ARC Review: “Risuko” by David Kudler

risuko-v2b-medium-circleRisuko: A Kunoichi Tale (Seasons of the Sword #1) by David Kudler

Goodreads | Amazon

Can one girl win a war?

My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.

Risuko.

Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan — or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.

Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.

Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn’t possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?

Two and a half stars

Thanks to NetGalley and Stillpoint Digital Press for this eARC! This title will be available on June 15th, 2016.

If you read that blurb, like I did, you might be under the impression that a lot happens in this book. It doesn’t. This book was a constant push and pull for me, where I really wanted to like it … but nothing ever really happened. While Risuko was an interesting character, the cast around her fell flat and the overall plot seemed underdone. I was intrigued by the world and the overall politics, but they were never dealt with overmuch. All in all, this book had all the elements–it just didn’t use them.

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ARC Review: “Tell the Wind and Fire” by Sarah Rees Brennan

16221851Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

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In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised. Lucie alone knows the young men’s deadly connection, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

Two and a half stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Clarion Books for this eARC! This title will be released on April 5th, 2016.

I wish this was an April Fools joke. I wish I could say that I did not really rate a SRB book this low. Especially a book with this much potential and thought behind it – which is honestly the reason it’s rated as high as it is. But as much as I desperately wanted to love this book, it was impossible.

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ARC Review: “Annabeth Neverending” by Leyla Kader Dahm

27468996Annabeth Neverending by Leyla Kader Dahm

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At first, teenager Annabeth Prescott thinks she’s found quite a deal when she talks down the price of an ankh pendant she discovers at a flea market. She soon wonders if the bauble is more than she’s bargained for when she faints and glimpses images from a past life in ancient Egypt.

The discovery coincides with another new find: Gabriel, a handsome young man who takes an interest in her. When she meets his twin brother C. J. at a Halloween party, she realizes they look exactly like two boys who figure prominently into her memories.

Does C. J. share the heroic qualities held by his past incarnation Sethe, her bodyguard when she was Princess Ana? Does Gabriel possess the same evil powers he wielded as Kha, the black sorcerer who sought her affection?

Love meets the supernatural in this gripping young adult paranormal romance. Readers with an interest in reincarnation, as well as ancient Egypt, will be drawn to its mystical mixture of history and hesitation as Annabeth sways between the two brothers.

Will her reincarnated soulmate win out? Or will Kha finally find the way to her heart?

Two and a half stars

Thanks to Leyla and NetGalley for this free review copy! Annabeth Neverending is available for purchase now.

Full disclosure: I read this book while recovering from wisdom teeth removal. However, I still don’t think that that impacts just how rough the first part of this book was. The romance–and the way Annabeth talks about the romance–was sometimes uncomfortable. While it began to redeem itself in the middle, the ending was also weirdly rushed. Still, I picked it up because I will read anything vaguely related to Ancient Egypt, and that’s most of what kept me going.

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ARC Review: “Conjured” by Sarah Beth Durst

ConjuredConjured by Sarah Beth Durst

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Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she’s in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.

At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.

Two and a Half Stars

Thanks to Negalley and Walker Childrens for this eARC!  This title will be released on September 3rd, 2013.

Fair warning, guys: I have a serious case of Mixed Feelings about this book.

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Review: “The Collector” by Victoria Scott

The CollectorThe Collector (Dante Walker #1) by Victoria Scott

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Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence has made him one of Hell’s best — a soul collector. His job is simple, weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment: Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within 10 days.

Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of Hell. But after Dante meets the quirky, Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect—he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector, and uncover emotions long ago buried.

Thanks to NetGalley And EntangledTeen for this ebook! 

2 1/2 stars

When this book came out in April, I watched the blogosphere explode. Given the premise of this book, I thought that maybe there was something to it, so I tracked down a copy of it on NetGalley. you’d think I’d have learned after the Sweet Evil fiasco that maybe I should avoid books I hype up in my head.

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Bibliomancy for Beginners: Review and Hangout Video for “City of a Thousand Dolls” by Miriam Forster

First of all, apologies for just up and changing the time for this hangout. We weren’t sure we were going to be able to do one at all this week, and when we got a chance we jumped on it. Quite frankly, if you read this book with us … I apologize.

City of a Thousand DollsCity of a Thousand Dolls (Bhinian Empire #1) by Miriam Forster

Goodreads | Amazon

An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure.

Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.

2 1/2 stars

I hate being disappointed with books I’ve hyped up in my mind. I really, really hate it. Pretty sure I docked at least a half star on my rating of this one just for that fact.

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Review: “Prodigy” by Marie Lu

ProdigyProdigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu

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June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long. 

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

2 1/2 stars

WARNING: This review WILL have spoilers of the first book; read my review of Legend if you’re interested!

I need to stop reading sophomore/middle/second books in trilogies. I can’t seem to find one that isn’t suffering from a sophomore slump HARD.

To put it bluntly? This was not a “breathtaking thriller”–I was so bored, I might not have finished the book if it wasn’t due back at the library and I didn’t want to have to rent it out again.

When the book begins, Day and June are hunting for the Patriots…despite the fact that Day has ardently tried to have nothing to do with them for years upon years. Right before they find the Patriots, the old Elector Primo dies and his son, Anden, ascends to the position. When they meet up with the Patriots, they realize–quite quickly and without asking the price–that it is best to take the mission the Patriots want to give them in order to get Day medical attention. Only after they agree are they told that the Patriots want them to assassinate the new Elector–and they want to pimp June out as bait.

Now, maybe this is a personal opinion, but Day and June’s relationship has always been iffy for me. I mean, they’re fifteen, even if it is hard to remember that sometimes. In Legend, I thought it could work because, hey, it’s young love and what have you. In Prodigy, it just gets ridiculous. Too much of the book is driven by their “love,” even though they spend a majority of the book apart. Also, I wasn’t kidding. The Patriots grand plan is to send June out to win the new Elector’s heart because he’s ridiculously attracted to this fifteen year old girl and wants to make her his wife so bad he conveniently forgets there’s pretty compelling evidence she’s a traitor. The entire situation makes me feel awkward, and I don’t buy a cent of it. It gets worse when even Lu seems to forget that they are actually fifteen, not older.

This isn’t the only characterization problem, though. Remember Day’s friend, Tessa? Well, when we get back to her–and it really hasn’t been that long since we’ve seen her–she’s suddenly really in love with Day and “a lot more grown up.” Though there may have been a gap between the publishing of the two books, in book time this is like her character flipped a switch real fast. Her severe hatred of all things June also makes this worse.

The way this book is written also works against it this time. It tries to go back and forth between Day and June, but this is totally Day’s book–despite the fact that June is the one constantly referred to as the “prodigy.” June has her own story line, yes, but where it really gets interesting is how it affects Day and their combined relationship.

There is also a brief jaunt into the Colonies for some reason, which paints the Colonies as some communist crazy town. Why this happens I have no idea, and it just seems to take up space at the end of the book.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but the ending is also a complete cliche. The things that happen between Day and June were the final straw in leaving me to close to book and whallop it against my forehead.

I continued to read this book for the character of Day, and he did not disappoint me–except when he was thinking about June. I honestly hope that they end up with different people, because that seems to make them both happier. I might read the last book in this trilogy, only because I made it so far. I rated Legend 4 stars, and I do think this story can get back to that. Here’s to hoping.