Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross ★

Kill Me Softly
by Sarah Cross
April 2012

She'd never looked more beautiful, more perfect, than she did when she was dead.

Before I say anything else about this book, there is something about it that you have to know.  I just wouldn't feel right not warning you about the terrible, horrible thing that happens on page 331 of this book.  The thing that makes you curse your very existence and gnash your teeth as you shake your first at the heavens screaming "Why?!  Why has this thing happened to me?!"  That's right, this book . . . ends.  You heard me.  After 331 pages of delicious bad boys, twisted fairy tales, and dark forbidden romance this book ended.  *sob*  It wasn't even a bad ending.  Everything is very nicely wrapped up, HOWEVER, the author must understand that she cannot simply create an amazing world with such seriously messed up characters and not expect us to need more of their stories.  That's right, Sarah Cross is putting the grimm back in fairy tales.

Mirabelle has spent her entire life with her two guardians who have told her nothing about her parents nor her birthplace, Beau Rivage, beyond warning her that she must never go there.  Fed up with the secrecy surrounding her beginnings, Mira runs away from home right before her sixteenth birthday to find her parents' graves.  Upon arriving in Beau Rivage, Mira begins to notice that the town's inhabitant's seem a little off.  Especially since her new friends include a very pale girl who likes apples, a charming boy who wields swords, and an obnoxious playboy with a beastly personality.  Mira feels like she has fallen into a fairy tale but which character is she?  And will she have a happily-ever-after?

Fast paced and utterly enchanting, I highly recommend this fairy tale where good and evil are not always as black and white as they seem.

Check out this list for more modern fairy tales!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bewitching by Alex Flinn

by Alex Flinn
February 2012

Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy.  That one turned out all right.  Others didn't.

Everyone knows the story of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid.  But we rarely get to hear these tales from the Fairy Godmother, or in this case the witch's point of view.  Enter Kendra, the teen witch from Beastly, who discovered her powers in England in 1666 while everyone she loved was dying from the plague.  Kendra has tried her best over the last three hundred and fifty years to only use her magic to help people.  But despite her best efforts mermaids turn to sea foam, and she's constantly banished from kingdoms and countries.  So when she runs across Emma, and her Cinderella-like tale, Kendra hesitates to help.  But Emma might just need a little magic to get her happily-ever-after.

Sadly I didn't enjoy the parts of this book that were written from Kendra's point of view, but I loved Emma's story!  This was such a unique retelling of Cinderella with a wonderful twist!  I found myself sympathizing with all the characters, as there were no villains or heroes here.  Just a lot of misguided people making bad decisions, just like we all do.  Even though I loved Emma's tale I can't put a star on this book, simply because Kendra's stories bored me a bit and I found myself skimming and then skipping over them completely.  But if fairy tales make your heart sing, I wouldn't pass this one up!

For more fairy tale goodness, check out this list of retellings!  I also highly recommend The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey if you're looking for a similar, more adult read.

The Kendra Chronicles

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley ★

The Stolen One
by Suzanne Crowley
June 2009
Greenwillow Books

No one wanted you.  But I did.

I'm not normally a fan of historical fiction, so it's surprising to me that not only have I reviewed two of them this week, but that both garnered stars and a "favorites" label.  I actually began this book very grudgingly.  One night I flung myself onto my bed and sighed loudly "I'm bored and have absolutely NOTHING to read!"  My husband glanced at my towering pile of books waiting to be read and (thankfully) didn't say anything.  He simply walked over and began to go through them.  After a few minutes he selected this one from my pile and said "Here, read this.  If you're not happy in fifteen minutes we'll go watch a movie or something."  Fifteen minutes later I shooed him away because I was completely engrossed in Kat's story.

Kat doesn't know who she is.  Abandoned as a baby, she and her "sister" Anna have been raised by Grace in their tiny village outside Sudeley Castle.  After Grace's death, Kat declines her childhood friend's marriage proposal and runs away to London in order to discover the truth about her parentage.  Through her talent with a needle and a few small twists of fate, Kat soon finds herself a member of Queen Elizabeth's entourage.  Graced with the constant presence of a Queen she's always loved and respected, and surrounded by many flirtatious men at court, Kat has everything she's ever wanted.  But as the mystery of her birth unravels, Kat may learn more than she wants to know, and sacrifice more than she knew she had to lose.

This book does an excellent job with the mystery surrounding Mary Seymour's disappearance from all records after the year 1550.  I cannot believe it has so few reviews on Amazon as it has nothing less than a four star rating for a reason!  My library doesn't own it, and chances are yours doesn't either.  But if you're a fan of historical fiction or "love dodecahedrons" then find this book and read it!  I promise you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers ★

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, Book 1)
by Robin LaFevers
April 2012
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?

Okay, first of all, who doesn't want to read a series called His Fair Assassin?!  Sqeeee!  So cool!  No?  Not your thing?  Alright then, how about killer nuns in medieval Europe?  Ahh yes, that got you, didn't it?

Ismae was only fourteen when the man she knew as her father promised her to a lecherous, old man in an arranged marriage.  Through the help of a secret order, she managed to escape her husband and find refuge in the convent of St. Mortain, the God of Death.  Now, at seventeen, Ismae is a trained assassin, using whatever means necessary to kill those whom her blessed Saint has marked for death.  With St. Mortain for a father, Ismae has never questioned her abilities, nor her destiny.  Which is why she eagerly embarks on a dangerous assignment where all of Brittany is at stake.  Her mission: to watch the mysterious Gavriel Duval at court and look for opportunities to dispatch him.  But what's an assassin to do when she finds herself falling for her mark?

Rich in history, romance, and political intrigue, Grave Mercy is an adventure not to be missed!

His Fair Assassin
Grave Mercy
Dark Triumph (TBR 2013)
Dark Hope (TBR 2014)