Book Review

Book Review: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #2) by Marie Rutkoski

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 402 pages
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: March 3rd, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Following your heart can be a crime.

A royal wedding means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin’s freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself?

Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. she’s working as a spy in the court. If caught, she’ll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can’t help searching for a way to change her ruthless world…and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret.

This dazzling follow-up to The Winner’s Curse reveals the high price of dangerous lies and untrustworthy alliances. The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

THAT ENDING.

This is my second time reading this series. The first time I read them, I read all three in two days. You want to know why? Because by the time I finished this book I couldn’t handle not waiting another moment to read the last installment. That’s how much I love this series.

One of my favorite romances is in this fantasy. Arin and Kestrel and THE TENSION. I can’t handle the tension. I flip pages at speed waiting and hoping and hurting for them to have a moment alone where Kestrel can explain everything to Arin. This is one of the few times that lack of communication actually benefits the book (for me). Kestrel is doing everything to protect Arin and trying to play both sides of her loyalties to do so.

Kestrel is a fantastic heroine. I want to be her friend. She’s brave, bold, and utterly intelligent. I am again amazed at her ability to politcally maneuver one way, and saving those she loves the other way. Kestrel is constantly using her knowledge to help be the best spy she can be. I love her so much.

Arin is my sweet soul that I just want to hug and explain everything too. He’s so wrapped up in helping his country and making sure Kestrel is okay that it’s swoon-worthy. I love seeing his character grow up too. Arin and Kestrel both have to start being adults way sooner than planned. They make some mistakes and grow over the course of this book especially.

Those last few scenes hurt me to my core. AH. I am so wrapped up in the story at this point that there’s no way to put it down. The betrayal, the misunderstanding, the anger, the love. IT’S ALL THERE. This is the reason I keep coming back to this series.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: poison, knives, swords, animal attacks, physical

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Book Review

Book Review: The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy / Horror
Length: 352 pages
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: September 24th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves. 

A BIT SCATTERED.

That’s what I remember about the plot. I was 3 hours into a 9 hour book and wasn’t sure where I was supposed to even look. I’m glad that by halfway I was finally pointed in a direction that made sense and I could actually follow along.

Audio info: I didn’t have any issues with the audio. Was able to listen to it at x1.75 speed and the narrator did a great job.

Alright, here we go. I had a very close bookish friend give this 2 stars and I was wondering why because this had been so high on my releases this year! Lo and behold I get it. I did like it better than her, but I see the issues. Namely, the first one I mentioned, the plot. I didn’t know if the focus was about Ellis, or Ryn, or the Bone Houses, getting rid of them, saving Ryn’s house, finding Ellis’ family. So many things trying to happen at once in a standalone book. I will say these things all did come together and made sense by the end, but it took a folklore tale side story to connect all of the dots.

The romance between Ellis and Ryn was cute. I liked that it didn’t go past what it should have for a small time together. It made it a thousand times more believable. The slow to warm up to each other style is usually a winner and it worked out here too. It added an extra touch to the happy ending.

I thought the bone houses were definitely creepy. I liked this play on what a zombie is. They were a sinister bunch with ulterior motives and yet weren’t all at the same time. They were probably the most complex beings in this story.

Aside from the goat, who honestly felt like a Disney movie animal sidekick (Pascal, Pua, Mushu, etc.). Goat brought a lighter touch to the story, but at the same time, wasn’t necessary to much of anything.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy / horror
  • Language: maybe a word
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: zombie attacks/reanimated corpses, murdered animals, physical

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Book Review

Book Review: The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 363 pages
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: January 19th, 2010
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

DISAPPOINTED.

I was really excited to start this book because I’ve heard great things about it. It seemed liked a great fae book with a swoony romance.

And maybe the later books are like that, but this was not the case here. The best portion was the fact that there were lots of faeries. I love all things fae and loved being in that fantasy world again. The addition of Meghan going back and forth between the fae lands and human lands was no good. I like being immersed in one world or the other. Moving between the two takes me out of the world building and story itself.

I think I would have also appreciated the romance more if I was enjoying the book more. It didn’t come about til after the second half when I was already waning on my cares for the plot. Then things between Megan and Ash ramped up quickly without enough moments for me to ship them.

Even more so, the ending happened so fast!! All of a sudden this evil guy was gone, Megan was home, brother rescued. I’m not even sure where the story is going from here frankly. Or if I will be finding out.

I really wanted to love Megan as a character. And I did for a time. I understood her being confused, messing things up and trying to figure the new world out. But then, she spent the rest of the book being rescued…over and over and over again. Not to mention, they traveled the entire book too. Which I always find kind of dry on its own.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: swords, magic, beast attacks, guns

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Book Review

Book Review: Two Dark Reigns (One Dark Throne #3) by Kendare Blake

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Release Date: September 4th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Queen Katharine has waited her entire life to wear the crown. But now that she finally has it, the murmurs of dissent grow louder by the day. There’s also the alarming issue of whether or not her sisters are actually dead—or if they’re waiting in the wings to usurp the throne.

Mirabella and Arsinoe are alive, but in hiding on the mainland and dealing with a nightmare of their own: being visited repeatedly by a specter they think might be the fabled Blue Queen. Though she says nothing, her rotting, bony finger pointing out to sea is clear enough: return to Fennbirn.

Jules, too, is in a strange place—in disguise. And her only confidants, a war-gifted girl named Emilia and her oracle friend Mathilde, are urging her to take on a role she can’t imagine filling: a legion-cursed queen who will lead a rebel army to Katharine’s doorstep.

This is an uprising that the mysterious Blue Queen may have more to do with than anyone could have guessed—or expected.

OKAY.

That’s how I felt the entire time I was reading this book. I was hoping after really enjoying book two that this was going to keep going on an uphill trajectory. Instead I’m left a little confused and a little like, should I even bother with the finale?

One of my main issues was the addition of more characters. I thought it was unnecessary in the way it was done (through dreams/visions) and took up a lot of page time. It did have a point at least and made sense to understand part of the island. But since these characters haven’t really been discussed and the flashback method not really used until now it was bothersome.

Somehow I still found myself listening [most of the time]. There’s something about the writing style that has been really good as an audio book. While enjoyable to listen to, the middle book syndrome of nothing really happening was clearly present until the last 50 pages of the book. There was a lot of ho-humming, running around and nonsense political meetings until FINALLY I got some sort of battle scene/skirmish ensued. I was actually hoping for more drama.

The queens did grow and I can actually see some character changes from them going through these trials and having to deal with the magic of the island. It has made them easier to cheer for and curious as to where their fate lies. Everything is dark and even kinda creepy. The mystery of the island is AT LAST unwinding.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses and not even there love scenes
  • Violence: swords, poison, physical, magic, ship wrecks, deadly mist
  • Trigger warning: brief sexual assault (unwanted touching)

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