Book Review: Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran #BookReview #Retelling #2019ReadingChallenge #Fairytale

Snow, Glass, Apples

By Neil Gaiman

and Colleen Doran (Illustrator)

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My thoughts:

-Mild spoilers-

This Snow White retelling is totally reimagined and nothing like the original. In Neil Gaiman’s adaptation, Snow White isn’t the little innocent sweetheart we all know, but rather some type of blood-sucking monster. In addition, this retelling is told from the not-so-evil queen’s point of view…

“If it were today, I would have her heart cut out, true. But then I would have her head and arms and legs cut off. I would have them disembowel her. And then I would watch, in the town square, as the hangman heated the fire to white-heat with bellows, watch unblinking as he consigned each part of her to the fire. I would have archers around the square, who would shoot any bird or animal who came close to the flames, any raven or dog or hawk or rat. And I would not close my eyes until the princess was ash, and a gentle wind could scatter her like snow.

I did not do this thing, and we pay for our mistakes.”

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Book Review: Depravity (Beastly Tales #1) by M.J. Haag #Retelling #2019ReadingChallenge #BeautyandtheBeast

Depravity (Beastly Tales, #1)

By M.J. Haag

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My thoughts:

While searching for retellings on Amazon, this book popped up: Depravity by M.J. Haag. I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, and this being categorized as an adult romance pulled me right in. I was able to get the ebook on Amazon for free and ended up purchasing the Audible version as well.

The story begins with Benella, a teenage girl living with her father (Bernard) and two sisters (Bryn and Blye). Her mother has passed away and the family struggles to make ends meet. Her father works as a teacher, and one sister as a seamstress, but they still have little money or food to eat. The sisters try to save as much coin as possible, even if it results in the family starving. The girls are coming of age and old enough to marry, but depsite their father’s hope’s, struggle to find suitable husbands that they approve of.

Benella forages for food along an enchanted estate, finding crops to either share with her family or trade for other goods.  She eventually encounters the beast who lives at the estate. The beast is angry and has been known to capture people, but he allows Benella to go free, yet consistently asks her to stay with him at his estate. The beast perplexes Benella as she strives to care for her family, and tries to stay safe from two village boys who are relentlessly trying to beat her up.

It’s been mentioned that this is an erotic and seductive tale; however, I surely didn’t think it was very erotic at all. When the story first began there was a sexual scene, but it was vaguely described. As the book went on, it wasn’t until the last third where some other sexual scenes came about (one very uncomfortable one including a sexual encounter with a wood nymph), but most others were on the light side in my opinion. I expected romance here between Benella and the beast to eventually develop, but instead the ending was left wide open, resulting in me feeling compelled to read book two and three.

As far as the worldbuilding and character development, I found it just okay. There really wasn’t much imagery at all. Naturally, I wanted to know more about the beast, but hardly any information was given besides him being extremely angry, and of course having a tail.  He’s not well understood, but maybe the characters will flesh out in book two and three. With that said, I did find it unique how the author wrote scenes in her own way, making this retelling stand out from other Beauty and the Beast retellings. I was also on the edge of my seat during a few parts.

I did enjoy the author’s writing, but wish the story was more of a romance as labeled, and that it had more detail. As a retelling as a whole, it was enjoyable, and the Audible narrator was great.

I’d rate this one 3.5 and round up to 4****. My plan is to move right along to book two to discover what’s to come of Benella and the beast.

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Book Review: Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly #BookReview #Stepsister #ReadingChallenge #2019ReadingChallenge #Retellings

Stepsister

By Jennifer Donnelly

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I read Jennifer Donnelly’s Lost in a Book which is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and I truly loved it, so Stepsister was highly anticipated. There’s a special place in my heart for fairy tales, especially Cinderella. To be honest, I haven’t read that many Cinderella retellings.

Will my review spoil this book? Not totally…although I do mention the plot and certain themes which lead into the ending.

Stepsister begins right at the end of Cinderella as the prince seeks the girl to fit the slipper. Isabelle and Octavia–the evil stepsisters–will do whatever it takes to get the slipper to fit, even if it requires cutting off parts of their feet. Once everyone notices what the sisters have done, they are shamed and hated throughout the kingdom, and their sister Ella now sits with the prince.

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Book Review: Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer #BookReview #2019ReadingChallenge #EchoNorth #Retelling

Echo North 

By Joanna Ruth Meyer

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My review:

The first quarter of Echo North was wonderful and had me captivated as everything was setting up, but the rest of the book was up and down for me. I wanted to fall in love with this book, but it turned out to be just an okay read for me.

The story begins with Echo, a young girl who lost her mother at birth and now lives with her father and brother. After attempting to help a wolf in a trap escape, Echo is attacked and her face is permanently scared. She’s treated differently because of her scars and ends up working in her father’s bookshop with little belief in herself. After being reunited with the wolf who attacked her, she agrees to live in his magical house for one year which will spare her father’s life. The wolf intends for her to be the new ‘keeper’ of the house because he’s dying and there is no one to tend to it. Echo wishes to find a way to save his life as she struggles to help keep the house from unbinding, with more rooms disappearing each day.

“Everyone is searching for their true selves. But everyone hides their true selves from each other. Look for the truth. If you find it, you will see through the enchantment.”

I love retellings and did feel the similarities (although subtle) to Beauty and the Beast and East of the Sun and West of the Moon, but the book had some definite uniqueness to it. I can say with certainty that I haven’t read a book with a library of enchanted ‘book mirrors’ in it before, where you enter a mirror and become part of the story within it, visiting all different sorts of book-worlds, all containing different adventures. The idea is unique to me and what I found most interesting in the tale. I also had questions throughout the story with certain parts that were puzzling, but appreciated that everything was nicely wrapped up by the end of the book.

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Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas #BookReview #YoungAdult #Fantasy

A Court of Thorns and Roses

By Sarah J. Maas

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My thoughts:

I’m really excited to finally be getting to this series. This is my first read by Sarah J. Maas and for the most part, it turned out to be wonderful. This may be one of the longest reviews I’ve ever written and I apologize if it’s choppy, but I just want to get my thoughts out. My review will  have spoilers.

The book begins with Feyre, a young girl living with her father and two sisters in the mortal lands of Prythian. Feyre’s mother passed away years ago and now she’s responsible for the care of her family. She made a vow at her mother’s deathbed that she’d keep the family together and watch over them. They’re all poor and food is scarce, but luckily Feyre can hunt. Continue reading “Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas #BookReview #YoungAdult #Fantasy”

Book Review: Geekerella (Once Upon a Con #1) by Ashley Poston #BookReview #Fiction #YoungAdult #Retelling #2019ReadingChallenge

Geekerella

By Ashley Poston

My thoughts on this book:

This is such a cute and clever story!

Ever since Elle was little, she’s loved a Sci-Fi TV series called Starfield. Her parents also loved the show and her dad actually started a convention called ExcelsiCon for Starfield fans. Now, there’s a Starfield reboot with new actors and a chance to enter a cosplay contest. Winners of the contest will get a chance to attend the ExcelsiCon Ball and meet the new actor playing the part of Prince Carmindor. Elle knows she must enter the contest because she’s an ultimate fangirl and lives for Starfield. The big problem is that Elle’s stepmother is bitter about anything that doesn’t benefit her and she hates Starfield. Elle will have to find a way to make this happen on her own and without her stepmom finding out.

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