Tag Archives: young adult

REVIEW: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

9 Jan

Read as part of the Fairytale Retelling Challenge hosted by The Daily Prophecy.

Title: Of Beast and Beauty
Author: Stacey Jay
Rating:

SYNOPSIS

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

MY THOUGHTS

Oh my Gosh! Sweet holy mother of amazing fairytale retellings!

Such amazing writing. Such captivating descriptions. Such beautiful wording.

Do you ever have those moments when a friend convinces you to try something new and at first you’re like “No, thanks.” But once you try it you wonder how it is you lived your life without ever experiencing something so life-changingly amazing?
I can’t believe it took me this long to start reading fairytale retellings. What the hell is wrong with me? I feel like the late bloomer or the loser who found out she can take pictures with her phone…in 2015. I’ve been missing out.

I’m sure you’re with me when I say Disney’s Beauty and The Beast is a magical classic. We love that masterpiece. Belle is one of the few Disney Princess who doesn’t make me what to burf. She was a freaking bookworm, for bibliophile’s sake! I love her.

Isra is no Belle. Isra is…well, she’s Isra. No, there are no talking teapots and teacups. Not that anyone was expecting that. Lol

This was one amazing read, from start to finish. A true page turner that I failed to put down once I started it. You can imagine how productive my day has been with my nose swallowed up in this beautiful fairytale.

From page one I was invited into Yuan and it’s surrounding desert where there is a secret to be uncovered around each corner. I loved every second of it. It’s a world where beauty isn’t all beauty and beast isn’t all beast.

“Beauty is wherever you find it, and beast is there when you need to defend it.”– Of Beast and Beauty.

The noble citizens of Yuan are dark at heart and treat their own citizens like animals…all because they exhibit ‘monstrous’ traits. Classic judging and mistreating of people because they are different from you. So archaic.

The city is built and thrives on ancient dark magic that requires a human sacrifice. I don’t know how much I can talk about without it turning out to be a full “spoiler alert” moment.

I loved the characterisation in this book. Loveable and great main characters you won’t help but care about. Isra and Gem were so alike and yet so different. Both had experienced loss and both were oblivious to just how wrong their view of the world was.
Isra started out as someone who doubted herself and believed wholeheartedly in what the she grew up being told. The monstrous (desert people) are evil, poison-wielding murderers who live for nothing but death and violence. She believed anyone with a corrupt soul was tainted and start mutating too.

I absolutely adored Gem. He was strong, he was a warrior and everything that I wanted from ‘beast’. I loved reading from his POV.

The author highlighted the issue of outside beauty and inner beauty so well. How a beautiful face can house a monstrous heart and a dark soul. How somebody’s appearance never really shows who they really are.

I particularly enjoyed how the author took liberties with the story, the twists and turns were amazing and I was engrossed as I moved from page to page. Instead of Beauty being held captive, we have the beast as a prisoner. That was a welcome change.

There were parts where it got so dark and grey that I almost forgot what light was. As the pages turned and I drunk up more words, each new discovery felt like it was tugging at my heart, making me feel things I shouldn’t be feeling. Stirring up emotions in me that bubbled up and fought to erupt to the surface until I was a puddle of “the feels”.

But I did. I did. Now I feel like such a weanie for admitting that.
The writing in this book was so beautiful, it was almost lyrical and poetic. I have to mention that. It’s not often that I read YA books written like this one. It made me think of Laini Taylor as I read (I love her work).

Isra and Gem’s blossoming relationship was enjoyable to read about. It was nice to have some light and cute moments in a world with so much loss and sacrifice. I found it funny how they were confused about what they were feeling to the point that they kept denying and trying to push it away. Trying to ignore the inevitable.

All in all, if you love Beauty and the Beast, this is a must read. It might not have much of the original elements but the ones that remain were enough for me to dish out a 5 star rating.

What’s the latest fairytale retelling you read? Do tell me.

Follow me on twitter Dee@The perks

-Dee

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Note To Self #2

8 Jan

You don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy “Young Adult” novels. No one was a wizard, a witch, a house elf or a giant when they were reading and enjoying Harry Potter.

Follow me on twitter Dee@The perks

-Dee

REVIEW: Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1) by Danielle Paige

3 Jan

Read as part of the Fairytale Retelling Challenge hosted by The Daily Prophecy.

SYNOPSIS

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion.
There’s still a road of yellow brick—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas. I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I’ve been trained to fight.

And I have a mission:

Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart.
Steal the Scarecrow’s brain.
Take the Lion’s courage.
And—Dorothy must die.

MY RATING: 4 of 5 stars

MY THOUGHTS
This is the first book in The Dorothy Must Die series. Its a debut work by Danielle Paige

Remember Oz? That magical place that Dorothy found herself in after that tornado…you remember the colour and vibrancy of that amazing place? Remember the magic? Remember this?

Now, forget all that and enter Oz like you’ve never imagined. Everything that could have gone wrong, has gone wrong. The yellow Brick Road is crumbling and everything has gone to shit.

“Oz has changed,” Gert said. “The trees don’t talk. The Pond of Truth tells lies, the Wandering Water stays put. The Land of Naught is on fire. People are starting to get old. People are forgetting how it used to be.”

This is Oz now. A forbidding, gross wasteland of ash, rubble and death.

It’s a dark and it’s grim and nothing is as it seems.

“Up is down, down is up. Good is Wicked, Wicked is Good. The times are changing. This is what Oz has come to.”

The Characters

This book has a lot of characters but Danielle writes them all so well that they blend in naturally and it doesn’t seem like you have to many names to remember. They are mostly likeable and you get attached to them.

I liked Amy Gumm. I enjoyed reading about her growth from start to finish. She is a relatable character and didn’t come off as an annoying ‘Mary Sue’. She was real. She had doubts about herself and the world but deep down she had strength.

At the beginning of the book I felt sorry for her. Awkward high school with bullies and biased teachers. Her father was absent and her mom was an alcoholic and a druggie. It was sad to read. Can you imagine a world where you have no one but your addict mom’s gross pet rat for company? That sucks.

The supporting characters were also great to read about. Most were witty, cool, fun and sassy…and in a world where ‘sass’ is a crime, that’s saying something. Others were evil psychopaths who deserved to have pianos dropped on their crazy heads. *cough* Dorothy *cough*.

Then enters the guys. First came Pete then came Nox. Then came me cringing that there might be a Love-triangle. I can’t really talk about Pete without giving spoilers but he’s cool.
In the beginning I didn’t like Nox (the hinted love interest) but by the middle I kind of just ended up enjoying the scenes where he was. Sure, he’s the typical tall, dark, broody and strong male lead but I quite liked him. He had a back story that brought a knot in my chest.

Dorothy is a cold and evil bitch that isn’t above torturing anyone and anything. Be it man, munchkin, flying monkey or even rats. I freaking hated her. The bitch must seriously die. Screw her and her stupid magic shoes. Crazy bitch!
What happened to her you ask? Well, you’re just gonna have to read to find out. But I’ll tell you this…magic has a way of corrupting even the sweetest of hearts. (Forgive my rant)

The Plot
So the blurb got me, I was curious to see how the author would pull it off. Come on. Dorothy as the villain? Count me in. I loved it. I love the story. I love Danielle’s writing style and the voice was pleasant. Everything sat well with me.

I’m sure by now you can tell that it’s a dark story. There is exciting and enjoyable magic mixed in. It wasn’t lacking in the action department. Okay, fine…the fights were badass. But with action and the whole premise of the story, it came with gore and a lot of Oh-god-please-no moments. I just couldn’t stop the “feels”.
One second I’m laughing at Amy’s sarcastic personality and the next I’m cursing and tearing up at the whole “Game of Thrones” vibe it gave me. It was a welcome ride and gave me such a rush.

Once Amy found herself in Oz, every moment was like this…

I was so engrossed and swallowed up in her journey. From surviving a tornado to training to the face off, I was hooked. I just couldn’t get enough.
The best part of this was that, though there were hints of romance and love, it didn’t get in the way of the overall plot. It was just enough to give me my fluff fix but not too much that it made me want to roll my eyes and hurl.

I can’t stand stories where the characters get so caught up in pleasing their genitals and bumping uglies that they forget about their duties and responsibilities. Um like, hello…quit your unnecessary making out and freaking save the world already you couple of horn-dogs.
You’re like the chosen one, for pete’s sake. So, I’m glad that the author made sure the romance didn’t get in the way…at all. I personally loved that.

Anyway, as this is the first book in the series, you’ll have a lot of questions and most of them won’t be answered. (Freaking cliffhangers) It’s a long read but that’s necessary to set the foundation and premise. Introducing the world, the characters and all.

All in all, I definitely would recommend this one to anyone who likes dark fairytale retellings and fantasy. There are great plot twists and most will blow your mind. It was a good read and I was tempted to give it a 5 star rating. I can’t wait to start reading book 2.

Follow me on twitter Dee@The perks

-Dee

REVIEW: Reasons I Fell For The Funny Fat Friend by Becca Ann

27 Nov

SYNOPSIS

It’s stupid to fall for your brother’s ex. It’s even worse to enlist another’s help to win the ex over. But Brody is desperate and Hayley, his partner in American Sign Language, is more than willing to lend him a few tips.

She’s the school’s matchmaker,’ and with her bizarre and positive personality, Brody finds her easy to talk to, even about the most awkward situations. Hayley’s tips seem to be working, but as Brody learns more about his matchmaker, he starts finding reasons to spend time with her, and not the girl he thought he was in love with.

MY RATING: 4 Stars

MY THOUGHTS
So, one word “AWESOMESAUCE, 😀 well at least that’s what Harley would say. She is so cool.

This is a book by Cassie Mae writing as Becca Ann.
It was fresh, it was hilarious and I loved every part of it.
Reading a book from the Point of View of Brody wasn’t just new to me, it was amazing. Brody’s voice (well Becca’s Voice really) was refreshing and from the first two paragraphs I was hooked. His thoughts are insane and it made me wonder if boys really do think like that. I mean, come on! The way he described everything, you just gotta love. I know I did.

Well, as I’m not the FFF (Funny Fat Friend), you know since I was more the ATF (Awkward Tooth-pick Friend), I found it nice to read how Harley felt about her own body. It made me realise that as females, we are never really completely happy with whatever body we have (well unless, you are like a Victoria’s Secret Angel and yeah those hotties make up like what, 1% of the earth’s population?). We are constantly looking at our friends and thinking they look better. Its kind of sad, really.


More than half the time, girls who think they’re fat really aren’t. They’re just fatter than the skinniest chick in school. And even that girl thinks she’s fat.
– Brody

Anyway on to the fun part.
I’m going to do this review in the form of a list, well because who doesn’t like lists, right? (But in actual sense, I’m just trying to take a page from this awesome book and be a bit cool as well. Hey a girl can dream.)

Reasons I fell for this Book

  1. Just look at the title…lol, need I say more?
  2. It is beyond cute.
  3. I love awkward
  4. Brody is one ‘cool’ guy. Notice the quotes? Well yeah, I don’t mean cool in the sense that he is scoring with all the chicks and wears leather with abs for days but more like he is a likeable character. A real guy I would want to be found with.
  5. Harley is a relatable character. A female I wanna be besties with. She is a natural comedian. She has her issues but she, like me, masks them by adopting a coping mechanism that’s as old as time. She doesn’t drink her problems away, she instead makes jokes and comes off awesome. I loved her
  6. Harley flinches each time Brody cursed and so it was interesting each time he had to change his first thought and come up with some clever way of saying it.
  7. That first kiss was a must read (No, I’m not a perve, I just had to mention that)
  8. Its funny, not in a forced “knock knock joke” way.
  9. It made me realise there is nothing sexier than being exactly who you are. No pretending or faking it so people will like you.
  10. Made me miss my teen years (I admit the puberty sucked but the crushes and what not were kinda cute…I think 😀 . Okay so maybe being a teenager was weird…but it was still awesome.)
  11. The writer is talented.
  12. Its a quick read (you know, ’cause I just finished a book yesterday and here I am reviewing this one so soon). Is quick read even the right word? Makes it seem like its some kind of drabble, doesn’t it? Let’s change that to “its a major page turner. Yes. Let’s go with that.

Okay, I think that’s enough listing for now.

I have to say though, if you are looking for a compelling, deep and very serious book this isn’t it. This is the kind of book you read after watching Sirius Black die or after you accidentally step on your cat, you know, so you can forget that awful sad feeling and it makes you all bubbly inside . It will bring a smile to your face and you might not want to read it in public. People will undeniably think you are certifiable.

I recommend it though, to anyone looking for a nice, airy, and fun read. Tell me how you like it.

Till the next review.

-Dee

REVIEW: The Sham by Ellen Allen

26 Nov
The Sham

The Sham

When love leads to death, be careful who you trust…

SYNOPSIS

Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known locally as “The Sham”, with her boyfriend, Jack, but he’s very, very sick; his body is failing and his brain is shutting down. He’s also in hiding, under suspicion of murder. Six months’ ago, strange signs were painted across town in a dialect no one has spoken for decades and one of Emily’s classmates washed up in the local floods. Who is the killer?

MY RATING 4 Stars

MY THOUGHTS
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review 🙂

The Sham is an intriguing, exciting debut novel by Ellen Allen. A true page turner. It’s a psychological and contemporary Young Adult thriller that has just the right amount of mystery and drama to keep you reading…desperately wanting to figure out just who the bad guy is.

Ellen wrote this book with such detail, devotion and left nothing to the imagination, that from the first paragraph a reader is immediately drawn in. You will be swallowed up in this world, this town that has people as weird and as unconventional as the name of the town itself.

Fair warning though, you might find the first chapter to be…umm…what’s the right way to put this…umm “creepy and disturbing”…but this was a necessity because everything that followed was related to this.

Once you get past the first chapter (with your mind blown and your faith in humanity a bit shaken), then the goodness will just keep on coming. Piling up until, like me, you lose yourself in the story. From here on, the only thought in your mind will be…
WHAT…

THE…

EFF…

IS GOING ON??
But in a good way, believe me. I mean, come on, it is a thriller after all. You have to wonder.

50% in the novel, I found myself at the edge of my seat (well if I am being accurate, its more like bed). I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. This just intrigued me even more. The evidence was piling up, more bodies were being uncovered and Jack was still a mystery to me.

It just goes to show what an amazing writer Ellen Allen is.

I enjoyed her characterisation. The protagonists were likeable and had just the correct dose of believability. Their interaction and conversations came natural and I felt that they really started to understand each other.

Emily was real, funny, smart but still had her flaws (she was gross at times with her descriptions and thoughts…but hey who wouldn’t be when people you know keep dying around you). Jack was…different, but you just can’t help falling for him…even when you are suspecting him of cold blooded murder 😀
The pair are cute together, but not in that “I wanna hurl just reading this corny fest” way. They are a believable couple. Real and at times awkward. I kinda found it funny.

I did have some gripes with the naming of the other characters, like the 4 best friends. I found it distracting and I didn’t know who I was reading about whenever “Becky” and “Rebecca” were in the scene. In the beginning, I didn’t even know they were two people and as the story progressed, I kept thinking “which one is becky again? Is it the quiet one or the slutty one?” I constantly kept wanting to facepalm myself so hard that I give myself a concussion. Or maybe I’m just being a hard ass? But I always thought “becky” and “Rebecca” is the same name…what are the odds?

Now without, giving any spoilers, I would just like to say that the ending was EPIC.I did not see that coming…at all.
The writer executed it so perfectly and wonderfully, that the only word I can use to describe her is “genius”. I loved it so much.

You know those moments when you are reading a book and your jaw almost reaches the floor because the shock is just too much to measure? Yeah, that’s how I felt.

To end this review, I would recommend this book to anyone who is in the mood for a psychological thriller with just the right hint of romance and humour. I wouldn’t recommend it to younger teens who might find the descriptions of murder scenes and talks about sex disturbing.

All in all, it was a good read.

Till the next review.

-Dee

How do you pick your books?

11 Aug

The saying goes “do not judge a book by its cover” and most of the times that is true, especially if:

  1. You already know the author and you love them.
  2. One of your closest friends recommended it to you.
  3. The book has made such a hype that your just HAVE to read it, regardless of how the cover looks like.

But what about those sometimes rare moments when you just need to read something new? A new series or standalone novel? How do you pick up that new book when all you have is a title, a blurb, a cover and the genre?

I won’t lie to you, some of my best reads were as a result of those “OMG, this cover is so cute…I have to read this book” moments. I remember the first time I came across a Gena Showalter novel, one look at that Lords of the Underworld book and I knew I just had to read it. Don’t judge me, that turned out to be one of my greatest book choices in my life. Now here I am after 10 books and I still count her as one of my Favourite Authors. (Even though she has lost her “spark” and gone all clean and umm well just different from the Gena I felt in love with).

Before this amazing world of ebooks and ereaders, I remember walking home from school with my friends and at times when we had saved up enough money we would buy some books in the streets. Back then my reading just involved Sweet Valley Twins, Mills and Boon, Silhouette romance and the like. With the Wakefield twins, I didn’t care which one was on sale, I just had to get it. With romance I always found Medical romance a bit boring so I avoided those. But at times when I was in want of a book and nothing was available, I pretty much read anything. Call it a disease or just an addiction. It is possible right? To be addicted to reading? I guess that would give an explanation as to why I found myself reading the cereal packet or the bread wrapper during breakfast. Weird I know, but reading is reading. 😀
Anyway my point is it was easy to choose the books I wanted to read back then…powerful main character , good captivating blurb and that catchy title. Teenage me had it good.
I would go home, do my homework if I had any and get swallowed up in my latest purchase…okay fine, so maybe most of the books I read back then were all borrowed from someone 😛

These days though, I think people put too much thought in picking up the next book they want to read…I mean with so many books available and being published everyday, one might wonder how our brains don’t explode with the overwhelming force of it all. So many good books, so little time. Which one should I read now? Do I pick this one? Do I pick that one? This looks good. Oh wait so does that one. God!!! AAAAHHHHH

Sorry about that, I am good now. *takes a deep breath* But you see what I mean, right?

With Goodreads and Blogs and everything, I just have to ask…what influences you to choose that particular book? How do you pick one over the others? What criteria do you use?

-Dee

Desecration (Wizard Queen at Sixteen #1) by Hadley Holt

10 Aug

In a hidden world of wizards where only men hold the power of magic, one girl arises with the power to change everything – only if she survives… Addie never questions why men possess magic and women have none until she discovers her own magic, which makes her a desecration. Her fate sends her into the path of an evil sorcerer, but the worst danger may come from inside her own home!

MY RATING: 4 Stars

MY THOUGHTS
NoteDesecration is a three part serial in The Wizard Queen at Sixteen series.

In a world where women are seen as nothing more that breeders, party planners and where the association of Magical folk with humans, also called “norms”, is frowned upon Addie at first must hide that she has Magical powers to avoid the Wizard society from turning her into a Lab rat or worse. But she has to get stronger and embrace who she is so as to change the way life in the Wizard Society is.

Part 1 was a fun and interesting read from the first page to the last. The story was witty, gripping and fast-paced enough that you cannot help but get hooked. I knew from page one that following Addie’s Journey in her magical world was going to keep me entertained and enjoying the whole experience.
The main characters where strong, well developed and likeable. The conversations came naturally and the story flowed beautifully.

I enjoyed the way the Author was trying to combat societies view of how females can never amount to anything more that just being…well “baby manufacturing” machines. It was inspiring reading it all and being there every step of the way as Addie matured and changed from the little scared girl to a confident force to be reckoned with.

I would say this is a series I know many YA readers will enjoy and personally I can’t wait to see what Addie and her friends get up to in the other books.

-Dee

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