The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski Is Here!

Last night something very, very magical happened: “The Winner’s Crime” by Marie Rutkoski came via UPS.

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I went full-on squealing fangirl from the front door, down the hall, and into my sister’s room. Once I reached her room, we fangirled together.

100 % fangirl once upon a timeAlright, now that you know how I responded and understand how precious Marie’s books are to me and my sister, here’s a peek at what they look like.

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The new paperback of “The Winner’s Curse” is so amazing looking, and it has the same map that’s behind it inside the book. “The Winner Crime” ARC…*sighs*… is gorgeous, and I already started reading it. Alright, I betting get back to reading so I can review it!

Miles From Nowhere by Amy Clipston

 22574139 Amy Clipston Miles From Nowhere“Miles From Nowhere” by Amy Clipston

Publishing Company: Zondervan

Release Date: April 7th, 2015

Quality of writing: 3 1/2-4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Summary:

“Chelsea Morris has always been responsible, dependable, and focused on her dreams of fashion design, a dream that will officially begin come fall, when she leaves for college in New York City. As she settles into her role as the lead designer for the local summer stock theater group, she decides to make the most of her last summer in North Carolina. But with her best friend Emily busy working late and spending time with Zander, and tensions with Chelsea’s boyfriend, Todd, running high, the summer she envisioned seems to be falling flat.

Then Dylan joins the latest summer production. There’s something about the college boy that makes her feel free and alive, and soon she’s broken up with Todd, and is sneaking out late to meet Dylan at parties and breaking rules at the playhouse. But before she knows it, her exciting nights are interfering with her job, her role on the play, as well as her relationship with Emily and with her parents. Worse, Chelsea finds herself feeling more and more estranged from God. As the summer becomes wilder than she ever dreamed, Chelsea must decide if her heart is leading her in the right direction after all.”

Thank you Zondervan Publishing for the ARC. This in no ways has affected my review.

“Miles from Nowhere” by Amy Clipston was an pretty good book. It wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, but it had a good moral at the end, and Chelsea’s issues were solved or in the process of being fixed when the book finished. I got what the author was getting at, and she did a good job of writing, but I just never connected to any of the characters and that made me feel very distant from the story. It was a good book, just not for me.

I would definitely recommend it to younger readers (middle school to early high school age) because it had a good moral, it was shorter and paced pretty well, and it was a clean read. There was some alcohol use but the author addressed that issue well, so I don’t think that would be a problem for younger kids and teens.

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

Melanie Dickerson book

“The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” by Melanie Dickerson

Publishing Company: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: May 12th, 2015

Quality of writing: 4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Summary:

‘”Swan Lake” meets Robin Hood when the beautiful niece of a wealthy merchant by day becomes the region’s most notorious poacher by night, and falls in love with the forester.

Jorgen is the forester for the wealthy margrave, and must find and capture the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave’s game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea she is the one who has been poaching the margrave’s game.

Odette justifies her crime of poaching because she thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. But will the discovery of a local poaching ring reveal a terrible secret? Has the meat she thought she was providing for the poor actually been sold on the black market, profiting no one except the ring of black market sellers?

The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring. ..and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher?”

Thank you Thomas Nelson and Kerri Potts for the ARC copy. This in no way has affected my review.

“The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” was a cute young adult read. It appeared to be a bit more mature than Melanie Dickerson’s other fairy tale stories, and so that was nice. I also liked Odette a lot more than Melanie’s other female characters because she was more self-sufficient, and her life did not initially revolve around just getting married.

The more intelligent writing and the independent female character were great, but I don’t feel that “The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” was for me. I am a sap when it comes to certain romantic cliches, but this book’s “sappiness” just did not do it for me. It wasn’t bad, I just have different tastes and so it was not my favorite. On the other hand, I can see a lot of different girls liking it, and that they would enjoy the guy character too. There’s also a dash of mystery surrounding the forest, so that was a good addition.

All in all, “The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” by Melanie Dickerson was a cute, enjoyable read even though it was not my favorite. I would recommend it to young girls looking for a clean, light, and adventurous read.

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

23121816“An Uncertain Choice” by Jody Hedlund

Publishing Company: Zondervan

Release Date: March 3rd, 2015

Quality of writing: 3 1/2-4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Summary:

“Due to her parents’ promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father’s enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents’ will left a second choice. If Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the cloister is the best place after all. If only one of the knights the one who appears the most guilty had not already captured her heart.”

Thank you Zondervan Publishing for the ARC copy. In no way has this affected my review.

“An Uncertain Choice” was a well written story for the crowd it was aiming for, and I would’ve really liked to have read this book back when I was in middle school. It is a cute story for young readers and fans of Melanie Dickerson’s fairy tale series. Although it was not necessarily my “cup of tea,” I think that the author accomplished her goal of creating a medieval fantasy story that a lot of teenagers would enjoy.

My only real issue is that I feel like most Christian books base the majority of their stories off of the romance (at least that’s how it comes across to me) rather than the main characters’ individual worth and calling in life. Some try to combine romance with personal calling, but a lot of times it feels like a second thought or a last minute edit. I have found this to be quite widespread in the Christian genre, so I’ve gotten used to it whenever I get an ARC, but I do wish that authors would try to break free of that mold more often. Because of the general predictability of these kinds of books, I can usually peg what’s going to happen (who’s bad and who ends up with who). Jody Hedlund did a good job of writing , but I am just not a huge fan of these kind of books due to that fact. Despite this, though, I can see a lot of young and adult readers enjoying this books, so don’t write it off because of my review. “An Uncertain Choice” was a cute , clean read that could be fun for new and experienced readers alike.

Best Day Ever!

Today was a very, very good day for me! This morning I woke up to twitter and found that I had won a signed copy of “All Fall Down” by Ally Carter for participating in the #AllyAmbassador movement. It was crazy exciting because I did not even realize I had been entered to win. Cue my reaction to the amazing news:

cris pratt what!

I was quite surprised and excited to say the least! Crazy as it may seem, my day got even better from there. Low and behold, Mari Rutkoski, author of “The Winner’s Curse Trilogy,” was doing a twitter chat. Since I was already on twitter when it began, I thought that I might as well participate. MOTHER OF MOSES I am so glad that I did! After an hour of having a blast tweeting questions and learning some tidbits about “The Winner’s Crime,” Fierce Reads and Marie Rutkoski chose a few tweeters to give prizes to. I didn’t think it possible, but I won. It was crazy cool and shocking as well, and I was kind of like,

lokiHoly….

tom hiddleston2 lokiand a little bit of this…

psychand this…

psych3and this…

monsterand last, but not least, like this.

And to make a great day even better, my favorite roast of coffee was on sale!

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Alright, keep your eyes peeled for a review of “The Winner’s Crime” in the next couple of weeks!

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd (The Madman’s Daughter #3)

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“A Cold Legacy” by Megan Shepherd

5 out of 5 stars.

Juliet, Montgomery, Lucy, Edward, and Balthazar are on the run. The police are after Juliet and her friends because of what she did at The Kings’ Club. She hadn’t acted alone that night, but she was the mastermind, and because of it, all of her friends are paying the price for that choice. But there is a small beacon of hope despite Edward’s worsening condition and Scotland Yard chasing them, and it is in the form of a manor in the Scottish Highlands. The moors are the perfect place to rest their weary heads, but Juliet soon discovers that their supposed haven is not quite what it appears to be.

Mystery and secrets surround Juliet and her friends at every corner in Elizabeth von Stein’s house, but they have nowhere else to run. Lightning, creaking floors, and a strange boy who hides in the walls are the least of Juliet’s worries. Edward’s health is rapidly declines, and her and Montgomery’s relationship seems to be deteriorating because of the weight of secrets. Can Juliet and Montgomery mend their relationship so they work together again and save the Elizabeth’s household in time? And can she save Edward before it is too late, or were both he and Juliet destined to destroy themselves from the start?

This book was such a stunning and satisfying end to a beloved trilogy. “The Madman’s Daughter” had surprised me back a year and a half ago, and the “Her Dark Curiosity” had shocked, horrified, and made me love this trilogy all the more; these books are all about the battle between the light and the darkness, right and wrong,  hope and despair, love and hate. It was a tug of war throughout this trilogy of whether good or evil would win out, and to be honest, I was scared of where and how Megan was going to end Juliet’s story. Megan, however, proved herself to be a capable and talented writer who resolved all of this trilogy’s loose ends in her final installment; I did not think it would happen, but Megan Shepherd did it and some more!

Juliet was a very tormented and broken individual. It was a steady decline for her from “The Madman’s Daughter” to “Her Dark Curiosity,” and the second book really hurt because of the choices she made when she decided to follow, relatively, in her father’s footsteps. She was desperate, lonely, and afraid, and I got why she did it, but her actions saddened me because I wanted her to break free of her supposed genetic “inheritance” or “curse.” “A Cold Legacy” picks up soon after the second book, and so not much has changed for Juliet in that realm; her whole world has been shaken and then taken away except what her father had “given” her: madness.

  It was really interesting to see her personal growth and decline throughout this trilogy, and I was cheering for her all through “A Cold Legacy.” I wanted her to hear and understand that she could make her own choices, choose her own path in life, but she had a long journey until she could discover that for herself. In the end, though, I was very happy with where Megan took Juliet’s character, and all of the pain that I had experienced as a reader over the course of these books was worth the destination. Juliet wasn’t the only person who went through a lot of changes during this trilogy, though, and I want to talk about some other characters and their growth.

Montgomery James…

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Yeah, I’m still in love with Montgomery.  I loved him so much because he was always such a present character, even when he was not in a scene. He was a strong person in “The Madman’s Daughter Trilogy,” but he was never pushy or domineering, and he did not boss everyone around like some macho-man. He was a strong male lead without ever having to resort to being a jerk; people followed him because he was kind and brave and selfless, and it wasn’t due to people feeling threatened by him. Oh, have I already mention that I love him?

scott caan I heart you

Montgomery, despite all of his attributes, was not perfect. He lied to Juliet about some very important things because he thought by keeping them from her, he could protect her. But lies cut as deep or deeper than the truth, and such was the case in “A Cold Legacy.” It was interesting seeing his and Juliet’s relationship shift and evolve as this trilogy progressed, and sometimes it broke my heart when they hurt each other, even if was by accident. Obviously, some of these things drive a story, but in the case of “A Cold Legacy,” I never felt like that was all there ever was, that if the miscommunications had been taken away the story would have fallen apart. Megan Shepherd wrote a strong story and added miscommunication to show the growth and changes that had occurred in their relationship.

Lies and secrets aside, Montgomery was such a good character. He had changed quite a bit since “The Madman’s Daughter,” but I loved that the things that made him Montgomery were still intact. He was still kind, courageous, strong, wise, and most importantly, he still had a good heart. My favorite scene was towards the end when he was talking to Juliet about choosing to be different from her father, that she had the right to choose to do good and live life well despite her parentage. There was also another part with him concerning the whole “eternal life” issue, and again, he said something profound. Those two parts really hit me hard and I was a bit like, “What you just said was beautiful. You’re beautiful!”

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What Montgomery said in those last fifty pages in “A Cold Legacy” was what this trilogy was all about: that you have the right and the duty in life to choose what is good, and it is not for others to choose for you. Megan put it so beautifully, and I loved that!

Lucy was also another good characters. I thought that Megan Shepherd did a great job of taking a character that seemed like just a rich, entitled girl and making her into a woman who was kind and smart. She didn’t always make the wisest of choices, but she had a good heart and it was surprising to have a character change so much for the better in a trilogy. Okay, so the last character I want to talk about is Edward!

Edward was such an intriguing character. Throughout this trilogy, he has been a sort of enigma that I wanted to understand. He was a broken person who needed a lot of love and kindness, and it was interesting to see him change as these books progressed. I will always like this character, but I wish that I had gotten more time with him in “A Cold Legacy.” “Her Dark Curiosity” was Edward’s book, in a sense, but “A Cold Legacy,” for good reason, was Juliet’s book. As necessary as that was, I felt that both Edward and Montgomery got a little short-changed. They didn’t get as much time in this book even though they deserved it, and I wish that “A Cold Legacy” had been forty to fifty pages longer so that these leading men could’ve been in it more! I think that the lack of my boys was the only real disappointment I experienced while reading this book; I just missed the sweet, funny Edward that I knew from the first two books! But other than missing out on some time with Edward, I was fairly happy with where he went as a character despite some emotional trauma I experienced at the stuff he was put through.

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Megan really kicked it up a notch, even from “Her Dark Curiosity,” on pacing, and don’t even get me started on the death toll! No one is safe in this book, and I was quite shocked by some of the characters who were killed. The stakes were really high in this book, so I guess that goes along with it!

All that aside, “A Cold Legacy” was such a well-rounded finale that I feel completely satisfied. Yeah, some parts were sad because I was hoping for a happier end for some characters, but I am quite content, and it was a beautiful book. I also loved how all of her characters, main and secondary, played significant roles in “A Cold Legacy.” Balthazar, one of my favorite characters, was such a great character to see more of and so was Lucy. There were also characters who lived in the von Stein home that really added a lot to the story. I loved how she dealt with the secrets between the people in this book, and I adored how each of these characters changed and grew as individuals while having stayed true to themselves. But most of all, I loved the end and the route Megan Shepherd chose to take with the issues of immortality and the social aspects of female independence.”The Madman’s Daughter” will forever be my favorite, but I loved “A Cold Legacy.” It was an amazing conclusion to a great trilogy!

Cover Reveal: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before #2)

I am super excited this morning because I just discovered (thanks to goodreads and twitter) that Jenny Han’s new book, “P.S. I Still Love You,” has an official cover!

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I am so excited for this one because “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” was my favorite contemporary book of last year, and I honestly can’t imagine Jenny Han or Laura Jean disappointing me this summer. Okay, on to the cover!

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20698530 P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

The only thing that is not exciting about this moment is that I have to wait until summer for it to be released! Now I’m just going to sit here until it comes out…
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