Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · Reviews

Book Review: Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles (Book 1) by J.M. Sullivan

Alice

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Pen Name Publishing, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: “Always protect your queen.”

Ever since the outbreak of the Plague, life hasn’t been easy, and for seventeen-year-old Alice Carroll, it just got worse. Her sister, Dinah, has contracted the ‘un-deadly’ Momerath Virus and without a cure, will soon be worse than dead. She’ll be momerath.

Alice must leave the safety of the Sector and venture into Momerath Territory to find the antidote – if it exists. Chasing a rumor about a mysterious doctor with the cure, Alice falls down the rabbit hole into Wanderland, where ravenous momerath aren’t the only danger lurking.

Opinion:

How doth the little crocodile improve his shining tail…?

Apparently with a bleakness as black as night, and a book review that just says:

Fail.

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Look. The first book in Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles isn’t necessarily bad…it’s just …not great.  I found it boring, dull, overly dramatic and cheesy, and felt that I had already seen/read this same plot about thirty other times. With that ridiculous zombie movement that hit Hollywood and every book shelf a few years ago, it’s hard not to feel like you have read EVERY single zombie story out there. But when I saw this, I had to request it from Netgalley because I LOVE an Alice retelling.

I’ve read the twisted versions, and I’ve read the sweeter versions. I had even read another Alice/zombie version years ago, Alice in Zombieland, and absolutely loved it. So naturally, I assumed this was going to be another series to add to my love of Alice in Wonderland retellings.

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I found Alice to be…okay. Her character felt simple and not fully developed, almost like the author was just riding the coattails of the Alice that we already know and love and assuming they wouldn’t have to put much effort into giving her a full-blown personality makeover. I found that I enjoyed how much she talked to herself, which reminds me greatly of the original character, because it gave another instance for the reader to find out what was happening instead of us just “sitting in her head” and “watching” through her eyes. But the constant moments of her jaw dropping when the moment BARELY called for a jaw drop, or her saying things like “awesome” and “how interesting” without being given a chance to see WHY those things were “awesome” or “interesting” was just…EXHAUSTING.

As I continued to read, it seemed that none of the characters really had much substance or excitement spewing from their made-up pores. Chess was a slightly interesting character, with a creative name, and I liked that his character was left shrouded in mystery for a good length of the story. In my opinion, he was probably the most interesting of all the characters just because it seems like he had the most thought put into him by way of snarky comments and pet-names for Alice. There IS a love triangle in this story that involves Alice, so if you’re ALSO starting to tire from these shapes, then beware. It’s a romance crammed into just a few days, so enjoy if that’s your sort of thing.

My grumblings and negativity aside, there were some positives in this story. You’ll notice while reading there are random bold letters in different words and paragraphs. If you want to take the time, like you KNOW I did, then it will spell out a little message. I found it a cute little touch for this story, and a little treat for the reader if they caught on…even if it didn’t spell out a clue to the story, I still found it intriguing. Another positive was the action and fight scenes that were spilling from the pages. There was a LOT of exciting moments for Alice to show off her skills, even though I’m still wondering how she learned all those deadly and murderous moves.

OH, SHE JUST KNEW HOW?!

For sure. I get it.

Anyways…I was hoping this story was going to blow me out of the water. Instead, it just blew up an inflatable water toy for me and I floated around a pond for a while. It wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t keep my attention or really grab me in at any time. I had little invested in the well-being of these characters by the end of the story and even went as far as skimming most of the last half of the book just to end it. Hopefully the next Alice story I read, which is waiting patiently on my Netgalley shelf, will be a little better.

2-stars

 

 

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Book Review: A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

A Danger to Herself and Others

 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, SOURCEBOOKS Fire, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Teen, Fiction, Contemporary, Mental Health, Suspense

Plot: Only when she’s locked away does the truth begin to escape…

Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She didn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at her summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. In the meantime, she is going to use her persuasive skills to get the staff on her side.

Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.

Opinion:

My heart just cracked wide open.

This book is beauty and sorrow.

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Hannah has just been institutionalized for something she didn’t do. Soon they will realize that this is all a mistake, that she’s innocent, and they will let her go home, right? After all, Agnes was her best friend. She would never do anything to hurt her. Well, not intentionally anyway. It’s all just a big misunderstanding. Hannah is a straight-A student after all. She might even know more than the people that work in this institution, but she has to be smart. If she wants to get out, she must follow along with their tests and show them just how sane she is. They will see the truth when Agnes wakes up. It was all just an accident…wasn’t it?

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A Danger to Herself and Others is everything, and nothing, I expected it to be.

Hannah is the most fascinating character I have come across in SO long, and it’s precisely because of the multitude of layers and substance that she possesses. As soon as you think you have this girl pegged, you will be told to keep listening. As soon as you think if she is innocent or guilty, you will be told to be quiet and to sit back down. As soon as you think the last sentence of each chapter is a tell-all for what the point of this story is…well. You’d just be wrong.

I love nothing more than a blindside, and A Danger to Herself and Others is just that.

Hannah is every single opinion and idea I had for her while reading, and that is EXACTLY how she was designed to be. I found her to be slightly arrogant and a know-it-all, but also humbled for the extravagant life she had led before the institution. She is focused and sharp, but is easily pulled into her thoughts and fantasies. In one instance she comes across as incredibly rational and straightforward, but in the next she is breaking apart and analyzing things in a highly erratic way and repeating phrases over and over in her head. Every time she would say or do something, my opinion of her innocence and person would change. She’s innocent and sane, she’s guilty and insane. Back and forth, back and forth.

But what I can say is true for Hannah, is that she is BOTH of EVERY side.

She is sane and insane.

Rational and irrational.

Content and irate.

Morbid and Neutral.

Happy and Miserable.

Lonely and comforted.

She is all these things and none of them. And as soon as you figure that out, you start to wonder just how different and not so different you are from her.

Because Hannah is every single one of us, and none of us at once.

She is the victim, and she is the villain.

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The author, Alyssa Sheinmel, has a gift for entwining suspense into this story and making me question every single aspect of it. She would beautifully make a statement from Hannah or Dr. Lightfoot that sounded factual, whilst turning it with a flick of her wrist so you questioned every single sentence thereafter. I couldn’t help but dissect EVERYTHING that was said, because I was completely caught up in finding out the truth as quickly as possible. I kept comparing myself to her, thinking about what I would do or say in her situation, and then usually coming to the conclusion that she’s being framed or she deserves to be there. I didn’t actually believe the outcome until the book finished.

Making a reader continually question a book until the end takes SERIOUS talent.

As I read through my notes on this book, I am noticing every single instance where my opinion is thrown around, and every time I question something I thought I knew was true. But as I move down my notes of wishy-washy-ness, it comes to a sudden halt at the bottom when I realize that this isn’t the mystery/suspense story I thought it was. Because suddenly my notes change from accusing Hannah of WHAT and WHO she IS, to only this:

I think this just broke me.

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Hannah at the end of A Danger to Herself and Others is…heartbreaking. I kept saying “oh honey..” out loud and wanting nothing more than to reach into the pages and hold her. I think it can be quite easy for an author to make a reader love and care for a character. But to make the reader feel empathy, loneliness and sorrow when the character feels those things?

That’s just magical.

At the beginning of this read the publisher has a letter to the reader, in which they state how they only strive to publish books that change lives. I can confidently say this book has shifted my thoughts and being into one with much more compassion and love. This story isn’t just a work of fiction, it’s a message and an alarm clock to wake you up.

Read this.

 

And to Sourcebooks Fire I say this:

You succeeded in your goal.

 

5-stars

 

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Book Review: Enchantée by Gita Trelease

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Flatiron Books, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Plot: Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

Opinion:

There once was a young French girl and her little sister,

Who were poor beyond belief due to their gambling brother.

The death of their parents turned their life quite tragic,

That’s why the eldest sister Camille turned to gambling and magic.

A dress that requires blood to enchant and disguise,

Was all that she’d need to sneak into Versailles.

But little was said about the toll on the soul that trickery would take,

Or the consequences that come from a life lived fake.

Livres, love, ball gowns and hats,

Hot air balloons so high, that one tip and you’ll splat.

Versailles may be enchanting, with a Queen like Marie 

But nothing in Versailles is black and white, and nothing is free. 

Hold on to your wigs, there’s a new Versailles tale in town!

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My dear Vicomtes and Vicomtesses, Enchantée is EVERYTHING and MORE that you could EVER ask for in a historical fiction set in late 1700 Versailles!

It is extravagant, it is DANGEROUS, and it is exactly what you would expect a palace of courtiers to be like.

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JEALOUSY is CLAWING at my insides, my brain is working mercilessly to assure me that I will never be able to step into this beautiful world, and it is taking EVERY bit of self-control to not throw myself on the ground and weep.

Weep because I will never experience the abhorrent glory that was Versailles in 1789.

OR a Versailles with magic and trickery.

Enchantée was all the things I hoped for when I read its description: cinched waists, expensive dresses, powdered faces, dapper men with MANNERS galore, magic….and cake. But that’s a given. I think we can ALL agree that any and ALL Versailles retellings are welcome to us book lovers, especially when a Fantasy aspect is thrown into the mix.

You had me at aristocrat and la magie.

Though the beauty of Versailles may pull you in to reading this book, or even the cameo of Marie Antoinette, I can assure my lovelies…you will stay for the characters, plot and writing. Gita Trelease has outdone herself! This book is elegant and suave, delectable and enticing. I was swept away in the world that she presents on a golden platter smattered in frosting and wine, and I am horribly STRICKEN that it is over. The author has fused fact with fiction and given readers a story that is both historical, while also fantastical in that it is filled with magic. She included events leading up to the French Revolution, the prices in bread increasing and the eventual riots, while also capturing the voices of the rich and the poor beautifully. These courtiers are the typical snooty aristocrats that you know and love, so enjoy.

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Camille is the main character of this story, and her story is quite a sorrowful one at that. Her parents had both died from small pox, her brother is a drunk and gambling addict who cannot control himself, and she must work la magie to provide food for her and her youngest sister. Once things turn worse for Camille’s brother, she is forced to work la magie on a higher scale. She infiltrates the Palace of Versailles posing as a Baroness, in hopes of earning money through gambling by changing cards with her magic. She is quickly swept up in the allure of the courtiers and the palace, and who could blame her?! There are masquerade balls, endless parties and games in the gardens, and cakes and wines all around! Courtiers strewn every which way, running wild with little to no rules to hinder their wants and needs.

 

Though a wonderfully created world, the truly amazing aspect of this story is the writing. The author has combined French words and phrases with this English version, and it made it THAT much more real and authentic. The reader will feel like they are in Paris in the late 1700’s, walking the streets with Camille or dining with her in Versailles! The creative writing was fantastic, and the setting was described impeccably. The characters were given such vast and comical personalities, while also proving to be well-versed in the etiquette and “ways” of the time period.

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Don’t worry darlings, there is INDEED a romance to be had. It is a truly touching and gentle romance at that, and one that I wish I could catch and put into my pocket. It will give you the audible *sigh*, the immense feels, and of course…make you wonder why the hell men aren’t this chivalrous anymore! I thought the author did a wonderful job of keeping the characters true to the era by ensuring proper rules for courting and attire, and even found it to be amusing at the modesty that was displayed back then.

“If he took off his coat, she might expire”

I wish I could say more! With all of that said, I think it’s obvious that I LOVED Enchantée to the gold-encrusted moon and back! It was an incredibly fun and creative read, and I only wish this was a series and not a stand-alone! I suppose I will just be here waiting and hoping that Gita Trelease will write another story that can compare and compete with this. Because I feel as I do at the end of every beautiful party, sorrowful and nostalgic.

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5-stars

 

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Book Review: Dream Keeper (The Dark Dreamer Trilogy, Book 10 by Amber R. Duell

dream keeper

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, The Parliament House, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance

Plot: The Sandman is seventeen-year-old Nora’s closest friend and best-kept secret. He has to be, if she doesn’t want a one-way ticket back to the psychiatrist. It took her too long to learn not to mention the hooded figure in her dreams to her mother, who still watches Nora as if she’ll crack. So when Nora’s friends start mysteriously dying gruesome deaths in their sleep, she isn’t altogether surprised when the police direct their suspicion at her. The Sandman is the only one she can turn to for answers. But the truth might be more than she bargained for…

For the last five years, the Sandman has spent every night protecting Nora. When he hid the secret to the Nightmare Lord’s escape inside her dreams, he never expected to fall in love with her. Neither did he think his nemesis would find her so quickly, but there’s no mistaking his cruel handiwork. The Nightmare Lord is tired of playing by the rules and will do anything to release his deadly nightmares into the world, even if that means tormenting Nora until she breaks.

When the Nightmare Lord kidnaps Nora’s sister, Nora must enter enemy territory to save her. The Sandman is determined to help, but if Nora isn’t careful, she could lose even more than her family to the darkness.

(Please note: This story contains vivid death scenes.)

Opinion:

When I saw Dream Keeper on Netgalley, I just knew I had to have it.

A retelling of the Sandman, the weaver of nightmares, and a young girl caught up in the middle of it all? Sold. A YA story or romance, fantasy and magic? Sold.

A Lord of Nightmares, and a Lord of Dreams.

A Night World, and a Day World.

It ALL just promised to be SO. AMAZING.

I mean I just…loved it…

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With the description above basically giving away the ENTIRE book, I realize that it would be vastly unnecessary for me to give my own synopsis. So, let’s just jump right in, shall we? I have a feeling this review if going to be short and sweet.

Well…short and sour.

This book had a TON of promise, but really fell flat for me. The reason for that MAY be because it feels like it targets a younger audience, Pre-Teen/Teen, by the characters coming across as childlike and adolescent rather than somewhat mature. The author chose to use phrases like “sorry, not sorry” in one instance, and then words like perturbed and grotesque in the next. Though the writing is VERY descriptive and paints a beautiful picture of the dream and nightmare world, I felt like I was caught in a wind tunnel of conflicting writing styles. At one point it feels eloquent and mature, and the next it is simplistic and feels cheesy. I almost felt like I was reading a soap-opera at times.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a strong connection to Nora and the Sandman, especially when it came to their romance. When the reader starts this book, they are thrust right in the middle of the story. There isn’t much of a premise, so it eventually “backpedals” you through past events to catch you up. Sometimes this works in stories, but in this case, it was just confusing. Due to the quick start, and even quicker romance, it doesn’t give the reader adequate time to connect to Nora and the Sandman. The Sandman ended up sounding like a brooding teenager even though he’s supposed to be decades old, and Nora didn’t seem to have much of an emotional response to the murders around her…which is strange. Shouldn’t she be freaking the f**k out? I would be! So instead of exciting and fresh, these characters came off as quite dull and unimpressive.

The flow of the writing and the structure of this story also left me a little unsettled. With the beginning starting from nowhere and being rushed, it made me think that this series was going to be PACKED with exciting moments. I mean, it would have to be for this to be a trilogy and start that way, right?! Well, yes and no. I wasn’t bored while reading, but I DID feel like there wasn’t a lot of meaningful and necessary moments happening. Things felt a little out of order, or rushed in spots and slow in others. My editing brain kept wanting to rearrange different paragraphs and sentences, so it was a bit hard to get through.

Another confusing aspect was that a bunch of REALLY important characters didn’t come into this story until the end. By the time I got to these new characters, I was already checked-out of the story and skimming the lines. Maybe if they were introduced earlier, it would have kept my attention and interest more. I thought the character of Baku was very creative, so I wish he would have had a bigger role and made a stronger connection with Nora or the Sandman. It could have been a memorable and amusing duo for the reader to get hooked on.

This really came off more negative than I was anticipating, which is unfortunate. This story had a lot of great ideas and moments, but I think some final editing could have really improved it. Though I am slightly curious to see if the writing and characters improve in book two, I probably won’t be picking up the next copy. With the characters and flow of writing falling short, Dream Keeper turned out to be a real dud for me. This is of course, is just my opinion. A lot of other readers really enjoyed this story, so don’t use my words as law. Even though you could. 😉

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2-5-stars

 

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Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Pre-order · Reviews

Book Review: The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale

The Cold is in Her Bones

The Cold is in Her Bones will be available for purchase on January 22, 2019.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Teen/Fiction/Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

Opinion:

Something slithery this way comes.

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Gather ‘round my cunning Slytherins!

I’ve got a retelling of our dear mummy dearest:

Medusa

If Milla knows anything, it is that she must be a good girl. She must do her chores efficiently, must always stay clean and tidy, mustn’t ask questions that do not deserve answers, and must always pray to keep the demons away. But Milla’s’ life is one of loneliness and solitude. She does not have the luxury of traveling to the nearby village or making friends, and her mother shows her much less attention and affection in comparison to her brother. Though the arrival of a young girl named Iris gives Milla someone to finally talk to and befriend, Milla finally learns of the reasoning behind her forced solitude. These is a curse on the girls in the village, one that makes each of them go insane, and Iris is showing signs of possession. Milla races to help her new friend, but soon finds that she might be changing as well.

Without a doubt, this is my first official positive WTF read of 2019.

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The Cold is in Her Bones is supposed to be a retelling of dear mother Medusa, but it’s a loose retelling. The tale goes as such: A young girl named Hulda lived with her mother and father, and her dearly beloved Sister. As young children the sisters were inseparable, sleeping so entwined with one another that they would wake with their hair knotted together. But as they grew older, the sisters drifted apart. Hulda was not given the same adoration and attention as The Sister, and grew lonely and isolated. To fulfill her loneliness Hulda spent her time in the woods, making friends with the snakes, learning their names and letting them burrow in her hair. But when one of the snakes was seen in her hair, it was ripped out and thrown into the fire by The Sister’s betrothed. For the anguish and grief that Hulda felt for her snake, the others saw her as being possessed. Her family took her into the woods, buried her in the snow, and left her there in the hopes that the demon would leave her body. When Hulda woke with vengeance in her heart, and a body consisting of snakes, she cursed the village and all the inhabitants so they may never again feel peace or content.

You know those horror movies set in the 1800’s where there is a family, with their farm, and they churn butter and chop wood? Where an older sibling will tell the younger children folk-tales about witches and curses, so as to scare them into being good? This is EXACTLY like that…

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except much more sad, and way less gruesome.

This feels like a Tim Burton film waiting patiently to be made, or at least one of similar taste. It has the oddities and dark tones that every great children’s horror has, but it is also loaded with all the necessary lessons and positive morals that one is told as a child. Or should have been told. It centers on themes of family values, being kind to others, having compassion for differences, and the cruel nature of vengeance. There are many small tales within this tale that is told to the reader, and each one enhances the grittiness and somber themes that envelope this story.

Once the reader is told the tale of Hulda, the story then switches off to Milla. It explains her home life and the struggles she endures to constantly be good and to please her parents. Milla lives in the shadow of her kind and seemingly-perfect brother, and she feels like she is a disappoint and burden to her family. She is unable to travel to the village and is kept under tight lock and key, with unknown reasons as to why. The story begins to unfold when Milla meets Iris, a girl that will eventually be married to her brother. The girls become very quick friends and create a fierce bond, but it all changes when Iris becomes possessed. Iris is taken somewhere called “The Place” where she will be held with other girls who have become possessed. Milla learns that it all stems from a curse that was placed on the village. A curse that was placed by her aunt, Hulda.

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The writing in this book is AMAZING. The author did a fantastic job of making the story feel like a folktale in how the characters spoke to one another, how the setting is given to the reader, and even during Milla and Hulda’s inner dialogues. But where the author REALLY shines in The Cold is in Her Bones is when she describes very beautifully heartbreaking moments where Milla feels like an outcast.

’Pretty is as pretty does,’ Gitta had always said to Milla. But Milla knew that couldn’t be right. Milla had never done anything but behave, and still she wasn’t pretty the way her mother was. If she were, she’d know it. She’d see proof of her prettiness in her mother’s eyes, or her father’s. Instead what she saw there was disappointment. Perhaps it wasn’t true that pretty is as pretty does…”

Though I can confidently say that I enjoyed this read, it DID take me a week to read it. Usually I can fly through a book in about two days, but this one was really taking me awhile to get through. The story moved a little slow for me, and at times I was feeling a little bored and irritated that I wasn’t moving on to what happened quicker. BUT, once I was finished, I realized how much I didn’t care at all about the pacing or how long it took me to get through it. I LOVE a creative and unique story, and that is EXACTLY what this is.

I recommend this to anyone who is looking for something different to read, who doesn’t get weirded out too easily, and who doesn’t have an affliction to snakes. Don’t go into this expecting an only slightly twisted retelling of Medusa, because this is completely different! The story has given me the inspiration to go on to read Peternelle van Arsdale’s other horror story, The Beast is an Animal, which is apparently in development to becoming a movie. Excitement!

If you want a little magic, to hear some folktales, dive into a curse, and even meet a witch (fangirling) then you MUST give The Cold is in Her Bones a try!

It’s so creative that it makes me wish I had snakes growing out of my own head.

4-stars

 

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Book Review: The Giver, Graphic Novel by Lois Lowry and P. Craig Russell (Illustrations)

the giver

The Giver, The graphic Novel will be available for purchase on February 5, 2019.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, via Edelweiss+, for an honest review.

Genre: Teen/YA/Fiction/Graphic Novel/Comic

Plot: Placed on countless reading lists, translated into more than forty languages, and made into a feature film, The Giver is the first book in The Giver Quartet that also includes Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

In this new graphic novel edition, readers experience the haunting story of twelve-year-old Jonas and his seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment, through the brilliant art of P. Craig Russell that truly brings The Giver to life.

Witness Jonas’s assignment as the Receiver of Memory, watch as he begins to understand the dark secrets behind his fragile community, and follow the explosion of color into his world like never before.

Opinion:

I can picture it so clearly as if it were yesterday.

I was sitting in class, a wee youngster at the time.

A black book with an old man on the cover was dropped on my rickety desk; assigned reading for the semester. Audible groans and grumblings of “this looks boring” and “dude, come on. Something from this century, PLEASE” were heard throughout the room.

The story of a young boy was given to us with a cover so wise beyond our years, with words so eloquently written, that it almost felt too much for our wandering minds to grasp. A book we appreciated and grew to love, but one that still left a dryness across our eyes.

If ONLY we had been given this beautiful version.

You all know the story of young Jonas and his path to becoming the Receiver of Memory. Living in a place where color does not exist, and the memory of it is not taught. But when he is given his Life Assignment, he is given a job unlike his friends. He is to be the Receiver of Memory, the one who holds all the memories of the world, including those with color. So ensues Jonas’s journey to learning about the world, one filled with happiness and pain, sadness and elation. This version of The Giver pulls in readers of all ages and gives them beautifully illustrated images of Jonas’ story.

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This graphic novel is AMAZING.

I honestly didn’t know how much I needed a graphic novel version of The Giver, until now. These illustrations are BEAUTIFUL and perfectly portray this story. Not only is it a great version for all us who had read this in school or when we were kids, but it is a FANTASTIC way to get the younger audiences and newer generations interested! I feel SO lucky that we were given a movie, and now this! The story is the same, but naturally, not every word from the original was transcribed to this rendition. This form of The Giver is much more direct with its delivery of the story, thanks to the illustrations being able to shorten the originals descriptions of scenery.

Instead of the reader having to imagine Jonas learning about colors and the world, they get to SEE it happening as they read. It’s a movie and a book in one! I think all ages can enjoy this adaptation of the classic novel by Lois Lowry, but I feel that it might end up targeting a younger audience overall. Due to the writing being shortened to accommodate the illustrations, it seems that some of the more dark and somber moments from this book are reduced. The reader can see the emotion from the illustrations, but it definitely doesn’t have that gut-wrenching effect that the original has.

Some things from the original were shortened, like Jonas’s big escape with the baby and some of the moments with the current Receiver of Memory. I also found it interesting that the illustrations only portrayed moments of full color for Jonas when he was receiving a memory, or when he had left. I would have expected him to have full color before then, but really, I suppose it doesn’t matter!

In comparison to the original form of The Giver, I found this graphic novel to be breathtaking and VERY enjoyable. As a long-time lover of this book, I was hit with a rush of nostalgia and happiness while reading. This version is truly a masterpiece and will be a great interpretation for younger audiences. I cannot WAIT to get this in a print version!

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5-stars

 

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Book Reviews · Books · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, Book 2) by Holly Black

the wicked king

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

Opinion:

So there I was.

Curled up on the couch upstairs.

Enjoying my lunch break in silence. Reveling in the comfort and bliss of a book of fantasy and Fae, magical creatures and humans.

Devouring the pages and words with the eyes of a stalker, with the death grip of a blubbering woman not at all keen on letting go of a lover.

With the enthusiasm of a book junkie getting their long-awaited fix.

There I was.

Just…minding my own business.

And then

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Dear Holly Black,

Please accept this as my death letter. For 2019 is ruined, and I cannot go on.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

All of Jude’s scheming has finally paid off, or has it? With Oak safely in the mortal world with Vivi and Cardan successfully bound to Jude, things should be going smoothly. But Cardans constant antics and games have left Jude to be the one ruling faerie from the shadows, with Cardan fighting her every step of the way. But with new power comes something worse, the craving for more and a target on your back. There are whispers of an attempt to overthrow the High King, but when? Jude is told that she has been betrayed by someone she trusts, but who? With her feelings for Cardan in a constant state of confusion, and the fate of an entire world on her shoulders, Jude fights to keep her carefully constructed pieces from scattering in the wind.

I feel nauseous.

You’d think I would catch on to these blind-sides and surprises by now. If not from the mass number of books that I murder, then from reading The Cruel Prince and knowing that Holly Black likes to TORTURE her dear and devoted readers.

My day had STARTED out pleasant.

Now, it’s a swirling pit of misery and disgrace. I am DISGUSTED, yet slightly charmed. Wholly DEVASTATED and…a bit impassioned. My stomach feels like its attempting to crawl up my throat, dragging my heart from the depths of bleak outlooks and deprivation. As if my insides have decided “to hell with it”, and will begin seeping out and dissipating into the cruel air and harsh lighting that is my life as of now. First came the disbelief. The shock and the audible gasps. Then came the incessant repeating of No, NO, NOOOOO! The Anger! THE AGGONNNNYYY!

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Dramatics aside. This book is f*****g amazing. I flew down the stairs in a panic as soon as I finished; I immediately began furiously pounding my feelings away through my fingertips, onto this keyboard, and into this theatrical review. But now that I have finished throwing my feelings up all over these pages (because we ARE at two pages already), what do I say without spoiling everything?!

I say this.

Taryn is still a tripe. Madoc is still a devious strategist. Jude is still cold and cunning. And Cardan is still cruel, while also quite wicked. As I was reading through The Wicked King I wondered if Holly Black could really have any more tricks up her sleeve. I assumed everything that had come after The Cruel Prince would be on a milder scale. Sure, there would still be malicious games, callous moves and bloodthirsty characters. BUT, I thought the worst had passed.

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I am SO gullible.

The backstabbing has reached a new level here, along with the “blood is thicker than water” sayings. It’s almost laughable how righteously f****d these characters are to each other, especially when you stop to imagine yourself in this world. The constant looking over your shoulder and anxiety of being plotted against. The riddles and lies that are spewed in elegance. The stab wounds and death threats that skate alongside the small smiles and kisses. IT’S ALL TOO MUCH!

But as wicked as the king is to be said, Jude is truly the most wicked of them all. There’s just SOMETHING about a girl that can stab a man in the neck that just makes me do a little dance on my tippy toes. Whether it’s her Oscar worthy acting skills or her sarcastic taunts and digs, I can’t help but adore the girl to pieces. There is truly something to be said for a woman that can make her heart as cold as ice. Something of brilliance, I imagine. But next to Jude, we have Cardan. The sweet and infuriatingly dreamy Cardan. *SIGH*…what couldn’t one say of his character?! He is suave, he is arrogant and clever. He is still a jackass. Though I didn’t think much of Cardan before, I sure as hell do now! *Slow and sarcastic clapping* Well done Cardan. Well done.

Though now, I have even less I can say without being the Viscount of Vague! There are conversations in towers, a crown of foul-smelling mushrooms, plotted assassinations, betrayals by the trusted, time spent in the waters, poisonous poisons, duels ‘till the death, ruby rings and moves and counter moves! There is just so little I can say, but I CAN say this: waiting a year for book three is definitely and undoubtedly the bane of my existence.

Until then, I leave you with this.

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