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review 2018-09-05 19:20
Not the Cinderella story that you know...
 All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother - Danielle Teller

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~BOOK BLURB~

All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella's Stepmother

Danielle Teller

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We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we?

 

As rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story…

 

A peasant born into serfdom, Agnes is separated from her family and forced into servitude as a laundress’s apprentice when she is only ten years old. Using her wits and ingenuity, she escapes her tyrannical matron and makes her way toward a hopeful future. When teenaged Agnes is seduced by an older man and becomes pregnant, she is transformed by love for her child. Once again left penniless, Agnes has no choice but to return to servitude at the manor she thought she had left behind. Her new position is nursemaid to Ella, an otherworldly infant. She struggles to love the child who in time becomes her stepdaughter and, eventually, the celebrated princess who embodies everyone’s unattainable fantasies. The story of their relationship reveals that nothing is what it seems, that beauty is not always desirable, and that love can take on many guises.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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Take the story of Cinderella and take out all the fantastical elements and you'll have an idea of what this story is about.  This is not fantasy…it's more like historical fiction.  This is all the harshness and unfairness of the medieval times with a Cinderella twist.  Told from the point of view of Agnes…the so-called wicked Step-mother.  Her story is decidedly poignant and I totally empathized with her.  Despite having some slow spots in the beginning, I thoroughly enjoyed this, and by the halfway point, I was totally invested. 

 

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~MY RATING~

4.2STARS - GRADE=B+

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

 

 

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4.2/5

Main Characters~ 4/5

Secondary Characters~ 3.8/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 3.5/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 3.5/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.3/5

Originality~ 4.7/5

Ending~ 4.5/5 Cliffhanger~ Nope.

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Book Cover~ It's okay…

Narration~4 for Jane Copeland, was admirably done.

Setting~ Some sort of Shire and a royal court, it was hard to decipher.

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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review 2018-07-23 21:46
The Vow: A Loveswept Historical Medieval Romance - Juliana Garnett

Ceara is a rarity in medieval times, taking the helm of battle against the Normans after her father falls in battle. Successful in fending off a first attack against her home, she's not so lucky going against Luc Louvat, who ends up conquering more than her lands. 

 

This read is mixed with a whole lot of history and political intrigue - which got a bit much in places, but the sprinkles of romance and Ceara's indomitable antics, along with her somewhat tamed wolf pet, made this a good read.

 

The Vow features: 

 

historical romance

sexual content

intrigue

mystery

suspense

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review 2018-06-27 14:34
Emotional
Forbidden - Helen Kirkman

For more comments and quotes - Buddy Read Forbidden

"The marks that are on me will be there all my life, not to be hidden by overlong hair, or by clothing, so that no one asks any awkward questions. They will always be there and even if they were not, even if it were possible to be rid of them it would not matter. 
Because they are nothing to what is on the inside."
 


Written in a different tone, think languid, poetic, and atmospheric, and voice, think internal/emotional, this story felt quite unique and unlike a lot of romance books. I'm usually a fast reader but this story made me slow down and take breaks, instead of my read in one to three sittings. The tone can drag you down at times as a lot of the action takes place from our hero and heroine's internal thoughts but it ramps up the emotional aspects. The writing style won't be for everyone but if you can let the characters and setting seep into you, you'll enjoy and get lost in Rowena's struggle to survive as a woman in limited power and the thrall Wulf she buys to help her. 

The author did a good job with the power dynamics, Wulf is the slave but as a man and more strength than Rowena, he has his own sense of power. Their relationship was slow burning and sparking at different turns and as most the story depends on them together, their chemistry does not disappoint. Rowena was a great heroine who acknowledges and uses what powers she has and while I liked Wulf, I would have liked his backstory to have been revealed earlier, would have filled out his character more. 

You will definitely enjoy the historical aspect of the story. The author does an incredible job setting the time and place with harvest festivals mentioned, terminology, and even an inclusion of King Ines (who I think gets overshadowed by Alfred the Great too often). 

There's heat, passion, and betrayal in this one. I enjoyed going to a different time and place and while the tone and slower pace may not be for everyone, if you're looking to escape the typical romance, this one would fit the bill.

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review 2018-06-22 15:59
Mystique by Amanda Quick
Mystique - Amanda Quick

Hugh the Relentless wants to become Hugh of Scarcliffe. To accomplish that, he needs to appease his superstitious villages by finding a green crystal that's been recently stolen from the Scarcliffe convent.

The green crystal was briefly in possession of Lady Alice, a sharp-tongued beauty that's determined to strike a bargain with Hugh. She'll help him locate the stone, if he helps her and her brother leave their uncle's manor.


This was almost an exact copy of Desire with the long-suffering, knightly hero becoming saddled with an opinionated, rather spoiled, and entitled heroine with a sharp tongue, reckless impulses, and (at least from what I've seen) not much wit.

The romance between Hugh the Relentless and Alice the Relentless Pain in his Butt left much to be desired, since the heroine was so bloody annoying, I couldn't comprehend what drew Hugh to her and Hugh being so goddamn bland, I couldn't comprehend what drew her to him.

The suspense was the saving grace of this story with motives and suspects galore, and the mystery involving past sins and the Stones of Scarcliffe was nicely intriguing. Unfortunately, it couldn't compensate for the lack in all other "departments".

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review 2018-06-21 16:11
Desire by Amanda Quick
Desire - Amanda Quick

Clare, lady of the Isle of Desire, has no other choice but wed. What little choice she does have, will be spent on choosing the right husband, following a specific "recipe". All she needs are suitable candidates; they must not be big, they must be kind and have a pleasant disposition, and they must read.

Her liege lord sends her only two possible candidates. Sir Nicholas is out of the question, since he's an idiot, while Sir Gareth, the knight they call the Hellhound of Wyckmere, will not do either. He's huge, too serious and appears emotionless...But at least he can read.


I like medievals; the pageantry, the hulking knights on huge warhorses, the swords, the damsels in their girdles and wimples...This one only had the hulking knight on a huge warhorse and his sword.

I liked Gareth. He was the incarnation of a still water running deep. He was honorable, protective, smart and cunning...And unfortunately saddled with an idiot for heroine.
I couldn't stand Clare. For someone who prided herself on her intelligence, she sure could act stupid and shrewish. I'm sure she was supposed to be a feminist, but her "smart, strong willed" tantrums landed her in the entitled and opinionated bitch territory. She was impulsive, she never thought before she spoke, and her stereotypical view of knights (even the one who has sworn to protect her), coupled with her idiotic fantasy of the "dream man" got old really fast.

The resulting romance between the poor guy and the somewhat TSTL shrew made me wince, the "suspense" was predictable (you could see the villain and his "accomplice" from a mile away) and too short-lived...The majority of the story was spent on the two protagonists getting to know each other and Clare being Clare. With a different heroine, it might've been entertaining; with this one, it was just painful.

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