Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Curses by Lish McBride

 




Melissa Meyer says that this was "The Beauty and the Beast retelling that she had been waiting for".

Well, then she must have been waiting for an historical romance/ steampunk story with very small traces of Beauty and the Beast! Because, gawds, this was not what I was expecting from a Beauty and the Beast retelling... but I've read quite a few retellings, so I've become a bit picky...

Okay, I'm going to stop with the burn.

Maybe.

This is not a bad story per se, but it is a bit of a mess.

The beginning was quite boring, there's tons of pointless descriptions regarding characters looks  and ornaments, and clothes patterns and things as such.

Everyone is beautiful and dashing. There's queer characters, non binary and poc.

So, check, check... and check. Sorry, but it felt a bit too much on the nose, when we start getting educated on pronouns regarding another pointless character.

There's strong family relationships in this book, which is probably the best part of it.

Tevin Dumont, our "Beauty" has very strong bonds with his siblings and with his cousin Val (Valerie?), a tomboy who is described as a bit of a horny gunslinger; Wild, Wild, West meets Gossip Girl in Regency. -___-

His parents are con artists, and in this one, his mother is the one who steals the Beast's flower.

So, Tevin gets to meet Merit, our Beast who has been under a curse because she didn't want to marry some lecherous old man... so she got cursed by a Godling, vain and horrid fairy godmothers.

Problem number... I forget, So we have a very accepting society regarding gender identity, but women still are being sold like cattle.

Okay...

The curse

Well, there's a temporary "cure" for it. A tonic with some side effects, but it is something that allows Merit and the other members of the ton who have been cursed (there's mentions to other fairytales, since there's a support group for the afflicted) to have a reprieve from the thing.

I felt like that cheapened the thing?

The romance

It practically doesn't exist! The characters end up together because that's what supposed to happen, but the relationship between them was really weak.

I can see this becoming a series, because there were so many characters in it, but if it does happen I will not be following it.

It had some interesting ideas, but in the end the importance given to clutter was just too much.

Also, what was with the Prince's tail??

Author Official Site


Sunday, 4 July 2021

The Heir and the Spare by Kate Stradling

 




TW: BULLYING, GRAPHIC DOMESTIC ABUSE (SISTER AGAINST SISTER), TORTURE

I started this by just reading the beginning to see if I'd give it a chance later and ended up reading it non-stop to the end in just a few hours, it's one of those rare highly addictive books.

I would have rated this 5 stars if it were not for the GoT levels of violence against the main protagonist, as a survivor myself it was highly triggering - and what is more, ill treated in its resolution, [SPOILER] everything is forgiven by the protagonist, which I find hard to believe, someone who is violently bullied for 4 years doesn't just fall in love with their abuser (hopefully!) especially since Jaoven started off by showing he hadn't changed at all, no matter how much he changed his tune throughout the book. I personally could NEVER have forgiven him, and I was disappointed that Iona did forgive him. [END SPOILER]
That being said it is literally the only bad thing I have to say about this book! I am in awe of Stradling's gift for writing and plot! This was such a joy to read, as I said I could not put it down and I resented any interruptions to my reading.

If you can withstand the trigger warnings I highly recommend this book, but please be warned that they are to be taken seriously.


Kate Stradling's official website 

Buy The Heir and the Spare @ Kobo


Sunday, 9 May 2021

Od Magic by Patricia A. Mckillip

 




A story entirely about magic.

What it is, how it's perceived... and the men who try to control it and make a mess out of the whole thing. Basically the usual. :D

Luckily there's much more than That to the story, lol. There's an assortment of interesting characters, all of them with their own connection to magic. To Od's (a famous sorceress) magic school and all it touches. The repercussions it has _ or that some stubborn people *yes, Valoren, I'm looking at you*, think it has _ on the "government" or on the assumed balance of power.

When magic ends up being controlled by the reigning monarch, does it even matter anymore?

Of course this is told in Mckillip's trademark beautiful and dreamy prose, so of course I was a happy reader.

Just my cup of tea.

Poisoned by Jennifer Donnely

 




In all fairness I should give this story a one star rating, because this was/is a hot mess.

I loved the author's "Stepsister" novel, so I kept giving this one the benefit of the doubt; that the thing would eventually get better. And yes, it did have some readable moments between Sophie's "Mary Sue" stupidity... or maybe by then my expectactions were that low...

At first I tried to reason with myself _ fascinating conversations that I keep having in my brain O_O _ that Sophie was the typical princess, not to be compared with a fierce Katniss, but the way she was described was so...*tries to find the appropriate word* uh, boring? Bland? With no personality whatsoever?



The writing style was irritating to say the least. I guess it tried to emulate the old fashioned fairy tale writing style.

Preachy and omniscient?

Guess what? It's really hard to connect with THAT, alongside a bunch of boring tropes. 

There's two many characters, too many things going on, but the character's relationships are as thin as ice. The supposed "love story", is there because there has to be one. It was a really weak undeveloped one, I'm sorry to say.

Then there was some creatures that were supposed to be "cutesy", I guess, but in all honesty it just mixed the entire tone of the book; it was supposed to be all dark and ya, and suddenly I'm left wondering if the thing is trying to be the most basic of middle grade books. And I'm not trying to offend middle grade stories. Some of my fave books are middle grade *sigh*, but this one was just a hot mess.

Do not recommend at all.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Minor Mage by T. Kingfisher

 




A very well written story full of wit and interesting characters. After all who doesn´t want to read the story of a twelve year old mage, tasked with returning the rain to his village with the help of his familiar armadillo. A talking familiar who is an armadillo. A very wise and sarcastic armadillo, just to get things clear...

Yes, I really liked the scaled little bugger!

There's also time for cuteness, like Oliver's memory of how he was chosen by his familiar. LOL #TheCutest

For those who are wondering if this is just another of those books where two characters wander through the countryside without much of significance happening... yeah... not really, no.

Which brings "us" to what happens during that long walk and the content of it *insert hysterical laughter*, well let's say that it left me questioning the "middle grade" label of the thing.

But then I remembered that young kids are bloodthirsty little "demons"/ humans, right? :D

So, you know, I think they will love it; them and their parents, cousins, friends, basically anyone who likes to read a well written story, full of adventure, with monsters, ghosts... and sheep ;)

Yes, I'm just going to leave that sheep reference right there without further context, lol

You just have to go and read it to figure out what I'm talking about.

You're welcome. :D

Author's Official Site

Buy it on BookDepository.com

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

The Mulberry Tree by Allison Rushby

 




   TW: Depression


Do naught wrong by the mulberry tree, or she'll take your daughters ... one, two, three


After reading this sentence, I just had to read this book; my curiosity got the best of me and I'm so glad it did.

This is an addictive "little" story, with compelling characters that felt very real. 

People who have real problems and who decide to move from Australia to UK, and end up living in a house infamous for having an evil tree in the backyard! o_O

Who hasn't one of those, right?

(...)

Well I mustn't have one or they would have taken my father by now; awful creature that he is.

-__- But I digress:

So, crisp story telling, compelling characters and a "what the hell is going on with that tree?"

I must say that the tree portrayal is very stereotypical of evil trees... trends?

She's dark and moody and prone to anger fits; aka the usual.

The last part is where things get more tricky on how to properly categorize this story. I was left a "little" WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?! *hysterical laughter*

Is it magical realism? Horror? Sci-fi? Fantasy?

All of the above, maybe? IDK.

The ending was a little too neat for me, but I'm used to Alice Hoffman killing almost all of her characters, so it was nice for a change to read something vastly different, lol

Also I'm not the intended audience and the author probably didn't want to traumatize her younger readers. So, yay :D


Author Official Site

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Out This Month: January 2021

 2020 is finally gone. May it rest in the dark pits of HELL.

2021 is here, so are the vaccines, so lets wish and hope for better times. Hopefully with amazing reads to help us lift our spirits.

For fans of fantasy, there's "The Witchling Girl", presented as a queer ya fantasy. It sounds very atmospheric:

"In a quiet street far from the river, with an ancient tree growing through its walls and floors, is the House of the Dead. There lives the witchling: healer, midwife and conduit between the world of the living and the world below. A witchling must give up her family and friends and spend her life alone, tending to the sick and carrying the dead down dark tunnels to the underworld."

Then there's Alexandra Bracken 'Lore", that sounds like a feast for any mythology fan:

"As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality."

Acclaimed author Angie Thomas is back with a prequel for "The Hate you Give" titled "Concrete Rose"




Jane Eyre gets a new makeover in Rachel Hawkins' "The Wife Upstairs".

The power couple Ilona Andrews is back with a new book, following Julie's adventures.

To make us laugh and fall in love, there's Tessa Dare's new book.


As for these last ones, they are mostly by authors that I still haven't read, but they do seem interesting.



Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Releases That You May Have Missed: February Edition





Historical romance, literary fiction, urban fantasy, ya, horror, futuristic, mystery, magical realism.
Pick your "poison". February was filled with goodies.
Which ones have you read?
I'm afraid I've only read one of them, namely "Chasing Cassandra". 



Tuesday, 22 December 2020

The Girl Who Lost her Shadow by Emily Ilett

 





"Shadows were meant to stay stuck, like ears and promises. They weren't meant to run away. They were especially not meant to run away when it was raining. Or on your birthday.(...)

I must admit that I started this book merely on a whim and due to its tittle. 
Its whimsical and let's say unusual tittle.

It's a very compelling read, that made me suspend disbelief and follow the adventure of twelve year Gail (or Gale) on her search for some missing shadows (yes, plural).

The author through a vivid and atmospheric setting ( the type where you can feel the dampness in the grass and in the air) deals with hard subjects, such as grief, depression and even environment protection.
 But at the core of it all is the sisters relationship. Their friendship and their love for one another.
The cast of lets say the "secondary" characters is very strong. Strong characters with their own problems and traumas are extremely well developed.

At times the symbology of it all, left me a little lost, since I felt that instead of magical realism we were entering the Fantasy domain, and there were certain things that I couldn't quite comprehend the meaning... but that could just be me being dense. :D

Forget This Ever Happened by Cassandra Rose Clarke

 




This is a "what the hell am I reading" kind of book and "please can I get more?". :D

I went into it practically skipping the summary and just wanting to be surprised for as long as I could, and I sure got my wish, lol

Very well written, with atmospheric crisp lines full of "showing" (you know what I mean?),that got me out of a prolonged reading slump.

The characters are interesting with well developed stories. The budding romance is cute and tender.
"The stepford wives" part was as expected scary and disturbing... although nothing prepares you for the reality of the thing! Ah!

The end will give you a swift quick to the head while rearranging all that you thought you knew.
Recommended.

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