rykemedows:

Maybe the princess can save herself.
That sounds like a pretty good story too.

http://www.amidsummernightsread.com/2690-2/

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

 

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: September 27, 2016

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she’s not crazy and doesn’t belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.

Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn’t what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid–her true home–with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she’s sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything…including Snow’s return to the world she once knew.

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

 

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Asleep for a hundred years, awoken by a kiss, Aurora’s life was supposed to be a fairytale. But since discovering that loyalty to the crown and loyalty to her country are two very different things, Aurora knows she can only dream of happily ever after. Once the enchanted princess, savior of her people, she is now branded a traitor.

Aurora is determined to free her home from the king’s tyrannical rule, even if it means traveling across the sea to the kingdom of the handsome and devious Prince Finnegan—someone who seems to know far more about her magic than he should. However, Finnegan’s kingdom has perils of its own, and any help he gives Aurora will come at a price.

As Aurora and Finnegan work together to harness her power—something so fiery and dangerous that is as likely to destroy those close to Aurora as it is to save them—she begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding the curse that was placed on her over a century before…and uncover the truth about the destiny she was always meant to fulfill.

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: September 15, 2015

When the glass slipper just doesn’t fit…

The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story.

Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker.

Pin isn’t free for long before she’s captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her—a fairy tale story, complete with a charming prince—instead of finding her own happily ever after.

Book Review: The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

For the love of young adult fairy tale re-tellings, this novel was everything I could have wanted it to be. Fast paced, dripping with what I like to call “quote-ables,” AND a unlikely love story between two very different people, The Wrath and the Dawn is impeccable.

Ahdieh wastes no time setting up the narrative and immediately places the reader in the palace with Shahrzad the first night (of 1001, presumably).  I felt an immediate connection to this stubborn strong-willed, clever, beautiful girl. Shahrzad’s (a.k.a. Shazi) goal is to kill the handsome Caliph in revenge for the murder of her best friend.  I don’t know about you, but a 17-year-old that goes into a situation like this knowing the likely outcome and does it anyway has earned my respect.  Was it the best decision? Definitely not. But it wouldn’t be a good narrative if there weren’t a few bad decisions peppered in.  The first night passes and Shazi is somehow complacent and determined to continue with her plan.

persianfashion

Probably not accurate at all, but the details are brilliant.

The narrative does jump around in third person omniscient between Shazi, her father, her ex-boyfriend, and Khalid, but instead of this causing confusion as in some other novels, I really feel that it just strengthened the narrative arc by providing an entire world view of the story rather than just a focused glimpse into one part of the whole.  Speaking of strengthening the narrative, this entire novel made me hungry for food and clothes more than any in the past.  Ahdieh manages to put in so many lush details without it bogging down the story and she painted a vivid picture of what life could have been like in this world.   I also *may* have stalked the internet to find a representation of what some of the clothing looked like in my mind, but only found one that was close.

Let’s really get down to business now…the love story.  The whole trope of good girl meets bad boy is kind of turned on its head in The Wrath and the Dawn, because while the kingdom believes Khalid to be a vicious killer with no remorse, Shazi really starts to get to know him during her stay at the palace.  Not only does Khalid prove to be secretive and a bit manipulative, but he is also gentle and desires love.  What I really love about the relationship and respect that builds between Shazi and Khalid is the fact that they drive each other absolutely nuts. It is funny, endearing, and heart-wrenching all at the same time.

Thank goodness there is a second installment to Shazi and Khalid’s story because I just didn’t get enough.

I will leave you with a quote and a song, oh, and the final Bard total too.

“You honestly expect me to breathe in a world without air?” From TW&TD

*queues up song*

 

5 Bards to Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn.

fivebards

 

 

 

Be sure to come back Monday, May 25 for my interview with Renee!

 

Book Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Oh how I do love a good Fairy Tale Retelling!  This book pretty much had me hooked at the beginning with this particular quote: “….awkward strangers who said they were princes and did not realize that you were only meant to kiss princesses when they were awake.”  What better than a Princess who is rather disturbed by the fact that hundreds of now dead strangers came into her bedroom and kissed her while she was asleep?  Now I just need Snow White to go around and accuse her Prince Charming of necrophilia!

So the brilliant thing that Thomas did with this retelling is that she didn’t try to re-hash all of the possible ways or reasons for the Maleficient character, in A Wicked Thing known as Celestine, for cursing Aurora and her family, she took the story in the direction of what the future could hold for Aurora.  I think that by doing this she made her narrative that much stronger.  I mean she answers the questions that the fairy tales don’t ever answer: What happens after she wakes up?  Obviously the story states that she and her true love live “happily ever after,” but what if that isn’t what Sleeping Beauty wants?  Doesn’t she get a choice?  I absolutely adored those possibilities being explored in this novel.  Kudos to Thomas for giving Aurora her own agency.

Too many female fairy tale characters are not given the ability to make their own decisions in reaction to what is happening around them, and they tend to accept what is happening as fate.  To be fair, Aurora questions everything, but it takes her a bit to really gain the independence to fight against what has been planned for her.  I think that this was a very realistic development of character throughout the narrative.

While the aspect of “true loves kiss” was included in A Wicked Thing, romance, delightfully, really doesn’t play a large role in this novel.  Aurora is too busy trying to find her way and decide who she really wants to be and who she is to really bother with the fickle men that surround her.  I was so pleased by the fact that Aurora is really a heroine who wants to do things for herself, no matter how naive she may be about the new world she woke up into.

Super excited for the second installment, but alas, will have to wait until 2016!

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

I was only two chapters into Cinder when I immediately went out and purchased Scarlet and Cress.  I knew I’d really like the rest of the story from that early on, and it is a testiment to how well-written and plotted (that is an unfortunate sounding word) Meyer’s book is.

The synopsis is a bit misleading, as it says that Cinder is back (which she is) but it makes it seem like she will be the main focus of the novel (which she is not).  Again, Meyer does an excellent job of starting Scarlet’s story off very narrow and this is even exemplified by the fact that she lives and works in a very small and rural town in France.  However, Scarlet’s story is peppered with references to Cinder that eventually brings them together. I would be remiss to not include that we do get some of Cinder’s point of view in this story, and we are introduced to another male character named Thorne who is the right mixture of handsome and delightfully daft.  In addition, we glimpse (and when I say glimpse I mean literally just few pages throughout) what is happening in Emperor Kai’s life after Cinder’s prinson escape too.

scarletScarlet has some similarities to Cinder, but while Cinder has some serious self esteem issues stemming from her childhood and growing up as a cyborg “abberation,” Scarlet has a very distinct confidence and determination about her that is refreshing.  Sure, she has her issues from childhood as well, but she was loved and cared for by her Grandmother (who was a kickass pilot during the fourth World War).

Overall the focus of this novel is Scarlet’s journey to discovering who has taken her Grandmother, why, and how her story is part of a much bigger story.  Again, Meyer and her talent for expanding this universe in such a specific and well written way is just delightful.

Queen Levana’s involvement in this novel is much more prevalent, as readers get a much more in depth look at her plans to take over Earth and what kind of atrocities she and others of Luna are capable of.  Wolf, the other male lead character that is introduced in Scarlet, is a very interesting character.  He comes off as rather simple toward the beginning of the novel, when he is fascinated by tomatoes and the scenery of rural France, but his complexity snowballs quickly once it is shown that he has some layers beneath the street fighter exterior.

While I didn’t love this installment as much as I loved Cinder, it was still really well done and I’m looking forward to Cress!

4 Bards!

fourbards

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: February 24, 2015

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Book Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas.
I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I’ve been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart.
Steal the Scarecrow’s brain.
Take the Lion’s courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

Anyone who may have followed my blog for long enough will remember that I have a (slight) obsession and love for Alice in Wonderland and any modern adaptations that have a decent plot and use good elements from the original story.  So, any modern “fairy tale” (I use that loosely since Alice and Oz were both written in what could be considered modern times and are regarded as not necessarily part of the fairy tale tradition) will receive a good amount of attention from me and I’ll definitely want to read it.

Whew. That was a long preface. Anyway, I can honestly say that the movie version of the Wizard of Oz terrified me as a child, and I still cannot watch it without wanting to hide my face from the flying monkeys (no matter what Wicked by Gregory MacGuire said to make them less terrifying).  However, Danielle Paige did give Oz a new spin.

Amy, as a character, was very flat at the beginning of the novel.  I appreciated the way that Paige allowed Amy to come into her own throughout the novel, and it really gave me the opportunity to appreciate her through her growth.  In addition, she really went from being a flimsy, average teen to the savior that Oz needs.

Speaking of Oz needing saving, Dorothy was a nightmare.  Again, Paige did her best to make her scary, and there was a fair amount of death in this novel, but Dorothy ended up coming off like a spoiled and self-centered brat.  Although I am still questioning why Paige decided to go along with the movie and give Dorothy red shoes, instead of the silver ones that were used in the original novel.  Possibly because red is the color of blood?  Either way, based on the description of Dorothy and her clothes, I imagined her as wearing one of those really slutty Halloween costumes that are super short and low cut with her high heels.

There was two boys that really kept the main character’s attention, Pete and Nox.  But I really liked that there wasn’t a main focus on any time of romantic interlude, because the whole story was about Amy learning to stand up to the big bad Dorothy.

I wish I could ask Paige whether or not she consciously used Dorothy and the mining of magic to juxtapose the original political undertones concerning the Gold and Silver standard.  Perhaps I’ll try to ask!

I really enjoyed it and will wait impatiently for the next installment.

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

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