They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.
To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.
Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.
But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.
Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.
Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.
But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?
Julie Reece writes YA stories. Many inspired by life in the southeastern states where she grew up. She's passionate about family, friends, animals, underdogs, and writing, but bubble baths and dark chocolate make the list, too.
The first thing I thought when I finished this book was 'dang, I would love to see this as a movie'. The Artisans has such an awesome and haunting concept to it plus I just adore all of the characters. It's truly an eerie and unforgettable book with a slightly sexy twist and I loved it.
At first when we meet Raven, I almost thought this book was a historical fiction because it came off so gothic-era-esque, but you later find out that it's definitely not and gothic is just her style, which was a striking characteristic about her. With Rae, I feel so sorry for her throughout this book...she hasn't had the easiest life nor does it become any easier for her. I admired her strength though and was happy for how the book ended for her.
With our lead boy, Jack or shall I say Gideon Maddox, I had an opposite feeling for him. I actually had to grow to love this boy. At first he starts out so arrogant, so mysterious, and it kind of irked me. As the story plays out though, you begin to see that he does have a heart and is put in just as bad of a situation as Raven. Plus, Jack is freaken sexy and I LOVE the fact that he has blonde curls...total win! Watching him and Raven break each other's walls, totally made me love them.
The other characters in the book are just as awesome! My favorite probably being Cole, who I loved right off the bat. Cole is hot and French and I just really liked his role through out the book. Dane and Mags were so cute together and amazing best friends for Raven. Finally, Jenny...aka best house keeper ever!
Overall this story was one I totally loved! The concept and world building of The Artisans was just so unique and creepy that it kind of blew my mind with how different it is. Plus, with my love of photography...it easily captured my attention. What was also cool about this book is that it has paranormal, magic, romance, and basically a lot of awesome elements wrapped into one. Fantastic story line, loved it!
Julie's beautiful craft and dark storytelling blew me away in The Artisans. Her writing ensnares the senses and makes me feel like I'm there right along with the characters. And this is a place I WANT to be. Sure, there's a touch of horror here and there, but I enjoyed this thrill ride. Not only for the mystery and ghostliness, but mainly for the scintillating tension between Raven and Gideon. Raven is the kind of heroine I can relate to and root for. And Gideon is the book boyfriend of any girl's dreams.
So ready for the continuation of this wonderful Gothic YA romance to continue in THE PALADINS.
Quick & Dirty: A modern day Beauty and the Beast retelling with the perfect blend of romance, mystery, and suspense this is sure to be a great hit with all young adult paranormal fans.
Opening Sentence: The winter of two thousand nine brought influenza, taking twenty-seven souls from Colleton County, South Carolina.
Raven Weathersby grew up in a small town in South Carolina. She has always had a very artist heart and she expresses herself by designing clothes. Ever since she can remember she has always loved to create beautiful and original clothing. Her work can rival some of the best in the fashion industry. But four years ago her mother died and with it so did everything that was good in Raven’s life. Her stepfather started drinking himself into a stupor every night and gambles away everything they have.
Now it is Raven’s senior year and she does everything she can to make ends meet. They are just barely staying afloat then her stepfather has a run in with a very powerful and dangerous family. The Maddox’s are ruthless and expect their debts to be paid. Raven knows that her stepfather is in no condition to repay anything so she offers to take his place.
Arrogant yet gorgeous, Gideon Maddox will allow Raven to pay her father’s debt if she agrees to live at his home for a year and design a line of clothing for Maddox Industries. Raven wants nothing more than to refuse his offer, but she knows that she really doesn’t have any other choice if she wants to save her father’s life. The more time Raven spends at Maddox’s manor the more she realizes that not everything is as it seems and that Gideon might not be the cold hearted man she thought he was.
Raven is a great character with a unique voice. She has had a hard life, especially since her mother died, but what I love best about her is that she doesn’t complain about it. She accepts it and has done everything she can to make it better for her and those that she loves. She doesn’t love easily, but once you are someone she cares about she will do almost anything for you. She is strong and creative. I love her sense of fashion and attitude. Even though she doesn’t have a lot, she doesn’t let other people push her around or intimidate her. She was an easy character to love and connect with. Watching her grow as a character made me admire her and I am glad I got to read her story.
Gideon or better known as Jack throughout the book, is one of my favorite things in the story. He is a very intense person with a very dominating personality. With his good looks, money, and charming personality he is used to getting what he wants. But underneath that entire facade there is a broken boy with a mysterious story. I instantly was drawn to Jack and I found that the more I got to know him the more I grew to love his character. He has a lot of depth to him and he has kept a lot of things about himself hidden for good reasons. His relationship with Raven is adorable and even though he can come across as a jerk he is actually a very caring person. He is a swoon worthy boy and I easily fell in love with him.
The Artisans was a unique modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast filled with mystery, romance and wonderful characters. From the first page I was completely lost in the wonderful setting that Reece created. There were a few times that the pacing felt a little off, which caused the story to lag a little bit, but I still found that I had a hard time putting the book down. With suspense and mystery running high throughout the story, I was very intrigued to see what was going to happen next. For the most part the plot is fairly predictable, but Reece threw in a few unexpected twists that made it interesting and kept me guessing. There is a lot that is going on in the story and there were a few times that I felt things got a little confusing, but for the most part everything comes together nicely in the end. Probably my favorite thing about the book was that it was set in modern day but had a Victorian steampunk feel to it. Raven is into Victorian and Gothic fashion, which I just loved and some of the characters mannerisms made it feel like they were from this time period as well. While I loved this part of the book, it also made some of the more modern day moments seem slightly out of place at times. I will admit that I am being a little nitpicky about some of the things I have criticized in this story because when you read as much as I do it is hard to not be. But I don’t want anything I have said in any way deter you from reading this book because it is a great story that I enjoyed immensely. I would highly recommend this to anyone that likes modern day retellings or just a great romance story with a paranormal twist.
“Sadly, no, I cannot take credit for your stunning sleepwear ensemble. Though dressing you does sound like fun. You were wearing that at midnight when you climbed into bed with me.”
What? Shit. “I did no such thing!”
“You did, snuggled right up next to me.” The grin fades to that tantalizing half smile he owns, wicked and super-hot. “Every guy’s dream actually, waking up to a beautiful girl in his bed. Imagine my shock—and disappointment—upon the realization you had no idea what you were doing. Of course, it also occurred to me you planned to slit my throat as I slept.” I gasp, and he chuckles. “I’ve heard it’s dangerous to wake a sleepwalker. I thought you’d break your neck on the stairs, jump out a window, cook and eat your cat. Tsk, tsk, tsk.” He shakes his head.
“Can’t have that now, can we?”
FTC Advisory: Month 9 Books provided me with a copy of The Artisans. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
‘Raven must choose between Gideon Maddox, the monster the world believes him to be, or the one she can allow herself to fall in love with.’
STOP, JUST STOP, My heart can’t take this!
I have been searching no end for this book since Wendy Higgins recommended it and this woman is never wrong, she is always on point when it comes to a good romance and she doesn’t disappoint with The Artisans. I seem to be all about re-telling’s lately and The Beauty and the Beast story never gets old, no matter how much you originate from the classic or keep it simple, I always end up invested in the story.
The book begins with Raven our gothic protagonist who dreams of being a top fashion designer, she lives with her dead-beat step-dad. After her mother died her father spends all his time drinking and gambling, it soon cost them their home and now they live in her father’s workshop. Disaster strikes when Raven’s father burns down a Maddox run business. The Maddox’s are a notorious family whom people never cross. They demand compensation for the damages and Raven knows her family has nothing to give so she goes to the meeting and like a lamb to slaughter, she offers to take her father’s place and pay any price…
Raven is surprised to learn that Gideon Maddox does not money in return but instead her. He demands that Raven must live with him for a year and steal her designs for his own failing fashion label. Raven has no other choice but to accept these absurd demands if it means her father can go without punishment.
For starters I adored that Raven was a goth girl, to me this was totally refreshing and complemented well with her badass attitude but ultimately her love for her step-father even though he has done nothing to help her life really does makes you feel for her. Then there’s the love interest Gideon… The ‘beast’ well he’s drop dead gorgeous so that obviously doesn’t fit the description but trust me his personality does. He’s so arrogant and dominating and is clearly used to getting his own way, Alass he’s a little bit of an asshole but I LOVED to HATE HIM… at first obvs, you soon fall in love with him after a whole lot of angst and gorgeous sexual tension.
The story is filled with mystery as Raven is soon taunted by evil ghosts and magic coming from the house. Raven sets out to find out what secrets Gideon is hiding with her obese cat Edgar. I’m a complete sucker for stories with animals!
The thing to remember with this story is a ROMANCE even with all the paranormal twists aside, so it was a bit predictable but this is no way affected the story for me. If you prefer a bit more action and drama to your books this may not be for you but for fellow lovers of a tortured romance and a little mystery this is perfect!
This was my first Reece novel and I truly loved it and I can’t wait to read more of her work as she truly seems like my type of author when she says… “I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a hot guy.’
Amen to that!
WHERE IS THIS BOOK?! I need to pre-order it right now, but it's nowhere to be found! Arghhh, gimme!
I’ve recently moved to Mississippi, which I guess has put me in a southern gothic mood as of late, and a southern gothic retelling of Beauty and the Beast? Um, yes. Yes, please.
Unfortunately, while I appreciate the vivid, creepy descriptiveness of Reece’s scene-building as well as her general writing style, I found myself struggling to appreciate Gideon’s character (our Beast), the romance, or even the mythology in this version of the fairytale.
Gideon. Gideon’s character is controlling and unlikable (as the Beast should be… at least at the beginning of the story), but he’s also hard to pin down as a character. While reading, I felt like I was presented with several versions of Gideon that I could never quite reconcile into one person. Not to mention that he remained pretty one-dimensional to me throughout the book. His role was almost secondary, a romantic prop for Raven. Which is disappointing to say the least, because, to me, the Beast’s maturation and transformation is at the crux of this particular fairytale. So given his developmental and control issues, I just couldn’t wholeheartedly jump on the Raven-Gideon bandwagon.
Romance & Story. The romance also got in the way of the story in that the larger plot just… stopped… whenever the romance became the focus. Normally, I love romance. Almost every book I read has a romantic element to it, but I don’t understand why the plot and the romance, for a large portion of the book, were being developed almost separately instead of being developed synchronously. Another thing I didn’t quite understand, why Raven didn’t confront Gideon about certain (sort of REALLY important) things involving the plot a lot earlier than she ended up doing. If she had, it would’ve made the story more interesting; it would’ve provided Gideon with great opportunities for character development, and would have made for some great (and better) push-’n-pull moments for their relationship in general which, in the end, felt a bit anemic.
And when the “here’s what’s going on” moment is finally revealed, the mythology behind the fairytale-esque curse element of the story proved to be a bit… underwhelming… and unsatisfying. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
Overall. There’s some real potential in The Artisans, unfortunately, there ended up being too many detractors for me to really enjoy this Beauty and the Beast retelling.
Raven Weathersby grew up in a small town in South Carolina. She has always had a very artist heart and she expresses herself by designing clothes. Ever since she can remember she has always loved to create beautiful and original clothing. Her work can rival some of the best in the fashion industry. But four years ago her mother died and with it so did everything that was good in Ravens life. Her stepfather started drinking himself into a stupor every night and gambles away everything they have.
Now it is Raven’s senior year and she does everything she can to make ends meet. They are just barely staying afloat then her stepfather has a run in with a very powerful and dangerous family. The Maddox’s are ruthless and expect their debts to be paid. Raven knows that her stepfather is in no condition to repay anything so she offers to take his place.
Arrogant yet gorgeous Gideon Maddox will allow Raven to pay her father’s debt if she agrees to live at his home for a year and design a line of clothing for Maddox industries. Raven wants nothing more than to refuse his offer, but she knows that she really doesn’t have any other choice if she wants to save her father’s life. The more time Raven spends at Maddox manor to more she realizes that not everything is as it seems and that Gideon might not be the cold hearted man she thought he was.
Raven is a great character with a unique voice. She has had a hard life especially since her mother died, but what I love best about her is that she doesn’t complain about it. She accepts it and has done everything she can to make it better for her and those that she loves. She doesn’t love easily, but once you are someone she cares about she will do almost anything for you. She is strong and creative. I love her sense of fashion and attitude. Even though she doesn’t have a lot she doesn’t let others push her around or intimidate her. She was an easy character to love and connect with. Watching her grow as a character made me admire her and I am glad I got to read her story.
Gideon or better known as Jack throughout the book is one of my favorite things in the story. He is a very intense person with a very dominating personality. With his good looks, money, and charming personality he is use to getting what he wants. But underneath that entire facade there is a broken boy with a mysterious story. I instantly was drawn to Jack and I found that the more I got to know him the more I grew to love his character. He has a lot of depth to him and he has kept a lot of things about himself hidden for good reasons. His relationship with Raven is adorable and even though he can come across as a jerk he is actually a very caring person. He is defiantly a swoon worthy boy and I easily fell in love with him.
The Artisans was a unique modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast filled with mystery, romance and wonderful characters. From the first page I was completely lost in the wonderful setting that Reece created. There were a few times that the pacing felt a little off which caused the story to lag a little bit, but I still found that I had a hard time putting the book down. With suspense and mystery running high throughout the story I was very intrigued to see what was going to happen next. For the most part the plot is fairly predictable, but Reece threw in a few unexpected twists that made it interesting and kept me guessing. There is a lot that is going on in the story and there were a few times that I felt things got a little confusing, but for the most part everything comes together nicely in the end. Probably my favorite thing about the book was that it was set in modern day but had a Victorian steampunk feel to it. Raven is very into Victorian and gothic fashion which I just loved and some of the characters mannerisms made it feel like they were from this time period as well. While I loved this part of the book it also made some of the more modern day moments seem slightly out of place at times. I will admit that I am being a little nitpicky about some of the things I have criticized in this story because when you read as much as I do it is hard to not be. But I don’t want anything I have said in any way defer you from reading this book because it is a great story that I enjoyed immensely. I would highly recommend this to anyone that likes modern day retellings or just a great romance story with a paranormal twist.
Author, Julie Reece, has done it again. What an incredible journey she has taken me in her latest masterpiece, THE ARTISANS.
The writing is mature, intoxicating, the storyline haunting, and let’s not forget the unforgettable characters. After reading Ms. Reece’s previous novel, CRUX, I didn’t think her writing could get any better. I was wrong. THE ARTISANS blew me away.
What did I love the most? So hard to say. I adored Raven. Her story is not an easy one. She’s seen her share of bad times. I felt so bad for her. I was so emotionally attached. I wanted her to find her piece of happiness so much I wanted to jump in the book and give it to her. It turns out I didn’t have to, which is a good thing, but still, I would have if I could have. I mean, if any book character deserved a happy ending, it’s Rae.
About Gideon Maddox , well, that boy had to grow on me, but he was/is the perfect, sexy counterpart for Raven.
Then there was Mags and Dane, true friends to the end. They have so got Raven's back.
The setting in the book is eerie and creepy, ghastly spooky and dark. There’s romance, mystery, suspense. There are just so many wonderful elements about this story that it would take pages to write them all. I think the best thing I can say is BUY THIS BOOK!! :-) You will be completely blown away by this fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It is definitely one of my fave reads. And even though I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, I am soo buying a paperback version of this right now, today. That’s how much I love this book.
Ms. Reece, if you’re reading this, I love you!! Keep on writing novels like this and you’re going to bump the popular authors off the charts. I’m hooked on your writing. You're one of my favorites for sure.
Basically this is pretty much the best book ever Full review~
Dios mío. This book is one of the most amazing books I think I’ve ever read. The Artisans has everything I’ve ever wanted in a book, plus has me liking things I’m usually not too fond of (like ghosts and ghouls) a whole flipping lot. A modern twist on Beauty and the Beast with a dash of a few other fairy tales for good measure, this tale is one of a curse, a steampunk dress-maker in a modern world and a boy entwined in the middle of it all (whether it be by his own design or not).
When Raven’s stepfather messes with the wrong family, he’s finally in over his head. Gideon Maddox calls for him to come pay his debt, but he’s unable to go and Raven goes in his place. She strikes up a deal with the bad boy who has a troubled past and magic that goes on for days. Terribly handsome, terrible lonely and terribly hopeless, Raven is just what Gideon needs to battle the demons of his past and the ones that reside in the halls of his mansion. Raven stays at the mansion with Gideon and his two in house servants and makes clothes for Gideon’s clothing line. Nightmares keep her awake and soon she really can’t rest until she’s figured out everything. Everything about the house and everything about the boy who isn’t as bad as everyone believes.
Okay, so that was a really bad over view of the novel. Nothing can really describe how amazing this book is. I mean its romance and mystery and self-discovery and heartbreak and meaning and finding meaning and friendship and family. That doesn’t really describe it any better though, does it? Let’s just go with its amazing. So, so amazing.
The characters are fantastic: Raven, Gideon, Ben, Maggie, Dane, Cole, Edgar. I love them all. Cole is the ghost who made me like ghosts. Something I’d never thought would happen, by the way. But he’s just so completely sweet. Maggie and Dane are the best friends that anyone could have. They sort of made me ask the question how far are you willing to go for the ones you love? As a matter of fact, this whole story made me ask that question. Well, that and where can I get a Cole or Gideon or Dane? Costco? Ikea?
The mystery with the whole curse really had me going for a bit, but the way it was composed was breathtaking and wonderful. I sat down and I read it all. That’s how good this was. Now, this isn’t s debut novel. That kind of surprised me. It felt fresh. But, since it isn’t a debut that means I can totally binge of the other books this author has written.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: go read or pre-order or order it right now.
Oh, one last thing. That nursery rhyme. Be still my heart.
OMG absolutely loved it! It is the first book by Julie Reece I read and I fell in love with the characters, their interactions and all the spooky details in it! And OMG how I wish I could meet Gideon Maddox!
WHY IS THIS BOOK SO UNDERRATED??? This book deserves the praise it gets! seriously its a work of art! I fell in love with each and every character of the book! seriously guys go and read this book you wont regret it. (though A.F you might not like it, you should stick to historical romances :P) (Gideon Maddox: Is it just me or is every one with the surname "Maddox" hot as hell?? This guys no exception. Sexy as hell, Sweet as sin and hotter than hot this guys book boyfriend material!!)
All the heart eyes and love for this southern gothic YA! ❤
**This review also appears here on A Leisure Moment!**
**I received an e-book from the author!**
I love Julie Reece’s work. Needless to say,One Summer With Autumn is one of my favorite books of all time. I love the enemies to lovers romance and wanted to read more of her writing. When Julie offered to send me another one of her books when I participated in the Swoon Romance Valentine’s Day extravaganza, I was beyond excited. I started reading The Artisans when I knew I had other things I needed to be reading and didn’t look back.
Raven Weathersby had been taking care of herself for quite a long time. Her stepfather was hopeless after her mother’s death, and he became her responsibility instead of the other way around. When he got in trouble with the town’s obscure millionaires, Raven offered to take his place and create a fashion line for Gideon Maddox’s father’s failing fashion empire—and so began the tale of their romance.
I loved Raven. She was feisty and self-assured, and she didn’t let anyone get the best of her. She also had enough curiosity to get her into a lot of trouble. The Maddox house had its own secrets hidden in the walls and paintings, and she wanted to get to the bottom of it. Her determination drove the novel: her need to finish the fashion line, to save Cole, and to save her stepfather from an inevitable fate.
Gideon…ah, Gideon. Yes, he was the quintessential mystery man, a dash of snark, and beastly personality. That’s right—this book had Beauty and the Beast vibes through and through, only Belle is a goth and the Beast is a handsome, blonde millionaire. So, you know, an improvement. Every word that came out of Gideon’s mouth was either an insult or a compliment, and it got so confusing that Raven wasn’t sure which was which sometimes. I loved him, albeit I had to fall for him. Sure, his looks made him a winner, but the Gideon that I loved was the one I got to know.
I loved everything about this book. I liked how Raven’s friends had their own romance going on in the background, and I also liked Dane and Maggie as people. Dane was her best friend for as long as she could remember, and Maggie was a dash of spunk that kept Raven on her toes. The trio went so well together, and I wanted to know if they were going to become a quartet and add Gideon to their circle.
If you haven’t read anything by Julie Reece, you’re missing out. Her writing is fantastic, and she creates stories and characters that make me fly through the pages for more. Be Gideon Maddox’s guest and discover the truth of the old plantation home in the swamps of South Carolina alongside Raven for a journey you’re not soon to forget.
A contemporary Beauty and the Beast retelling is always welcome, and I really enjoyed this book! It's light on the retelling aspect, although there are the important elements from the fairy tale - the confinement, the beastly hero, the connection between the couple, and the power of love to redeem. The story weaves in a great backstory for the heroine - Raven or Rae, who has a talent for designing clothes, but who has a very tough home life. Raven was so much fun to read about because of her wryly sarcastic voice. I found her hilarious!
The romance in this story is very sweet -it's sweeps you up if you don't pay too much attention to why they fall in love. Although for me, I felt it was hard to understand why Gideon fell in love with Raven so quickly when she was always so antagonistic to him initially. But I didn't mind too much since I really loved the characters, and it was great to read about their growing interest in each other. And I thought it was wonderful that Gideon can help Raven just as much as she can help him. And Gideon does help Raven realize her potential. Raven has two best friends who come to visit sometimes, and I loved that there is a little romantic b-plot going with those friends - this was an all around wonderful read for the romance aspect. (And YAY no love triangle!)
The story includes an interesting spin on the magic - there is a curse of sorts and a dark, forbidding house which made the story very mysterious and creepy at times. There were some particularly nerve-wracking scenes! Both the romance and the mystery of what secrets Gideon was hiding made this book so readable - a fantastic page-turner with engaging characters, swoony romance, and eerie mystery!
This book only needs one word to describe it, and that word is FABULOUS! Everything about this book was fabulous, especially Raven, Edgar, Jenny, smexy Gideon, the hot ghost Cole, and even grouchy old Jamis! I have so much love for this book and highly recommend it to everyone!! Read this book NOW!!
Words can't even describe this book. It makes me want to paint a picture! Think gothic meets 'Beauty and the Beast.' This story is so intricate and well thought out. I would absolutely recommend this one!
I actually had the pleasure of meeting Julie at Apollycon. She talked a few shy wallflowers into mingling with authors. Thank you again, Julie! Can't wait for your next book!
this book was so good you guys... it is so much more than I was expecting, the setting was creepy and beautiful, I am in love with all the characters and had a beauty and the beast feel that I loved it was atmospheric and I loved the fashion aspects guys read ittttt
Reread thoughts: It is so funny how you adapt over time, even in your reading. While I still enjoyed this story this go round, it isn't quite a 5 star read for me anymore. But, like I said, I still loved the story. Julie Reece is something special!
The very first thing that attracted me to The Artisans is the simple, yet stunning cover. I love the fonts and the color is perfect. The second thing that attracted me? Raven, the Goth Steampunk loving main character, as we jump right into the hell that has become her life since her mother passed away. Her stepfathers best friend brings him "home", to the back of the store they own, passed out from drinking. After getting Ben settled on his pallet on the floor, Raven is handed a letter from the Maddox family requesting Ben's presence that very afternoon to settle his debts, and she knows that her already crappy life is about to drastically change.
Raven, from the beginning, has spunk. She is a fighter, and she fights for the people that she loves. Ben may be a drunk now, but he is the only dad she has ever known and she is willing to do anything to make sure she doesn't lose him. She goes to the meeting intended for Ben, and offers herself up to Gideon Maddox, in exchange for her father. From this point on, her life will never be the same. For better of worse?
Like I said, I adored Raven. She is smart, funny and loyal to a fault. She loves her father, and her two best friends more than anything. There isn't anything she wouldn't do for each of them. She doesn't just take crap from Gideon, who pushes her from the beginning. He is a jerk, who knows how to push her buttons, and stubborn as it gets. Raven isn't a stranger to stubborn either, and gives as good as she takes. Their relationship goes through so many ups and downs, it will give you whiplash, but I loved every minute of it. It took me a while to warm up to Gideon, but as he let down his guard, my heart thawed. After said thawing, I loved how their relationship developed, and it was a great part of the story. On a side note, I had no idea going into this that Beauty and the Beast played a role in the story, but after seeing that referenced somewhere after I finished it makes a whole lot of sense, and I love the book even more!
Another favorite character was Cole. I can't say too much about him though. He is a part of the mystery. Who are the Artisans? Who are the ghosts hellbent on destroying Raven? Why is Raven seeing ghosts when she never has before? And what is the real truth behind Ravens past, and her sleepwalking? Who is Gideon, underneath the anger? There are so many questions throughout the book, and the mystery continues until the end. I loved the ghost aspect of the story, and the intrigue surrounding the Maddox family.
One of the best aspects of the story were the relationships. They make The Artisans stand out from the crowd for me. Ravens two best friends, Maggie and Dean, were amazing friends to have. Their interactions with each other, and Raven, were some of my favorite parts of the story. Jenny, the cook of the Maddox household was like a grandmother to all of them, and I loved her to pieces. Edgar, Raven's cat, played a big role in the story. Animals always make me happy! Finally, Raven and Ben's relationship was not always easy, but the love they have for each other and the things they faced together shaped Raven so much. To sum up: The Artisan's relationships category = PERFECT!
Finally, I love that Julie Reece had her Faith play a role in her story. Faith is a huge part of my life, and my relationship with God shapes me. I loved that she used her Faith in this story in such a way that it shines. She isn't preachy with it, she is honest with it, and it was refreshing and added a great depth to the story. I love The Artisans. It is easily one of my favorite books of 2015. I am happy and sad all at the same time, that it is a standalone! I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this book to anyone and everyone!
Thank you to Month9Books for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this ARC copy!
I've never read anthing by Julie Reece, but the elegant cover and the fact that is was a retelling caught my eye.
I hesitate to say it's a retelling though, because I think it misses out on the most important parts of the tale it's retelling. Raven Weathersby's stepfather Ben accumulates a debt with the rich owner of Maddox Industries, Gideon Maddox. Since her dad is an alcoholic and can't really make choices, Raven steps in for him and agrees to let Gideon use her clothing designs for his company for a year while living with him.
Sounds a bit like Beauty and the Beast, yeah? Ah, but there's no beast in this story. More like Beauty and the Beauty, since both Avery and Gideon are described as attractive people.
It's quite an interesting setting, as although this story takes place in the modern world, the characters are quite disconnected from technology. When Avery first arrives at Gideon's place, he tells her that there's a phone she can use but no computers, tv's, or any other devices. I'm not sure if it's the author trying to create a more historical atmosphere or sticking with Belle's isolation in the fairy tale, but it did make the story unrealistic. Gideon is the heir to a huge company, lives in a mansion complete with butler and all, but doesn't use a computer? Please.
The romance in this story had a weird pacing. One chapter Gideon's leaving Raven alone and the next, he's saying she's more than just the clothing line she's providing. It was quite sudden, and this also tranfers to the secondary romance that the supporting characters were sporting. While it was cute, it was also a little disorienting because I feel like we skipped some getting to know each other in the process of their relationship.
Again, the odd pacing carried out with the paranormal aspect, which was quite interesting. I wish this part of the book was explored more because it was very unique. From the first night at Gideon's mansion, Avery sees the ghost of a young boy. They manage to communicate, and she tries to help him escape... whatever made him become a ghost. However, I feel like this is put in the back of her mind when she's with Gideon. I mean, wouldn't you ask about the weird ghosts in the house of the person you're talking to? Instead, she does it behind his back covertly with no explanation why. I mean, from what I read, there were no major consequences if she did try to get Gideon's help, but she just chose not to.
While I would have liked to have seen more of the paranormal stuff, I also would have liked to have gotten more explanations on Raven's talent in fashion. Apparently she sleepwalks/sews like her father, which sounds a little fantastical. I'm not sure if this was a reference to another tale, because it was very out of place in the book but also interesting. There was a lot of "showing not telling" on the aspect of Raven's talent with clothes. Considering this was, from what I read, the sole reason for Gideon to hire her in the first place, not much detail was placed on it.
I feel like this book explored many topics, but none of them were in-depth. It's like taking a bunch of classes but getting C's on all of them. We have cool paranormal things going on, but at the same time dealing with Raven's father's alcohol abuse and rehabilitation stage, while at the same time thinking about Raven's interest and gift in fashion, and the romance to top it off. I ended up feeling incomplete because although the paranormal aspects got sorted out, everything else kind of got explained quickly and then left behind.
Overall, I'd say to read this book because there are GHOSTS in this book and avenging spirit-like things, which is mentioned NOT AT ALL in the blurb. I'm not sure why the blurb focuses on the romance, in fact, because it wasn't done that well. So, YES to reading for some fun with ghosties and antique cameras. NO to reading for a sweet, swoon-worthy romance that will make you sigh. It just made me sigh in confusion.
I liked this story, it was interesting and a totally different way the author went with this story.
This is a fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I liked that it had a unique twist to this story. The Beast, Gideon, wasn't really a "beast" but a normal 19 year old guy who dealt with deals, and Raven was a Gothic girl who was good at making clothing and she made a deal to save her stepdad from the Maddox company. While it is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, we have the loyal servants, Jenny the housekeeper and Jamis the butler/chauffeur, but the "curse" is something that hasn't been done before and I liked it. They weren't cursed by a witch or anything like that, doomed for eternity until true love breaks them out of it, because let's face it, in modern times who would believe that?, but instead a magician made an evil... camera... for an ancestor of Gideon's and they were all cursed because of it. Add in ghosts, a little bit of romance here and there, awesome secondary characters, and it was a great read.
The beginning chapters had me feeling a little bit hesitant about the book, but as soon as the ghost started showing, it got interesting and I didn't want to put the book down. I wanted to know how the ghosts and everything going around the house tied in with the curse. In this retelling, Raven had friends that helped her break the curse, Dane and Maggie, and they were my favorite. I think I liked their scenes more because they were so cute and adorable together, and it seemed like they were making more progress on their front rather than Gideon and Raven. But on the other hand, once the real details of the curse were out, I sort of felt a little bit let down. Don't get me wrong, it was something I've never read about before, the Artisans and the bodies, but I still found it a little bit confusing on how it changed Gideon to a new person at the end of the story. Not that I'm complaining, he became more normal and worthy of Rae and their happy ending because he showed that he wasn't leaving or going anywhere.
As for the romance, it was a sweet slow simmering romance that started between Rae and Gideon. At first they hated each other and couldn't stand each other but as time went on, and the times they got together their banter was hilarious, anyone could see how much they cared about each other. Of course, then one of them would close themselves off and it was like no progress had been made at all. Reading about them was frustrating, but in a good way! When it was finally out that they liked each other was one of my favorites scenes from the book, especially near the end where we get to see them together at the epilogue.
Not wanting to go too much into details about the curse, and ruin the whole, I will just say that this book was an interesting read and I'm glad I got the chance to read it. This book is definitely worth a read!
Sweat drips from my temple as I push a needle through my friend's torn flesh....
Seventeen year old Raven Weathersby dreams of becoming a fashion designer. After the death of her mother she gives up that dream to take care of her stepfather Ben (who is an alcoholic with a drinking problem) and working as a seamstress after school to help make ends meet.
Ben's problems lead him to a run in with the heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon. Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse. Gideon Maddox agrees, under one condition: Raven must live in his home for a year while giving up her designs and designing for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights. Her handsome captor is arrogant and infuriating. Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone living with him for a whole year. Nothing in the Maddox home is as it seems. Things are going on that Raven has no explanation for. All she wants is to put in her time and go back to her life. If she makes it out....
This story flowed along so well. I was never confused about was going on and it kept me reading and trying to solve the creepy puzzle that was going on in the Maddox home. The ending solved everything and left me with no questions. I loved the characters in this story. They were all unique in their own way and very memorable. They were fleshed out very well. The element of creepiness in this book was done so well that at points in the story I could feel myself getting creeped out. The romance in the story was done in a way that made it real and believable. It wasn't overdone. It was just the right amount that this story needed. It wasn't rushed at all. The language in this book was tastefully written which I loved! There wasn't a bunch of unneeded profanity. This would be a suitable read for anyone. I didn't want this story to end. I was enjoying living in this world so much! I am so happy that there is going to be another story to follow this one and I am SO EXCITED to read it! I want more of Raven and Gideon and I can't wait to see what mysterious things will happen next in the Maddox estate. I have a feeling that the mysteriousness is far from over and that there is a lot more to come. I enjoyed every moment of reading this gothic, steam-punk, creepy, and haunting mysterious romance. Bring on the next one!
*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review*
Julie Reece has crafted a hauntingly beautiful tale and I’m so excited to have found this author. This book was funny, edgy, downright creep-me-out scary at moments and I loved every minute of it. The protagonist is fresh and compelling, the dialogue sharp and witty, and the storyline thoughtful. I love YA books that don’t pretend real life doesn’t exist for teens. Reece has included an alcoholic, gambling character that was written to perfection and the ways in which the protagonist, Raven, manage this relationship is both heart-wrenching and all too true to life. Between her thoughtful handling of reality, her blurring of the paranormal with the possibility of hallucination, and the descriptive, scary scenes, I can’t decide what I like best about this book. What I can say is I finished this in two nights and bought the sequel, The Paladins, immediately. I recommend you do the same.
Fans of Libba Bray, Melissa Marr, or Becca Fitzpatrick will love The Artisans.
An electrifying retelling of Beauty and Beast with a hauntingly good twist. Julie Reece's new release was addicting, to say the least. It has the right amount of intrigue, romance, suspense, and great character chemistry that made it impossible to put down. I ended up reading it in one sitting.