Super Slow Start But Overall Good: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

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Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Source: GoodReads

The Beauty and the Beast remake came out this week (haven’t seen it yet, but I’m hoping to next week) so of course a YA retelling of the fairytale had to come out around the same time.

To be fair to Spooner though, there’s a lot of YA B&B retellings.  I think there’s just something about the fairytale that begs itself to be retold.  Perhaps, it’s the whole fact that author’s keep trying to explain why this fairytale about Stockholm syndrome is romantic even though it really shouldn’t be.  Regardless, it’s a perennial favorite of YA authors everywhere and Spooner’s retelling adds nicely to the collection of retellings out there but it’s not perfect.

The biggest problem is the first third of this book.  Oh, God, it is slow.  So freaking slow.  I almost DNF’d it.  That’s how slow it is, but I kept pressing on.  I don’t know what compelled me to, but I’m glad I did.  Once the book gets started its good.

Not great, but good and I did enjoy it.  Spooner has an interesting twist on the story.  One I’m glad that is addressed because the whole “more” aspect of the movie always did annoy me.

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Here, though it’s a fundamental part of the story affecting Beast and Beauty and I’m glad it had a point in the story, besides being just a way Beauty views herself as an outsider.

I also liked the atmosphere that Spooner created.  I really felt like the world was unique, and I later learnt was inspired by some Russian fairytales which I was unfamiliar with.  It worked really well.

As far as Beauty’s relationship with the Beast in this one I was sort of meh about.  Sure, it’s the familiar love story but the chemistry never reached the levels that some other YA retellings-I’m thinking of Cruel Beauty and ACOTR and even Uprooted.  Honestly, I really didn’t feel the romantic tension between the two characters for most of the book and instead thought how unhealthy the relationship was.

Never a good thing, but still there are far worse YA couples out there.  And for what it is worth the twists that Spooner added to the story almost remedied the awkwardness of the ship and the bad beginning.

So overall, while there were some neat things about Hunted it is hardly the best YA adaptation of Beauty and the Beast out there.  Still, if you are a Beauty and the Beast fan and/or want to look at a retelling with an interesting twist, you might want to give this one a try.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

 

Never Ever Will I Finish This: Never Ever by Sara Saedi

Wylie Dalton didn’t believe in fairy tales or love at first sight.

Then she met a real-life Peter Pan.

When Wylie encounters Phinn—confident, mature, and devastatingly handsome—at a party the night before her brother goes to juvie, she can’t believe how fast she falls for him. And that’s before he shows her how to fly.

Soon Wylie and her brothers find themselves whisked away to a mysterious tropical island off the coast of New York City where nobody ages beyond seventeen and life is a constant party. Wylie’s in heaven: now her brother won’t go to jail and she can escape her over-scheduled life with all its woes and responsibilities—permanently.

But the deeper Wylie falls for Phinn, the more she begins to discover has been kept from her and her brothers. Somebody on the island has been lying to her, but the truth can’t stay hidden forever.

Source: GoodReads

I DNF’d this book within 40 pages.

It just wasn’t for me.

I am going to bullet point this review and it’s probably going to be really short.  If you want a more thorough review of this book I suggest you check out other reviews because honestly I gave up on it so soon that I don’t even know if this review is worth a shit.

Anyway, here’s the reasons I DNF’d it.

  • Stiff Style: It was one of those hard to connect to styles that just kind of hard to get into.  This might not bother a lot of people, but it bothered me.
  • Another Evil Peter Pan.  At least there’s no sexy Hook (so far) so it’s not a complete Once Upon a Time rip off yet.
  • A MC who gives a rat’s ass about anything else other than her love life even though she claims to care about her family.
  • Note, she treats her family like crap.
  • Usual sullen teenager dealing with divorce trope.
  • Modernization of the characters names from the original because you know you can’t name characters Wendy, John, and Michael anymore.  Wylie, Joshua, and Micha sound better and Phinn sounds better than fucking Peter Pan.
  • Because everyone has a party on a roof top in New York.
  • That whole going into Neverland drug induced scene-yeah, I stopped after that because that was just so stupid.

Like I said, not really a lot to go off of here if you’re really interested in the book, but just for you to know, it didn’t work for me.  It was just really bad and cliche…and when it’s only redeeming feature is not having the obligatory Sexy Hook! (or at least as far as I know, he still might’ve popped in there after the thirty or so pages I read).

Overall Rating: A mother fucking DNF.

The First Five Star Book of 2017: Every Move by Ellie Marney

Rachel Watts is suffering from recurring nightmares about her near-death experience in London. She just wants to forget the whole ordeal, but her boyfriend, James Mycroft, is obsessed with piecing the puzzle together and anticipating the next move of the mysterious Mr Wild – his own personal Moriarty.

So when Rachel’s brother, Mike, suggests a trip back to their old home in Five Mile, Rachel can’t wait to get away. Unfortunately it’s not the quiet weekend she was hoping for with the unexpected company of Mike’s old school buddy, the wildly unreliable Harris Derwent.

Things get worse for Rachel when Harris returns to Melbourne with them – but could Harris be the only person who can help her move forward? Then a series of murders suggests that Mr Wild is still hot on their tails and that Mycroft has something Wild wants – something Wild is prepared to kill for.

Can Watts and Mycroft stay one step ahead of the smartest of all criminal masterminds? The stage is set for a showdown of legendary proportions… 

Source: GoodReads

Okay, so this book was actually released way back in 2015 (in Australia) but I only now bought a copy because I vainly hoped the US would get off it’s fat ass and publish it so that I could have a matching hardback set-I am OCD about these sorts of things.  Really, I will often buy an extra copy of a book just to have either a matching copy or hardback, I’m too hard of a reader for paperbacks.  But alas…the US decided to be a dumb ass about the publication of this one, and I had to get over my matching books/hardback and buy the Aussie edition.  And I’m glad I did.

I freaking loved the book.

Not that I didn’t expect I wouldn’t.  The past two Marney books-from this series have gotten five freaking stars (or A to A+ ratings)  from me.  So, it was a safe bet when I decided to read this one it would get five stars as well.

There are so many things about this book that work.  From a retelling standpoint, what works is while here are nods/homages/parallels to the original Sherlock stories  but was its own thing at the same time.  Honestly, I have my own little fan fantasy in my head where they could actually fit Marney’s series into the BBC series  or make a spinoff series with only some minor changes I think it could work.  That  aside though, I like the approach she took because it allowed the characters to do their own thing and it made the Mycroft/Watts relationship more likely than it would’ve been had they stayed purely in Watson and Holmes territory.

This installment, isn’t really so much as a who done it-though there is a mystery to some degree but not near to the extent of the earlier books.  There is, however, a lot of character growth that I appreciate.  Both leads have to come to terms with what happened to them in London, and they both deal with it differently.  I have to say the aspects of PTSD felt fairly realistic to me, and I liked Watts’ interactions with her mother.

I also really like Marney’s version of Sherlock.  Often the Sherlock character can come off as cartoonish, butJames isn’t.  This character I don’t think is a functioning sociopath like other Sherlock’s, but a complex human who is dealing with a lot.

I also really liked the portrayal of the two characters’ relationship.  It felt realistic as far as teen YA relationships do.  Watts and Mycroft have their ups and downs, but overall the relationship is fairly healthy and their interactions felt realistic.  Even awkward at times, which is always a joy to read about in YA.  To say the least, I ship the hell out of these two.

Much like I ship the hell out of Sherlolly even though I know it's probably not going to happen.

Much like I ship the hell out of Sherlolly even though I know it’s probably not going to happen.

Now, there is a bit of a love triangle in this one, but it’s not really a love triangle.  More like one sided love triangle where one of the other characters at least acknowledges that the potential love interest is attractive.  It’s not though a back and fourth psychological torture Twilight triangle so I’ll give it props for that.

I felt like the series wrapped itself up nicely here.  Am I glad to see it gone, no…but I thought it was a good place to stop and I did think Marney did a nice job wrapping things up.  It was a really good book and I will be reading pretty much anything that she publishes again soon-just won’t be wasting my time for American publishers to get some common sense and publish the shit out of her books like they should.

And really, American publisher, it’s just cruel for you not to let me have my matching set of books.

Overall Rating: An A+ a great book to start off the year.

Does the DTPA Work for Blurbs: Alterations by Stephanie Scott

If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they’d think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn’t know that all the plans she’s made for them are just dreams, and that she’s the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family.

When Amelia’s abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can’t imagine leaving Miami–and Ethan–for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan’s awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app.

As Liam and Amelia get closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The “new and improved” Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she’d have to make. 

Source: GoodReads

I was really excited for Alterations mainly because it was pitched as a Sabrina retelling.  Which is one of my favorite movie(s).  I like the old one for Audrey Hepburn, though I can’t stand Bogey and I like the new one for Harrison Ford.  The point is, it’s a movie I’m always watching when I have a bad day and I was excited to see how a YA adaption would be.

This one…calling it a Sabrina retelling was a stretch.  Some people will like it better than me, but I really didn’t care for this one for multiple reasons.

The first and main one dealt with the lead, Amelia.

Ugh.

Ugh.

Ugh.

While Sabrina-the character-was annoying in the beginning of the movie, she quickly finds her own footing.  Yet, Amelia flounders for a good chunk of the book AND even though she grows up at the end it’s more of a half hearted attempt at growing up than it should’ve been.

True, we’re dealing with a YA protagonist but still this girl…

She does so many bone headed moves, that I just want to slap her.  So many freaking times.

Like the whole thing at the fashion camp.  The lies, I just–I just couldn’t.  It was like watching a bad ABC sitcom in the 90’s.  You know the ones with the lessons of the week whose stars careers ended up into doing just Hallmark movie.

And for that matter, way too much time was spent on the fashion camp stuff if this was supposed to be a Sabrina retelling.  Most of the movie(s) explored the relationship between Sabrina and Linus-or here Amelia and Liam.  Yeah, we got that a little bit but the whole set up and wooing surrounding it was completely changed.

Yes, that’s going to happen with with retelling.  Plot elements are going to be change and such, but this was one of those cases where really the only resemblance I saw to Sabrina was that there was a working class girl who fell in love with her parents’ employer’s two sons.  It really didn’t do it for me.

The crux of Sabrina the whole David (or in this instance Ethan) notices Sabrina (Amelia) was completely missing.  The whole Linus has to seduce Sabrina but finds himself falling in love with her was missing.  Again, I was like WTF why are we even calling this a Sabrina retelling. Anyway,  besides the very disappointing blurb comparison-seriously, I feel like there needs to be some sort of DTPA-Deceptive Trade Practices Act-for false blurbs and the annoying YA protagonist who falls for the wrong person, this one is okay.

Yeah, there are some things that really bother me besides the two major cruxes that I pointed out.  Like, the fact that the book seemed to try to make itself sound “hip”  Writing that sounds so weird because it’s trying to ID with it’s intended audience not realizing that hey younger people aren’t so different than older people.  FYI, it’s probably not the smartest thing to have fifty some odd references to Project Runway and Tim Gunn.  Just saying.

So, Alterations, do I recommend it…not really.  It has more than it’s fair share of issues.  But I could see people liking this one and that’s totally okay.  It just has a heinous blurb comparison.

Overall Rating: A C-.  Yeah, not my cuppa BUT if you like contemporary romance and you’re not a die hard Sabrina fan and won’t be annoyed with how this book doesn’t live up to those fabulous movies then go for it.

It’s Like if Princess Mia Got With that Creep Josh and Bonus Regency Outfits: The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet by Natasha Farrant

In the tradition of Longbourn, Mr. Darcy’s Diary, and Prom and Prejudice…

Lydia is the youngest of the five Bennet girls. She’s stubborn, never listens, and can’t seem to keep her mouth shut–not that she would want to anyway. She’s bored with her country life and wishes her older sisters would pay her attention . . . for once!

Luckily, the handsome Wickham arrives at Longbourn to sweep her off her feet. Lydia’s not going to let him know THAT, of course, especially since he only seems to be interested in friendship. But when they both decide to summer in the fasionable seaside town of Brighton, their paths become entangled again.

At the seaside, Lydia also finds exciting new ways of life and a pair of friends who offer her a future she never dreamed of. Lydia finally understands what she really wants. But can she get it?

A fresh, funny, and spirited reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet brings the voice of the wildest Bennet sister alive and center stage like never before. 

Source: GoodReads

Another Jane Austen retelling?

Insert disappointment.

I know, I know. I should know better. I have been through so many of these retellings at this point I should be able to know instantly that 9/10 times I’m not going to like them The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennett was no exception.

Full disclosure, I bought this book thinking it was somehow related to the web series that everyone has bemoaning about for the past few years with a slight recover design. It’s not though. I don’t know why I thought it was. Lydia is wearing full on regency regalia on the cover and that series is a modern retelling.

It’s not. Pretty much it’s one of those retellings where the only thing that is different is that this book takes place in Lydia’s POV. Sure, I bet it deviates once she runs off with Wickham but the seventy pages that I read pretty much regurgitated the story.   And that’s the sort of thing that annoys me

Plus, it didn’t help that Lydia’s tone read really, really, young and even though I know she was young in the original and that partly made the ickiness with Wickham it was still ick. And I was hoping that well, there would be some twist with how Lydia’s story worked out but I flipped to the end and—

Nope. Nope. Nope.  From what it read like it was like if in Princess Diaries if Mia would’ve stayed with Creepy Josh.  Just ew.  And that’s how young Lydia seemed like first book Mia.  That’s way too young for Wickham who has to be like at least in his mid twenties but whatever.

Look, if you want to read Pride and Prejudice I suggest you read the real things. If you want to read a retelling, you need to find one with a better twist than this. Switching view points, is a notorious fan fic trope. While it is true that there have been retellings done in alternative view points that have been awesome, this is not one of them. It didn’t add anything to Jane Austen’s story and the fact that Lydia read so young just made the Lydia/Wickham ship even ickier.

Overall Rating: DNF

 

 

If Bella Swan Was Insane and Went to Narnia: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters.

Mine broke Bale.

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.

Source: GoodReads

I have been waiting for a Snow Queen retelling in YA pretty much after they released Frozen. It was sort of something I knew was going to be inedible since YA does tend to like to cash out trends—see vampires, post apocalyptic worlds, and epic fantasies with the same fucking stories. But up until Stealing Snow, I’ve only heard/read of one other Snow Queen retelling in YA and it sort of sucked so I promptly forgot about it.

To be honest, the actual Snow Queen is a hard fairytale to retell. I think it’s because Hans Christian Anderson tales tend to be on the depressing side, and unless you Disney-fy them or find a way to tap into that darkness and use it to your advantage it’s going to fail.

By the premises of Stealing Snow alone, I thought it was going to tap into this darkness. I mean, our main character is in an asylum there are a lot of directions you can go there. Unfortunately, I really didn’t see why she was in an asylum as long as she was.   This is one of those times when having a legal education makes me a party pooper when it comes to reading.

But I digress.

It wasn’t even really the legalities that bothered me about the asylum section of this book, it was the character. If I have a character who is locked up for being bat shit insane, she better act bat shit insane. I wanted to see Snow question reality more than she did and her escape from her room, hiding the fact that she hadn’t taken her pills was a little bit on the easy side.

Honestly, the whole duct taping the lock thing probably would’ve never worked in real life. The transition into the fantasy world was just as bad, and random.   Full disclosure, I didn’t finish this book because everything felt too easy and the transitions were rather horrible.

Also, what was it with everyone having a weird name in this book? You have Snow, Magpie, Bale, etc. The most common name I saw in this book was Vern and that’s saying something.

Yeah, I get it. Some YA authors go for the Hollywood odd ass name tropes, but it gets a little too much when everyone in the book has a name that only an A-lister kid can pull off.

Whatever. That’s just a pet peeve of mine; you might not find the names as jarring as I did. Though, you will undoubtedly find the relationships as upsetting as I did. Throughout a good chunk of the portion of the book that I read—120 pages—Snow is obsessed over Bale, who broke her arm, just because they kissed and now they can’t talk (re breaking her arm).

I wanted to scream at Snow because this guy broke her arm and all, and hey there are probably impressionable kids/teens reading this who are learning what makes a healthy relationship. Having your arm broken does not make for a healthy relationship.

Anyway, I didn’t finish this. This book wasn’t what I was wanting. I was expecting a darker, creepier retelling with an unreliable heroine. What I got was Bella Swan is locked up in an insane asylum and somehow figures out a way to get to Narnia.

Overall Rating: DNF

Another Pride and Prejudice Retelling: The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day

Together is somewhere they long to be.

Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted– he’s admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There’s only one obstacle in Ash’s path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?

All Eden’s ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college — and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks. . . When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream — one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds? 

Source: GoodReads

So, here’s the thing there are a lot of nice things to say about this book, but overall it’s one I’ll forget in probably two weeks or less.

I’ll discuss what I like about because there are some themes about it that I do like.  I like the fact that we get a person of color as our hero.  That there are candid issues concerning race and class discussed.  I like that our main character didn’t have the money to afford a Porsche and even though she was smart, she had to think out of the box to get into college.

What I didn’t like…well, a lot of things other than that.

The book is a very loose Pride and Prejudice retelling, with several heavy handed winking Pride and Prejudice scenes that include actually referencing the book.

You can stop cringing now, it’s not that painful.  For the most part.

Though honestly, I hate how the book had to remind us that it was a Pride and Prejudice retelling.  Other than the love/hate relationship and the class issue romance, there really wasn’t anything that similar.  Because I don’t remember Mr. Bennet being a racist, child beater, douchebag.

Oh, God, the parents in this book.  They all needed to be socked and then some.  Save for Eden’s adopted mom who was the only parent who I thought was actually fit to raise a kid.  Well, the single mom who Eden babysat for wasn’t too bad.  But Eden’s dad.

What an awful person.  Racist, selfish, just an all around douche bag I have no words for this guy other than he’s a little bit better than Eden’s bio mom who ran off to Hawaii to be with some random guy.

I think the sheer awfulness of the parents in this book was in part what turned me off.  Yes, I know there are awful people out there but most of them have redeeming features.

Eden’s dad does not.

I do appreciate the fact that Day did try to address class issues, but I feel like a lot of the class issues were muddled because Eden’s dad was such a douchebag.  I honestly felt that had the father’s attitude been tempered somehow-shown that he was a redeemable person rather than the POS he was- maybe the class issues would’ve shined more.  As it was though, it seemed a little ridiculous.

As for the rest of the book, I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance and I think that was partially Eden’s fault.  The character is very withdrawn and cold to some degree, and while it’s understandable giving her upbringing it just makes her a bit unlikable.  I think Day tried to get her to open up with the Mundy character, but this sort of worked against the book since Mundy became rather one note and once her purpose was served she literally leaves the book.

In the end, it just wasn’t a very good Pride and Prejudice retelling but it was a decent book.  Like I said, I liked the fact that Eden wasn’t a member of the 1%.  I enjoyed her interactions with her babysitting charges.  I just didn’t enjoy this book as a romance and Eden could be closed off and just unlikable at times.

Overall Rating: A B- it wasn’t bad but it’s not the most memorable book I’ve ever read.  And while I love all the stars on the cover, you know in reality unless the characters were in the absolute wilderness-which they aren’t-they wouldn’t be seeing them.

We Can’t All be Lizzies: The Girl From Summer Hill by Jude Devereaux

The first book of a new contemporary romance series set in the mountains of Virginia in a town with full of family legends, romance, and secrets from New York Times bestselling author of the Nantucket Brides trilogy.

Sparks fly as fiery Casey Reddick and brooding Hollywood actor Tate Landers clash in the Virginia summer heat. A chef who puts her career first and her love life second, Casey doesn’t see what every girl in town is swooning over. She made up her mind the moment she met Tate—he’s gorgeous, but stuck-up, nothing like his ex-brother-in-law, Devlin who’s playing the Wickham to Tate’s Darcy in local production of Pride & Prejudice. Casey makes the perfect Elizabeth Bennett—how could she be star-struck when she’s heard Devlin’s damning stories about Tate? As they rehearse together, however, Casey finds herself attracted to Tate—he’s much more down-to-earth than she expected and any physical contact between the two of them literally gives her a tingling, electric shock. As opening night draws near, Casey has some difficult decisions to make. Whom should she believe? The seemingly sincere, slighted Devlin or Tate, whose rough, arrogant exterior may only be skin deep. She’s come to love that jolt she gets when they touch—but will she get burned?

Source: GoodReads

The Girl From Summer Hill is a book that I’m not sure would’ve been published if its author wouldn’t had already been a very successful romance novelist—the book’s by Jude Devereaux.   To be fair, the book isn’t a bad book per say, but it’s yet another Pride and Prejudice retelling and not a very clever one.

Full disclosure, I’ve only read a few Devereaux books before, The Summer House and one of them that involved reincarnation—not the knight one that she’s famous for, but another one (can’t remember what it was). They weren’t bad, but the style was a little stilted for my taste. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I really like to get to know the characters I’m reading about. I feel with Devereaux books you only really see the superficial traits of the leads. And yeah, sometimes plot can make up for it but when you’re doing a Pride and Prejudice retelling you sort of have to nail your Lizzy and Darcy.

The set up, guys, wasn’t there. Oh, the opening scene was interesting. Casey (Lizzy) a successful chef spies Tate taking a bath outside naked. That can get the reader, reading it just—I don’t know—faltered after that.   I was hoping we’d get to know these characters. Because the barebones of them seemed interesting. The world of gourmet cooking isn’t an easy career, especially for a woman chef so I thought it could be interesting seeing how Casey dealt with the sexism that comes with such a career path.

However, other than listing the various jams, chutneys, and honestly banal sounding pies in the house that she’s staying out….we never hear anything about her apparently messed up work situation.

Same with Tate, he’s a movie star. But other than this so obviously giving him the part of Darcy at a community theater production of all things?!?!?!?!?!?

Community theater.

That’s right, I said community theater because a big movie star is going to want to star in a Podunk-ville production of Pride and Prejudice with green actors—not to mention that said big shot chef is going to be like the perfect person for Lizzy with no acting experience and…well, you can see where I lost it.

Yes, I know believability is something you don’t often see with these books but sometimes there needs to be a bit of a reality check and having the chef world versus the Hollywood world in my opinion would’ve been enough.

It would’ve also helped if the plot wasn’t as slow as molasses and I think that’s why I DNF’d it. Which is a shame because I have a signed copy of the book—Books a Million was selling them.

Anyway, if you’re a die hard Pride and Prejudice or Devereaux fan, you might like this better than me. But I’m just going to skip ahead to the next read.

Overall Rating: DNF.  Just not my style, and it really didn’t hold my interest.

More of the Sexy Hook Trope: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

Source: GoodReads

I have like three Peter Pan books in my TBR pile and I think I have another one coming in the mail this month.  Which was good of a reason why to read one.

I’ve noticed from the blurb of these books that a lot of them focus on the Hook character.  And make him some sort of sexy love interest.   I blame Colin O’donoghue for that-thank you Colin, you’ve probably made Peter Pan a villain for life because you can rock a leather cloak and guyliner and have the whole stupid YA bad boy complex going on (except in that show he is legal).

Whatever though.   I’m game for an villain story anytime, especially if said villain is a sexy pirate.  And aside from revamping the story where Hook in the hero, Unhooked had an interesting concepts-Neverland more or less being a fey realm, but at the end of the day it failed so bad on so many levels.

The characterization was weak for all characters.  I really thought from the blurb that the friendship between Gwen and Olivia was going to play a bigger role than it did, but for the most part that friendship was basically non-existent and was pretty much Olivia being brain washed into some bizzaro Peter Pan fangirl because-um, yeah, plot.

SMH.

Maybe it’s because I just read a really good YA book where friendships actually played a significant part in the story, but I was hoping that more of the same would’ve been here.  It was really a missed opportunity on Maxwell’s part.

It also didn’t help that I didn’t care for anyone.  I mean,  the characters are barely fleshed out-if any-from good guy/bad guy and we are told rather than shown their motivations.  On a positive note, this makes this book considerably shorter than a lot of books that would’ve taken the same concept-it’s just shy of over 300 pages with considerably short chapters.

That being said, the pacing was completely awkward.   While I read the book fairly quickly, I had to go back several times to figure out how so and so happened.  It was a confusing book to read.

Again, which is really sad because the concept and parts of the world building had a lot of promise.

I sadly can’t recommend reading Unhooked.  I have two-soon to be three-more Pan retellings to get through and I’m hoping that both of them are better than this one.  While there are some things that I did like about Unhooked the execution was really quite horrid.

Overall Rating: A D.  It doesn’t totally fail because there are glimpses at what could’ve been but the overall plotting and character development was quite horrendous.  I really wish that the editors would’ve taken more control of this one because the story and Maxwell have potential

Bond Boy Syndrome: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Source: GoodReads

Be forewarned, if you shipped a certain ship hard at the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses, you’re probably not going to like A Court of Mist and Fury that much.  As for me, I enjoyed it more than the previous installment and it wasn’t like I didn’t ship the ship in the last book.  But still, you’re going to be confused and caught off guard initially when you read this if you cared about the initial ship at all.

Don’t get me wrong,I loved that ship, and I did mourn it throughout what occurred in this book.  But upon reflection, I can understand why the ship ended up NOT working.

Maybe if I read the Throne of Glass series which I’ve heard has a bit of a Bond Girl complex but in reverse-the MC gets a new man like every book-I would’ve not have been amused with the romantic complications that occurred in this book, but as it stands it works.

It actually filled in some of the holes that I had with the first book.

There is something about this series in general that is so atmospheric.  In general I don’t like faerie themed stories, but there’s something about Maas’s spin on it that makes it enjoyable maybe it’s because she is loosely basing this series on some of my favorite fairytales and myths-first Beauty and the Beast and now Hades and Persephone.

Is the book too long: short answer, yeah.  There could’ve been stuff that could’ve easily been cut out of this one, but I still enjoyed it for what it was.  I enjoyed emerging into the Night Court learning more about Rhys and finding out that I did not know everything about Tamlin in the last book.

And Feyre really grew as a character.

Some people might argue that a lot of this development and reveals relied on bashing.  And a part of me thinks that they might have a valid argument.  While 600+ pages cause the reader to forget that what was established and built in A Crown of Thorns and Roses.   However, I would argue that the page count wasn’t what made the changes that were made in A Court of Mist and Fury  were.  I really think if you look at the two books that have been released at this series so far, it’s kind of obvious to see the subtext of book one and see it play out in book two.

Again, while I don’t think A Court of Mist and Fury was perfect by any means, I did think it had a lot to offer and I enjoyed it for what it is.

Overall Rating: Subjectively and A because of the sheer enjoyable but objectively it’s probably closer to an A- or B+