Top 5 Wednesday (16)

This feature is hosted in the Top Five Wednesday group on Goodreads.

The topic this week is….

Bookish Things You’re a Grinch About

I love this topic because I love to complain (hey, at least I’m honest about it). When I was getting my bachelor’s degree we read a study on how people bond more over mutual complaining than positive experiences. Basically, those ranting bitch sessions with your friends and/or SO are bringing you closer together! This is in moderation, obviously. Nobody like a negative Nelly that complains about eeevvvrything. 

Prepare for the petty train to arrive at the station, because it’s about to get nit-picky in here. 

Image result for grinch gif


.1.

Adults who are either absent or morons in a YA or NA novel. 

  • Absentee parents
  • Parents who never listen to their kids
  • Parents who are basic idiots in general and refuse to acknowledge what the hero/heroine has shown them multiple times. GET IT TOGETHER. 

.2.

Love Triangles. I loathe these. Someone always gets hurt and my second hand-embarrassment and compassion is always bleeding out for the one who doesn’t get “picked”. The one who isn’t chosen always seems to get some consolation prize love interest or is totally fine with “just being friends” all of a sudden. Hogwash


.3.

Covers with someone’s face on it. This one is probably weird, but I like being able to picture the characters in my own head and develop how they look by interpretation of the the text and their personality. I don’t mind if it is illustrated, I just don’t like the ones with cover models on them. 


.4.

Continued misunderstandings between characters. One or two is fine, but I can’t stand when I’m reading a book and the two characters keep failing to communicate and then by result misunderstand each other’s intentions. JUST TALK IT OUT ALREADY. 


.5.

Arrogant protagonists. There is one in particular that I have in mind, but I’m going to dive into my issues with her during next week’s “naughty list” topic. I’m not a fan of characters who fail to listen to their advisers because they always think they know best. I do like, however, seeing the plans foil because of the arrogant protagonist 😈 *heh heh heh*😈, but if the protagonist continues to make the same stupid decisions I’m over it. 


That’s it! Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave your link below so I can check yours out!

Top 10 Tuesday (14)

“Top Ten Tuesday” is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every week they pick a topic for us to do a top 10 list for and this week’s topic is…

This one was a little harder because many of my favorite books are about zombies or set in a dystopian world. Neither of which I would like to be a part of, lol. 

As always, click on the book cover for a link to purchase the book and click on images to be taken to their source. I credit all art I find, but please message me asap if I have gotten the credit or link wrong so I can fix it or remove the image.

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


.1.

Image result for hogwarts
Image from Pottermore

Hogwarts. This is probably going to be on 90% of people’s lists, but it’s definitely my #1 bookish setting I’d love to visit. Actually, can I just live there?


.2.

Make love, not war... by Lensar
Credit: Lensar at Deviantart

Velaris – A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Post-war though… Yeah, I know the picture above isn’t actually Velaris, but it always reminds me of Velaris when I see it. 🙂


.3.

Image result for 300 fox way
No clear credit

300 Fox Way in The Raven Cycle series. Blue’s house is so hectic and chaotic. I couldn’t live there, but I’d love to visit and experience the chaos first hand. 


.4.

Image result for narnia
Credit: Disney and Walden Media

Narnia. It was my first fantasy novel that I read so something about that place will always hold a special place in my heart. 


.5.

Image result for lost city of atlantis
unable to find artist to credit, but link takes you to the site the image was taken from

Atlantis. There are so many variations of Atlantis, so it’s hard to choose which one. I’ve always been intrigued by the original story of Atlantis in Timaeus and Critias and how the city came to fall, by Plato. 


.6.

Image result for the lunar chronicles
Credit: Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles Universe. I couldn’t pick just one setting here. I want to visit Scarlet’s farm, New Beijing, Luna, and the Rampion. The Lunar Chronicles remains one of my favorite series. 


.7.

Image result for tower of dawn

Antica. Preferably this would be post war as well, but the world building in Tower of Dawn made me fall in love with it. I want to go see the mountains and Ruks with Sartaq, the Torre Cesme with Yrene, and the beautiful Oasis with—well never-mind. Hasar was arrogant and self serving and I want nothing to do with her. #StillBitter


.8.

Credit: The Hunger Games Wiki

The Capitol from The Hunger Games. I know it’s kind of crazy, and I definitely wouldn’t want to stay long. 


.9.

Chicago in the Divergent series. Alright, so like above, I wouldn’t want to stay long, but I’d still like to visit. Actually, I really just want to do the zipline. 


The Gender Game by Bella Forrest

The Gender Game by Bella ForrestThe Gender Game (The Gender Game #1) by Bella Forrest
Format: Audio
Narrator: Rebecca Soler, Zachary Webber
Series: The Gender Game
on October 28th, 2016
Genres: YA, Dystopian
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

PREPARE TO ENTER AN ALL-NEW WORLD...

A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates's world by gender. Women rule the East. Men rule the West. Welcome to the lands of Matrus and Patrus...

Ever since the death of her mother, Violet's life has been shadowed by bad luck. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now after two unfortunate incidents resulting in womanslaughter, she has been sentenced to death.

But one decision could save her life.

One decision to enter the kingdom of Patrus, where men rule and women submit.

Everything about the patriarchy defies Violet's identity, but she must sacrifice everything if she wishes to survive the forbidden kingdom... including forbidden love.

How much of yourself could you give up to keep yourself alive?

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


Review of the story:

I have been meaning to read a Bella Forrest novel for a while. I know she has the Shade of Vampire series, but I’m really picky with vampire stories so I never checked them out. To be honest, I didn’t go into The Gender Game with high expectations because I know Ms. Forrest pumps out books like crazy (like 4-5 books a year). I have found with other independent authors who crank out books that quickly that sometimes editing is sub-par, but as long as the story is good I generally don’t mind. With that being said, the book was better than I expected. Yes, there were a few issues: the letter at the end (don’t want to spoil it) felt too convenient and disingenuous to the story, some characterization for a major character in the book was a little underdone, and the world building left me wanting more. However, The Gender Game also had some great elements to it: 

-Strong and likable female lead character
-Unique dystopian world in a genre overflowing with unoriginal ideas
-Lots of action
-Quickly paced
-Just enough romance to tease you, but not to overpower the narrative
-Also, The author clearly did research on MMA fighting and the fighting scenes never felt forced
 

Overall, I enjoyed the book and will be continuing the series. I will likely not do reviews on this blog for the following books, but I will review on Goodreads, as I find doing reviews here for sequels not very helpful.  

Review of the audio:

I’ve been a fan of Rebecca Soler since listening to the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I thought it might be difficult to separate Cinder’s voice from Violet’s, but I found it relatively easy as I was drawn into the story. Rebecca Soler remains to be one of my favorite narrators, as she brings life to characters through her superb voice acting abilities. Zachary Webber only did a small portion at the end of the book, but I have also listened to him before and enjoy his voice. 


 

The Gender Game is part of the Kindle Unlimited program, which I highly recommend if you’re not already a member. It’s only $10 a month and soooo worth it! There are even a lot of books with audio included! Click below for more details about the Kindle Unlimited program, if you’re interested.


four-stars

The Friday 56 (6)

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.

This week I chose 56% of  of The Gender Game by Bella Forrest. 


Barely breathing, I felt my consciousness return to the sunny world around me. To Samuel, tugging at my impatiently. But I remained staring at the house. The silence was more disconcerting than the screaming.”


I also participate in “First Lines Friday”, to see the first lines of this book head over to that post by clicking here


A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates’s world by gender.
Women rule the East. Men rule the West.

Welcome to the lands of Matrus and Patrus.

Ever since the disappearance of her beloved younger brother, Violet’s life has been consumed by an anger she struggles to control. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now she has been sentenced to death for her crimes.

But one decision could save her life.

To enter the kingdom of Patrus, where men rule and women submit.

Everything about the patriarchy is dangerous for a rebellious girl like Violet. She cannot break the rules if she wishes to stay alive. But abiding by rules has never been her strong suit, and when she is thrust into more danger than she could have ever predicted, Violet is forced to sacrifice many things in the forbidden kingdom … including forbidden love.

In a world divided by gender, only the strongest survive…


 

The Gender Game is part of the Kindle Unlimited program, which I highly recommend if you’re not a member. It’s only $10 a month and soooo worth it! There are even a lot of books with audio included! Click below for more details about the Kindle Unlimited program, if you’re interested.

First Lines Friday (14)

First Lines Fridays is hosted by Wandering Words.

Here are the rules (as outlined by Wandering Words):

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book

I’m using this book for my Friday 56 as well, so if you’re interested check it out here.



Scroll down for more info about the book.


A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates’s world by gender.
Women rule the East. Men rule the West.

Welcome to the lands of Matrus and Patrus.

Ever since the disappearance of her beloved younger brother, Violet’s life has been consumed by an anger she struggles to control. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now she has been sentenced to death for her crimes.

But one decision could save her life.

To enter the kingdom of Patrus, where men rule and women submit.

Everything about the patriarchy is dangerous for a rebellious girl like Violet. She cannot break the rules if she wishes to stay alive. But abiding by rules has never been her strong suit, and when she is thrust into more danger than she could have ever predicted, Violet is forced to sacrifice many things in the forbidden kingdom … including forbidden love.

In a world divided by gender, only the strongest survive…


 

The Gender Game is part of the Kindle Unlimited program, which I highly recommend if you’re not a member. It’s only $10 a month and soooo worth it! There are even a lot of books with audio included! Click below for more details about the Kindle Unlimited program, if you’re interested.

Bad Bloods: November Rain by Shannon A. Thompson

Bad Bloods: November Rain by Shannon A. ThompsonNovember Rain (Bad Bloods, #1) by Shannon A. Thompson
Format: Audio
Narrator: Jonathan Johns
Series: Bad Bloods,
Published by Clean Teen Publishing on July 18th 2016
Genres: YA, Dystopian, Fantasy
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


Review of the story:

November Rain starts off with a bang, as Serena, our main female protagonist, is being marched to her own death. A stranger sets a plan in motion for Serena to escape and she becomes the first person to ever escape this particular “Bad Blood” camp. a Bad Blood is someone who has undergone a mutation that gives them superhuman abilities (similar to X-men). The society in which this is set does not recognize Bad Blood as being equal and therefore seeks to find and eradicate all of them. 

The story is full of action while still leaving room for character development and a steady story-line progression. November Rain is told from the POV of Serena and Daniel, another Bad Blood. The book is actually set over a period of only 8 -9 days, but the multiple POVs keep the story moving. 

If you are looking for a clean YA book that has lots of action, a great story, strong and loyal characters, and is a quick read – I recommend picking up November Rain. 

Review of the audio:

Johnathon Johns does a great job transitioning between Serena and Daniel’s POV without making it seem jumpy or disjointed. He has a smooth cadence that was truly enjoyable to listen to. 

Next Books in the series:


Giveaway!

November Rain Giveaway: Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box


Author Interview

 

  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.

My favorite (and first) part about turning Bad Bloods into an audiobook was discussing my book with the narrator, Jonathan Johns. I let him know some exclusive behind-the-scenes info that never made it into the book but was essential to understanding the characters. He was really receptive to it, and he truly understood what each person and scene represented. After he recorded, I listened to each scene and provided more notes. Then he recorded more, and now, we have an audiobook!

  • Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?

Yes, I think it’s absolutely possible—not to mention that there are readers who NEED audiobooks in order to access novels and other pieces of text, so audiobooks are extremely important.   

  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?

Yes and no. I always loved the idea of an audiobook, but I didn’t let it change my writing style. However, I always read all of my books out loud in the last editing phase to check the sound and overall flow, so that’s very similar. Sound is important.

  • How did you select your narrator?

My publisher sent me a few auditions, but Jonathan Johns stuck out the moment I heard his voice. He captured both the dark essence of the story and the characters’ individual voices. From the beginning, I felt as if he understood it more than anyone else, and he truly brought it to life.

  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?

Yes! I provided pronounciation for any words or names that might be difficult, but I definitely gave him insight into each character. Bad Bloods is very character heavy (and a character-driven story), and it was important to me that they were distinguishable and matched what I pictured when writing. He learned facts that will never even make it into the series. Why? Because those details often shape characters, but they might also be unseen details. I needed to know those details to create the prose, so I thought Jonathan would need to know them in order to create the audio. He absolutely nailed it!

  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

I think there is truth in all types of writing, including fantasy. For me, I originally wrote this book shortly after my mother died very suddenly. I was eleven, so I had a lot of anger and depression and confusion about how terrible things can happen to very young people. Those feelings are scattered throughout Bad Bloods, and to this day, Bad Bloods still feels like the closest books to my heart—probably because writing these books saved me when I was young.  

  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

I get burnt out all the time! I try not to, but I work full time (and often overtime). Writing books while working full time is hard, especially when you’re on a deadline, so I absolutely get burnt out. But I never lose my enthusiasm. No matter how difficult life gets, I always love writing, and I try to keep that in mind when I’m feeling down.  

  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?

Actually (eek), I’m not. I have a difficult time remembering anything when it’s in audio format. Even when I was a kid, I struggled to learn from lectures. I’ve always taught myself by reading materials. (Maybe my dad was right when he said I was a bad listener. Ha!) But I’m so glad it exists for those who need and love audiobooks.

  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?

Jonathan Johns added some sound effects (wheezing, sighing, breathing) that helped bring the dialogue alive in very particular spots. I loved it!

  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?

YES. I would love to see the Amarna Period in Ancient Egypt, mainly because my soul is submerged in that time period for research right now. But there are lots of places I’d love to see. The future would be neat, too!


Tour Schedule

Nov. 19th:

The Audiobookworm

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Crazy Beautiful Reads

Nov. 20th:

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

Books, Dreams, Life

What Is That Book About

Nov. 21st:

Chanda Reads

Hall Ways Blog

Nov. 22nd:

Buried Under Books

Jazzy Book Reviews

Nov. 23rd:

Lomeraniel

Lilly’s Book World

Nov. 24th:

Notes from ‘Round the Bend

Loves Great Reads

Nov. 25th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

The Book Slayer

➜Sign up as a host here


four-stars

Haven by Mary Lindsey

Haven by Mary LindseyHaven by Mary Lindsey
Format: Kindle
Published by Entangled Publishing on November 7th 2017
Genres: YA
Pages: 371
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

"We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed."

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

(Former title: Hide from Me.)

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


 Review:

I was really surprised by Haven. I went into the book not knowing what it was really about, but that it involved werewolves. I wasn’t expecting the grittiness, romance, and suspense that Haven delivered though.

Aaron “Rain” Ryland comes from a life on the streets with his drug and alcohol addicted mother. When his mother fatally succumbs to her addiction he is sent to live with an Aunt he didn’t even know existed in a small town, very unlike the streets of Houston he is used to. A hard city kid is sure to be safe out in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of country bumpkins, right? *insert maniacal laugh*

I won’t delve into the plot any more than that because I think the reason I so thoroughly enjoyed this book was because of the twists and reveals I experienced while reading.

What I can tell you: This book is full of strong and fully developed characters, lots of romance (and less “fade to black” sex scenes, but still YA appropriate), plot twists, suspense, and of course: werewolves and magic. 


four-half-stars

Rimrider by L.A. Kelley Book Tour

Rimrider by L.A. Kelley Book TourRimrider by L.A. Kelley
Format: Audio
Narrator: Cassandra Richardson
Series: Rimrider Adventures,
on Aug. 22, 2017
Genres: YA, Science Fiction
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Orphan, pirate, spy.

Awakened by her father, teenager Jane Benedict is ordered to memorize a mysterious code. Hours later, Mathias Benedict is dead and Jane and her brother, Will, are wards of United Earth Corporation. To evade the company's murderous clutches and uncover the meaning of her father's last message, Jane leads Will on a desperate escape across the galaxy aboard the Freetrader smuggler ship, Solar Vortex. Tangled in the crew's fight for freedom, Jane saves the life of young smuggler, Mac Sawyer, and learns her father's code identifies a secret cargo shipment. The trail leads to the planet Rimrock and the massive prison complex of Golgotha. Undercover as a spy, Jane stumbles into a conspiracy that can spell doom for the entire Freetrader cause and the extinction of an alien race. Can she escape the prison confines and deliver a warning before it's too late?

Piracy, intrigue, romance, space battles, and a daring rebellion from Earth wait on the galactic rim. Will Jane answer the call to adventure and find new purpose, or is death for high treason her fate?

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


Review of the story:

Rimrider is about a young girl (Jane) and her little brother (Will) who have become orphans within the first chapter of the book and their fight for survival and what family means for them. Jane and Will escape their parent’s killers (the government) by boarding a space ship and getting involved with space pirates, rebels, and spies. 

This book was difficult for me to get in to until about 20%. I think part of the reason is because I couldn’t connect with Jane. She is very young, and quite immature for the YA genre of heroines. Now, I will say that sometimes I forget how young YA heroines are because so much seems to get piled on them and they are often thrown into very adult situations, but Jane was hard to like in general . Her disposition was a little whiny and she lacked emotion for things like her father’s death. She does seem to grow up quickly though and becomes decidedly more likable as the book progresses. 

With that being said, I did enjoy the book about 20% in and after. The world building was interesting, but not confusing and so big as to distract from the story. Secondary characters really held their own (Gem is the best) and the plot of the book was interesting and fun to read, albeit a little predictable at times. The book ends by setting up for the next book, but with no major cliffhangers. I would rate the story 3.5/5 stars. 

Review of the audio:

I’ve never listened to any of Cassandra Richardson’s narrations before, but I think she did a pretty good performance. Her characters were easy to distinguish from one another and her male voices were believable. I will say, sometimes her voice for Jane got a little whiny, but honestly that could have been intentional. I needed to keep reminding myself that Jane was a sheltered 15-16 year old who would likely have reason to be whiny sometimes, so it wasn’t really a mark against the actual narration. Overall the narration itself was 4/5 stars. 

Next Books in the series

four-stars

Top 10 Tuesday (13)

“Top Ten Tuesday” is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every week they pick a topic for us to do a top 10 list for and this week’s topic is…

Why this picture for the banner? Because it’s freaking adorable and silly, just like this week’s topic. I chose to go a different direction this week and showcase some of the craziest books that I have come across on Amazon.

some of them being recommended to me….Not quite sure how to feel about that 😂

As always, click on the book cover for a link to purchase the book.

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


.1.

This might be one of my all time favorite suggestions I’ve ever gotten from Amazon. I chuckle every time I see it as a “suggested read” for me. 😹😹


.2.

Who doesn’t love a little bit of kitty lit? They are basically like the grumpy little philosophers of our time. 


.3.

Taking care of our bodies is really important, so it’s imperative to get daily exercise. What better way to achieve that than to dance the night away with your favorite little furry friend?


.4.

I don’t want to leave the dog loving crafters out, so I found this little treasure for you! #YouAreWelcome


.5. 

Need to unwind after all that dancing and crafting? I bring you this educational resource that has the added benefit of relaxing by coloring these jerks.


.6.

Well for anyone younger than me, this is probably just confusing since you probably have no idea who Coolio is, but for all the oldies out there like me: I bring you this gourmet cookbook.


.7.

As we continue with our domestic Goddess (or God) theme, I bring you: Extreme Ironing. My husband would argue that me ironing in any capacity is extreme, as it is a rare occasion in our house, but in case you really want to kick it up a notch there is a book just for you!


.8.


I’m not sure I can do much more justice about this book than this book synopsis can do:
“In this charming guide, “fairy hunter” Reginald Bakeley offers practical instructions to clear your home and garden of these unsettling inhabitants, and banish them from your chicken coop and kitchen cupboard forever!”


.9.


This one is for all the dicks who are too lazy to bring shopping carts back to the cart corral. #ImJudgingYou


.10.


To go along with the above, and also everyone could probably benefit from reading this one.


That’s it for this week’s list! Be sure to comment below with your link so I check yours out!

Thank you for taking the time to read my post!💓💓

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn SkyeThe Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Format: Audio
Narrator: Steve West
Published by HarperAudio on May 17th, 2016
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

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.

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


Review of the story:

This was a book I was pleasantly surprised by. I actually really hate when books are compared to best sellers like The Hunger Games or other popular books like Red Queen. I think it sets unfair expectations on what the book is about, which was the case for The Crown’s Game for me. Sometimes I feel like any book that has the word ‘game’ in it is going to be compared to The Hunger Games, but The Crown’s Game was nothing like THG, in my opinion. THG was raw, violent, and dark. The Crown’s Game has a few dark moments, but is a bit more light than THG. 

As for the competition, it was definitely not what I expected. I was expecting a deadly game of magic and sorcery, but the game in this book is slower paced, and more of a poetic show of talents. While the story did seem to creep along at some points, I was intrigued by the story-line and never felt bored. The last few chapters had me on the edge of my seat and nearly in tears, so I’m really looking forward to the next book!

 

Characters 

There is a love triangle, kind-of. I really hate love triangles, but I promise this one isn’t bad. The story is not consumed by the romance (which is actually my thing, lol, but if it’s not you’re in luck) and one part of the triangle is one-sided. I thought the theme was less about romance and more about friendship and platonic love than anything. The character development in this book was remarkable. Vika is a sassy and strong heroine that doesn’t need to depend on romance or supporting characters to shine, ad Nikolai and Pasha stand well on their own as well. I even found myself caring for (and despising) secondary characters as well and wasn’t annoyed when the POV switched to them because I genuinely cared what happened to them.

 

There is not a traditional “villain” in this book, but I think Skye did a wonderful job with the complexity of this character. I felt my heart breaking for her, even as she carried out terrible acts against some of the characters I loved. She will definitely be playing a more pivotal role in the next book so I am torn between understanding her motives, and wanting her dead before she can hurt anyone else. 

I’m including this fan art made by Charlie Bowater because she’s amazing and I’m obsessed with her art, especially her vision of Nikolai! Click here or on the picture below to be taken to Epic Reads, where this art was originally shared. 

 

Review of the audio:

Steve West was easy to listen to and did a beautiful job with voice distinctions and transitions. I would listen to another book he narrates based off this performance. 


four-stars