Saturday, December 30, 2017

Review: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski


Series: The Winner's Curse Book #1
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 484
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Gift for Christmas
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

War has begun. Arin is
in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his
enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel,
Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person
he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for
the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.


the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she
searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know
what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay
for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.


the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is
changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in
between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

I thought I was going to blow through this book just like the second book, but I didn't. I think it was part not wanting the series to end and part the writing. It was a perfectly good conclusion to the series, but the second book was my favorite.

There was still suspense throughout the story. And the POV would alternate very often which would increase it. I was always questioning what was going on which is good, but was also stressful.

My "issue" was the writing style. It just felt a little too different from the rest of the series. And the god became more of a focus. That could've been an interesting thing if it was more apart of the earlier books, but it wasn't so it just felt kind of random.

I still really enjoyed reading this series and plan on doing a re-read in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Series: The Winner's Curse Book #2
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 402
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Gift from family
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

The engagement of Lady
Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another.
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... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust
herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner
of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to
uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in

the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the
suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might
not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when
that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will
cost them.


At first, I wasn't going to review this, but I feel drawn to do something.

This was amazing.  

It's a beautifully written book that kept me engaged. I wanted to immediately pick up the next book even though it was midnight and I haven't felt that strong of a drive since the Hunger Games in my junior year of college.

Like Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, this makes me feel like I could never be a good writer. There's just a special type of magic in this book and the writing. Like objectively, I still question the romance between Arin and Kestrel, but the books is so good I don't care anymore.

I'm so excited to read the next/final book. I'm sure it will lead to a poor night of sleep, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. And there may be a book hangover coming. That hasn't happened since Poison Study.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Review: To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

Stand Alone
Format: ebook
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Romance, Christian, Western
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Having completed his
sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans
for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of
Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his
father's knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But
small towns leave little room for secrets...

Eden Spencer has

sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending
library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door
and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he
provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his
intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town's new blacksmith unfold,
Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.


renewed commitment to his faith leads Eden to believe she's finally
found a man of honor and integrity, a man worthy of her love. But when
the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished
hero find a way to win back the librarian's affections?

I've been wanting to read a Christian/Inspirational romance for awhile, but had no idea where to start. This came up on my Goodreads because one of my friends was reading it. The plot looked interesting enough so I borrowed it on Overdrive.

Going in, I expected it to be a lot like a Hallmark movie. It definitely had some of those feelings. Not a surprise, but it is very PG. And God is a huge feature. God is a driving force for both of the main characters and they actively talk to him. That isn't how I live my life, but I can appreciate it and it did feel natural for them.

The romance was cute and fairly well developed. I especially liked that they talked/wrote to each other. It's always good when the hero and heroine get to know each other.

While Eden and Levi were well-developed I found the setting lacking. I just have trouble picturing the "world" and a lot of the side characters. It may seem unimportant but those are the things that make a story real for me.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Winter TBR (2017)

The fall TBR was a little rocky, but I'm happy with my progress. And I think I've found a good formula for the TBR. Of course it's 5 books, but in that I want to include 1 ebook, 1 nonfiction book, and 1 book I've been putting off reading. And for that last one, if it doesn't get read it needs to go.

Here's the list of books I picked for this winter. And Dragonfly in Amber will be on the TBRs until I finish it.

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Ignite by Lily Paradis

Law of the Garbage Truck by David J. Pollay

Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Review: When it's Real by Erin Watt

Stand Alone
Format: Ebook
Rating: 2 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (Overdrive)
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Synopsis from GoodReads

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under ordinary circumstances she'd never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?


Should I even review this book? 

I almost DNF'd it so many times. Honestly, I'm not sure why I didn't. Maybe some sense of loyalty to Elle Kennedy.

Mostly, this felt like someone put a bunch of new adult tropes, themes, ideas, and character types into a hat. Then, they pulled them out and wrote this story. Now, formulaic books can work, but this didn't. It lacked any kind of magic. The main issue is that I never bought the romance. I know I should, but I just couldn't see the chemistry or attraction.

There was something that happened at the end that was a little different. I liked that, but it happened so fast and wasn't explored nearly enough. 

I haven't had the best luck with Erin Watt books. That's a surprise because I do like Elle Kennedy. I don't think I've read any Jen Frederick books. Should I keep trying?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Review: Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine

Stand Alone
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: Harper Collins

Synopsis from GoodReads

Do you want to write stories that catch your readers and never let go? Have you ever wondered how to create a book as magical as Ella Enchanted, as touching as Dave at Night, as captivating as Fairest?

Well, now you can find out! In Writing Magic, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine shares her secrets of great writing. She shows how you, too, can get terrific ideas for stories, invent great beginnings and endings, write sparkling dialogue, develop memorable characters—and much, much more. She advises you about what to do when you feel stuck—and how to use helpful criticism. Best of all, she offers writing exercises that will set your imagination on fire.

With humor, honesty, and wisdom, Gail Carson Levine shows you that you, too, can make magic with your writing.


This was a really good listen. And Ms. Levine's voice was nice to listen to.

I think a lot of the suggestions here are geared toward young writers. But it can apply to older/adult writers as well.
 It would probably be great especially if you were and English teacher.

I would love to be a writer. Even if that never happens, this did open my eyes to things as a reader, too.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Book Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Series: Girl Meets Duke Book #1
Format: Ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis from GoodReads

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…


I read this book without reading the synopsis. I literally just went with the fact that Tessa dare wrote it. She is definitely a favorite author now and a must buy/read. This is just a fantastic story. I read it in one sitting which is always a good sign.

Emma and Ash were both well-crafted characters. Emma is such a strong and determined woman. She is certainly an inspirational character. Ash was so funny in a dark and dry way. Ms. Dare really knows how to write scarred characters and humor.

This whole story dealt with some dark and serious issues. But it was handled in a wonderful way and Ms. Dare kept it appropriately light with does of humor here and there.

The only thing that makes me mad is that I have to wait months for the next book. There isn't even a real synopsis yet. But I think I saw some sequel bait there.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Book Review: Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas

Series: Hathaways Book #4
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 321
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

For two years,
Catherine Marks has been a paid companion to the Hathaway sisters—a
pleasant position, with one caveat. Her charges' older brother, Leo
Hathaway, is thoroughly exasperating. Cat can hardly believe that their
constant arguing could mask a mutual attraction. But when one quarrel
ends in a sudden kiss, Cat is shocked at her powerful response—and even
more so when Leo proposes a dangerous liaison.

Leo must marry and
produce an heir within a year to save his family home. Catherine's
respectable demeanor hides a secret that would utterly destroy her. But
to Leo, Cat is intriguing and infernally tempting, even to a man
resolved never to love again. The danger Cat tried to outrun is about to
separate them forever—unless two wary lovers can find a way to banish
the shadows and give in to their desires.

This is such a well-crafted story. I love seeing the growth of the relationship between Leo and Cat.
Leo, especially, has grown so much throughout the course of this series. Their romance has the right
amount of passion and compassion.

While reading this, I realized what I really love about this series. It all comes down to the family.
The Hathaways are such an amazing family. I love seeing how supportive and accepting they are.
There is just so much of it in this particular book and it warms my heart. I love reading about good/
positive families.

Thanks for reading!