. Oh man, did I get the feels! As one of the characters was a ghost, there was some tension that made me unsure of just how everything would turn out in the end, and it had me turning pages at a quicker-than-usual pace to see what would happen. Seriously, it still makes my heart pound when I think on it. Now, I won’t say how I feel about the end, because I’m afraid that would cause some spoilers, and I do not wish to ruin the end for anyone. So I will just say that I did at least feel some satisfaction, but I won’t tell you anything more. 😉

My third (and final like I’ll ramble on about) is that I enjoyed how  this book was pretty clean for not being a Christian book (what usually passes the clean test for me). It’s not very easy to find a YA contemporary romance that doesn’t have extreme foul language, and questionable romance scenes. However, the romance was clean (and sigh-worthy) in this book, and there wasn’t extreme foul language. I really appreciated this.

In the end, I think the only thing I did not care for in this book was the “afterlife” picture. As a Christian, I believe in getting to heaven only through having Jesus as your Savior. But I already knew this wasn’t a Christian book when I requested it, and had just chosen to look at the story as a contemporary fantasy. So while I did not agree with some of this story because of personal convictions, I was still able to overall enjoy the book.

So yes, I did like this tale, which means I’m going to give “Beyond the Rising Tide” by Sarah Beard a rating of four. Age recommendation is for mature teens and adults.

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish.

*Thanks to the publisher through SLB Blog Tours for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, I was not required to write a positive review.

*Originally posted on my old blog. Hoping to transfer more of my reviews in the coming weeks.

“Storm Siren” by Mary Weber: Giveaway Winner(s)!

So, only four of you asked for the book. Not as many as there could have been, but it is okay. Why is it okay? Because it means I can do something special.

Special?

Yes, special.

Storm-Siren-Mary-Weber

I have decided to send a copy to all four of the participants. So, Olivia, Kelly, Rachel, and Jill, congrats on winning a copy of this book. Please leave me your email below, or send me a message through Goodreads so I can see about getting you the book.

 

“Ever After” by Aya Ling— Book Cover Reveal!

Oh dear, I almost forgot to post this. (I may have been distracted by other things…) However, I’m here now, and I’m pleased to be a part of the cover reveal for this book. This is a series I want to read, and the covers are all lovely.
Ever After 500x800
Ever After
by Aya Ling
(Unfinished Fairy Tale Series, #3)
Publication date: May 20th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Synopsis:

Kat has survived. She returns to Athelia as herself, Katherine Wilson. Edward, elated at learning she is alive, vows to bring her back to the palace. The obstacles, however, seem impossible to overcome. Marriage between a royal and a commoner is not recognized, not to mention that he is already legally bound to Katriona Bradshaw, who will do anything to keep her position as princess.

And there’s even more to worry about. Due to an uncommonly harsh winter, the people of Athelia have been suffering from inflated food prices, and are getting irritated at supporting the small, elite group of aristocrats. An uprising in a neighboring country only adds fuel to the fire.

Can Kat and Edward finally get a happily-ever-after?

 
Purchase:
AUTHOR BIO:
41nmDcmTh4L._UX250_
Aya is from Taiwan, where she struggles daily to contain her obsession with mouthwatering and unhealthy foods. Often she will devour a good book instead. Her favorite books include martial arts romances, fairy tale retellings, high fantasy, cozy mysteries, and manga.

She is currently working on Ever After, Book 3 in the Unfinished Fairy Tales series, to be released in 2017. For exclusive bonus scenes, giveaways, and new release info, visit ayaling.com

Author links:
ButtonXBT

“Red Winter” by Annette Marie- Book Review

31829155

About:

“Emi is the kamigakari. In a few short months, her life as a mortal will end and her new existence as the human host of a goddess will begin. Carefully hidden from those who would destroy her, she has prepared her mind, body, and soul to unite with the goddess—and not once has she doubted her chosen fate.

Shiro is a yokai, a spirit of the earth, an enemy of the goddess Emi will soon host. Mystery shrouds his every move and his ruby eyes shine with cunning she can’t match and dares not trust. But she saved his life, and until his debt is paid, he is hers to command—whether she wants him or not.

On the day they meet, everything Emi believes comes undone, swept away like snow upon the winter wind. For the first time, she wants to change her fate—but how can she erase a destiny already wrought in stone? Against the power of the gods, Shiro is her only hope … and hope is all she has left.

Red Winter includes ten beautiful full-page illustrations by award-winning artist Brittany Jackson.”

My Review:

I love the cover of this book. Sorry, but not sorry. I had to say that.

Moving on, beyond the cover is the story that I’m reviewing today. I saw this book on Amazon one day and wanted to read it. It was fantasy, Asian, and the cover…yes, I added it to my Kindle Possibilities list. Then I saw that I had a chance to review it and both of its sequels, and now I can say that I read them.

While I am fascinated by Asian culture, I had not delved much into Japanese culture. I enjoyed getting a peak into a country I do not know much about. This book takes place in modern day Japan, yet it still had a fantastical and historical feel. The story was steadily paced at the beginning, so not too fast or slow. It was hard not to  sympathize with the heroine when she found the bad news that she might be going to die soon, and her ensuing rebellion is where the story really began to pick up for me. The fantasy elements gripped my attention, intriguing characters were introduced, and it was interesting to watch Emi try and figure out the truth about her death, and the events that follow once she learned the truth.

The heroine was also likable. As I mentioned, I felt bad for her. Can you imagine finding out by accident that some of those around you might know you are going to die soon, but have not told you? Harsh, but that is what she had to deal with, along with still feeling to blame for the death of someone she loved. I think she was the perfect mix of serious temple girl and teenage girl, and I enjoyed getting to know her.

Emi, however, is not my favorite. Ya’ll, this story has a Kitsune, the Japanese equivalent to one of my favorite mythical creatures, a Gumiho. (These creatures are basically foxes with nine tales, and they can transform into humans.) Anywho, I loved him. Shiro, the Kitsune, is adorable, funny, and probably now one of my favorite heroes ever. He just- Gah! I loved his relationship with Emi. Also, he was especially adorable when he rode the bus with Emi and people thought he was her dog.

Yumei, the crow dude was also pretty cool. Yes, kind of cranky, but I still found him a lovable addition to the crew.

Negatives were that there were some curse words. Other than that, I do not have much of a complaint.

All in all, this was a nice read. I really enjoyed it. I’ve been kind of tired of reading some of the same old medieval fantasies, and this one was a nice change in scenery. It was not my favorite of the series, but a fair introduction to it. Plus, it has some lovely art every now and then, so that added to the story. I give it a rating of four and a half.

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish.

*Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Drama Wednesday (6)—Favorite Dramas Part Two

Hello everyone! Today I’m here with part two of my favorite dramas. (You can check out part one by clicking here.)

moonriver

“Moonriver” is a Taiwanese drama that captured my heart is so many ways. The humor, the sweet heroine, and the tugging of the heartstrings… they just make me happy thinking about it. It’s about a martial artist girl from the country who ends up going to a city college where she soon offends the top students and finds her life entangled with theirs. Okay, so this drama is a lot like “Boys Over Flowers,” but no, I do not think it is a do-over of my beloved BOF. This one has enough fresh elements to make it its own story, and I really like it.

 

heartstrings

Speaking of “Heartstrings,” another one of my favorite dramas happens to be named just that. I think the main reason I tried this one was because I was not happy who the heroine ended up with in the drama, “You’re Beautiful.” I wanted her to end up with the second male lead (This is a problem I often have.). “Heartstrings” paired the female lead and second male lead from “You’re Beautiful” together as the main couple. While it wasn’t the same as if they had ended up together in “You’re Beautiful,” I suppose it helped salve the pain. This drama is about two students, one a modern music player, the other a traditional Koran music player, and their bumpy path to finding love. It’s cute and fluffy, with enough drama to perhaps cause you to bit your nails in nervous anticipation to know what happens next. Also, there’s plenty of fun music.

 

Ice-Fantasy-Poster-Feature-Image (1)

“Ice Fantasy” is the only Chinese drama I have finished so far, and I almost gave up on it after watching only the first few episodes. I persevered, though, and it was worth it. Only issue was that there were some intimate romance scenes that made me uncomfortable. Other than that, it was just a fun, other-worldly adventure that has me wanting  its sequel, “Ice Fantasy: Destiny,” right now. Right now.

 

W475OerL_fc8273_c2x

 

“Dream Knight” is another mini Korean drama that I enjoy. It’s about a orphaned school girl who is protected by a group of magical guys as she goes through life. It’s  sweet, plus it contains a lot of fun music, probably because the main guys are all K-pop artists. Anyways, I wish there was more because the story felt somewhat incomplete. 😦

“Storm Siren” by Mary Weber—Book Giveaway!

One thing I have not done since I started this blog is a giveaway, so I thought it would be fun to start doing one now and then on here. 😀

Storm-Siren-Mary-Weber

Today through midnight on the 15th, you have the chance to win a copy of Mary Weber’s fantastic book, “Storm Siren.” All you have to do it 1. follow this blog, and 2. leave a comment below telling me you want to win this book. Winner will be chosen and announced on the 15th.