Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: THE WINNER'S CURSE

Hello! I have a recent YA read to share with you.

(source: Goodreads)

THE WINNER'S CURSE is by Marie Rutkoski. You can check out her author website here.

For those of you who have checked out my Goodreads account in the past six months, you will know that this book has been on my TBR shelf for a loooong time. I'll admit it: the cover, rather than the blurb, caught my eye.

I have already read THE WINNER'S CRIME, so there will be some references (but no spoilers!) regarding the sequel.

My summary:

Kestrel has always been able to see through lies. The daughter of one of the most celebrated Valorian generals, she has lived the upper-class life. Pulled between two unsavory options-- marriage or enlistment-- Kestrel's life is complicated and full of expectations.

Drawn to a slave, she purchases him for an absurd sum. As she grows close to Arin, she begins to second-guess her life and choices. But in a world of silent wars and high stakes, Kestrel learns that everything comes with a price.


Goodreads says:
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.


My review:

The world is very interesting, and I enjoyed learning about the different cultures. I think more information regarding the punishments for rebels and traitors would have helped raise the stakes for our main characters later in this book and THE WINNER'S CRIME.

I also really liked the writing style and the fact that we get to see both Arin and Kestrel's points of views.

There is a lot of parlor talk and less action than I would have expected. Personally, I enjoy seeing the different interactions, but for readers who are looking for something fast-paced, this isn't a book I would recommend.

Kestrel's "ability" to see through lies and easily find the truth seemed to disappear and reappear throughout the book. I wish it had been used more often.

I felt Arin's character needed more development. I wanted to learn more about Arin's life before the invasion. The reader does get hints in this book and in THE WINNER'S CRIME, but it's not enough for me to feel satisfied. I also think his character could have been more complex if he felt guilt for living when so many died.

Overall, I would give it 3.5 stars

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I hope everyone is having a great week! It has been ridiculously warm for the past few days, so I've been cowering indoors with the AC blasting and lots of borrowed books.

I don't really like setting rules, especially if the activity in question is something similar to blogging. I did decide pretty early on that I wouldn't post any negative posts on this blog. I'll express my reaction to all books on Goodreads, but I like to spend my energy focusing on good books, especially if I'm putting an hour (which is usually how long each post takes me to write and edit) into writing a review.

I want to clarify that negative reviews are different than critical reviews. Let's face it: no book is perfect. Every book is going to have some small flaws, and I'm going to point out the things that bugged me. But I only blog about books that have left me with a favorable impression, so every book I review here is one I've enjoyed.

Unfortunately, that means that sometimes I'll pick up a book on Wednesday with every intention of using it for a Monday post, and I won't enjoy it. In those cases, I just won't have a post. Trust me, it's annoying sometimes, but I want The Reader's Perch to be an overall positive blog.

Now that I'm done with that, it's time to return to the fun stuff: blogging about books! I'm going to have a review ready for you on Monday, so I'll see you then.

Keep reading!

Monday, September 21, 2015

MMGM: THE HYPNOTISTS

That's right! I've finally picked up an MG book, and I'm ready to do a review for you. My review is a little short today because I'm still trying to catch up, but hopefully you enjoy it!


My summary:

Twelve-year-old Jax Opus can use his color-changing eyes to hypnotize. Taken under Dr. Elias Mako's wing, Jax expands his already-powerful talent. But how pure are Mako's intentions? And what exactly is Mako planning for Jax's unique powers?

Goodreads says:

An all-new, mesmerizing adventure from the masterful Gordon Korman!

Jackson Opus has always been persuasive, but he doesn't know that he's descended from the two most powerful hypnotist bloodlines on the planet. He's excited to be accepted into a special program at the Sentia Institute -- but when he realizes he's in over his head, Jackson will have to find a way to use his powers to save his friends, his parents, and his government.

My review:

The plot is simple and reminds me of SHIFT by Kim Curran. However, the simplicity doesn't get in the way of making this story interesting! The characters come across as original, but I didn't feel like there was much development. I hope that we will learn more about the characters in future books.

Korman's society of hypnotists is fascinating. I look forward to learning more about the intricacies of their world and how Jax fits into it. After all, he is in a very special situation. More information about how hypnotism works for a variety of different characters would also be great to see in the sequels. 

I'm excited to read the next book in the series and see how the story progresses. 3.5 stars out of 5.

I'll be reviewing THE WINNER'S CURSE next Monday, so check back to learn about a recent YA read!

See other MMGM reviews on Shannon Messenger's website.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Nothing Today!

I'm afraid that I don't have a review prepared for you today. I was going to do a MMGM, but I'm a bit behind.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Review: THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND

Before we begin, I wanted to send out a big THANK YOU to all of my readers in honor of my hundredth post! You guys are amazing!

*clears throat* Now to the review!

I'm kind of behind when it comes to Kasie West's newest book, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND. I picked up this beautiful book today and just finished it, so there will be some slight variations due to my mind still being stuck in Gia's world.


(source: Goodreads)


Goodreads tells us:

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

My review:

As you all know, I love Kasie's romance novels! I've been looking forward to this books since she told me about it in my November 2013 interview with her!

I watched CLUELESS last night for the first time in years, and I found that there are some similarities between the two plots and characters.

I really liked how Gia wasn't the usual popular mean girl. As the reader, I felt loyal to her and stayed on her side, even when her actions were less than commendable. Gia's journey was quite interesting, and I got to see quite a bit of change take place.

Gia shares a strained relationship with Jules, a girl who recently joined their friend group. Jules seems to enjoy vocally sparing with Gia. Claire, who is the close to Jules, drops multiple hints about Jules' rough home life and poor relations with her mother. However, Jules' problems is never explained in more detail, and the reader isn't given a clear reason regarding why she pokes at Gia in the manner that she does. I wish this was explained in greater detail and there was a more definite feelings of closure.

As with most of Kasie's books to date, this is a love story. The guy, whose name I will not share because of a spoiler-y reason and will therefore call FIB, is very well done. Tall with "dreamy" blue eyes, FIB plays his part very well. He is an actor, and I wish that I could have seen more of his acting, perhaps watching him preform in a show rather than just him practicing.

THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND is more complex than Kasie's other books. The relationships are constantly in flux, and it feels as if the book's characters have their own lives, existing and living even when they aren't in the spotlight. The characters really power the plot and bring it to new places. Unfortunately, some of the characters are a little annoying at points.

I would definitely recommend it to people who are looking for a sweet love story.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review: ASSASSIN'S BLADE

It's been a while since I've posted, but I'm finally getting back into it with Sarah J. Maas' ASSASSIN'S BLADE.

I've done a reviews on the other three books in the THRONE OF GLASS series. This book a collection of five novellas. I usually don't review novellas. However, I thought it would allow readers of the other books to decide if they wanted to invest in this additional book.

Before we begin, I want to let you know that I am going to be slow on email replies for the next few weeks. I will try to continue to blog. Thank you for understanding!


(Source: Goodreads)

All of Sarah's covers are amazing, but I think this one may be my personal favorite. 

I will skip doing my own summary because Goodreads and my review both do a good job summarizing the novellas.

Goodreads says:

Contains all five novellas.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

My review:

This book contains the following stories: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Healer, The Assassin and the Desert, The Assassin and the Underworld, and The Assassin and the Empire.

The stories reference each other and line up quite nicely, so you won't feel disjoined when moving from one to the next. My personal favorite is The Assassin and the Desert. Unlike some of the other stories, it had a complete story that introduced and solved a single conflict. The characters in this particular piece are very well done. 

I also enjoyed The Assassin and the Healer. Its tone and purpose is different from the other novellas, but I think that it gives incredible insight on Celaena's character. 

The Assassin and the Underworld and The Assassin and the Empire both feature Sam, who is mentioned in THRONE OF GLASS and throughout the series. From glancing at some of the other Goodreads reviews and listening to other fans, I have learned that Sam is a favorite. I did not fall in love with him the way other fans did, so that may be why I didn't find these novellas as interesting. 

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord was, to be honest, unremarkable. It gave us an introduction to Sam and some of the other assassins, but the story itself felt like it was just there to give us a chance to get to know Sam and his relationship with our heroine. All the same, it is Sarah J. Maas, so I do tend to have expectations that may or may not be fair.

THE ASSASSIN'S BLADE does a great job giving background on some of the things Celaena mentions but never explains in the series. There is one very juicy piece of information hidden in the pages: the identity of the person who betrayed her.

I really enjoyed ASSASSIN'S BLADE and the insight it gave me on Celaena. I recommend reading it after THRONE OF GLASS because it does spoil some of the tension. 

4 out of 5 stars.