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The Quick & Dirty: The Winner’s Curse & Cruel Beauty

QUICK

A long while ago I thought it might be a good idea to post my Quick-ish thoughts about the books I’ve read but didn’t get the chance to review over on The Annex. But I found that the way I’d set things up didn’t meet the “quick” part of the post title. So I decided to let the idea slide.

But I still found that I really wanted to share my thoughts about some of those amazing – or not-so-amazing – books I’d read. And so I’m trying again here at Fiktshun.

This time, instead of creating such a rigid format and posting thoughts about a number of books in each post, I thought I’d be a little less formal and limit the number of Q&D thoughts to just two or three books.

Every once in awhile I may end up writing a review for a book I’ve given my Q&D thoughts about. Especially if it was a book I’d read quite a bit early. But for the most part these Q&D posts will be about books that have already released.

They’re not just pretty covers….

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The Winner's CurseTitle: THE WINNER’S CURSE (The Winner’s Trilogy #1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pages: 368
Release date: March 4, 2014
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook
Source: eARC and printed ARC from the publisher

Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

Description…

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.

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The Quick & Dirty…

Epic. Stunning. Extraordinary. All-consuming. An unputdownable, completely captivating read.

I knew I would love this book. I expected it to be amazing. I was not in the least bit disappointed. The gorgeous cover doesn’t hold a candle to the awesomeness that is the story beneath. It was even better than I imagined it could be.

Kestrel was a heroine that I instantly liked. She was strong and independent and oh so clever. She got herself into a number of predicaments, some deadly, but was able to use her intelligence to find solutions. As the story progressed I became totally invested in her outcome and knew I would continue with this series to its conclusion to find out what that outcome is.

I loved that this story held secrets and betrayal. I loved that the world was so danger-filled and unpredictable. I loved that the author didn’t hold back and was willing to challenge her characters, put them in difficult situations and make them face seemingly insurmountable obstacles, heartbreak and loss.

I had the highest of expectations for THE WINNER’S CURSE and it far exceeded them. The writing is simply beautiful, the world is one I found totally enthralling, Krestrel and Arin are characters I am desperately rooting for, and it’s a must read now story that I can’t wait to continue.

How it rates…

06

Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

Favorite quote…

“I will tell you something you can trust is true.” Arin’s eyes held hers. “We are not friends.”

Kestrel swallowed. “You’re right,” she whispered. “We’re not.”

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Cruel BeautyTitle: CRUEL BEAUTY (Cruel Beauty Universe)
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 352
Release date: January 28, 2014
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook
Source: eARC from the publisher

Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

Description…

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

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The Quick & Dirty…

Beautiful. Imaginative. Heartbreaking. Magical. An utterly gorgeous read.

Rosamund Hodge takes the Beauty and the Beast story to the next level. I was wary of this story with its amazing cover before I began because of the possibility of it giving me déjà vu. But not once did I make comparisons to those other tales. The build-up took a little while, but from the moment Nyx arrived at Ignifex’s castle I was transfixed.

The story was enchanting and fascinating and the characters were quite different from what I imagined them to be. But it was the world the author created that kept me riveted. It kind of blew my mind. It was a total surprise. Which is why I can reveal no more about it.

The love story was perfectly, achingly heartbreaking and it made this already amazing story absolutely incredible.

CRUEL BEAUTY is creative and unique, with an intricate and brilliantly developed plot, a book I will forever call a favorite, and a total must read.

How it rates…

06

Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

Favorite quote…

“…You are never safe with me.” I drew a shuddering breath, trying to will away the sting of tears.

He opened his eyes and stared up at me as if I were the door out of Arcadia and back to the true sky. “That’s what makes you my favorite.” He reached up and wiped a tear off my cheek with his thumb. “Every wicked bit of you.”

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