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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-04-24 06:23
Review: The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag
The Sisters Grimm - Menna van Praag

***Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Harper Voyager!***


The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover. I mean, look at it. It is probably one of the most gorgeous book covers that I have ever seen. Then the title. The Sisters Grimm. Immediately my mind is drawn to fairy tales. I love fairy tales. And I love fairy tell re-tellings. But this book is a perfect example of a good idea that got beaten to death with poor writing and poor execution.


***SPOILER ALERT: Be aware, this is a spoilery review. The ranty ones typically are.



The basic idea of this book is that a demon (Wilhelm I think his name was) has fathered thousands of sisters Grimm on earth. I am not sure if this is metaphysical thing or a biological thing, but some of the daughters have mothers who are also Grimm sisters. So, ew, I imagine at some point in the history of this world we had some incest. As children, the Grimm sisters can come and go from “Everywhere”, a magical forest, as they please. But as they age they forget this place until about a month before their 18th birthday, which is when they start to remember and get their powers back. Wilhelm also has soldiers, who are transformed into babies from stars (WTF?), and their life’s mission is to kill Grimm sisters on their 18th birthdays. Then something about the Grimm sisters who survive have to choose good or evil and then their father kills them if they choose good and then….well, the author didn’t both to tell me what happens then.


That was my first big problem with this book. Despite being 400 pages long, the author didn’t bother to explain anything to me. I have no idea how the world works, how the magic works, why things are this way, or what the rules are. I am not even clear on what the sisters’ powers are. Scarlet can start fires, Liyana can telepathically listen in on other people’s minds, Bea can transform things with her mind. And I have no idea what Goldie can do except mentally tell people what to do and they sometimes listen. And all of them have other powers that randomly appear and don’t seem to relate to anything else they can do, at all.


Since we’re talking about the girls, let’s talk about how utterly devoid of personality all of them are. I honestly could not tell the difference between any of them until someone used their name or until Bea or Liyana would occasionally throw in a non-English word into an otherwise entirely English conversation….seemingly in order to remind me that they were the book’s representation of other ethnicities and cultures.


Now let’s talk about the technicals of the writing. It was bad. It was the single most confusing book that I have ever read. There are SO MANY narrators. Everywhere (yes the forest is a narrator), Goldie, Scarlet, Bea, Liyana, Leo, Wilhelm, Liyana’s aunt….and I am pretty sure there were a few others in there that I’m forgetting too. Between these narrators, some of them are told in first person, some in second person, and some in third person. And the narrator changes approximately every page and a half. With me so far? Now let’s throw in some chapters in the past for some extra fun so that we have past tense, present tense, and future tense. It was so difficult to read. It gave me a headache when I actually tried to concentrate on who was speaking and what time period we were in.


I also don’t appreciate what the author did to poor Vali. He was a nice guy. And despite the book’s message of empowerment, all Bea did was belittle the poor guy. She called him fat, called him all sorts of other names, made fun of him for being a virgin and then ultimately killed him! Then she has the nerve to get upset about him dying because she didn’t mean to. Way to go Bea, you bullied him to death. The author did him dirty and I am still mad about it.


I finally gave up on this book after 245 pages. My brain couldn’t handle it anymore and I found that I really didn’t care how it ends. Leo is not going to kill Goldie, Goldie will probably choose good. Liyana and Scarlet will probably die because they were entirely expendable in the rest of the book so why not? And Bea will probably live and choose evil. Or maybe all four of them survive and choose good in order to challenge their father. But really, who cares? The author hasn’t made me care about their upcoming battle or told me why the outcome matters, so why should I spend any more of my time finding out?

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review 2020-02-27 14:15
REVIEW BY MERISSA - Human Again: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling (End of Ever After #4) by E.L. Tenenbaum
Human Again: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling (End of Ever After #4) - E. L. Tenenbaum

@Archaeolibrary, @ELTenenbaum, #Fantasy, #YoungAdult, #FairytaleRetelling, 3 out of 5 (good)


Human Again is the fourth book in the End of Ever After series of fairy tale retellings. This one is told from the Beast's perspective and is in past tense, almost as if he reminisces about his past.

This is also the hardest review of the four books I've yet had to write! Why? Because there are so many parts of this that I loved and yet other parts just didn't tick the boxes for me. The 'Beast' himself? I loved him. You got an in-depth view on his childhood and just what made him into a 'Beast'. For myself, it was never quite clear if he did indeed change into something else or if he just was a human man enraged.

I think it was his family that annoyed me more than anything. Yes, I know that's how you're supposed to feel but it was more along the lines of Amelia. She was old enough to understand how her father was with Azahr but was content to just go along and believe what she is told without actually finding out if it was true or not.

I'm very pleased this was told by Azahr. Too many times, this story is from Belle's, or Kiara as she is here, point of view.

This isn't my favourite of the series but I am certainly happy to have read it. I have no hesitation in recommending either this book or the series but I would recommend you read them in order. Although these are companion books, it will definitely make more sense that was.

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

Source: archaeolibrarian.wixsite.com/website/post/human-again-a-beauty-and-the-beast-retelling-end-of-ever-after-4-by-e-l-tenenbaum
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review 2019-11-24 09:07
Of Beast And Beauty
Of Beast and Beauty - Stacey Jay

I got this as an Audiobook during one of the SYNCs (these provide some audiobooks for free for a limited period of time), and I don't know why but this was the second Beauty and the Beast retelling I got to listen to in this way.

While I like retellings, it is always a little bit problematic because you already know where the story is going. And when things start to feel rushed or forced, as was the romance in this case, I don't really like it. Isra, who lives by the well-being of a set of enchanted roses, had a lot of angst and was very passive, even though she was supposed to be ruling the city. I liked the setting, but had more hopes for the execution of the story.

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review 2019-10-25 07:04
Shared World Novels what what
Lord of the Abyss - Nalini Singh

This was an odd little experiment, which I undertook because I'm so on the hook for Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling novels, but then I haven't been down for much else she's written. I'm not sure what the official name for this series is -- Lords of [Something] would be my guess -- but it's four different paranormal romance novels with an overarching plot written by four different writers. I find this sort of thing fascinating -- when novel writers collaborate like television or comic writers.


The last series like this I read was the Crimson City novels. Most of them are by someone called Liz Maverick (which is surely not a pen name at all), but the second is by Marjorie M Liu. who, before she racked up all the awards for Monstress, wrote this fucking brilliantly weird PNR series called Dirk & Steele. I mean, she really moved the markers for what you can pull off in the sometimes boring vampire/werewolf snorefest you can find in the genre. Liu took the kind of premise that made me exclaim, wait, what?? like a hundred times when I was reading the first novel, Crimson City, and in her story, grounds it so completely in believable interpersonal concerns that my brain stopped screaming every 15 minutes about how nothing about the world made any sense. That's some godamn writing right there. 


Singh's outing in the Lords of [Something] maybe wasn't at this level, but I actually made it all the way through to the end of the novel, which is something I cannot say about the other three books in the series. Some of this is just the silliness of the premise, because all of the books are riffs on various fairy tales. There's one based on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, for example, where our fair haired maiden finds a rock hard cock which was just right, and I just couldn't stop my brain from squealing immaturely, and then breaking into laughter.  


Lord of the Abyss is very loosely based on Beauty and the Beast, and it works in the places that Singh tends to excel, and otherwise is kind of a mess. She does an excellent job writing characters out of trauma and abuse. She doesn't go for the magic vagina, the ladybits that can cure all, but constructs believable psychologies warped by neglect, and then slowly, carefully, draws them out. But the world, and the magic, is slapdash, so the parts of the plot that intersect with that are shaky at best. 


So, fun to see a writer I tend to enjoy, at least in one limited context, pull off something in a shared world. Didn't captivate me like Psy-Changeling, but it was a perfectly cromulent way to pass the time. 


ETA: Ok, I actually looked, and the series is called Royal House of Shadows, which seems kind of stuffy and conceited, but what do I know. 



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review 2019-09-26 05:53
4 Star Alien Beast
Beauty and the Alien Beast - Sedona Venez


She was abducted from Earth by alien slavers, rescued by a hot alien warrior who flees with her into the hostile wilderness of his home, but Ella is uncertain about where they stand due to the inability to communicate with her savior. He was on a mission to find evidence to shut the slavers down for good, but when Teken saw Ella, he realized she was his one true mate.


This new series is off to a wonderful start with a romance that is out of this world energetic and passionate. The story starts off with high levels of suspense and excitement and just keeps building from there as these strong, vibrant characters pull readers into their world. The fast pace keeps readers on the edge of their seat as the couple faces all the dangers of a hostile wilderness and its inhabitants while trying to outrun or hide from the slavers chasing them and that’s not to mention the added complication of not being able to communicate with each other.


The romance is sweet and the chemistry sizzles with electricity despite the communication problem but that is quite a setback in terms of relationship building especially when Ella wants to find a way home. The author has created a delightfully fascinating world with some unique elements and sexy warrior alien wolf shifters that has hearts pounding (beware also may cause some drooling) and some surprising twists including death traps that ensure that there is never a dull moment in this exhilarating and energetic alien romance.


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