ARC Review: The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner {4.5 stars}

Title: The Memory of Things
Author: Gae Polisner
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016
Pages: 288
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

The powerful story of two teenagers finding friendship, comfort, and first love in the days following 9/11 as their fractured city tries to put itself back together.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School. Moments later, terrified and fleeing home to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, he stumbles across a girl perched in the shadows. She is covered in ash and wearing a pair of costume wings. With his mother and sister in California and unable to reach his father, a New York City detective likely on his way to the disaster, Kyle makes the split-second decision to bring the girl home. What follows is their story, told in alternating points of view, as Kyle tries to unravel the mystery of the girl so he can return her to her family. But what if the girl has forgotten everything, even her own name? And what if the more Kyle gets to know her, the less he wants her to go home? The Memory of Things tells a stunning story of friendship and first love and of carrying on with our day-to-day living in the midst of world-changing tragedy and unforgettable pain—it tells a story of hope.

I was given a copy of this book by St. Martin’s Griffin 
through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was only in prep 1 when the planes hit the twin towers. I remember not understanding what my teacher was saying when she told us the news the next day, and I just proceeded to talk with my seat mates. Being in the Philippines and being just a kid, I was clueless about what happened. It wasn’t until years later that I learned and was able to comprehend the tragedy that struck New York that day.
According to the author’s note, this book is not about tragedy but about hope, solidarity and peace amidst tragedy, and I think that it’s the perfect description for this book. Kyle was moving away from the twin towers when he saw a girl in need of help. The girl lost her memory but Kyle took her with him to their apartment. This story follows how Kyle took charge in the absence of his parents, needing to take care of his paralyzed uncle and the girl who lost her memory, all while tracking his parents and sister through the disaster. 
I know that this is not about tragedy, but let’s just talk about that for a moment. Being in the Philippines and a kid when it happened, I didn’t really know how big of a tragedy 9/11 is (and I use is because it still affects a lot of people until today). I knew that it was a tragedy, but I didn’t care much. However, reading this book really made me feel what it was like to be in the middle of the tragedy, and the horror that everyone experienced. This book made 9/11 resonate in my heart and my memory. 
Gae Polisner’s writing style is just amazing that it allowed me to experience everything as if I was there myself. She writes in such a way that I was able to really absorb and internalize everything, and that’s such a powerful thing for her to have because not all authors can do that. Sure, most authors can make us feel something, but not to this extent. And I’m glad that Gae Polisner used her talent to write about this topic because it’s something that not many talk about. 
Now onto the romance part. The romance is the clichéd convenient romance because they’re the only two teenagers there, but it was also realistic in a way. They knew that things will be different after the tragedy, and they would have to deal with people outside of their bubble. In that way, it was realistic for me. Romance is not the central part of this book and it didn’t really make me feel a lot of feels, but I think that it was a really important part of the story, with what the author was trying to get across. 
Aside from the above-mentioned things, I don’t really know what more to say about this book and I why I really liked it. It’s just amazing overall and I don’t know what details to give. The whole book just tied together so well from beginning to end. It’s such a powerful novel, and I believe that everyone has to read it. It wasn’t boring in any way, but it was kind of somber because of the overarching frame of tragedy. I would really like to read more books like this one when I get the time, and if you guys have read anything like this, please recommend some to me.
4.5 cuts-through-you stars. 

DNF Review: Empire of Dust by Eleanor Herman

Title: Empire of Dust
Author: Eleanor Herman
Series: Blood of Gods and Royals #2
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 28th, 2016
Pages: 432
My Rating:

In Macedon, war rises like smoke, forbidden romance blooms and ancient magic tempered with rage threatens to turn an empire to dust

After winning his first battle, Prince Alexander fights to become the ruler his kingdom demands—but the line between leader and tyrant blurs with each new threat.

Meanwhile, Hephaestion, cast aside by Alexander for killing the wrong man, must conceal the devastating secret of a divine prophecy from Katerina even as the two of them are thrust together on a dangerous mission to Egypt.

The warrior, Jacob, determined to forget his first love, vows to eradicate the ancient Blood Magics and believes that royal prisoner Cynane holds the key to Macedon’s undoing.

And in chains, the Persian princess Zofia still longs to find the Spirit Eaters, but first must grapple with the secrets of her handsome—and deadly—captor.

New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman entwines the real scandals of history with epic fantasy to reimagine the world’s most brilliant ruler, Alexander the Great, in the second book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 

This pains me so much because this is just not me, but dnf at 57%

I received a copy of Legacy of Kings last year and I was so happy to read it. I was really very interested in the story of Alexander the Great, especially his teenage years. I also really loved the fact that Eleanor Herman is a historian, so even though this has a dash of fantasy with it, the accounts would mostly be true to history. However, I didn’t really like it because there were too many POVs. As such, the whole story arc is just actually really short. At the end of the book, I was so unfulfilled because I felt like the events were still too few.

When I received a copy of Empire of Dust for review, I literally screamed with joy because I thought I would finally get the story that I so wanted to know more of. However, it turns out that I have the same problem with this one as I did the first book. Still, there are so many POVs and still, at 57%, there is nothing truly interesting going on. It still feels like I’m in the first few chapters of the book, instead of being past the middle.

One thing you guys should know about me is that I rarely dnf a book. I think the number of books I’ve dnf-ed in my entire life amounts to less than 10 books. However, it just so happens that I really have a lot of things on my plate now and this is just not cutting it. I’ve been reading this book for days and days already, and I just don’t have the patience right now to sit through it again (since it already happened in the first book).

I might get back to reading this one once I have more free time because honestly, this is a really interesting story. It’s very unique and it would be a waste not to know what happened. I think that this book truly has the potential to be amazing. It’s just that it’s at a much slower pace than I prefer.

ARC Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

Title: And I Darken
Author: Kiersten White
Series: The Conquerors Saga #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Publication Date: July 7th, 2016
Pages: 496
My Rating: 2 Stars

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she’ll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This book is totally not what I expected at all. And I Darken is shelved under fantasy and historical fiction in Goodreads, and I expected more from the fantasy than the historical aspect of it. However, it turns out that this has a more historical fiction feel, even if it doesn’t follow historical events.

And I Darken features an anti-princess that you would just love to hate. Lada is cruel, ruthless and cunning, even when it comes to the ones she holds dear. She would fight anyone in her way, even if it means hurting the ones she love. But beneath all that hard exterior, what Lada wants most of all is to return home to Wallachia, and finally claim what is hers (or so she thinks).

For the first 50% of this book, I was so bored that I almost gave up on it. The narrative was overbearing most of the time, but written in such a way that you can’t risk not reading it because there would be information there. I only convinced myself to finish this book because so many had liked it, and I so badly wanted to like it myself. It’s a good thing that after the first 50% of the book, it picked up and became a little bit more interesting. It wasn’t exciting or anything, but just a little bit interesting so reading it wouldn’t be a torture.

I think because that because of what I expected from this book, I became really disappointed by it. I truly thought that there would be a touch of fantasy in the sense of powers or something, but there wasn’t anything. And I would have been fine with that if this was an interesting book, but no, no, no; not at all. I also expected the plot to be on a much larger scale than what I got. I think the plot didn’t do the characters and the world – if I can call it that – justice.

I tried so hard to like this, but to no avail. I am deeply disappointed because it was one of my highly anticipated releases, and I was so glad when I got approved. However, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

2 what-a-bore stars

Blog Tour + Giveawa: Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

Title: Ivory and Bone
Author: Julie Eshbaugh
Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Pages: 464
My Rating: 4 Stars

A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Ivory and Bone is the type of story that you don’t need to connect to the characters to enjoy, much like an epic or a fairytale. It takes place in the prehistoric era when clans had to move from place to place in order to find food to eat. The tone of the book is pretty serious, but if you go into it knowing that, then I think that you would really enjoy this book.

I think what I really enjoyed in this book, more than anything else, is the setting of the story. It takes place in a time not typically mentioned in books. It’s very unique, and I don’t know if it’s true to what happened back then, but even so, it felt like having a glimpse of those times. This book showed hunting, arranged marriages between clans, the need to produce heirs, and many other things that was really enjoyable to get a glimpse of.

Although the story is a bit centered on finding a bride for Kol, the son of the High Elder of their clan, this book doesn’t really focus on romance. Instead, it focuses on clan rivalry, and all the complicated things that goes between clans. There’s also this teeny, tiny hint of mystery, which makes it all the more interesting. While romance is not the center of this plot though, we can still see bits and pieces of it throughout the story.

As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t need to feel the connection to the characters for me to enjoy the story. However, I did connect with the story itself. Not because I can relate to it or anything, but I just found myself captivated by the setting, which felt like a whole new world to me because of how different it is from present times.

One of the factors of why I wasn’t able to connect well with the characters is because of the second person point of view way that the story was written. Throughout the whole novel, Kol was addressing everything to Mya. Not that I think it didn’t work out, it’s just that I generally don’t prefer 2nd person POVs because I feel either like I’m being called another name, or that I’m intruding on something that I sohuldn’t be reading. Other than this, though, the story is deeply enjoyable, and I found myself liking the story.

Overall, the book is not what I expected it to be, but I was given a glimpse of way of living in the prehistoric era. Although written in second person POV, I still found this story enjoyable and intersting.

4 it’s-too-interesting! stars. 

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Follow the Ivory And Bone by Julie Eshbaugh Blog Tour and don’t miss anything! 
Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Julie Eshbaugh is the author of the upcoming Ivory and Bone (HarperCollins, 2016). She used to have trouble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. Julie eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives with her husband, son, cat and dog. Her favorite moments are when the unexpected happens and she cheers loudest when the pitcher gets a hit.

ARC Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

Title: My Lady Jane
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retelling
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date:  June 7th, 2014
Pages: 512 pages
My Rating: 5 Stars

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.

My Lady Jane is so different from what I imagined it would be. Truthfully, I didn’t think that I would like this book when I read the first few chapters. The narrators didn’t merely narrate the story in this book; they actually talk to the readers. For those of you who watch the TV series Jane the Virgin, you know that there’s a narrator that talks to the watchers, and it’s the same case in this book. I found it weird at first, how these narrators would just pop out out of nowhere and talk to me, the reader. However, as I read on, I became used to it, and at some point I actually found it quite amusing and entertaining.

I was also wary at first how three writers would be able to write together coherently, but it turns out that I was worried for nothing. The story flowed seamlessly, the plot is cohesive, and the pacing is good. I haven’t read a book written by any one of these authors yet, but I think after this I should. I also think that these three should work together to write another book because they’re just so good at it! I know that this book ended nicely, but I kind of wish that it’s part of a series, just to read another book written by these three again.

My Lady Jane went beyond my expectations! I thought it would just be an imaginative historical retelling which weaves magic into the history of England, but it’s so much more than that. It’s also about family, betrayal, allies, strategy, companionship, self-discovery and love. I think the most unexpected thing of all from this is the feels, because I usually don’t expect feels from historical retellings. And oh my gosh, the feels just made me feel so giddy!

My Lady Jane is somewhat of a serious book because of the main story arc. However, the authors were able to manage to make this one light as well because of how some of the characters interacted with each other. Jane and Gifford often argued with each other, while Edward and Gracie often teased each other. I really liked how this book is not all serious, how the authors managed to put some fun into it too. Actually, there were a few times when I laughed out loud, which is something only a few books can accomplish.

I have so much love for the main characters in this book! They’re all either kind, or clever, or badass, or all three. I was fascinated by historical fictions back when I was younger, but I thought that I had outgrown them because the last few historical fictions books I read were not-so-good ones. My Lady Jane has restored my faith in historical fiction books! I just didn’t expect to love this one so much!

Overall, I just really enjoyed this book in a way that I never thought I would. I love the story, the magic and the characters, and any day these three authors decide to write another book together, I would buy it without reading the synopsis!

5 i-love-it-i-love-it! stars

SST: Outrun the Moon Review + Giveaway!

Title: Outrun the Moon
Author: Stacey Lee
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 24th, 2016
Pages: Kindle, 400
My Rating: 4 Stars

San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. Fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, yet Mercy still has the ‘bossy’ cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenaged girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in 
exchange for an honest review as part of the Sunday Street Team. 

  Outrun the Moon is the type of book that should be assigned as book reports in high school. I have to admit that I usually hate reading books about tragedy, but I also have to admit that this one surpassed my usual expectations. Stacey Lee is a master with words and diversity, and I’m so glad to finally have read a novel written by her!

  I’d like to think of Mercy Wong as someone who is called hard-headed in the Chinese community. Where westerners value independence, most Asians value interdependence. It was very nice for me to have read things about Chinese superstitions because while I am Chinese and my parents grew up there, I was born in another place. Although I understand that Mercy’s parents are from Hong Kong, rather than Mainland China.

  I didn’t expect this book to touch my heart so much. The emotions I felt after the disaster took place felt raw and very much real. Stacey Lee paints a vivid picture with her words, but she also has the ability to make readers feel the emotions of the character, as if I were the character for a while. I really felt Mercy’s grief and unwavering hope as I read, especially near the end.

  Outrun the Moon is an amazing novel about a headstrong, resourceful, practical and compassionate Chinese girl in the time when there were a lot of prejudices about Chinese people. What I admire about Mercy is how she didn’t hate the people because of how they treated her, and in the times of disaster, she didn’t hesitate those in need, even if they were the Whites who once mocked her.

  This novel left me in awe and admiration because it was not what I expected. I thought this would be a light read, but no, no, and another no. Even now that it has been a few hours after I read this, I still carry the emotions I had when reading the book with me. Outrun the Moon is a novel that I believe everyone should read not only because of the wonderful writing, but also because of all the great insights that it has to offer. I just know that I will have a book hangover over this! 

:O stars

About the Author:

Stacey Lee is a fourth generation Californian with roots in San Francisco Chinatown. Born in Southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. She has lots of experience with earthquakes, having skinned her knees more times than she wants to remember diving under tables. One day she hopes to own a hypoallergenic horse and live by the sea. See what she’s up to on Twitter & Instagram: @staceyleeauthor.

The San Francisco Getaway

The Show Me San Francisco

The Hand Knit Shawl

ARC Review: Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman

Title: Traitor Angels
Author: Anne Blankman
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date:  May 3rd, 2016
Pages: Kindle, 336
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

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Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects.

Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.

Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s man arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Vivani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?

When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father…and tear apart the very fabric of society.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 
  I have always been fascinated by authors who can incorporate fiction or myths into history, so when I first heard about Traitor Angels, I immediately wanted to read it. Although I lack knowledge in history, I always find these types of stories intriguing. Anne Blankman is no doubt a brilliant author to have been able to weave this story, and for that I admire her talent.

  Traitor Angels is unlike any other book I’ve read. Set in the time of King Charles II, Traitor Angels tells the tale of the fictional characters Elizabeth Milton, the daughter of John Milton, and Antonio Galleti, a man from Florence. In this novel, Blankman weaved a conspiracy tale involving John Milton, Galileo Gallilei, Vicencio Vivani and the throne of England.

  I really didn’t expect this book to have religion embedded into it. As a general rule, I usually avoid books where religion plays an important role in the novel. As a result, I was taken aback a little by this. I also didn’t expect there to be mention of Galileo, but that was actually fascinating.

“Regardless of how fast you run, how far you go, you cannot get away from yourself.”

  Traitor Angels is a novel with blood-pumping action. Led by the badass main character Elizabeth, the characters took on a dangerous journey to discover what her father and Galilio has planted for them to find. Although the story was interesting, I found a few phrases to be repetitive, especially while they were figuring out some clues. I found them to be mentioned repetitively, and that was a bit annoying. Also, I sometimes found myself skipping some of the narratives because I just wanted to get to the end already.

  Traitor Angels is no doubt a work of art, but it just wasn’t for me. It’s different from what I expected it to be, although I still found the story to be interesting. As a whole, I just found it to be an okay book.

2.5 not-for-me stars

Review: Spring 2016 Penguin Teen Sampler

Title: Spring 2016 Penguin Teen Sampler

A few pages of each of the following books:
    • Salt to Sea by Ruta Sepetys (historical fiction)
    • The Dark Days Club by Allison Goodman (fantasy)
    • Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (fantasy)
    • The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry (historical fiction)
    • Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke (contemporary romance)

Thank you Netgalley and Penguin Teen for granting me access to this sampler.

Gosh, I can’t believe I’ve never payed attention to Sepetys’ books before because I thought I was the kind of person who hated reading world war books. Well, turns out I just needed the right book to convince me, and based on what I have read so far, this might be it! Gah, I can’t wait to buy her books and have a marathon! This was definitely a hit!

This was a ‘meh’ book for me. I don’t have much to comment on, other than it didn’t really leave an impression on me. The book may have become better, but based on the few pages that I read, this one’s not for me. This one’s a miss.

When I started reading this book, I thought that I wouldn’t like it. I was imagining the setting, and there just wasn’t that click that I was looking for. Even when I was reading, I didn’t feel particularly interested in reading the whole book. BUT! But then it was cut-off at just the right point, and now I’m interested in it and now I want to read the entire thing! This one’s a hit!

Okay, so I tend to avoid books surrounding religion, so this one is not for me. When religion is in the background, that’s fine. But in here, I think the main topic is religion, so I’m staying away from this one. This one’s a miss.

I love books where the characters are neighbors, but I just didn’t get what I read so far from this one. I’m not sure if there is just one narrator or if there are two. Maybe I was just not fully concentrating, but I was really confused as to what was happening. This one’s a miss too.
3 stars

Audiobook Review: The Ring and the Crown

Title: The Ring and the Crown
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

  Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

  Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

  But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard.

  Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.

 You know you really like a book when not one thing goes the way you want it to, and yet, someway, somehow, you still acknowledge how beautiful the book is and still be happy that you read it anyway. 

  The Ring and the Crown is an amazing book filled with intrigue, drama, politics and of course, romance. It is a captivating book that pulled me into a world of the court and ball dances, and it was a world that was easy to fall in love with.

“A false victory is a hollow one.”

  The Ring and the Crown is told from multiple perspectives – Marie-Victoria, princess of England and France; Isabelle, supposedly the wife of Leopold, prince of Prussia; Aelwyn, daughter of the empire’s mage, best friend of the princess; Ronan, an American girl seeking a husband because they are broke. I expected to be confused by this, but surprisingly, the continuum of the story was not disturbed, and the story flowed smoothly. 

  Of all the little stories in this book, my favorite is probably Ronan’s. From the start of the book, I already felt really connected to her. I mean, I was able to connect with all the characters in this book, but I felt the most connected to Ronan. There’s just something about her that pulled me in, and I was really rooting for her and Prince Wolf.

“One did not wonder why the sun shone in the sky, one just accepted it as a fact of life.”

  I read this book in Audio book format, and I must tell you, Jennifer Ikeda is truly a talented narrator. I think I would have liked this book less had it not been for her voice. She had the ability to add more intrigue and more wonder to the already intriguing and wonderful book.

   There were lots of things that happened in this book, and I didn’t feel bored at all. I couldn’t put off listening to the book, so as I did certain things like eat and do my chores, I was listening to the book. I couldn’t help it, the book is really amazing!

   The reason why I couldn’t give this book a full 5 stars is because towards the last 7 (I think) chapters of this book, I felt like things were rushed. One bad thing after another happened in just a matter of a few chapters, and they were all congested together. Certain things were also revealed in those last 7 chapters, and putting those revelations near the congested chapters just really put me off.

 There were a lot of things that didn’t happen the way I wanted it to. In fact, I was really just frustrated in the end. But despite that, as I said before, it’s not a reason for me to deduct a star or even half from my rating. I acknowledge how beautifully written this book is, and I understand that it was a good close to the story. 

  I really love this book and I cannot wait for the next one! Actually, it was only after finishing this book that I learned of the second book. I think that this book is amazing already even as a standalone, but of course now that I know about it, the need to read it as soon as possible is there.

  I recommend this book to those interested in a combination of historical fiction, romance and fantasy.