August 21, 2019

Crown of Coral and Pearl Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Crown of Coral and Pearl 
Author: Mara Rutherford 
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Inkyard Press
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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.
Crown of Coral and Pearl is a fantastic young adult fantasy debut that fans of the genre are sure to love. I'm very impressed that this is the author's debut. You never would guess it from just reading. Her raw talent and storytelling ability shines through almost instantly. I was drawn into Nor's world right from the beginning and lost myself inside of it until I had finished the final words. The author uses a great blend of vivid imagery and detailed descriptions that brought this world to life in front of my eyes. I felt like I was experiencing everything right along with Nor throughout the whole story.

Speaking of Nor, I loved her as the main character. She's incredibly realistic and easy to connect with right from the start. She's complex with both good qualities and flaws. She's strong, brave, determined, a loving daughter and sister, devoted to her family and her people, and has a need to do whatever it takes to save those she loves. Her flaws are physical - the scar on her cheek - as well as others like being stubborn, having a bit of a temper, and not being so great at holding her tongue. 

One major thing that I loved about both Nor and the story itself is that it's told from the first person point of view, from Nor's perspective. This is by far my favorite writing style and I love that the author chose to use it for this book. I believe it lets the reader connect on a deeper level with the narrator. We get to know their innermost thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams, memories, fantasies, and everything in between. Without that connection, I almost never have the same kind of positive reading experience and reaction, which is why I'm so glad the author used it for this book.

Although the plot itself isn't wholly original, the author puts her own spin on things to make it fresh and interesting. There really isn't anything with that type of plot and theme that you can change to make it unique enough not to recognize the story line and basic plot structure. However, I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it to fans of young adult fiction, fantasy, mythology, and romance.
Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world, from Russia to Peru, along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband and two sons. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Master's degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London and would rather study the folklore of her next post than the language (which she has found is a lot more fun but not nearly as useful). She is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor. Her debut YA fantasy, CORAL AND PEARL, will release from Harlequin Teen in Fall 2019.
Win (1) of (15) copies of CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL by Mara Rutherford (US ONLY)
Starts: August 19, 2019
Ends: September 2, 2019

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

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