Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

GoodReads Summary:
Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.
The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.
Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a BookReview:
I find myself picking up Beauty and the Beast retellings even though it’s not one of my favorites. Donnelly tells such an interesting version of this story. We follow Love and Death as they wager whether or not Belle will fall in love with the beast. Except that Death interferes and this is where Nevermore comes in.
Belle finds an alternate world inside Nevermore, but all is not as it seems there. I really enjoyed this twist, but the whole time I just wanted Belle to see what was really going on and go back to the Beast and her other friends in the castle.
Overall, this was a fun and creative retelling. I definitely loved Donnelly’s spin on this classic story. This is a good one for anyone that loves the story of Beauty and the Beast.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Beastly by Alex Flinn

GoodReads Summary:
I am a beast.
A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.
Beastly (Beastly, #1; Kendra Chronicles, #1)Review:
Beauty and the Beast has never been one of my favorite fairytales. Despite this, I always still seem to buy the newest B&tB retellings. Now, this retelling isn’t a new one but it is one of Antonia’s favorites. So, a few months ago I ended up buying all of the books by Alex Flinn that were available on Bookoutlet. I’ve been meaning to pick Beastly up for a while. I read it (part of it anyway) years ago. But the copy I had bought had a printing error and didn’t have all of the correct pages in it. So, I never ended up reading the full story.
Now that I have read the whole story, I’m glad that I did. Our main character Kyle is the most unlikable character. But as the story progresses, he learns the error of his ways. I think this was really well done. It wasn’t all of sudden Kyle was a nice guy now that he was a beast. He still struggled with doing the right things and not lashing out when he was upset. I think his development was done well.
I think the romance was done well also. Especially since this whole story is based on a girl being kidnapped. I think it wasn’t terribly cringey but also did it’s best to stay true to the original story.
Overall, this was a fun and quick read. I ended up really enjoying the romance even though I didn’t particularly like Kyle in the beginning.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton

Summary:
Lennon Davis doesn’t believe in much, but she does believe in the security of the number five. If she flicks the bedroom light switch five times, maybe her new L.A. school won’t suck. But that doesn’t feel right, so she flicks the switch again. And again. Ten more flicks of the switch and maybe her new step family will accept her. Twenty-five more flicks and maybe she won’t cause any more of her loved ones to die. Fifty times more and then she can finally go to sleep.
Kyler Benton witnesses this pattern of lights from the safety of his treehouse in the yard next door. It is only there, hidden from the unwanted stares of his peers, that Kyler can fill his notebooks with lyrics that reveal the true scars of the boy behind the oversized hoodies and caustic humor. But Kyler finds that descriptions of blonde hair, sad eyes, and tapping fingers are beginning to fill the pages of his notebooks. Lennon, the lonely girl next door his father has warned him about, infiltrates his mind. Even though he has enough to deal with without Lennon’s rumored tragic past in his life, Kyler can’t help but want to know the truth about his new muse.
All Our Broken PiecesReview:
All Our Broken Pieces has quickly become a new all-time favorite book of mine. So, I have to send a huge thank you to EBS and Her Reads for recommending this book to me. I would have read this in one sitting if I hadn’t fallen asleep while reading it at about 2am. I just could not put it down. The writing was flowery, but not overly so. The characters were flawed, but relatable. The romance was sweet and swoony. I just loved everything about it.
Lennon was flawed but worked hard every day to accept her flaws and love herself anyway. She was a little quirky and that just made me love her more. She was a trivia buff which I thought was an interesting chapter opener for the chapters with her perspectives. I loved her relationship with her younger half-brother, Jacob. He’s so sweet and innocent and the way he and Lennon interact just warmed my little heart every time Jacob was on the page.
Kyler was not my favorite in the beginning, but after we got past the ‘damaged tough guy’ facade I started to really like him. When he started to open up and let himself be vulnerable around Lennon, I really loved him. Seeing him learn how to love himself through Lennon’s eyes. He’s also a writer which I enjoyed seeing. I feel like I don’t read enough books that have male characters that write. It’s always the female main character that wants to be a writer.
My favorite thing about this book was the family dynamics and relationships. The sibling bonds between Jacob and Lennon were so sweet and I loved everything about them. Then there was also Kyler’s relationship with his sister Macy. I thought they were so well done and they really hit me in the feels. They made me thing about my siblings and I loved it. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Lennon and her step-mother, Claire. I have a step-mother and Claire totally reminded me of her. Claire tries her best to love her and be there for her in whatever way that she can, even if Lennon isn’t always receptive to it.
The only thing I didn’t like was Andrea. She was awful, but it was never really explained why she was awful and there was no real resolution to their situation. This bothered me a little, but not enough to dampen my love for the book as a whole.
Finally, the OCD representation was really interesting for me. We see Lennon explain it in simple terms so that Jacob can understand, but we also get to see here explain it to Kyler and again to her dad. I feel like I learned a lot about it. I can’t personally speak to the accuracy of the OCD rep, but I thought it was well done from an outsider’s perspective. I also really appreciated the inclusion of therapy for Lennon. She sees a therapist, Levi, twice a week. He’s totally my favorite. I loved him. He was funny and stylish and a great addition to the story. There are also a few weeks where Lennon stays at a recovery center. I thought this was also a great addition to the story.
Overall, I adored this book. It has a mixture of a few different stories that it’s sort of retelling. There’s the obvious, Romeo & Juliet, that is referenced specifically while they work on an English project and then seem to fall into the story with certain events. There are also some Phantom of the Opera themes too along with a hint of Beauty and the Beast. I think this was an excellent contemporary story with characters that I adored. I think anyone that enjoys reading stories about mental health, this is a must.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Summary:
Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world
Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall…and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely, #1)Review:
I loved this book. Brigid Kemmerer has done it again. She is certainly an auto buy author for me and the thought of waiting a year for A Heart so Fierce and Broken has me slowly withering away on the inside. There were so many things I loved about this book and really not a single thing that I didn’t like. The inside is just as beautiful as the cover of this baby.

“Not all scars can be seen, my lady.”

First, the story. I thought the time twist was interesting. The characters keep repeating the same season over and over in an attempt to break the curse. Next, the twist on the beast was also interesting. I liked that it wasn’t the traditional beast and was more of an actual terrifying monster. Beauty and the Beast has never been my favorite fairytale, but this was definitely one of my favorite twists on the classic story.

“The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but the are choices nonetheless.”

I really enjoyed the characters. We will start with Harper. She’s just trying to look out for her brother and help take care of her sick mother. She’s a fighter from the second that she’s introduced on the page. After being whisked away to Emberfall she basically does whatever she wants (and the complete opposite of what she’s told to do). She does her best to try to escape because she needs to get back to her brother. She proves again and again that her disability isn’t going to hold her back from anything. I thought she was sassy and funny. She also cared even when she didn’t need to and tried to stick up for people that couldn’t or wouldn’t fight for themselves, which is the whole reason she ended up in Emberfall in the first place. She didn’t let this stop her. She saved some villagers, proceeded to bring them food despite being told not to. She stole Rhen’s horse like five times (and I loved it more and more each time.) She sticks up for those that are vulnerable. (Enter Rhen.)

“This was  never a curse to be broken. This is a death sentence. The true curse has been the though that we might find escape.”

Rhen is standoffish, sassy, and almost even rude when he sees how headstrong Harper is. He tries to be nice to her, but quickly realizes his usual tricks aren’t going to work on her. I really enjoyed the hopelessness that Rhen felt in this book. His inner dialogue was one of my favorite parts of the story. He talks so lightly of all the different ways he’s tried to end the curse, some more extreme than others. My next favorite part was his character in general. He’s already done his growing. He’s learned from the countless previous seasons and the things that have happened in them. His character growth isn’t dependent upon Harper and I really enjoyed that. The story was only sort of about breaking Rhen’s curse, it more focuses on being a better person and Harper encouraging/inspiring him to do better for the people he’s supposed to be ruling over. She shows him that even if he’s not meant to break the curse, he can still be trying to take care of the people in his kingdom.

“It is not the moment of passing that is most important. It is all the moments that come before.”

Then there’s all the supporting characters I loved. Grey, the ever-loyal commander. I love the friendship that Harper formed with him. I like that they became fast friends despite Grey being the one to take her to Emberfall, because he tried to be her friend. He taught her things and played cards with her and they talked about everything. I enjoyed their friendship even though there were hints of a love triangle. Then there’s Freya, who was sweet and motherly and always there when Harper needed her. I thought she was so sweet. The final character I want to mention was Zo, Harper’s female guard. They become fast friends and Harper wants to share where she’s really from with her, but doesn’t. They make me laugh with the silly things Harper teaches Zo and I wish she had come into the story sooner. I can’t wait to see these girls interact more (hopefully) in the next book.

“Failure isn’t absolute.  Just because you couldn’t save everyone doesn’t mean you didn’t save anyone.”

Finally, I adored the combination of Emberfall, this fantasy world, meeting the real world of Washington, DC. I thought this was such an interesting idea, fantasy meshing with the real world. I would have liked to see a little bit more (maybe in the next book?) We really were just teased with it and then the ideas and knowledge that Harper brings into Emberfall. It definitely added something extra to the story and I adored this aspect of the story.

“I do not understand how she can fill me with such hope and fear simultaneously.”

Overall, this is a new favorite of mine. I loved every page. I loved the story, the characters, the world, even the cliffhanger. I read this almost five-hundred-page book in one sitting, which says a lot. I literally could not put it down. If you haven’t read this, I recommend it without a doubt.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. To play along, answer the following three questions and share a link to your post in the comments on her page. Enjoy!

WWWWWhat are you currently reading?

Amanda- Technically I’m not currently reading anything. I haven’t started it yet, but I’m going to start Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith tomorrow. It’s the third in the Cormoran Strike series. I loved the first two, so I have high hopes for the third.

Antonia- I’m currently in the middle of two books. Beastly by Alex Flinn is one of my all time favorites. I can’t even count how many times I’ve read it and I never get sick of it. It’s an amazing modern adaptation of Beauty and the Beast and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. You can read my review of it here. The other book I’m reading is Soundless by Richelle Mead. Mead is one of my favorite authors and her newest book is unlike any of her others. I fully expect this one to be a new favorite of mine.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I recently read Zeroes co written by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti. You can read my review HERE. I really enjoyed this book. I’m still very upset I have to wait until September for the next to be released.

Antonia- I just finished reading A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn for the second or third time. As you can tell, she’s one of my favorite authors. This one is an adorable, unique retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Amanda- Honestly, I haven’t thought that far ahead. I keep looking at my shelf trying to decide. Im torn between a few different choices; The newest Stephanie Plum, Tricky Twenty Two, by Janet Evanovich, The Heir by Kiera Cass, or rereading one of my favorites, The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks.

Antonia- I’m not sure yet because I never really decide until I pick one up and start reading it. But I recently read the first book in J.D. Robb’s In Death series and I can’t wait to find out what happens to the characters next.

What are your answers?

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Goodreads Summary: A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright–a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever–ruined–unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.


If I had to choose ONE book as my favorite. Just one. Yes, I know. An impossible task. Especially for me because I rarely dislike a book. I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve read that I actually hated. And I’ve read a lot of books. But if I had to choose one, it would be Beastly by Alex Flinn. I’m not sure of half the reasons why I love this book so much. I think most of it stems from my love of Beauty and the Beast. It’s my favorite fairytale and Flinn does a wonderful job of portraying a modern version of it.
What I love most is watching the main character Kyle/Adrian grow as a character. At the beginning, Kyle is, quite frankly, a spoiled fucking brat. He is so ridiculously annoying. He feels entitled because his father has money, he treats girls like shit because he’s attractive, and he uses stereotypes to bully anyone who doesnt fit into his idea of how people should think, look, and act. I absolutely hated him for the first part of the book. However, his curse, his father’s inattention, and Lindy’s fantastic personality all force him to reevaluate how he views himself and everyone else. The thing I love most about this book is watching, step by step, as Hunter becomes a better person. And I think the progression of his feelings is fairly realistic as well.
I also love the modern adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Flinn does a really good job of mixing the original fairytales with modern ideas. (If you haven’t read her other fairytale books, you really should. They’re all great.)
And lastly, I absolutely fucking adore Kyle and Lindy’s relationship. I think they really complement each other and they help each other to grow and be better people just by being together. It’s one of my favorite love stories.
I 100% recommend this book. I can’t even count how many times I’ve read it. If you haven’t and enjoy fairytales or YA paranormal (Slightly. There’s some magic. And a witch. But that’s it.) then definitely put it on the to-read list. At the top. Better yet, just get off your computer and go get it right now.

As a side note, I have seen the movie. I didn’t particularly like or dislike it. I didn’t think it followed the book very well and if I hadn’t read it I think I would have liked it more. If you saw the movie, whatever your opinion about it, it’s very different from the book so please don’t base wanting to read it on the movie. Golden rule: Never judge a book by its fucking movie.
-Antonia

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