Bite-Sized Reviews: Crash Land on Kurai, The Star-Touched Queen and Death’s Queen

July 19, 2017 Reviews 20

I’ve got three bite-sized reviews today—one for a book I loved and two for disappointing reads. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!


Bite-Sized Reviews: Crash Land on Kurai, The Star-Touched Queen and Death’s QueenCrash Land on Kurai by S.J. Pajonas
Series: The Hikoboshi Series #1
Published by Onigiri Press on July 18 2017
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 296
Source: The Author
My content rating: Adult? (Some violence, but no sex)
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Yumi Minamoto has the shortest fuse on the ship. She’s just whipped a bully and been confined to quarters, but she’s not staying there. A disgraced journalist trying to clear her name, her job is to document the mission to the Hikoboshi system, and she’s determined to get it right, despite all the trouble she causes. But when unknown vessels fire on their ship, and Yumi's life pod crash lands on a dying moon, she's separated from her family and friends, and her mission falls to pieces. Now she must navigate the unfamiliar and deadly terrain, deal with a society she doesn’t understand, and try to stay alive until rescue comes… if it ever does.

Crash Land on Kurai is the first book in the Hikoboshi Series, an action adventure, space opera series that explores the worlds settled by the Japanese who fled Earth a century ago. Culture, history, technology, and swords clash in a fast-paced future society on the brink of war.

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This book is a spin-off of Pajonas’s Nojiku Series, but you don’t have to read that first series to appreciate it. In fact, I have to confess that I’m horrible with remembering details of books I read long ago and I was struggling to remember all the connections between this book and the original series—but it didn’t matter one little bit because I still loved this one (actually a bit more than I loved the original series, I think).

Right away, I connected with the main character. Yumi is smart, tough and more than a little flawed (especially when it comes to being somewhat hotheaded and impulsive). She’s used to digging for the truth, not necessarily getting down and dirty in it, so when her ship crash-lands on a dangerous planet (well, technically on a moon), at first she feels out of her element. But it soon becomes apparent that she has to adapt to survive—and her keen ability to read people and situations just might come in handy after all, even if it is somewhat thwarted by an entirely new culture and set of customs.

The action in this book is intense, and the alien world that Yumi and her friends end up on dishes out quite a few surprises. I found myself happily immersed in the unique society that Pajonas created.

If I had any complaint, it would be that there’s only the teensiest budding of a possible romance in this book, and I’m eager for more—guess I’ll just have to keep reading!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews: Crash Land on Kurai, The Star-Touched Queen and Death’s QueenThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 342
Source: Purchased
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
My rating:
2.5 Stars

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

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I think this is a clear case of “just not for me” because a lot of people LOVE this book. And I have to say that the writing is gorgeous and the Indian mythology is wonderful. The setting is described beautifully—maybe too beautifully because I felt like the sheer amount of description was a bit overwhelming. But my real issue with the book is that it takes so long for anything to happen. Halfway through the book she has basically gone to her new husband’s house and walked around a lot, trying to figure out why everything’s so mysterious and why Amar won’t tell her his secrets. That’s it. Nothing else happens in that first half.

I will say that the second half picks up a bit, but by then I just wasn’t invested enough to care. I was in love with the setting, but I felt pretty much nothing for the characters, which meant that it was hard for me to feel moved by their circumstances. I eventually resorted to skimming, which is generally as close as I get to a DNF. I give this book 2.5 stars because the quality of the writing and the setting were wonderful but the story fell flat for me.


Bite-Sized Reviews: Crash Land on Kurai, The Star-Touched Queen and Death’s QueenDeath's Queen by Janeal Falor
Series: Death's Queen #1
Published by Chardonian Press on March 11th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 230
Source: The Author
My content rating: YA (Some violence)
My rating:
2 Stars

Nameless. Unknown. Alone.

An assassin without a name, born to kill. Owned by a vicious man who refuses to call her anything but girl, she is forced to commit atrocious acts of violence. Vowing to take her future into her own hands, the seventeen-year-old decides to risk everything on one act of defiance—drinking from The Death Drink. The beverage kills most whose lips touch it—only allowing those who are destined to be royalty survive the first sip.

Powerful. Revered. Hunted.

To the astonishment of the nation of Valcora, she imbibes it and lives, which crowns her queen. Thrown into a life of royal intrigue, she now has a purpose—to rule with the fairness she was never shown. Despite her altruistic plans, it becomes apparent that someone wants her dead. The new queen must use her training from the former life she only wants to forget in order to stay alive long enough to turn her kingdom into something she can be proud of. She’ll hold onto the crown… or die trying.

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Unfortunately, this book wasn’t great for me either, which made me sad because I loved Falor’s Mine Series (well, the three books I read—I still need to finish the series, actually).

The story is confusing because it throws you into a new fantasy world with almost no explanation. We know that the main character is an assassin who is owned by some guy who makes her kill people and that she doesn’t want to do that anymore. We really know nothing about the man who owns her, how she came to be with him, or any of his motivations, and by the end of the book it’s no clearer. We see that the MC (who is nameless, so I’ll just call her the MC) feels incredibly guilty about the people she’s killed because she spends a good portion of the beginning of the book talking about how she has no right to live and generally feeling sorry for herself. Then she becomes queen by surviving a magical drink. Except now, lots of people want to kill her because she’s queen—which didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I didn’t quite understand how constantly murdering the current queen so that there would be a new one helped anyone. And no one likes the MC (which was sort of understandable—she isn’t particularly likable), so she struggles a lot with her new role as queen.

I had a hard time investing in the story because the MC was generally unpleasant, and I had no idea why anyone was acting the way they were. Unfortunately, by the end of the book, I didn’t have a much clearer picture of what type of fantasy world the book took place in or why I should be rooting for the MC. She seemed to want to help the poorer classes, but that motivation didn’t seem to come from anywhere particularly genuine, so even that felt a little “off” to me.

Like I said, I’ve loved Falor’s work in the past, but this book just wasn’t for me. I ended up giving it 2 stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


So, apparently I wasn’t into queens this month? Have you read any of these? What did you think?

20 Responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews: Crash Land on Kurai, The Star-Touched Queen and Death’s Queen”

  1. ShootingStarsMag

    Sorry to see two of these just didn’t work for you. I haven’t read any of them, but I can totally understand how you feel about Star Touched Queen in terms of nothing happening for so long!! That’s awful.

    -Lauren

  2. Rabiah

    Oooooh, I hadn’t heard of CRASH LAND before, but now I’ve definitely got to check it out! And sorry that STAR-TOUCHED didn’t live up to potential. Glad the writing was great, but sad that it was slow. Great reviews!! 😀

  3. Karen Blue

    Yea, you are probably right about The Star-Touched Queen. I kept seeing those great reviews while I was reading it and I was determined to find out what everyone loved about it. I did get into it near the end but there was a lot of wondering. I found myself struggling to pay attention with all the details. I have the second book in the series but I can’t seem to get into it at all. The first book on your list, Crash Land on Kurai, looks really good. Thanks for sharing your honest reviews!

  4. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    Sorry to see that The Star-Touched Queen didn’t work for you. I’ve seen mostly positive reviews of it but with the slow pacing and it taking so long for anything to really happen – I wouldn’t be much of a fan, either.

  5. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    The only one I’ve read is TSTQ, and while I liked it, I didn’t *love* it like everyone else did- mostly because of the exact thing you mentioned, I was bored for nearly half of it. The writing was lovely for me though, which helped a bit- and the second half! BUt I still haven’t brought myself to read the sequel, so who knows. Sorry that two of these were misses for you! Great reviews!

  6. Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)

    I really liked Star Touched Queen because of the mythology, but like you I did feel it took forever for anything to happen. I started the sequel, but had trouble keeping my attention on it, so don’t know if I’ll go back and finish that one. Thanks for the mini-reviews!

  7. S. J. Pajonas

    Thank you for your review of CRASH LAND ON KURAI!! Romance to come in Book 2. 😉 It is the slowest of slow burn romances, especially since they tried to kill each other so many times in the first book. Lol.

  8. Jen

    I struggled with The Star-Touched Queen too. The book held so much promise, but it also lacked in areas too. I heard the follow-up book is a billion times better and that people who struggled with this one loved the second. Do you think you’re going to pick it up or are you done? For me, I’m waiting for my library to get it since I’m sure unsure whether I’ll like it or not.

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