Cadaver & Queen (#1 & #2) Spoiler Free Review + Giveaway

Author: Alisa Kwitney

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Publication Date: Cadaver & Queen – February 27, 2018 Corpse & Crown – February 12, 2019

Genre: YA, Retellings, Historical Fiction

Cadaver & Queen

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Corpse & Crown

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Cadaver & Queen

“When Lizzie Lavenza enrolled at Ingold as its first female medical student, she knew she wouldn’t have an easy time. From class demands to being an outsider among her male cohorts, she’ll have to go above and beyond to prove herself. So when she stumbles across what appears to be a faulty Bio-mechanical–one of the mechanized cadavers created to service the school–she jumps at the chance to fix it and get ahead in the program.

Only this Bio-mechanical isn’t like the others. Where they are usually empty-minded and perfectly obedient, this one seems to have thoughts, feelings… and self-awareness.

Soon Lizzie realizes that it is Victor Frankenstein–a former student who died under mysterious circumstances. Victor, it seems, still has a spark of human intelligence inside him, along with memories of things he discovered before his untimely death.. .and a suspicion that he was murdered to keep that information from getting out. Suddenly Lizzie finds herself intertwined in dark secrets and sabotage that put her life, and the lives of Victor and their friends, in danger. But Lizzie’s determined to succeed–even if that means fighting an enemy who threatens the entire British Empire. “

Corpse & Crown


Oliver Twist gets a fresh take in this reimagining of the Dickensian classic taking the familiar characters and turning them on their heads in a historical thriller packed with weird science, political suspense, and steamy romance, perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.

From Alisa Kwitney comes a connected novel set in the same alternative Victorian England of Cadaver & QueenCorpse & Crownfollows the story of Agatha DeLacey, an Ingold nursing student who travels to London and uncovers a devastating secret about the country’s Bio-Mechanicals. Inspired by the classic story of Oliver Twist and complete with a dashing Artful Dodger-inspired male lead, this retelling is a satisfying follow-up to Kwitney’s clever and critically acclaimed young adult debut.

Thank you so much to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for the copies!

Cadaver & Queen

This was the most fun I’ve had reading a retelling in a long while. A retelling of Frankenstein? Come on. It was seriously thoroughly enjoyable.

Victor is our hot frankenstein and boy did he not disappoint. The chemistry he and Lizzie had was A+. Lizzie is a brash American with her own way of doing things. She is extremely smart. Smart enough to be the only female to get into medical school (this is the very early 1900’s). She is tested repeatedly and always comes out stronger. I especially love the moment between her and Grimbald towards the end.

The side characters were really fun to read about as well, and brought a solid story of their own; Byram, with his mysterious limp, Will, trying to measure up to his (supposedly) dead brother, Victor, and Aggie, having the clever things to say but more than meets the eye. And Justine… I’m still not sure what to think of her.

I thought the plot was well executed and unique. There were multiple Frankensteins and crazy doctors/ scientists and that made the story way more interesting.

Corpse & Crown

I liked this one slightly less but only because we see less of Lizzie and Victor as they race to complete an experiment before they run out of time. War is on the horizon, so I get it, they’re busy. But Aggie and Dodger are a good time. Dodger is actually the one that is all lovey-dovey, love-at-first-sight, whereas Aggie is a not in your lifetime type of gal. They make for an interesting couple even if they’re not quite as cute as our original couple.

I did, however, like the plot in this one more. It was more intense with more on the line. War is almost upon them, plus accidents and action left and right. It was more fast paced than the first one.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a fun read, go ahead and pick these up! Especially if you think a Frankenstein retelling sounds awesome.

Alisa Kwitney was an editor at DC Comics/Vertigo and is the Eisner-nominated author of graphic novels, romantic women’s fiction and urban fantasy. She was one of the authors of A Flight of Angels, which made YALSA’s Top Ten List for Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and the YA graphic novel Token, named a highlight of the Minx imprint by PW. Alisa has an MFA from Columbia University. Her thesis, Till the Fat Lady Sings, a comedy of manners about college and eating disorders, made The New York Times’ new and noteworthy in paperback list. The first issue of her latest comic book series, Mystik U, is coming out November ’17 from DC Comics. Her first YA novel, Cadaver & Queen, will be coming out with Harlequin Teen in February ’18.

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Check out my GIVEAWAY on my Instagram for BOTH of these books!

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke – Spoiler Free Review

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke

Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: October 02, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retellings

My Rating: 3 Stars

| AMAZON


“A dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory.

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life. 

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.”

So, the hook that got me the most was the fact that it is a retelling of Beowulf. Let me tell you, even being a reader my whole life, I did NOT like reading the original (translated) version. Hated it. But I liked the movie. And the fact that this book was a female retelling. But it didn’t wow me. It didn’t follow Beowulf that closely either. In fact, if no one had said it was a retelling, I would never know. So, I just liked it. That’s it.

I can’t even do likes and dislikes because I feel like each thing I liked, there was something I disliked. Here’s what I mean, I loved that there were fantastic representations of female friendship. They were close but not in love with each other. However, it was kind of weird how much they would touch each other. I know they had to sleep tightly together for warmth, but aside from that they would just randomly start running their hands through each others hair or lay down in their laps. Even if my best friend did that to me, I’d be extremely uncomfortable (unless she was crying and I was comforting her maybe). Another thing I liked was Frey and Trigve but again, the no romance but very touchy thing was weird. Maybe it’s my age (27) but I just don’t do that with guy or girl friends.

The thing I liked most was the battle scenes! They were pretty awesome! Four women and a guy ripping into things and fighting monsters was so fun to read! I also really enjoyed the parts about the Sea Witches. I wanted more from their parts!

FINAL THOUGHTS

I liked it. Enough to read a second book if one comes out! It was a really chill read. One of those books you just read casually. They are always good for fillers in between the tear-out-your-soul reads.

Let’s chat! Have you read this? What did you think?

Sky Without Stars (System Divine #1) Review [Spoiler Free]

Author: Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: May 26, 2019

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Retellings

My Rating: 2 Stars



Amazon

“A thief. An officer. A guardian. 

Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.

Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables.”

*Thank you to Edelweiss+ for the review copy!*

Story/Plot. The premise of the story and plot were A+. I mean, a retelling of Les Miserables?! I LOVE that play (I know it’s based off of the book, I’ve just never read it.)! Plus it’s a retelling in space!  That’s right up my alley! And that’s about all I liked of the book. Oops. 

Writing. Okay, I did like the writing. It wasn’t anything fancy or my favorite writing ever, but it was good. It was easy to follow along and I never got lost in the story. 

Characters. Here we go. Here’s the big one. I literally didn’t like anyone. Chantine was the only one that I liked SOMETIMES. Marcellou and Allouette were SO BORING! I didn’t care if they lived or died. Marcellou was all over the place. One minute he wanted to follow his Grandfather, the next he hated him. Even at the end of the book, I was like where are we at here, Marcellou? I also just saw him as a weak character and didn’t understand his charm. Allouette was just kind of a wuss most of the time. I guess she picked up at the end but she was so boring to read about. Chantine whined a lot but she had reason to. She literally had no one. And she was poor and starving. She has a really tough life. Hers was the only story line I was mildly interested in. She was feisty and she did literally whatever she had to to survive. My suggestion to her, forget about Marcellou. You don’t need him. Although,  if you know the Les Miserables story, she’s supposed to be Eponine, so it doesn’t really end well for her anyway. I could have done without the romance in this story, and usually I’m all about those ships!

Final Thoughts. A 2 star rating for me means I finished the book but it was hard to get through. I won’t be picking up the second in the series. I will say that this might be someone’s cup of tea, just not mine. 

The Forest Queen Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Betsy Cornwell

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads

Amazon (Contains my affiliate link)

*I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

The Forest Queen gives me all the nostalgic feels of my childhood favorite fairy tales. It is a Robin Hood retelling with a girl named Sylvie, who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. I loved the adventure to be had here!

The Story. For being a shorter book than what I usually read, the story was actually pretty well rounded. There were a few questions I had, and when I re-read through some paragraphs to see if I missed something, I didn’t find what I was looking for. But they weren’t any major plot holes, more like how did this character get from A to B.

The Writing. I liked Cornwell’s writing but it wasn’t my favorite. She is a good storyteller, but I feel as though the story could have gone to higher places if she had added more descriptions. Sometimes I was confused when Sylvie dreamed but then it turned out to be real life. Or if she was imagining something or not. I had to re-read paragraphs a few times.

The Characters: I really enjoyed the characters in this book. I thought that Sylvie’s character progression was actually quite good! The romance was cute but not an essential part of the story. The side characters were really likable and had personality. Especially Little Jane! And Bird is just the cutest! I also have to say that I felt as though Cornwell threw in LGBT characters at the last moment to try and give it some diversity. It just seemed random, like she was like, “Whoops, forgot to add diversity. Let’s just quickly add in some new side characters at the end here.”

Final Thoughts. I almost gave this book 3 stars but the nostalgic feel of it along with the ending bumped it up to 4 stars. I had a good time reading this retelling, and would love to read more of her work! Also, that cover is completely drool worthy.

Brightly Burning (Spoiler Free) Review

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Author: Alexa Donne

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 01, 2018

My Rating: 3 Stars

*I received an e-arc from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review*

When I first heard this book was a retelling of Jane Eyre in space, I knew I had to read it. Have I read Jane Eyre? No, but it’s on my TBR and I figured this book would give me the push I need to read that classic. It did that, but only because I’m thinking Jane Eyre would be a little bit better than Brightly Burning. This book was a whirlwind ride. It was really all over the place. There were parts all throughout the book, including the ending, that I sped read through, and parts that I took my time for fear of missing something. I really felt that some parts were written really well and others felt as though the author just needed to add filler.

Let’s start with the negatives. My first and main concern about the plot is that Hugo, the love interest, is an alcoholic. And he never stops being one. Maybe it was implied in the ending? But I feel as though the author should have put an obvious stop to that. As someone who has dealt with alcoholism within my extended family, I know how devastating the effects are. It’s truly awful. (Don’t worry, I’m not getting on a soap box.) So, yes, the author really needed a stronger plot point to end his drinking.

Honestly, none of the characters were really interesting enough for me to want to keep reading the book. Stella was dry and Hugo was basically a martyr without cause. Yes, his family was messed up but he himself wasn’t. So I didn’t really understand his martyrdom. And their relationship lacked critical communication. Hugo just kept assuming Stella would know his motives. And Stella had a love / hate relationship with him until the end where she apparently always loved him and never stopped… Even though she said she hated him a couple times… It was really the plot and mystery behind the Rochester that kept bringing me back.

The story as a whole, was very interesting. The ships can’t sustain life anymore, earth is covered in an ice age, and underneath it all there is a sinister mystery going on. I kind of guessed what was happening on the Rochester, but it was more than what I thought, if that makes sense. I didn’t think big enough. And I was happily surprised. It was the creepiness of the laughter and people almost dying abroad the ship that kept bringing me back to read. And once I found out the scope of the situation, things picked up. Without giving anything away, the ending was my favorite part. It’s where all the action happens and where you don’t know who is going to live or die. I love that kind of suspense.

Final Take: I liked this book. Y’all know 3 stars for me is a liked book. I thought the characters were boring but the plot interesting enough for me to keep wanting to read. I thought the author did a good job making the book feel completed without added questions. It has a satisfying conclusion. I liked it enough to want to check out more of her work in the future. 

Happy Adventuring! 

To Kill a Kingdom (Spoiler Free)

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“And the ocean, calling out to us both. A song of freedom and longing.”

– Alexandra Christo

Author: Alexandra Christo

Publisher: Feiwel Friends

Publication Date: March 06, 2018

My Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis Here

Mermaids, sirens, and pirates, oh my! This was pitched as a dark retelling of The Little Mermaid, and dark it was! Let me say that it was more akin to the original Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Andersen. It was so wonderfully bloody and intense.

Lira, the main character, is a siren hell bent on killing princes, because that’s her thing. You know, we all have our thing and hers is taking the heart of princes… She is a ruthless killing machine earning the nickname “Prince’s Bane.” Heck yes. Enter Prince Elian, who’s mission in life is to end all sirens, most importantly the Prince’s Bane. Oh yeah, it’s getting good now. What happens when you put two of the worlds top killers together? Sparks fly. Literally and figuratively.

I loved them working together because they furthered each others character development. They slowly, through their murderous intent, started thinking about peace, and what the world would look like without the Siren Queen. I would say Lira had a stronger turn around than Elian. Elian at least had emotions and felt things where Lira started out with only pure savagery. Could have been their upbringing since Lira’s mother literally had no emotions except wanting power over the whole world.

Why I gave this four stars: It was too easy to put down. I didn’t think about it constantly like I do five star reads. I also wanted a little bit more world building because it sounded extremely interesting and vast. I mean, there were 100 kingdoms! But the plot, the character development, and the writing were phenomenal!

All in all, I highly enjoyed this book! I thought the writing was really well done! It wasn’t overly flowery and yet it wasn’t plain. I thought it was a satisfying standalone with keeping it open enough to possibly have more books in the future! At least, I hope so! 

The Hazel Wood (Spoiler Free)

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“Look until the leaves turn red, sew the worlds up with thread. If your journey’s left undone, fear the rising of the sun.” – The Hazel Wood

Title: The Hazel Wood

Author: Melissa Albert

Publisher: Flatiron Books

My Rating: 3 Stars

I received an e-arc from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Find Synopsis Here

A dark otherworldly tale that sucks you so deep into its universe that you can’t come out. Seriously, every time I had to stop reading this book I had a really hard time coming back into reality. The bump in the night. That shadow on the wall. Is there something there? It was something about Albert’s writing that I couldn’t tear my body from the story. The world building is crazy good, plus it has a very unique plot. Her writing is some of the most magical that I have seen in a very long time!

I rated this book 3 stars for a few different reasons. The story itself, while being magical, was very depressing. I know it was advertised as a dark fairy tale, but wow, it was twisted and full of crazy murderous happenings. I had a really hard time going to sleep after reading this one! Not gonna lie, I found it thoroughly creepy. It just wasn’t my flavor. As well as the main character, Alice, whom I hated. She was extremely angry and really mean. I wanted to punch her so many times. And it got annoying that almost every page mentioned how angry she was. Okay, we get it. I really don’t mean to bash on her, because you understand her anger about 60% of the way through the book. So, really it’s the last half of the book that got most of the stars.

All in all, I would recommend this to anyone who likes dark, twisted, there are no good guys, fairy tales. Like I mentioned before, the writing is deeply moving and there are some major twists and turns that take you for a grand ol’ ride! 

Happy Adventuring!