Review of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses
A Court of Thorns and Roses book 1
By Sarah J. Maas

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Historical
Number of Pages: 432

Date Started: December 27, 2017
Date Finished: December 28, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.

Review:
My copy of this book was a gift to me from a dear friend, Maria Picone. She’s awesome, and if you have the chance, feel free to check out her website here.

It took me a bit to get into this story, but once I was finished with the first chapter, I found it impossible to put down. During the first chapter, I worried. I worried that Feyre was going to be a Katniss. There’s something for everyone in this novel, and from the beginning I understood that this particular novel is, while not marketed as, a retelling of my favourite fairy tale of all time (which if you haven’t figured it out by now, shame on you!) but moreso, this novel in no way needed to rely on the original story it likely originated from, completely able to stand on its own. If Maria hadn’t recommended this to me after reading it, I’d really have to reconsider how well she knows me.

In so many stories there is an insta-romance, but with Feyre and Tamlin, it happened so slowly and gradually that it took me by surprise when Feyre realized her feelings had changed. I found myself thinking back on their interactions, on why they might have developed feelings for each other, and was pleasantly pleased with what had transpired. While Feyre and Tamlin are the main protagonists, I did enjoy the various other characters as well, and their relationships with Feyre. While Feyre is important, I liked that not everyone treated her nicely/with respect.

This book is listed as Young Adult but I’d say it’s more New Adult.

Such a depth and difference from any other fairy tale retelling I’ve read, having the faerie politic background, festivities, and interests not usually integral to most fairy tales, that it was impossible to not love this novel.

I regret waiting so long to read this amazing book, but when someone gives you a book, it has power. It has the power to either bring you closer together, or wonder if you know each other as well as you thought. This one was the perfect mark, and I can’t wait to devour the rest in the series. Thank you, Maria!

Oh, and as for the riddle… my original guess was wrong.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well as A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog.

Advertisements

Review of Colorless by Rita Stradling

Colorless
By Rita Stradling

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Historical
Number of Pages: 452

Date Started: December 26, 2017
Date Finished: December 27, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
In Domengrad, there are rules all must live by: Fear the Gods. Worship the Magicians. Forsake the Iconoclasts.

To Annabelle Klein, the rules laid down by the Magicians are the mere ramblings of stuffy old men. As far as she’s concerned, the historic Iconoclasts, heretics who nearly destroyed the Magicians so long ago, are nothing but myth. She has much more important matters to worry about.

Heiress to a manor mortgaged down to its candlesticks and betrothed to her loathsome cousin, sixteen-year-old Annabelle doubts the gods could forsake her more.

Then Annabelle is informed of her parents’ sudden and simultaneous deaths, and all of the pigment drips out of her skin and hair, leaving her colorless. Within moments, Annabelle is invisible and forgotten by all who know her.

Living like a wraith in her own home, Annabelle discovers that to regain her color she must solve the mystery behind her parents’ murders and her strange transformation.

Meanwhile, hundreds of the Magicians’ monks, with their all-black eyes and conjoined minds, have usurped control of Annabelle’s family manor. An Iconoclast is rumored to be about—a person who they claim goes unseen, unheard, and lost to memory, yet is the greatest threat to all of Domengrad. For the first time in a hundred years, the monks plan to unleash the dire wolves of old.

Their only target: Annabelle.

Review:
How do you put this book down? From the beginning there is so much that the reader doesn’t know, and to be honest, at the end, I still had plenty of questions that will now and likely forever more remain unanswered.

The most intriguing twist in this series is that of the “iconoclast”. Upon looking up the meaning of the word, it makes literal sense when used in the novel, yet there’s a level of mysticism never fully explained or realized, adding another depth to this story. The iconoclasts are woven so expertly with the religion that while learning about their beliefs, there’s no doubt that there is something more than what the average layperson understands.

I loved this story, and the ending, oh the ending, what I wouldn’t have given for another paragraph or two!

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Rita Stradling is the author of The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Novella Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.

Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.

She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.

Review of Royal Beast: A Dark Fairy Tale Romance by Nikki Chase

Star Rating: 
Genre: Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 289

Date Started: December 24, 2017
Date Finished: December 24, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)

Life’s not a fairy tale, and princes don’t fall for bookish virgins like me.

 

I didn’t know about the secret palace in the woods. Not until I held a stolen rose from its gardens.

A tall, dark, and mysterious man lives within the palace. He’s known across the kingdom as the royal beast. They say he’s a monster.

He also happens to be the crown prince.

As punishment for my crime, the prince orders me to spend one month as his prisoner.

But instead of throwing me into the dungeon, he whisks me into his bedchamber. The arrogant bastard says he’ll make me beg to give up my virginity.

I tell him there’s no way in hell that’s happening, of course.

He’s the freaking crown prince, and I’m just a girl from a provincial town in the middle of nowhere. We don’t belong together. That’s obvious.

But somehow he knows about my dark, secret desires. All he has to do is speak in that low, dominant voice, and I melt into a submissive puddle. Despite my reservations, I find myself wanting to surrender my virgin body to the prince—and my heart, too.

I really should stay away. But being punished has never felt so good.

Review:
I wasn’t certain I was going to like this novel when I began. The opening was brash, and I think it would have been much better to keep that bit where it belonged in the time line, versus having it being so jolting at the beginning with no idea what’s going on. Because of the opening, I was quite jarred by the language, and it took a few pages for me to figure out the time period they were supposed to be in– something that could have been a gradual understanding if the book hadn’t had the prologue.

Once I was situated in the story, I found myself quite intrigued. The Royal Beast isn’t your typical beast, and his story isn’t just that of him being cursed. Both the beast and Rosemary have a nice depth and I enjoyed the way their other interests played into the story. This book was definitely a romance novel, full of a decent amount of D/s style elements.

If you’re looking for some hardcore romance with a hint of a fairy tale, you’d likely enjoy this book.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Nikki Chase is a best-selling author of contemporary romance that features bad-boy heroes and kick-*ss heroines. She derives some kind of sick pleasure from putting her characters in impossible situations where they have to struggle to find their happily ever afters.

Review of The Princess Game: A Reimagining of Sleeping Beauty by Melanie Cellier

The Princess Game: A Reimagining of Sleeping Beauty
The Four Kingdoms Book 4
By Melanie Cellier

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 267

Date Started: December 22, 2017
Date Finished: December 24, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
They call her the Sleeping Princess, but Celeste is far from asleep…

Celeste has been cursed since her sixteenth birthday–just not in the way the rest of the kingdom thinks. All they see is her breath-taking beauty, marred by her foolishness. Only she knows that she retains her brilliant mind. And it’s a secret she must keep at all costs.

Over the years she’s grown accustomed to the necessary deception. After all, her life depends on it. And she’s even found a way to protect her kingdom, working from the shadows. But now a dangerous new threat has emerged, one that Celeste can’t defeat alone. She needs the help of a newly-arrived prince. One who’s altogether too handsome and too charming. Somehow she needs to keep her secret, save her kingdom and find a way to free herself from the curse. The last thing she has time to do is sleep.

In this reimagining of the classic fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, it’s only the princess’ mind that is asleep. And sometimes appearances can be deceiving.

Review:
Oh my goodness. This book was absolutely fantastic. While various parts of the original Sleeping Beauty were kept alive, the curse, the gift of fairy godmothers, this was a completely different and wonderful tale. The duality of Celeste was expertly done, and will remind most of how others perceive them versus how they are inside.

William was phenomenal, and as perceptive as I thought he would be. All of the characters had great depth and I quite enjoyed the story altogether.

The Four Kingdoms and Beyond the Four Kingdoms are some stories I believe anyone who is a fairy tale buff/aficionado would love, and they’re included on Amazon Unlimited.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Melanie Cellier grew up on a staple diet of books, books and more books. And although she got older she never stopped loving children’s and young adult novels. She always wanted to write one herself but it took three careers and three different continents before she actually managed it.

She now feels incredibly fortunate to spend her time writing from her home in Canberra, Australia where they don’t have a beach but they do have kangaroos hopping down the streets. Her staple diet hasn’t changed much, although she’s added choc mint Rooibos tea and Chicken Crimpies to the list.

She is currently working on The Four Kingdoms, a series of young adult fairy tale retellings.

Visit Melanie at her website: http://www.melaniecellier.com or follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Melanie-Cellier-689002674569364/ for all the latest news on The Princess Companion and other upcoming Four Kingdoms stories.

Review of The Princess Pact: A Twist on Rumpelstiltskin by Melanie Cellier

The Princess Pact: A Twist on Rumpelstiltskin
The Four Kingdoms Book 3
By Melanie Cellier

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 267

Date Started: December 20, 2017
Date Finished: December 21, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Spinning straw into gold was only the beginning of the story…

Marie, the dutiful princess of Northhelm, chafes under the rigid protocol that governs her life. Then a growing darkness threatens the kingdom and uncovers the lie at the centre of her whole life–a single pact that changes everything.

Throwing off convention, she joins Rafe, a handsome, charming newcomer, on a quest to save her kingdom. Except he doesn’t know she has a mission of her own–to discover the truth about her identity. Increasingly drawn to Rafe’s strength and good humour, Marie is torn by her double purpose. With time running out and death and destruction looming, Marie will have to unravel the bargains that surround her and choose where her true allegiance lies.

In this twist on the classic fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin, a hidden identity is just one of the things Marie will have to unravel.

Review:
Marie was so easy to care about, given that she had worries and fears about her differences that many people feel throughout their lives. I had hoped reading the first book in The Four Kingdoms series that one would tell more about Marie, so I was quite pleased for this one to focus on her.

Marie’s journey was mostly of self discovery, though she learned quite a few useful skills along the way. I thought that Rafe was an excellent character and quite enjoyed the ending, though I had suspected long before the reveal. While part of me wants to admonish Marie for how easily she was manipulated, many people are pressured in similar ways regularly.

Rumpelstiltskin wasn’t at all the same story, or, part of it was, but for once, it was not necessarily Marie who had to go through the traumatizing experience with him. I quite enjoyed the way he was characterized, as well as both the description of and reasoning behind his appearance.

I quite enjoyed this story, and am reading book 4 in the series now!

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Melanie Cellier grew up on a staple diet of books, books and more books. And although she got older she never stopped loving children’s and young adult novels. She always wanted to write one herself but it took three careers and three different continents before she actually managed it.

She now feels incredibly fortunate to spend her time writing from her home in Canberra, Australia where they don’t have a beach but they do have kangaroos hopping down the streets. Her staple diet hasn’t changed much, although she’s added choc mint Rooibos tea and Chicken Crimpies to the list.

She is currently working on The Four Kingdoms, a series of young adult fairy tale retellings.

Visit Melanie at her website: http://www.melaniecellier.com or follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Melanie-Cellier-689002674569364/ for all the latest news on The Princess Companion and other upcoming Four Kingdoms stories.

Review of The Princess Fugitive: A Retelling of Little Red Riding Hood by Melanie Cellier

The Princess Fugitive: A Retelling of Little Red Riding Hood
The Four Kingdoms Book 2
By Melanie Cellier

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 345

Date Started: December 18, 2017
Date Finished: December 20, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Princess Ava used to be a weapon – sharp, strong and beautiful. But when she fails at her most important task, she’s forced to flee from her own family.

Only her personal bodyguard, Hans, remains loyal. Hans claims to know the real Ava but she finds that hard to believe – after all, she’s been the villain so long that she can’t remember anything else.

Deep in exile, Ava learns her kingdom needs a hero and she might be the only one who can save it. The catch? She’ll have to ally herself with the very people she blames for her downfall.

But in a game of life and death where the stakes are an entire kingdom, winning over her enemies will only be the beginning. Can one fugitive save her people, her kingdom and, hardest of all, herself?

In this reimagining of the classic fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood, the girl in the red hood has been swallowed up by the wolf and must decide if she’s willing to fight for her freedom, no matter the cost.

Review:
I was apprehensive when I started this book. I wasn’t sure there was anything that would make me care about Ava and want her to succeed. I was happy to find that I was wrong. Cellier does a great job of going into the motivations of why people do things, and how change can only happen if the person who is going to change WANTS things to be different.

I had been curious about Hans and Ava’s relationship after how he dragged her away in The Princess Companion, so I was happy to see more of their interactions. I also enjoyed how characters from the first book in the series became important in this one, and that there was a deeper glimpse of the lives of secondary characters and what happened to them in the time between The Princess Companion and The Princess Fugitive.

I did like how the red cloak and wolf played into the story, it was quite well done. The symbolism wasn’t lost, either. There were certainly enough of the classic story elements within this retelling, but this story is far from anything a lover of the original fairy tale knows.

As I write this review, I’m already reading book 3 in The Four Kingdoms series.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Melanie Cellier grew up on a staple diet of books, books and more books. And although she got older she never stopped loving children’s and young adult novels. She always wanted to write one herself but it took three careers and three different continents before she actually managed it.

She now feels incredibly fortunate to spend her time writing from her home in Canberra, Australia where they don’t have a beach but they do have kangaroos hopping down the streets. Her staple diet hasn’t changed much, although she’s added choc mint Rooibos tea and Chicken Crimpies to the list.

She is currently working on The Four Kingdoms, a series of young adult fairy tale retellings.

Visit Melanie at her website: http://www.melaniecellier.com or follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Melanie-Cellier-689002674569364/ for all the latest news on The Princess Companion and other upcoming Four Kingdoms stories.

Review of The Princess Companion: A Retelling of The Princess and the Pea by Melanie Cellier

The Princess Companion: A Retelling of The Princess and the Pea
The Four Kingdoms Book 1
By Melanie Cellier

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 334

Date Started: December 16, 2017
Date Finished: December 18, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Danger and romance await a woodcutter’s daughter in a royal palace.

One dark and stormy night, lost and alone, Alyssa finds herself knocking on the door of a castle. After a lifetime spent in the deep forest, Alyssa has no idea what to expect on the other side.

What she finds is two unruly young princesses and one very handsome prince. When Alyssa accepts the job of Princess Companion she knows her life will change. What she doesn’t know is that the royal family is about to be swept up in unexpected danger and intrigue, and that she just might be the only thing standing between her kingdom and destruction.

This retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea, reimagines the risks and rewards that come when one royal family goes searching for a true princess.

Review:
Having already read about Lily and Sophie it was interesting to go back in time and learn about what happened to Alyssa. I quite enjoyed the book, and I really liked the twists that Cellier had. While this novel might be a retelling of A Princess and the Pea, that part plays little baring on the story as a whole, because the story has expanded far beyond the scope of the fairy tale, with great depth and even better characterization.

There has been no story by Melanie Cellier I have disliked so far, so I plan to continue reading this series. If you like fairy tale retellings with a dash of romance, I definitely recommend her works.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Melanie Cellier grew up on a staple diet of books, books and more books. And although she got older she never stopped loving children’s and young adult novels. She always wanted to write one herself but it took three careers and three different continents before she actually managed it.

She now feels incredibly fortunate to spend her time writing from her home in Canberra, Australia where they don’t have a beach but they do have kangaroos hopping down the streets. Her staple diet hasn’t changed much, although she’s added choc mint Rooibos tea and Chicken Crimpies to the list.

She is currently working on The Four Kingdoms, a series of young adult fairy tale retellings.

Visit Melanie at her website: http://www.melaniecellier.com or follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Melanie-Cellier-689002674569364/ for all the latest news on The Princess Companion and other upcoming Four Kingdoms stories.