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review 2017-07-22 19:55
Watch out...roses have thorns.
A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas

 

Book Title:  A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author:  Sarah J Maas

Narration:  Jennifer Ikeda

Series:  A Court of Thorns and Roses #1

Genre:  High Fantasy, Fae, Romance

Setting:  Prythian Spring Court, Land of Fae

Source:  Audiobook (RB Digital)

 

 

 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

Book Theme Song

(this link will take you to my tumblr post with video)

Preserved Roses by Blackbriar  --If you've read ACOTAR then watch it…and you will see…if not…then still watch it, because it has the right feel. ♫

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts

 

I need to have a clear head when I start a fantasy series, to really be able to immerse myself within it.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do that while listening to this.  I just had too much on my mind.  That being said, I feel like this has the makings of  a 5 star read (even the narration was awesomely done) as evidenced by all the 5 star ratings out there for ACOTAR.    If I could change one thing about this it would be to make it a little shorter in length.  Long books always seem so daunting to me, that I go into them feeling less than excited as it is.

 

Essentially, ACOTAR is highly imaginative start to what might be a very appealing series.  The Beauty and the Beast aspect is only a backdrop to the story overall, because it really is so much deeper than that.

 

 

 

Ratings Breakdown

 

Plot:  4.5/5

Main Characters:  5/5

Secondary Characters:  5/5

The Feels:  4/5

Addictiveness:  4/5

Theme or Tone:  4/5

Flow (Writing Style):  4.3/5

Backdrop (World Building):  4.3/5

Originality:  5/5

Book Cover:  5/5

Narration:  5/5

Ending:  5/5  Cliffhanger:  to be continued…

Total:  4.3/5

 

Will I continue this series?  Yes, and hopefully I'm able to fully immerse myself in it when I do.

 

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review 2017-07-21 19:04
Hunted
Hunted - Meagan Spooner

I enjoyed this retelling so much, and the book cover is stunning! Not the temporary cover pictured in this post, but the actual finished cover. Yeva comes from a wealthy family. She lives with her widowed father and two sisters. Her relationship with her family is beautiful. They care very much for each other, and put the happiness of others before their own.

 

When Yeva's father makes a terrible mistake and loses their entire fortune, the family is forced to sell their belongings and move back to their small cabin in the woods. Her father goes out hunting to provide food for the family, but despite Yeva's protests, he does not allow her to join him even though she is an accomplished hunter.

 

Yeva's father begins to show signs that he may be going mad, obsessing over a creature he is hunting. When he goes missing, Yeva is determined to track him down and save him, leaving her sisters in the care of her fiancee. Solmir is such a good man. He's in love with Yeva, willing to marry her despite her loss of status and the family's circumstances, and more than happy to provide them with a better life. That little twist in this, tale as old as time, was a refreshing change.

 

When Yeva meets Beast, she is captured and imprisoned in his old ruined castle. At first she doesn't realize that the one helping her is Beast. She believes the man who hides in the dark and brings her food is her ally not her captor. In this version, Beauty believes Beast murdered her father and she is out for blood! This Beauty is angry, calculating, and determined to kill the beast.

 

The romance takes it's time and when Beauty finally leaves Beast she never promises to return. I began to wonder if she ever would return to him. This is the first Beauty and the Beast retelling, I personally have read, where the author addresses Stockholm Syndrome. A friend of Beauty confronts her and discusses the fact that maybe what Beauty feels towards Beast is a psychological effect of the abuse and imprisonment using an example of a man who beat his wife, but the wife continued returning to him. I was impressed with the author for including this scene.

 

Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite stories, and this was an enjoyable retelling with interesting, and at times, shocking twists. The ending had a lovely moral, which I will let you discover for yourself if you decide to read it. I look forward to reading more of Spooner's work.

 

-SW

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review 2017-07-20 22:44
Book Review of The Jewel Tree: A Young Adult Fantasy Novella by Lee Summers
The Jewel Tree: A Novel in Miniature - David Lee Summers

At the heart of THE JEWEL TREE is an heirloom so precious that the last remaining members of the Ryder family will do almost anything to keep it in their possession.

But how long should a young girl work to earn back the emblem of her mother's soul? And is any task to menial?

 

When Leda sees the hummingbird charm dangling from wealthy Lord Caitiff's shriveled earlobe, she swears she will labor a year and a day to reclaim it. She is prepared to do whatever the old man asks--until the day he asks too much.

 

In a world of dark curses and ancient grudges, Leda and her handsome young uncle are sometimes hard pressed to distinguish between appearance and reality. Not all that glitters is gold--and gold is never worth more than flesh and blood. This mini-novel about the redemptive power of love will delight readers who appreciate a little magic in their lives.

 

Review 3*

 

This is a wonderful young adult fantasy novella. I really enjoyed it.

 

Leda Ryder is a young girl of fifteen when the story starts, but the tale covers a few years. She is a wonderful character and I really liked her. She was orphaned at a young age and has been raised by her uncle, Alexander. Unfortunately, he has a gambling addiction and has squandered the family money until there is nothing of value except an heirloom called the Jewel Tree (fashioned from gold), which holds little charms set with precious and semi-precious stones. He sells these charms to Lord Caitiff to pay for his debts. When she finds out what her uncle has done, she finds herself working for Lord Caitiff in an attempt to earn the charms back.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, with no expectation of a positive review.

 

This is an intriguing and charming novella. I must admit that I was not sure what time period this book was set in at first, then I realised that it must be in Victorian or early Edwardian times as there is mention of horses and carriages but no cars.

 

The story is mostly told through the eyes of Leda, though Alexander and Lord Caitiff also have scenes seen through their points of view. I found myself hooked from the first page. However, I also found myself confused at the relationship between Leda and Alexander. The author introduces Alexander as Leda's uncle, but a couple of times they are referred to as siblings. It's as if the author couldn't decide what their relationship should be and kept changing it and never corrected it or missed it during editing. Nevertheless, they come across as a loving and close family even though it's just the two of them. Lord Caitiff is a mysterious benefactor and the reader never really gets to know him until close to the end of the tale. There is a good reason for this and the author uses this mystery to good effect as there is a slight twist that surprised me. There are also other characters that intrigued me, like Felicity, Lord Caitiff's daughter who is unspeakably ugly. This story has a "Beauty and the Beast" feel to it, and was further enhanced by the inclusion of a curse and a sorceress called Iona Grimm. What her relationship to Lord Caitiff is, I'll leave you to find out for yourselves.

 

I reached the end of the book with mixed feelings; I would have liked for the story to be a little longer as felt it was rushed in places but happy at the way it concluded.

 

Lee Summers has written an intriguing debut YA fantasy novella. However, this author has written other works under the name of Elise Chidley, though I have never read them. I love her writing style, which is fast paced. However, as I mentioned above, I found some of the story a little rushed at times. Due to the confusion over the relationship between Leda and Alexander, I found myself stumbling and re-reading parts which disrupted the flow. I think that once this issue has been addressed, the story should flow more smoothly. Having said all that, I would definitely consider reading more of her books in the future.

 

There is no explicit or overt mention of sexual activity. However, there is one instance where Lord Caitiff propositions Leda. Nevertheless, this book is aimed at young adult readers and as such, I recommend this book to readers aged 12 upwards. Readers younger than this may struggle with certain words they may not be familiar with, but then again, it depends on their reading level, so parental advice is advised. I also recommend this book to adults who love to read young adult romance/fantasy or fairytale re-tellings. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-07-20 18:57
King's Cage
King's Cage (Red Queen) - Victoria Aveyard

Book 3 in the Red Queen series was an improvement over Glass Sword. I became increasingly disappointed in Mare's attitude in the previous book and didn't care for the path she was heading down. Despite the pain and torment that Mare endures as she is held captive by Maven, I was pleased to see the growth and change in her this time around. Her interactions with her family, Cal and even the way she treated others in general were vastly improved.

 

I admit, I was preparing myself as I read Glass Sword for the possibility of Mare becoming the villain (due to her increasingly foul attitude and disregard for human life) and Maven switching roles and becoming the true hero. That didn't happen, at least not in this book. Book 4 is still in the works, so you never know.

 

Maven's scenes were always interesting. Learning what makes him tick, why this complicated individual, even without his puppet master, Elara, pulling his strings he continues on his road of destruction. Another character I enjoyed seeing more of, was Evangeline. She always keeps things interesting. I wasn't surprised at all by some of the decisions that she makes in King's Cage, but I was very pleased.

 

Mare's relationship with Cal was very much improved through most of the book. There were some very sweet scenes, but by the end of the book, I was honestly hoping Mare would zap his lying princeliness clean off a cliff. I feel he is too weak and indecisive, and I've lost all interest in his character. He can ride off into the sunset for all I care. I'm more interested to see what will become of Maven and Evangeline in the final book of the series.

 

-SW

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review 2017-07-20 14:44
DNF: Nowhere Near You
Nowhere Near You - Leah Thomas

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I just can't get into this one. Sad, because I remember I really loved the first book because it's characters and plot were so unique. Though I just can't connect with this second book at all. Possibly because I remember very little about the story in the first book. The novel takes place shortly after the first one finishes with the two characters still writing to each other. Ollie is looking for other kids like him and Moritz has an opportunity for a new school. It's not a bad book by any means, the characters  are still very different and original, I just can't get into the story at all. I have a finished paperback of the first one, and I did get a paperback of this one to go with it. So it's certainly a book I may go back to and reread both together at some point in the future. 

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing PLC for approving my request to view the title. 

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