Review of The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine

thecursedqueenThe Cursed Queen
By: Sarah Fine
Release Date: January 3rd 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating
star

Summary:
Ansa has always been a fighter.

As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day her Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.

Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she seeks to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.

With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

My Thoughts:
Last year’s The Imposter Queen was one of my favorite reads of the year so I was beyond happy to see a sequel being released. I hadn’t expected for this sequel to be more companion novel than sequel and for it to focus on  new characters but it did. I was thrown off at first but it didn’t take long for me to really get involved in this story.

A lot happens within this novel and so the pacing was fast. I felt it was an easy book to get immersed in and it was never a struggle to pick it up. I was always eager to see what would unfold next.

In The Cursed Queen we follow Ansa, a warrior and Krigere (they are a tribe and were mentioned in the first book but briefly). Her life with her tribe is rough and violent. She’s been raised to strive for more kills and be ruthless. This book focused on her growth and her realization that she has been cursed with the magic her tribe fears and hates. When she’s suddenly an outsider amongst the people she’s strived to be accepted by it really rocks her world view. I loved that she had so much to figure out about herself and the world. I loved delving into her life, memories and choices for the future.

Her relationship with her Chieftain, and love interest, Thyra was really well done and developed. You could easily feel the tension and chemistry between these two. Fine always excels at creating realistic and deep characters and she succeeds in this book. Even the side characters are unique and captivating. Even the characters with dark motives interested me and I could see glimmers of good in them. This is my favorite aspect of Fine’s writing- her ability to put heart into each character.

I really loved that this story overlaps and intersects with The Imposter Queen. Both stories take place at the same time and as you read you start to see them connect and everything falls into place. This set-up worked so well and I just know that the final novel will be amazing. I’ll be so well connected to all the characters I’m sure it’ll be one emotional read.

thecursedqueenig

Final Thoughts:
As with all of Sarah Fine’s books, The Cursed Queen, was a fast paced novel with incredible characters and a storyline to keep you hooked. I loved how it intersected with The Cursed Queen though focused on different characters. I though this was a bold and unique way to continue the story.

Top Ten Tuesday- Underrated Books

I love today’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday- Underrated books- each of these books I’m sharing have less than 2000 ratings on Goodreads. I thought each was well worth the read so CHECK THEM OUT.

I chose books that are first of their series or stand-alones. Each of these books is available right now too so don’t hesitate to buy or borrow.  I found that a lot of my fave sequels had less than 2000 ratings but that’s a post for a different day.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke an the Bookish. Each week a different question is posed and gives us bloggers an opportunity to share our top tens on all different types of bookish topics.

Top Ten Underrated Books

Steampunk Fun

22811807This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

My Review

22718701Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.

It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister—but it seems like the children’s young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause—but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.

My Review

Historical/Fantasy

21936937Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Why You Should Read Blackhearts

23495112The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine

Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

My Review

Sherlock Inspired

24885790Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students—one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty—meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.

Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more…

FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.

FACT: Miss James “Mori” Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.

FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.

FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule—they must share every clue with each other—Mori is keeping secrets.

OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case,Mori may never trust Lock again.

My Review

18080011Every Breath by Ellie Marney

Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne from the country, but the city is the last place she wants to be.

James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old who’s also a genius with a passion for forensics.

Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. He’s even harder to resist when he’s up close and personal – and on the hunt for a cold-blooded killer.

When Rachel and Mycroft follows the murderer’s trail, they find themselves in the lion’s den – literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again…

My Review

Diverse Contemporary

23399267Anything Could Happen by Will Walton

When you’re in love with the wrong person for the right reasons, anything could happen.

Tretch lives in a very small town where everybody’s in everybody else’s business. Which makes it hard for him to be in love with his straight best friend. For his part, Matt is completely oblivious to the way Tretch feels – and Tretch can’t tell whether that makes it better or worse.

The problem with living a lie is that the lie can slowly become your life. For Tretch, the problem isn’t just with Matt. His family has no idea who he really is and what he’s really thinking. The girl at the local bookstore has no clue how off-base her crush on him is. And the guy at school who’s a thorn in Tretch’s side doesn’t realize how close to the truth he’s hitting.

Tretch has spent a lot of time dancing alone in his room, but now he’s got to step outside his comfort zone and into the wider world. Because like love, a true self can rarely be contained.

ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is a poignant, hard-hitting exploration of love and friendship, a provocative debut that shows that sometimes we have to let things fall apart before we can make them whole again.

My Review

Stacking the Shelves

I hope you’re having a great February so far. It’s been pretty good over here…not much to report. I skipped doing a Stacking the Shelves last week so this will be for two weeks.

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

The Books

StS212
Thank you Harper Teen, Tor, Abrams, Rivet, Penguin, Grace and Brittany. I’m so excited for all of these books. I’ve already read The Forbidden Orchid (look for  my review soon) and am about half way through Riders.

Recent Posts

How have you been? I’ve not been on social media much lately so tell me, what have I missed?

Review of The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

TheImposterQueenThe Impostor Queen
By: Sarah Fine
Release Date: January 5th 2016
Publisher:   Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

My Thoughts:
Oh, how I loved this book! I’ve read a good amount of Fine’s other books and have loved all I’ve read from her. But this one stood out to me as the best so far. I was immediately pulled into the world, magic use and setting. It was the type of book I melted into and didn’t want to end.

The world building was incredible- I loved that we were introduced to Elli as she waits to take on the role of Valtia. Her future had been mapped out for her and as the reader we felt the pressure, expectations and excitement that she felt. I loved the power of Fine’s writing and her ability to enhance on the plot summary I read before starting the book. I knew from the tag line that Elli wasn’t going to take on the Valtia’s magic nor fulfill her prophesized role. At times, knowing these things prior to reading the novel might take away from the experience but not so in this book. I knew what was coming but it in no way detracted from the suspense I felt. As the story progressed I dreaded the moment Elli would find out that things weren’t going to happen for her as suspected. I worried for what would happen to her with the priests.

I completely fell in love with Elli’s character. I found her innocence (possible naiveté) to be enduring and honestly incredibly relatable. I could see myself reacting very much how she did to her situation. Though she accepted her role she didn’t hold off on asking questions and learning more about how things worked. I loved her inquisitive nature. Her character growth and development was exquisitely done and really a pleasure to read.

Another character I loved was Oskar. He came into the story about midway and was such an amazing character. I loved his stoic nature (and he maybe reminded me a tiny bit of Jon Snow?) I could picture him so clearly and really felt his character. I loved his internal struggles, denial/guilt and loyalty. The perfect foil to his character was Sig. I expect to learn much more of him in the next book and look forward to it. I didn’t care for him initially but I must say he really grew on me with his cynical humor and all out there attitude. The little tid-bits we learn of his history were so interesting (and heart breaking).

The dynamics between the characters were so strong and there was so much chemistry. It was easy for me to connect the characters and understand what drew them together. I loved the sibling, romantic, and friendship relationships throughout the novel. Not only that, but the bad guys were extremely bad! I felt fear in regards to their plans and power.

Final Thoughts:
It is very difficult to review this novel because of my overwhelming love for the characters and world. I am completely entranced with this story and am desperate to read more. I’ve not seen how many books will be in this series but I honestly would be happy for more than just three. I want sooo much more (yes, I’m greedy). I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Fine’s other work, fantasy or generally great books.

In short- read this book- you won’t regret it.

My Newest Book Arrivals and a Slow Week

This was a pretty slow week for me blogging and book wise. I was sick for half the week with a very persistent cold which made me do barely anything other than watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I did manage to watch some of iZombie as well. Lots of tv and not a lot of reading. I did read Dreamstrider (took me all week) and I really loved it. I was on DayQuil and NyQuil and this book was about dreams so it was a really delightful mix. It was slow going for me (possibly because I was sick) but I loved every minute. I’m trying to write my review and am having a really difficult time expressing how I feel in words.

I’ve now started Soundless (only a handful of pages in) but I’m liking it so far. I’m excited to read another book from Mead and the cover is really lovely.

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

The Books

STS1016

Thank you Harper, Simon and McDuffie Communications. These books are oh so lovely and the spines are just glorious. Look at those fonts. Just so pretty. I can’t wait to read them all.

Last Weeks Posts

As I said…it was a slooooow week for me. I barely posted!

See? Very slow week around here! I hope you had a wonderful week–tell me how it was and what books you added to your shelves. Have you read any that I got?