Blogmas Book Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

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GoodReads Summary:
There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.
Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.
To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.
Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?
The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)Review:
I have to start this review off by sending a thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest (and very late) review. I’m glad to have gotten this one, even if it was approved only days before the release date because I don’t know how long it would have taken me to get around to buying it. Now that I’ve already read (and loved!) it, I’m planning to go buy my own copy this weekend.
The Guinevere Deception is a retelling of the myth of King Arthur and Camelot, but with a more feminist focus. We follow Guinevere instead of Arthur. I know little to nothing about the original mythology (which I will talk about a bit later in the review), so for me, this was a fun and fantastical read with characters I vaguely knew of.
I loved Guinevere. She’s sent to Camelot to protect Arthur from something, but Merlin hasn’t told her what that something is. She has magic, which has been banned from Camelot. So she must keep her magic a secret. Of course, she doesn’t. But the few she entrusts her secret to are characters I really like. Guinevere is determined not to let Arthur down and even might fancy him a bit. But though she is his Queen, it is not real. Honestly, I was rooting for a little more romance between Arthur and Guinevere. I totally ship them and didn’t particularly care for the almost love triangle that was going on for a bit.
I loved all of the supporting characters too. Guinevere’s lady’s maid, Brangien. She was more than just a maid and I really liked that. She supported Guinevere and helped her with everything she was supposed to already know. Also, Brangien’s love interest and how Guinevere helps them see one another melted my little heart.
Now, the patchwork knight was my favorite. The mystery of their identity and whether or not they were involved in nefarious things was excellent. And I was more than pleased when we do finally figure out who the patchwork knight was.
I even liked Arthur, even though he wasn’t really center stage in this book. I’m hoping we get more of him with Guinevere in the next book because I totally want these two to love each other forever and ever.
I thought the writing was beautiful and the characters were loveable. So when I went to mark this book finished on goodreads I was more than surprised to see that it has almost a 3.5-star average. I think that has to do with how well-loved the original myth of King Arthur is. As I said above, I’m not overly familiar with it, so I wouldn’t know one way or the other how close it stayed to the original or didn’t. Many of the reviews I read that spoke negatively of this book were readers that pointed out they love the original mythology. But that wasn’t something that was a factor for me.
So, maybe don’t pick this one up if you’re a huge fan of the story of King Arthur, but if you’re like me and vaguely know it. You might love this one like I did.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

GoodReads Summary:
Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.
But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.
So much for normal.
Review:
I previously read this series and remember enjoying it quite a bit. I’m not sure if it’s the time that’s passed or that I’ve matured but I’m not loving this series as I once did. Maybe my reading taste is maturing.
I found Evie just as annoying as the first book (check out my thoughts on Paranormalcy here.) She’s childish and has some pretty whack priorities. She does all the wrong things for most of this book even once the truth has come out, she continues to hide things from Lend. It’s annoying and shows that she really hasn’t matured at all. I think this is also because I’m older and more mature but I’m super done with the “I’m keeping this secret to protect you” trope. I think it can be done well in certain cases, but this wasn’t one of them. I’m hoping to see some more significant character growth and development in the third and final book.
As for Lend, he was a lot less present in this book. But the parts he was present for he was mostly just fighting with Evie. While she is immature and hiding things from him, I don’t know that I blame her that much. He tries to tell her what she can and cannot do and that’s something I don’t like. Evie is her own person and if she wants to do something Lend should be the first person to say, “I don’t think that’s a good idea but if it’s what you want I support you and your decisions.”Anyone in your life that is trying to tell you what to do can GTFO immediately.
Jack was the most entertaining part of Supernaturally. He was funny and mischievous. He brought a new and fresh aspect to this story. He was the life of the party. I liked the mystery surrounding him. Where did he come from? How did he know how to walk the fairy paths? What’s his story?
As I said, Jack was the most exciting part of this story because the plot was lacking. What was the point of this story? For Evie to learn this big surprise toward the end, I think this book was mostly filler to get us through to the big to do that is inevitably coming in the third and final book.
There were some things that I did like about this book. I liked the uniqueness of the characters. This is a story filled with paranormals but they’re not your typical vampires and what not. The vampire’s attractiveness is only glamour; their real faces are grotesque and corpse-like. There are all kinds of tree sprites and elementals that are not very common in other paranormal stories. I liked this creative side of the story, it made things a little bit more interesting.
There was a little excitement here and there and we did learn some more about Evie’s backstory, but it was lacking overall as far as the plot. I didn’t love the characters. Evie was a bit immature and could have used some more development and Lend just seemed to create conflict. Jack was the entertainment of the story and had me intrigued. I’m definitely going to finish the series and read the third book because I have hope that Evie will mature and things will be concluded all around. I think this series would do better with a younger audience.

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 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.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

GoodReads Summary:
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.

Review:
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White is a book that I read years ago when the whole series was first released. I remember liking this book so much more than I did this time. Though last time I read the books and this time I listened to the audiobook via my library.
I loved the audiobook honestly. I loved the narrator. She did a great job differentiating between the various characters. She was an excellent voice for Evie. She really kept me interested in the story even when Evie’s actions and some of the things she said had me rolling my eyes.
The story and plot was super interesting. I liked the uniqueness of the paranormals characters. This wasn’t just another supernatural story with the same old characters. There were obviously the usual vampire and werewolves, but they weren’t the typical beautiful vampires and big macho wolves. I like that White made these popular kinds of characters unique and different.
I adored our love interest, Lend. He’s a shapeshifter so he can be whatever hunk we want him to be. He’s also fiercely loyal to those that are part of his circle. He’s funny and sarcastic and sweet. I just loved Lend. I loved how he wanted to look out for Evie and do everything he could to help her in whatever way she wanted, even if that way was getting to spend a day in high school.
As for our main character, Evie.  Honestly, she annoyed me a little. She’s kind of super immature and I can’t remember if that changes in the next books, but I’m hoping that it does. She was super boy crazy until she met Lend. Then she was Lend crazy. She was so focused on wanting to have a ‘normal teenage life’ getting to go to high school and prom and all of the things she would see on her favorite high school drama TV show. I understand it a bit because she’s never had a normal life. She craves the normalcy that she sees on her favorite show, but she just talks and thinks about it to the point where it’s a little annoying. Even after her situation changes, but she’s still getting new information that could help with the craziness that’s part of the story, she doesn’t do anything to help or share her information at first. She tries to just pretend she’s not a part of it anymore and give up any sort of responsibility. She drove me a little nuts for a decent amount of this book, but she got a bit better at the end. She made the right choices and accepted responsibility, her part in all of everything going on.
Overall, I really liked the unique plot. I liked the interesting twists on the typical paranormal sorts of characters. I loved Lend and I grew to love Evie. I’m excited to see where the second book goes. This book was one that I picked for the Transfiguration (a book with a shapeshifter) requirement during the Magical Readathon – O.W.L.s.

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 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!

WWW wednesday

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare in a print book. I’m doing a reread of all of Cassie’s books before Queen of Air and Darkness is released this December. I’m currently listening to Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. I’ve heard so many book bloggers rant and rave about this book and I’m excited to be listening to it.

Antonia- I just started the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova. Amanda absolutely loved this series and she’s talked about it so much that I had to give it a try.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I recently finished listening to Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. It was a great listen and I will be posting my review later this month. I also recently finished Allies by Bella Forrest (book six in the Hotbloods series) and will be posting a complete series review once I’ve finished the last two books.

Antonia- I just finished Celtic Magic by Linsey Hall. I love all of these books so much and can’t wait for the next one. Expect to see a review soon.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- My next audiobook with be Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxaum. I started listening to this a few weeks ago and then got distracted by other stories. I will be reading Stargazers by Bella Forrest – the final book in the Hotbloods series – on my Kindle. I’m not sure what print book I’ll pick up next, but I have a small stack that I’d like to get through this month.

Antonia- I’m really not sure. I’m moving next week so all my books are currently in boxes and I’m stuck with my Kindle for a bit. I might continue the Air Awakens series or The Paper Magician series by Charlie N. Holmberg.

Thanks for reading. These are our W’s for this week! What are your answers? Feel free to leave them in the comments or a link to your post.

Magical Readathon – O.W.L. Exams TBR

Hi bookworms, Amanda here! I was recently scrolling through Twitter when I saw Books in the Skye share something about a readathon based on the N.E.W.T exams from the Harry Potter books. I did a little more digging and saw that I sadly missed out on the O.W.L exam readathon, hosted over on YouTube by Book Roast, that took place originally in April. I decided that I could either skip the O.W.L.s and just take whatever N.E.W.T.s I felt like doing or I could do the O.W.L. exams anyway. I have decided that I’m going to take the O.W.L. exams anyway. So I will start this challenge tomorrow, August 2nd, and I will try to complete as many exams as I can until the 29th.

owls tbr

The following grades are awarded for the overall OWLs performance:

 

Pass

Outstanding – sit and pass at least 5 OWLs
Exceeded Expectations – sit and pass at least 3 OWLs
Acceptable – sit and pass at least 2 OWLs

Fail

Poor – sit only one OWL
Dreadful – start but not finish any OWLs tasks
Troll – do not show up at your OWLs examinations

Ancient Runes – A book with a symbol on the cover

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (print book)

the wicked deep

Arithmacy – A Book with a number on the cover or in the title

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti (print book)

zeroes

Astronomy – A science fiction novel

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (print book)

this mortal coil

Care of Magical Creatures – A book that includes magical creatures or features magical creatures on the cover

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling (print book)

hp - sorcerers stone

Charms – A fantasy novel

A Darker Shade of Magic  by V.E. Schwab (print book)

ADSOM

Defense Against the Dark Arts – A book about or with a secret society or club

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (print book)

city of bones

Divination – A book featuring prophecies 

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (ebook)

shadow of the fox

Herbology – A book with a nature-related word in the title 

Air Awakens by Elise Kova (ebook)

air awakens

History of Magic – A historical fiction novel

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (audiobook)

my lady jane

Muggle Studies – A muggle non-fiction novel

Yes Please by Amy Poehler (audiobook)

yes please

Potions – A book with or about alchemy 

Allies by Bella Forrest (ebook)

allies

Transfiguration – A book with transfiguration / shapeshifting or a book with a cat on the cover

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (audiobook)

paranormalcy

I don’t expect to read all of these books but I’m someone that does well with options so I wanted to give myself a variety of books to choose from throughout this reading challenge. I’m going to aim to read at least five of these books. Wish me luck!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.