Not a fan of the rapey books. And that's probably my biggest (but not my only) problem with Fairest of Them All. See, all I was hoping for was some flufNot a fan of the rapey books. And that's probably my biggest (but not my only) problem with Fairest of Them All. See, all I was hoping for was some fluffy romance-like stuff, and possibly an new take on Beauty and the Beast. For a few chapters, that's sort of what this was. Then this clanging warning bell went off in my head when the hero's inner monologue got a bit wonky. There were several other signs that things were careening from a quirky story to an icky story, but the writing wasn't awful, so I ignored them.
Holly is beautiful. Like, the most stunning thing ever born. EVER. EVEREVEREVEREVEREVEREVEREVER No other woman in the world can compare with her beauty. And she has awesome tits to boot! I know this, because it's mentioned on just about every page. Even Holly can't stop touching her boobies, that's how fuckin' awesome those bad-boys are. Holly=Perfection Got it?
Holly keeps finding new and creative ways to get rid of suitors. Webbed toes run in the family, she has the pox, every other generation of women is insane (and her mother was fine), etc... Holly's father wants her to marry. She's 18. It's time. He sets up a tournament so that men can come from far and wide, and win her hand. Enter Gavenmore. He's under a curse. There's a whole backstory to it, but the short version is that every man in his family is doomed to fall madly in love with...and then kill...a beautiful woman. So why was he even entered in this tournament? He gets pissed at Holly for tricking him into thinking she was ugly, but he's the IDIOT who entered a tournament to marry the MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN ENGLAND! There are a lot of plot holes like that, but I could have ignored them if this story hadn't drifted into rape-is-cool territory. Anyway, in a effort to dissuade any suitors, Holly chops off her hair, blackens her teeth, uses soot to give herself the illusion of a mustache, pads her clothes...and binds her gorgeous knockers. So. Guess who ends up winning her hand in marriage?
Ok, all of that has the makings of a really cute story. Until about halfway through, there's a lot of funny/cute moments where these two start to fall for each other by building a friendship. Awwwww! Then this happens in a lake: (view spoiler)[ He finally discovers her treachery! So he holds her face underwater several times (to, you know, get the soot off), then rips the majority of her clothes off (to, you know, expose the padding and bindings), and hauls her through the castle and up to the tower in front of everyone (to, you know, lock her ass up). As he should! And there she stays for months. Hmmm. What so you do with prisoners that you're married to, but haven't slept with yet? Riiiiiiiiight. So. To prove that she's a virgin, and not a whore, he HAS to have sex with her, right? Right? Now, naturally, she loves it. Even though he won't kiss her, and even though he hold her down, and even though she's been kept prisoner in this tower for months, and... Here's the thing. He thinks he's raping her. He knows it's wrong. She was a virgin, and he fingered her, then fucked her. Nice guy. So for the rest of her captivity (no, he doesn't let her out after that), she tries to win him over. As she should! Right? Right? It becomes a Battle of the Wills, since now that he's had a taste of her, he just can't resist trotting up there every night and screwing her. Of course, he brings her sooooooooo much pleasure. She loves him, and she just knows that he loves her too...if she can only break through the walls he has erected around his heart! (hide spoiler)]
Fuck that! It's Stockholm Syndrome. Nothing about him, or anything he did was remotely acceptable. I was not pleased by any of the feeble excuses that the author stuck in there to excuse his behavior.
No. No, to all of that shit.
PS Even without all of that, this would have only been 2.5 star book, because there were enough plot holes to drive a truck through. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Things to know before you read it: NOT A SEXY-TALE See, I thought with the title and all, this would be like a fUm. For a Kindle Freebie, this was cute.
Things to know before you read it: NOT A SEXY-TALE See, I thought with the title and all, this would be like a funny little erotica. Nope. No sex. Just a fairytale about a disembodied penis. And that's not a bad thing! I never go into these weird little stories thinking that I'm going to get to read something hot. So. Food for thought, nothing more.
NOT HYSTERICALLY FUNNY I see lots of OhMyGodIPeedMyPants reviews, but to me? Ehhhh. I thought it was good silly fun, but not once did I laugh out loud (aka LOL). I was expecting to double over with laughter, and it didn't happen. I did, however, smile quite a bit. So, don't go into it thinking you're getting comedy gold, and you should be fine.
NOT BADLY WRITTEN Here's where the author took me by surprise... The story? Well, first of all, there was a story! I know, right?! And second, it made sense! Or at least as much as a fairytale about an invisible penis can make sense... It was kind of adorable, and I found myself *rooting for the characters to get their Happily Ever After. I honestly didn't think I would care, but I did. So there.
If you get the chance, check this one out. I certainly wouldn't mind reading more by this author.
This is the free online prequel to Cinder. If you're interesting in reading it, you can click this Link, aJust in time to pad your Reading Challenge!
This is the free online prequel to Cinder. If you're interesting in reading it, you can click this Link, and check it out. I know, I know! I'm awesome!
This shorty tells the story of the first little bit of Cinder's life with her step-family. Starting with the train ride over from Europe, and ending with her stepfather's death. You get a peek at her beginnings as a mechanic, her budding relationship with Peony, and her stepmother's feelings from the beginning. No, it certainly isn't a must-read, but for fans of the The Lunar Chronicles, it might take the edge off of the long wait for Winter. ...more
OMG! Talk about a book that makes you feel (a bit) sorry for the psychotic villain in all the other books! Are you reading the Lunar Chronicles? Yes? Th
OMG! Talk about a book that makes you feel (a bit) sorry for the psychotic villain in all the other books! Are you reading the Lunar Chronicles? Yes? Then this is a Must-Read. No, you can't skip it because it's a novella...and let me tell you why, ok? First, this sets up EVERYTHING that happens in the rest of the Lunar Chronicles. It's the prequel that doesn't suck. Second, you get to find out about the past that Cinder forgot. You know what I'm talking about, right? No? Then you need to go read the other books. Now. Third, it sets you up for the upcoming FINAL installment of this series, Winter. Not to mention, you get the first 3 chapters of the new book (they were awesome, by the way) in the back of this one. Fourth, Levana's creepy-yet-pitiful descent into madness is not to be missed! Oh! I wanted to hug her, then slap her, then pat her on the head, then stab her repeatedly, and then give her a band-aid...maybe. You need to read her story! Besides, it's over 200 pages, so you're definitely getting your money's worth out of this.
I'm not giving this 2 stars because it's unreadable or unbelievably boring. I'm giving it 2 stars, because I couldn't find many redeeming qualities inI'm not giving this 2 stars because it's unreadable or unbelievably boring. I'm giving it 2 stars, because I couldn't find many redeeming qualities in the characters or the story.
I really enjoyed Cross' first book in this world, Kill Me Softly. It was darker than most of the fairytales I'd read, and I thought the world itself was very cool. Viv was a minor character from that one, and I wanted to see what happened to her. Yeah, now I'm wishing I hadn't.
Viv is living under a Snow White curse. She, and the people around her, are destined to play out some form of the Snow White story. Her stepmother was cursed to be evil, and her best friend from childhood (now her boyfriend), Henley, has been cursed to be her Huntsman. So. Either he will eventually give in to her stepmother's wishes (and kill her), or he will let her escape (and lose her to her Prince Charming). He swears he will never hurt her, but Viv lives in fear of what will happen when he's faced with that choice. Alright. sigh If their relationship is one of those "We shouldn't be together, but our love is strong enough to overcome anything", kind of things? Yeah. I could get behind that. However, this was, by far, the most toxic relationship I can ever remember coming across in a young adult novel. Viv is constantly doing and saying horrible things to Henley throughout the book. She makes out with boys he has no interest in, just to hurt him, and then within hours runs back into his arms. She knows she's being selfish and terrible...but, darn it, she just can't seem to let him go. Mmmmm. See, if one of my boys run into a girl like that, my advice would be this: Run, don't walk, as far away from this person as you can get. Yes, I know you want to help them, to fix them... You can't. Nobody, not even a trained psychologist can, unless they commit themselves to getting help. This person will drain you, drag you down, break your heart, leave you bleeding on the side of the road, and then twist it around until you think it's your fault. And, quite honestly, I don't want to spend the rest of my life in jail for strangling your psycho girlfriend. Poor Henley, right? sigh Yeah, not so much. Wanna know what he did when he saw her making out with some random idiot? He takes a shovel to the guy's car in a fit of blind rage. He's so scary, that Viv doesn't dare to approach him. And this is the guy we're supposed to be rooting for?! Are we expected to look past this kind of behavior...because she made him do it? Hi, Girls! This is your mother. If at any point in your relationship with a man, he displays jealous and/or violent tendencies? GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE!!! Again, Mommy doesn't want to end up in prison...
The rest of the story? It mostly held my interest, but it wasn't awesome enough to overcome the above mentioned flaws. Boys and Girls, you will not get your Happily Ever After with a person who acts like Viv or Henley. And I'm more than a little angry that this book seemed to promote the idea you could.
If you loved this one, GREAT! But the only reason I didn't 1 star it, was because it truly wasn't badly written.
Mixed feelings on this one. On one hand, it got off to a really slow start, and it was all over the place with weirdness. But. On the other han3.5 stars
Mixed feelings on this one. On one hand, it got off to a really slow start, and it was all over the place with weirdness. But. On the other hand, once it got going, it was interesting. Still weird, but at the same time, different than what I was expecting. Enjoyably different.
Alrighty. Fairytale retelling called The Glass Casket. It's Snow White, right? No. Yes. Sorta. There's a stepmother, a girl in a glass casket, and something in the woods ripping people's hearts out. So, yes, there's some pretty obvious elements of the Snow White fairytale in this sucker. Mainly, though, what you'll be reading is a more like the Snow White and Rose Red fairytale. You know, the two sisters who befriended the bear, who turned out to be an enchanted prince. There was a goblin, yadda, yadda... One sister married the prince, the other married his brother. Only it's not a straight-up retelling of that story, either. It's a mish-mosh of both, with a few extras thrown in for good measure.
Warning: Spoilers? Ish? I don't think these are spoilers, but people tend to bitch over the weirdest things...
The chick who ends up in the Glass Casket, should be Snow White, right? Well, yes. But for the purposes of this story, she's also the Rose Red half of the other fairytale. She also wears a red hooded cloak, peeks fearfully out of her house, and heads into the woods a laRed Hiding Hood. And if that's not enough, her stepmother recalls that when she first met the child, she was sitting by the hearth covered in ash, mourning the death of her mother. *cough* Cinderella *cough* Kinda neat, no?
Then again, this story isn't even really about her. Say what?! Nope, this is (the other) Snow White's story. Rowan Rose is her name, translating dead languages is her game! Huh?! It makes sense in the story...
Here are the 3 stand-out things that I really liked about this one:
1. The above mentioned twisty-turny use of fariytales. It was confusing in a fun way!
2. The stepmother. I loved her! (view spoiler)[ Not only was she not wicked, she loved Fiona with all her heart. She was truly a wonderful example of what a step-parent should be. Also, I loved that she was not stupid or blind to her new husband's intentions toward Fiona. And as soon as she saw him looking at Fiona in a way he shouldn't, she kept her eyes on that bastard. Not only did she bust in on him trying to get his freak on with Fiona, but she immediately tried to get Fiona out of there. (hide spoiler)]
3. The Love Quadrangle That's right, you heard me. There were THREE guys I thought Rowan might end up with. And, no, it wasn't even the least bit annoying. Templeman did such a good job with this part of the story! I swear, I had no clear idea who it was gonna be for quite a while. The handsome Duke, who liked her mind? The sullen brother of her best friend, who seemed to hate her? Or would it be her best friend, Tom, who didn't seem to know how she felt about him? Well, I ain't tellin' you!
Ok. The ending? Yes, while the author does wrap things up nicely, I wasn't quite satisfied for some unknown reason. I just... No idea why I felt that way.
I recommend this one to Hardcore fariytale fans only. And even then, it's not gonna be one that everybody likes. Know going into this that it's a dark retelling, and not every single character is going to get a Happily Ever After.
Loved it! For some reason, I almost feel like I have to defend my love for these books. Is that weird? Or are there really a bunch of you out there givLoved it! For some reason, I almost feel like I have to defend my love for these books. Is that weird? Or are there really a bunch of you out there giving me the Judgy Eye for being all aflutter every time I read another installment of the Lunar Chronicles? I'm just paranoid, right? Right?!
Ok, so...Cress = Rapunzel (or Tangled, as my little girl calls her). She's been imprisoned in a Tower (read: satellite orbiting the Earth) for years by an evil witch (read: Sybil) Her parents were forced to give her up to the witch when she was a baby, because she was born a Shell (read: a Lunar who can't create a glamour or be glamoured). Enter the hero, Captain Thorne, whose attempt at a rescue doesn't quite work out the way they had hoped.
Alrighty, what I really loved about this one were all of the Rapunzelesque twists Meyer kept tossing in there. The name of the ship didn't even hit me until this time around! Rampion? Duh! That's the name of the frigging lettuce (or whatever!) that Rapunzel's father traded her for! Even Thorne's name was a nod at the thorns that blinded him. Again, duh. There were lots of tidbits like that, plus bigger (more spoilerific) things that mirrored the fairytale. LOVED IT! More Cinder, more Wolf, and more Kai.
What I wasn't as in love with was Cress, herself. She was kinda...too nice? And then she was also kinda goofy about her twue luv feelings for Thorne. Thankfully, he thinks it's a bit goofy, as well, so he isn't talking advantage of her idiocy. Mostly, it's just Cress bumbling around acting somewhat adorkable...somewhat slapable. But, I thought the good plot and nice pacing (this sucker is big!) more than made up for Cress' personality. Besides, you aren't stuck with her for the entire novel. You've got all of the other main characters POV's rolling around in this thing, so spending a few minutes in a swoony head din't kill the book for me.
In the end, you finally meet Snow White! *screaming fangirl flailing* Winter is Coming. That's right. I went there. Oh, and by the way, that book will be released right around my birthday in November. *cough* Just in case you were, you know, stuck for what to get me.
This isn't the first time I've read a retelling of Cinderella from the POV of the wicked stepsister, and I'm sure iAlso reviewed for Addicted2Heroines
This isn't the first time I've read a retelling of Cinderella from the POV of the wicked stepsister, and I'm sure it won't be the last. I'm addicted to retellings, and if I don't get my fix I start shaking like a crack addict. The good thing about my kind of addiction is that you get to keep all of your teeth. Just somthin' to keep in mind, if you're weighing your options. Crack...living in a cardboard box beside a Waffle House dumpster. Retellings...too much time spent wandering around local Barnes and Noble. I mean, they both have their drawbacks, but...
So. The Stepsister's Tale was really good. It's nothing like I thought it would be, but I still enjoyed every minute of it. I thought it was going to explain, from Jane's point of view, why she ended up being mean to Ella. As in, maybe Ella was pulling some iffy shit, and Jane got sick of it. And it was sort of like that...but not really. Turns out, neither Jane nor her mother and sister, were ever cruel to Ella. She just made that shit up so people would feel sorry for her. I know she was just a kid, but I really wanted to pop her head off by the end of the book! But it's not exactly cut and dried when it comes to Ella, either. The main problem with her? Her idiotically doting father managed to thoroughly spoil her. Letting your kid know you love them more than anything in the world...won't spoil them. Letting them have, say, and do whatever they want...will ruin their life. And while it was obvious that he truly loved his daughter, it also became painfully obvious that he wasn't quite the man he said he was. When he dies, all of his shady secrets start to come to light, and Jane is left to pick up the pieces. His death turns into a tipping point for everyone involved, and it all culminates at the ball. However, much like the rest of this story, the events do not play out the way you might expect.
So, who was the real Fairy Godmother? How Charming was the Prince? Why was Ella covered in cinders? And finally, what got lost in translation when the story was retold? The answers to these question might surprise you...
I'm not say it blew my mind, but it's certainly worth reading if you're looking for a good twist on a classic fairlytale!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital arc for review....more
The big question on everyone's mind seems to be whether or not Stitching Snow is a rip-off of The Lunar Chronicles. Hmmm. Well, retellings are, by the very nature of the genre, all rip-offs. But that's not really what people are talking about, is it? My personal opinion? I'm leaning towards, no. No, I do not think this is a rip-off. I mean, is no one ever going to be allowed to write another retelling in space, just because Marissa Meyer did such a good job of it? I certainly hope not. That would be like saying every story about a young wizard is a rip-off of Harry Potter, and every story about a snugly vampire is a rip-off of Twilight. Yes, there are some similarities. Yes, they will bother some people. But for folks like me, who gobble up multiple retellings every year? Well, I'm used to the fact that some of these stories occasionally have components that feel familiar. Granted, the reviewers who are comparing this book to Meyer's books, have valid reasons to feel the way they do. All I'm saying, was that it didn't bother me very much. However, in the interest of total disclosure, I probably would have rated this a full 4 stars if there hadn't been things that reminded me of The Lunar Chronicles' world.
So, with my opinion on that out of the way, here's the review:
This one took a few chapters to get interesting. The setting on Thanda wasn't something that drew me in, or made me want to read more. Cold = Boring. Possibly this is because I hate cold climates. I know that tons of people love the Winter Wonderland stuff, but not me. Anybody remember Chilly Willy the Penguin? Yeah, that's me anytime the temperature drops below 75 degrees. True story: When my husband and I first met, he had just moved to Florida (having spent the better part of a decade in Colorado), and I nearly killed him on several occasions. How? Every time the temperature dipped down past 70, I cranked the heat up to 90. FULL-BLAST, baby! I'd find him passed out on the couch, sweating and gasping for breath. Meanwhile, I'm wearing a sweatshirt and wool socks. All I can say is that he really must have loved me. So, for whatever reason, I found the icy setting bleak and uninteresting. It wasn't until they left the planet entirely, that I perked up and started paying attention. Once they were hurtling toward another planet, the plot started clicking a bit better for me, and by the midway point, I was fully engaged in this story.
Essie (Snow) is the missing princess. Duh. Dane is Prince (not always so) Charming. Their romance wasn't insta-love, so bonus points for the two of them getting to know each other first. On the downside, it's not really a sizzler. And instead of the Seven Dwarfs, you have seven mining bots that each have their own personality traits. Cusser (Grumpy) and Dimwit (Dopey) are the two main bots that follow Essie throughout the entire story. The rest kind of take a backseat, so, quite frankly, I can't remember their names, or who they line up with in the Disney movie. The evil Queen is very...well, evil. But, for me, she wasn't the creepiest villain in the show. No, that spot is reserved for Essie's father. You don't find out why he's so awful until over halfway through the book, so I really can't say anything without it being a spoiler. But...DAMN! He was so glad to see her alive, and had no idea his new wife was actively trying to kill his child. Yay! And yet...*shudder*
I think Lewis did a really good job of putting a lot of the recognizable parts of the Snow White story into this book. Poison apple. Check. Huntsman. Check. Kiss to Wake Up (with a twist). Check. And believe it or not, even the Burning Iron Shoes make an appearance! The only thing missing was the glass casket. Yeah, it's not there. shrugs
If you're looking for a YA romance, you'll probably think this is a bit dry and crunchy. But if you're looking for your next fairytale retelling, I think you could do a whole lot worse than Stitching Snow. However, I also think this one is going to be hit or miss with fans of this genre. So. Basically, don't come crying to me if you don't like it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
So what if Peter Pan wasn't really as cute as the stories made him out to be? What if he had traded his real life foAlso reviewed for Addicted2Heroines
So what if Peter Pan wasn't really as cute as the stories made him out to be? What if he had traded his real life for eternal youth, and now he was just a brat who wouldn't grow up? Well, a powerful brat who rules the land of children's dreams. Neverland. Have you ever seen what happens to little boys who have no adult supervision?! They go feral rather quickly. Goodbye, soap and water! Hello, property destruction! If you've had kids, been around kids, or even just remember what it was like to be a kid, then you also know that children can be incredibly cruel. Mainly, because they have no idea what the word consequences means. Their saving grace is that they're adorable when they sleep... Growing up is good. You learn (hopefully) that you are not the center of the universe, that no one is obligated to make you happy, and that you need to take other people's feelings into consideration. Can you imagine what would become of a boy who had stayed a child for thousands of years? Yeah. So, Pan is just a bloodthirsty tyrant who still has all of his baby teeth.
And Hook? What if he were a big bad pirate back in the day? And what if he pissed off the wrong woman? Oh, let's say...some powerful voodoo priestess? And what if she decided he needed to learn a lesson, no matter how long it took? Uh-huh. So now he's trapped in a hell called Neverland. Doomed to die over and over again, with no end in sight. His crew is made up of Lost Boys who grew up, and Hook knows nothing he does will save them. Because the Boy needs evil pirates to battle.
But what about the Wendys? Well, they never return to Neverland...right?
Alias Hook has a really great premise that was well thought out. I loved how the author turned the original story on it's ear, and then made me question why in the world I ever thought the idea of eternal youth would be cute. It was very interesting revisiting all of the characters I thought I knew, and then see them painted in a different light. Why only three stars? Two reasons. One, I thought I would never finish it. Parts of the story were slow and drug on too much for my taste. I know that's not going to be a problem for everyone, because some readers like to take their time with a book. So, if you like stories with a lot of meaty character introspection, then this will be right up your alley. Two, I didn't like Hook. I mean, he had a few decent qualities, and he wasn't a cackling villain, but... That whole rapey/pillagey past he had? Ehhh. Not so much with the liking. Yeah, yeah, I get it. He grows as a person throughout the book. I just couldn't get past his...well, past.
On the whole, I'd say it was an interesting look at an old story, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is looking for an adult retelling of Peter Pan.
Not exactly a re-telling, since this story is about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, but it still lives in the land of fairytales. I thought it was3.5 stars
Not exactly a re-telling, since this story is about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, but it still lives in the land of fairytales. I thought it was kind of dry and crunchy, but a decent read. I really liked the lack of insta-love, but the relationship between Niklass and Aurora had a bit too much I-Love-You-But-Won't-Be-With-You-For-Stupid-Reasons at the end, for me to feel it was a total success.
Sleeping Beauty (whom Aurora is named after) didn't have quite the Disney ending in this story. Her husband was not only a cheater, but his actions left her and her children vulnerable to the evil Troll Queen. They were imprisoned while he was out scurrying around looking for a little action on the side, and Aurora's mother was forced to impart her fairy blessing on Aurora, in order to save both of the children. Unfortunately, to give Aurora a fairy Gift, she had to kill herself, and then use her last breath to impart the blessing. She did her best to ensure that her daughter wouldn't suffer the same fate as she did, and blessed her with warrior strength, mercy, and a heart no man would abuse. Sounds alright, no? Well, (like most fairy Gifts) this one went a little dark. Instead of protecting Aurora from cheaters like her father, it made it so any man she kissed turned into a husk that only wanted to please her. So. Unless the poor kid wants to date a zombie, her love life was a no-go.
Enter Niklass, who has also been cursed. His father wanted to make sure none of his sons ever tried to take the throne from him, so he had a witch put the whammy on them. So, on their 18th birthday, they all turn into swans. Sounds like another fairytale... I thought it was cool that there were references to other fairytales twisted around the story.
Psst. I don't consider this next piece of information a spoiler, because it doesn't have anything to do with the plot. It's just mentioned in passing. But if you're a stickler for things, then skip the next paragraph.
There's a witch who stole a girl from her parents, and then locked her in a tower. But the interesting thing Jay did was turn the tale of Rapunzel on it's ear. See, the girl's parents were neglectful and abusive, so she was actually rescuing her. And she locked her in a tower, because she got addicted to a drug, and that was the only way she could think of to dry her out. Cool, huh? There's also girl in a red hood who travels with a wolf, and possibly a few others I missed.
But back to Niklass the soon-to-be Bird Prince. He's on a mission to marry a princess, and he's got his sights set on Aurora. Not that he's ever met her... He needs to get married in order to break his curse, and the girl he marries has to be in line to inherit more than him. That way, it takes him out of the running to take his father's throne, and by default, he'll be immune to the curse.
Meanwhile, Aurora's younger brother, Jor, has been captured by the Troll Queen. So, Aurora has set out, dressed as a boy, in the hopes of raising an army to save him. Niklass ends up rescuing her from a camp full of bad guys, thinking that he's rescuing Jor. He hopes to convince 'Jor' to lead him to his sister, 'Aurora', so that he can convince her to marry him. On the other hand, 'Ror' (as she likes to be called) decides to see if she can get Niklass to help her find and army in exchange for an introduction to...well, herself. She tries to convince Niklass, once they're on the road, that the princess will never marry him, though.
Along the way, they become friends, but with each of them harboring their secret curses, it doesn't look like there's any way for them to get a Happily Ever After.
All in all, it's good for a fairytale-like story. It's not really fast-paced, and it didn't make me want to gush, but it was pretty good overall. The ending was a bit over the top, but I walked away from it satisfied.
I was given a digital arc of this book from NetGalley and the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
First off, how fabulous is that cover?! Stunning! Beautiful, haunting, gorgeous. etc.. I seriously wish I had a hardback edition of this book, becauseFirst off, how fabulous is that cover?! Stunning! Beautiful, haunting, gorgeous. etc.. I seriously wish I had a hardback edition of this book, because I'd display the shit out of it.
I really enjoyed the writing, the pace, and the whodunnit murder-mystery aspect of it. I picked it up yesterday afternoon, and I finished it before bedtime. It's not a short book, so that says something right there. So, even with all of the flaws, I couldn't bring myself to 1 star this book for that reason alone.
Sadly, there were issues. Issues that simply cannot be overlooked and swept under the rug, regardless of how quickly I devoured it.
The magic. This was downright hokey. Her hands crack open, and water comes out? WTF?! As a plain mystery, this would have been a much better story, but whatever this 'elemental power' thing was, just kind of ruined it. It was campy, ill-explained, and ultimately mostly unnecessary.
The romance... Ok. And I'm being totally serious when I say this. It was such a calf-eyed insta-love, that I thought it was a red herring to throw us off the trail. I assumed that there was no way for this to be an actual romance worth taking seriously. The end would clear it out of the way, she would find someone else (or not), and I didn't need to worry that this bullshit was for real. Whoops. Ridiculous doesn't even begin to explain how awful it was. I just can't...
The ending. Did no one care enough to step up and tell the author that this was a wad of unbelievable nonsense? I have a hard time believing that anyone out there would be able to cheerfully swallow that down as a remotely reasonable explanation. I'm wrong. Of course I'm wrong, because I see several 4 and 5 star reviews for this, so, yeah. Some folks bought it. (view spoiler)[The whole thing hinges on your ability to believe that two tweenage girls could successfully swap lives. One girl is next in line to be a Duchess, and the other is her maid's daughter. They are half-sisters, not twins, but the author seems to think that a house full of staff members who have known them both (most since birth) wouldn't notice this. Why? Well, they went off to boarding school together. None of the adults charged with the future Duchess' safekeeping caught on, because she staying in her room when they first arrived. Riiiight. I guess the staff didn't meet her when she got there? Then they dyed their hair. Awesome disguise! They took 'lessons' from each other. Just like Parent Trap! Except they're not identical twins... And when they came back home a few years later, everyone just assumed that the 'subtle' changes in...oh, I don't know...BONE STRUCTURE was just due to growing up. Everyone? Even her best friend/boyfriend, and Oscar the observant family butler? WTF?! No. NO! Maybe, just maybe this could have worked if the 'maid' hadn't returned with the Duchess. But both girls under the same roof? The reasoning is that no one notices maids. Ok. Perhaps the other aristocrats might not have paid any attention to her, but the other servants in the house most certainly would have. Are you kidding me with this shit?! (hide spoiler)]
In the end, I'd say the writing is good, but the unbelievability of some of the plot elements really took its toll on me.
I received a digital arc from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review
At first, I was a tad disappointed that there wasn't much magic in this one. I mean, it's supposed to be a retellinAlso reviewed for Addicted2Heroines
At first, I was a tad disappointed that there wasn't much magic in this one. I mean, it's supposed to be a retelling of Tam Lin, right? Maaaagic! But Tam Lin's fairies are replaced with practitioners of voodoo, and the magic hoodoo stuff doesn't come into play (much) until the end. So, not a story steeped in magic. Well, unless you count the fact that Violet has some sort of affinity with bees. And let's face it, unless you can order them to ATTACK!, how freaking useful is that? What she can do is call the bees, and they sorta sit on her and give her a feeling of calm. And I think once or twice they hovered around an area that she needed to go or something. GPS? Useful. Bees? Not quite so much.
Ok. Strip all the expectations I originally had away, and this turns into a pretty decent book about a young southern girl during the Civil War. She doesn't meet Thomas (the Union soldier) until mid-way through the story, and in the meantime you get a feel for what her life is like on a small southern farm. Her mother is long dead, and she lives with her father and their two slaves, Lainey and her husband Michael. Violet and Lainey grew up together like sisters, and both she and Michael are treated like family. Now that Lainey has a child, Violet can feel a gap widening between them. And the possibility that the War may free Lainey is also a source of unspoken tension. While Violet doesn't think of Lainey as her slave, she's still afraid to talk to her about her feelings and fears. On one hand she wants Lainey to be free, but on the other she doesn't want to lose her friend. I think Nickerson did a good job with Violet's character. She didn't truly understand why slavery was wrong, because not only was she raised in an era that had condoned it, but her personal experience slavery was relatively benign. Of course, benign to her because she wasn't a slave. It was interesting to see her grow, and have her feelings on all sorts of things (including slavery) change over the course of the book. She was a good person, and when confronted with the truth of things, she was willing to bend her opinions. As far as a story about a girl goes, this was a fine way to pass the time.
Ok. I live in South Carolina, which in in the Heart of Dixie and gateway to the Bible Belt. I'm not technically southern, because I spent the majority of my life in Florida. And while that state may be geographically southern, it ain't part of the South. Or so I've been told. On numerous occasions. Still, I've lived here (read: True South) long enough to find myself sort of wanting to defend these guys somewhat. See, there was this one line in the book that got under my skin and crawled around. It was an innocent enough statement made by Thomas to Violet, in order to calm her fears. This isn't a quote, but it went something like this: Don't worry the Union soldiers won't burn down (civilian) houses. And if they do they will make sure no one is inside... First, get real, dude. This was a war. Shit like that happened all the time. Besides, every southerner I know has a grandma. And that grandma has a friggin list. And on that list is every family home burned, every woman raped, and every item stolen from them...by those Damn Yankees. Nobody holds a grudge like the Rebels. Seriously. Second, it seems to be a prevailing theme in some of these books that Union soldiers were the Good Guys, fighting on God's side for nothing other than the freedom of the oppressed. Again. Get real. While freeing slaves might have been the battle cry, it wasn't the only objective. Now, I don't think anyone in their right mind thinks that it didn't need to happen. Slavery is an ugly blight on our history, and we're still feeling the repercussions of it today. But there were lots of factors involved, slavery was just the official reason. Kind of like 9/11 was the battle cry for invading Iraq. Oil and grudges didn't have anything to do with that one...
On the whole, though, I thought Nickerson wrote an interesting story. It might be a little slower than I wanted it to be, and it was definitely lighter on the retelling part than I was hoping, but it was still well-written. The characters stand out as the high point, with very few being truly good or evil. The stepmother and stepsister are both examples of how people can straddle that line, since they each turned out to be wildly different than I originally believed.
The reviews for this book run the gamut between Totally-Lurved to DNF'd-the-Sucker. If you're thinking of buying this one, you might want to paw through some of the other reviews and make sure this lines up with your taste. ...more
If you're looking for a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, I'm afraid this isn't going to impress you much. The story itself revolves around the fa3.5 stars
If you're looking for a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, I'm afraid this isn't going to impress you much. The story itself revolves around the fairy who 'cursed' the princess. But it's also not like the new Disney reimagining of Maleficent, so it doesn't have that Why Did The Good Girl Go Bad? flavor to it. And I think you probably need to know that going into the book in order to keep you expectations in line.
Ok, so what is this story about? A section of a young (13ish years old) fairy's life is being retold by an anonymous narrator. And, yes, part of her story includes why a princess ends up sleeping for 100 years. But she's not an evil fairy, and while Sleeping Beauty's story is very important to the plot, it only pertains to the ending. What the book addresses is why all of these fairies bothered to come to a random princess' christening to begin with. And I have to admit, the author did a really good job keeping me interested in the reason for all of the gifts being bestowed on a royal baby.
Another cool thing about the book is the way the author wove together the tale of Puck, Mab, Banshee, elves, and the different fey courts. It was definitely worth reading just to see the way their stories were retold.
As a side note, somewhere in the middle of the book, I began to fear that I was about to have to endure another Immortally Old Dude and Waaay too Young Girl romance. I'm happy to report that Yolen found (what I thought was) a refreshing way to remove the creep-factor from the plot.
Bluebeard has always been hands-down the creepiest fairy tale to me. I mean, the guy had an entire room chock full of dead wives! And they di4.5 stars
Bluebeard has always been hands-down the creepiest fairy tale to me. I mean, the guy had an entire room chock full of dead wives! And they didn't pass away from old age or disease. Then there was the new wife... She's given a key to the room and told not to use it. Well, duh, of course she's gonna look! And since she broke her promise to him...She must die!!!! Alright, that's the really condensed version of the original, but you get the gist.
So Strands of Bronze and Gold is a retelling of that story. And to add to the creepy atmosphere, this one has a Gothic flavor to it. It's set in pre-Civil War Mississippi, and Bernard is a plantation owner, so slavery and the Underground Railroad play a part in the story as well. However, don't go into this expecting an accurate historical portrayal of either. It's just a side note in the plot to keep things interesting. As a retelling of Bluebeard, though, I thought it was a total win, and one of my new favorite retellings! The complaints I've seen in other reviews seem to drift toward the fact that it's not a fast-paced book, there are too many descriptions of scenery and clothes, and that the heroine is a Mary Sue. I'll give you my opinion of those three issues, and then you can decide if this is a book you'd like to read. First off, the pacing was perfect for a book like this. There is a slow-building horror to the situation that Petheram finds herself in, and (I thought) it was done very well. She starts off hearing mild alarm bells, but ignores them until she finally hears the klaxon blaring. Of course, by then it's too late. To me, that's not a slow story. As far as the myriad of descriptions go? Eh. Petheram loves all the nice clothes and expensive gifts that Bernard gives her, and she's undeniably impressed with all of he wealth in her surroundings. It's part of the reason she ignores some of those initial early warning signs. However, by the end of the book, she realizes how foolish and easily taken in she was. I'm not one of those readers who likes a lot of scenery written into the story. Give me enough to get the gist of the surroundings...and then move on. So will you be annoyed by descriptions of dresses? No idea, but I didn't feel that the story was bogged down by overly descriptive writing. Finally, is Petheram a Mary Sue? Not within the confines of this kind of story. For the time period, for her age, and for what she was aware of, Pentheram was actually quite brave. There were several times she stood up for herself and others, but part of this story is about exposing the psychology behind abusive relationships. Bertram was in equal parts very charming and very violent. At first, he seems to be a very likable and handsome man, and his eccentricities seem benign. But as the story unfolds, she realizes that everything he does is a form of control designed to keep her submissive. And what can she actually do about it? In reality, how easy would it be for a young woman of that time period to just up and leave her legal guardian's home? Not very. Naturally, as the reader, you know from the moment she pulls up in her carriage that she's about to enter the house of a serial killer. And it's also pretty easy to to scream and rant that YOU would have done something differently. However, as evidenced by women in today's society, there is something universal about the minds of abusers and victims. It happens every day, and not just to weak-willed women. I've watched formerly strong independent women get sucked into this kind of psychotic nightmare to varying degrees. The how and why are a lot simpler than people think. It starts with something like a comment about how maybe 'your jeans don't fit the way they used to', that turns into comments about how 'no one else would ever want you because of the way you've let yourself go'. Or maybe it just starts with an innocent sounding question like, 'who were you just talking to on the phone?', that ends up over time turning into wild accusations like, 'I know you're cheating on me with whoever you were talking to!'. Verbal abuse is bad enough, but these kind of attitudes can quickly escalate into violence. One of the biggest problems with violent abusers is that they didn't just punch their girlfriend or wife in the face on the first date. See, if they had done that, there probably wouldn't have been a second date. Unfortunately, the violence comes after the woman is fully entrenched in the lie that she somehow needs him. And of course, the old standby that he loves her and it will never happen again. It's easy for those of us in a healthy relationship to think that it couldn't happen to us, but the truth is, given the right circumstances, it could happen to anyone. Now, whether or not you decide to fight back and get the hell outta there if it does? Well, that's entirely up to you. And that's what Pentheram's story is really about....more
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for a copy of this ARC
Based on The Scarlet Pimpernel? Hmmm. That sounded different and interesting. O4.5 stars
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for a copy of this ARC
Based on The Scarlet Pimpernel? Hmmm. That sounded different and interesting. Of course, because I'm a total slacker, I had never actually read Orczy's novel. So. It may be hard to believe, but I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and read...gulp...a classic. Yes ladies and gentlemen, in preparation for this book, I read The Scarlet Pimpernel. I know! I'm impressed with myself, too!
As it turns out, Pimpernel is a pretty easy read, and I'm glad I took the time to get to know the story. It made reading Peterfreund's novel even better, since I could immediately recognize the parts of the plot that she intertwined or tweaked from the original. Was it as good as Baron Orczy's? No. It was even better! And while the original story is more of a swashbuckling story about an incredibly clever married couple who have no idea that they are each hiding secrets from the other one (think: Mr & Mrs. Smith), Across A Star-Swept Sea is a futuristic dystopian that puts a young adult spin on the tale. It also reverses the genders of the main characters, and adds it's own creative take on how the story would play out in the new setting.
I liked the way the author had the love story play out, as well. Justen finds Persis physically attractive, but he just can't stand that she's such a vapidly shallow person. Except, sometimes she seems to him to be a bit...more? On the other hand, Persis is totally attracted to Justen because he's incredibly smart and dedicated to his cause of equality for everyone. Unfortunately, she can't let him know that she's really one of the most intelligent, clever, and honorable people he'll ever meet, because she's not sure whether or not he's a spy for her enemies. It made for a great back-and -forth between the couple as they struggled to decide how much to let the other person know about their secrets.
There was only one complaint I had, and it was totally my fault. I didn't realize that this was the second book written in this world. I know what you're thinking. How many times can this idiot plunge into a book, and not bother to see that it's part of a series?! The answer is fairly simple (like me!). Lots and lots. Example: I just accidentally read the last book in a trilogy yesterday. Please direct all of your complaints about my reviewing skills to Cat. I would have liked to have known more about the disease and the previous characters, but it didn't hamper my enjoyment of the story at all. In fact, all it really made me want to do was go back and read the other book. So I would say it's not strictly necessary to read the first book, because this one comes across as a stand-alone that's just set in the same world. However. For those of you who have already read For Darkness Shows the Stars, you'll be happy to know that towards the end of this book, those characters make an appearance. Don't get excited, 'cause I'm not giving out any spoilers!
The characters are well-written, strong, and smart. There's also no insta-love, no triangle, and no fluttery palpitations for no discernible reason. This one's going into my Highly Recommended pile!
The beautiful cover sucked me in...I admit it. And really, it's got such an interesting premise, that I couldn't helAlso reviewed for Addicted2Heroines
The beautiful cover sucked me in...I admit it. And really, it's got such an interesting premise, that I couldn't help but want to read it. Romeo and Juliet plus Hamlet? Cool! I didn't even realize that it would be incorporating Norse mythology, but that was also a bonus! So why only 3 stars? Hmmm. I'm not sure really. The author is talented, and if you've ever read her blog, you'll probably agree that she's quite a funny lady. But for some reason this story just didn't click with me as much as I wanted it to. It took me several days to finish it, simply because it was so easy for me to put it down.
I did like the way that Juliet was portrayed as a strong character, but neither Hamlet or Romeo evoked much emotion out of me. Romeo leaned toward the slightly annoying side, but not enough for me to hate him, and Hamlet was likable...but not lovable.
The journey to find and rescue Juliet was kind of the same way. There was something missing in it that I can't put my finger on. I normally love retellings, but I couldn't seem to get into this one. Maybe it's just me? I'm not much of a Shakespeare groupie, so perhaps this particular story was meant to be embraced by a different kind of reader? The kind of reader who wasn't sending sidelong glances to her copy of BatGirl while trying to get through this one...
So. The author is good and the premise is good. It wasn't my cuppa, but it might be yours?
In case you were wondering, I received a digital arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review....more
It was weird, there were plot lines that were just dropped at the end, and when Snow finally found heOthers may enjoy this, but it just wasn't for me.
It was weird, there were plot lines that were just dropped at the end, and when Snow finally found her Prince Charming it was a total WTF?! Where did this guy come from? moment for me. Oh, and the egg thing at the end...creepy. Not cute. Creepy. In an attempt to not give spoiler for those of you who would like to read this, I'll stop right here.
I will say, that midway through the book I was interested enough to want to find out what happened to the characters. It's not unreadable. Maybe you just have to be looking for a fairlytale about vampires to really like this one? Soooooo. If that sounds like something you've been itching to read, check out Blood and Snow.
Cute. Not mind-blowing, but it was a really cute young adult retelling of Austin's Pride and Prejudice.
Dereck's (Darcy) parents are famous Hol3.5 stars
Cute. Not mind-blowing, but it was a really cute young adult retelling of Austin's Pride and Prejudice.
Dereck's (Darcy) parents are famous Hollywood actors, and he's learned to be cautious around people. Naturally, he comes off looking snobby... Elise's (Elizabeth) mother is the new prep-school principal, and her father is a teacher. Both are embarrassingly strict/wacky...
The plot sticks relatively close to P&P, but it still goes off on its own here and there. Only one sister is missing (but it was the boring preachy one, so who cares, right?), and the Wickham/Lydia thing played out a tad differently (but only a bit!). Overall, I thought this one stayed a bit truer to the original than another retelling I read last year, Prom and Prejudice, so I was pretty happy with that part.
I can't stress enough that this is Brain Candy, because if you go into it expecting anything other than a fluffy Beach Read, you're going to be sorely disappointed. I was hoping for this book to be a nice distraction on a Sunday afternoon, and that was exactly what it was! ...more
This was a cute idea! Take the characters from P&P, and put them in an elite boarding school setting. It mostly worked, too.
It was a decent YA takeThis was a cute idea! Take the characters from P&P, and put them in an elite boarding school setting. It mostly worked, too.
It was a decent YA take on Jane Austin's classic, but don't go into it expecting everything to be the same as the original. For starter's, Jane and Lizzie are BFF's not sisters. Lydia is Jane's younger sister, and the remaining Bennet girls get axed from the story altogether. Which was fine with me, 'cause they added the least to the overall plot... Also notably missing is the mamma drama from Mrs. Bennet. She and Mr. Bennet are just normal parents in this version. sigh Like I mentioned, this is a shortened version, so not every little twist and turn is the same. Which is not a bad thing! Just...different. And mostly really cute.
My only real problem with the story was the strange way the kids spoke to each other. It was almost like the author was trying to keep the spirit of the original language alive. It's a nice idea, but the characters didn't sound like teenagers. Or even adults from this century, for that matter.
So. Go into it expecting some changes and a bit of odd wording here and there. If you do that, there's a good chance you'll have fun reading this. ...more
I'm glad I gave Kill Me Softly a chance, because it's not your typical fluffy YA fairytale stuff. Also, some of the main Curses (Fairytales) are not aI'm glad I gave Kill Me Softly a chance, because it's not your typical fluffy YA fairytale stuff. Also, some of the main Curses (Fairytales) are not as well known as others. I'm going to assume that some of the younger readers won't be able to guess Blue's curse. In other word's Disney hasn't made that one into a cartoon yet.
Even the ending (while quite satisfactory), had a little twist of darkness that made me simultaneously smile and shiver...
I really don't want to give anything away, but I think fans of retellings will enjoy this one.