"She is beautiful. Beauty is power. This girl will do more for us than a boy ever could. She will marry the king."
"There's a small proble
Rating: (♥ ♥ ♥)
"She is beautiful. Beauty is power. This girl will do more for us than a boy ever could. She will marry the king."
"There's a small problem with your plan, my dearest," my father replied. "The king already has a wife."
"A minor obstacle." Mother dismissed the current queen with a wave of her hand. "He will set her aside when he sees our Catriona."
As it happened, Mother did not need to worry about the queen for the good lady was kind enough to die of eating bad shellfish when I was barely eighteen.
"If only she had died sooner," Mother said when she heard the news. "Now we will have to wait out the king's year of mourning before presenting you at court. You will be nineteen when he sees you-- positively ancient."
Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl finally gets her prince.... err King, in this adult retelling of the classic french fairy tale, Le Maistre Chat, ou Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots.) I'm kidding, really. I mention Blair Waldorf, because I'm reminded of her, constantly, by Catriona's thoughts and behavior. It's like Blair Waldorf finally made it into her long desired fairy tale somehow. Only she's still as deceitful and conniving in the fairy tale as she is on the CW's Gossip Girl [a popular TV show on the CW for those of you who aren't familiar.] This all changes by the end of the story, for the most part, and there is an HEA.
In Cat's Tale: A Fairy Tale Retold, the main character, Catriona, is the daughter and only child of two treasonous nobles who would have preferred a son. Her cold, calculating mother convinces the father that Catriona, who was born a sickly baby, was worth keeping alive for future status and financial gains. So she is raised more as a commodity to be used, rather than a treasure for loving and nuturing. As she grows, she learns the ways of manipulation, selfishness and materialism from her parents. Surpassing even her parents in their despicable talents, she attracts the attention of the King and eventually becomes his consort. But after the King dies, she's turned into a cat by the King's sorcerer and thrown into the mill pond to drown. She somehow survives this predicament, runs into the millers youngest son, sets about finding a way to get her own body back and uses the miller's son to do so in the process. Out of all this comes the trials and tribulations that lead to self revelation and a change in character for Catriona.
Not many books leave me feeling a bit ambivalent, but this happens to be one of them. Cat's Tale: A Fairy Tale Retold has good and bad moments. My main problem is with the main character Catriona. She's such a despicable person that I find it hard, even now, to like her. Yes, she gets her comeuppance for all the despicable things she's done. Yes, she faces humiliation and goes through a transformation. Yes, she realizes what a terrible person she's been. Or maybe it's better to say she finally cares that she's been such a terrible person. I think she was always perfectly aware that her actions were deplorable, but she just didn't care. Don't get me wrong, I felt pity for Catriona when things went south for her. But after all is said and done, her vanity remains despite the other changes to her character. Maybe she no longer lies, cheats, steals and does whatever she can to seek material gain. But then, she doesn't really have to. I guess I was hoping for her change to be a bit more radical than it was. To not only realize how vile a person she had been, but to completely turn away or reject everything of her original self including the vanity and materialism.
Aside from Catriona's lack of a complete transformation, I will say the story itself was not bad. It's very thoughtful and has it's really touching moments. The plot is solid and the characters are well rounded. The author's writing style is very eloquent and there is much to appreciate about the creativity it took to spin such a tale. It's basically a very unique and adult retelling of the Puss in Boots fairy tale. And, yes, it's an Adult retelling. Which means that it's not appropriate for teens or young adults. There are many books that walk a thin line between romance and erotica, and this story certainly likes to play at the border between the two genres.
My final verdict? Well... I'm not sure this story was for me. I can see it appealing to others and I think many people would probably appreciate it more than I did. Some of you may even think I'm a stark raving lunatic for being so picky about Catriona's change or partial lack there of. Who know's. I didn't hate it and it certainly has it's worthy moments. It's obvious that the author has a great writing style and very talented in her way with words. But again, it left me feeling a bit ambivalent and I don't like feeling ambivalent. I like neat and tidy closures that leave me feeling warm fuzzies about the main character. In this case, the warm fuzzies were not complete. I definitely liked it, but that one little issue has kept it from being a strong Win for me. I do think , however, that other's will probably have a completely different POV than me.
Note: I noticed this book is also available through audible for $4.33 right now, which is literally a steal if you prefer audiobooks. So I grabbed it myself and gave it a brief listen. The narrator, Nikki O'Conner, is pretty good. I'm a little picky about narrators and can be easily annoyed. Especially with overacting a part or giving a character a strange voice that doesn't do them justice. But this narrator is pleasant and doesn't overact any of the characters. I'd give her a rating of 4 stars.
*sigh* I am so going to be in the minority here. I don't even know where to start. There are four books in the Royal House of Shadows mRating: (♥ ♥ 1/2)
*sigh* I am so going to be in the minority here. I don't even know where to start. There are four books in the Royal House of Shadows miniseries and each book is written by a different author. Gena Showalter leads the way with, Lord of the Vampires.
I'm surprised and a little disappointed to say this was another conflicting read from another one of my favorite authors. Am I biased at times? Yes. I love Gena Showalter. No... wait... I adoreGena Showalter. She's one of my go-to authors for rereads and books I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy. I know she's capable of writing truly entertaining tales and I'm a total LoTU fangirl. That's Lords of the Underworld for you newbies. Unfortunately, this was not one of her better stories in my opinion. The beginning of Lord of the Vampires got off to a rocky start, which was immediately cause for concern. But eventually further on, there was a moment where I thought... okay, things are starting to pick up. There might just be a little promise here yet. Unfortunately, that didn't last long and things started to unravel again.
Let me just preface the rest of this review by stating that I am not a writer. I'm not an editor. I'm not a proofreader or anything of the sort. Mine are purely the amateur observations of an admittedly ignorant reader. And I could be shooting the arrow, but missing the mark. So what exactly was wrong with the story? It's hard to put my finger on one thing really. But if I have to narrow it down, I'd say... first, it's another case of missing subtext. The only difference here being the amount of missing subtext. It almost feels this way from beginning to end. Everything is rushed, not to mention so overly perfect and convenient that it starts to become too much to swallow. Sure there are a few places here and there that open up to more detail and complexity. But it was really sporadic. Like some parts of the story were nurtured while other parts were ignored. I know this is a miniseries, so maybe too many plot points complicated the matter? I don't really know.
Second, I think this was also a case of "show" vs. "tell". It's awesome when a book can "show" rather than "tell" the story within it's pages. People "tell" a story when they are trying to rush through the details to get to the point. They give you an abridged version without drawing you a picture with their words. Which is great when your reading a yawner like legal documents or a proposal. But I like to visualize the stories I read, which requires a little help from the writer. There are all sorts of ways to accomplish this by adding nuances (facial expressions, body language, internal & external dialogue, etc.) and the backstory or history of the characters.
In my opinion, things like this help the reader paint pictures in their mind. It's what I've noticed, at least. The stories that work "show" by incorporating these things, and so much more, helping the reader visualize and empathize. Stories that don't work incorporate less and rush through (to get to the point), passing by the opportunity to "show" the reader anything at all. In the end, what winds up happening is an inability to connect. Unfortunately, that was the case with Lord of the Vampires, in my opinion at least. Rather than drawing me in, it left me on the outside, sensory deprived and seeking more input. Sure the love scenes were hot and steamy in typical Showalter fashion. She does have that talent down to an art form. But I still felt like I got the cliff notes version instead of the whole enchilada and It left me wanting so much more.
The Final Verdict?
This story was not for me. It needed something more, something it just failed to put forth. I'm not even sure who I would recommend it to other than to suggest you might not agree with me at all. In fact, you should always take my reviews as a challenge to find out for yourself. I'm sure there are truly qualified people that are rolling their eyes this very moment at my attempt to explain my so called theories.
I am curious, though, to see what the other authors do with their stories in this series. I'll also say, this is only a tiny lump of coal in a huge bucket of diamonds as far as I'm concerned. Because I am and always will be a Gena Showalter fan. I know she can deliver and if I've ultimately scared you away from this particular read, please remember that each book in this miniseries is written by a completely different author and you might be missing out on something good if you pass the whole thing by. Plus, I highly encourage you to check out some of Gena Showalter's other works that are guaranteed to please, like Lords of the Underworld or Alien Huntress. Your sure to find stuff that won't disappoint. Promise....more
As I have no time for a full review, here is a quickie-
This is book 2 in Alma Katsu's dark, gothic series The Taker. I loved this book jRating: (♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥)
As I have no time for a full review, here is a quickie-
This is book 2 in Alma Katsu's dark, gothic series The Taker. I loved this book just as much as the first. This author is truly talented in weaving a beautifully written, yet dark and disturbing tale. The characters are all very well rounded. The thing I like the most about all of them is that they are flawed. Not one of them is perfect. I can't promise that you will even like any of the characters. But your not supposed to look up to any of them. Even the main character. But you will empathize and maybe even sympathize with some of them. And while none of them are truly someone to root for as a heroine or a hero, you can't help rooting for some of them anyway despite all the stains on their character from past or current decisions they make. To me all their stains and imperfections make them more real than most other stories in this genre. And oddly enough, the worst of the bunch may actually have a shot at redemption? Will it be possible? Only time will tell.
If you like happy, funny stories with cheerful endings then I would not recommend this series to you. But If you like dark, gothic tales of love, temptation, danger, disillusion, pain, loss and a possible thread of hope, then you really should consider giving this series a try. It's one of my all time favorites....more
"You are not fine." Ceri took my arm, pinching it painfully to keep me from pulling away from her. "And d
Rating: (♥ ♥ ♥ ♥)
"It's good," I said. "I'm fine."
"You are not fine." Ceri took my arm, pinching it painfully to keep me from pulling away from her. "And don't you let her walk the entire way," she admonished Trent.
"I'm not going to pick her up and carry her screaming to the basement," Trent said. "It's a workday. Besides, she has a crutch."
"Crutch or no, she's hurt!" Ceri protested.
"I mean," Trent said intently, "she can hit me with it if I do something she doesn't like."
(warning! This review contains spoilers from The previous book, Pale Demon.)
Kim Harrison is one of my favorite authors and The Hollows is, without a doubt, one of my top favorite series. The world building is so in-depth. The characters are well rounded and colorful. And each story is fully and completely entertaining. In the 10th book in The Hollows series, A Perfect Blood begins a few months past where Pale Demon left off. Ms. Morgan is invisible to Al and the demon collective in the Ever After with the help of Mr. Kalamk's wild elf magic. But now everyone knows she's a demon and she faces a new bevy of troubles as a result. The worst of them being the recent abduction of witches and someones attempt to create their own demons for nefarious purposes. But why? This new problem puts Rachel's life in jeopardy and threatens to further blacken her reputation. If that's even possible now that she's the worlds first public demon. Unfortunately, some people think Rachel is involved.
There's so much to dish about on this book, but I'm going to have to pull in my reigns so I don't give away any spoilers. In A Perfect Blood we see the introduction of a new terroristic organization that we've never heard of before (I think). Very interesting things are happening in Jenks little corner of the world that seem both promising and… unusual. We meet a new and mysterious master vamp that heads up the I.S., but also seems a bit familiar somehow (or so it seems.) I could be wrong, but the mystery to this new character leaves a lot up to the imagination. I think everyone will be equally intrigued by him. There's just something about him that's making the cogs in my head spin. Who is that man?! Rachel also has a new body guard now that she's a not-so-desirable (to the world) demon. But with the new body guard comes, well… what else? New troubles. On top of all that, we're introduced to some little bundles of joy! That's right… Ceri and Quen's new baby girl and Daddy Trentbucks new (stolen) daughter. Getting to see the daddy side of Trent is delightful! And now I have to resign myself to the fact that I must wait another long year (Again! Argh!) to see what happens next (…this always kills me.)
So what were my misgivings about the book? In all fairness, they're based on my own personal bias. There is nothing wrong with the story itself. It was full of fun, adventure and the usual, humorous Jenksisms. I really did enjoy it, but was it as good as Pale Demon? Mmm. No. Not really. Pale Demon had many intriguing reveals for nearly every character. A Perfect Blood… not so much. There were a few reveals. But none as spellbinding or profound as the ones from the previous book. There was a satisfying amount of Rachel and Trent interaction, which gives you many things to ponder. HOWEVER, there was not nearly enough of Al and the Ever After. Only a smidge! And there you have it. I'm admittedly biased when it comes to that. I think Al and the Ever After are what draws me back, time and again, to this series. And after the really eye opening sides we got to see of Newt, Al and Rachel the last time, I was really hoping for more of the same. Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of the dilemmas that happen top side of the ground in Cincy. But if I'm being honest, I think the most interesting parts of the entire series have always involved Rachel's calamities and discoveries with Al, Newt, and the Ever After. I can't help it. Al is my favorite character. He's the most colorful character (aside from Jenks) in the whole story. That aside, the story was still a lot of fun, as it always is, and definitely not one to be missed. I highly (and always) recommend this series to anyone. It's that good.
Last, for those of you that may not have known, The Hollows has been picked up as a possible future tv series. Which I am so excited about! I can't wait to see it on tv and hope with all my heart they don't screw it up. It happens....more
No time for a full review so I'll give you a quickie. This is Torhments book and it is beyond great! You can tell Mrs. Ward put her hearRating: (♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥)
No time for a full review so I'll give you a quickie. This is Torhments book and it is beyond great! You can tell Mrs. Ward put her heart and sole into his book. Loved the story so much I will probably read it again many times over. I highly recommend....more