A rose by any other name still smells as sweet, or does it?
Belle is convinced that she was given the wrong name. The name Belle means beautiful, and she is convinced that she is anything but; not like her two older sisters. Unfortunately, there is nothing she can do about it. She simply must let it go. In doing so, she finds pleasure in woodcarving and hopes to one day be able to carve a branch of the Heartwood tree and reveal the face of her one true love.
When Belle and her family are forced to move away from the home she has always known, they must travel through the forest that surrounds the town. Later, during a fierce storm, her father stumbles from the path and finds himself at the base of the legendary Heartwood tree, and face-to-face with the lonely beast who guards it. He manages to make a deal with the Beast; he can go home to his family only as long as Belle carves from the Heartwood branch for him.
I enjoyed this unique and beautiful retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales. This is not the same story Disney told in their version of Beauty and the Beast and I was happy to see some of the original aspects of the original Grimm stories coming through.
Belle is an interesting character. I was surprised by how much her name bothered her and how much thought she put into her beauty and appearance. One of the things I’ve always liked about Belle was her down to earth spirit and her focus on other, more important, aspects of life.
I was also happy to see her siblings and mother return to the scene. I was a little worried about her father’s friend and business partner. I was worried that he might end up being the beast but I was happy to discover that my worries were completely unfounded.
The writing style is perfectly suited for the age group of the targeted audience. The vocabulary is appropriate while still conveying the differences in the setting and the time period.
The Beast and his home was nothing like I was expecting. I’m not exactly sure what was so different about him personally, but there was something that made him different.
I really, really liked this novel and would give it four out of five stars. I would recommend this novel to fans of Beauty and the Beast who is not extremely attached to Disney's version.
I bought my copy of this novel from a local thrift store and the image above is my own.
On the night Aunty died, Mup caught her first glimpse of the Raggedy Witches. They chased Mup, her mother, and her little brother all the way home, their pale faces flashing overhead through the trees. The Raggedy Witches are relentless in their devotion to the tyrannical queen they serve. The queen has outlawed nearly all magic and runs her lands through fear and oppression. She also just happens to be Mup’s grandmother.
When the Raggedy Witches kidnap Mup’s father, it is up to Mup and her mother to enter the witches’ realm and rescue him before it is too late.
I loved this novel. I found it to be extremely unique and intriguing, unlike anything I have read in a long while. I am now doubly intrigued by the Irish mythology and folktales.
Mup is a very interesting young character, full of spark and a sense of style to match my five-year-old's. Mup believes in magic and bad witches and things that go bump in the night, and unlike any young girl, they do scare her a little bit. At the same time, she knows the power of good is stronger than that of evil.
Her mother is an intense character whom I will admit I didn’t care much for. Half of the book I was questioning whether or not she cared about rescuing her husband. Something in the way she acted that made me feel as though she would rather not be a mother, and that upset me.
The setting is vague and magical at the same time. The fact that Mup lives in our world but her grandmother lives in an alternative plane is very interesting, especially considering that these planes connect in Mup’s backyard.
There isn't too much to their journey, action-wise, but not in a bad way. Mup and her mother meet numerous magical people and go to a number of new places.
I highly enjoyed this novel and will be researching Irish lore more. I gave this novel four out of five stars and would recommend it to readers who enjoy unique and magical reads.
I received my copy of this novel from librarything.com for the sole purpose of providing an honest review. The image above is my own.
When Leni’s parents won the lottery, she was a young girl, they went a little crazy. They built an elaborate mansion, they put Leni and her sister in the most expensive private school they could find, and even bought her a dolphin for her birthday; she made them return the dolphin, of course. Now the money is running out and the only money left is in Leni’s trust fund. She knows her parents expect her to give it to them even though she knows it will disappear the same way the rest of the money did.
When her older sister, Natasha, confesses to having had something to do with their parents winning the lottery, Leni doesn’t know what to say. When Natasha claims that the money is a curse she begs Leni not to give it to their parents and to find a way to break the curse before it is too late. But how?
This book was nothing like what I was expecting. Absolutely nothing. The synopsis gave me no warning at all. That said, this was still an interesting, mostly good, read.
Leni’s personality was very easy for me to relate to. We seemed to share a lot of ideas and opinions, which I found very interesting as this does not happen as often as some might think.
Leni is more of a laid-back realist. She loves science and cares about the environment and does not put a lot of stock in the extravagant luxuries so many people long for. She knows that her trust fund money could help her attend any college she could possible wish to attend without the stress of tuition. However, she is well aware of her parents’ financial straits as well and though she feels it isn’t the best use of her money, in a sense, she is willing to give it to them anyway.
She cares about the people in her life, even the ones she sometimes doesn’t like. And this caring helps her find the strength to do what is right in the end.
I found her family to be rather obnoxious, however, I also found them to be realistic. Her brother’s slovenly behavior and her mother’s destructive pride are something we know can exist.
The setting is fitting to the character of Leni as well as to the underlying message. I also highly enjoyed the slight love interest’s character. His character is refreshing compared to most of the other characters. I also enjoyed his dedication and new ideas.
All in all, I enjoyed this novel even if it was far from what I had anticipated. I gave this book four out of five stars and would recommend it to fans of Christian coming-of-age novels.
I bought my copy of this novel from my local Dollar Tree and the image above is my own.
When Gustav Nikulasson is killed in a plane crash, Kathrine, his journalist daughter, has questions about the circumstances surrounding his death and his missing work. When Kathrine goes looking for the answers she accidentally uncovers a conspiracy.
When Kathrine is kidnapped by Enrique Quisette, an art smuggler and a man willing to do anything to get what he wants, Kathrine finds herself heading toward her answers. Now her only chance of survival is her friend Sheppard Wilde.
Wilde will use every resource he can to get her back but will it be enough and will he be in time?
This was another interesting novel. I found it to be complex and entertaining in its own ways but in all honesty I also found it to be kind of slow paced for me. I know that sounds counteractive but I found certain parts of this novel very entertaining, while the rest remained slow.
Kathrine is an interesting character, struggling with the grief over the loss of her father accompanied with her unanswered questions. She also has many questions for her friend Mr. Wilde who was close with her father around the time of his death.
Mr. Wilde is a very connected character that I was sorry to find, was very two-dimensional. I would have very much liked to have learned more about him.
Enrique Quisette is very much a cookie cutter bad guy. He was bad for the same reasons any other bad guy is, with a faulty self-perception, and minions who do most of the bad guying for him. Needless to say, I found this character to be highly unoriginal.
I would give this novel three out of five stars and would recommend it to fans of architecture and adventure.
I received my copy of this novel from my sister and the picture above is my own.
Kay loves her small town. There’s great rocks to climb and everything is pretty quiet. When one of her climbs ends with her falling into the ice cold river that separates the human lands from the dragon’s, a young dragon named Artegal saves her and the quickly become friends. When conflict over the border leads to an all out war, can Kay and Artegal’s friendship help put an end to it?
I enjoyed this novel and am happy to report that is was exactly what I was expecting. Which was nice.
The setting was simplistic and in many ways it reminded me of the small town where I grew up. Kay’s town seemed small without being obsolete. Though, I would add having an active air base so near the town made me wonder why it wasn’t larger.
Kay is an intriguing charater, very realistic in her thoughts and actions. Her reasons for climbing that rock in the first place and her natural fear upon encountering a dragon for the first time are exactly what one might expect in a young teen. Well, not every teen goes rock climbing to deal with stress, but the stress she is feeling, and what is causing it, are realistic.
The friendship between Artegal and Kay is born from rebellion, the knowledge that they are both breaking the law in order to learn about each other, doesn’t deter them. This is, of course, nothing new as countless friendships have been formed under such circumstances.
There wasn’t much to the war itself, it was a background event that played a very small part in the long run. Besides some obscure references to it, and one death, there was little mention of what was actually transpiring.
The ending was not anything like I was expecting and was somewhat unsatisfying. I feel as though the book was meant to draw the reader toward book two, but in my opinion it was more like it just stopped. That said, I would like to continue with the series.
I would give this novel four out of five stars and I would recommend it to fans of modernized dragon novels.
I bought my copy of this novel from bookoutlet.com and the picture above is my own.
Kate Conway is going through a divorce when her husband dies unexpectedly. When the police investigate, they believe Kate may have had something to do with it. To add to the stress, her ex-husband’s new girlfriend seems to want to become friends.
After the funeral, Kate lands a new job for a television show called Missing Persons. It’s a nice distraction. Theresa Moretti has been missing for a year. All she needs is 22 minutes of footage for the show, but when her case seems to intersect with Kate’s husband’s death. Kate feels rushed to finish the job before there is another body, her own.
This was an interesting little read though I found it to be more of a contemporary novel than a mystery. This novel is marketed as a mystery, and there are two separate mysteries but in my honest opinion it was more about the life of Kate Conway as she deals with her career and the death of her husband.
I liked this novel but I would have preferred more of a mystery as that is what I was expecting.
The character of Kate Conway is well constructed, though I had an extremely hard time relating to her. I believe that is because we have next to nothing in common.
The settings are fairly simple and yet easy to follow and picture in your mind.
All in all, it was a decent read, though lacking on the mystery. I would give this novel 3 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to fans of contemporary fiction.
I bought my copy of this novel from my local Dollar Tree and the picture featured above is my own.
Kvothe is a legend in his own time, but no one knows his real story. When Chronicler arrives at his inn, Kvothe agrees to tell his story; the real story. He tells Chronicler it will take three days to tell his story properly.
Now, on the second day of his tale, Kvothe takes his first steps toward becoming the hero everyone has heard of.
I enjoyed most of this novel. There were areas and segments that, to me, felt as though they didn’t quite fit with the rest of the story.
On the whole, the plot line was riveting and engaging. It moved at a relatively decent pace, never staying idle for too long, except in one of the scenes that I felt was drawn out and occupied little importance to the plot line as a whole.
As far as Kvothe himself is concerned, I found him to be roughly the same throughout most of the novel. In some ways he was different, but nothing too drastic, and as this novel takes place over a considerable amount of time, character growth must occur.
One particular part of this novel seemed as though the amount of time encompassed completely outweighed its importance. I am hoping that the third novel will prove me wrong in that regard.
I am worried about the third book, since this novel is supposed to encompass a large amount of time, and it seems that in the relativity of the story, and how much there is still to come, there is more than one book can handle.
I would give this novel 3.5 out of 5 stars and would recommend this novel to fans of Terri Brooks, Piers Anthony, and David Gemmel.
I received this novel as a gift and am using a personal image above.
When Zane hits an all-time low in his life, he decided to end it. When Death walked through his apartment door, the sight of him startles Zane and he shoots death instead. The second death’s body hits the floor, Fate walks in, informing Zane of his new occupation, Death. The man who murders Death, becomes him.
Zane finds himself suddenly claiming the souls of those who passed away with a nearly equal slate, to determine whether they go to heaven or hell. But when Zane questions the rules, things become strained. It isn’t until Zane discovers Satan cheating that things become downright ugly. What will Zane do when the woman he loves is targeted by the Devil himself?
I found this book to be unique. I am literally in-between whether or not I like this novel.
The character of Zane is vague with contradicting morals and ideologies. He is a good man and cares about the souls that he has to collect, but at the same time, he exhibits degrading opinions in some of the people he encounters.
Personally, I did not appreciate the way the author wrote about the female characters in this story. Every female encountered was graded upon her beauty and sexual appeal to the character of Zane. That aside, the female characters, most of them at least, were written as all too ready to offer themselves, bodily, up to Zane, for one reason or another. Even a female ghost who offered her body to Zane for his courageous conduct in the face of danger.
I do understand that the main character, Zane, is in fact a male. Therefore, when seeing it from his point of view, it would make sense for him to notice a female’s beauty before knowing her personality. However, I felt that the author over did this in the extreme, especially when having every female degrade themselves by selling their bodies to every man who comes along, or does the right and respectable thing.
I did find the idea of Death, as well as Fate, Mother Nature, Father Time, and War to be interesting occupations. Not to mention the way the author depicted them as an entire lifestyle. I did not like Mother Nature’s portrayal, nor that of Mars (War), overtly much, but the concept itself intrigued me.
I have debated how many stars I felt this novel deserved and I have decided to give this novel two and a half out of five stars, which explains why I previously stated that I was on the fence.
I received my copy of this novel as a gift and have been granted permission to use an image of the cover artwork above.
Evan Strangward is on the run from the Empress Celestine, but his magical abilities that allow him to control the weather and the ocean will only keep him safe for so long. Celestine is growing stronger, with plans to invade the Fells. Now Evan is making his way inland to warn the Gray Wolf queen of the impending invasion. If he cannot convince her that the danger is real, Evan will lose everything.
Alyssa ana’ Raisa has been taken prisoner by Empress Celestine after the fall of Chalk Cliffs. With the Empress unaware that Lyss is the Crown Princess of the Fells, Lyss finds herself with the unique opportunity to learn valuable intel on her new enemies, that is if she isn’t turned into one of the Empress’ bloodsworn warriors first.
Another wonderful installment in the Shattered Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. I was worried about this novel because I had heard rumor that this was the last novel in the series. Fortunately, those rumors were incorrect and unfounded.
The characters are much the same as they were in Flamecaster and Shadowcaster. The characters that played very small roles in the first two novels were given personalities and we were presented with a deeper understanding behind their actions. I was thrilled to have some of these characters go from being 2D characters to having roles of greater significance in this novel.
I was also thrilled to have all of the main character’s stories come together finally. I was worried that this novel would separate itself from the first two books when I realized that the main focal characters in this installment were not the same as either of the previous novels. However, all of the characters from the first two novels made an appearance and their stories really came together.
We have even more characters now, when we already had so many, so, thankfully, the plotline is finally beginning to come together. This novel had less backtracking than book two, which allowed the storyline to move forward.
I was very happy with this novel and cannot wait for the next novel in the series. I would give this novel five out of five stars and would recommend it to fans of fantasy.
I received my copy of this novel as a gift and the picture above is one of my own taking and my own copy.
When Kerry finds a man lying half dead in the bushes outside her summer share house, she takes him in and fixes him up. Daniel Blessing is gorgeous and on the run from a woman named Season. Only Season isn’t just some woman, she’s a very powerful witch, just like Daniel.
Kerry never believed in witches before, but now that her and her friends’ lives are threatened, they may have to reconsider.
Kerry is quickly falling for Daniel Blessing. If what Daniel says is true, Season has been the cause of death and destruction for generations and Kerry and her friends won’t be safe until she is stopped. With no other options, Kerry and her friends team up with Daniel to attempt to put an end to Season’s reign of terror.
I enjoyed the primary main character. Her personality is realistic for a teenager fresh out of high school. Because of the health situation with her mother, she has developed a higher level of maturity and a certain level of sympathy that compels her to help Daniel Blessing when she finds him slowly bleeding to death outside her home.
Daniel is the main male character. His personality, and his magical abilities, paint him as a hero, the kind of selfless, out for the good of all, kind of guy who just wants to do the right thing. Unfortunately, he is also blindly set on his goal of stopping Season, which leads me to wonder if he isn’t misled himself.
The plot line is relatively fast paced, and yet at the same time the motley crew spends a considerable amount of time on recon.
I would give this novel three and a half out of five stars and would recommend it to fans of stories similar to the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer.
I bought my copy of this novel from bookoutlet.com and the picture featured above were taken by myself and is of my personal copy.
Adult, Young Adult, and Teen Reviews.
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