Hello there! I just read the newest book in The Stolen Kingdom series, and it was wonderful. This novella was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, so I’m excited to share my thoughts. Thank you, Merie, for sending it to me! ❤
The Cursed Hunter is the third book, a novella, in Bethany Atazadeh’s The Stolen Kingdom series. Each book in the series retells a fairy tale. The first book follows Aladdin, the second follows The Little Mermaid, and The Cursed Hunteris a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The first two are about the same characters, but The Cursed Hunter features an almost completely new set of characters. I would recommend reading the whole series, but you can read this installment as a standalone if you desire. The fourth and final book, The Enchanted Crown, will have all the characters come together and the overarching plot wrap up.
The characters in this story were almost as endearing as in the other books. Nesrin was a protagonist with loads of determination and courage. When her family was drowning in debt, she stepped up and took action. She had a great attitude and didn’t give up, even when her village mocked her for her efforts in searching for a dragon’s egg. She pushed herself to climb the mountains and cliffs again and again, putting her life on the line for the sake of her family. Her adventurous spirit was a lot of fun.
The other main character, the dragon she finds… I can’t say much due to spoilers. But his point of view was super interesting! As you may have guessed, this was “The Beast” character. I wished he could’ve communicated in some way, maybe telepathically. I think that would’ve strengthened his character and bond with Nesrin. Alas, he was really sweet and I hope to see a lot of him in the finale!
The world was amazing! The dragon cliffs were fun, but my favorite setting had to be the land of Jinn. It was so vivid and imaginative–definitely somewhere I wish I could visit. There’s still more room for exploration in this place. I cannot wait to see what The Enchanted Crown will have to offer.
This was a looser retelling than I expected, but I still enjoyed the original story Bethany told. It might be important to mention, though, that falling in love is not what is needed to break the curse. That’s not to say that there’s no hints of romance, but it certainly wasn’t the focus of the book. I wasn’t super satisfied with the way the curse had to be broken because it seemed too easy/anticlimactic. However, the origin of the curse was tied to the overarching plot of the series, so I was happy with that.
Overall, this was a fast read that entertained me to the end. I wished it had been longer! The story was a splendid addition to the series and made me even more excited for the finale. 🙂
What’s your favorite beauty and the beast retelling?
Greetings! I hope all of you are doing well. Some of you are probably dying of boredom, while others have just as much to do as usual. Either way, book recommendations can’t hurt, right?
These are some books that I’ve found quite thought-provoking/deep/meaningful/wholesome. They’re the books that really resonate with you and make you think about the world around you in a different way. Many of these are dystopian, but those books really do make you reflect.
A Monster Calls
An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting – he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.
I went into this book blind, not expecting the raw, heart wrenching story I found in those beautifully illustrated pages. I was expecting more of a thriller. I wasn’t disappointed in the least, but I thought I should throw that out there.
Conor’s story is a touching one indeed, and also very different. Prepare to cry and not be able to stop thinking about this after you finish. The dark and dramatic illustrations make the themes of life, death, and grief hit you even harder. So definitely read that edition.
A Time to Die
How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?
Parvin Blackwater has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside.
In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the crooked justice system. But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence.
What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.
This entire trilogy is life-changing. The themes are super important, and the way Nadine Brandes tackles them in her books continues to inspire me as a writer. This book isn’t preachy, but it boldly woven with powerful truths. With a strong and relatable cast of characters, a gripping plot, and rich world, what’s there not to love? It stands out among the many shallow, hopeless dystopian books out there. No matter what genres you typically read, I urge you to pick this trilogy up.
The Hunger Games
WINNING MEANS FAME AND FORTUNE. LOSING MEANS CERTAIN DEATH. THE HUNGER GAMES HAVE BEGUN. . . .
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and once girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weight survival against humanity and life against love.
At first, I wasn’t interested in reading this wildly hyped trilogy because I thought it would just be senseless killing for an entertainment. I was wrong. It is a darker read with killing and other tragedies, but it is very thought-provoking. As for A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, I have yet to read it. But I look forward to seeing what it has to add to this iconic series.
Anne of Green Gables
As soon as Anne Shirley arrives at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she is sure she wants to stay forever . . . but will the Cuthberts send her back to to the orphanage? Anne knows she’s not what they expected—a skinny girl with fiery red hair and a temper to match. If only she can convince them to let her stay, she’ll try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes and blurting out the first thing that comes to her mind. Anne is not like anyone else, the Cuthberts agree; she is special—a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreams of the day when she can call herself Anne of Green Gables.
I read this for the first time as a teenager, but I found it just as lovable. Anne’s vivid personality makes her a believable protagonist you can’t help but root for. Reading about her as she grew up felt quite nostalgic and sweet. Anne’s love for life and joy found in the simple things had me reflecting on our world and wanting to think a little more like her.
Salt to the Sea
While the Titanic and Lusitania are both well-documented disasters, the single greatest tragedy in maritime history is the little-known January 30, 1945 sinking in the Baltic Sea by a Soviet submarine of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German cruise liner that was supposed to ferry wartime personnel and refugees to safety from the advancing Red Army. The ship was overcrowded with more than 10,500 passengers — the intended capacity was approximately 1,800 — and more than 9,000 people, including 5,000 children, lost their lives.
Sepetys (writer of ‘Between Shades of Gray’) crafts four fictionalized but historically accurate voices to convey the real-life tragedy. Joana, a Lithuanian with nursing experience; Florian, a Prussian soldier fleeing the Nazis with stolen treasure; and Emilia, a Polish girl close to the end of her pregnancy, converge on their escape journeys as Russian troops advance; each will eventually meet Albert, a Nazi peon with delusions of grandeur, assigned to the Gustloff decks.
It’s been a long time since I read this book, but I remember that it was heartbreaking. This overlooked tragedy should really be taught to people. Ruta Sepetys wrote about these distinct characters in such a real way that you could never be truly prepared for the end. This is a beautiful novel that I will definitely be revisiting in the (hopefully) near future.
In 27 Days
Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn’t know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him.
Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer’s funeral. There, Hadley is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back 27 days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death’s terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.
Hadley soon discovers Archer’s reasons for being alone, and Archer realizes that having someone to confide in isn’t as bad as he’d always thought. But when a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart, Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything – including her life – to keep Archer safe.
This book was probably my favorite I read last year, and definitely on my favorite-books-of-all-time list. It is so wholesome and meaningful and I fell in love from the beginning. We rave about this one a lot here on the blog, but for good reason.
The City of Ember
Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked…but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all—the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness…
But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them?
The most prominent way this book was meaningful to me was appreciating the world and opportunities we have. The plot and characters were fun and engaging. Despite the dark, bare setting it takes place in, the book was ultimately hopeful. I admit to crying happy tears over the lovely and impacting ending.
Thank you so much for reading this lengthy post! I hope that if you end up reading these books, they mean something to you. Have a lovely day,
Hello dear readers! I have been reading a lot lately. I have a stack of library books that comes up to my knee on the floor of my bedroom, with more to come. So I figured I would review a bunch of books today. Five to be exact. This is going to be a pretty long post, so let’s get right into it.
Moonscript by H.S.J Williams
Blurb: “It is said that Darkness is empty and whatever vanishes into its depths is lost forever. I know this better than anyone. For I have suffered here in the shadows, and there are none who might find me.”
Seventy years. Seventy years the elven prince has been lost to the darkness, assumed dead by his people and endlessly broken for a book that connects to the hidden realm of his ancestors, a land untouched by evil.
And now a light in the shadows. A chance for freedom. But those willing to help him come from the unlikeliest of worlds.
The orphan girl, yearning for a loving family, and the boy who won’t leave her side. A healer maiden given an unexpected chance for a life beyond narrowed expectations. A grieving creature flown far from home.
They all search for something and now their fates are tied to his. If their quest for life can pull him from the dark mire in which his soul drowns, then perhaps he can be saved.
Or else he will drag them all down to a fate worse than death.
The beginning of an epic saga, MOONSCRIPT is a journey of innocence, despair, and redemption.
I have friends who loved this book with every fiber of their being (Looking at you, Hannah) but I didn’t love it. I didn’t dislike it, I didn’t dread picking it up every time I read it. I did finish it. I just didn’t get super into it.
There are a lot of people out there who do and would love this book. If you love large scale adventure stories, elves, and great themes, be sure to check it out. Fans of Lord of The Rings, this book is right up your alley.
What I loved:
Themes: The themes in this book were presented very well. You’re are never too far gone to be forgiven, there is a family out there for everyone, the loyalty of friends. Overall, the themes were great.
Descriptions: There was a lot of setting description, some of it beautifully poetic. I could imagine every place the characters went.
What I didn’t love:
Characters: The characters are where I really struggled with this book. I felt that the only character who truly had an arc was Errance. And, other than small paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter, we never really got to see the world from his point of view. My favorite character, Kelm, was a sweet and honest young man. While he was a rather flat character, I did enjoy it when he was on the page. All in all, I never really got invested in the characters, which made the rest of the reading experience less immersive and less suspenseful.
Plot: I didn’t dislike the plot of this book, per se. I just I never really got into it. The reason for that, however, is because I didn’t really get into the characters.
I was given an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. These were my honest thoughts.
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
Blurb: A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.
In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?
Readers who enjoyed the action, suspense, and humor in Jonathan Stroud’s internationally best-selling Bartimaeus books will be delighted to find the same ingredients, combined with deliciously creepy scares, in his thrilling and chilling Lockwood & Co. series.
This book had been sitting on my TBR for ages, due to a friend of mine with obvious great taste (Thanks, Evie) and when Mya got the first book for me for Christmas (Thanks, Mya) I finally got around to reading it.
I was skeptical at first since paranormal fiction had never even been on my radar as something I would read. Ghost hunting teenagers? Not my cup of tea (British pun very much intended). Or so I thought.
I was very wrong. This book had me hooked in seconds.
Fans of Sherlock, immersive world-building, engaging character development, and a touch of horror (I don’t generally like horror, and I liked it) would love this read.
What I loved:
Characters: I. LOVE. THESE. CHARACTERS. The Screaming Staircase is told in first person from the perspective of the fiery Lucy Carlyle. The other two main characters are the fearless Anthony J. Lockwood and sarcastic George Cubbins. All three of them stole my heart, especially when they were all together, arguing about cookies or ghosts. Lucy’s narration and perspective on the other characters made this book so immersive, and her sass and stubbornness are amazingly portrayed. Anthony Lockwood is a secretive character whose past is elaborated on as the series continues. Despite the mystery surrounding his childhood, his personality is clear and very entertaining. And then there’s George Cubbins. Though he first comes off as abrasive, he quickly grows on you and his humor makes potentially dark scenes a lot lighter.
Plot: Despite the fact that I would read about these characters doing literally anything, the plot is super unique and engaging. It showcases all of the character’s flaws and quirks so wonderfully and had me invested and intrigued right up until the end.
Description: Atmospheric is the only word. All the settings in this book were so vivid, from the streets of London to the clutter of 35 Portland Row to the eerie haunted houses the characters visit throughout the book. I could also imagine each character with extreme clarity.
Flashbacks: I rarely see a more excellent use of flashbacks than is utilized in this series. They reveal so much about the characters and add so much depth, without wrecking the flow of the overall story.
Suspense: Not gonna lie, parts of this book (and the whole series) legitimately scared me. I’m a total wimp when it comes to horror of any kind, so it’s not much of a surprise. However, the humor in this book balanced the suspense out beautifully. It succeeded in having me on the edge of my seat without giving me nightmares.
Themes: The characters certainly grew over the course of the book, and much more so over the course of the series. Themes like learning to trust yourself and others, dealing with grief and fear, and many others were showcased. It added another layer of excellency to the books. Although they didn’t change my life or inspire me greatly, they contributed very well to the story.
What I didn’t love:
Ending: I didn’t have a problem with the ending, just the fact that it ended.
Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor by Ally Carter
5/5 stars. All the stars.
Blurb: April didn’t mean to start the fire. She wasn’t the one who broke the vase. April didn’t ask to go live in a big, creepy mansion with a bunch of orphans who just don’t understand that April isn’t like them. After all, April’s mother is coming back for her someday very soon.
All April has to do is find the clues her mother left inside the massive mansion. But Winterborne House is hiding more than one secret, so April and her friends are going to have to work together to unravel the riddle of a missing heir, a creepy legend, and a mysterious key before the only home they’ve ever known is lost to them forever.
Ally Carter is one of my favorite authors, so when I heard she was writing a middle-grade book I was thrilled. I had high expectations for this book, and they were blown out of the water. It’s like everything Ally Carter had ever written was building up to this glorious novel.
I smiled throughout this whole book.
What I loved:
Characters: These characters stole my heart and didn’t give it back. They will have it for all eternity. April is the perfect main character for this story, and she was the perfect balance between clever and a kid. Violet is a shy girl who is amazing at art and really grows over the course of the book. And you can’t mention Violet without mentioning Tim, her “guard dog” during her time in the foster care system. Each little glimpse into is past casts him in a new light and I can’t wait to learn more about him as the story continues. Next is the adorable Sadie, inventor extraordinaire, even if her inventions often… malfunction. And finally, Colin. Up and coming con-man, British, and probably my favorite character in the book. They all have their pasts and quirks, but my favorite thing about these characters is that they’re kids.
Plot: This book had a mystery element to it that propelled the story along in a series of questions, answers, and more questions. The characters drove the plot, which made it much more engaging. Saying much more would give away some of the excellent plot twists, so I’ll leave it there.
Themes: I’m a sucker for found-family stories, and this is the epitome of that trope. It leaves you with that warm and fuzzy feeling and is one of my favorite themes ever. Your family isn’t just who you’re related to. That’s just the best.
Description: Although the descriptions aren’t as atmospheric as books like The Screaming Staircase or Caraval, Ally Carter used them as a way to expand on April as a character, and how she sees the world, which I just loved.
What I didn’t love:
I have no complaints. Ally Carter is a genius.
In 27 Days (Blink) by Alison Gervais
Blurb: Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn’t know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him.
Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer’s funeral. There, she is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back twenty-seven days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death’s terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.
Time ticks away as Hadley looks for ways to not only talk to Archer but to know him on a deeper level. But just as she and Archer connect, a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart. Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything—including her life—to keep Archer alive.
Carlye and Mya recommended this one to me, so I grabbed the kindle copy from the library. It’s safe to say that those two know what they’re talking about. I read it all at once, almost walked into a few walls too, I couldn’t put it down.
What I loved:
Characters: I found the characters in this book interesting. Main character Hadley could have had some more internal conflict, in my opinion, since most of her conflict was linked with Archer. Archer was developed very well, and his huge Italian family was absolutely amazing.
Plot: I knew from the blurb that this book was going to be very unique and deal with some heavy topics, such as suicide. I thought it was done very well, and was presented in a very considerate and realistic way. It focused on the real effects and consequences of suicide and was very impactful.
Themes: The themes in this book were tied so closely with the plot, so I feel like I already touched on them, but again it was a very impactful read.
What I didn’t love:
Pacing: The pacing was a little off for me during certain parts of the book. The climax especially felt a bit rushed.
Dear Ally, How Do You Write a Book? By Ally Carter
Blurb: Have you always wanted to write a book, but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re really great at writing the first few chapters . . . but you never quite make it to the end? Or do you finally have a finished manuscript, but you’re not sure what to do next? Fear not — if you have writing-related questions, this book has answers!
Whether you’re writing for fun or to build a career, bestselling author Ally Carter is ready to help you make your work shine. With honesty, encouragement, and humor, Ally’s ready here to answer the questions that writers struggle with the most.
Filled with practical tips and helpful advice, Dear Ally is a treasure for aspiring writers at any stage of their careers. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at how books get made, from idea to publication, and gives you insight into the writing processes of some of the biggest and most talented YA authors writing today.
This is the only non-fiction book I’m reviewing today, so I wont be going over characters and plot and stuff like that.
This book was super helpful, and I recommend it to writers everywhere. It had really great perspective on plotting vs panting, editing, outlining and a bunch of other stuff. It had solutions to so many writing problems that I was having. I also loved that it wasn’t just Ally’s answers, she got input from a ton of other authors to, which showed a lot of different methods. 10/10 recommend.
Woo, that was a long post, but I hope at least one of these books interested you. I can vouch for the fact that they’re wonderful time-passers during quarantine.
How many times have you walked into a library this past month? How many times have you sat down somewhere and just read for an hour? How often do you catch yourself thinking about books?
Let’s be honest, fairly often. But only because the readers here are probably book worms.
In actuality though, books and the action of reading is slowly becoming outdated. People, myself included, enjoy sitting down Friday night to watch a movie or scrolling mindlessly through your phone. Not many people these days can admit that they’ve read for an entire day or spent all their money at the bookstore.
Let’s be real, books are a dying art.
Some people believe that in twenty years libraries won’t exist anymore. Why get the physical copy and spend the time driving there when you can just download it from your kindle? Or even better, why bother spending money on a book.
You could buy clothes or food with the money. Don’t waste it on something you might hate.
Why read the book when you can just watch the movie? It’s the same, right? I don’t want to spend all day inside staring at words on a page, I’d rather look at a pixelated screen for ninety minutes.
I don’t want it to be that way. And I bet some of you would agree with me.
So today, let us collectively agree to never let books run dry. Start book clubs up at school, even if that means reading books that are at a lower level. Introduce easy-to-read chapter books to younger children. If you start them out at an early age, they could learn to love it.
And I know what it sounds like, you can’t force others to love books anymore than you can force me to like country music. But… you can spread your influence and hope that the little seed of bookish love you plant will blossom into a wonderful book-filled flower.
So I say to you, recommend your favourite books to others, drag friends into the library, and never watch the movie before reading the book.
Blue de la Cour has her life planned: hide the magic in her blood and continue trying to turn metal into gold so she can help her city’s homeless. But when her father is murdered and a cruel but powerful woman claims custody of Blue and her property, one wrong move could expose her—and doom her once and for all. The only one who can help? The boy she’s loathed since childhood: Prince Kellan. Kellan Renard, crown prince of Balavata, is walking a thin line between political success and devastating violence. Newly returned from boarding school, he must find a bride among the kingdom’s head families and announce his betrothal—but escalating violence among the families makes the search nearly impossible. He’s surprised to discover that the one person who makes him feel like he can breathe is Blue, the girl who once ruined all his best adventures. When mysterious forces lead to disappearances throughout Balavata, Blue and Kellan must work together to find the truth. What they discover will lead them to the darkest reaches of the kingdom, and to the most painful moments of their pasts. When romance is forbidden and evil is rising, can Blue save those she loves, even if it costs her everything?
Hello dear readers! I haven’t done a book review in a while, but I recently read The Blood Spell by CJ Redwine. I fell in love with the characters, the plot, the world-building, and the uniqueness of it. It’s unlike any Cinderella retelling I’ve read.
The Blood Spell is the fourth book in The Ravenspire Series, a series of standalone fairytale retellings, which means they aren’t necessary to read in order. Each book takes place in a different kingdom in the same world. Even though each book has a new set of characters, there are fun cameos throughout the series, so the past main characters are not forgotten. This does mean that if you read them out of order, you may not recognize the cameos when they happen. The books are still understandable on their own, but it can be fun to read them in order just to smile when the old characters show up again.
The first book, The Shadow Queen, is a Snow White retelling. The second, The Wish Granter, Is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. The third, The Traitor Prince, is a retelling of The Prince and the Pauper. Finally, as I mentioned above, The Blood Spell is a Cinderella retelling.
Looking back on the series, it is my opinion that The Blood Spell is by far the best book. The Shadow Queen is good, but does have cliche elements. The Wish Granter is better, probably my second favorite of the series, I love the characters in it. The Traitor Prince is also good, the world-building was really interesting. They are all worth reading, but when the first three books are compared to The Blood Spell… there isn’t much competition for me.
The Blood Spell is a truly beautiful novel. Main characters Blue and Kellan are both unique and have a lot of depth. Blue is passionate, yet compassionate, which is a welcome change from some popular YA protagonists. She is also really relatable, both because of her personality and the fact that she loves food and hates mornings. Prince Kellan seems like a charming prince that doesn’t let anything get to him, because that’s a necessary facade to keep up in the nobility. However, he has really sweet and caring personality and will do anything for those he loves. He’s reckless at the beginning of the story, but seeing him develop as a character and a person was one of my favorite parts of reading this book.
The romance between Blue and Kellan is wonderfully done, and CJ Redwine, as a Christian, keeps it clean and enjoyable. Its one of the best romances I’ve read in a long time, and it incorporated so wonderfully into their character arcs and the plot. Blue and Kellan have known each other since they were kids, but do not get along at the beginning of the book. Their teasing banter had me laughing out loud on several occasions. I loved watching them get rid of the assumptions they made about each other and then falling in love. It was so, so fun and left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Honestly, the whole book left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
The side characters were interesting as well, the most prominent two being Nessa (Kellan’s little sister) and Blue’s Grandmother. I loved both of these characters and what they added to the story. Especially Nessa, who is fierce in her own way, has an adorable relationship with her older brother, and made up her own sign language? Yes, that’s right, she’s that cool.
Another thing I loved about this book is how the plot was so developed and intriguing that the Cinderella aspects felt like they added a new layer to the plot. Rather than making up the entire plot, and therefore making it predictable, they felt necessary and unique. From the “evil stepmother” to the “fairy godmother” to the slippers Blue wears to the ball, everything has a true purpose and brings new aspects to the story.
The world-building was also intriguing, and I loved how we got to see two vastly different sides of the kingdom from Blue and Kellan’s different point of views. Blue is a commoner that is aware of the problem that Balavata (the kingdom) is having with the people, often orphans, that are living on the street. Her heart for the homeless not only reveals her character but also details of daily life in Balavata. Kellan, on the other hand, is the crown prince. He is aware of the problems the country has at large, especially with the nine “head families”, who make Kellan’s life pretty difficult. The best part of having both of these point of veiws, is that Blue and Kellan share these views with each other, which makes each of them more understanding of the kingdom as a whole, and more understanding of each other.
I could honestly go on forever about all the amazing qualities of this book. In fact, the other day Merie asked me if I had anything negative to say about it, and I was surprised to say that I didn’t. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it to absolutely everyone.
Quick reminder that if you are participating in the short story contest, stories are due by March 12. Its coming up quickly! I can’t wait to read everyone’s entries as they come in!
Hello dear readers! I wanted to do a book tag today, so I scoured the internet and found this one over at Bookishly Rebecca. I thought it was awesome how it incorporated music and books, since the two often go hand in hand for me.
The winner of the TotLS Blog Tour giveaway will be announced at the end of this post, so stick around for that!
Without further ado…
My Jam: A song and a book that will never get old, no matter how many times your read/listen to it
Song: Honestly, any song on my playlist. I’m a listen-on-repeat kind of girl. Right now, I really love anything by Faouzia or Cimorelli. Just… all of it.
Book: I’m the kind of person that re-reads books ALL. THE. TIME. However, Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter (and everything by Ally Carter, to be honest) is a go to for me. Its the third book in the Heist Society series and I love it so much.
Replay: A recent song you have on repeat and a recent favorite book
Book: A book I read recently is Supernova by Marissa Meyer, and it was an amazing read! It was a great way to end the Renegades trilogy, even though I am sad that its over….
Gets Me: A song that is literally me and a book that is me in book form
Song: Maybe When Will My Life Begin from Tangled, although it probably changes based on my mood on a day to day basis.
Book: Maybe Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli or I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter, because I relate to Stargirl and Cammie a lot. Maybe also Tessa from 100 Days of Sunlight.
Wut: A weird song that you like anyways and a unique book that stuck out to you for some reason
Song: There’s this song called Soldier, Poet, King by the Oh Hellos that I really like for some reason. It’s just fun to me.
Book: Spelled by Betsy Schow is the first book that comes to mind. Its the first book in the series and the books only get more unique as the story goes on.
Let’s Go: Pick your best pump up song and a book that inspires you
Song:Unstoppable by The Score, no question. Its what I listen to while writing fight scenes.
Book: How many times have I mentioned 100 Days of Sunlight at this point? A lot. But still, its my answer.
Chill: Your best chill or relaxing song and a book you’d curl up with on a rainy day
Song: Anything by Kina Grannis. My favorite song by her is probably Gone, but any and all of her songs are beautiful and relaxing.
Book: Either Heartless by Marissa Meyer or Romanov by Nadine Brandes. Sad books for rainy days. Also, both of their covers are to die for.
Nostalgia: A throwback song you look back on fondly and a book you read and loved when you were young
Song: Anything that was on my mom’s road trip CD as I was growing up, and Little Wonders by Rob Thomas.
Book: This list is rather long, I’ve been a reader all my life. However, The Sisters Grimm series is still on my shelf and much beloved after all this time, so I think I’ll go with that.
I didn’t do all of the questions in the tag, because some of them I just could not think of answers for, but I hope you enjoyed the answers I gave! If you want to, check out any of the songs or books that I mentioned!
Now, I know you are all very curious as to who won the Blog Tour Giveaway.
The winner is…
We’ll be contacting Gemma about her prize package very soon. Congratulations!
Well, that about wraps up today’s post. I hope you have a wonderful day!
Until next time,
*All book cover images used on this post were taken from Amazon.com
Middle Grade fiction is often overlooked in online bookish communities. Even though some of the most renowned book series are middle grade—like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, The Giver Quartet—the rest of the genre is more or less ignored. I’ve found that many MG books are not only great for younger audiences, but teenagers and adults as well.
One thing that is usually very apparent when you compare a middle grade and a young adult book is the content. With YA books you have to be careful if you want to avoid a lot of negative content. With MG you’re safer. There may be the rare book with a mild swear word, but for the most part MG is clean.
Story wise, MG also has some factors that distinguish it from YA. This can be expected, as they are intended for different audiences, but the themes presented in MG are important for any age group. One such is friendship and everything that encompasses it: loyalty, trust, love, sacrifice, etc. MG often includes close friend groups with diverse personalities and unique relationships between them. I love reading books with this. In YA, the main character usually has a few friends, but a couple of those are most likely love interests.
MG also showcases characters working together as a team. YA tends to value independence and inner journey, where MG focuses more on others and working together. Characters learn to balance each other out with their strengths and weaknesses, solve problems together, and get along so that they can work toward a greater good.
Middle grade is also more fast paced. Going into a MG I can look forward to thrilling adventure filled with twists and turns. Though slower paced books can be just as amazing, MG books are great for getting out of a reading slump or rushing to win your Goodreads reading challenge. Their fast plots make them exciting, fun, and all around entertaining.
If it’s been a while since you’ve read a middle grade book, I encourage you to pick one up! Even if they are under your reading level, they are still fun and offer some good life lessons. Let me know if you want some suggestions! YA books are great, but MG is also special to me.