This audiobook was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
Even though I knThis audiobook was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
Even though I know that these are all classic tales, I feel like I'm reading them for the first time, like they've been reinvented with a grown-up me in mind: dark and macabre and grotesque. But that's probably because I grew up with the watered-down Disney versions for the most part. Not that I haven't read my fair share of these sometimes bloody lessons in morality, but I love having them all in one place like this, and narrated by such a fabulous all-star cast.
I love the narration of these stories. This collection kicks off with the incomparable Katherine Kellgren reciting Rapunzel and her performance is perfection. She really nails that witch. And January LaVoy delivers a heart-breaking rendition of Cinderella. Her narration always features so many varied voices and emotions. As does Jim Dale's, whose account of Rumplestiltskin is on par for what I expect from such a talented narrator. From the delightfully whimsical to the perfunctory yet magical performances, this well-rounded cast lends the perfect voice to each of these tales.
The musical interludes between each tale were lovely and magical and added just that extra something to the collection. I would love to have these tales bound up with that artwork from the cover to share with my daughter, but I know she'll love this audiobook just the same...when she's read for such grim tales. ;)
An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. A copy of the audiobook was also won from the author. ThAn advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. A copy of the audiobook was also won from the author. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
The Star-Touched Queen is a story of many things: love, loss, redemption, revenge, learning and knowing oneself...and then some. The heart of the story finds its origin in the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone, but I also found myself captivated by reminders of other favorite tales, like that of Bluebeard and Beauty and the Beast and even The Neverending Story. Basically, this novel combines so many aspects from my favorite stories and yet somehow manages to remain unique and compelling.
And it's a stand-alone!! That, like, never happens anymore: a fantasy novel that comprises the pages of a single book and yet manages to convey the magic of three. The magic was all over the pages of this story, and what a lovely story it was. I'm actually kind of impressed with myself that I was able to savor it, rather than devouring it in one sitting. The first time I read it, anyway. ;-) I won a copy of the audiobook from the author and that I did devour immediately upon receiving. And if possible, the story is even more majestic, nay hypnotic, on audio.
The narrative is simply gorgeous and poetic, no matter which way you experience it. I could lose myself for days in a story of this caliber. It felt like a story of before and after, and yet it spans so much more than that: a love that will not be denied, a betrayal that unbalanced the worlds, and a need for vengeance so deep that it threatened to destroy the worlds completely. I cannot fathom how Chokshi could fit so much into such a tiny book and have it turn out so lovely. She must have a bit of Otherworldly magic of her own.
She so seamlessly weaves the Indian culture and the mythology in this story. It's a true work of art. And gorgeous to behold, from the descriptions of life in the palace of Bharata to the incandescent beauty of Akaran. (I'm actually super glad I listened to the audiobook because I was saying practically every proper noun incorrectly. And it sounds so much lovelier in Priya Ayyar's velvety voice.)
The characters were all so full and bursting with vitality. Yet, I never imagined that a flesh-eating demon horse would become one of my favorite characters, maybe of ever. But somehow, Kamala wormed her vicious way into my heart. Honestly, this was the aspect of the story that reminded me most of The Neverending Story because I felt like Kamala was akin to Falkor, joking about eating the main character and becoming a source of companionship and encouragement throughout the story. I've always wanted my own luck dragon, but now I kind of want a demon horse, too.
Which is probably the best testament to how amazing and compelling this novel is. You're living and breathing the story right with the characters, and then you're wishing you were part of the story, too. Funny how that happens. I've read this book twice now and I still can't get enough of it...
GIF it to me straight: First Falkor, now Kamala. I'm going to need a zoo for all of my favorite imaginary friends....more
A copy of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
I've neverA copy of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
I've never read any of Stacey Kade's books before, but I've definitely had some interest in reading them, to be sure. None more than 738 Days, though, which says a lot about the content. I usually shy away from new adult novels because they tend to get really cliche and trope-y. Damaged girl with tragic backstory. Hero with his own share of baggage. Coping issues. Miscommunication. Lies. Betrayal. The usual.
This story has all of that...and then some. Yet I found myself so invested in the lives of these characters who, for better or worse, have each been through harrowing ordeals that have left them completely changed people. But I suspect that stems from the fact that I didn't feel emotionally manipulated as I read. The characters felt genuine in their grief, in their heartbreak, and in their attempts to be the people they want to be.
The relationship that develops between Amanda and Chase evolves rather quickly and is nothing short of tumultuous, but it is beautiful nonetheless. And it's nearly impossible not to get caught up in their whirlwind romance. I don't want to say that they needed each other to complete the healing process, but they were definitely beneficial to each other and I like how that aspect played out without them becoming dependent upon one another.
738 Days was thoughtful and thought-provoking but also honest and completely brutal at times. More so with Amanda's story than Chase's because there are triggers that set her off and the flashbacks are not pretty. It was hard to read at times while also being nearly unputdownable.
And lovely and heart-breaking and just wow. I think I may have found my new favorite new adult novel. I am very interested in reading more NA from Stacey Kade...as well as checking out her YA backlist because now that I've gotten a taste of her writing, I'm pretty sure I'll want to devour the rest.
I was offered a review copy of The Architect of Song and being a hard-core fan of A.G. Howard's Splintered series, I couldn't say yes fast enough. ThiI was offered a review copy of The Architect of Song and being a hard-core fan of A.G. Howard's Splintered series, I couldn't say yes fast enough. This is her first "new adult" novel and it's historical fiction with ghosts and baronets and an orphaned protagonist and it's very reminiscent of Crimson Peak, which I just literally watched this week, and I'm kind of in love with it.
I finished reading this novel last night with the biggest sense of satisfaction I've had from completing a novel in awhile. It is most definitely my new favorite novel from A.G. Howard because it feels more like her own writing than even the Splintered series did, and I've enjoyed following the tour and reading why she decided to self-publish this novel.
The Architect of Song wasn't perfect, but it was pretty damn close for my tastes. I adored the ending but I could have used more exposition, namely a conversation between the MC and the Lord of the manor so I could see all of the awkward as they finally, FINALLY came completely clean about everything. I don't like that this reconciliation of sorts happened mostly off the page. But I always want more at the end, especially more time with the characters, so I don't even really know if that can be considered a complaint.
I expected this novel to be like all of the "new adult" novels that have come before it, but it's mostly just sensual in nature. Being historical fiction, too, meant that the protagonist's virtue and reputation were at stake, and I liked how that aspect was handled, especially as there was a love triangle involved. I can see why publishers might have had a hard time classifying this novel. The age of the heroine leans more heavily toward new adult, but the romance is not overtly sexual, as most new adult novels are. And it's not strictly a romance either because there is a serious mystery to be solved and a ghost not at rest and gender roles to preserve for the time period.
It's very much a hybrid but one I'm so glad the author decided to self-publish so that legions of her fans will still get a chance to read it. I don't care if it's hard to classify; this is the type of story I most love to read: convoluted and twisty and not falling into any one niche.
Full review to come. I just wanted to get these thoughts out there and share my profound adoration of this story....more
I think I liked it more this time around maybe? Still not sure if it's enough to make me buy Bitterblue, thougRe-read via audio. Original review here.
I think I liked it more this time around maybe? Still not sure if it's enough to make me buy Bitterblue, though. On audio, I mean. (I have it on my shelf, where it's sat unread since it released. o_O)...more