BOOK REVIEW: Red Winter (Red Winter Trilogy #1) by Annette Marie

BOOK REVIEW: Red Winter (Red Winter Trilogy #1) by Annette MarieRed Winter (Red Winter Trilogy #1)
by Annette Marie
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads


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.


*Buddy read with Sophie @ Beware of the Reader and Raven @ Dreamy Addictions*

Do you promise?
She squeezed her eyes shut, fighting tears. Yes, she would remember him until her last day.

Red Winter was a beautiful mythology tale that had the most addictive slow burn romance.  With magic and lies filling the pages, I found myself desperately hunting for little clues here and there to see what the bigger picture was.  And with action that kept me glued to the pages, I was so invested in this story that I actually jumped during one moment.  So if you’re looking for a new mythology book to pick up or if you love fantasy then definitely add this series to your tbr!

Her entire life had been forged by a terrible lie, and there was nothing she could do to change her fate.

Red Winter slowly unfolded and the world was setup before our eyes.  We learned about the mythology, got a strong sense of the world’s culture and the different roles people played.  It was all so new to me, I’ve never read a book with Asian mythology before.  Emi was our main heroine and it took me a while to warm up to her since she was so pure and selfless.  She had spent her life, since she was eight years old, making her body the perfect vessel.  One of their gods would descend into her body during this winter solstice.  Emi sacrificed so much from food to family to finding love, all in the name of her God.  She was so devote and it almost felt like I didn’t know the true her.

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.

While we slowly started to learn some of the truths, my connection to Emi grew stronger.  I was shocked at what unfolded, just like her.  I loved when she started to let her emotions out and take a stand for herself.  My respect and love grew for her and I was infatuated watching her transformation.  I felt like I finally knew Emi inside and out, it was brilliant how it all unfolded.  Emi became a resilient and brave woman who I respected.  

“Actions count,” she rasped. “Not intentions.”
“Not to yokai,” he murmured. “Actions change our course, influence our futures, but intentions define us, empower us. Without intent, we are nothing.”

By around 20%, the story picked up and I was completely captivated.  Emily made one decision that took her on an entirely different path.  And when the fox stepped into the picture, I couldn’t stop reading.  The fox was a yokai, who were sometimes perceived as monsters and demons.  Emi shouldn’t have helped him.  Yet she did, since he protected her first.  From there, this book took us on a wild and crazy ride that had me completely addicted.

He stopped, ruby gaze returning to the fading stars. “Because you are more to me now. Because you keep secrets like a kami and I’m curious what you hide. Because you are lonely and scared and I don’t understand why. Because you trust me when you know you shouldn’t. Because I believe you when you say you will keep your word.”
She stared at him, unfamiliar emotions tightening her throat. Her pulse beat in her ears. “Shiro …”

Shiro, the fox, had me obsessed.  He seemed to have good in him but his instincts and who he was countered that.  But he made me laugh with his nonchalance and actions.  And I loved that he could be brash and that he didn’t follow proper procedures for the world Emi lived in.  Shiro went by his own set of rules, he felt wild and enchanting.  But he kept so many of his thoughts to himself.  Even when Shiro was seductive and methodical, I always desperately wanted to known what he was thinking.  I loved Shiro with my whole heart and was easily obsessed with him.

Touching him was forbidden. Kissing him was forbidden. Wanting him was forbidden.
Her fingers brushed over his lips and his warm breath tickled her hand, sending tingles rushing up her arm.

Red Winter captured me in it’s spell and was completely enchanting.  Curse, lies and deception filled the pages and I fell wildly in love with this story and the characters.  One of my other favorite characters was Yumei.  I don’t want to say much about him other than I was kept on my toes in regards to my thoughts about him!  Ohhhh this book also had the most gorgeous drawings!  So yes, I definitely recommend this series.  I’ve already binged this trilogy and just know that each book gets even more addictive than the last!

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Red Winter


Dark Tempest #2

Immortal Fire   #3


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  1. ShootingStarsMag

    Sounds like a beautifully written book. I’m very curious about this Shiro now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve been seeing this author around a LOT this year, so I definitely need to pick up a book by them.

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Keep It Together with Tolton Avenue (Giveaway)My Profile

    • Jen

      Her writing and characters are so addictive. It’s like the world goes away around you when you’re reading one of her books!

  2. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    I find it difficult to connect to a character who seems so selfless that they appear to have to faults – or no desires of their own. I’m glad that you were able to feel more of a connection with Emi as her story progressed. 🙂
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted…Review: Wild at Heart by K.A. TuckerMy Profile

    • Jen

      Me too! That’s why I was like uhhhhh when this book first started lol. But I had read other books by her so I was giving it to 50% to see if I could find that connection. But once you hit that 20% everything changes and it pulls you in so deep. Especially as Emi starts to change as the story progresses ♥.

  3. Raven @ Dreamy Addictions

    Wonderful review, Jen! I’m glad that I’ve buddy read this series with you guys. I really miss shiro and Emi! I wish there’s more books in this series!

    • Jen

      I’m so glad that I got to buddy read this book with you and Sophie too! And it only took me forever and a day to post my reviews that I had saved on my Kindle lol! ME TOO!!

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