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

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*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!