Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate was recommended to me by my boss and she gave me a little premise of the story so I kind of knew what to expect in terms of plot. I did not know what to expect in terms of what would actually happen. Now, I don't believe this book is based on an actual person's story but it's based off of something that actually happened. Children of poor parents were taken away and adopted out to the very rich. This story follows what happens to a family of children in the past as well as the story of a young woman in the present who wants to find out more about her family history. The two stories combine in a surprising way.

I enjoyed the jumping between timelines and getting to know the characters on both sides, although the past was fairly sad. Avery's discovery of herself was very interesting to watch, as so many things were going on in her life at that time.

I was a little dissatisfied with the ending. I mean technically there was a conclusion but I didn't get all of the answers I wanted and it would have been nice for there to be something at the end with all the information.

I give this book a 6 out of 10 stars and recommend it to adults, if an older teenager wants to read it I would recommend a parent read it first just so they can understand what's going on and talk about it with their child. This book does cover heavy issues, such as the abuse of children and seniors as well as the onset of dementia, so please read with caution if those are triggers for you.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

UPDATE - Unexpected Hiatus

Hello everyone, I'm so sorry for the apparent hiatus I took during November! I just had a lot going on and quite frankly didn't read very many new books, I reread quite a few of my favorite books! I am planning on posting more regularly though. I am considering posting on different days, I'm not sure if that matters to anyone or if you have a preference?

Please feel free to let me know if you're more likely to read book reviews on the weekends or during the week! And if there's a particular time of day you prefer to read them! If not I'll just figure out what works best from me and hope that you guys don't min the change :)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Roar by Cora Carmack

Roar by Cora Carmack is a wonderful fantasy set in a world where storms are almost sentient and people need to be protected from them. Aurora is a princess in this world without the ability to control storms, a desperately needed power in a time when storms can kill thousands of people. An arranged marriage is all that can save them, but Rora knows she can't trust that family. She ends up following him to a black market and learns there's so much more to her world than she had ever imagined. And when an opportunity for her to learn more about storms comes up, she decides to take it. Along the way, she learns more about herself and the world around her and decides that she needs to make changes. But first, can she figure out why the storms affect her the way they do?

This book was so fun to read! The concept is so intriguing and unique, I don't think I've ever read a story where storms can be sentient before. And all the characters are so diverse and you get to know multiple characters well but you're not overwhelmed. I'm really excited to see how the next book goes because the ending of this book was left on a cliffhanger!

The main thing I wasn't too hot on was the... romantic scenes I guess you could call them? They were very very steamy. One actually made me laugh in the beginning, I tried to picture it and I just thought it sounded ridiculous. But they get very close and intimate quite a few times and while I guess it's fine I don't know if that much detail was needed. They don't actually have sex, but they get close.

I give this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend this for 18+ readers of YA Fantasy.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin E. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin E. Craig is a rather creepy retelling of the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Annaleigh is now the second oldest child after her four older sisters have passed away. The most recent death was under suspicious circumstances and when Annaleigh starts to try and investigate worse things start to happen, not to mention there are whispers that the family has been cursed with so many deaths. Annaleigh's father has remarried and his new wife is pregnant. But not all the sisters trust their new stepmother and Annaleigh tries to be helpful while still keeping the peace with her sisters. As Annaleigh navigates a shaky home life and tries to deal with figuring out who killed her sister she meets a mysterious man who is more than what he seems. When the girls find a hidden door that allows them to go wherever they want, mainly gorgeous balls across the world, Annaleigh can't help but be slightly suspicious. When more deaths happen Annaleigh doesn't know who to trust, even her own mind. Can she trust this mysterious stranger or does she need to trust those she's known her whole life?

Oh my goodness, this book was definitely a creepy mystery fantasy. It was so interesting, and I really did not expect the ending at all. I liked how the dances came about, and finding out the secret behind them was kind of terrifying but very cool at the same time. I felt so strongly for Annaleigh, trying to figure out how to keep her family together, figure out what happened to her sister Eulalie, discourage and ignore the rumors of the curse, and figure out where her heart lies between two men: one an old friend and the other a new flame. I thought it was sweet that she wanted to help her new stepmother, especially since the other girls didn't want to much to do with her. I had a lot of respect for Annaleigh as I read this book, just throughout.

I wish the whole gods' mythology/situation had been better explained. Even if there had been something at the beginning as an instructional book that would have been nice. There were little snippets of folklore before the chapters and I appreciated that. But knowing a bit more about all of the gods and how that worked would have helped a bit I think.

Overall I think this is a perfect October fairy tale retellings, I give this book an 8 out of 10 and I recommend for readers of Fairy Tales and YA Fantasy.

NOTE: Parents there is quite a bit of graphic imagery in this book, I would recommend reading it to make sure your younger adult children won't have a hard time with it.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Silent Mermaid by Brittany Fichter

The Silent Mermaid by Brittany Fichter is a retelling of, you guessed it, The Little Mermaid! Again, Brittany Fichter does a wonderful job of putting a spin on the original tale. She keeps it recognizable but puts her own distinct twist on it. Arianna is unusual for a mermaid in that she has no voice, which is how mermaids work their magic. She is the only daughter of the ambassador and his wife and granddaughter to the Sea King. Arianna loves the people of the land and wishes she could join her family for formal events but is never allowed because her father fears she will be captured and displayed as an oddity: a mermaid with no voice. Tragic events happen and the relationship between the Sun King and Sea King fray so the merfolk all travel to the main capital. Unfortunately, Arianna can't go with them because she cannot handle being so deep in the ocean. She ends up on land with legs and ends up in the house of the Sun Kingdom, whose prince she often watched. Will they accept her while knowing what she is? And will Arianna be able to help the Sun Kingdom thrive again and possible return peace between the two peoples? The only key may be finding her voice.

Oh my goodness this book was so cool! The person who ended up being the sea witch equivalent was perfect, and the way that Arianna ended up saving everyone was so cool! The whole legs to tail thing was done really well, and I loved the relationship between Prince Michael and his little nieces. They were so precious.

The only thing that kind of bugged me about this was I had a hard time keeping straight who in the human side was related and how they were related. It got a bit confusing but I figured it out in the end.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of Retellings of Fairy Tales and Fantasy.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Siren by Kiera Cass

The Siren by Kiera Cass is a wonderful story about the Ocean's relationship with her Sirens and why they exist. Kahlen has been with the ocean for quite a long time. Kahlen's family was actually killed by sirens and the Ocean gave Kahlen a choice: serve the Ocean for 100 years or die. Kahlen chose to serve and has a hard time fitting in with the small group of girls who serve as sirens as well. She has nightmares of the people she's killed and seems more affected by it than the other sirens. And then one day she meets Akinli, a human boy who she can't help falling head over heels for. As she struggles with her duties and her love for a human her world begins to unravel and she struggles to decide what to do: follow her heart or finish her service to the Ocean.

I had never considered that Sirens might be there for a particular purpose or that the ocean might be an entity in and of itself. The Ocean needs to feed and when there aren't natural disasters then the Ocean uses her Sirens to gather what she needs. The Ocean isn't human and she and the girls have a hard time understanding each other sometimes, but Kahlen is the closest one and I think it's sweet how the Ocean doesn't want to let her go. After 100 years is up the sirens are freed from their commitment, have their memories wiped, and go to live on land for the rest of their lives. Kahlen and Akinli had one of those relationships where they just clicked and couldn't let go I thought it was really cool how they were affected by each other after a specific point in the story. I'm trying not to do spoilers!

I know a few people didn't enjoy this story, but I really liked it! I thought the whole concept was great and super interesting. I can't think of anything to critique, I really did enjoy it.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of YA Fantasy.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Girl with the Red Hood by Brittany Fichter

The Girl with the Red Hood by Brittany Fichter is an incredible retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Liesel and her father move away from her grandparents when her mother dies, but the place they move to has a dangerous secret. Liesel gets embroiled in this when she is bitten by a wolf and ends up being destined to a terrifying fate that no one will tell her about. She meets a boy named Kurt while in the woods and begins to develop a relationship with and feelings for him. But he's involved with her terrifying fate and he helps her escape. Will she ever be able to outrun her destiny marked as she is? Or will it catch up to her and swallow her whole?

I have read a couple retellings of Little Red Riding Hood and I absolutely love this one. There's a whole aspect that I haven't seen explored before, giving a whole culture to the wolf part of the book. I really enjoyed how the grandparents were involved with it and how it was resolved in the end. It was also nice to see other places in this world after the three books with Everard and Isabelle. They're not a heavy presence in this book, but I'm fine with that.

I did really enjoy this book but I felt in some places it dragged just a little bit. I think all the different ways the story played out was definitely amazing but it would've been nice if it had been tightened up just a wee bit.

I give this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend for readers of Retellings of Fairy Tales and Fantasy!