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review 2019-03-12 15:16
ARC REVIEW The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross
The Beast's HeartThe classic version of Beauty and the Beast as told from the Beast's perspective. What I love about this book, because I do love it, is that this is more like the traditional version of the fairy tale and not Disney's version. Instead of their being an overall villian with an exciting fight scene at the end it's more man vs. self. The internal struggle of Beast fighting with who he perceives himself to be and who he wants to be and adding Beauty (in this case Isabeau) to the mix he wants to be a better person for her all the while trying to show her he's worthy of her love.

The story starts off with Beast in the woods living as an animal would until he's led back to his home and the iron gates lock behind him. Slowly he starts to remember thing and the magic slowly starts to repair the house and gardens. Beast is there so long he loses track of time the enchantment keeping the grounds in an eternal summer. Beast relearns how to dress and act like a man. The details of his curse still remain foggy in his mind all he knows is that a fairy cursed him to be the beast he is inside.

Isabeau comes along quite like she always does, to save her father after he tries to steal a single rose from Beast's gardens after everything else was given freely. In this we see Beast's side of it, when he allowed her father in he was longing for company but changed his mind at the last moment, but he saw into her father's dream a had vision of his youngest daughter. Beast manipulated the situation to bring her to his home; as soon as he did it he felt bad and after she got there he admitted what he did and told her she was free to leave but he was so lonely. So they struck up a deal she stays for a year and keeps Beast company and she will be free to leave after that. Everything else plays out Isabeau has her dreams she keeps to herself but the Beast when he's not with Isabeau is watching her family through his mirror, first out of guilt for what he took from them but then he started to care about them.

Overall, the slow and steady narration of the Beast is wonderful. I loved this version of the original story and I love how she didn't just end it after the curse was broken. Another thing I liked was how Beast didn't know until almost half the year was over that there was a way to break the curse, the details and the why of the curse slowly get revealed to him as he remembers more about his life before the curse. I loved the small details the descriptive narrative was spellbinding, I didn't want to put this book down.



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review 2019-03-04 14:23
Nation of the Beasts
Nation of the Beasts - Mariana Pavlova

by Mariana Pavlova


Another story written in present tense. Why do they do it? This one fooled me because the Prologue was in past tense and drew me in, but when the story proper starts, it's in present tense and sometimes switches to second person.


Elisse is a white boy who is used to living in a Tibetan temple in India, but he has been sent to New Orleans for his own safety when the Chinese raid the temples. His English is heavily accented and he has been in a refugee camp, where showers are a luxury. Culture shock is the first of his challenges.


The narrative sometimes changes mid-chapter, slipping from first person to second person. It's a little jarring, as is the sudden changes of tense or person and what looks like a misplaced chapter of a detective story that interjects into the story about Elisse without explanation, albeit set in the same city. This gets tied in a little later.


The writing itself is good, apart from the person and tense anomalies, but intermittent continuity made the early chapters rather difficult to follow. There's a supernatural aspect involved that kept me wanting to see where it was going to go. Elisse sees demons and explains away his occasional injuries as sleepwalking and nightmares, knowing that explaining the truth would land him in an asylum.


The plot itself is very interesting and Elisse is an easily likeable character. Things start heading towards explanations about a quarter through and I found myself wanting to keep reading at the end of each chapter.


All things considered, an unusual and original story worth reading, despite the tense and person changes that kept throwing me off.

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text 2019-02-26 15:49
Snakes & Ladders - First move
Nation of the Beasts - Mariana Pavlova

So, I finished my book for square 1 and rolled a 10.



This puts me on square 11.


11. Author's last name begins with the letters P, Q, R, or S


As it happens, another Netgalley book will do nicely, by Mariana Pavlova.

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text 2019-02-21 17:16
Lora's Snake & Ladders Post
Black Wings - Megan Hart
Nation of the Beasts - Mariana Pavlova
One Summer in Paris - Sarah Morgan
Any Witch Way You Can (Wicked Witches of the Midwest #1) - Amanda M. Lee
A Conjuring of Light - V.E. Schwab


Well, as I've learned we can start with a book we're already reading, for square one I'm reading Black Wings by Megan Hart. I'll list the criteria for the squares as I occupy them.


1. Author is a woman: Black Wings by Megan Hart


Roll 10


11. Author's last name begins with the letters P, Q, R, or S:

Nation of the Beasts by Mariana Pavlova


Roll 9


20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan


Up the ladder to:


70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover

Any Witch Way You Can by Amanda Lee



Roll 10


80. Main character is a man

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab




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review 2019-02-15 22:42
See Into the Beast
The Beast's Heart - Leife Shallcross

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.


Well, this was okay. No big issues really, I just found myself bored reading it. We have how many retellings following Beauty from Beauty and the Beast? Well we get one told from the Beast's point of view. I compared this book a bit to "Beastly" since that's the only book I have read that told the story from the Beast's point of view. I have to say that this Beast doesn't seem to have been pretty pathetic. The author starts off with us following him after he's been turned. The flow though was off from beginning to end. Nothing picks up and I just didn't feel a sense of urgency about finishing (why it took me so long to complete).


"The Beast's Heart" has us following the Beast with Shallcross incorporating some Young Adult themes too. I for one would love it if we had a more adult Beauty and the Beast like with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. Man, I was in love with Vincent...


Image result for beauty and the beast 1987 gif


Okay, back to the book. We have the Beast going through his tale of woe and of course he eventually meets his Beauty (Isabeau). Shallcross doesn't really do anything new with this. I think telling the story in the Beast's POV should have made me more engaged with the story, however, it just didn't work. Another reviewer mentioned how old the Beast sounded, and I got that feeling too. At one point I wondered if he was 100 years old or what. Some readers noted how this book was very voyeuristic since you get to read about the Beast spying on Isabeau's family via his magic mirror. The magic mirror plot device was in the cartoon, musical, and the latest musical. I think it's bothersome in this one since he uses it throughout the book to watch/spy on Isabeau. 


Isabeau doesn't have much to do in this book. She just seemed kind of okay about the whole thing with the Beast. I needed to believe that she fell in love with him and needed him just as much as he needed her, and I never got that sense. Then again, she was a prisoner of his and was forced to keep him company. So you can see why as a reader she seemed to be kind of meh on things. I think "Beastly" was smart to move this into modern times and also include his "beauty's" consent to stay. 


The house is another character in this one. No you don't have things talking to you. But as the relationship between the two characters improve, so does the castle. 


Isabeau has sisters in this one unlike with the Disney version of Beauty. I have to say the main reason why I gave this 3 stars is that the sisters were a nice saving grace in this book. Shallcross has Marie and Claude as independent young women who struggle without their sister. Including them reminded me a bit of "Hunted" by Meagan Spooner who followed the sisters along with the main character of Yeva. Besides following Yeva, we followed her sisters who had to get along with her being there and had their own romances. 


I really thought the writing was okay, nothing that really grabbed me. It just read as being try hard at times with Shallcross trying to mimic older fairytales. I get it, the Beast isn't modern, but good grief, it needed to make me want to keep reading. I think honestly this book was too long. This was over 350 pages and the flow of the book was slow throughout. It's okay if an author does that because the book is building to something great that is going to blow your mind. I didn't get my mind blown here. I just started getting more and more bored and wondering when they were going to get together to break his curse.

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