The Winner's Curse-- Marie Rutkoski

Release Date: March 4th, 2014
Genre: Romance, Political Intrigue
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Pages: 368
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
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.
Blurb: An okay read, but never really grabbed me.

Review: I've heard some people say that fans of the Grisha Trilogy will like this book. And eh... I think I can see where they're coming from. But I adore the GT, and this book... was just okay.

Does this book have a lot of politics? Honestly... not really. I felt like we never really got to see the inner workings of their world. The class systems and heirarchy were mentioned, but never fully explored. I didn't really get to know anyone but the two main characters. And so all I got was two perspectives when I wanted a lot more. And I don't mean I wanted a multiple POV book, just a more diverse cast of characters. Or even better, a more in depth exploration of those characters.

Was the love story interesting? Yes. It was very interesting to see the two main characters struggle with their loyalty to their culture, and to each other. That was something unique. And I appreciated that neither character was willing to throw either away easily. In most cases like this it seems that the characters decide to forget everything they've known for their whole lives and just run off together, OR they decide that the only way they can move forward is to completely abandon each other. Not so in The Winner's Curse. The characters wrestled very well with their conflicting emotions.

But in the end, I'm not quite sure I was invested enough to crave the sequel. I might pick it up someday if I get the chance. But I would recommend you get this one from the library before buying it.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2014
*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.

Audio Review: Elantris

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Narrator: Jack Garrett
Genre: High Fantasy
Producer: Recorded Books
Story Rating:
Audio Rating:

Story Review: So... I wasn't a huge fan of this story. And the more that I think about it the more holes I find. I've had an irrational "thing" against Brandon Sanderson for a while, though. So I don't know if my word is trustworthy in this case.

But in the end I found the story nice, but the novel not so much. That's why I'm glad I listened to it as an audiobook. The great narration almost made up for the not-as-good writing. And although I was very interested to know what would happen in the story, it was the "I almost want to just go read a synopsis" kind of interested. Not "I'm cherishing every word." Because honestly, there were just too many things that annoyed me. (like if he said "Kolo" ONE MORE TIME I was gonna smack somebody)

Audio Review: On the other hand, the audio was great! I thought Garrett did an awesome job portraying all the many different voices, male and female, and making it clear who was talking even when the novel wasn't super clear. I also liked that this was a LONG audiobook. Now that I listen to audiobooks as I drive to and from work (so at least an hour a day, and more if I decide to clean my apartment) I like having a book that can stay with me for a while.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2014

TV Tuesday: Austenland!

Today's TV Tuesday is going to be short, but oh-so-sweet. Because GUESS WHAT?! Austenland is finally out on DVD! So if you weren't able to see it in theatres, now is your chance! Click here to check it out on Amazon. They've also been running some fun contests on Facebook!

I really enjoyed this movie. Was it different from the book? Yes. Quite a lot. But I think the changes made were necessarily for the translation from page to screen. And honestly? I thought the changes were WONDERFUL because it meant that some things in the movie were still a surprise to me! it was like getting a whole new Austenland that was just as good as the original!

And the CAST! Oh man. Do not get me started on the cast. Everyone was brilliant! I really don't think I could have come up with a single person who could have done a better job.

So in a nutshell: BUY THE MOVIE!!!


All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2014

*The Diviners-- Libba Bray

Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Romance?
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 584
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.
Blurb: How can a book so long leave me wanting so much more?!

Review: This book... whoa. I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book, but it wasn't this. I think I assumed this book was a straight-up horror. And while there are a lot of horror/thriller elements, there is so much more. It's got horror, supernatural powers, steampunk, romance, and more. In fact, there is so much in this book, that one book can't contain it. And it doesn't, unfortunately.

The sequel to this book comes out this fall, and I don't know how people have waited so long. When I reached the end of this book I felt like a thousand gallons of information and plot had been poured over me, and yet I was still missing things! Because of this I began to doubt the book. I had read it primarily over the holiday break, and so I had large chunks of time to devote to it. Did that make it seem faster-paced than it really was? Would I have been bored by this book if I had been reading it in 30-60 minute intervals? I don't know.

What I do know, is that the characters seemed very interesting and complex. I didn't particularly like any of the characters, because I couldn't relate to them. But I still found them fascinating. And every twist and turn of the plot kept me on my toes and wondering if it really was magic, or if someone was just imitating magic. And even though I didn't feel like there was much of a cliffhanger at the end of this book I have SO MANY unanswered questions that I await the sequel with baited breath.

Other Reviews:
  • TBA (Loved it!) 
  • TBA (It was okay)
  • TBA (Didn't Like It.)

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2014
*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.

Audio Review: Birthmarked & Promised

Author: Caragh O'Brien
Narrator: Carla Mercer-Meyer
Genre: Dystopia, Romance
Producer: Tantor Media
Story Rating:
Audio Rating:

Story Review: Review of Birthmarked | Review of Prized

I hope y'all know that I love this series (though to be honest, I'm not like Prized as much as I listen to it. Conflicting moral opinions), but I do not love these audio books. I don't know that I've ever listened to a "Tantor Media" book, and I think I shall avoid listening to them in the future. If I weren't trying to refresh my memory so I could read Promised, I would not be listening to these.

Why? Well, for one the recording quality isn't very good. I can hear the author swallow quite a lot, or take a drink. And sometimes I can tell where the audio is cut together because her tone changes. And at one point during Birthmarked I though I heard something fall over...

But the main reason I don't like these audiobooks is the narrator herself. She has a slight lisp, which always drives me crazy, but there was something more than that: she pronounces this SO WEIRD! Sometimes I found myself wondering if she is seeing some of these words for the very first time, almost like this book is building her vocabulary. But like most people who see a word for the first time, she doesn't say it right. And I don't mean she says it in a different dialect or accent, I mean if she had ever heard this word before she would know that no one pronounces it that way. I occasionally wondered if maybe English wasn't her first language, but couldn't detect any accent.

She also isn't consistent with the way she pronounces things. The main characters name is Gaia, which sometimes she pronounces Guy-Uh (How I think it should be said), but sometimes she pronounces it Gay-Uh. And she does that with lots of other things too. Whether she was wrong/right, I wish she was consistent!

I wonder if that's something I should blame on the narrator, or the editors. I feel like her supervisors should have caught that and said "Watch how you pronounce Gaia's name." or "Cicada is actually pronounced Sih-Cay-Duh, try that again."

Regardless, BIG fan of these books, NOT a fan of these audiobooks.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2014

TV Tuesday: Video Games (1)

Video games TOTALLY count as TV, yeah? Because even though I think they're a lot more active than just watching TV, most of them do take place on a TV. So I'm featuring them. Plus, I love them. In this post I'm going to be talking about my 3 favorite series, which all happen to be for Wii/Nintendo, and next week I'll branch out to some non-Nintendo games!

The Legend of Zelda
Does this come as a shock to anyone? Really? If you know me IRL, or if you've known me long enough to this post, you know I am ga-ga for this series. Why? Because it's probably one of the most rich video game experiences out there. Every single game in this series has such dynamic characters, engaging story lines, and phenomenal gameplay. Although I definitely prefer the more realistic style games to the cartoony ones, it's hard to find a bad game in this series. My personal favorite is Twilight Princess. How about you?

What I also love about this game is how mentally stimulating it is. There are very few moments of button-smashing in LoZ. You have to think, and I mean really think. But you also have the freedom to explore this expansive (and beautiful) world. If there were only one video game franchise in the whole world, this would be the one I would want.

If you have a chance to play this series, I would recommend starting with Ocarina of Time. But really, you can start with anyone you want.

If you know video games, it also shouldn't be a surprise that I love this series. While LoZ is primarily fantasy, Metroid is essentially the sci-fi version of LoZ. In all of the games you play Samus Aran, a female bounty hunter (YES, Samus is A GIRL). And in almost all of the games Samus is the only intelligent life form in the game. Well... some of the aliens you kill are pretty clever, but what I mean is that it's a very isolated experience. I have a friend who does not like to play this game because she says it makes her feel lonely.

But I love it, for all the same reason as LoZ too. Except Metroid is often a bit darker and scarier, and that can be refreshing after playing the comparatively happy-fun-times of Zelda. But in the end it is also a puzzle-adventure game. So if you like puzzles, and you like explore HUGE alien planets, this is the game for you.

If you do decide to play Metroid, I would recommend starting with the Prime Trilogy. Unfortunately, getting the whole trilogy on Wii is PRICEY (anywhere from $50-$200 depending on new or used), but the gameplay on Gamecube just isn't quite as good in my opinion. So if you start with Prime #3: Corruption (the only one sold individually for Wii) you should still be able to follow the story just fine. Other M is good too, just a bit different from a typical Metroid game, which is why I suggest Prime.

Fire Emblem
This is a series I was only recently introduced to. Honestly, when I first played this game I got so bored. It is a turn-based RPG. Very different from LoZ and Metroid. But then I tried it over the holiday break and loved it! While it doesn't have as much adventure as the previous two series I've mentioned, it is essentially one big puzzle. And an added edge is that when a character dies they don't come back to life. Phew. That made for a lot of restarting.

But my absolute FAVORITE thing about this game was definitely the strong female characters. Although The Legend of Zelda's titular character is a pretty BA character, and the main character of Metroid is equally awesome, they aren't quite on the level of Fire Emblem when it comes to strong female characters. Because it is Link who saves Zelda. And although Samus is female, many people don't know that because she's inside a fairly androgynous robot-suit.

So what makes Fire Emblem different? There is absolutely no distinction in the way male and female characters are treated. Is the main character a man? Yes. But he's surrounded by strong female characters. And never once is the validity of their strength brought into question. And the female characters are as strong as the male characters. By the end of the game most of my MVPs were female. I loved it! After I finished these games I had about a dozen new video game heroes, all women.

Currently my favorite game in this series is Path of Radiance, but... it's also the only one I've played all the way through. So... start with that one?

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2014
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