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review 2018-12-16 19:37
[REVIEW] Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill
Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul - Nikita Gill

I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

‘Heroes are meant
to be forged golden
from the blaze.’
(pg. 14)

I was very excited when I got approved for this book. It has all my favorite things in the title: feminism (yay!) and fairytales (yay!). And that cover? Swoon-worthy. The reading experience, however, was more… meh. The concept is good, it’s just not executed as well as it should be. The themes are repetitive, and nothing is structured or cohesive. This is supposed to be about fairytales, but then we take a turn into reality, dealing with eating disorders (that particular poem hit a little close to home) and then we jump back into fairytales. Some of it works, most of it doesn’t, at least for me.

The word choices are also a little bizarre. For example, in ‘Why the Sun Rises and Sets’ she speaks about 'cinnamon people' and that just made me uncomfortable. There’s this entire debate that people of color’s skin shouldn’t be described with food because it fetishizes and dehumanizes them. Another word like “amber,” for example could've been used here instead.

I also struggled a lot in particular with the short stories. The “lesson” behind each is anything but subtle, it hits you over the head with its message over and over again. You see this clearly in ‘Two Misunderstood Sisters.’ She creates backstories for some Disney villains (like Gaston and Ursula and Lady Tremaine) and again, I think this is poorly executed. She plays with the theme that no one is born evil, that evil is learned because of untreated trauma or wounds, and I kinda get it, but it also seems like she’s excusing their behavior? This is particularly displayed in ‘How a hero becomes a villain’ which is Gaston’s poem.

Not everything is bad, though. I enjoyed ‘An Older and Wiser Little Mermaid Speaks.’ This poem is what expected this book to be like. It’s powerful, and it’s evocative, in a way that the rest of the material wasn’t for me.

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review 2018-12-16 12:37
Review: Legendary
Legendary - Stephanie Garber

I received a copy from Netgalley.


I had also pre ordered a hard cover copy after finishing the first book last year. I had to reread Caraval before starting this one to refamiliarise myself with the world and the storyline. I think I actually liked Caraval more after a reread.


However, I was very disappointed in this lacklustre sequel.  It took me forever to get through and was frankly, boring.


Spoilers for the first book.


The sequel takes place just after the first book finishes, the night Caraval ends. The sequel is told from Donatella’s POV. After her sister Scarlett spent the first book trying desperately to save her sister, I was curious to know more about Tella’s character. While Scarlett was quite sensible and almost timid during Caraval Tella seemed to be the more lively sister. Scarlett’s character grew tremendously throughout her story.


I didn’t like Tella at all during her book. I found her vapid and irritating. She’s headstrong and acts without thinking, she lies, she manipulates and finds herself in trouble a lot. She’s supposed to be stronger sister, yet I found she whined and pined far more than Scarlett ever did. She makes stupid decisions and doesn’t seem to know how to deal with the consequences of her actions.


We find out a little more in this book about the disappearance of the girls’ mother – Tella knows a few things Scarlett never did. She’s kept the secret and makes a bargain with a mysterious stranger to help her find some answers. In the sequel, the stranger wants to collect his payment – Caraval Master Legend’s true name.


As it’s the Empress’s 75th birthday, there is a special Caraval game to celebrate, so Tella figures this is the opportunity to get what she needs. The only clue she has to her mother is a special deck of cards – a Deck of Destiny.


The story revolves around something to do with Fates who are trapped in the cards and a fiendish plot to release them and wreak havoc. Tella tells a lie to get into an exclusive party and her lie causes her to become involved in a very dangerous plot with a scary evil Prince, with a deadly and dark secret.


The writing is beautiful and lyrical just like the first book, the descriptions are vivid and so clear and there were some truly amazing passages. There were moments when Tella’s inner strength shines through but then she’ll go and do something stupid and make her irritating all over again. The romance in this one revolves around Dante (we met him briefly in Caraval) and he seems like the male version of Tella.


They flirt, they kiss, Dante appears throughout the book helping Tella out. He can be hot one minute – seem like there’s something more to him than a handsome flirt – then he acts like a total jerk. He has secrets of his own. (Of course) Tella spends a great deal of the book pining over him. She can’t decide how she feels about him and it gets very tiresome.


The other problem I had with this story was while the mystery with Tella’s mother and the Fates story was interesting enough, it takes place during a Caraval game. There’s more mysteries to solve, but it felt no different from the first book. It had all been done before and without the magic. It felt boring and long winded.


It did have its moments, some of it was pretty good, but there was just too much I found irritating. And it took a long time to get through as well.


Though despite the fact that I didn’t like this one much, I will be reading the finale to find out how it all ends.


Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for approving my request to view the title.  

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text 2018-12-15 22:52
Reading progress update: I've read 30%.
Hollow Kingdom - Kira Jane Buxton

This started out feeling like a gore filled horror read, now it's still horror but from a very unusual view point. The animals, pets, wildlife, sea creatures, what would they think do if humans went zombie ? OMg and ST is a perfect character 

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review 2018-12-15 06:42
The Military Wife (A Heart of a Hero #1) by Laura Trentham
The Military Wife - Laura Trentham



I have to give props to Laura Trentham. The Military Wife is not only a celebration of the human spirit, it's also a hat's off salute to girl power. Life is a lesson in heartache, but also helps us find the strength to fight our way through. Harper, Allison and their friends are a force to be reckoned with. Despite heartbreaking loss, traumatic life changes and fear of the unknown, they never stop believing that better days are on the horizon. Through them, Trentham reminds us how to be fearless warriors in life and in love. They say it takes a village, but these military wives teach us all the true meaning of love.

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review 2018-12-15 00:42
The Drowning
The Drowning - J.P. Smith

As the legend goes - every seven years a boy disappears from Camp Waukeelo. Eight-year-old Joey Proctor doesn't like deep water. He can't swim. This frustrates 18-year-old camp counselor Alex Mason who takes little Joey out to a raft in the middle of a lake and then accidentally forgets about him. Twenty years have passed and Joey has still never been found. Alex Mason is now a successful businessman. His wife, his daughters, his house, his car.. they're all beautiful. He's managed to keep what happened at Camp Waukeelo a secret. But now it seems like Joey Proctor is back for revenge.

This book was easy to read, it didn't take long to fly through the pages. That being said, the book was also quite boring. The whole time it felt like we were on the verge of something big happening, and although the story did get better the closer we got to the end, that "something big" never really happened. Even the ending left me unsatisfied. I appreciate the cleverness woven throughout the story and the blurb sounded promising but unfortunately it missed the mark with me.

Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an ARC.

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