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review 2017-07-13 20:34
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire - Rosamund Hodge

[I received a copy of this book through Edelweiss.]

Hmm, not sure about this one. It’s a retelling of ‘Romeo & Juliet’, in a city that is the last one standing while the rest of the world has been invaded by ‘zombies’, where three families share the power, and where the religious order of the Sisters of Thorn has to perform yearly blood sacrifices in order to keep the undead at bay. It has a mysterious plague that makes people rise again after their death if precautions aren’t taken, and in that city, ‘the Juliet’ is actually a warrior bred from birth through magic rituals, with the ability to sense if someone has shed her family’s blood, and the compulsion to avenge said family member in turn (in other words, she still does a few other things than feigning death, thinking Romeo is dead, and promptly killing herself in turn). Also, she’s doomed to turn mad at some point

All in all, why not? This was interesting. The story itself, though, was kind of confusing, and although it did end up making sense, there were quite a few things I would’ve seen developed more in depth. Such as the Night Games, or the Necromancer (who kind of turned up at the awkward moment), or the Romeo/Paris/Vai trio relationship.

I’m not sure about the characters. I sort of liked the Juliet? Because she had that idea that ‘I’m already dead, and Romeo is dead, so I don’t care about dying because it means I can see him again’, yet at the same time she was quite lively and determined and not actively trying to take her own life while moping; her story is also rather sad (stripped of her name/real identity in a family whose beliefs in the afterlife involve having a name in order to be saved... nice). Romeo, though, was kind of stupid, and Paris way too naive; of the power trio there, the one I definitely liked was Vai (with a twist that was a bit predictable, but eh, he was fun to read about, and I totally agreed with the way he envisioned problems and how to tackle them!). As for Runajo... I don’t know. Determined, too, yet there were several moments when I thought her decisions should have her get killed or cast out or something, and she wasn’t because Plot Device.

(And very, very minor thing that probably only peeved me because I’m French, but... ‘Catresou’ sounds just so damn weird. I kept reading and ‘hearing’ that name as a French name, which sounds exactly like ‘quatre sous’—that’s like ‘four pence’—aaaand... Yep, so bizarre.)

Conclusion: 2.5 stars. To be fair, I liked the world depicted here in general, and that this retelling is sufficiently removed from R & J as to stand by itself; however, it was probably too ambitious for one volume, and ended up confusing.

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review 2017-06-22 20:17
Meh.
Hunted - Meagan Spooner

I liken this book to roller coaster of the worst kind. One where it takes literal hours to slowly, slowly, inch up to the top of that first hill, only to find out that the drop on the other side is over in 3 or 4 seconds. Gah.

 

Good things:

* Beauty is actually a badass here. She's strong, capable, and actually kind of easy to follow along with.

 

* Beast is more intriguing than normal, because he has this whole dual mind thing going on and we actually get to see from his point of view.

 

Bad things:

* Literally everything else. The romance is boring. The "action" scenes are boring. Beauty spends SO MUCH TIME contemplating things that it's obnoxious, only to turn around at some point and act drastically, leading her to something awful. Like... do you not know what middle ground is woman? 

 

Oh well. I finished it!

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text 2017-06-21 16:36
Reading progress update: I've read 70%.
Hunted - Meagan Spooner

Bah, this book. It's like... I want to know what happens but also I'm REALLY bored at the same time. Yeva (Beauty) has been with the Beast for almost 3/4 of the book and nothing at all has really happened. The most exciting part, that just occurred, was the first time in this entire read that I actually smiled.

 

*sigh*

 

I'm too far to give up now.

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review 2017-06-10 17:37
Girls Made of Snow and Glass - Melissa Bashardoust

          Arc Provided by Flatiron Books through Netgalley

 

                       Release Date: September 5th

 

Pitched as a feminist retelling, "Girls Made of Snow and Glass", doesn't disappoint in the least. Told in the alternative pov's of Mina, the stepmother Queen and Lynet, the snow Princess, this is a story that most surely will stay with the reader long after its read... What if there was more to the "tale" of the "evil" stepmother and her "naive" stepdaughter? What if there was a story of trying to break with one's past and one's sorrow? What if you only wanted to be loved, but never quite achieved that? How would you turn out with people trying to make a puppet out of you? This is the story of two women both trying to find out their true natures in a grey world . A world of snow and cold. And of bitter family ties. Along the way they will have to decide if they'll risk breaking those ties for a chance of finally being themselves. And of loving who they want. "Girls Made of Snow and Ice" is a tale of self discovery, friendship, and of budding young love, interwoven with bits of magic... In it, you have very different love stories. You have one between a woman with a heart of glass, and her creation. But for how long will it be her creation?

Another between two girls, both trying to survive in that world: One that has had everything given to her, except the love of a mother. And the other, who is trying to find her own station in a world filled with people who want to use her...

But for me, the most rewarding its between a mother and her child. Despite all obstacles, barriers, and wishes of kings. The writing is skilfully done, taking the reader successfully into a cursed world of snow, and many were the phrases _ so beautifully written _that I would love to share with you guys.

Really a remarkable read.

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review 2017-06-10 10:47
The Show-Off Monkey and Other Taoist Tales
The Show-Off Monkey and Other Taoist Tales - Mark W. McGinnis

by Mark W. McGinnis

 

This is a book of retold Chinese fables, based on the writings of the ancient philosopher Chang Tzu but written in modern language that any child could follow.

 

The tales are very short and each has a morale at the end to teach the reader something about the foibles of human nature.

 

The pictures are beautifully done and in full color in what looks like an oriental style. Overall the book is beautifully presented and would make a nice gift to a child, though adults would enjoy it too!

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