ARC Review and Giveaway: RED WINTER (The Red Winter Trilogy Book One) by Annette Marie


A New Series from Amazon Best-Selling Author Annette Marie, RED WINTER is coming…

“Soon all her human fears would become meaningless. Her future had been written by the kami, and her destiny awaited her.”

In the enchanting new fantasy RED WINTER by Annette Marie, Emi Kimura has been preparing her entire life to become the mortal host of a goddess. When she discovers the lies surrounding her true fate, she makes a dangerous bargain with a fox spirit to seek out the truth. As her final days as a mortal approach, she must choose whether to bow to duty ... or fight for her life.


ABOUT THE BOOK:
Emi is the kamigakari. In a few short months, her life as a mortal will end and her new existence as the human host of a goddess will begin. Carefully hidden from those who would destroy her, she has prepared her mind, body, and soul to unite with the goddess—and not once has she doubted her chosen fate.

Shiro is a yokai, a spirit of the earth, an enemy of the goddess Emi will soon host. Mystery shrouds his every move and his ruby eyes shine with cunning she can’t match and dares not trust. But she saved his life, and until his debt is paid, he is hers to command—whether she wants him or not.

On the day they meet, everything Emi believes comes undone, swept away like snow upon the winter wind. For the first time, she wants to change her fate—but how can she erase a destiny already wrought in stone? Against the power of the gods, Shiro is her only hope … and hope is all she has left.

Release Date: October 21, 2016. 

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Excerpt for RED WINTER (Red Winter Trilogy Book 1):
The yokai didn’t move, just held her in place with a strength she couldn’t fight. She tipped her head back to see his face, to gauge his intent. His gaze traveled across her room, intent and analyzing. Then his eyes flicked down and he appeared almost surprised to see her staring up at him. His mouth curved into a sly grin, flashing pointed canines.

His amusement at her terror sparked a tiny surge of anger. “Let me go!”

“Ah, little miko, didn’t anyone ever tell you not to run from yokai?” His deep, purring voice sent a shiver across her skin. He leaned down as his hand on her throat forced her head back. He brushed his nose along her jaw, from her chin up to her ear. “It’s the surest way to make us pounce,” he whispered, his breath tickling her ear.

Goose bumps raced down the back of her neck and she clenched her jaw. “Get your hands off me.”

He hummed as he pushed his face into her hair, inhaling through his nose. “But didn’t you put your hands on me first?”

“I was treating your wounds.” She summoned her most commanding tone, desperately hoping her voice wouldn’t quaver. “You’re proving that your kind’s reputation is well deserved with such disrespect and ingratitude toward the person who saved your life.”

His head came up and fear shot through her that she’d offended him, that he would surely kill her now. Instead, he made a thoughtful noise, and his hands fell away, releasing her.

She almost leaped out of his lap but remembered his comment about running from yokai. With more self-control than she’d thought she had, she carefully stood, walked four steps, and turned to face him. He stayed where he was, lounging on the bed with his feet on the floor, casually propped up on one arm. His head tilted to one side as he watched her, and that slight, knowing grin played about his lips.

She sank down to kneel on the floor, mostly because her legs were shaking so badly she was afraid he’d notice. As nonchalantly as possible, she slid her hands into the opposite sleeves of her kimono and pinched her hidden ofuda between two fingers, ready to pull the paper talismans out.

“No need for that, little miko,” he remarked, each word almost caressing her. How could he have such an otherworldly yet still human voice? “I will not harm you.”
She flushed, embarrassed she’d been so obvious, but didn’t let go of the ofuda. “What was that—that assault then?”

“Assault, you call it? That little embrace?”

“You—” She broke off with a small shake of her head. If he was determined to ignore the inappropriateness of forcefully holding a woman against him and rubbing his face on her, nothing she said would change his mind. “You have the manners of a dog.”

“What did you expect? The ritual greetings of the imperial court?”

“Some respect for the person who saved your life would have been welcome.”

“Ah, yes, you did save me, and I am very grateful.” He idly tugged at a lock of his hair as his gaze slid down her and back up again. “I am in your debt. Tell me your desire and I will fulfill it.”

“My—my desire?” she choked.

He smirked again. “A favor, little miko. I am saying I owe you a favor.”


BOOK REVIEW:
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I don’t know where to start. There are so many great things to say about the book but the more I think about what to write for my review I come up empty. EMPTY. Why do you do this to me Annette Marie?! Why do you always leave me speechless and feeling so heartbroken? But the most important question is… when is book two coming out?

Once again (but rather unsurprisingly) I fell in love with Red Winter just as hard as I did with the Steel and Stone series. Only now I have a new fascination with Japanese mythology to add to my ever growing list of things to obsess over.

Red Winter was set in such a fascinating, intriguing world. The story takes place in modern Japan and all the history and mythology incorporated made me enjoy the book more. I know nothing of Japanese myths and history. My knowledge only goes as far as what Inuyasha (watched that show more times than I can count when I was a kid) has taught me. Which really wasn’t much. But it was obvious that the author did a thorough research to give readers an accurate depiction of Japanese folklore and I loved every bit of it. I mean what’s not to love? Red Winter was full of magic, action, romance, a whole lot of intrigue and an amazing set of characters. Everything I love about YA fantasy, Annette Marie delivered.

I admit the beginning was a bit slow for me. I actually got scared there for a second that I wouldn’t end up loving this the way I expected to. But really I shouldn’t have wasted my time worrying because once Emi learned what she learned and Shiro showed up, everything just got a whole lot better. And way, way more exciting and action-packed.

Emi is definitely a likable and strong heroine. She may not be kickass in the sword-wielding way but she shows her strength in the way she cares for people and in her ironclad determination of approaching things. I really loved getting to know her. One of the things I find the author to be really good at is creating characters that you would come to love and care for from the get-go. And Emi? She had my heart from the start. But Shiro? I don’t want to say too much but… SHIRO. It feels like cheating. Am I cheating? Sorry Ashtaroth. I still love you but, well, like I said SHIRO.

Red Winter was such an amazing read. I love Annette Marie’s writing. She has this way of capturing a reader’s attention and have the book just screaming at you to read it in one sitting. Add to that all the beautiful illustrations and you have the most perfect book you could cuddle with ‘til morning. That’s honestly one of the things I love most about the book. Not only did the drawings give the book a more unique twist but it also made the reading experience more enjoyable. Whoever came up with that brilliant idea deserves a cake. A LOT of cake.

This is honestly one of the books that I will read again and again until the second one comes out. There are still so many questions left unanswered and we still need to know who Shiro really is. I am DYING of curiosity. And is it just me or does anyone else want to meet the Kunitsukami and the other Amatsukami? And doesn’t Yumei sound like just the villain you can’t help but love no matter how untrustworthy he seems? Also he seemed kind of hot, was he not? DAMN. The wait is going to be AGONIZING.

And in case I still didn’t get it across: I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this book.

Thank you so much Barclay Publicity for the review copy! And to Annette Marie for writing such a wonderful book! I really cannot wait to read the next installment! And, uhm, is it possible that this really isn't a trilogy but a ten-book series?? Because I need more Shiro in my life <3

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, which includes the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night. Her first love is fantasy, a limitless realm of creativity where she can break all the boring rules of real life, but fast-paced urban fantasy, bold heroines, and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She proudly admits she has a thing for dragons, and her editor has politely inquired as to whether she intends to include them in every book.

Annette lives in the frozen winter wasteland of northern Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad). She shares her life with her remarkably patient, comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

To find out more about Annette and her books, visit her website at www.authorannettemarie.com

Find Annette Marie: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY:
Grand Prize: 1 Winner will Receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card
Runner-Ups: 3 Winners will Each Receive one $10 Amazon Gift Card Each

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