Genre: Young Adult

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Guardian 2 by Gerald N. Lund

10 Jan, 2014 by in deseret book, gerald n lund, ya, YA fiction Leave a comment

I received this book for free from Deseret Book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Guardian 2 by Gerald N. Lund

The Guardian, Book 2: To Run With The Swift

by Gerald N. Lund
Series: The Guardian
Published by Deseret Book on November 7, 2013
Genres: Fiction, LDS, Young Adult
Pages: 587
Format: Hardcover
four-stars
Source: Deseret Book
Buy the BookGoodreads
After Danni McAllister and her family escaped from El Cobra and his kidnapping ring, they thought life would basically return to normal. Little did they know that their peril had just begun.

As secrets from the past begin to unfold, it becomes evident that the motives driving the attacks on the McAllister family go much deeper than money—and they're not going to stop anytime soon. Now, as Danni faces evils even more sinister than before, she has to wonder if even the Guardian will be equal to the dangers ahead.

The whole family will love this page-turning conclusion to the story of Le Gardien, the enchanted pouch that guides, protects, and teaches those who have it in their keeping.

Amazon Book Summary

From the bombed-out ruins of Munich, Germany, in the last days of World War II to a lavish present-day castle in Switzerland, this sequel to The Guardian (published in Fall 2013), weaves a vivid, heart-stopping tale of resilience, resolve, and revenge as Danni McAllister and her family discover the real reason they have been targeted by international terrorists. The astonishing secrets and unexpected powers of the pouch, dating back nearly two hundred years, take center stage in a plot filled with surprising twists and turns as Danni finds herself locked in an extraordinary battle of courage and fortitude that will determine the fate of her family and her role as the Keeper of the Pouch—or risk losing both forever.

From master storyteller Gerald N. Lund, this action-packed novel for the entire family originated as a series of bedtime stories told to his children when they were growing up. In the spirit of The Alliance, Freedom Factor, and Leverage Point, the author blends gripping, fast-paced adventure and suspense with a timeless message for readers of all ages.

Review

This is the first book I have ever read by Gerald N. Lund…I know, right?!! I jumped into book two of the series after a Deseret Book Blog Tour invitation, without reading book one, which I would not recommend. I think readers will miss a lot of the back story if they try to read out this series of order. But once I started to piece together names and the plot, and the circumstance surrounding the heirloom pouch called Le Guardian,  I loved the writing. There is a ton of suspense, plenty of action and good family principles. The villains are villainous indeed, and the mysterious plot twists make it unpredictable. The main character’s first name is Carruthers which is one of my husband’s family names, so the story is that much more personal for us! The setting vacillates between small town Utah and Lake Powell, which makes it fun . If you like books with espionage, history and a bit of magic then pick up The Guardian series.

heather

Excerpt

We stopped a few feet inside the mine to let our eyes adjust to the darkened tunnel.Cody started to push his way past Dad, but Dad’s arm shot out and held him back. 

“Jean-Henri,” he cried. “Look!” He was pointing forward, directing his light at the floor. 

I moved up to see better. Suddenly the chills were back, only this time they were hitting every cell in my body. The dirt floor was covered with footprints. No, not footprints. Boot prints. And none of us had worn that kind of boots when we were in here before.

About the AuthorGerald_Lund

Gerald N. Lund received his B.A. and M.S. degrees in sociology from BYU. He also did extensive graduate work in New Testament studies at Pepperdine University, and studied Hebrew at the University of Judaism. He is a prolific author and speaker. His novels include The Work and the Glory SeriesThe Kingdom and the Crown Trilogy, Fire of the CovenantThe Undauntedand his newest series,The Guardian. He has also written several books on gospel topics, including a doctrinal trilogy exploring our relationship with Heavenly Father and how He expresses His love to His children.

During his thirty-five years in the Church Educational System, Gerald N. Lund served as seminary teacher, institute teacher and director, curriculum writer, director of college curriculum, and zone administrator. His church callings have included servings as stake president and bishop. He also served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2002 to 2008. He and his wife, Lynn, are the parents of seven children.

 

“I write because I love to teach.”
– Gerald N. Lund

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Book Breview: Endless by Amanda Gray

09 Jan, 2014 by in amanda gray, month9books, netgalley, review, young adult fiction 2 comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Breview: Endless by Amanda Gray

Endless

by Amanda Gray
Published by Month9Books on September 10, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Time Travel, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
three-half-stars
Source: Netgalley
Buy the BookGoodreads
Jenny Kramer knows she isn't normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them.

When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumble on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought. Like a past life.

Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren't alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has travelled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back.

While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock - and the Order - Jenny and Nikolai discover a link that joins them in life - and beyond death.

The first thing that drew me to Endless was the cover. Heaven! The beginning chapter was a little rocky for me as the character’s lines and choppy writing style didn’t connect well, but delving into the rest of the story was smooth and easy. This is a book rich with detail. If you were a fan of Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble, it’s another YA title to add to your shelves featuring the Romanov family of Russia.

Story in a Nutshell

Jenny is an artist who can feel and see people’s past by touching them so she remains recluse and immerses herself in her art. But suddenly a man she doesn’t know shows up in all of her paintings and begins to appear in her dreams. She has one true friend at the bookstore where they both work, but is suspicious of people. During her”spare time” works alongside her father as he renovates old homes. They meet Ben and his mother on one such job and Ben is just as standoffish.What Jessie and Ben find one day in the attic pulls both teens into a time travel mystery and a dangerous race for time in the present.

What I liked

I always like books with multi- layered elements of history. Abandoned homes that come to life, antiques with meaning in the present day, family history with links to the past

I loved that both the main characters parents were involved even in a  minute way in the story line. These teens have angst, they have independence– but they also have parents who check in and care.

Jenny is navigating what it means to trust and open up to people. She finds true friendship and others that stand by her as she lets down walls.

The flashbacks and  imagery of the Romanov family living in their own home as an exile and sewing their jewels into their clothing was so vivid and makes the bits of history real.

The pace clipped along without stalling which makes Endless interesting and easy to read.

What I Struggled With

I didn’t fall in love with main characters Jenny and Nikolai as they found each other in time. It seemed to be a pre destined romance but not as convincing or emotionally moving to the reader.

Ben, the other main teen character seemed to drop out of the story when Nikolai appears. I wanted to know more about his role in the past visions and what he is seeing and feeling.   Would  love to see a second novel or novella form his point of view in the future.

The mystical elements of ouija boards and mesmirization were weaved in to connect past and present, but along with the men in green robes that looked like monks, they just didn’t mesh with my vision of time travel and Russian history.

Content: mild swearing, moderate violence and one heavy kissing scene.

 

heather

Trailer

About the author

Amanda Gray believes in magic and fantasy and possibilities. She is a team of two bestselling authors who live only miles apart but have never met in person. They talk on the phone and are the best of friends and between them have written more than a dozen novels and novellas and have had their work appear on television.

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Early Review ~Dangerous Dream: A Beautiful Creatures Story

10 Dec, 2013 by in book review, dangerous creatures, hachette, kami garcia, little brown, m stohl Leave a comment

I received this book for free from Netgalley, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review ~Dangerous Dream: A Beautiful Creatures Story

Dangerous Dream: A Beautiful Creatures Story

by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Series: Dangerous Creatures 0.5
Published by Hachette, Little Brown Young Readers on December 17, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 46
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy the BookGoodreads
The #1 New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures series continues in this brand-new digital-exclusive story.

Catch up with Ethan, Lena, and Link as they finally graduate from high school and get ready to leave the small Southern town of Gatlin. But when Dark Caster Ridley makes an appearance, the sometime bad girl can't resist picking a fight with her sometime boyfriend, Link. Angry and rebellious as ever, Ridley ends up alone in New York City and becomes entangled in the dangerous underground Caster club scene, where the stakes are high and losers pay the ultimate price.

Where's a Linkubus when you need him?

It’s been quite a while since I’ve read a book in this vein. I left off with book two in the Caster Chronicles– Beautiful Darkness in 2010. But when Little Brown sent a link to the prequel in a  new spin off series– Dangerous Creatures– I decided to jump back in and give it a whirl. Now that I’ve dabbled in the what’s to come, I’m adding Dangerous Creatures to my TBR list.

Book 0.5, Dangerous Dream starts right at graduation from High School for Ethan, Lean, Ridley and Link.  The first couple of chapters are from Ethan Waite’s point of view as he’s waiting for the long and drawn out ceremonies in his hot Southern town of Gatlin to end. There’s the debutante girls with fluffy hair and the long drawn out renditions of awful sappy songs…and then there are snakes. Three guesses who is up to no good again? Ridley. The Siren with an attitude, a pink lollipop and dark caster powers. She can break up an event rather quickly. Her boyfriend (or so he likes to believe) Link takes the next chapter from his point of view. Drummer in a  local band he has fallen for Ridley hard. Even though he knows what she is and the powers she would, he cant stop from falling in love.  He starts a snowball of events that leave Ridley reeling and she makes her escape to travel the world and keep her mind off of Link by numerous diversions.

Ridley ends up in New York which is where the majority of Dangerous Dream is set. It picks up a gritty feel reminiscent of Cassie Clare’s Mortal Instruments series as Ridley takes on the night life in a Dark Caster underground club. The night life holds high stakes and Ridley take s a gamble that just might cost more than she bargained for.

I loved the sights, smells and food we taste as readers under the story crafting of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. These two fill in their world in a way that you will feel you are there. They are amazing storytellers. I will say I’m missing Amma and her culinary creations!

Overall, a fast read with lots of appeal to fans of paranormal and urban fantasy.  We are introduced to two new “bad boys” and are teased in the end with the beginnings of book one. If you are a fan of Link and Ridley be excited because the Dangerous Creatures series is for you!

Mature YA. Highlight to reveal content:  drugs, moderate swearing, senusality, gambling, drinking, gritty underground feel

 

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About the Authors

kami-garciaKami Garcia is the #1 New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal & international bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Novels (Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos & Beautiful Redemption). Beautiful Creatures has been published in 50 countries and translated in 39 languages. The Beautiful Creatures movie released in theaters on February 14, 2013.

Kami is also the author of Unbreakable, the first book her paranormal solo series, THE LEGION (coming October 1, 2013.

Kami grew up outside of Washington DC, wore lots of black, and spent hours writing poetry in spiral notebooks. As a girl with Southern roots, she has always been fascinated by the paranormal and believes in lots of things “normal” people don’t. She’s very superstitious and would never sleep in a room with the number “13″ on the door. When she is not writing, Kami can usually be found watching disaster movies, listening to Soundgarden, or drinking Diet Coke.

Kami has an MA in education, and taught in the Washington DC area until she moved to Los Angeles, where she was a teacher & Reading Specialist for 14 years. In addition to teaching, Kami was a professional artist and led fantasy book groups for children and teens. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, daughter, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Facebook Twitter tumblr Pinterest Instagram RSS

 

 

margaretstohlHR

 

Margaret Stohl is the author of ICONS, the first book in the Icons Series, forthcoming from Little, Brown in Spring 2013 – as well as the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Indie-Bound and Internationally Bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Novels (with Kami Garcia.)

Including BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (2009), BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS (2010), and BEAUTIFUL CHAOS (2011), BEAUTIFUL REDEMPTION (2012)– along with DREAM DARK, a Beautiful Creatures story available exclusively online (August, 2011) – the Beautiful Creatures Novels have been translated into 28 languages and 37 countries.  The Beautiful Creatures movie based on the books comes out February 14, 2013 from Alcon and Warner Bros. It stars Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, Thomas Mann and Zoey Deuthc with the Academy Award nominated writer/director Richard LaGravenese.

Beautiful Creatures was an ALA William C. Morris YA Debut Award finalist in 2010, as well as a SCIBA award finalist, a NYPL Book for the Teen Age, and a YALSA Teen Top Ten Pick. Beautiful Creatures was named the #1 Teen Pick from Amazon in 2009, and the #5 Editors Pick, Overall.

A longtime veteran of the videogame industry, Margaret’s work includes – to name a few – SPIDERMAN, FANTASTIC FOUR, DUNE 2000, THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE LEGEND OF JACK SPARROW, DEFENDER, THE SOPRANOS, SLAVE ZERO, APOCALYPSE, ZORK NEMESIS, ZORK GRAND INQUISITOR, SPYCRAFT, COMMAND & CONQUER: RED ALERT RETALIATION, and COMMAND & CONQUER: TIBERIAN SUN.

After working with Activision (now Activision/Blizzard) and Westwood Studios (now EA), Margaret became a co-founder of 7 Studios with her husband, Lewis Peterson. She has previously been nominated for “Most Innovative Game Design” at the Game Developers Conference.

Margaret has participated in the Nashville Screenwriters Conference, the Tribu dei Lettori in Rome, and the BAU Institute/Otranto Residency, as well as the LA Times Festival of Books, Romantic Times, and the Texas Book Festival. She was the Director of Programming for the 2011 YA Capitol Bookfest in Charleston, SC, and a founding member of the Smart Chicks tour.

Margaret has been featured in Amherst Reads, and is a contributor to the Los Angeles Review of Books. She has been a member of the WGA West and PEN West. Margaret’s original screenplays have been optioned by Clasky-Csupo and Nickelodeon Movies for feature film.

A graduate of Amherst College, where she won the Knox Prize for English Literature, Margaret earned a MA in English from Stanford University, and completed classwork for a PhD in American Studies from Yale University. Margaret was a teaching assistant in Romantic Poetry at Stanford, and in Film Studies at Yale. She attended the Creative Writing Program of the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where she was mentored by the Scottish poet George MacBeth.

Margaret loves traveling the world with her daughters, who are epee fencers, and living in Santa Monica with her husband, also a writer, and two bad beagles.

 

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Echo In Time by CJ Hill {Release Day Blitz} Sign Up

04 Dec, 2013 by in book blast, CJ Hill, fire and ice, janette rallison Leave a comment

Echo In Time by CJ Hill {Release Day Blitz} Sign Up

Echo In Time

by C.J. Hill
Published by Katherine Tegen on December 23, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Time Travel, Young Adult
Buy the BookGoodreads
After being pulled 400 years into the future, twins Taylor and Sheridan have found some refuge from the government of Traventon, which used the dangerous Time Strainer to yank the girls from the past. Yet the threat of the dangerous technology still looms. Taylor and an ally, Joseph, are selected to go on a mission to destroy the time machine and weapon. But their actions before they do may have major consequences for the future and the past.

Action-packed and romantic, this futuristic sequel to Erasing Time is perfect for fans of dystopian and sci-fi novels such as The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and Matched by Ally Condie.
  • echointimeblitz

We had such a positive response to our C.J. Hill Echo in Time Blog Tour yesterday, that the author and I decided to add a Release Day Blitz .

Perfect for bloggers who:

are international

want to support Janette Rallison on her book birthday

are newer and have less than 1000 followers

may not have time for a review post

To Sign up fill out this form

The release day is December 23, 2013 and posts must be up by 8 EST.  Please only sign up if you are definitely planning to post that day.

Cj-hillAbout the Author

CJ Hill is a pen name for a YA author who is best known for writing romantic comedies. (Slayers will be her 18th published book.) Her writing has shifted
away from the romantic comedy genre, so her editor thought a pen name would be a good idea. (New books will include: dangerous dragons, time travel to dystopian worlds, and flesh-eating beetles.) Since the publisher refused to let her have the pseudonym : The Artist Formerly Referred to as Princess, she chose a name to honor her mother. CJ Hill was her mother’s pen name, or at least it would have been if her mother had published. Her mother wrote a few children’s books and a middle grade novel but was taken by cancer before she had fully learned the craft.
 
Most writers’ first novels aren’t publishable. CJ Junior’s first novel wasn’t, but somehow was published anyway. Now, even though it is out of print, it remains forever available on Amazon, where it taunts her with its badness. This was another good reason to use a pen name.
 
CJ Hill has five children, three of whom like her on any given day depending on who is in trouble. She has lived in Arizona for the last half of her life, but is still in desert denial and hopes that one day her garden will grow silver bells and cockle shells or maybe just tomatoes.
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Fire and Ice Blog Tours Sign Up ~ Echo In Time by C.J. Hill

03 Dec, 2013 by in blog tour, CJ Hill, janette rallison 8 comments

Fire and Ice Blog Tours Sign Up ~ Echo In Time by C.J. Hill

Echo In Time

by CJ Hill
Series: Erasing Time #2
Published by Katherine Tegen on December 23, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Time Travel, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy the BookGoodreads
After being pulled 400 years into the future, twins Taylor and Sheridan have found some refuge from the government of Traventon, which used the dangerous Time Strainer to yank the girls from the past. Yet the threat of the dangerous technology still looms. Taylor and an ally, Joseph, are selected to go on a mission to destroy the time machine and weapon. But their actions before they do may have major consequences for the future and the past.

Action-packed and romantic, this futuristic sequel to Erasing Time is perfect for fans of dystopian and sci-fi novels such as The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and Matched by Ally Condie.
echo in time blog tour

 

Fire and Ice  blog tours is proud to announce another tour opportunity.

Echo in Time by C.J. Hill

Click to sign up to participate in the tour which kicks off December 23, 2013.

BLOG TOUR IS FULL! Sign up for the Release Day Blitz :)

Blogs must have 1000 or more followers

 US mailing addresses only for review copies

Posts must be up by 8 AM EST and be the top post of the day

 

Cj-hillAbout the Author

CJ Hill is a pen name for a YA author who is best known for writing romantic comedies. (Slayers will be her 18th published book.) Her writing has shifted away from the romantic comedy genre, so her editor thought a pen name would be a good idea. (New books will include: dangerous dragons, time travel to dystopian worlds, and flesh-eating beetles.) Since the publisher refused to let her have the pseudonym : The Artist Formerly Referred to as Princess, she chose a name to honor her mother. CJ Hill was her mother’s pen name, or at least it would have been if her mother had published. Her mother wrote a few children’s books and a middle grade novel but was taken by cancer before she had fully learned the craft.
 
Most writers’ first novels aren’t publishable. CJ Junior’s first novel wasn’t, but somehow was published anyway. Now, even though it is out of print, it remains forever available on Amazon, where it taunts her with its badness. This was another good reason to use a pen name.
 
CJ Hill has five children, three of whom like her on any given day depending on who is in trouble. She has lived in Arizona for the last half of her life, but is still in desert denial and hopes that one day her garden will grow silver bells and cockle shells or maybe just tomatoes.

If you are a smaller blog and would like to participate in a book blast or spotlight, leave me a comment.

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Free Read Friday ~ Eternal Starling by Angela Corbett

22 Nov, 2013 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment

Free Read Friday ~ Eternal Starling by Angela Corbett

Eternal Starling

by angela corbett
Series: Emblem of Eternity #1
Published by Pendrell on December 6, 2011
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
A love so strong, even eternity can't separate them. Evie Starling has lived a relatively uneventful life hanging out with friends, gossiping about boys, and driving her 1966 Mustang.

All of that changes when she moves to Gunnison, Colorado, to start college and meets two mysterious men. For centuries, Alex Night and Emil Stone have yearned for Evie but they each have their own reasons for wanting to be with her. When both men claim to be her soul mate and tell her about an unbelievable past, Evie learns that she s not the person she thought she was. Soon, Evie finds herself in the middle of an age-old battle between the Amaranthine Society the soul protectors, and the Daevos Resistance the soul destroyers. With a past she doesn t understand, and a future rife with danger, Evie has to decide who she can trust. But Alex and Emil aren t the only ones who want Evie, and her soul is about to become the rope in an eternal tug-of-war.

Read our archived review…

There are so many things I love about Eternal Starling…where to start? The cover, the author, the writing. Evie Starling is about to start her freshman year of college in Gunnison, Colorado when she becomes lost hiking in the mountains. As independent and head strong as she is she does not want to admit she needs help getting back to her car when Alex Knight finds her and volunteers to help. But Alex is arrogant and won’t take no for an answer, matching her stubbornness. Thus starts the vortex of attraction and pull between the two of them. Ales is everything she could ever dream of, independently wealthy, graduated early and working as a volunteer for charity. He’s romantic and sparks fly fast , but then Alex puts the breaks on it all claiming Evie is in danger and pretty much disappears from the scene.

Just as Evie is getting used to the idea of their strange break up, she’s siting in the student center one day and an equally gorgeous and mysterious man comes up and kisses her out of the blue. Could life get any weirder? Emil Stone makes no apologies for his forward public move and Evie finds that he’s a welcome diversion from her broken heart. Things get complicated when Alex returns and the of them are are caught in a battle of wills that spans centuries. Evie is just beginning to learn that no one is quite what they seem and her heart is pulled in two directions.

With a protagonist who can stand up for herself and two men that both have ultimate potential, I found myself eating up every second of Eternal Starling. I love that the author Angela Corbett put so much of her self into the book with little details like a 1966 purple Mustang GT and 4 wheeling on sand dunes. Evie has a strong relationship with her parents who are invested in making sure she’s safe and taken care of. Things get particularly interesting when both Emil and Alex unexpectedly turn up at her family camping trip. I’m so glad this is a trilogy!! Can not wait to see what happens and I guarantee I will be reading book two. At this point in the game I can see her reasoning for wanting to be with both Mr. Knight and Mr. Stone. Angela rocked this as her debut novel. I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

 

photo copyright Heather Zahn Gardner

 

About the Author: Angela graduated from
Westminster College with a double major in communication and
sociology. She started working as a reporter for her
local newspaper when she was sixteen and won
awards for feature, news, and editorial writing. She
has also done freelance writing. In addition to
writing, she works as a director of communications
and marketing. She lives in Utah with her extremely
supportive husband and their five-pound
Pomeranian, Pippin, whose following of fangirls
could rival Justin Bieber’s.

 

Find Angela Corbett on Facebook / Twitter/ Goodreads/ BlogPurchase Free Today

Now Also Available- Book 2- Eternal Echoes

ARC Review ~ The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

21 Nov, 2013 by in review, Uncategorized Leave a comment

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review ~ The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse

by Marie Rutkoski
Published by Macmillan on March 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: join the military or get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel’s real passion is music.Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave with a talent for singing, at auction. It’s not long before she finds herself falling in love with Arin, and he seems to feel the same for her. But Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for Arin is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of 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

Review: I got this book from MacMillan as an e- ARC, and when I saw the cover image, must say I swooned. It’s gorgeous! After reading, The Winner’s Curse, I love it even more. It fits the book,  not just a pretty girl in a dress, it looks like Kestrel. 

Kestrel who is General Trajan’s daughter, a motherless pianist who doesn’t want to bend to the confines of her father’s decision, the girl that does not want her to join the ranks of his army. She trains half heartedly and longs for freedom outside the doldrums rules of society. As she and best friend Jess wander the marketplace in search of distraction they are pushed by the mob like crowd to the bidding arena where a slave is being auctioned off. Without knowing why, Kestrel feels compelled to bid on the young man, Arin, who is defiant and unruly. She pays a much higher price than the norm for slave and falls for “the winner’s curse,” in more ways than one.

There is a pull toward him that is unexplainable. He is more than he appears on the surface, more than a blacksmith pounding out horse shoes. Arin has a will, and hidden underneath is the story of how he became a slave and what he’s endured. Meanwhile, Kestrel begins to make waves with her opponents of bite and sting, a tile game with betting. She angers some and charms others. She turns heads for many reasons and gets the whispers of society to spread.

The Winner’s Curse was an interesting high fantasy diversion. I wish we knew a bit more about the characters. I wanted more depth–more about what they looked like, what they wore and their inner thoughts. I wasn’t as attached or invested to Kestrel, Ronan and Arin as I would like to have been. The world was fascinating–one country dominating another and taking the inhabitants as slaves. I loved the dynamic of slave and owner, the thought that the slave may even be serving in the household he once owned. Still, there was a hope to understand the custom, the culture, the view, the games and the rules just a titch better. The end notes added a lot, the author knows her stuff. I hope she incorporates even more of what she highlighted about the period & civilizations into the rest of the series.

Here’s the magical part–by the end, I was swept away, fully escaped reality, and was lured into Marie Rutkoski’s story. Something happened that I can’t quite explain. I felt more tied to Kestrel and Arin, the lulls in pace no longer bothered me, and I wanted to dive into book two. So would I recommend The Winner’s Curse... yes!  I love it when a book casts its spell on me and I can’t quite explain why. There was something poetic and musical about The Winner’s Curse that drew me in.  

Thanks to Macmillan for the sneak peek!

Content (highlight to reveal): threat of sexual assault, moderate-heavy war related violence and death, no sex or swearing, some sensuality from kissing. Older teens 16+

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About the Author: Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children’s fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard Universit

y. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and fiction writing. She usually lives in New York City with her husband and two sons, but she and her family are living in Paris for the 2012-2013 academic year. Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner’s Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Find out more on:  author website/ twitter

Pre-Order:

ARC Tour Review- Defy by Sara B. Larson

19 Nov, 2013 by in ARC tour, review, Sara B. Larson, scholastic, young adult fiction Leave a comment

ARC Tour Review- Defy by Sara B. Larson

Defy

by Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy #1
Published by Scholastic on January 7th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 336 pages
Format: ARC
Source: ARC Tour
Goodreads
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?
Review: I received this book as part of a two state ARC tour and was so excited to read local author Sarah B. Larson’s debut. It reminded me a bit of Shannon Hale and Kristin Cashore–fantasy with a strong female heroine all mixed in with fantasy elements of magic.

Defy starts out with the death of Alexa’s parents, and her decision to flee with twin brother Marcell, ultimately disguising herself as a male soldier. She is welcomed as one of the King’s Elite guard who lives in the castle protecting royalty. 

I made a rocky start with this one as the opening chapter describe in detail the King’s breeding program.  Its a horrific description of the mistreatment of young women in Defy’s world. Alexa must visit the complex to escort newly orphaned girls which put a dark, sinister tone in the beginning that I did not like. However, after reading on, there were lots of things I did enjoy:

the relationship between Alexa and her brother– the family loyalty
the sparring of the guard, watching Alexa train
the idea of healing, of sorcery being used for good
the pacing, which kept me flipping pages, and
the two men who are vying for Alexa’s attention

The dynamic between Alexa and her main love is super confusing and uncomfortable for me, until we are sure where things stand. There was also a difficulty for me believing who does and does not know her identity secret.

In the end, this is not your run of the mill happily ever after. The character arc and progression of Alex to Alexa is a very conflicted, emotional one– from warrior to confused and in love, to the ending, which I can’t spoil, but is quite a twist. This is a solid debut by Sarah, one that you can tell she poured her heart into. Because of my personal content preferences it was rocky for me but I think it will appeal to many YA readers. 

Thanks so much to Windy Aphyrath, Sarah B. Larson and Scholastic for letting us have a sneak peek into Defy.

Content: This is a definitely pick for older teens or adults because of content (highlight the line after parenthesis for content) 
rape, violence against young women, moderate war related violence, heavy sensuality

Author Bio: I love writing, reading, and dessert–but the order varies by the day. I write books that have magic and romance and kick-butt girls and a whole lot more. My husband and I live in Utah with our three children. I write during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. My husband claims I should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” On occasion you will find me hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary and my YA debut DEFY is coming Spring 14 from Scholastic!

Find Sarah on Goodreads/ author website/ twitter/ facebook

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