Tag Archive | Balzer + Bray

Review: The Cursed Sea

Title: The Cursed Sea

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Date of Publication: December 18th, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

Wilhemina Heidle, the exiled princess of Northern Arrod, the girl thought dead by her family and friends, must return home. The only way to save Loom, the cursed prince of the Southern Isles, is to revisit the castle and discover the origins of her own curse.

But home is very different from how she left it—Wil’s unstable elder brother is now king, leading a war against the Southern Isles. And the rest of her family must reckon with the truth of what happened to lead to Wil’s exile. With time running out, Wil must navigate the dangerous secrets within her family if she’s going to find the truth and save the boy she loves.

When she’s finally able to reach Pahn, nothing goes as planned, and suddenly Wil and her allies are fighting for their lives, again and again, as the Southern King is out to punish his children for all they’ve done. Traveling across cursed seas and treacherous kingdoms, Wil, Loom—and his ruthless sister Espel—have to work to make peace with their own struggles if they hope to secure the future of their kingdoms.

But when their plans lead them right back to evil marveler Pahn, and to Baren—who is more dangerous than ever—can Wil and her friends outsmart their enemies, this time, for good?

My Review:

I’m always scared when diving into a last book of a series but not as bad with a duology because the journey hasn’t been that long. Yet, I was still nervous because I loved the first book so much! I mean, King Midas-like stuff… Awesome, right? All that glitters is definitely gold!

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I still loved Wil, and she really grew as a character. She wasn’t the same girl we remember at the beginning of book one. Instead, she’s become stronger and braver and I really like her love for her family! My boys, Loom and Gerdie, were back! Gerdie is just my cute, little, science baby! Every time, he was on the page, I was consumed!

There were some twists, lots of fun, romance, and beautiful writing! The one thing I found a little odd was the POV shifts within sections. I can’t recall if that was done in book one, but I’m sure it was! I just wished POVs would have been switched by chapters or page breaks within the chapter! But other than that, it was excellent and the ending was perfect!

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Have you started this series yet?

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Review: Heart of Iron

Title: Heart of Iron

Author: Ashley Poston

Date of Publication: February 27th, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.

When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.

What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

My Review:

I had been putting this one off to read for a while. This, was a big mistake! First, the whole Anastasia retelling thing was pretty awesome. Also, if you liked Cinder, I’m pretty sure you’d like this! If you didn’t like Cinder, I’d still read it!

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There are four main characters, and I loved Di, Jax, and Robb! I didn’t connect with Ana as much as I did with the others, but it didn’t take away from the story one bit! Plus, the romance between both couples was awesome! The friendship and family bond was just on point, too!

There’s plenty of spacey action, me gripping my heart at times, and a lot of fun stuff happening! The book does end on a huge cliffhanger. And I’m patiently tapping my fingers together as I wait for a release date! Also, anything written by Poston is going to be an auto buy from me!

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Have you seen Anastasia?

Review: Damsel

Title: Damsel

Author: Elana K. Arnold

Date of Publication: October 2nd, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.

My Review:

I absolutely love Sleeping Beauty retellings! My journey on this one, however, I can’t even explain how I felt. But I’m going to try!

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First, I didn’t know this was a feminist retelling. I’m all about equality for everyone, but I felt like this book definitely put men to shame, and that’s a real effing shame. Women in general are not holier than anyone, and that’s what I felt this book did. Women and men need that equality!

Also, Emory was a weird guy, like sometimes he felt cocky but okay, but then he would have these strange times where he’d do weird things like drag Ama around by a leash. Another thing was, I hated Ama too, so it was hard for me to feel sorry for her, or anyone really. I think I felt sorry for Tillie the most—she needed to get the hell out of that castle! Pawlin was also supposed to be a “man’s man” but I liked him better than Ama too—who I’m supposed to feel sorry for.

I will say that I loved the ending. It was pretty cool and awesome, but that didn’t save this book. I think if I didn’t feel like it had this weird agenda against men, then it would have been better, like the ending could have totally been the same but with less man hate! Also, why is the guy’s dingaling referred to as a yard almost the entire time??? Weird!

 

What’s your favorite Sleeping Beauty retelling?

 

 

Review: Onyx and Ivory

Title: Onyx and Ivory

Author: Mindee Arnett

Date of Publication: May 15th, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

My Review:

Another just okay fantasy read for me. It wasn’t terrible but not amazing. I think if this had been my first fantasy read ever, I would have been more enthused about it. I feel there are so many YA fantasy books out there at the moment that authors really need to step up their game.

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Also this book could have been shortened. There were a lot of pointless descriptions that were unnecessary. Sometimes this makes me too tired just reading all this stuff!

What I liked was the romantic elements. I am always a big fan of second chance romance stuff. The magic system was interesting and held my attention. I really wish this would have been amazing because that cover is magnificent!

How does this book sound to you?

 

 

Review: The Crown’s Game

Title: The Crown’s Game

Author: Evelyn Skye

Date of Publication: May 17, 2016

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Goodread’s Summary:

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love… or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear… the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

My Review:

So first off I was pretty excited about this book.  I think I got a little too excited because although it was okay it wasn’t the great masterpiece I was expecting it to be.  There were aspects of The Night Circus which I preferred over The Crown’s Game. The Crown’s Game was also told in multiple point of views and at times I felt like most were pointless. The only character I really liked was a side character named Aizhana, and she was likeable to me even though I don’t know if she was meant to be?

Basically the book begins with one of the main characters Vika training and practicing her magic with her father Sergei. They didn’t know that another enchanter Nikolai existed, so when the King needs an Imperial Enchanter Nikolai and Vika discover each other. There can only be one, so they must duel it out to the death.

Now my issue was I was expecting something dark maybe Hunger Games like, but I didn’t receive that.  Instead I got some fluffy magic and an odd sort of love triangle which both of these guys Nikolai and the emperor’s son Pasha fall in love with Vika with pretty much no real conversations with the character throughout the book.  I found myself feeling like I had ADD even though I don’t have it, so I would constantly go and do laundry, come back to the book, go vacuum, come back to the book… etc… etc…

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I felt like nothing was really explained.  The “romance” between Nikolai and Vika not only being underdeveloped, but it seemed like Nikolai should have been romantically linked to his friend Renata because I felt more of a connection between them than what the author wants you to feel between him and Vika.

There were a lot of things that happened in this books and deaths that I didn’t know if I was supposed to feel emotional about it, but I didn’t really feel anything.

There was a lot of magic in the book which I did enjoy, but again I was looking for that “WOW” factor.  Evelyn Skye had great world building, and I am no Russian expert, but I felt like she knew her Russian stuff really well.  It kind of makes me want to go visit Russia tomorrow.  And the food… Oh my goodness the food there was so much talk about food!  Maybe it is because I love food, but I really liked it.

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In the end it did actually get pretty good with the final duel, and although there is a cliffhanger I didn’t think it was a terrible one, and instead it seemed hopeful to me.

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Have you read this book yet or not?  Do you know of any other Russian inspired books?