Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Winner's Curse Review

Goodreads Synopsis:
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love... 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
Today, I'm here to talk about The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski. I heard a lot of people talking about this book when it first came out, and then again later on a lot of people were saying it was one of their favorite reads of 2014. After hearing so many incredible things about the novel, I was excited to pick it up and read it. The Winner's Curse is definitely an adventure- fast paced, unpredictable, and filled with plenty of plot twists. I'm pretty sure I said aloud "I can't believe that happened!" at least once while reading this novel. It's definitely a unique fantasy novel unlike any I've read so far. I gave The Winner's Curse 4.5 Stars.

As you may have heard, The Winner's Curse is a fantasy but without the more fantastical, magical elements. As we read, we learn more about the Valorians and the nation of Herran and the Herrani people, and Kestrel and Arin. Kestrel is a great protagonist. She's smart, resourceful, and cunning, which is a quality that she displays through her observing and analyzing events. Arin is a character that's endured incredible hardships and has a strength and resolve to him. The two take turns being the center of the story's perspective, and I thought this juxtaposition really added to the novel. We learn much more about the world and its goings on through this, as well as get to know more about the characters.

In terms of the story, The Winner's Curse is fast paced and intriguing, with a lot of plot twists. I found it very difficult to put the book down, and I was engrossed in the events of the novel. There's a lot of different things going on, and while sometimes I felt like the story was a little abrupt in shifting, overall I thought it was really unique and dynamic.

The Winner's Curse is a fantastic novel. It's a fantasy novel that trades magic for mystery, and it immerses you into the world of Kestrel and Arin. The book is fast paced, interesting, and exciting. I think this is a great book!

If you liked Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, then you might like The Winner's Curse!

Have you read this novel? If so, what did you think? I would love to discuss this book some more! And stay tuned for my review of the sequel, coming up next week!

From the paper world,

Friday, April 24, 2015

Paper Stars Picks

Okay, so many of you probably know that I have a blogging friend over at Stardust and Words. We started blogging together, and now that she's back and blogging again, we wanted to do more posts together. So, meet Paper Stars! This will probably be a sporadic feature where we just team up to talk about books and everything to do with them.

For this first Paper Stars feature, we're playing Paper Stars Picks! Sunny and I are going to pick one protagonist we'd like to be, world we'd like to live in, etc. We both have several different categories that we'll be discussing on our respective posts, so you can definitely see what categories we discuss on her post here. And now, on to our picks!

World you would want to live in

Sunny- is it cheating to say Hogwarts? I feel like if I truly had my pick of any world, I would definitely choose to be a witch attending Hogwarts... What's better than wizard school, really? 

Violet- I would have to choose a fantasy world, and I think I would really love the world of the Princesses of Westfalin trilogy by Jessica Day George. I mean, I would be a princess with fantastic gowns and live in a fairy tale world? Yes!

Supporting character you'd want as a bff

Violet- I'm going to kind of break the rules for this question and choose a group of characters. The group from The Lunar Chronicles are so fun! Even through their difficult journey, this group is really great together. I would love to be friends and hang out with them.

Sunny – Nehemia from the Throne of Glass series. I loved the strong bond between her and Celaena in the series, and I think Nehemia would be such a loyal and amazing friend, as well as being really interesting to talk to.

Villain you'd face off against

Sunny – I don't know if this would necessarily be the villain that I would want to face off against, but I love the conflict in the lunar chronicles. It would be so scary going up against Levana and knowing that you cannot trust anything you see. 

Violet- I agree- I think I would pick a conflict/story line more. For my pick, I'm talking about The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski. I read this book recently and it's such an intriguing read! It's a very unpredictable plot and navigating it would be very tricky!

Thank you so much to Sunny for stopping by and sharing her picks for this first Paper Stars feature! Let us know what you think in the comments, and what your picks would be!

From the paper world,

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Storyspinner Review

Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

Today I'm back with a review of The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace. This is a novel I was really excited to read, as it was one of the 2015 debuts I was most excited about and I featured in my Can't Wait Books of 2015 post as well as my Top Ten Tuesday post about 2015 debuts I was most excited for back in January. The Storyspinner is a unique story that had my attention from the synopsis, so I was excited to read this novel. I ended up definitely enjoying it and thinking it was a great read. I gave The Storyspinner 3.5 out of 5 stars.

This book was one that had a lot of intrigue surrounding the stories, and I loved reading about the unique world building and magic system. I think that the world and story set the stage well, and I loved how the different countries were developed to have different cultures and life styles. I think that the multiple point of view narration was another strong point of this novel- it gave the opportunity to get to know the characters more, and have a really in depth understanding of the story and the plot from a lot of different narrations. I don't think I had a particularly favorite narrator, but all of them had a unique way of relating to the story and further adding to the tale of The Storyspinner.

One of my main concerns with the book was that I felt like there was some lacking in characterization. After reading all of the different points of view, I still felt like we hadn't gotten to know the characters as well. To me, the story was a little predictable in the sense that I saw a lot of the major plot points coming, but there are definitely some twists and turns I hadn't anticipated in the novel as well!

So, here's my review of The Storyspinner. I'm so happy to have read this novel, as I've been excited about picking it up and exploring the world since last year. I think this is one with incredibly unique and dynamic world building, and I'd love to know your thoughts about it as well. Before I go, I wanted to introduce a short little snippet saying "If you liked this sort of book you might like this book" which I know is something that's been done, but it reminded me of my If, Then for Books! posts, and I thought it might be a fun little tidbit to add to the end. So...

If you liked Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder and Graceling by Kristen Cashore, then you might like The Storyspinner!

Let me know your thoughts, on the book and the If, Then recommendations, and I'll be back soon with another post!

From the paper world,

Thursday, April 16, 2015

March and April 2015 - Most Anticipated New Releases

Somehow I missed posting my Most Anticipated New Releases for March, and since a ton of books that I'm excited about came out in March, and there are plenty I'm excited for in April as well, I decided to share them all with you!

March 3, 2015
(I read this book in March, let me know if you would like to hear my thoughts about it!)

March 10, 2015

March 17, 2015

March 24, 2015

March 31, 2015

April 7, 2015

April 21, 2015

April 28, 2015

Here are the books that have been released in the past month or are coming soon and I'm really excited to read. Let me know if you've read any of these and what your thoughts on them are! What are some books you're really excited about that are coming soon? Also, let me know if you guys would like a review of The Storyspinner!

From the paper world,

Monday, April 13, 2015

When you read that one book...

And suddenly that is the only type of book you want to read forever and ever? I've heard Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner and Sasha of A Book Utopia from Booktube talk about this before, and recently the same thing happened to me after reading a wonderful book I'm sure many of you have heard of called The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski.
This book was amazing! Definitely be on the lookout for a review and for me to talk about this book a lot more shortly, but for now I just want to talk about how The Winner's Curse made me want to start reading all the fantasy I can! I've never read too many high fantasy novels, but after reading this book that's all I've been wanting to read lately. I've pushed a lot of fantasy novels to the top of my TBR. Now I'm currently reading Defy by Sara B. Larson, and after that I can continue on with either Crown of Midnight, the second book from the Throne of Glass series or Dreams of Gods & Monsters, the third and final book from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. In addition to those, I have another high fantasy I've heard a ton about, The Kiss of Deception, that I've been reading off and on lately as well. 

Now that my TBR is getting a lot of fantasy novels added to it, I would love some suggestions from you all. Let me know what some recommendations and some you might want to see me review. Also, I'm curious as to whether any of you have ever gone through a time in your reading when you discovered a love for a new genre. Let me know your thoughts and I'll see you all next time!

From the paper world,

Friday, April 10, 2015

Retelling - A Week of Recommendations

I am so happy to have been able to share A Week of Recommendations with you all. I hope you've enjoyed the different days and themes and maybe even found a book or two. I would love to get some more recommendations as well! Anyways today is the final day of A Week of Recommendations, and we're ending with probably one of my favorite genres of books- retellings. Whether it's mythology or fairy tale or classic story, I love retellings and how they create a whole new story from one I love with different perspectives, characters, worlds, anything really. A retelling is a whole new story that resonates with one I already know and love. 

I hope you've all enjoyed this series, let me know if you've shared any posts with Recommendations! And be sure to check out Fairytale Fortnight, a series hosted by A Backwards Story and The Book Rat that's currently going on if you're a fan of fairy tale retellings! Special thanks to Sunny for sharing her recommendations throughout the week as well. I hope you've enjoyed the series, let me know if you'd like another Week of Recommendations, and I'll see you next time!

From the paper world,

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Paranormal - A Week of Recommendations

We're almost to the end of A Week of Recommendations! I hope you all have been enjoying this series so far! Towards the end of this week, I wanted to talk about some genres that I've loved a lot in the past and enjoyed reading, and share some recommendations with you all. Paranormals are a genre that I read a lot of and enjoyed in the past. I haven't been reading as many lately, but I definitely had some recommendations I wanted to share with you all.

no. 1 - Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Rebel Belle is a really entertaining book. This has some of the best character interactions and witty banter that I've read, and I really enjoyed reading about Harper and how she handles being thrown into a different world. She's funny, unique, and memorable, and I think her and David are some of the funniest characters I read in 2014.

no. 2 - Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
I think this is a series that's hard to classify, but it's a paranormal post-apocalyptic tale. This is a series with plot twists and turns set in a supernatural version of our world. Also this is a series that is longer (I think right now there's at least four books?) but each book is a quick read and draws you into the story quickly.

no. 3 - The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
This is a faerie series that I really loved reading several years ago. This was a great paranormal series to me because it combined the elements of the protagonist being from the ordinary world and suddenly being thrown into a magical and unpredictable situation. The world Julie Kagawa created has a lot of intrigue and mystery that comes with being set in a faerie world, and the series is one I remember reading and loving.

no. 4 - Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
This was a more recent read for me, and it had a lot of mythology meets modern day elements. I was definitely thinking of doing a review for this book and continuing on with the series, so let me know if you all would be interested in a full review for the book or a Series in Summation, which is one review with short reviews of each book in the series. Anyways, this is an enjoyable read that is a great start to a series!

no. 5 - Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
This is a book that's a Little Red Riding Hood retelling, but definitely a change in the story. It focuses on two sisters and how they hunt werewolves.

Here's another day of A Week of Recommendations! Let me know what your recommendations are, and I'll see you all next time!

From the paper world,

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Contemporary - A Week of Recommendations

Today's theme for A Week of Recommendations is Contemporary novels. I think that contemporaries are books that I hadn't read much of previously, but after getting some good recommendations, I've been reading more of them and finding some that I've really enjoyed and also some that really meant a lot to me. So, I'm happy to share some with you all as well! Also, in case you were curious about A Week of Recommendations or wanted to follow along and share your own recommendations too, here's the post I wrote earlier about it. 

no. 1 - On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
This is an amazing book. It felt like I was going on an emotional journey as I read along. I think this is a contemporary that's thought provoking and very unique in writing style. It's one I definitely want to reread sometime, and I'm happy my friends convinced me to read it.

no. 2 - Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I loved how this book was lighthearted and adventurous, but also a book that could have some serious moments as well. Anna explores Paris and brings the reader along with her, and along with way we meet some great characters.

no. 3 - To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
This book. This book is probably the one I've reread all or parts of the most, and it is definitely, definitely one of my favorite reads of 2014. I absolutely loved this novel, and how it was fun and entertaining, but also had a lot of depth and character development. And the characters aren't perfect, they're flawed and make mistakes, but they also change throughout the story. Lara Jean is such a great narrator, and a really relatable character as well. I loved the character dynamics, the witty banter, and the serious moments interwoven with a cute and adventurous story. I am so excited for P. S. I Still Love You!

no. 4 - Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
This is a book that has incredible character development. I think it's a pretty character driven book, because although Amy and Roger are going on this adventure, at the same time a lot of this is about Amy and Roger and who they are. This is a book that's got a lot of fun extras to it that make the story engaging, but also a lot of character development that makes the book shine.

no. 5 - The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
This is a contemporary with a very unique premise. It brings in an ancient text into a modern contemporary story. Combine that with some hilarious and fun, yet flawed characters and this is a great story. 

Here is the third day of A Week of Recommendations! I hope you all are enjoying this series, and let me know about any suggestions you have! I'll be back tomorrow with paranormal recommendations!

From the paper world,

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fantasy and Science Fiction - A Week of Recommendations

Welcome back to A Week of Recommendations! Today's topic is about fantasy novels and science fiction. These are two genres I haven't read much of previously, but have really been enjoying lately, so I'd love to share my recommendations with you all and get some suggestions in return! Here are today's recommendations!

no. 1 - The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
This is one I finished reading very recently (this past week!) and really enjoyed it. I've been reading a lot more fantasy novels because of enjoying this book so much, but I've already got plans to talk about this book and how much I enjoyed it some other time. So, suffice it to say I loved this novel and definitely think it's a great read. The sequel came out recently, too, and I am definitely planning on picking that up soon!

no. 2 - Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Stolen Songbird is a novel that is this epic fantasy and has this incredibly unique world building that completely drew me into the novel. This story has a mysterious prince and an unknown magical kingdom that our protagonist falls into, and I am loving this series. You can read my full review of Stolen Songbird here, and I am excited for the sequel to come out in a few months!

no. 3 - Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
This is a fantasy that is unlike any I've read. It kind of had what I thought of as a mystery for the story but with fantasy interwoven and the setting and country of Ixia is really unique as well. Yelena is an awesome protagonist, and I loved the side characters and how they all developed through the series. Also, this is one where the series is continuing, and the fourth book came out recently as well and I have yet to read it, but I'm super excited to.

no. 4 - Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
I actually completed reading this trilogy recently, and each time I read one of the novels I was struck by the incredible world building and story telling. These books really drew me in, and each story was unique. I think this is a story that combines fantastic and detailed world building with great character development without sacrificing the story line.

no. 5 - These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
This list has a lot of fantasy novels and not so many science fiction, huh? If you want more science fiction recommendations you can check out my recommendations of historical fiction and science fiction from my First Half of 2014 posts here, but I could definitely use some science fiction recommendations! Anyways, These Broken Stars is an incredible book. It involves a lot of drama and unpredictable twists in the story. The two points of view narrations really work well in this story, and there's a lot of character development and interactions. I haven't read the sequel yet, but it's on my TBR and hopefully I'll get to it sometime soon!

Here's the second day of A Week of Recommendations! Tomorrow's theme is Contemporaries! Let me know your recommendations for today, and if you did a post for recommendations for today, leave me a link to it in the comments so I can see your recommendations! 

From the paper world,

Monday, April 6, 2015

Historical Fiction - A Week of Recommendations

Hello, everyone! I'm so excited to be sharing A Week of Recommendations with you all! Just to recap quickly, if you missed my post about this you can check it out here and check out the schedule of what genre of books will be posted on what day. Today we're talking about historical fiction novels, which I haven't read much about in the past but I'm really loving lately. Historical fiction has incredible world building amidst the story, and I have some recommendations to share with you all!

no. 1 - The Falconer by Elizabeth May
The Falconer is the sort of story that's unlike anything I've ever read. It's historical fiction meets steampunk meets fantasy and faeries. If that's not unique enough to get your attention, let's add incredible characters and world building, a daring race and mystery set in 1800's Scotland, and one of the most unpredictable stories and endings I read last year. I ended up emailing Cassi of My Thoughts...Literally! about this book because I loved it so much and had to talk to someone about it. The sequel for this one comes out in a few months and I am so excited to continue on with this series.

no. 2 - The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
This is another historical fiction that has some paranormal elements to it. The Red Necklace has a lot of mystery and drama to it. It's set during the French Revolution and tells the story of several very different narrators and protagonists. I loved reading about all the different stories and the mystery and suspense made me so nervous for the characters! I've yet to pick up the sequel but I definitely hope to in the near future.

no. 3 - The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
This is the first novel by Victoria Schwab I've read, but it definitely won't be the last! I loved her storytelling and how this novel was told. It felt like we were drawn in to this old story and tale following Lexi and the mystery of what's going on in the town of Near. Also, for some reason, reading this reminded me of watching Hocus Pocus with my family and so I was totally picturing that old town kind of setting for this novel. 

no. 4 - Sekret by Lindsay Smith
This is a book I read with Cassi and we both really enjoyed it. Sekret is set in Cold War era Soviet Union, and a lot of the novel centers around Yelena and how she is navigating having supernatural powers. I thought the characters in this story were really unique and had a good character dynamic, as well as a story with a lot of mystery and intrigue. I'm really excited to read the sequel soon with Cassi! I also have a review of Sekret posted here.

no. 5 - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I read The Book Thief years ago with a friend and I still remember being so moved by that book. It's very unusual- Death is the narrator and it tells the story of a girl living through World War II. Although it's been so long since I've read this book, I think I want to reread it sometime. It's incredibly written and a memorable story.

So, here is the first day of A Week of Recommendations! Let me know if you've read any of these, or want a review of some of the ones I don't have reviews posted for. Also, please share any recommendations for historical fiction in the comments, and don't forget tomorrow's theme is fantasy novels and science fiction, so if you're curious be sure to stop by then, and I would love to hear your recommendations for that as well!

From the paper world,