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Search tags: like-fairy-tale-retelling
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review 2018-12-16 04:52
The Belles - audiobook
The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton,Rosie Llewellyn-Jones

Audience: Young Adult

 

We all turned sixteen today, and for any normal girl that would mean raspberry and lemon macarons and tiny pastel blimps and pink champagne and card games. Maybe even a teacup elephant.

- opening lines

 

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In this world, Belles control Beauty and Beauty is a commodity. People are born gray and will pay anything to be transformed. The society is fixated on Beauty - there are even rules to prevent people from going to extremes. For example, a Belle cannot make your proportions so outrageous that they don't look like the natural human form. Camellia (and the other Belles) wants to be the favorite and live in the palace. But, in this world, nothing is as it seems and danger and betrayal are everywhere.

 

So, I think this book was trying to make a statement about how much our society reveres beauty. And how dangerous this could be when taken to the extreme. There are many issues tackled in this book including gender equality, male privilege, the way woman warp their bodies to be "perfect," and the idea that beauty is not just what we see on the outside. It does a good job of raising the issues without seeming preachy.

 

Camellia is fixated on being the Favorite and being the best and she can't handle the idea of failing. But she is naive and doesn't see what is happening around her - the deception and danger. I found the evil character to be very obvious and couldn't believe that Camellia wouldn't see right through her. She often walked right into a trap that a blind person would have seen coming.

 

The world is interesting with the teacup size elephants, giraffes, and dragons. But some of the descriptions are a bit much and I found it distracting. When describing a scene or a place, the author used a lot of imagery and flowery language - too much really. It stood out to me and it shouldn't - I should be able to picture the scene in my head without thinking about how many similes or metaphors the author is using.

 

The audio was very well done. I enjoyed the narrator's accent. I read the first couple of pages on the Amazon preview and I was glad I listened to the audio. There are many words that are hard to figure out how to pronounce. Not having to think about that allowed me to enjoy the story more. 

 

I did enjoy the story and when the ending was more than a bit of a cliffhanger, I was looking for the next book in the series. It doesn't come out until some time next year. If it had been available when I finished this book I probably would have read it, but I don't know if I will still be as interested when it finally comes out.

 

I borrowed the audio from my local library. The book is a Florida Teens Read program nominated book for 2018-19.

 

 

 

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review 2018-10-23 21:29
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

I spent a sleepless night reading the story. I kid you not, I've slept only three hours because I couldn't put the book down. Thank heavens I'm on holiday. 
Uprooted was fantastic. Almost perfect. The world was so deliciously creepy. The Wood, the tower, even the castle was like a never ending spookfest. And I loved it - the tension, the danger. Absolutely freaking amazing. And it got even better because Agnieszka was the best heroine ever. I liked her magic and the way she destroyed her gowns. A true heroine with substance. But the best was her friendship with Kasia. I reveled in it because there are so few books about true friendship between females. A lot of books I've read have been about girls or women in men's world. Or when a female character has a female friend it usually ends with tears and backstabbing. 
I'm too tired and rambling already. I give it 4.5 stars. And the reason is the big battle at the end of the story. As I said before, I love tension and danger and the book can have death but this was just a meaningless slaughter.
Still, great book. Read it.

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review 2018-09-01 06:00
Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood
Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood - Liesl Shurtliff

Audience: Upper Elementary/Middle School

 

The first time I tried my hand at magic, I grew roses out of my nose.

- First sentence

 

Red's granny is sick (maybe dying) and she is determined to find a way to save her. She sets off on an adventure that brings understanding, knowledge, fear, excitement and even unexpected friendships.

 

Other books in this series include Rump, Jack, and Grump. They all come from the same world, but see it from different perspectives.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this series so far. I haven't read Grump, but I'm sure it won't disappoint. Red is a great character though a bit naive and sheltered. She learns a great deal during her adventure and grows into a stronger person. 

 

Bottom line: A fresh take on the story of Red Riding Hood that will take you on an exciting adventure filled with danger and unexpected friendships.

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review 2018-05-27 04:31
AS OLD AS TIME by Liz Braswell
As Old as Time - Liz Braswell

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  It starts like the Disney movie but the ending is different.  I liked it--a lot!  The main characters are there but there are additional characters who flesh out the story and add dimensions that were not there before.  The back story is told more and the characters learn through their flaws and errors.  Thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to more in the series.  One for the keeper shelf.

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review 2018-04-25 04:11
Alice by Christina Henry
Alice - Christina Henry

 

"One day, long ago, she'd gone seeking an adventure and found terror instead. That day had changed the course of her life, and left her hands awash in blood. It was not her fault, but this was how it must be. She understood that now."

 

Poor, trusting Alice. She went with her best friend on a supposed adventure and ended up in an insane asylum. She doesn't remember what happened, only before and after. Before, she was a sweet innocent girl who lived in the New City, and after, she was found wandering the streets of the Old City with blood on her thighs muttering about a rabbit. Now, she has the chance to escape the asylum with Hatcher (who was living on the other side of the wall for 8 years) and she is about to embark on an even stranger adventure, dark, bloody, and frankly a bit disturbing.

 

This is not the Alice you remember from the Disney movie, some of the characters are here: Alice, Cheshire, the Rabbit, the Caterpillar, but they are not as you remember them. This book is full of violence, human trafficking and, rape. Women are treated as objects at best and as sex toys or killing toys at worst. Sections of the Old City are owned by ruthless gang lords, and women are never safe there. But, this is also a story of justice and revenge. Believe me when I say Alice & her friend Hatcher (from the asylum) are no slackers when it comes to giving people what they deserve.

 

So, should you read it? Well, if you like dark, creepy, retellings which are more horror than fantasy, and if you won't be disturbed by the violence, then go for it. If you are the tiniest bit squeamish, then I suggest you pass.

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