Oh, what absolute glorious beauty and fun and rapture! I’m all in a flutters, I can’t stop smiling and swooning and laughing. I had absolutely no doub...moreOh, what absolute glorious beauty and fun and rapture! I’m all in a flutters, I can’t stop smiling and swooning and laughing. I had absolutely no doubt that I would love this book, and I did, oh so very much. So much more than I imagined. Immensely, completely, utterly. It captivated me from the very beginning, and kept a tight hold throughout the entire story! I’m still caught up in it! This book is without a doubt one of my new absolute favorite books ever!! And rightly earned. Just so. The dancer inside me danced and soared and leapt with the princesses as they danced, as they lived and grew and loved. The fairytale lover I am was enchanted with this beautiful retelling of my favorite fairytale. And the absurdly hopeless romantic in me swooned at the heart fluttering, brilliant, joyful, beautiful romances. I loved this book. I loved it so so much!
You know the telling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, or The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces by the Grimm Brothers. Entwined was a beautiful, fresh take on this tale of old. It stayed true to most of the tale, but differed in a few things, and adding an intriguing, magical, dangerous twist. 12 Princesses, whose mother just died, begin their year of mourning with the King, their father. Donning black dresses every day, curtains pulled to smother any sunlight, no going outside, no dancing, no suitors, no talking of mother. The King is utterly disheartened and depressed at the death of his beloved wife and queen. He offs to war leaving his daughters, one of which just newly born the night her mother died, bitter and saddened at his abrupt departure. It is while the King is away that they find the enchanted staircase leading them to the captivating pavilion where they dance their hearts out and shoes to pieces every night. An oath is taken that prevents any girl from telling where they go to anyone. But danger lurks in this enchanted world under the castle, and the girls have to find a way to thwart it, finding all sorts of love along the way. Love for each other, for their papa, for dancing, and for men;)
Each princess is named after a flower alphabetically, starting with the oldest at Azalea, and ending with the newborn Lily. I loved each and every girl. They all had a part, each one was able to show her colors and to let the reader get to know them. Some didn’t have as much spotlight, but they were never forgotten. And they all shared such a strong sisterly, loving bond, deepened through dancing and holding their secrets close to their hearts. This book is told from Azalea’s perspective, but each sister’s lives were entwined so much you always caught a glimpse of all the sisters no matter who the story was focusing on at the moment.
Now for the romance. Ooh, the romance! There were several here, for the eldest sisters, each one as breathtaking and beautiful and romantic as the next. As the eldest, Azalea doesn’t really get a say in who her husband will be, since parliament votes on who will be the new king, and hence, chosen as Azalea’s husband. So naturally she fears that she’ll never find love, but she finds herself falling in love with a handsome, swoon worthy, disheveled man. Bramble feared she would never marry for love because who could love someone as headstrong and loudmouthed as she. But she did, with the sweetest, most endearing, funny man. Even Clover, the shyest of the bunch finds love with an unsuspecting man.
Entwined is a divinely beautiful fairytale full of magic and love and humor. Oh my gosh, the humor! It was downright hilarious! I couldn’t stop laughing at the silliness of it, it just had those perfect moments tweaked, or drenched with humor that for some reason just caught me and threw me into a giggling and burst out loud laughing frenzy. I don’t know if others will find it as hilarious as I did, but it was such an amusing, frolicking ride for me, I don’t care if I’m the only one :D I give most of the credit to Bramble. Thank heavens for her ill-mannered, unruly, outspoken, fiery personality. It definitely livened up the reading.
The ending was superbly beautiful and perfect and heart melting. I read it like three times, and then hugged the book to my chest, grinning, and couldn’t even stand the thought of putting it down to write this review. Ah, I just want to read it again! If you love fairytales, of any kind, READ THIS BOOK!! Read Entwined. Glory in it, swoon over it, laugh at it, smile, love, lose yourself in the magic and enchantment. I was absolutely and utterly riveted and enchanted. This book was perfect for me, and I will forever love it and treasure it.
Well, this book was something special. In fact, it was outright awesome. It was so awesome that I just can’t stop thinking about. I want to read it a...more Well, this book was something special. In fact, it was outright awesome. It was so awesome that I just can’t stop thinking about. I want to read it again. Right now. But I can’t, because there are so many other books to read. (Darn that to-read pile) But, just a shout out to all you YA loving readers who want a book that kicks butt, this one’s for you. Seriously, you will love this book. I guarantee it. And if you don’t, heaven forbid, I will send the Dead after you. And that, my friends, will not be a pretty sight.
Susan Dennard is a master at zombie creating. These guys are creepy, so disgusting you don’t want to look at them, but so compelling in their unnaturalness and gruesomeness you can’t help but look. Or, you know, read. Whenever these rotting corpses came onto the page, my adrenaline dialed up and I was flipping the pages in a rush to see what would happen. There are several fighting scenes with these zombies and the characters trying to defeat them. And Dennard can certainly write a riveting fight scene.
Right off that bat I could tell I was going to love Eleanor. She may be of the high class, forced to go to parties all glamoured up, whose only purpose in life is to marry rich so her poor mother will be taken care of. But Eleanor shows that she’s not the proper lady everyone expects her to be. This characterization of her was so awesome. It made the story so much more compelling to read. I loved reading the story through her eyes. Eleanor is a kick butt heroine. She doesn’t sit and cower while the big strong man saves her from the monsters. She gets up and fights them herself. I just loved her whole attitude and personality. She’s spunky and feisty. There’s this one paragraph which I felt showed who she is pretty well. Plus it had me laughing.
"Biddable? Biddable!” Somehow my pitch was even screechier than before. I kicked my bottom high and dipped my chest low- a perfect display of the Grecian pose. “If it’s a camel you wish to have, sir, than you are on the wrong continent!” I straightened, pleased by his astonished expression. Then I swiveled on my heel and resumed my race to the Centennial Exhibition. (37% kindle e-arc)
The romance was done to perfection. It was one of those romances that I enjoy the most. The kind where the two have a rocky start; they don’t like each other, find the other annoying, a nuisance. But then they start becoming attracted to the other, and find admirable qualities in them. And they fight their feelings, but falling in love becomes inevitable. And when they finally come together you just want to jump up and shout for joy. And then you fall right back into the story anxious for more. And then the book ends and you yell in frustration because you NEED more and you think you shall die in agony before the next book is released. Yes, I know I sometimes get overdramatic. But I can't help it, it's in my reader's blood
This book was just so amazing. The plot was exciting and fun, with a dash of mystery and an extra dollop of horror, and a sprinkle of romance. If you like strong heroines, no insta-love, adrenaline pulsing scenes, AND ZOMBIES (can’t forget the zombies ;) then you should definitely read Something Strange and Deadly. It will be worth your time. (less)
Glamorous Illusions follows the journey of a young woman as she tries to discover who she is, and what she can become. At the beginning, she learns ab...moreGlamorous Illusions follows the journey of a young woman as she tries to discover who she is, and what she can become. At the beginning, she learns about a secret her parents kept from her her whole life. She feels betrayed by what happened, and that they never told her. Then she is offered a chance to go on the Grand Tour of Europe with her new found siblings, who may just hate her for who she is. She goes a little grudgingly, wary of the man who she knows now as her blood father. But she finds as she travels with her siblings, and comes to accept who she is, that she can’t be mad at any of her parents, her mother or her two fathers, because they each gave her a life that helped shape her into the woman that she is, and is becoming.
Cora was a nice protagonist. I didn’t always like being in her head. Not that she was annoying, or stupid, I just couldn’t quite connect with her. It helped that her narrative was broken up by the viewpoints of Will. I did like seeing Cora’s journey, and how she coped with her new, extravagant life, and having to leave the people she loved. She was strong, and didn’t let her siblings dislike of her keep her down. I appreciated her humility, and determination to stand firm, and her accepting herself for who she is, no matter what her past is. People could treat her however they may, but she knew there were people who cared about her, so their disdain couldn’t hurt her. But, I also felt that she was kind of boring. She’s just a normal girl, trying to find where she fits in; which is, you know, cliché. And nothing terribly original or exciting happened to put a twist on that storyline. So maybe that’s partly why I couldn’t connect with her.
The plot also, was kind of boring. It wasn’t bad, or completely disinteresting, but it wasn’t interesting enough to keep my attention focused solely on the book, so that I couldn’t bear to be stop reading. I did enjoy learning about the history, and whatnot. I can tell that Bergren did her research well, and cared enough to get the details right. It wasn’t until the ending, where the real excitement began, that I became really interested, and excited, and couldn’t stop reading. Too bad that happened at the end, and not sooner. Don’t get me wrong, not all books have to be exciting and adventurous to be worth reading, or to have deep meaning. I love books that are slow, and contemplative, with lush descriptions and wonderful characters who triumph not by fighting a dragon, but by coming to know their heart and the hearts of others. And Glamorous Illusions did do this. It did have wonderful descriptions of the places the characters visited, and well-rounded characters that the reader comes to understand and like. I just felt that something was missing, for me at least.
I did like the romance, and actually, the biggest reason why I would consider reading the second book would be to see that romance develop. I’m interested to see where it goes, and to see Will and Cora fall in love. Will was a wonderful hero. He was a gentlemen who only wanted to teach his clients history, and to protect them on the tour. He just wasn’t ready to have his heart stolen. And he tries to fight it. Cora is above his station, and he isn’t supposed to get involved with the clients. But he can’t help what he feels. I liked seeing his perspective. Being able to see his side and Cora’s, seeing both of their uncertainties, and wondering if the other could possibly like them, but then telling themselves that it could never work. And then there’s Pierre, a Frenchman who falls for Cora, and she can’t help but be pleased by his attention. So, there’s a little love triangle, which will probably be explored more in the coming novels. But this triangle isn’t angsty or annoying, where the girl flip flops between the guys. It’s done well, and is believable.
So, in the end, I liked Glamorous Illusions well enough. I loved the ending, and would like to see more of Cora and Will. I think fans of the River of Time series will like this novel, and probably history fiction buffs. As for me, I’ll just have to see what the next novel has to offer before I invest in it.
Thank you to David C. Cook and Netgalley for the arc.(less)
The Merchant’s Daughter gave me the same feeling as did The Healer's Apprentice. Melanie’s stories of love and Christianity are beautiful in their sim...moreThe Merchant’s Daughter gave me the same feeling as did The Healer's Apprentice. Melanie’s stories of love and Christianity are beautiful in their simplicity that manages to sing out with perfect love. Love of Christ that urges the characters to strive to live and better their lives and help others, and the love between the two main characters that make me smile and sigh and ache for them to be together, to love completely with no hindrances. I realize this book, as a Christian story, will not appeal to many readers, but as a Christian myself, I delight in stories like these. That are full of soul and love and are clean.
I’ll admit I didn’t read this book for the outstanding plot, or the brilliant execution thereof. The plot is a little weak, some of it I didn’t quite care for, some scenes could have been elongated, shown more emotion, or just dismissed. But it was the characters that livened up the story, that gave me the desire to read to the end and see their happily ever after. And the romance. I love a good love story, and this one was beautiful, so sweet and romantic and fun. It had me smiling, and had my heart aching for Ranulf and Annabel and for their blooming love that had a hard time fully manifesting.
This tale is based on Beauty and the Beast, and reminded me slightly of Heart's Blood, (which is an incredibly brilliant novel that you should read.) Fairytale’s are one of my favorite kinds of stories, and this rendition was most beautiful. Ranulf made a great beast, scarred and misshapen with a sad past and a cold, angry demeanor. Annabel was a strong heroine who was sweet, shy at times, but not afraid to love that which most people fear.
The ending was a little rushed. It certainly could have used more substance (even so, it still had my heart dancing at their romance). But all in all a beautiful end to a wonderful book. I believe anything Melanie writes, I will wholeheartedly love.
This arc was provided by the publisher via Netgalley. (less)
Gail Carson Levine, I must say, is one of my favorite authors (at least when I need a cute, light fairytale type read). Her books are sweet, and encha...moreGail Carson Levine, I must say, is one of my favorite authors (at least when I need a cute, light fairytale type read). Her books are sweet, and enchanting, and just purely fun little fairytales. A Tale of Two Castles was no exception. It had that special magical quality that Levine’s other books all possess, simple in its light fairytale esque feeling, yet beautiful with its engaging writing and endearing characters, complete with an intriguing plot, at first perhaps simple, but at the end, quite brilliantly played out and executed.
Elodie is a 12 year old girl, traveling to the kingdom of Lepai in hopes of becoming apprenticed as a mansioner, an actress. After arriving at Two Castles, with an excess of cats roaming the streets, she is unable to acquire an apprenticeship, and is instead employed to the dragon, Mastress Meenore, the Great, the Unfathomable, master of inducing and deducing, able to find any lost object, solve any riddle. When his Lordship’s, the ogre, dog goes missing, Elodie assists IT (the dragon, which is called IT as only ITself knows ITs gender) in finding the dog. And thus ensues the mystery of finding who stole the dog, who poisoned the king and set the cats on the ogre, who mauled the ox, with a rather surprising ending to keep you on your toes.
Elodie is a strong young girl, who starts out attempting to fulfill her dream of mansioning, but finds her true calling in inducing and deducing, which she acquires by interacting and being with IT, and hearing IT’s own deducing of mysteries. For a 12 year old, she is quite astute and determined.
The world Levine created was delightful and enchanting. The writing will strike some people as too simple, but I love it for its simplicity and the magic found within. And it’s just Levine’s style of writing, with stories geared toward younger teenagers and children, and not older teenagers or adults looking for epic stories with a lot of depth and stark, passionate emotion with though provoking messages. This book isn’t for everyone, but fans of Levine will surely love it, and those looking for light fairytales. (less)
Die For Me was an enjoyable, luscious read, with a very interesting paranormal twist about revenants. I loved that it was set in Paris, it made the no...moreDie For Me was an enjoyable, luscious read, with a very interesting paranormal twist about revenants. I loved that it was set in Paris, it made the novel more enchanting and intriguing. The plot was original, and was explained very well, (well, original to a point. We have the very old immortal paranormal teenager who falls in love with a human who knows nothing about revenants. But I loved how the revenants were integrated into the plot, and how their lives were explained. Very interesting.)
The romance is very Twilighty. There were some scenes where I could replace Kate and Vincent with Edward and Bella and they would fit right in, saying almost the same thing, or same general conversation as in Twilight. Frankly, I got tired of the romance at times, maybe a little annoyed. I wished for something different. But, for the most part I liked it. I did really like the ending, the final fight scene, which may have greatened my liking for the overall story; it got a little interesting, but intriguingly so. And, I think the title is perfect. Because the book is all about death, and the characters risking their lives to save someone, and ultimately, risking their lives to save the one they love.
So, in the end, Die For Me was a pretty good debut, I loved the plot, the romance could have been better, but I ended up loving it anyway :)(less)
A really fun, cute novel! It's original with great characters and an interesting plot. I liked Evie's personality, and that she's not some simpering,...moreA really fun, cute novel! It's original with great characters and an interesting plot. I liked Evie's personality, and that she's not some simpering, woe is me, I'm beautiful but only I don't know it, girl. She takes charge, she has fun, she gets excited over little simple things and doesn't care what other people, er, paranormals, think about her. I liked Lend and that he never gave up on Evie, and that he doesn't care what she is. I'm certainly glad I picked this book up, and I'm excited to read the sequel!
Camille. Ah yes, Camille, the boy dresser, werewolf hunter, beautiful determined sprite of a girl. Assistant to Dr. Bennett, who raised her as his own...moreCamille. Ah yes, Camille, the boy dresser, werewolf hunter, beautiful determined sprite of a girl. Assistant to Dr. Bennett, who raised her as his own when her father died years ago, where she aids him in his search for a cure for humans turning into werewolves. She soon finds herself desperately searching with new determination for a cure because now it’s the life a young boy that she has fallen in love with that is threatened. Enter Nathaniel Strider. Unscrupulous rogue, ladies man to the core, thief, homeless with a horrible past. Uh-huh. One order of swoon worthy, endearing, hard-outside-soft-inside male coming up! He charms Camille immediately, despite his rudeness and woman always falling over him. And soon, he finds that he loves her.
Ah, the romance, it was so sweet. Here’s a girl unlike other girls, a girl who experiments with science and gallivants through the streets dressed as a boy; and then there’s a boy who couldn’t possibly single out any one woman from his many many admirers and fall in love with her because of the scoundrel he is. Yet he does. He finds Camille beautiful, intriguing, and strange. Camille of course finds him handsome and charming, but also finds he has a soft side.
I really liked the story and plot. It was intriguing and engrossing, (of course the romantic aspect of it helped immensely ;). There was a mystery interwoven here, about Camille’s father who had turned into a werewolf, and had died leaving his two daughter’s alone. Camille’s sister, twin sister, Emily was endearing. She had a hard time dealing with her father’s death, (won’t say more on that matter as it would be a spoiler), and as a result had to live in an asylum. But the bond between these twins was so strong, that nothing could ever break it, not even hidden, harsh secrets that eventually came to Camille’s attention.
This book isn’t the best developed or executed, but I still very much enjoyed reading it. It’s lush and intriguing with it‘s paranormal allure and sweet romance. All in all, a good read, well done characters, could have been better, but I still loved it. (less)
Matched was a beautiful story. It was kind of slow, and simple. The characters live very sheltered, controlled, organized lives. They have no need to...moreMatched was a beautiful story. It was kind of slow, and simple. The characters live very sheltered, controlled, organized lives. They have no need to worry. Their whole life is planned for them; their life isn’t even theirs. What made this story so enchanting to me was Cassia. I loved her voice, her thoughts. She was just an everyday girl, oblivious to the caged life she was living in. And then she began to wonder. What if there’s more to this life than what the Officials have decided? What would she do if she could choose- if she could choose who she loved, who she wanted to be with? Cassia and Ky’s love for each other was a quiet love, a beautiful love, blooming in the dead of night, unseen, forbidden, yet reaching out for the impossible, daring the night to take away its glow and determination.
I really liked Condie’s writing style, it was flowing, poetic like. It breathed with beauty and promises and possibilities. The book is kind of slow, there’s not much action, but sometimes, I like slow books like this. Books with a beautiful romance, and a character that is discovering who they really are. I loved the ending, especially the last chapter. It shows that Cassia will never give up, that she will fight forever. I guess I might be able to see why people might not like this book, but I loved it. I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic, and I can find treasures in almost any love story, whether the book be brilliant and action packed, or not. (less)