Arc Review: The Poison Season by Mara Rutherford

Title: The Poison Season
Author: Mara Rutherford
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: December 6th, 2022
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Rating: ⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review. All opinions are my own.

“Leelo has spent her entire life on Endla, coexisting with the bloodthirsty Forest and respecting the poisonous lake that protects her island from outsiders who seek to destroy it. But as much as Leelo cares for her community, she struggles to accept that her younger brother will be exiled by his next birthday, unless he gains the magic of enchanted song so vital to Endla.
When Leelo sees a young outsider on the verge of drowning in the lake, she knows exactly what she’s supposed to do. But in a moment that will change everything, Leelo betrays her family, her best friend, and Endla by making an unthinkable choice.
Discovery could lead to devastating consequences for both Leelo and the outsider, Jaren, but as they grow closer, Leelo realizes that not all danger comes from beyond the lake—and they can only survive if Leelo is willing to question the very fabric of her society, her people, and herself.” (Goodreads)

I keeping going back and forth with this author. Although I liked her debut duology, the last two books (this one is included in that) she has written have just not been for me. I don’t know if it is because they are standalones or the writing. It could honestly be both. The writing, especially for this one, felt on the younger YA side and I’m just not a fan of that.

The book is told from multiple point-of-views but done in third-person narrative. The point-of-views came more from Leelo though than Jaren. It does make sense as to why it is done this way since they are from different areas but she is the one who lives on a mysterious island where outsiders are not welcome.

I don’t think the characters were bad. I just didn’t connect with them. They do go through some harsh things, especially Leelo. She has to maneuver her feelings and still try to be there for her family even though it feels like some of them belittle her. A lot of the side characters had very little page time and were mostly there for certain plotlines. Leelo very much as the “not like other girls” vibe going on and it’s one trope I just can’t do.

Even though the setting was interesting I felt like the world-building lacked overall and I still had some unanswered questions. I wouldn’t say that this book was any different than others I have read with similar styles. It was just average. 🤷‍♀️

Overall, this wasn’t for me. I wanted to like it but it is hard when the writing doesn’t work for you and you can’t connect with the characters. I love the cover though!


Arc Review: Luminous by Mara Rutherford

Title: Luminous
Author: Mara Rutherford
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: October 5th, 2021
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“Liora has spent her life in hiding, knowing discovery could mean falling prey to the king’s warlock, Darius, who uses mages’ magic to grow his own power. But when her worst nightmare comes to pass, Darius doesn’t take her. Instead, he demands that her younger sister return to the capital with him. To make matters worse, Evran, Liora’s childhood friend and the only one who knows her secret, goes missing following Darius’s visit, leaving her without anyone to turn to.

To find Evran and to save her sister, Liora must embrace the power she has always feared. But the greatest danger she’ll face is yet to come, for Darius has plans in motion that will cause the world to fall into chaos–and Liora and Evran may be the only ones who can stop him.” (Goodreads)

I was excited to start another book by this author after liking her debut duology. She does a good job of creating such an interesting plot and this one had that same quality. Although I did like it overall, I still had a couple issues with it as well.

Liora has magic but isn’t able to use and must be very strict when it comes to going into town. Her seclusion felt a lot like Rapunzel’s from Tangled. She even glows at time but it’s not her hair. You can tell that she loves her family and would do anything for her sisters, especially the youngest one. There are a couple quarrels between them and hints of jealousy but what sibling bond doesn’t have that? Liora has good development throughout the book as she tries to understand her abilities while also learning more about the Lord Darius that everyone is afraid of.

Lord Darius is an interesting guy and usually I don’t like villains but I did take a liking to him. He definitely is more complicated than what is led on at the beginning and I also liked his development as well.

There is some romance in this book. To me, it felt very minor and it also was one of those where Liora already has feelings for him after being friends with him. This development obviously happens off the page so it was hard to actually feel anything for them when they were together. I also didn’t like the development the relationship throughout the book. Liora knows what she wants by Evran is very wishy-washy and the whole trying to let her go to save her got old real quick.

As I mentioned previously, the plot is very unique and what really makes this story. The magic system isn’t new and there are some abilities that have been used before but she still makes the ones that a very present throughout the book special in their own way. Using a star/light as a magical ability was fun to read about and I liked to see how it involved Lord Darius and what Liora would do with her power.

There are some plot twists that I definitely wasn’t expecting. It made the pacing of the book good but the ending felt very rushed with all of the reveals just feeling very anticlimactic which is one of the things I dislike the most about books.

Overall, this was good. I liked the use of magic and the growth in Liora as she learns more about her specific magic along the way.

E-Arc Review: Kingdom of Sea and Stone (Crown of Coral and Pearl #2) by Mara Rutherford

Title: Kingdom of Sea and Stone (Crown of Coral and Pearl #2)
Author: Mara Rutherford
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Publisher: Inkyard Press

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an e-copy to review. All opinions are my own.

“Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister’s place, she’s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.

As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Nor’s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they’ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them…” (Goodreads)

I was really looking forward to finishing up this duology this year. The first book was amazing and grabbed my attention right away. Although I liked bits here and there for the sequel, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

One thing I was very curious about when it came to the sequel was the plot. The ending to the first left us with many questions.

For me, this plot was filled with too much will they or won’t they and not enough action. I was excited to see Talin and Nor. They never got a chance at happiness in book one due to many reasons and even though things were still unsettled, at least they were together. The thing is, I didn’t really like the parts with them. Nor didn’t seem to be interested him and kept trying to tell people they weren’t really together. If you truly loved someone why would you do that? I just felt that there was so much buildup for them in book one and in this one it just fell short.

As for the rest of the plot, there were some good action scenes and I enjoyed seeing new faces. Roan was pretty cool and I really liked his characters. I also liked that there was development between the sisters, Nor and Zadie. After them being away from each other for so long it was nice to see them together.

When it came to the villain part of the story, I did expect more. The ending wrapped up too nicely.

Overall, it was decent. It did take me a lot longer to read because it was just hard to get into at times. There were good moments but not enough for me to really enjoy it.

Crown of Coral and Pearl: Book Review

book review


{5D439202-1EE1-4CCF-BC12-60EFD2116DC7}Img400Title: Crown of Coral and Pearl
Author: Mara Rutherford
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: August 27th, 2019

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Synopsis: “For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.” (Goodreads)

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My Review:

This was one of those books that I knew little about but the synopsis had me so I requested it from my library on a whim. I finally had time to get to it with only 5 days to spare before it needed to be returned! Luckily, it was a surprising read that I found myself enjoying more than I thought I would.

I will say that the book does take a bit to get to the kingdom of Ilara but I was okay with it since backstory was provided about their village and why they pick a girl to go. There is also a lot that goes on between the two sisters, Nor and Zadie. I really enjoyed the connection between the sisters since I am a sucker for it. It’s probably because I have three sisters. Family is important and although there is discourse between Nor and her mother, it’s nice that she always has her sister by her side.

Zadie and Nor are completely different when it comes to personality. Zadie is like a flower, delicate and often times quiet especially when it comes to her feelings. Nor is obviously the opposite of that as she is outspoken and stubborn. I’m glad that they each had their own voice and it was easy to tell them apart than being muddled.

There are characters that you will love more than others and this is the case for Talin and Ceren. I tried really hard to give Ceren the benefit of the doubt and I did find myself being like, “Hey, he isn’t so bad!” Unfortunately that didn’t last long. He is quite the complex character as I can understand why he feels he must take the course of action he does. Talin on the other hand, swoon-worthy from the beginning. Just like the sisters, these brothers are very different except they don’t get along. I did like seeing the family dynamic of the royal family throughout the book.

When it came to the romance, I guess you could say it’s love at first sight which falls into insta-love. I know, it’s a trope I despise but I think I liked the way this book did it because it wasn’t like they lusted after each other and just needed to spend every waking moment together. Maybe it would have been different under other circumstances but who knows. I like what I like, okay!

The plot does have some interesting plot twists and for a majority of them, I didn’t see it coming. I can’t say I was a huge fan of the ending since it kind of wrapped up in a way but not really at the same time. Since there will be a second book, I am quite curious to see where it will go.

Overall, It was an enjoyable read that had me captivated and in my feelings. It was great not to be disappointed for once!