Book Review

ARC Book Review: Crown of Coral and Pearl (Crown of Coral and Pearl #1) by Mara Rutherford

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 432 pages
Author: Mara Rutherford
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: August 27th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.

Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Teen/Inkyard Press, and Netgalley for the digital ARC. All opinions are my own.

REALLY FEELIN’ THIS.

Oh wow. I am so excited I received an ARC for this because it was fantastic!

At first, I was worried. I didn’t realize this was a duology (once I checked this, it also quickly got better and made more sense). It took about 40% of the way through the book to get Nor off her home island, Varenia. I still think too much time was spent there, but it seems it was being used to really build a background for Nor and her family/lifestyle.

Once off the island and in Ilara, things start really going down. I was all for one of the princes because I imagined him as this rough bad guy who has a soft side that would slowly come out. HOT DANG, I was wrong. I kept flipping pages trying to see if we would get a redemption for him, and it still hasn’t happened. I thought I would be frustrated with this, but instead…I am here for it. Own your evil. He’s an amazing villain that I know has many more layers that I can’t wait to see in book two.

Nor’s love interest is growing on me. Since I wasn’t for him at first I had pushed him to the side for a bit until it was clear what was brewing between the two. I love the mystery and intrigue behind him as well. There’s so much to still learn. We got plenty in this book and it felt like it left just the right amount out for further solving the puzzle of the princes of Ilara.

I really loved Nor as our main character. She grew on me over the story. I liked that she had such a tight sister bond with Zadie and that that never wavered. Family continually remained important to her. Nor was sneaky, a bit impulsive, and full of love for those close to her. I am behind her as a heroine for Varenia.

I thought the pacing at times was slow, but things continually picked up. It made this hard to put down and I was always wondering what would happen next. The ending was left open, but not in a CLIFFHANGER kind of way.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little light language
  • Romance: a few kisses, occasionally a little passionate
  • Violence: poison, torture, blood-letting, swords, knives, near-drownings, throwing people off of cliffs, murder

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Monthly Wrap-Up

May Reading Wrap-Up!

INTERNET AT LAST.

I think we can all attest to the fact that moving sucks. We spent an entire weekend moving stuff, and we still have a lot to go before our rental is all cleaned out. I’m without internet until Monday so I literally drove to FOUR different locations to find free wi-fi that was working, and where I could plug in my computer. Holy cow.

FUN FACTS:

Number of books read: 6

Number of pages: 2,177

What I read this month…

A Court of Frost and Starlight (ACOTAR #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas

ACOFAS

Synopsis:

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

It’s rare I give anything less than 5 stars for Maas related material, so no surprise here, but I was sitting at my door waiting for the mailman to drop this off. My review can be found here.

And I Darken (The Conqueror’s Saga #1) by Kiersten White

And I Darken

Synopsis:

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Wasn’t a big fan of And I Darken. Also, wasn’t convinced to read the next one. If you think I should, leave a comment! I love to hear differing opinions. This review is here.

The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Last Namsara

Synopsis:

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Oh guys, I was totally smitten with this book. I LOVE DRAGONS. And it’s different than a lot of the YA (that I’ve at least) come across lately. I don’t think you’d be disappointed checking this one out. Review here!

Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud

Mirage

Synopsis:

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

PUT THIS ON YOUR TBR FOLKS. I graciously received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley and was enamored by this story. It’s in space. That should convince you to check out the review here. Mirage will be out in August!

Glitter (Glitter #1) by Aprilynne Pike

Glitter

Synopsis:

Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.

When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.

Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.

But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.

While I do think this cover looks cool, this book had me up in arms in disappointment. The plot played towards an interesting take, but I personally found it hysterically full of drama. Read my review because maybe this is up your alley! Just not mine.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom

Synopsis:

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

I was in a book funk for a few days trying to pick out what to read next, then this showed up at my door! (I may have forgot that I ordered it, whoops). This book dragged me right out of that funk. I loved it! It was clever, Little Mermaid-esque and the love story was somehow slow enough for a standalone book. Find out more at my full review.

To end my saga,

My favorite book this month was ACOFAS (Mass, always. Guys why isn’t October after May?!). And my least favorite was And I Darken.

I’m currently reading Alexander Hamilton (yes, willingly). It’s actually pretty good and I am hoping to finish soon and write a full review. It is just SO LONG. SO VERY LONG. And tiny words. My attention span may be waning at this point.

Also I hope to pick back up my Instagram now that we’ve moved. I first have to organize 300 books though. How should I do it this time? Usually I do it by genre/hardbacks, but I’m leaning towards trying by author.

Happy reading!

Book Review

Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA, some language, a few kiss scenes, violence
Length: 342 pages
Author: Alexandra Christo
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

SIRENS, AND PIRATES, AND SEA QUEENS OH MY!

I’m in a realllll mood for all things sea related. My book slump was fixed by this gem! It was devious and well written, and I kinda wish it was at least a duology because I wanted more.

I love that Lira kept up all of her sass and held her own among the 2-legged humans. Elian was so swoon-worthy and his band of friends had their own personalities.

While at times I thought it could’ve used a dash more action, for a stand-alone fantasy YA it worked really well. I was intrigued and enthralled. I was also impressed that the romance still felt [enough] like a slow-burn even though it’s only one book!

It was really cool to see the elements of The Little Mermaid as well. From Lira’s red hair, to the Sea Queen having tentacles, there was definitely some memorable parallels. But the darker edges to this novel make it even better.

Solid YA book, with some [not-distracting from the story] language. A few kissing scenes, and violence as the book portrays sirens vs. humans.