I confess - two words about this book that seemed to define it in a nutshell made me pick it up - Lesbian Cinderella.
As a little girl, this was one ofI confess - two words about this book that seemed to define it in a nutshell made me pick it up - Lesbian Cinderella.
As a little girl, this was one of my most read and of course a favorite fairy-tale. I must have watched the Disney version too, quite a lot of times. If anything beats this baby its perhaps only Beauty and the Beast. So when I found out a retelling of Cindy... it was cute; but the moment I realized this one is not just any retelling - but one with a twist, where Cindy ends up with ... well a girl this one intrigued me.
And so I picked up Lo' Ash.
Ash as already known, finds its roots in Cinderella, but that's where the similarities end. Other than the common dead parents, evil step-mom and two step-sisters - factor, Ash is nothing like the original tale.
Ash, short for Aisling is raised in a mystical world where fairies aren't merely legends but they co-exist with mankind, though they seem to be weakening. And to interact with their kind, is to invite trouble of the worst kind.
That however doesn't deter people from crossing the line.
Ash, despite knowing the risks involved of interacting with a fairy - finds herself in a weird sort of friendship/relationship with Sidhean. And as she finds herself strangely attracted to the male fairy... she also seems to be drawn at the same time to the beautiful and alluring huntress Kaisa who serves the king.
As Aisling finds herself being drawn between two different worlds, she finally comes to find happiness with the one she always was meant to be with.
Now, the writing in the book is nothing short of beautiful, I found myself rereading some passages only to savor the beauty of Lo' amazing words. That however doesn't make me want to rate the book higher than I have.
Though I am happy Ash found her happily ever after, I wasn't moved much by the story or more specifically the love story between Kaisa and Ash.
This short story left me wanting for more even though it was heartbreaking and haunting. The thing is it was so very addictive. Rutkoski writes so beaThis short story left me wanting for more even though it was heartbreaking and haunting. The thing is it was so very addictive. Rutkoski writes so beautifully, it was a pleasure to come by this book. Had I not visited her goodreads page, perhaps I would have completely missed out on this one since I dint even know there was a novella - a precursor of sorts to The Winner's Curse, a book I am simply dying to read.
Truth be told it sorta reminded me of the story of the three brothers that Rowling had written in The Tale of Beedle the Bard, because it made a similar impact on me despite the length of the story.
I had only read praises for Rutkoski prior to picking up this book and now know she deserves all that and more. Will pick up TWC and her other works as and when I can for sure.
At the end of The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden Not that I did not want to pick up this one sooner, but life got in the way or I found myself simpAt the end of The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden Not that I did not want to pick up this one sooner, but life got in the way or I found myself simply not in the mood to pick it up until this past week.
In The Redemption of Callie and Kayden, Sorenson allows her characters to grow beyond their strengths and rise above their fears, as they lean on each other and slowly start to realize, they need to get over their collective pasts and move on with their life and in the process, find they are not alone and the road to recovery though not an easy one, is the best thing they can allow to happen to themselves, if only they gather the courage to take it.
Callie & Kayden, finally open up about the traumas they faced, and in doing so, found the much needed and deserved happiness that has evaded them for the better part of their life.
As a reader, while I was glad to see them growing stronger as individuals and as a couple, the book somehow didn't really impress me much or leave an impression on my mind.
This was definitely a slow-burn, and while I realize, it needed to be this owing to the fragile state of affairs of the recent past, it did not excite me as a reader, which is why I couldn't rate this higher as well. The cliffhanger of this one, once again was a kicker, as it opens up a huge part of Luke' life, which in turn made me pick up The Destiny of Violet & Luke, sooner than I had anticipated, since I could not wait any longer to know more about Luke and discover, the blink-and-you-miss-her character of Callie' roommate Violet Hayes, from the first two books in the series.
**spoiler alert** The doors to Agatha & Sophie' world open up once again in the sequel to Chainani'The School for Good and Evil -A World Without P**spoiler alert** The doors to Agatha & Sophie' world open up once again in the sequel to Chainani' The School for Good and Evil - A World Without Princes, the events of which pick up almost directly after the end of the first book, where Agatha chose to kiss Sophie - her best friend turned witch instead of Tedros, her prince.
The kiss that revives Sophie has far reaching effects, as it not only alters the course of Agatha & Sophie' tale but that of their world and the Fairytale world as well - altering the very foundations of the schools of both good & evil. Now instead of good & evil, the schools are divided among boys & girls, places where a witch befriends a princess, a henchman is the classmate of a prince. Where friendships are altered and new rivalries are created.
Chainani' first book had little substance and a lot of crap as per me, and I had decided not to pursue the second book in the series however, when you have OCD of a sort, you can't help yourself sometimes. As it happens with me, I need to finish a thing to completely put it behind me, even if it's a book, especially books really. Once I start a series unless and until I can't find the books or happen to have completely forgotten the existence of the book or perhaps having read it in the first place, I need to know the end of the damn thing and so I found myself reading the second installment of 'The School for Good and Evil series'.
While in the course of time that it must have taken Chainani to get around to write the second book, he may not have turned magically into Rowling, he is improving, thankfully. There was a gradual improvement in the writing department and a bit of a story here, which was seriously lacking the first time around.
Chainani is waking up to the fact, his characters need to have some challenges beyond the superficial ones to evolve and its showing off. Sophie' character is growing beyond her narcissistic side and it was good to see her struggle, to not AWAKEN the witch within her, to be good and yet, yet finding it hard to tamp down the side of her that isn't easy to repress.
Agatha, on the other hand was the weaker character as per me, I found it hard to believe a girl who was shown to be so intelligent the first time around, that she could easily land in the school of evil and be undetected for a large part of the first book was so uncharacteristically dull here. Not to mention, the fact that her longing for Tedros and yet being unable to accept that she does want to feel loved scored her no brownie points. Being good does not mean you should not want things, as per me. Rather being good in your heart I think entails knowing that you may want the world, but not always get it and be graceful enough to accept those things that you do get in the end and let go of what you don't. Agatha, when not mooning over Tedros, was just hell-bent on one thing returning to her village Gavaldon with Sophie, not realizing that if the results of a wish she made, the first time around, having the best of intentions for her friend at heart could be this harmful, the consequences of doing so for a second time could be even more disastrous.
Tedros - ah what should I make of this chap? Really, he wasn't impressive enough in the first book to me and it seems his role is equivocal to an eye candy this time around too. Yeah, he does transform in the wake of the events of the first book and was starting to FINALLY have some substance in the first half of the book, when things go south suddenly and .... well lets just say he never learns, not from his mistakes, nor from history.
Chainani, has added layers here that makes the second installment better than the first one. His writing sure has been refined a touch, and it seems he is finally pushing the envelope and developing the series into something that takes it beyond the group of a silly teeny-booper high school drama based in a fantastical world. Yes, he has knocked down the frequency of Sophie' beauty regimen, which featured excessively in the first installment, to a notch, Thank god for that.
The cliffhanger this time around was actually intriguing and will make many a jaws drop.
Perhaps there is hope for The School for Good and Evil series yet and it remains to be seen, will the balance that altered the ways of good and evil be restored in the last installment of the series.
Ever tried something that is bound to not happen like it was your own Sisyphean Task. I did it, with this book, honestly if I could, I would elaborateEver tried something that is bound to not happen like it was your own Sisyphean Task. I did it, with this book, honestly if I could, I would elaborate more on this and write a well thought review but I just cant do it. Not with the number of times I have fallen asleep while trying to read this book. And that seldom happens to me, it didnt even when I was given a ghastly book in my school for my finals to be submitted as my entry for a book report, perhaps because it was so awful and headache inducing I hated it with the passion of a thousand suns. This one plain works as if its sedative for me and that unfortunately leaves me with nothing to write.
Hodge returns with another retelling set in the cruel beauty universe where the Gentle Lord rules - this time around its Cinderella we visit.
Maia liveHodge returns with another retelling set in the cruel beauty universe where the Gentle Lord rules - this time around its Cinderella we visit.
Maia lives with her stepmother and two stepsisters resides in the crumbling remain of her home that once used to be her beautiful home, back when her mother was alive.
Now with her father dead and the debts left behind in its wake, the place is falling apart - literally. Not to mention it is haunted - by the dead spirit of Maia' own mother and the demons that serve her as per the bargain she made with the Gentle Lord - that she be always with her daughter and never ever let her shed a tear or so much as see upset.
The catch as always in every deal that comes as the terrible price is that Maia can never ever, EVER show her true emotions, else her mother and the demons will wreck havoc on the person responsible - literally. So, in order to not let anyone suffer the terrible fate, Maia has to not only fake being happy always - she is never even allowed so much as to say one word, for even the truth will come with the consequences.
Trapped in her own home, Maia wishes her stepsisters to be married and take away their mother as well, so that she can finally at last live freely - without the ever constant fear of an impending doom looming upon their heads.
Fate however has other plans in store for her, when her paths cross with the richest man on the island of Arcadia - the Duke of Sardis - Lord Anax. With Anax, not only does Maia discover love and a life outside the confining limitations of her home, but also the gift of speaking her mind. Soon the pair is in love and Maia finds herself wishing the one thing she never thought she could possibly want - love, companionship and a life beyond the boundaries of her haunted home. The trouble is she cant reveal the truth about her dead mother or her demons to anyone, nor let her stepmother and stepsister suffer the wrath of her mother should she abandon them to pursue what her heart desires most.
Hodge is as amazing as the last time around and this is possibly one of the best retelling I have come across, I cannot wait to pick up the next book set in the cruel beauty universe.
Ok, so I was not expecting the moon and the stars with this one. I wanted to read this book because of the concept which sounded fun and the synopsisOk, so I was not expecting the moon and the stars with this one. I wanted to read this book because of the concept which sounded fun and the synopsis which seemed funny.
Honestly that's about it, as far as the humor department of the book is concerned. It doesn't move beyond the summary, for me. It isn't as if there weren't funny situations and some witty dialogues but it seemed as if it was all so forced and trying too hard to be funny but failing at it. Miserably.
Grief has a way of changing our lives completely. How each of us reacts to a situation beyond our control that completely alters our life, who we areGrief has a way of changing our lives completely. How each of us reacts to a situation beyond our control that completely alters our life, who we are as a person and our place under the sun depends based on the person solely. What my reaction may be to a typical situation can be radically different than yours.
Laurel Daneau, loses her mother and her grandma to hurricane Katrina, her home and everything she held dear to her life are washed away too. Though Laurel isn't completely alone, she hasn't come to terms with her loss.
When her dad is offered a job in Iowa, Laurel, her brother Jesse Jr. are once again on the move, two years after the hurricane. Here Laurel makes friends and falls in love and it seems to her dad things may finally be getting better for the family. However the illusion is soon shattered when he discovers meth or the 'moon' as Laurel calls it in her bedroom.
Woodson shows Laurel spiralling out of control as her dependence on the drug increases by the day, to a point where she prefers to run away from home and start begging and live in an abandoned building than be under the roof of her father since he wouldn't let her do drugs and wants her to get clean.
Kaylee, her friend and Moses, a gay artist who paints 'meth angels' help Laurel finally move on from the pain that has destroyed her, as she tries to find the relief and remedy for her pain in the meth.
This book was an accidental discovery on my part, and honestly while I had high hopes from it owing to the synopsis, wasnt upto par on my level of expectations, however it was not completely without its merits. This is the first time I have picked up a book by Woodson and while it took me some time to get into the space where I am comfortable with her style and the content I did like this book, though not immensely.
Can be picked up as a one-off read. Though reader discretion would be advised since the subject can cause triggers to some people.
Ever found yourself insanely jealous of someone who is really skilled at something? Cause I just did, god how beautifully this woman writes!!!
Of coursEver found yourself insanely jealous of someone who is really skilled at something? Cause I just did, god how beautifully this woman writes!!!
Of course I had read some pretty amazing reviews of the book, found myself immensely liking, Rutkoski' style of writing after reading Bridge of Snow, the prequel to Arin and Kestrel' story, which honestly makes more sense to me now, and in a way breaks my heart, if it's in any way a foreshadowing of the events to come in the lives of these amazing characters.
My biggest grievance with YA literature is the insta-love angle, I understand the lure of attraction, I don't get falling head over heels in love with someone you barely know for less than a week/month. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe its takes time for the kind of love to happen, for which you would sacrifice anything and everything, it's not that SPONTANEOUS, as some books would have you believe. The process is more of a slow burn and not instantaneous combustion. Which is why I absolutely loved, LOVED the way Rutkoski has developed the romance between Arin and Kestrel, a slave and his owner.
They aren't drawn to each other in a way that is sexual, yes there is a fair amount of sexual tension between them, but it simmers and grows. It simply does not take place overnight, but evolves at its own sweet pace.
The next thing at which Rutkoski absolutely scores in my opinion is her characterization of not just Arin & Kestrel but all the other characters.
But the thing which totally makes me a fan of her is the way she has made Kestrel as a gal I absolutely admire and love. Kestrel isn't your usual in-your-face whiny annoying YA heroine, she is smart, she is ruthless and she is a fabulous strategist.
Raised by her father who practically lives and breathes war as a general in the military of the Valorian empire, Kestrel absolutely detests bloodshed, yet she hates losing. Her mind is her sword and that makes her an awesome kick-ass heroine to me, she has a clear idea of who she is and what exactly she is capable of. She makes no bones in admitting her strengths and realizing her flaws. She knows she can be completely lethal without raising a finger, is a quick thinker and doesn't back-out under any circumstances. She knows how to turn even the odds against her in her favor and she is a pianist.
Yep the one thing Valorians don't believe is vital is Music, is the one thing which Kestrel cannot live without.
It is in Arin, that she finally meets her match.
Though that is not exactly a good thing.... not really.The kind of situation these two find themselves in, you would loathe to be in their shoes.
You can't help but root for them, you can't help but think since the moment things begin to unravel - this is a disaster just waiting to happen.
It's been a long time since I have found myself excited for the next book of a series as much as this one, (GRRM I am looking at you....) especially since that CLIFFHANGER. OMG!!!!! 2015 is simply too far away.
Do yourselves a favor and just pick up the first copy of this book asap, since it's an absolute must-read and without a doubt will end up in most of the top ten books of year lists.