Review for Enchanted (Woodcutter Sisters #1) by Alethea Kontis

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

TITLE: Enchanted
SERIES: Woodcutter Sisters #1
AUTHOR: Alethea Kontis
PUBLISHER: Harcourt Children’s Books
PAGES: 308 pages
FORMAT: Audiobook
SOURCE: Audio Book Sync
RATING: 5 bows

Sunday Woodcutter is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, so her life was destined to be magical. However, beyond having everything she writes somehow come true, Sunday’s life is on the boring side with her large family. Until she meets Grumble, a talking frog who insists on hearing the stories about her family’s past exploits. After a few days and a magical kiss, Grumble transforms back to Prince Rumbold of Arilland. Too bad Sunday was too far off to see the transformation and has no clue…also that her family hates the Prince. Now he returns to his life of privilege determined to find Sunday and make her fall in love with him in human form. The task will be far from easy, but the can’t live without he’s lady.

I’m a bit unsure what to say here. This is the first novel that I’ve “read” entirely via audiobook. I’ve listened to quite a few novels, but I always end up lapsing back to the physical or ebook form within the story because it’s faster. Or because it’s easier to sneak and read during class or while waiting than it is to get out headphones and start listening again. I can say that the narrator was amazing. Katherine Kellgren has this great British accent and different voices for each character. I don’t know why audiobook form makes it harder for me to review, but it does. Let’s see what if I can work my way through it, shall we?

Sunday was quite an interesting character to follow. She’s a bit more mousey than the heroine’s I’m used to, but still brave enough to stand up for herself when the moment is right. Her strange family and magical ability made her a bit unique from her siblings. She does get a touch insta-lovey with Grumble because they are only acquainted a few days before her kiss magics him back to his human form which is far too quickly for love to blossom in my humble opinion, but this issue is solved when Rumbold spends so much time and energy to woo her back to him.

Rumbold is a prince easy to sympathize with. He finally gets back into a human form only to realize that he was a much better individual as a frog than as the bratty prince he used to be. He desperate wants Sunday to love him as he is but is terrified she’ll only see the prince he was. He wants to just demand that she marry him so he can have her by his side always but can’t bring himself to do anything so drastic and take her choice away.

The two make an adorable couple, once they jump through all the necessary hoops. My only real complaint is that this was a bit too short. I hear/read a lot of people complain that too many things are too long and how they prefer books that are 250-350 pages. I can completely understand that logic because it’s quicker to get through if it’s terrible, but it’s still enough space to adequately tell a story, but with stuff like this, it always feels too short. There are many characters here and we don’t get enough time to marvel in the wonderful world Alethea has created.

All you need to know is that this is the best kind of fairy tale retelling and if you like that sort of thing, give it a try! I’ll be reading the next one shortly, you can bet on that!

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Review For Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

TITLE: Cruel Beauty
AUTHOR: Rosamund Hodge
PUBLICATION DATE: January 28, 2014
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 352 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

In this fantasy retelling of Beauty & The Beast, Nyx was born with a single purpose, marry the lord who oppresses her people and destroy him. Since birth, she has been in training to fulfill this destiny and on her seventeenth birthday, she goes through with the plan and becomes the lord’s wife. Still resentful of her family for allowing her to be sacrificed, while babying her twin, she is eager to complete this task to prove that she isn’t as useless as her father seems to imagine and he’ll regret never loving her properly. However, Ignifex, the dark lord, is not what she has always envisioned, being charming and even kind to her. Will she finish her destiny or will she fall for this one man who seems to accept her for all the truly is, cruelty and darkness included?

Nyx is so very different from any other YA heroine I’ve read about recently. She is utterly devoted to her cause but harbors such contempt and hatred for her family that it is difficult to keep it all in. She knows that none of what she is being put through is her sisters fault but at the same time cannot help but feel rage at her for never trying to take her place or save her. Does no one love her enough to want to keep her from sacrificing herself for the greater good? Apparently not because no one even hints that there is something wrong with the situation. She holds all the anger and venom inside, but it still occasionally slips out. So once she’s with Ignifex, she feels fine expressing her rage at him because he is, after all, the evil lord, right? He makes deals that bring horrendous consequences and he Sundered the land so there is no longer a sky, just a domed ceiling. But the meaner she is, the more she realizes that maybe there is more than meets the eye. I applauded her for her darker side most of the time, but there were occasions when she was overly cruel to Ignifex and I just wanted to smack her. I get that it’s your destiny to destroy him, but you don’t have to be a bitch after he saves your life!

Ignifex was something else altogether. His logic about the deals he makes was so undeniable. After all, people came to him requesting either horrible or impossible things and he gave them what they wanted, at a price. He was really just a facilitator, a middle man, and it certainly wasn’t his fault that people didn’t always grasp the full cost of what they wanted until it was too late. He’s outwardly handsome and charming, always ready with a witty comeback to whatever Nyx throws at him. He’s really just trying to make the best of his situation.

The other important character here is Shade, a captive of Ignifex…or is he. I can’t really talk about him without getting spoiler-y****SPOILER****I knew from the beginning that he was a part of Ignifex, that they were the same person split in two.****END SPOILER*** I wasn’t really a Shade fan, he always seemed to have his own agenda and it wasn’t always in Nyx’s best interest. ****SPOILER****That part where he almost kills her and we learn that he killed so many of the other wives had me flipping out. How Nyx forgave him is beyond me. I wanted to stay as far from him as possible****END SPOILER****

This has a love triangle, but it’s really a love triangle because…well I can’t really explain, but just trust me, k? It’s a completely fresh take on Beauty & The Beast. It’s a bit confusing on the fantasy elements, but that may just be because I’m not very big on fantasy because their worlds always seem to confusing. I think what really drew me to this was the relationship between Ignifex and Nyx. These two are so similar even though their backgrounds are so different and they truly see each other for who they are. Ignifex seeing past Nyx facade of nice, dutiful daughter, and Nyx seeing beyond The Gentle Lord who oppresses the people to the man behind the mask, so to speak. It one of those epic loves that, in the end, breaks all the rules.

This retelling of my favorite fairy tale had me digging Luna (my kindle) out at every spare moment, even going so far as to read while I waited in line at the bank, just to get a bit more. Hodge has creating a beautiful world that is breathtaking and heartbreaking. It’s a fantasy novel that those who aren’t really fantasy fans can wholly enjoy. I recommend it to anyone with a love of Beauty & The Beast or anyone looking for a story a bit off the beaten path!

****Thank you to Balzar + Bray, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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Review for Follow the White Rabbit (Beautiful Madness #1) by Kellie Sheridan

Follow The White Rabbit by Kellie Sheridan

TITLE: Follow The White Rabbit
SERIES: Beautiful Madness #1
AUTHOR: Kellie Sheridan
PUBLISHER: Patchwork Press
PAGES: 100 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

Wonderland is no longer the magic place it once was. After Alice’s first visit, the madness slowly seeped out, leaving it tainted with normality. Gwen, Rose, Marc, and Lucky call it home, but don’t remember all that it was…except that Gwen is fascinated by their history and obsessed with the Alice prophecy, which states that they get one shot at using her to bring Wonderland back into its former glory. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

This novella was pretty intense, but also a little disappointing. You get tossed headfirst into Wonderland and you keep bouncing from perspective to perspective that it’s hard to keep up and make sense of it all. That would have been fine in a longer novel, but it’s a bit jarring in a novella that doesn’t allow for the recovery time. I did really enjoy Gwen’s character though, as well as Rose’s. Gwen, with all her knowledge of Wonderland’s history and her obsessive need to know all things Alice, felt very real and solid while some of the other characters felt a bit flatter. The same goes for Rose, with her newly acquired title of Queen, she’s pretty easy to sympathize with as she navigates the treacherous waters of leadership while still trying to do the right thing for her kingdom.

Even with its minor issues, I still would love to see where this all goes. I’m one of those odd ducks who didn’t like the Carroll story or the first Disney cartoon, but I LOVED the Tim Burton one and have become more than a little enamored with Alice retellings. I think this is definitely worth a read, though most should probably wait until the next novella is out so you aren’t left with quite as bad of a cliffhanger.

****Thank you to Patchwork Press and Kellie Sheridan for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Towering by Alex Flinn

Towering by Alex Flinn

TITLE: Towering
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 304 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 3 stars

Towering is a retelling of Rapunzel. Rachel has lived her whole life in a tower, guarded by Mama, not her real mama, of course. But she says that her real mama was murdered and Rachel must stay hidden in the tower because those people might still be out there to harm her as well. Wyatt’s life is in desperate need of change. He’s mom decides the best thing for him is to ship him off to this little town in the middle of nowhere to live with her teenage best friend’s mother. But when Wyatt arrives, he is immediately plagued by ghosts and strange voices that sing to him that no one else can hear. Drawn by the beautiful voice, Wyatt sets off to find its origin and stumbles across Rachel’s tower. Then they are off to fulfill Rachel’s destiny of saving the town.

Let me just preface this review with two statements.
Statement A: This is just MY OPINION and I hope that everyone else’s opinion differs.
Statement B: This is the type of review I dread writing because I was looking forward to reading this so much and am so disappointed with it.

I was overjoyed when I got approved for this eARC. I have adored all of Alex Flinn’s previous fairy tale retellings and couldn’t wait to dive into this one. Rapunzel isn’t my favorite fairy tell, but I loved the recent Disney retelling and was overly excited to see Alex weave her magic….but it just fell flat for me. Both Rachel and Wyatt (all of the characters actually) seemed extremely one dimensional. The plot twist was extremely predictable and the whole story just felt a little blah to me. Then, once you get towards the end and the prophecy starts to unfold, it just all seemed too farfetched to believe. Crazy, right? It’s a fairy tale retelling and those are always rather fanciful and I never have a hard time buying into it, but not this one.

With Wyatt, again, he felt extremely one dimensional. His recent past has a major tragedy and I truly sympathize and cannot imagine going through something similar, but the whole thing with Astrid on New Years and not feeling anything and then Rachel magically inspires feelings upon first meeting her? Instalove. Ugh. I was also irritated because Josh goes out of his way in the beginning to be nice to Wyatt and invite him out and stuff and Wyatt just basically forgets about him once he meets Rachel. I HATE that quality. Yes I realize your significant other is extremely important to you, but they shouldn’t become your entire life! You’ll end up with Bella Swan syndrome if they leave you. X_X

Then there was Rachel, who I just couldn’t get behind at all. One on hand, hurray for having a YA heroine who saves the guy in the end instead of the other way around, but she just felt as blah to me as Wyatt. She didn’t illicit much of an emotional response from me, even when doing dangerous things. The only thing about her that I liked is I found her lack of knowledge of the outside world amusing. The only character that felt fully fleshed out was Mrs Greenwood because we get to see all different sides to her, the mother, the protector, the sad old lady, and so on. I felt pretty bad for her.

The plot was predictable, the writing felt bland, and I am just wholly disappointed. I don’t know if I feel this way because I’ve changed or if it truly is a step down from the level of awesomeness that was A Kiss In Time and Bewitching. I know I’ve stepped away from YA lately, reading more NA, and I really hope that that’s why I didn’t love this like I wanted to. I hope everyone else reads it and adores it as much as her previous works. So my advice for everyone is just give it a try, hopefully you’ll love it.

****Thank you to Harper Teen, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Bewitching: The Kendra Chronicles by Alex Flinn

Bewitching by Alex Flinn

TITLE: Bewitching: The Kendra Chronicles
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 336 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Library
RATING: 5 stars

Remember Kendra, the witch who cursed Kyle in Beastly? Well, not it’s time we hear more from her. Bewitching gives you a peak at the life she had before all the witchy stuff started and tells you several different stories where she uses magic to help. And there is the big surprise, she actually wants to help people, not punish them, but you know what they say about an angry witch, she’ll get her revenge and Kendra is as guilty of wanting people to get their comeuppance as anyone else. Within this volume, we get 3 of Kendra’s lost causes. The main one is the story of Emma and Lisette, a new twist on Cinderella, then we get Louis and his search for a bride via a The Princess and The Pea retelling, and finally a version of The Little Mermaid that I don’t know how to categorize. All these go on with a little bit of commentary from Kendra from time to time.

What I was expecting from this novel was to follow Kendra’s perspective as she curses and helps people and while we do get a bit from her, all of the beginning and then small pieces after that, the main story is told via Emma. The way this is set up is you get Kendra’s background and then it transitions into Emma & Lisette where we see the twos first meeting and then at random points, the tale stops for Kendra’s commentary and a few tales to showcase her failures so we can see why she isn’t jumping in to help until she is sure of what to do.

With Emma and Lisette, we get a taste of what Cinderella might have been like if the stepsister was actually the one being duped. Emma is a sweet, smart, overly trusting eighth grader when her dad (who is technically her stepdad, but they have the normal father-daughter relationship) tells her that he’s first wife has died and that his biological daughter is coming to live with them. Nervous and excited at the prospect of getting a sister, Emma is tentatively optimists about this and when she meets Lisette, her hopes soar because she is sweet and kind and actually wants to spend time with Emma….or does she? Some things just don’t add up. Like how Emma’s things go missing and Lisette just happens to have identical things or how Emma is suddenly left behind on all the father-daughter trips because she overslept even though she knows she set an alarm. I found this particular tale quite engrossing. I wanted to keep reading and I ended up using time I was supposed to use reading some eARCs from Netgalley to finish this, but it was worth it.

Emma was that heroine that you sympathize with while wishes she’d speak up. The situation with Lisette doesn’t improve, it just gets worse, and I think we can tell definitively that had Emma just said something instead of keeping quiet, things would have turned out completely different. Emma was also someone that I identified with (not because I have evil siblings) but because she was a bit odd and most days wanted nothing more than to curl up on her bed with a good book. Lisette, on the other hand, was the girl I just wanted to punch. She’s that girl that can charm her way out of anything, that conniving girl who has all the males in her life fooled into thinking she’s sweet and kind but really she’s a backstabbing bitch who will fuck over the entire planet to get what she wants.

As for the two other small tales, I found Louis tale endearing and Doria’s (the mermaid) tale boring. Louis gained my sympathy, but Doria just annoyed me. Either way, with both tales, all I could really think was “Can I please get back to Emma?” I did like the bits of commentary we got from Kendra, but with these I just wanted more of what was happening with Emma. I think that might have been the point, to build suspense or whatever, but really it just annoyed me.

It was all worth it in the end though, because Emma does get her happily ever after, maybe just not in the way she was expecting. If you are looking for more of Alex Flinn’s magic, or just a great fairy tale retelling that doesn’t take you exactly where you were expecting to go, this is it. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.

Review for How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer

TITLE: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True
AUTHOR: Sarah Strohmeyer
PUBLICATION DATE: April 23, 2013
PUBLISHER: Balzar + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 320 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 stars

We follow Zoe on her summer adventures in Fairyland. No, not some mythical, magical place where supernatural all the Disney princesses are real, but a theme park with actors portraying the non-Disney-fied versions of the fairy tales. Every summer Fairyland holds internships to allow rising seniors to pump up their resume and give young actors a chance to showcase their talents, even if it’s only at a children’s park. Zoe arrives assuming she got an actual role, with her cousin Jess, only to find out that she is to be the Queen’s assistant. Disappointed, but trying to make the best of it, she goes in on her first day only to be berated for her every action. So much for a fun, carefree summer entertaining children. This summer is going to be a nightmare and it’s only just beginning.

I really enjoyed this. I seem to be stuck in a contemporary YA loop these days, but with stories like these, I’m not complaining. I didn’t realize until about a third of the way in that this was a retelling of Cinderella, but that realization only made me happier. I love fairytale retellings and this was no different. You can’t help but sympathize with Zoe, dealing with the hellish Queen (aka the lady in charge of all that happens in Fairyland) who commands her to get up a dawn to walk her precious pooch and the proceeds to yell orders and demand near impossible tasks. Zoe is the invisible hand that keeps the place up and running, from waking up late cast members to filling in for dismissed workers and everything in between. I loved her through every minute. Sweet and willing to do anything to give her cousin a boost to a coveted Princess position, which is one of the big four (Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel). Jess has a minor role as Red Riding Hood, but dreams of being Cinderella.

Jess was everything the sidekick was supposed to be. She stands up for Zoe and never does that backstabbing thing that goes down in so many YA’s. She’s completely loyal. The other characters all range from perfectly charming to alarmingly despicable (like the Queen, who is a tyrant). I will say that my favorite male was Ian. A little cocky, oozing charm, sarcastic, and armed with way too many bad puns, he’s got the Prince Charming at down to a “t.” Watching Zoe do the “I don’t like you, I like you, I hate you, I like you” dance with him was more than a little amusing.

This tale has everything you could want, great characters, good writing, witty banter, and a wicked twist that you may or may not see coming. I certainly didn’t. I recommend it to everyone who loves fairytale retellings, especially fans of Robin Palmer or Alex Flinn.

****Thank you to Balzar + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Beastly: Lindy’s Diary by Alex Flinn

Beastly: Lindy’s Diary by Alex Flinn

TITLE: Beastly: Lindy’s Diary
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLICATION DATE: January 31, 2012
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
PAGES: 144 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 5 stars

I have been wanting to read this for a little while now. I adored Beastly (and several of Alex’s other works) and the idea of re-reading Beastly from Lindy’s perspective was hype enough to make me want to read it. And I wasn’t disappointed. This little novella is exactly what it’s advertised as, a retake of Beastly via Lindy. If you’re read Beastly, you already know the basic plot. Kyle is an asshat and Kendra curses him to live as a beast until he finds someone to love him. Lindy turns out to be that someone.

I loved seeing her side of things. She’s sweet and caring and really has a thing for Kyle, though she tries to hide it. She struggles to make ends meet, but you don’t really hear her complaining about her situation. School, work, tutor on the side, try to keep her dad out of trouble, and she manages it all gracefully. There aren’t many people who could in that situation. Seeing “Adrian” through her eyes was also interesting to read about. I loved that she knew that he loved her without having to hear him say it or be reassured continually that she was worthy of someone like him. Basically, she is a great change of pace over the sloppy, whiny, heroines that dominate YA.

Reading this did have a downside though. It highlighted all of the ways the Beastly film disappointed me. I like it well enough on its own, but when compared to the book, it’s fucking terrible. They changed so much, most of it for reasons I don’t understand. Yeah, I get that wearing a fur suit constantly during filming is a hassle, so I can kind of understand why they did that, though I don’t agree with the change, but changing Madga’s name? Changing Lindy’s appearance? Removing the magic mirror? So many senseless changes that he beauty of the story gets lost in it.

Review for Seduced by a Pirate (Fairy Tales #4.5) by Eloisa James

Seduced By A Pirate by Eloisa James

TITLE: Seduced By A Pirate
SERIES: Fairy Tales #4.5
AUTHOR: Eloisa James
PUBLICATION DATE: October 30, 2012
PUBLISHER: Avon Impulse, an imprint of HaperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 128 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 stars

Sir Griffin Barry has returned home after 14 years of piracy to find that his wife has moved on without him. While at sea, he made sure to send her money to support her and when he returns home, he finds that she has had not one but three illegitimate children. Caught between anger that his wife cheated and understanding because he was far from faithful himself, he is determined to win his wife over. But things aren’t always what they seem.

As with everything Eloisa James writes, it has all the necessary components to make it an excellent story. It’s well written, good characters, a intriguing plot, at least one very smutty scene, and all the other things required for a great historical romance. My issue, I believe, falls into the shortness of the story. The more historical romance novellas I read, the more I think that maybe they shouldn’t be written in that form. Everything feels so rushed to me and I do not like it. All the great romances I’ve read have been almost 400 pages (actually, for some odd reason, most of them are exactly 374 pages…I have no idea why), and that’s plenty of time for a fully developed plot, great character development, and more than one truly steamy sex scene. Now imagine trying to fit all of that into a measly 136 pages. It never works out well, in my humble opinion.

Bottom line? Well, if you like Eloisa’s work or just historical romance in general, you will enjoy this. Don’t go into it looking for an overly complicated plot or a lot of exposition because you won’t get that. You will get a short, good story that leaves you wanting more.

****Thank you to Avon for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes by Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Georgia McBride, Suzanne Lazear, Karen Mahoney, Lisa Mantchev, C. Lee McKenzie, K.M. Walton, Suzanne Young, Michelle Zink, Sayantani DasGupta, Shannon Delany, Max Scialdone, Leigh Fallon, Heidi R. Kling, Angie Frazier, Jessie Harrell, Nancy Holder, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Gretchen McNeil, & Leah Cypess

Two & Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings Of Mother Goose

TITLE: Two & Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings Of Mother Goose
AUTHOR: Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Georgia McBride, Suzanne Lazear, Karen Mahoney, Lisa Mantchev, C Lee McKenzie, K M Walton, Suzanne Young, Michelle Zink, Sayantani DasGupta, Shannon Delany, Max Scialdone, Leigh Fallon, Heide R Kling, Angie Frazier, Jessie Harrell, Nancy Holder, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Gretchen McNeil, & Leah Cypess
PUBLICATION DATE: October 16, 2012
PAGES: 342 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

This anthology of retellings of mother goose nursery rhymes are dark and enticing. The authors take these tales that are supposed to comfort you and turn them into scary tales that send shivers down your spine. Just a fair warning to all wanting to read this anthology, very few of these shorts have happy endings. I’m gonna do a tiny review on each story because I feel like that’s the only way to do it. Since my copy is the eARC, it doesn’t contain 3 of the stories that will be in the finished edition (Interlude: Humpty Dumpty by Georgia McBride, Sea Of Dew (extended version) by C Lee McKenzie, & The Lion & The Unicorn: Part The Second by Nancy Holder), but all the other tales will get a small segment. I’ll also give each tale a 1-5 rating.

As Blue As The Sky And Just As Old by Nina Berry: 3/5 I have never heard that nursery rhyme before, but this chilling tale of a group of people who are reincarnated repeatedly only to fail to get this right was more twisted than I was fully expecting. Arawn is an intriguing heroine and reacts with the proper amount of horror when everything is finally revealed.

Sing A Song Of Six-Pence by Sarwat Chadda: 4/5 Another rhyme I’ve never read. Apparently I’m not up to speed on my nursery rhymes anymore. Either way, this tells the story of a woman who is making a deal with a devil in order to try and make it back to her son. It’s filled with gloom and unease since I had no idea where it was going to end up.

Clockwork by Leah Cypress: 4/5 Finally a Mother Goose tale I know! But I never could have seen this twist when I recited this small rhyme as a child. Imagine, if you will, that the mouse in Hickory Dickory Dock is actually a bewitched girl who was betrayed by those around her and then transformed. It was definitely an entertainingly dark tale.

Blue by Sayantani DasGupta: 2/5 This tale confused me a bit. I really didn’t understand what the “Maiden” was doing or who she was supposed to be. I just didn’t care for it.

Pieces Of Eight by Shannon Delany with Max Scialdone: 4/5 I really liked this one. The dynamic between Marnum and Cyrelle was wonderful and enchanting. You couldn’t help rooting for Marnum on his crazy quest to shake the dreamtree.

Wee Willie Winkie by Leigh Fallon: 5/5 This short was absolutely perfect. It was intriguing, entertaining, and spine chillingly creepy. After reading this, I’m very excited to read other things by Leigh Fallon.

Boys & Girls Come Out To Play: by Angie Frazier 3/5 While this story was interesting, I didn’t like that the twin’s fiancée was interested in her. I’m sorry but the I love you even though I’m engaged to your sister bit is very overplayed and irritating.

I Come Bearing Souls by Jessie Harrell: 4/5 This one seemed a bit darker than the others. This girl takes souls to the underworld with her siblings and depending on whether or not they are worthy of the afterlife, they either get to move on or get devoured by Amemit. Oh, and I loved that there was a character named Kyle Reese. It made me half expect to see John Connor appear and start taking out robots. 🙂 It makes me even more excited to read Destined by Jessie Harrell, if it is going to be this good.

The Lion And The Unicorn: Part The First by Nancy Holder: 4/5 While this one was good, since I can’t read the second part, I’m a little lost. Part II isn’t in the eARC version, so it was a big cliffhanger. Otherwise, the writing is good and the story is definitely interesting. I’m gonna have to buy a finished copy of this book to read the rest! This is yet another author that I’m going to start looking for books by.

Life In A Shoe by Heidi R Kling: 5/5 Wow. This tale just completely blew me away. In this world, it is now apparently illegal for you to use any form of contraceptives and so woman just keep popping out baby after baby when they already can’t afford to feed the ones they have. The mother in this one is a soldier’s wife who has 12 kids and is pregnant with another and is beyond caring about the children. It is amazing. I had never heard of Heidi R Kling before, but I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for her books now!

Candlelight by Suzanne Lazear: 4/5 This short plays on the universal theme of kids feeling persecuted by their parents. Well, dear little ones, if you want to get away from them and live happily ever after on your own, come right on down to Babylon and we’ll take care of ya! Warning: time passes differently down here so even if you only spend a few months here, up top, the world will move on without you. It was pretty entertaining.

One For Sorrow by Karen Mahoney: 5/5 Finally, a happy ending! I realize these are all dark tales, but that doesn’t mean they can’t end darkly happy. Not only happy ending, but a love story as well. ::does happy dance:: I think this is one of my favorite stories in this anthology. It’s got loss, sorrow, love, happiness, magic, mystery, and a happy ending. What more could I want? I will definitely be looking into getting more books by this author.

Those Who Whisper by Lisa Mantchev: 5/5 This story is the reason I wanted to read this book. I loved Lisa’s Theater Illuminata series and plan on reading anything else she writes so when I saw she had a story in this anthology, I just had to get my hands on it. And it was worth it. This small tale about a girl who can communicate with birds and is kicked out of her town once her mother dies is elegant and simple and absolutely perfect. That’s all I can really say.

Little Miss Muffet by Georgia McBride: 3/5 This story is more than a little weird. Human spider girl with issues fights with family. It was…interesting.

Sea of Dew by C Lee McKenzie: 3/5 This short reminded me a great deal of Sharks And Boys by Kristen Tracy. It’s dark and twisted and doesn’t end happily at all. It’s about three boys and a girl who are stranded at sea in a lifeboat.

Tick Tock by Gretchen McNeil: 4/5 This one is creepy as hell, probably the scariest tale in the book. After reading this, I can honestly say, I’m glad I was never a babysitter in high school. Beware the small children with no parents!

A Pocket Full of Posy by Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg: 4/5 Imagine waking up on a bench covered in blood with no memory of how you got there or whose blood it is. Add to that the mystery of finding your girlfriend murdered and wondering if you were somehow involved in her death. That’s what the young man in this story is faced with. And everyone thinks he did it. You’ll have to read it to find out if he did or not.

The Well by K M Walton: 2/5 This is a very twisted version of Jack and Jill. I didn’t really like it. It was written well, it just isn’t for me.

The Wish by Suzanne Young: 2/5 This is so beautifully written that I hate to give it such a low rating, but I was so depressed by the ending, I couldn’t help it. Lauren is devastated when her boyfriend of two years breaks up with her and then promptly starts dating a cheerleader. It puts her in a downwards spiral so bad that he actually makes a wish on a star to die. Then a handsome stranger shows up and turns on the charm and it became so sweet and romantic and then…well let’s just say it doesn’t end well, okay?

A Ribbon Of Blue by Michelle Zink 4/5 Short and sweet, this one stole my heart. Poor Ruby was born with Cerebral Palsy and though her condition isn’t as several as some, it still makes her life very difficult. The one time a year when she is truly happy is when the carnival comes to town. She waits with baited breath for the boy she was foretold would one day meet her there. And when he finally arrives, she is anything but disappointed.

****Thank you to Month9Books for providing me with an eARC via netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer

Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

TITLE: Between The Lines
AUTHOR: Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster
PAGES: 352
FORMAT: Ebook / Hardback
SOURCE: PulseIt / Won from Literary Exploration
RATING: 4 stars

I’ll be honest, when I first saw this book on the shelves of my local bookstore, it didn’t catch my attention at all. The cover was cute but I don’t much care for Jodi Picolt’s work. I’m not trashing her or anything, her novels just never interest me. But then I saw a few reviews praising it and I finally did read the summery and desperately wanted to get my hands on it. I ended up winning a copy and when it arrived, I became even more excited about it because this book as random illustrations throughout the entire story. Some of them are full page, colored pictures and some are just black and white drawings in the margins, but I loved them.

Anyway, enough gushing about how gorgeous the book is, let’s get to the story, shall we? This book follows Prince Oliver in his endeavor to remove himself from his story. Oliver is the main character in a childhood fairytale called Between The Lines. He is sick to death of playing his part over and over and over again, every time someone opens the book, he is dragged to his proper place and forced to recite his lines to the readers subconscious. He has been trying for years to get the reader’s attention to tell them that he needs help escaping this world. But no one ever hears him, until Delilah. Delilah is a fifteen year old girl who becomes obsessed with the story. She can’t seem to stop reading it over and over. So when a small change occurs in the illustration of the last scene, she notices instantly. Delilah initially thinks she’s lost her damn mind when a fictional character starts talking to her. She soon realizes that Oliver is in fact very real. Thus begins their journey to remove Oliver from his story.

I found this book highly amusing. Some of the characters where laugh out loud funny, like the overly self conscious pony and the pirate who was secretly an orthodontist. I was also very amused by all the drawings in the margins. I’ve read several reviews complaining that this novel was just too much fluff to take, but I happen to like good fluff every now and then so I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did get a little irritated at Delilah for getting so wrapped up in Oliver that she ignores her best friend, but then you really think about it. She’s fifteen and what is more exciting to a fifteen year old than first love? Add to that the complication of being in love with a fictional character who may or may not be talking to you making you quite probably insane and it is understandable why she has withdrawn herself from human activity.

This book reminded me quite a bit of the Theatre Illuminata series by Lisa Mantchev, except with novels instead of plays. So if you are looking for something similar to that (but maybe not quite as high on the reading level), then this is your book. All in all, it is funny and well written and has a great ending. Really, with a fairy tale book, what more can you ask for?