Genre: Retelling


Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier | Book Review

March 17, 2017 Adult Fiction, Book Review 5 ★★★★★

Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier | Book ReviewHeart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
Published by Roc on October 2, 2009
Genres: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 402
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gift from Secret Sister
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Whistling Tor is a place of secrets and mystery. Surrounded by a wooded hill, and unknown presences, the crumbling fortress is owned by a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan's family and his people; those woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom.

For young scribe Caitrin it is a safe haven. This place where nobody else is prepared to go seems exactly what she needs, for Caitrin is fleeing her own demons. As Caitrin comes to know Anluan and his home in more depth she realizes that it is only through her love and determination that the curse can be broken and Anluan and his people set free.

When Bonnie found out that I love Beauty and the Beast, she sent me a beautiful hardcover of Heart’s Blood and told me I MUST read it because it’s an amazing retelling of one of my favorite fairytales. Of course I’d been hearing wonderful things about Juliet Marillier, and how her books are the makings of dreams and happiness and stardust, so I was very excited to dive in! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I was hooked from the very beginning because Marillier’s writing is so smooth and lyrical. She also really knows how to set the stage for a story. I loved the atmosphere and mystery she created. Things felt very ominous as well as romantic, and even though the book reads a bit slower that the books I usually love I really found Heart’s Blood to be so captivating and magical.

2. The Tor is a mysterious, mystical place. I loved the descriptions of the castle and the landscape. The Tor is not just home to Anluan and his staff, but also beings who are caught in limbo between life and death–tethered to the Tor by dark magic that nobody understands how to undo. Caitrin is the first glimmer of hope the residents of the Tor have seen in a very long time, and as she works to discover the root of all these secrets some support her efforts and some try to stop her. Who do you trust?

3. I loved all the characters. They are so dynamic and flawed, and really made me feel like they were real. They are all broken in some way: Anuluan, Caitrin, Magnus, Eichri, Rioghan… all of them, and they pick up their pieces together and lean on each other for support. Muirne is creepy, not to mention the spirit child who grows very attached to Caitrin but is also dangerous if she gets mad. I LOVED Fianchu, the huge, lovable, loyal dog that never leaves the side of those he protects. Everyone grows and changes drastically from beginning to end.

4. So. Many Feelings. Throughout the second half of the book the beings that live on the Tor really wiggled their way into my heart. When they suffered, I suffered.

5. The romance was so sweet and my heart broke as I worried what everyone’s fate was going to be.

6. There’s some sad things that happen that I was not prepared for. I was ok, though, and only cried a little so I consider that a win.

Heart’s Blood was my first book by Juliet Marillier, and it will surely not be my last. I love her beautiful writing and her amazing storytelling. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves Beauty and the Beast, unique settings, heartwarming characters, and triumph.

 

 


The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Tale by Laurence Yep | Children’s Book Review

March 16, 2017 Children's Book Review, Inner Child 5 ★★★★★

The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Tale by Laurence Yep | Children’s Book ReviewThe Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Tale by Laurence Yep
Published by HarperCollins on January 9, 1999
Genres: Classic, Fairy Tale, Retelling
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed from Library
Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
When a poor farmer falls into the clutches of a dragon, only Seven, his youngest daughter, will save him—by marrying the beast.

Publishers Weekly praised "Yep's elegant, carefully crafted storytelling" and Mak's "skillfully and radiantly rendered illustrations" in this captivating and luminous Chinese variation of the beauty and the beast tale.

The Dragon Prince by Laurence Yep is the Chinese version of Beauty and the Beast, and is so rich in culture. Inside the book the author includes his source notes, explaining that this tale is a Southern Chinese version of the classic. He also thanks Truly Shay for helping him translate several tales for him. Immediately, I felt confident that this book would be of very high quality because of the proof of research.

This tale is written in a way that sounds natural when read aloud, and the text is very traditional and stylistically magical. The story includes cultural elements that seem true to the area in which it takes place, including the fact that it’s about a rice farmer and his daughters, a serpent for a beast (that becomes a dragon), the term bride prince is used, and the palace is located in an underwater garden under the ocean’s surface. The story takes an interesting spin, and Seven’s (the Beauty equivalent) sister attempts to drown her and take her place. The prince can tell, though, and searches to find his lost Seven. They live happily ever after.

Elegant silk robes, jade cups, and gold plates are illustrated. The illustrations themselves are reminiscent of Chinese style, with bright colors, Chinese architecture and clothing, and a stylized dragon. The prince speaks of the traditional Chinese custom of brides visiting their families after their wedding.

 

Oh my goodness, I love this version of Beauty and the Beast so much. The Chinese culture, colors, and design influences make it not only entertaining, but a rich, educational, vibrant tale that anyone would love. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves China, Beauty and the Beast, beautiful illustrations, and learning about other cultures!


Hunted by Meagan Spooner | Book Review

March 15, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★★★★

Hunted by Meagan Spooner | Book ReviewHunted by Meagan Spooner
Published by HarperTEEN on March 14, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
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5 Stars
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

*happy sigh* Boy, did I love this book. I love Beauty and the Beast. Always have, always will. I’m pretty picky with B&B story lines because I kind of have a favorite (*cough* A Court of Thorns and Roses *cough*), but Hunted by Meagan Spooner has definitely taken a spot next to ACOTAR on my list of favorite retellings! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This story is super unique, while still remaining true to the elements I’ve come to love from Beauty and the Beast. It felt very much like a fairy tale, but one that Meagan has made her own. She added some twists that kept me guessing!

2. I was immediately captivated by Beast and his voice. At the end of every chapter there’s a piece of his mind—what he’s thinking and feeling. He’s not just a man trapped in a beast’s body. He’s both. He refers to himself as “we” and is struggling every day to not be lost in this primal, violent creature that is trying to take over. Sometimes he’s more of one than the other. Here’s a quote from one of his sections that I just loved, and it perfectly illustrates his beautiful voice and his split personality.

“She moves like beauty, she whispers to us of wind and forest—and she tells us stories, such stories that we wake in the night, dreaming dreams of a life long past. She reminds us of what we used to be.

She reminds us of what we could be.”

Beauty’s presence in his life helps him push the beast away, but it is a constant battle that I loved witnessing. I wish I had gotten to learn more about his past. I love what I did learn, though, and I particularly love how his past was used throughout the book.

3. Things started out very slowly, but it was so worth the wait. This was partly due to the fact that Meagan’s writing is gorgeous and partly because the climax and resolution were so beautifully perfect for the characters. I got to a point where I read slower to try and savor the story. I literally didn’t want it to end.

4. I loved Meagan’s usage of Russian folklore to shape the story. Reading about “The Tale of Ivan Tsarevich, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf” was wonderful and I’d never heard of that story before. I want to go look for it now and read it.

5. Beauty’s character is great. She’s still bookish, but also a fierce hunter. Beast captured her because he needed a strong hunter to capture the thing that would put an end to his curse. I loved this twist, and I loved the feisty, fearless heroine we got as a result.

6. Hunted is very light on the romance, but I love slow burning love stories so I was fine with this. Do I wish there had been a little more of the sweeping love story in the Disney movie? Kiiiind of (I never say no to romance), but I think the ending of Hunted is so much sweeter because of how Meagan chose to treat the romantic element. There are subtle hints of intrigue throughout the story, and I loved that. It also felt realistic and less Stockholm Syndromey than it might have otherwise (I’m not saying the Disney movie feels Stockholmy, just that there was potential for it here depending on how the author chose to write it).

7. Seriously, the writing is gorgeous.

8. The ending. *swoon*

All in all, I have found a new favorite in Hunted. I went and pre-ordered it as soon as I was finished because I need a copy to sit on my shelves that I can pet whenever I want. I really hope Meagan Spooner chooses to write more fairy tale retellings because


Beastly by Alex Flinn | Mini Book Review + Movie Thoughts

March 13, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 22 ★★★★

Beastly by Alex Flinn | Mini Book Review + Movie ThoughtsBeastly by Alex Flinn
Published by HarperTEEN on October 2, 2007
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought it!
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright--a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever--ruined--unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

I was really worried about reading a modern take on “Beauty and the Beast.” I love that story so much already that I was worried Flinn was going to ruin it. I absolutely loved it! I love the transformation Kyle makes from being a complete jerk to being Prince Charming. I mean, he was so mean and self-centered… and he really hurt people and didn’t care! He makes a complete 180, and the difference is amazing. I can see many people falling for this guy!

He meets Lindy because of her father. He got into some major trouble, and the only way to get himself out of it was to essentially give his daughter to the Kyle. Their relationship goes from absolute loathing, to tolerance, to curiosity, to a blooming romance. I love the amount of concern Kyle shows for Lindy and her well-being.

I really liked Will (Kyle’s blind tutor) and Magda (Kyle’s housekeeper) too. They were entertaining i nthe same way that Lumiere and Cogsworth are from the Disney movie.

All in all, it was a great story. Kyle’s thoughtfulness and generosity were highlights for me. If you love Beauty and the Beast, this book will not disappoint you at all. I’d recommend it to people who enjoy modern retellings of timeless fairy tales.

My thoughts on the movie version:

I was really excited to see what Hollywood was going to do to Beastly. I loved the magic of the story, and the characters were wonderful. When I saw who was playing Lindy, though, I was majorly disappointed. I’ve never been a fan of Vanessa Hudgens, and I did not think she did a very good job playing this role. And then when I found out that Mary-Kate Olsen was cast as Kendra (the witch), I almost boycotted watching it. But then it came out on DVD, and so many of my friends loved it… so I decided to try it. I thought it was just ok.

Alex Pettyfer was totally not who I pictured as Kyle. I was looking for the tall, dark and handsome type… more like Paul Wesley (Stefan from The Vampire Diaries). This guy just did not seem like he had enough going for him to be able to cause such pain in the lives of his classmates. His “beastly” look was also not what I pictured, but I liked it. It worked. Like I said, Vanessa and Mary-Kate were not the right people to cast, in my opinion… but Mary-Kate did do a great job at looking witchy. I loved Neil Patrick Harris as Will. That was a wonderful choice.

Overall, I am SO glad I read the book before the movie came out. It would have ruined the book for me if I had seen the movie first. The acting and special effects were “meh” for me, and I will most likely not watch this again. The book is so much better, so you should definitely read it, especially if you enjoyed the movie.

 


Coutdown to Heartless by Marissa Meyer!! | Book Review + Challenge

October 15, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Young Adult 0 ★★★½

Coutdown to Heartless by Marissa Meyer!! | Book Review + ChallengeHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel and Friends on November 8, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
AmazonBarnes & Noble Add to Goodreads
3.5 Stars
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

You’d have to living under a rock to not know that the blogosphere is all a buzz with celebration as we count down the days to Marissa Meyer’s Heartless! Today is my day to share my review with you, however… let’s get something out of the way first:

There are only 24 days until Heartless!

 Are you excited to see what the evil Queen of Hearts was like before she became evil??
Well you should be!

heartless promo

 

So! What did I think of Heartless? Well… it was pretty insane. lol. Let me preface this review by saying that I am not a fan of Alice in Wonderland. I did not like the movie as a kid, and I’ve never read a retelling (or even been interested in reading one). I read this book based solely on my love for Marissa Meyer and The Lunar Chronicles, which is one of my very favorite series ever in life. We saw how she wrote Queen Levana’s backstory in Fairest, and I was super intrigued to see her write another villain’s story. Marissa did a wonderful job with the Queen of Hearts, and even though I’ve never been a fan of the Wonderland world I really enjoyed reading about it in Heartless. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Since when do I love a villain? Marissa is so good at making you fall in love with the characters who you know will end up doing nothing but breaking your heart in the end. Catherine is sweet and spunky and so full of innocence and hope. I just loved her personality and her quirky love of baking and her sarcasm. We all know how she turns out, but boy was I hoping for a different outcome.

2. Jest. *swoon* Oh my goodness. I love that court joker so much. He’s so witty and charming in a broody, nerdy, adorkable kind of way. Right at the beginning of the story the King of Hearts (who is the grossest, slimiest, giggliest, creepiest guy I’ve read about in a long while) throws a ball that Catherine attends. Partway through Jest makes a grand appearance, mesmerizing everyone there. He captured Catherine’s heart immediately, and he captured mine right along with it.

3. The supporting characters are all so much fun. I really liked the Hatter, and he was one of my least favorite characters from the old Disney movie. I also loved Cheshire and the turtle and the lion and Raven. What a fun little band of whimsical characters.

4. Speaking of whimsy, ho boy. Marissa is a wonderful writer, and I got so caught up in some of her scenes. Such beautiful storytelling. At the same time, though, the whimsy got to be a little much for me at times. We’re in Wonderland, though, right? When in Wonderland, expect over the top.

5. So many yummy treats adorn the pages of Heartless. I got so hungry reading about all of Catherine’s dessert creations!

6. The story is about so much more than the origin of the Queen of Hearts. We’ve got all these other characters (like Peter Peter the Pumpkin Eater) and characters from other kingdoms and a Jabberwock and we really get to see what all of Wonderland was like before Lewis Carroll’s story.

7. This story is SO heartbreaking. We all know that Catherine becomes the Queen of Hearts. How can anyone go into this not knowing that, right? Well… I knew, and I still kept hoping things would go my way. I wanted my perfect ending. Her decline to queendom and the reasons behind that decline just completely broke my heart. All the characters broke my heart in some way, but it had to happen. I don’t even know why I thought this wouldn’t happen. Haha.

All in all, this was a fun vacation from my comfort zone! Marissa Meyer was able to get me to enjoy a story that I was convinced I would not like. I’m not familiar enough with Alice In Wonderland and the other companion stories to really understand everyone’s role in Heartless, but I got the general idea and think Marissa did an awesome job of making a timeless classic her own. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves Alice, Wonderland, Marissa Meyer, great fantasy, and stellar writing. I can’t wait to see what Marissa does next!


About Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer is the USA Today- and New York Times-bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, and Fairest, a Lunar Chronicles Tale. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her husband.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest


Join the #HEARTLESSCOUNTDOWN!

Join Fierce Reads in celebrating all things Heartless by Marissa Meyer! Starting Monday, September 19, they will be counting down to on sale with daily challenges where you can show your love and excitement, AND where you’ll have the chance to win a special edition advance copy of Heartless and MORE every single day.

Enter for your chance to win each day from September 19 – November 8 on Twitter or Instagram using #HeartlessCountdown and #Sweepstakes. Check out the schedule to see all the challenges.

Today’s Challenge:

heartless-10-15-16-1024x512

Who can resist a perfect YA kiss? Share your favorite #yalit kiss for a chance to win today’s #HeartlessCountdown challenge!

To complete the challenge, share your favorite YA kiss! You can use words, fanart, gifs, emojis, whatever you want to share/describe/etc. Be sure to tag with #HeartlessCountdown and #sweepstakes!

 


Fairest by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

June 25, 2015 Book Review, Young Adult 6 ★★★½

Fairest by Marissa Meyer | Book ReviewFairest by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter
Published by Feiwel and Friends on January 27, 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Retelling, Science Fiction
Pages: 222
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3.5 Stars
In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

I’ve never really been a fan of the villain in any story because I don’t usually like the villain! Sure, there have been some exceptions to that rule, but I really wasn’t sure I wanted to learn about Levana and her excuses for being such an awful person. But I love Marissa Meyer and The Lunar Chronicles, so of COURSE I wanted to read Fairest. While I did not love it as much as the full-length novels in this series, I enjoyed Levana’s back story, I feel prepared to read Winter, and I also learned quite a few things about Cinder that surprised me. Bottom line, this book was certainly worth reading! So if you’re on the fence as to whether or not you should, definitely do it. You’ll learn things and more pieces will start to fit into the puzzle.

Levana is EVIL. I mean wow. Pure evil. At times I felt bad for her, but she is seriously a psychopath. I felt bad for her. She went through a lot in her youth, and all of these things helped shaped her to be a ruthless, evil witch she is. She had a horrible upbringing. We hear the heartbreaking story of why she must hide behind an artificial glamour, we hear her experience with being rejected by the man she loved, and her inner feelings and compulsions are brought to light. It’s a very interesting character analysis, and it adds a lot to the story, giving it more of a solid foundation. I do like knowing the why’s and how’s of any situation, and this book gives you that. I’ll never feel like Levana is justified in her actions, but at least I know why she is so crazy.

As always, Marissa Meyer’s writing is flawless and I loved being immersed in this world once again. I’m even more excited for Winter now!


Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel | Mini Book Review

October 2, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel | Mini Book ReviewSecond Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on May 13, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Retelling
Pages: 248
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
2 Stars
A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

I was very excited for a Peter Pan retelling, as I’ve never read one before and Peter Pan has always been one of my favorite fairy tales. This book and I were not on the same “page”, though. The book’s synopsis mentions magic, but I guess I was hoping for more. Maybe you just can’t expect magic in a contemporary retelling, but a girl can hope. I went through a roller coaster of opinions, but I ended up unhappy. This review is actually very hard to write, so let’s see how it goes.

I was very intrigued by Wendy’s search for her surfer brothers who went missing in a surfing accident, and was looking forward to a bit of a mystery. Sadly, though, this whole aspect of the story ended up being rather lack luster, and such a tiny part of the focus. Readers aren’t even given the opportunity to solve this mystery. Wendy’s search leads her to a cove of “lost boys” who live in abandoned condos and spend their days surfing. I’ve never been the biggest fan of surfer dudes, so the fact that these ones have never grown up made me even more disenchanted. I did like the cove setting, but I never fell for these boys. They were terrible influences on Wendy, and got her involved in things she really should not have been doing, like drugs and vandalism. I liked Pete at first, but he just got weird. Peter Pan is immature in the Disney movie I watched over and over as a child, but his immaturity in this book made me really dislike him after a while. And Jas… meh. He wasn’t as dynamic as he could have been, considering he was meant to be the bad guy.

Oh, the insta-love. Again, I wanted a Peter Pan-esque tale, and Wendy and Peter are not supposed to fall in love in my mind. It would invalidate Peter’s desire to never grow up. In this book, though, Wendy and Pete make out a lot… immediately (even though he has a girlfriend…). And it just felt kind of icky because this is not supposed to happen (Wendy is supposed to be a mom figure to Peter and the Lost Boys!), especially so fast! And then there’s this insta-love thing going on with Jas, too. So we’ve got an insta-love love triangle, two things I’m never a fan of.

The ending infuriated me. I seriously felt there was no point in reading the book. I can’t stand it when that happens, and I feel like I wasted my time. Basically, this book was not for me, which has me SO sad. You just can’t make Peter and Wendy fall in love/lust/weird! Clearly, this is a big deal to me that I didn’t realize before. Haha. I think what made me the saddest, though, is that the fairy dust in this story ends up being drugs. I HATE drugs in books, so I was kind of crushed when I learned of this. The magical dust of my childhood was turned into evil drugs that make people do stupid things. Wendy and Peter don’t fly literally, they fly because they are high. The magic was immediately sucked out for me. That, combined with the fact that I didn’t like any of the characters, and the fact that the one part that actually had me excited (the mystery of the missing brothers) was overshadowed just left me disappointed and sad. Retelling a beloved fairy tale is risky and hard, and I feel like this attempt was not successful.


Cress by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

January 2, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 39 ★★★★★

Cress by Marissa Meyer | Book ReviewCress by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Fairest, Winter
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 4, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance, Steampunk
Pages: 560
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

When I think of Cress, I have a very hard time containing the love I have for it. And then I think, “HOLY CRAP. SO GOOD.” I loved Cinder, and I loved Scarlet. But Cress? Oh my. It’s in a league all its own. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Cress is the most creative Rapunzel retelling I have read in my entire life. Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite? What? And the book takes place in the Sahara Desert? Whoa. And Rapunzel is a hacker? YES. And THEN it’s all smashed together with Cinder’s and Scarlet’s stories? Yes please! I love that these three fairytale ladies are kicking butt, taking names, and reclaiming their world from the evil Queen Levana. Marissa Meyer is a genius.

2. I’ve said it once (actually, twice), and I’ll say it again. Thank you, Marissa, for giving us amazingly strong heroines. While Cress is more naive and awkward, as any Rapunzel should be, she is still brave and feisty and strong. I just loved her. Cinder is just as freakin’ amazing as ever, but MORE. We’re getting down to the wire. It’s wedding time, and she has to do something to stop Kai from marrying Queen Levana and ruining the world. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Cinder went crazy. She is discovering her lunar abilities even more, and really pushing herself beyond her limits. I am so proud of her. And Scarlet, wonderful Scarlet. It was so nice to see her again.

3. Don’t get me wrong. I love the ladies, but the MEN. Oh my. Thorne has swept me off my feet countless numbers of times, but he completely stole my heart in Cress. He’s full of so much snark and sarcasm. I just know his one-liners will be referenced forever. He gets knocked down a level of two in Cress, and experiences some weak moments. I loved seeing this new side of him, all vulnerable and caring. And Wolf, be still my heart. What a big teddy bear. He also struggles in this book, and I had ALL THE FEELS for him. Kai. *swoon* We are finally getting to know him better. He’s so charming and realistic. I love how concerned he is for Cinder, watching her pop up on the news as a wanted criminal and hoping she never gets found.

4. There is so much action and drama packed into Cress’s 560 pages that I could hardly handle myself. Bam, bam, bam. Something huge is either happening, or has just happened. The recovery time between jolts is so short that I felt like I was on this never-ending roller coaster of emotions and feelings. So much happens! And when something REALLY crazy happens and the group gets split up, not even knowing if everyone is alive, I tore through those pages like you wouldn’t believe. Cress is definitely the most action-packed novel of the three, and even though it’s so long I wanted more and more.

5. There are still so many mysteries we are left with. The plague. The state of the planet. What’s going to happen to everyone? Who can be trusted? I’m being really careful not to give anything away here, so forgive my vagueness.

6. Marissa’s writing is flawless. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of growth in her since Cinder, and I am so proud of her.

I have so much love for Cress, and can’t imagine Marissa Meyer topping this one. She has proven to us before, though, that she can and she will. The Lunar Chronicles series is my absolute favorite. I don’t know whether I should pine for Winter or dread it, because I never want to leave these characters and their amazing world.


Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis (Book Review)

September 12, 2013 Book Review, Young Adult 8 ★★★★★

Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis (Book Review)Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis
Series: Daughters of Zeus #1
Published by Musa Publishing on July 6, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Retelling
Pages: 237
Format: eBook
Source: From the author
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5 Stars
There are worse things than death, worse people too

The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.

I’m having so much fun reading Persephone books for September’s Classics Retold event! I love the Greek myth of Persephone, and I really enjoyed this book. If you’re curious about the myth, I explain it right here. Anyway, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This story is so unique! Katilin Bevis really made it her own. Persephone ends up in the Underworld for a completely different reason, in a completely different way, and under different conditions. The story stays true to many aspects of the original myth, but I loved the spin Kaitlin put on her version.

2. I really liked Persephone. She’s a fun character who is reasonably blindsided when she finds out she’s a goddess, and her best friend is actually her priestess. And then when Boreas comes after her and she ends up hiding out in the Underworld with Hades and all the souls, she adapts pretty well! She’s pretty headstrong and spunky, and I liked that about her. I enjoyed watching her learn and change as she came into her own powers at the goddess of spring.

3. Hades is swoony! And honestly, I never thought I’d say that. He’s dark and sensitive, and he loves his library. My kind of guy. He is in charge of helping the souls transition from life to death, and his concern for them is so sweet. I also loved his concern for Persephone. She ended up there with him because he saved her, not because he kidnapped her like the original story goes. This gave the author a lot more to work with, and enabled her to write Hades as a good person. I was pleasantly surprised.

4. The Underworld is amazing. It’s light and beautiful, full of flowers and trees and rivers. The suburbs have cute little colorful houses, they have balls and parties, and people work because they love what they do and not because they have to. If you want a cute outfit, you imagine it and it’s yours. I loved reading about how Persephone decorated her room in the palace there. All she had to do was think about what she wanted, and it was so. She even chose the scenery outside her window. It’s a magical place, and I’d love to see it!

5. One of my favorite twists to the story is the fact that Gods can’t lie. They just can’t. If they say they won’t tell someone something, they are physically incapable of doing so. That created a lot of fun and crazy story lines.

6. Persephone and Hades are very cute together, despite the age difference. At times I saw him as a mentor, and at times I saw him as a love interest. I loved watching their friendship grow.

7. The story is written very well, and there’s a lot going on. I enjoyed Kaitlin’s writing style and her descriptions of the world and the powers these gods possess.

8. That ending. Holy moly! It was amazing! I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book!

Persephone might just be my new favorite version of Persephone. Haha. (I wish the title were a little more creative, though! Talking about this book is tricky because you have to differentiate between the myth, the book, and the character.) It’s fresh, it’s unique, it’s suspenseful, and a lot of unexpected and exciting things happen that will leave you craving the next book.

ClassicsRetold

Towering by Alex Flinn (Book Review)

September 4, 2013 Book Review 1 ★★★

Towering by Alex Flinn (Book Review)Towering by Alex Flinn
Published by HarperTEEN on May 14, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 293
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
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3 Stars
At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.


Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

I’ve got a thing for fairytale retellings, and Rapunzel is one of my very favorites! I really love the idea of a prince traversing a high tower to save a girl who has been trapped in there, and has no idea what the world is really like. Towering was a fun, quick retelling with a little mystery and a really pretty setting. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Wyatt is a strong character, and I enjoyed reading about the story from his point of view. He’s been through a very sad thing, and is trying to move on by changing scenery for a little while. He tries to make friends, which is hard since he’s still not quite himself. He keeps hearing a girl singing from far away, and thinks he’s going crazy because nobody else can hear it. He decides to investigate, and finds Rachel. From this point on, he has a mission and a purpose. He wants to save her. He’s no suave Flynn Rider, but I can handle that.

2. Rachel is so naive, it’s annoying. I had to keep reminding myself that her complete isolation has made her this way, and not that she was dreamed up to drive me nuts. What I liked about her is that as you get to know her, you realize she does have a brain. Everything she’s ever known is no so, and she’s not having the hardest time believing it. She will take risks, and she will jump into the unknown if it means she can help people.

3. I also had to keep reminding myself that fairytales usually include instalove. It’s just their nature. And considering the fact that instalove is a requirement of this story, it was handled relatively well. I’m not sure how much of a fan I am of Wyatt and Rachel, but the story stood out more than the romance for me, so I was ok.

4. The story was really interesting. I wondered how Flinn would tackle a modern Rapunzel, but she did it and she did it well. It was modern and believable. And there were twists and turns that I really wasn’t expecting. Flinn didn’t just retell the story, she made it her own. I didn’t particularly care for the drug aspect (yeah, drugs play a huge part in this) of the story, but it was unique.

5. It started off a little slow, but once things got going I was fully invested. I could not wait to learn all the mysteries and see a resolution.

Overall, Towering was a fun little jaunt with some mysteries and hat tips to the original fairytale of Rapunzel. Flinn is a great storyteller, and I always look forward to her fairytales.