Blogtober Book Review: Bewitching by Alex Flinn

GoodReads Summary:
Bewitching can be a beast. . . .
Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn’t.
I go to a new school now—one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I’m not still here because I’m stupid; I just don’t age.
You see, I’m immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years—except for when to take my powers and butt out.
I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the Titanic lifeboat? I don’t even want to think about it.
Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn’t get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl—and it isn’t an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start… bewitching.
Bewitching (Kendra Chronicles, #2)Review:
I’ve been working my way through Flinn’s backlist that I haven’t read yet. So, Bewitching was next up on the list. I really liked parts of this story and not so much some other parts. I think going into this, I assumed it was going to more of Kendra’s story. We do get a bit of Kendra’s history at the beginning, and tidbits of things she’s done in the past, but I wanted more I guess.
The story mostly follows Emma. She lives with her mom and her step-father. Her parents married when she was three, so her step-dad is really the only father she’s ever known and she loves him dearly. But it turns out that he has another daughter around Emma’s age. Lisette’s mom dies and so Lisette comes to live with Emma. Emma is excited to gain a sister, but her mom puts doubts in her head about Lisette’s intentions. And Emma starts to realize that her mom was right all along. I really liked Emma. She was so excited to have a sister. She wanted someone to share things with and really tried to give Lisette the benefit of the doubt until that just wasn’t possible anymore. I liked how her story ended too. She never stooped to Lisette’s level.
Lisette on the other hand was completely horrible. She’s the Cinderella in this retelling, but instead of being kind and sweet, she was conniving and devious. She took away everything from Emma one piece at a time. I understood her backstory, it was sad, but no excuse to be the terrible girl she was.
There were also three stories outside of Emma’s story. In the beginning, we get a bit of Kendra’s story, her family, when she learned she was a witch, and all that. But we also get two stories aside from Emma’s (and a brief mention of Beastly) where Kendra intervened to help people. One is a retelling of The Princess and the Pea and the other was The Little Mermaid and I just didn’t care about either if them at all. They really completely took me out of my enjoyment of Emma’s story. I almost DNF’d this book because the little mermaid story was almost 100 pages and I just didn’t care about it at all.
I’m still going to push through and try to finish this series because I do enjoy Flinn’s fairytale retellings and Kendra is still a pretty interesting character.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Cloaked by Alex Flinn

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GoodReads Summary:
I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.
It all started with the curse. And the frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.
There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Keys.
Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either. But you’ll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got CLOAKED.
CloakedReview:
I’ve been trying to reread all of Alex Flynn’s retellings. It’s been a while since I’ve read a few of them and there are definitely some that I haven’t read. Cloaked is one that I haven’t read, though I thought I’d read it already for some reason.
Cloaked follows Johnny, who runs the shoe repair business that’s been in his family for many years. It’s located in a well-known hotel, which is how he ends up meeting a princess. This princess asks him to find her brother, who has been turned into a frog. So, it’s a princess and the frog retelling. But one of my favorite things about this book was that there were a bunch of lesser-known fairytales included. I thought they were done well and didn’t overwhelm the overall story.
I also really liked the conclusion of the story. The only thing I didn’t really like was that the princess was trying to motivate Johnny to help her with offering to marry him. There’s something that just didn’t sit right about using marriage as a motivator with a bunch of teenagers. So, I was happy to see the conclusion and how that was handled.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. I liked the character growth and thought it was well done. There were definitely some dumb teenage boy moments. But they were actually pretty funny and helped (eventually) Johnny figure out what he really wanted. If you’re a fan of retellings, I think this is one you’ll like.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

GoodReads Summary:
Talia fell under a spell…
Jack broke the curse.
I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic…
I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.
I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger’s soft kiss.
I couldn’t help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn’t know this would happen.
Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!
Now I’m stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels…The good news: My parents will freak!
Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?
A Kiss in TimeReview:
Somehow, I hadn’t read this book by Alex Flinn. I’ve read almost all of her books, and actually thought I’d read this one already. The highlight of this story was the character development. At the beginning of the story, Jack and Talia are both pretty awful, but as the story progresses, they teach and learn from one another about what’s really important. They each help the other become better versions of themselves.
I liked the concept of this story. It’s a Snow White retelling, but Flinn’s twist is that the whole kingdom falls asleep with Talia. This was a fun twist because after they sleep for 300 years, they awake in the 21st century and that is more than culture shock for them. I thought this was a really fun way to tell this story and I really liked how Jack’s father came in to help Talia’s kingdom figure out how to function in this new strange world.
Overall, this was a fun retelling with incredible character growth. I went from really disliking Jack and Talia both to being really invested in their relationship.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

GoodReads Summary:
Nico had warned them. Going through the House of Hades would stir the demigods’ worst memories. Their ghosts would become restless. Nico may actually become a ghost if he has to shadow-travel with Reyna and Coach Hedge one more time. But that might be better than the alternative: allowing someone else to die, as Hades foretold.
Jason’s ghost is his mother, who abandoned him when he was little. He may not know how he is going to prove himself as a leader, but he does know that he will not break promises like she did. He will complete his line of the prophecy: To storm or fire the world must fall.
Reyna fears the ghosts of her ancestors, who radiate anger. But she can’t allow them to distract her from getting the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood before war breaks out between the Romans and Greeks. Will she have enough strength to succeed, especially with a deadly hunter on her trail?
Leo fears that his plan won’t work, that his friends might interfere. But there is no other way. All of them know that one of the Seven has to die in order to defeat Gaea, the Earth Mother.
Piper must learn to give herself over to fear. Only then will she be able to do her part at the end: utter a single word.
Heroes, gods, and monsters all have a role to play in the climactic fulfillment of the prophecy in The Blood of Olympus, the electrifying finale of the best-selling Heroes of Olympus series.
The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)Review:
I cannot start this review any other way besides saying, WHAT THE F WAS THAT ENDING. I’m genuinely upset about the lack of reuniting with a certain friend group. To the point where I had to text Antonia and scream to her about it (with a context text to let me know I wasn’t talking about someone we knew in real life).
I really liked how everything was wrapped up with the big bad in this story. I thought the end result was full of action and drama. I loved the team that came together and ended up really loving one another, despite their many differences. I think Riordan is the king of lovable friend groups. I really liked how each of their stories ended (aside from the lack of the reuniting with on particular character that I mentioned above). They each made life-changing decisions and I really liked these choices.
I’m going to keep this review on the shorter side because I honestly feel like I’ve said everything and more in my previous four reviews. I love this series. I love these characters. I love Rick Riordan. I am very excited to keep reading his books. If you haven’t, start now.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

GoodReads Summary:
Hazel stands at a crossroads. She and the remaining crew of the Argo II could return home with the Athena Parthenos statue and try to stop Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter from going to war. Or they could continue their quest to find the House of Hades, where they might be able to open the Doors of Death, rescue their friends Percy and Annabeth from Tartarus, and prevent monsters from being reincarnated in the mortal world. Whichever road they decide to take, they have to hurry, because time is running out. Gaea, the bloodthirsty Earth Mother, has set the date of August 1 for her rise to power.
Annabeth and Percy are overwhelmed. How will the two of them make it through Tartarus? Starving, thirsty, and in pain, they are barely able to stumble on in the dark and poisonous landscape that holds new horrors at every turn. They have no way of locating the Doors of Death. Even if they did, a legion of Gaea’s strongest monsters guards the Doors on the Tartarus side. Annabeth and Percy can’t exactly launch a frontal assault.
Despite the terrible odds, Hazel, Annabeth, Percy, and the other demigods of the prophecy know that there is only one choice: to attempt the impossible. Not just for themselves, but for everyone they love. Even though love can be the riskiest choice of all.
Join the demigods as they face their biggest challenges yet in The House of Hades, the hair-raising penultimate book in the best-selling Heroes of Olympus series.
The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4)Review:
I have to mention first off that the audiobook narrator was changed for this book (and I’ve just learned the final book as well) and I’m extremely upset by this. Though I don’t hate the new narrator the voices he does for the characters are obviously different than those of the previous narrator from the last three books in this series (and also the original Percy Jackson series.) I did grow used to the new narrator, thankfully.
Okay, I loved this book. If you haven’t read the first three books in the series please stop reading right now and skip to my last “overall” paragraph because I’m going to talk about what’s going on in this book which will spoil events in the previous ones.
Percy and Annabeth have ended up in Tartarus and while it was terrible for them I really enjoyed their chapters. Seeing monsters we’ve met before and exploring a new aspect of the myths we’ve heard about was fascinating. They face serious threats (though there’s another book so it’s hard to imagine they were actually in life-threatening danger) but are aided by unlikely friends. I loved Bob and Small Bob. They were excellent and I hope we see them again.
Then there’s Leo, he also finds someone we’ve met before and I freaking loved it. I just adored him finally getting his own romance. I like the connections that we see and he’s always figuring out bizarre ways to fix the countless problems this crew encounters.
Hazel and frank I’m going to mention together because I love them. I love how happy their relationship is. They’ve both grown so much and experienced more than any kid their age should. But they handle everything really well and are really learning more about themselves and their abilities.
Piper and Jason are also growing and learning about themselves. I love that piper is continuing to gain confidence in herself, her abilities, and the fact that she is an important member of the team. Jason deals with inner conflicts that I think we will see more in the final book.
I also have to mention Coach Hedge. He was annoying in the first book but now he’s really a member of this little family. I love that we see him become more vulnerable. The moment where he finally tells frank what’s going on made me so happy.
Then there’s Nico. Oh, Nico. I love this dark little bean. He confides in Jason a secret that I totally didn’t expect but one that made me love him just that much more. I think he and Hazel’s growing sibling relationship was precious.
Overall, this book was filled with wonderful characters that each have distinct personalities and important roles. I adored the mythology, the old and new monsters and gods/goddesses. I am very excited to see what’s going to happen in the finale.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

GoodReads Summary:
Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon figurehead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.
And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket, Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving command: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?
Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader—but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side
Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare. . . .
The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3)Review:
Book three in The Heroes of Olympus was a wild ride. Part of me felt like it was nonstop action and another part of me felt like it was a little slow. I know this doesn’t make any sense. But there was always something going on and all the characters have such big feelings that even when the action is slow the story is not.
I don’t really feel like getting into each of the characters, but overall, they all continue to grow. A few things I do want to mention are the weirdness between Leo, frank, and hazel. I loved this connection. I thought it was such an interesting twist within the story.
The mystery about Annabeth’s mission to follow the mark of Athena was another compelling part of the story. I like that some of the characters knew little bits that helped Annabeth. I enjoyed this side quest that was ongoing alongside the ultimate goal of stopping Gia.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I liked the romance with hazel and frank. I loved getting to see more of Percy and Annabeth. Piper and Leo were also enjoyable. The action was exciting. We got to meet new (and old) gods and goddesses which is always interesting. As with my other reviews, I’m currently listening to book four while typing this review on my phone. I just cannot get enough of this series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

GoodReads Summary:
Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code. But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tale and penchant for peaches. Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance.
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo #1)Review:
Can I just call this Percy Jackson but with Asian mythology? Because that’s what it was except definitely for a bit older age range. They definitely swear and I loved it. This story was so much fun. I absolutely adored the mythology and learning more about Asian myths that I’m not familiar with. I also loved the modern setting and how these mythological figures were integrated into today’s world. The story was fast-paced and exciting. It was full of action, but not overtaken by it. There were scenes about college coaching and things like that which I thought was a nice contrast from the action and adventure.
I really liked Genie. She was honestly just really funny. She struggled to balance her regular life with her new godly (I’m not sure that’s the right word, but that’s what we’re going with) abilities and responsibilities. She steps up and helps when she thinks she should and stands up for her beliefs (even against actual gods and goddesses) when she thinks they’re wrong. I completely loved her.
Overall, I think this is a book that people should be talking about. I’d never heard of it until the author was announced to be at a book event I’m going to this year. I’m so glad I found it because it was just genuinely fun to listen to.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

GoodReads Summary:
Jason has a problem.
He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?
Piper has a secret.
Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.
Leo has a way with tools.
When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason’s amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?
The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)Review:
I was honestly so excited to get back into the world of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. This new series is one I’ve been excited for since reading the first, but even more so after finishing The Lost Hero. As I type this review (on my phone) I’m listening to the first chapter of the second book. There’s just something so fun about these stories and their characters.
Let’s jump into the characters. I absolutely adore Piper and Leo. They’re great best friends to Jason. We follow Jason at first, who has no memories and has somehow ended up on a school bus. Jason, despite not knowing literally anything, manages the challenges they face really well. I liked his natural leadership and his growing friendship with Leo and Piper.
Piper was probably my favorite. She’s torn between saving her dad, which means betraying her friends or being a hero. I thought this was such a complex inner battle. I loved how her story turned out. I also really loved seeing her grow and gain confidence, which as a daughter of Aphrodite is important with her ability to charm speak as it’s based on confidence.
Leo was adorable. He is the son of Hephaestus. He also has a rare fire ability. So, he’s learning how to control his ability and also trying to make himself believe that he is just as important to the team as the others. I thought he was great, the comedic relief but also a character with substance.
I really like the godly interactions. We get to see Hera quite a bit and though she isn’t well-liked, I could understand her feelings. I really loved Piper and Leo both getting to talk to their godly parents. I thought those interactions came at just the right times.
Overall, I loved this. As I mentioned I’m currently already listening to book two and it’s giving me all of the answers I still wanted from book one. There are so many questions were still left with, but were also given many answers. Riordan writes the story in the perfect way where were given enough information to be kept interested, but not too much we feel like everything is over. I also had a few things figured out but not all the details. Any mythology lovers are going to adore this series for sure.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

GoodReads Summary:
She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.
A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen, #2)Review:
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, though they are companion novels and not truly a series. I loved this second book much more than the first. All of the things that made me not totally adore the first book were resolved in this book. I’ll stop being vague and get right into it.
First of all, it’s an enemies to lovers trope which is always a good time for me. Gauri is the princess of her kingdom and Vikram the prince of his. They are at war. When Vikram gets invited to the magical Tournament of Wishes, but is told he must find and bring his partner. The moment he sees Gauri, he knows she is the one he was told about.
I loved Vikram. He seems like he doesn’t take anything seriously, but he does. He just has that positive personality that means he makes jokes at the wrong times and is just generally an upbeat person. I really loved him. I think the contrast of Gauri’s character was so well done. She’s a warrior and all she wants is to be the leader to her people she knows she can be. I really enjoyed both characters accepting their desires and facing their fears.
Their banter had me cackling. I really loved their constant teasing and shots at one another. It was definitely my favorite part of this story. We really got to see their relationship for and develop together as we also got to see them grow individually. This was something I missed in the last book because the characters already had a past together. Also, the timeline wasn’t at all confusing like it was in the first book which I appreciated. I also really loved that we get to see bits and pieces of the previous book. The characters didn’t play a huge part, but we saw them and I enjoyed that.
I loved this world that we were in. The magical and the mythical were well explained and honestly so fascinating. I was completely captivated by this world and all of the characters in it. I adored the romance, especially the ending. I have loved everything I’ve read by this author and I’m not really excited to pick up the first book in her newest series.

Quotes:

“A story had no owner ship. A story could break its bones, grow wings, soar out of reach and dive out of sight in the time it took just to draw breath. It meant we weren’t walking a cut path. We carved it into existence with
every step.”

“It felt silly to say that he couldn’t bear to lose her. He never had her. She was not a thing to be possessed. But her entrance in his life had conjured light. And losing the light of her would plunge him into a darkness he’d never find his way out of.”

“Surviving isn’t just about cutting out your heart and burning every feeling into ash. Sometimes it means taking what ever is thrown at you, beautiful or grotesque, poisonous or blissful, and carving out your life with the pieces you’re given.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Beholder by Anna Bright

GoodReads Summary:
Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.
But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.
From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.
The Beholder (The Beholder, #1)Review:
Honestly, I was really hoping this would be a new favorite or at least a four-star read. Sadly, I gave it three stars, but I could have given it two. I really just couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be historical fiction or fantasy and there was potential for a retelling aspect as well. It was just confusing. There were real places used, like England. Then there were “fantasy” elements that were very clearly based on Norse mythology of Asgard and Yggdrasil. Along with the main character being from Potomac, which may or may not be a real place in history but if so, it’s not one I’m familiar with. I just wanted some consistency. It’s one thing to borrow from history or mythology but to borrow from both in one story is too much.
Another thing I had an issue with was the main character, Selah. I listened to this on audio so I don’t know how to spell her title. But she’s the equivalent of a princess without actually being one. She’s next in line to lead her people. But I don’t know how she plans to do that because she is extremely naïve and also a huge pushover. She doesn’t even really object much when her stepmother informs her that she’s being sent away.
Then we get to the journey and Selah shows how much of a thirsty girl she is. She flirts with the ship’s captain. She has weird feelings she isn’t sure how to deal with. Then she gets to England and she “falls in love” with the English guard that is assigned to her. (By the way, I guess the plot twist with this like a day after she got to England.) She finds out some things and she’s embarrassed and “turned into a joke” which was just so ridiculous and overdramatic. I was so annoyed with her because the reasoning for the deception in England was honestly good and she acted like a child. After she arrives in Norge, suddenly she’s in love again. How does a girl fall in love (like deep, serious love) with two people she’s never previously met in the span of a month? It was annoying and very unrealistic. But then things happen and she has to leave the second prince that she’s fallen in love with.
Torn from the man she loves; she must continue on. She knows something is going on with her father and instead of, I don’t know BRINGING HIM A LEGITIMATE DOCTOR, she just continues on the journey she’s been assigned. I don’t know if I’ll continue. I liked the narrator and the book went by fast and I am a little curious as to how this will all come to an end. A lot of things bothered me in this book, but it was still kind of fun.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

GoodReads Summary:
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…
But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.
The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)Review:
After reading Roshani’s middle-grade books, I was interested in picking up one of her YA releases. I loved her writing in her other books and short stories that I’ve read so I was excited about this one.
I did really enjoy The Star-Touched Queen, despite the few points that had me wildly confused. I liked our main character, Maya. She was the outcast daughter because of the horoscope she was born with. Most of the others avoided her and blamed bad things on her. Regardless of this, she’s trying to work on skills and learn. She spies on her father’s meetings and keeps up with the local politics. So, she already knows when her father comes to tell her that she must choose a husband. I really liked Maya. She’s swept up into an unfamiliar place and does her best to stay positive and figure out what she’s gotten herself into.
I also really liked Amar. I liked that we didn’t really know what he was hiding either, but that we were given hints to try and figure it out. I wish there had been an easier way for this pair. At first, I thought their relationship was sort of insta-love, but after learning the memories that Maya had lost, I really loved them together.
My biggest complaint about this book was that sometimes I found myself just wildly confused. I felt like the timeline was never very clear and that made bits and pieces of the story really confusing. It got better in the second half of the book.
I love the world and the mythology involved in this story. I really enjoyed all of the mythical beasts that were talked about and introduced. I also really love Kamala.
Finally, Roshani’s writing is absolutely stunning. I could have highlighted half of this book if I had gone into the story intending to annotate. I didn’t, but I love the writing. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and it would have been a five-star read had I not been so confused in the first half of the story.

Quotes:

“I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones. I wanted the impossible, which made it that much easier to push out of my mind.”

“The truth,” said Amar, taking a step closer to me, “is that you look neither lovely nor demure. You look like edges and thunderstorms. And I would not have you any other way.”

“My star-touched queen,” he said softly, as if he was remembering something from long ago. “I would break the world to give you what you want.”

“The worms do not take heed of caste and rank when they feast on our ashes,” the Raja said. “Your subjects will not remember you. They will not remember the shade of your eyes, the colors you favored, or the beauty of your wives. They will only remember your impression upon their hearts and whether you filled them with glee or grief. That is your immortality.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

GoodReads Summary:
On Christmas Eve five years ago, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase was visited by three Ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. She didn’t. And then she died.
Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge—as their latest Ghost of Christmas Past. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year’s Scrooge is different. This year’s Scrooge might change everything…
The Afterlife of Holly Chase is a witty, poignant, and insightful novel about life, love, and seizing second (or third) chances, perfect for readers who loved Before I Fall or Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares.
The Afterlife of Holly ChaseReview:
I picked this one up before Christmas because I was in the mood for a holiday book. This was only sort of that. I really enjoyed this even though it was a bit ‘Bah Humbug.’
We follow Holly Chase who has died and is now working to help others so that they don’t follow the same path that she did. I really enjoyed the twists on the original story.
I didn’t like Holly at all, but I think that was the point. I was also really not very happy about the romance aspect of this story, but the way the story ended made me a little more okay with it. I liked that there was a happy ending and Holly learned something from her experiences.
I’m going to keep this review short. Overall, I liked this but didn’t love it. It wasn’t the holiday read I wanted, but it was still a good book. I really enjoyed the retelling aspect of it. I thought the writing was well done to make Holly unlikable but somehow still make the reader care about her and her story.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

GoodReads Summary:
Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.
Geekerella (Once Upon a Con, #1)Review:
I’ve had this book on my shelves for months, patiently waiting for me to pick it up. I ended up reading it in one sitting (on a night my daughter wasn’t feeling well and kept me up all night).
I love the idea of a Cinderella retelling and I think that aspect of the story was well done. I think all the most important parts of the original story were included and modernized in an interesting way.
I also liked that this whole story was based on fandoms. This book was made for book nerds and just fandom nerds in general. I think because I’m not a huge comic or tv show fan, a bit of this book was lost for me.
I liked the modernization of the romance too. I thought it was sweet and relatable. I liked both of the main characters.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I think many will absolutely adore it because it’s really written for fans.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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.