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.

Blogtober Book Review: Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

fullsizeoutput_20a2

Summary:
Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe … which is now filling with blood.
When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.
Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.
Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.
StepsisterReview:
I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Donnelly while she was doing the book tour for Stepsister. She was honestly so inspiring. I’ve been so excited to read Stepsister since that event. I finally managed to listen to the audiobook for the NEWTs.
Stepsister is the story of Cinderella’s sisters and what happens to them after Ella marries the prince and becomes Queen. I am in awe of Donnelly with the complexities of this story. Isabelle is being guided by two characters, Fate and Chance. It took me way too long to realize the significance of Chance other than it just being his name. Chance steals Isabelle’s life map from the Fate’s, and does everything in his power to change her path.
Isabelle was a really unlikable character. Which I’m pretty sure was the intention. This wasn’t a happy story. It was a story about growth. How to find the pieces of your heart and escape the title of ‘ugly step-sister.’
I am really not sure how to explain this story. But it was one of loss and regret and learning to love yourself. The things that Isabelle and her family endure could break anyone. But she doesn’t let it. She tries and tries, again and again, to do the right things, to be a better person. But she learns that it’s not that easy. Isabelle’s path is not an easy one, but despite the forces trying to hinder her, she finds her way.
Overall, this was a fascinating story. It was filled with unlikeable characters that learned how to be better, how to change their ways before it was too late, and how to love themselves even though they may not be traditionally pretty. Fate and Chance pulled the path in countless directions, keeping things interesting. If you’re a lover of fairytales, this is the story for you.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Summary:
Love. Loss. Liberty.
Andie Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and angry at the world for taking her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And her father has determined that Andi’s accompanying him to Paris over winter break is the solution to everything.
But Paris is a city of ghosts for Andi. And when she finds a centuries-old diary, the ghosts begin to walk off the page. Alexandrine, the owner of the journal, knew heartbreak also, and Andi finds comfort in the girl’s words. Until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.
Review:
I received this book for my birthday from my best friend, Colleen. She explained that it’s one of her favorites and was surprised that I hadn’t read it. She bought it for me as part of my birthday gift last month. I was intrigued by the premise and got so much more than I expected from this story.
I generally don’t pick out historical fiction as a genre I read often, but when I do they are usually excellent books. Revolution certainly fills that standard. An excellent story it was for sure. Growing up in the United States, I learned primarily about American history doing my schooling. So going into this book I didn’t know very much about the French Revolution. I learned so much in this book that I didn’t previously know. I was a little worried I was going to be bored once the journal entries started and I realized that this was a historical fiction novel. I was not bored in the slightest. The back and forth between Andi’s story and Alex’s story kept it interesting. History is not one of my favorite subjects so it was nice to have Andi’s story to break up the massive amounts of information we were getting from Alex.
I liked all of the characters in this book. Andi is a deeply troubled girl. After losing her brother, she’s drowing in grief and blames herself for his death. She almost kills herself many times. I think the best thing this book did was accurately portray grief. Loosing someone you love can overwhelm you and take over your life. It can be so hard to deal with and move forward from that it consumes you and nothing else seems like it matters. I feel as if this story also accurately portrays depression and anxiety. Andi is so deep in her own troubles, taking too many of her pills that are supposed to be helping. Hallucinating, suicidal, she’s a girl with many problems. But these problems made her real. They made her relatable. I also like that at the ending they weren’t just magically resolved. She still had her problems, but she was slowly pulling herself out of the hole she was in and moving forward. She’s not cured but she’s trying.
Alex was an impressive character. Being alive during the French Revolution is not something I would want. She’s a character that also knows hardship and grief, but she deals with it differently than Andi. She’s fiercely loyal and incredibly brave. She fights for what she believes in and does her best to do the right thing for the people she loves. I wish she had met a better end, but the Revolution was a hard time to live in.

“I will go out again this very night with my rockets and fuses. I will blow them straight out of their comfortable beds. Blow the rooftops off their houses. Blow the black, wretched night to bits. I will not stop. For I mad I may be, but I will never be convenient.”

Revolution had some great supporting characters. Andi’s best friend back home was great. He knew she was having a hard time and did his best to be there for her even while she was in another country. Andi manages to make some friends while she’s in Paris and I loved them. Virgil is a total dream boat. He’s totally into Andi even if she doesn’t realize it for a while. He’s sweet and caring, but also intelligent with goals for his life. I totally loved him for Andi. He was supportive of her, even when she was being a totally bitch.
The last aspect of this book I want to talk about was the music. Books and music are two of my favorite things, but I can’t play or write music to save my life. This story features several musicians that use music to soothe their soul. Music is Andi’s passion and I love that we really see her come alive when she’s playing or listening to or talking about music. It played a huge part in this book and I really loved it. It was super interesting to read about, even for someone that doesn’t understand anything about making music.

“I’m wishing that he could see that music lives. Forever. That it’s stronger than death. Stronger than time. And that its strength holds you together when nothing else can.”

Overall, I totally loved this story. My only complaint is that the ending felt as if it was a little bit rushed. Andi spent so much time walking around Paris and reading Alex’s journal that I was already 300+ pages in before the real action happened. Even the epilogue felt rushed. We were told everything about Andi’s life one year later. There was definitely some opportunity to ‘show not tell’ toward the end of the book and the opposite toward the middle of the story. I loved the characters. I love that I learned about history and music. I loved this book.

“Every heart is made of stories.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

WWW Wednesday

Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that was formerly hosted by Should be Reading and was recently taken over by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next and have read recently. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or link your post!

wwwwww

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently listening to The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I’m currently reading Watch You Burn by Amanda Searcy on my Kindle (thanks to NetGalley!) I’m also reading Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard.

Antonia- I’m currently reading Captured By Magic by Linsey Hall.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I recently finished listening to Supernaturally by Kiersten White. I also recently finished reading Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Keep an eye out for my reviews!

Antonia- Most recently, I finished Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. Check out my review here.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- Next I’ll be reading Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. Also possibly City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare.

Antonia- I’m thinking I’ll read The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. I’ve had my eye on this one for awhile; it sounds like such an interesting story.

Thanks for reading our W’s this week. What are yours? Leave them in the comments or leave us a link to your post.