Friday, November 24, 2017

Review: Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

Title: Spindle Fire
Author: Lexa Hillyer
Series: Spindle Fire #1
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Source: Glasstown Entertainment

Color me excited when I was asked if I wanted to review Spindle Fire.  If you are follower of my blog you already know how much I love a fairy tale retelling.  I only tell you all every single time I read one how much I love them.  If you are new warned... I really like fairy tale retellings!

Spindle Fire is actually a retelling of Sleeping Beauty!  This story has seeds of the story that we know, but there are some considerable differences (yay!).

In this version Aurora cannot talk and she cannot feel pain.  Those traits have been tithed (traded) away from her thanks to her parents for other fairy gifts that they deemed more important for a princess to have.  And she has an older half sister named Isabelle.  Isabelle cannot see.  Her eyesight has also been tithed away by her parents.

The two have an amazing relationship despite them being so different.  Aurora is light and beautiful where Isabelle is dark.  Aurora finds solace in stories and Isabelle loves adventure.  Two sides of the same coin almost, but their love for each other transcends all.

This is actually where the regular Sleeping Beauty story comes into play.  Isabelle was going to be sent away to live in a convent once Aurora was married to a prince (originally supposed to be Prince Phillip) so Isabelle ran away with her friend Gil.  Aurora then chased after her sister... and one thing led to another and she pricked her finger on the ever famous spinning wheel that puts her to sleep.

Then things happen to both of them and the story unfolds.

The writing of Spindle Fire feels as though you are reading a fairy tale which only adds to its flavor.  It is almost musical in the way that it reads.  It instantly pulled me into the world and drowned me.  I loved it.  I had absolutely no problem imagining this story and the characters within.

I also loved that the story only had little seeds of the original fairy tale and then takes it on to its own new story.  There is enough there that you can tell where it has come from, but it is different enough that you don't feel like you are reading the same old story.

I also enjoyed the characters.  I actually cannot tell you which sister I liked the most.  They each have their own traits that made them their own.  They had things I liked and things I didn't, but that only made them more real in my mind.  I mean, who likes everything about anyone?  And I definitely felt that, especially Aurora, had some character growth and I can only hope to see even more of that in the next book.  I do think some of the side characters and their relationships with our main characters fell a little short though and felt some what forced at times.  However, the main characters definitely shined.

In short, I really enjoyed this retelling and thought it was done very well!

My Rating
4 Stars

This review is based on a digital copy provided by Glasstown Entertainment in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Review: The Breathless by Tara Goedjen

Title: The Breathless
Series: Stand Alone
Author: Tara Goedjen
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Source: Publisher

Let me completely honest with you here.  I finished reading The Breathless a couple of weeks ago and have just been sitting on writing this review.  Why?  Because I have no idea really what to say to you about it.  And I have been finding myself still lost in thought over things that happened in this story.

The Breathless was one of those books where you read it and it just makes you think.  A lot of things happen in this story and the writing is beautiful.  But there is something about it that makes you keep going "hmm" when it's over and done with.

The Breathless is about a girl named Mae.  Her sister had suffered a tragic death - the kind where they think she was murdered and they think that her boyfriend is too blame.  However, her boyfriend has been missing since it happened...almost a year.  Her sister then finds this mysterious book and other strange things start happening....

One thing really just rolls into another and you find yourself spellbound by the story within.  Yes, sometimes you can pretty much see what is happening, you don't really find yourself caring that much.  The story telling is superb and it makes up for that *some* of the story is predictable.

Now, you may recall that I told you I keep thinking on this book.  And it is because that despite being able to predict things, there were other bits I was not.  And there are strange bits littered throughout the story.  It was one of those books that when I finished I was really tempted to go back and reread it again.  To see the things that I missed.  Part of me thinks, though, that if I were to do that I may be even more confused than I am.

There is just such an air of mystery and intrigue to The Breathless.  I am not really sure if we are supposed to be able to decipher all of the strange.

I have really wanted to discuss this book with someone since I read it, so please contact me once you finish!

My Rating
5 Stars

This review is based on an eARC copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Book Review: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Title: The Invisible Library
Author: Genevieve Cogman
Series: The Invisible Library #1
Publisher: Ace, Reprint Edition
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
Source: Blogging for Books

Oh my goodness this book.  I had heard things on and off about this series from the book world via the internet...and then one day I saw it was available on Blogging for Books.  So I snatched it right up.

Then I finally got to where I had time to read this book in my not so busy but some how it is still busy life.  I cracked opened the covers and started reading.  I was instantly hooked on the world

I will admit that it took me a little bit to be fully drawn into the story, but when I started it off, I was not in the best place mentally.  I blame this small problem wholly on this.  By the time I was done with the book, my mental status had much improved and I was LOVING this book.  ABSOLUTELY LOVING!

What we have here is not an alternate history book, not really.  It is an alternate reality book that happens to take place in our past.  It also has a touch of paranormal and steampunk.  Really right up my alley.  I should have read this much sooner.

So we have our main character Irene.  She gets charged by The Library to go find a book in a specific world.  The Library likes to collect books for various reasons and it sends its Librarians out to retrieve them.  Sometimes the retrieval is easy, other times it is not.  As you can guess this time was no so easy.

We meet a huge cast of characters and not all of them are human!  The world she is sent into has all sorts of creatures in it - vampires, fae, werewolves, humans, and more.  So much awesome!

My favorite character by far was Vale.  But I happen to love Sherlock Holmes and Vale is very reminiscent of him.  So don't mind me while I drool over him.  Kai, Irene's trainee was okay I guess.  But Vale was *yes*

The steampunk element was definitely there, but I do wish it had had a bit more.  As I love steampunk, but that is okay.  It didn't really diminish the story or the world for me.  I guess I am just greedy when it comes to wanting more of an element or something.

I am now a huge fan of these characters and look forward to making time to read the rest of the books in this series!

My Rating
4.5 Stars

This review is based on a copy provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Blog Tour: The Hawkweed Legacy by Irena Brignull

Title: The Hawkweed Legacy
Author: Irena Brignull
Series: The Hawkweed Prophecy #2
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Source: Publisher/Irish Banana Blog Tours

Today the book I have to talk to you about is The Hawkweed Legacy by Irena Brignull.  It is the second book in the The Hawkweed Prophecy series.

This review will contain some spoilers for book one.  If you have not read book one, you may not want to proceed with reading my review.  Consider yourself warned.

This book has a myriad of characters but the one that sticks out the most is Poppy.  We learned in the previous book that Poppy grew up as a chaff (a normal human) when she is not one.  She is, in fact, a witch.  Now, in this book Poppy has left the clan and is trying to figure out her life.

The other characters from book 1 also reappear in book 2, along with some new faces.  We have Ember, who having grown up as a witch, is now in the chaff world.  She is trying to navigate it the best that she can.  And there is definitely more Leo.  Love sick Leo.

I have to say that the love triangle thing, like with the first book, still got on my nerves a little bit.  Maybe it is because I read the first book so close to the 2nd (I don't usually read series books so close together) that I am actually still stuck on my issues with that from the first one and it is just a carry over effect.  But there were too many bits of it that irked me.

However, aside from the triangle, I enjoyed the story.  Once again Irena Brignull writes wonderfully descriptive passages that just pull you into the story.  While reading, I just could not help but imagine the world and feel as though I was there along side them.

Beautiful, descriptive, and an enthralling read.  I definitely recommend it.

My Rating
4 Stars

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Follow the Rest of the Tour!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Review: The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull

Title: The Hawkweed Prophecy
Author: Irena Brignull
Series: The Hawkweed Series #1
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Source: Publisher/Irish Banana Blog Tours

Imagine if you grew up in a place where you didn't feel like you fit in.  It didn't matter how hard you tried, it just never worked.  You were always the odd duck.  The weird one.  The one who just wasn't..."right."

That is how it is for both of your main female characters, Poppy and Ember.

Poppy has grown up in the "normal" world.  No magic exists.  However, she can make things happen.  It doesn't matter if she means it to or not.  She may just lose her temper.  And the cats.  The cats follow her every where.  Unfortunately for Poppy this has strained her relationship with her parents. Her mother is even in an institution because of her daughters....oddness.

And Ember.  She is a sweet innocent girl who has grown up in a caravan of women.  And in her world magic is very much real.  The women can make things happen.  However, Ember can't.  No matter how hard she tries, she cannot cast a spell or make things happen.  Making the poor girl an outcast.

One day the girls meet and they become friends and the story unwinds from there.

There is a boy in this story.  His name is Leo.  And if you like instant love and triangles, you will like the relationship stuff that goes on.  It is very much insta-love.  See the boy, fall for the boy, and oh my goodness no one could possibly be better than this boy!

It is really kind of annoying.  And in my opinion, the down fall of this book.

When the book wasn't dealing with the insta-love triangle thing it had a pretty good story arc.  And the way it was written was great!  I kept finding myself pulled in.  Things were described so vividly.  I found myself impressed more than once with how Irena Brignull wrote various scenes.

I also have to say that I didn't really like Poppy very much.  She started kind of growing on me towards the end, but I think that was because she finally started to show some sort of growth.  Other wise I found her one dimensional and very full of her self (and very stuck on that insta-love).  I definitely liked Ember more.

All in all, a good book.  It was slow at times and then at other times it's pace picked up.  I must warn you though that there is animal cruelty.  If you would like to know more about that specifically, you can feel free to contact me!

My Rating
3 Stars

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Review: As Old as Time by Liz Braswell

Title: As Old as Time
Author: Liz Braswell
Series: A Twisted Tale #3
Publisher: Disney Press
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Source: Library

I am a sucker for retellings of popular fairy tales.  I realize that I probably tell you guys this every single time I read a retelling of any story, but just in case you are new to reading my blog I thought I would share that bit of information about myself again.

I was pretty excited to finally get my hands on As Old As Time, as it is a retelling of the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast.  I really wanted to see what Liz Braswell did with the story and how she transformed it.

So while if you have seen the Beauty and the Beast animated Disney movie, you will be some what aware of the basic plot of this book.  Belle (Beauty) ends up a prisoner of the Beasts castle which is under a spell that will become permanent if he can not learn to love someone else and earn their love in return by his 21st birthday.

Where this book differs though is that there is more back story for Belle's mother and father and the town that had originally surrounded the castle.  So we learn more about the history and how the Beast and his castle ended up under the curse (which in this case was put on them by Belle's mother - this is not a spoiler as it is something written clearly in the blurb of the book).

So what did I think of this book?  Well for the first half I found myself really enjoying the back story of Belle's mother and father and the town surrounding the castle.  Unfortunately, when we were actually with Belle (the story goes back and forth a little) there were so many instances of the book being word for word of the movie and I just didn't really enjoy that.  I realize that it probably helps some people be able to make the connection from the book to the original Disney movie version, but I wanted more differences.  I didn't want to read the movie.

It did start veering off at the second half of the book.  There were still some instances of the book sounding almost exactly as the movie, but by that point I was over it and had accepted that there were going to be points of this in existence.

This book also tends to go a little darker than the original version, and I really liked that.  I think Liz Braswell has a talent for dark writing.  There were definitely some creepy points where I was pulled in and really into it.  And I totally applaud her on those scenes.  They were most definitely NOT in the movie.

So, while there were some misses for me there were most definitely some hits too.  I do hope she keeps writing these!

My Rating
3 Stars

This review is based on a copy that I borrowed from my public library.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Title: Little Monsters
Author: Kara Thomas
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Source: Publisher

I read Kara Thomas' other book The Darkest Corners and was completely blown away (check out my review for it HERE) so I knew I had to read Little Monsters.

But I was afraid.

I was afraid I was hyping it up too much in my mind and that I was going to end up being bitterly disappointed in what I found between the covers of the book.  I was afraid that there was no waqy that Kara Thomas could live up to my very high expectations that I know have of her thanks to The Darkest Corners.

Eventually I did manage to put my fears aside and read the book (how else would I be writing this review...I am the queen of the obvious right now I guess..) and OMG.

In Little Monsters we have our cast of characters with our main one being Kacey.  Kacey is a bit newer to her tiny town.  However, she has made friends with a couple of other girls - Bailey and Jade - and they have been more or less inseparable.  Then one day, for reasons Kacey isn't quite sure of, her friends have cut her out.  She is expecting them to force her to go to a party she doesn't really want to go to, but they never call or come to pick her up.

Did she do something at their failed sceance the night before to make them mad?  Was it because her little sister ended up tagging along?  She cannot help, but wonder what it is she did and they aren't telling her.  But Kasey doesn't get to ask them because Bailey never gets home from that party....instead she goes missing.

Then things unravel.  Things are learned about the truth of each of the girls involved.  And it really is just a mess.

An incredible well plotted out mess.  Kara Thomas is a master at twisting her plot this way and that.  You never quite know where she is going to take her story.  For awhile she will cause you to think A, and then something happens and you are thinking B....  And then all of a sudden you are on D....and back to A.  It is intense and wonderful and such a fantastic ride the whole way through!

Honestly, I am still kinda tripped out by a bit in the end.  And I really hope Kara revisits these characters at some point.  I think she could really have another story in there some where for us.  Maybe not with Kacey as the focal point, but I wouldn't mind it at all.

Filled with amazing plot twists that will keep you on your toes, Kara Thomas delivers us a fantastic second novel.  She has proven to me that she is not a one trick pony and I anxiously await her next book!

My Rating
5 Stars

This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.