August 16, 2018

Book Review | Gilded Ashes

0

gilded ashesGilded Ashes is a novella from Rosamund Hodge, author of Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bond. This Cinderella retelling is set within the same universe as Cruel Beauty, where there are demons and Gentle Lords who barter with the common folk to achieve their own ends. Cinderella, known as Maia in this retelling, has been living with a haunting secret for years: her mother is a demon, and she must constantly lie about her happiness to save the people around her from this ghost.

I was surprised how quickly I fell into this story. I liked Cruel Beauty for the most part, but I found the continuous descriptions of the horrible demons monotonous at times. I think 80 pages was the perfect length for this. It definitely gave me Ella Enchanted vibes during all the scenes with Maia and Lord Anax (the prince in this version). They had an easy back and forth and felt like they were real people getting to know each other.

It was also refreshing to see the stepsisters in a different way. In every version of this story the stepsisters are mean to Cinderella simply because they can be. In this version the younger stepsister Thea was actively trying to be friends with Maia while Kore was mean to Maia because she thought that was her mother wanted her to do. All three girls were simply looking for happiness in this dark world and were trying to do whatever it took to reach that happy end.

Overall, I really enjoyed Gilded Ashes and would highly recommend picking this up for your e-reader.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Have you read any of the Cruel Beauty books? Which was your favorite? Share in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

August 14, 2018

Book Review | Rapunzel and the Vanishing Village

0

vanishing villageRapunzel and the Vanishing Village is the second book in Lelia Howland’s Tangled series. These are in connection with the Tangled television series currently on Disney Channel. This story is set toward the beginning of season 2, where Rapunzel, Eugene and their friends are off to search for the source of mysterious and magical black rocks that have started to crop up around the kingdom. These rocks have some sort of connection to Rapunzel and are the reason that her hair grew long again. The show is currently focusing on this particular mystery so we are instead given this extra adventure, which includes the group visiting the village of Harmony Glen, the birthplace of the Flynn Ryder books, which has been removed from all the recent maps of the kingdom.

I enjoyed this story as much as the previous one. I am a big Tangled fan and loved having this extra story. I liked that Eugene was added to the story as a POV character, although I thought he might have a more prominent role in the story. There were also a few occasions where I felt he was a little out of character, but overall I felt Lelia definitely locked in on making each of the POV characters sound unique. Much like the other book, the ending felt a bit predictable, but as this is a book for younger readers that is to be expected. The new characters in the village were pretty interesting, and it was nice to visit a different setting outside of the kingdom of Corona. Overall, it was a fun read that I would recommend to any Tangled fans or adventure novel lovers.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Have you read either of the Tangled books or watched the show? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

August 2, 2018

Book Review | Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon

0

lost lagoonRapunzel and the Lost Lagoon is a middle grade adventure novel by Lelia Howland. This story is both a prequel and a mid-quel to the Tangled television show that is currently airing on Disney Channel (which, side-note, is super cute and I highly recommend). It is told in from the dual perspectives of Rapunzel and Cass, the daughter of the captain of the royal guard and Rapunzel’s lady-in-waiting. Most of the focus is put on the building friendship of these two very different ladies with the rest centered on a mysterious lagoon that holds an ancient power.

Lelia captured both Rapunzel’s unfailing enthusiasm and Cass’s brusk nature very well. I could practically hear the voices of these characters. The overall tone of the story easily melds with the adventures in the TV show, which definitely made it easy to get into this story. The ending was a little predictable, but it was still interesting to see how the heroes were able to handle the situation.

If you are a Tangled fan or just love adventure stories, I would recommend you give this a shot!

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.

Thanks for reading!

July 16, 2018

Atlanta Comic Con

0

This past weekend was the Atlanta Comic Con and I was beyond excited! Comics and Fandom stuff galore, what’s not to love? What my sister and I were most excited for, though, was getting to meet some of the special guests from our favorite movies and TV shows!

My sister met with Nichelle Nichols, the original Uhura from Star Trek: The Original Series. Nichelle was super sweet and funny and it was so cute how excited my sister got seeing her.

MeetingBelle

The person I was personally most excited to meet was Paige O’Hara a.k.a Belle a.k.a my all-time favorite Disney Princess! She is the only person I got a photo with at the convention, but I did get to meet Linda Larkin, a.k.a Princess Jasmine (another favorite of mine) as well and have her sign a print that we’ve had hanging up since we were little. You can kind of see Linda in the background of this photo – she is the blonde woman in the back.

neville

My sister and I also meet the amazing Matthew Lewis, better known as Neville Longbottom from the Harry Potter movies. Neville has always been one of my all-time favorite Harry Potter characters, second only to Hermione Granger. Neville was always a character that I wanted to give a hug and be his best friend, and I remember some of my friends and classmates teasing me for liking this goofy secondary character who was always losing things and messing up potions. They stopped after Order of the Phoenix came out and showed how important Neville would end up being. I am so glad I got to meet Matt and get my Funko Pop signed. It’s a great addition to my Harry Potter collection.

The last person we met was Sean Astin. We have seen a lot of his work, specifically Rudy, The Goonies, Stranger Things and of course Lord of the Rings. He signed my copy of Fellowship of the Ring and my sister’s Samwise Funko. We were able to have the most interaction with him, which was surprising considering how long his line was. He was a very sweet guy and joked around with everyone who came up to see him.

We had never met any celebrities before this event and we are so glad that we got to have the experience. Everyone in line with us was respectful and patiently for their turn to meet the stars. I don’t know if it’s because we are in the South and we try to be extra polite or people were starstruck, but overall the process of meeting the stars was handled extremely well.

prints

Atlanta Comic Con also had tons of amazing artists scattered around the room, but there was one booth that had the cutest prints. The artist is Dylan Bonner (Follow him on Instagram: @dylanbonner90), who has done some of the artwork for the Disny Pocket Princess comics from JoeBooks. I picked up two smaller prints, one of Cinderella for my sister (as that is her favorite Princess) and one of Anastasia in her dress from the ‘Once Upon a December’ scene. I ended up going back a little while later and grabbing his Marvel print that featured Stan Lee as well as four of my absolute favorite characters: Spider-Man, Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy and Sue Storm/Invisible Woman! It is now proudly displayed on my graphic novels shelf. He also has a Society6 page (https://society6.com/dylanbonner) if anyone is interested. It didn’t look like these specific prints were on there, but he had some other amazing works that I would highly suggested checking out, especially if you are into mermaids.

I am so glad I was able to attend this event and can’t wait for next year!

Did any of you attend this event, or have you been to any comic conventions in your areas? If so, what was your favorite thing?

Thanks for reading!

May 22, 2018

Book Review | Once and For All

0

onceandforall

Once and For All is the thirteenth book by Sarah Dessen, who has always been one of my favorite authors. This book, like almost all of her previous works, is set during the summer and follows Louna, the daughter of a wedding planner. Growing up in this industry has made Louna cynical about love, or maybe it was the tragedy of her first love that made her that way. But all that changes when she meets the confident Ambrose and she wonders if there is a second chance at true love.

I have read every Sarah Dessen novel and thought I knew what I was expecting: a cute novel with realistic characters and a ethereal summer feeling. Instead we were given a flat story complete with flat characters. I finished this book so sad that I didn’t enjoy it, and now I’m left wondering if I have romanticized Sarah’s previous books or if I have simply outgrown her work.

While Sarah does focus on the day-to-day details of her character’s lives, it is usually presented in an interesting way, and there is usually some sort of conflict that is the driving force of the story and keeps you holding out for the next chapter. She is able to tacitly handle writing about more difficult topics that are unfortunately a very real part of life (Dreamland and Just Listen are the best examples). The romance she incorporates is also handle well, with a steady build-up and a cute resolution. This book fell short in all these respects.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Our main character, Louna, is not a great character or terrible character. She is barely a character, which is almost worse than being an annoying character. Her main story is that she still mourning her first love, Ethan. They met at a wedding and had one magical night together where, at the end, they profess their love for each other…after only a few hours of meeting (ugh Insta-Love). They then spend the next few months texting back and forth and make plans to see each other during an upcoming break. That is until there is a shooting at Ethan’s school and he is killed. I feel for Louna in this situation, as well as anyone who has ever been caused any harm by a shooter. It is a relevant topic to discuss, but while I applaud Sarah for trying to touch on this subject, I’m not sure it totally worked. Ethan’s death is heavily foreshadowed throughout the entire book, including the flashbacks where Louna reminisces about their one night. However, it sometimes felt like Ethan would be brought up randomly to further the not-really-there plot of this book. I did enjoy all of these flashback scenes. I think if those had been this book, with a bit more build-up of the romance between Ethan and Louna, I would have preferred it, because honestly, it sounds super cute. Oh, Ethan sounded way better than Ambrose.

Our love interest Ambrose was super annoying and selfish. He held up his own mother’s wedding because he was flirting with a girl in the parking lot. He steals someone’s dog (granted it was a dog from a potentially abusive owner) and receives no repercussions of this. He also tries way too hard to be funny and seems to think he is the most charming person to ever grace the planet. I have met people like this in real life and there is not a single person I know who finds this attitude attractive.

My favorite characters in this book was William, the gay godfather, and Crawford, Jilly’s younger brother who reminded me of Klaus Baudelaire. The rest of the characters left much to be desired.

I purchased the Barnes and Noble edition that included an extra scene set one year later, and I personally think it is so much better. Those thirteen pages held the familiar Sarah Dessen magic, with characters from previous books making an appearance and some cute moments between Ambrose and Louna. I really wish this had been incorporated into the main story.

Sadly, this was a disappointing read for me. I still loves Sarah’s work and am looking forward to what she brings out next. But right now all I can say is: Why do meh stories have to come with the prettiest covers?

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars.

Do you have a favorite Sarah Dessen book, or simply a favorite summer read? Please share in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

April 29, 2018

Book Review | Prince in Disguise

0

prince in disguisePrince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm follows Dylan, a American high school student who is whisked away to Scotland during her Christmas vacation for her sister’s wedding to a nobleman. The couple had met on a Reality TV show called ‘Prince in Disguise’ and now their wedding and the planning process will be televised. Dylan does not like being in the spotlight, nor does she like being in her sister’s limelight. All she wants is to go home…until she meets the dashing Jamie and sparks begin to fly. Christmas, stolen kisses in the snow and new love with a cute boy with an accent? This is one contract away from being the next Hallmark movie.

Honestly I think this would have been a great movie. For a book though the pacing felt a little off to me. The romance in the book moved really fast. Jamie and Dylan had known each other for like a day and half before they started making out in the snow and sleeping together in a barn.  Also the main character was kind of annoyingly naive/uninformed about this country she was visiting and was about to have a brother-in-law from. I also could not relate to the disdain that Dylan felt toward her other sister, Dusty. She was very judgmental and catty toward her. I understood that she was tired of being in her sister’s spotlight (literally in this case), but that’s still your sister. Maybe it’s just because my own younger sister and I are very close, but I found myself annoyed every time Dylan talked smack about her sister.

The author definitely captured the feeling of Christmas in this book. I felt very festive, even though I was reading this in the spring. I was ready to curl up with a spicy candle and some cocoa and spend the day reading. She also really made me want to visit Scotland at Christmas (or really at any point of the year).

Overall, this was a cute book, and I might read it again, but, as I said, if this had been a movie I might have enjoyed it more.

Rating: 2.75 of 5 Stars.

What did you think of this book? Do you have a favorite rom-com story (whether it is a book or a film)? Please share in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

March 10, 2018

Book Review | Bridget Jones’s Diary

0

bridget

Bridget Jones’s Diary is one of the more widely recognized titles in the romantic-comedy genre. A modern re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice, we follow a year of Bridget’s life as a woman in her mid-thirties looking for love and a fulfilling career in London in the early 2000s.

I first saw the movie last year and thought that, while not my favorite rom-com, it certainly lived up to its reputation of being a cute and lighthearted film. After watching I was eager to read the book and get a better feel for Bridget’s character and her adventures as an adult during a time period when I was still a child. Unfortunately, I was a little let down.

Much like Legally Blonde, all the charm of the story came from the performance of the actress who portrayed the main character. Renee Zellwegger gave Bridget so much more personality than Helen Felding did. As is the case with most novels told in a diary format, we are only able to learn about the things that are happening through the limited viewpoint of the main character. That’s not always a bad thing. Obviously you are going to see things as the character sees it. However, most authors take this to mean they can make their main characters moan like children. Bridget sometimes felt like a teenager and not an independent woman in her mid-thirties. She was constantly complaining about minute details about her relationship with every person she interacted with and obsessively calculating how much she weighed.

If I had not seen the movie beforehand I would not have been able to tell this was a Pride and Prejudice retelling. The only true indication that this story is a retelling of the classic is there being a character named Mr. Darcy, who is basically non-existent during this book. He appears at the very beginning when Bridget is home for Christmas and disappears for roughly 120 pages, only to appear briefly at an event her work is hosting and resurface close to the end of the book. The fact that he likes Bridget is obvious, but she does not seem to even pay him any attention until she suddenly falls in love in the final third of the book. I really feel like the book did not have enough build-up for Mark Darcy and Bridget’s romance to have a believable payoff.

Overall, I didn’t hate this book and I can sort of appreciate what Helen Felding was trying to do, but I was expecting more. I have seen and enjoyed the other movies in this series, but as to the question on if I will continue reading the other books, I would have to say I’ll be giving them a pass for now.

Rating: 2.75 out 5 Stars.

If you have read this book or seen the movies, please share your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading!

January 29, 2018

Book Review | Eligible

0

img_7458.jpg

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld is an updated take on the Jane Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice. The story follows the five Bennet sisters as they are introduced to Chip Bingley, the recent star of a ‘Bachelor’-style show called ‘Eligible.’ Chip ended up closing out his season without finding a potential bride and decides a move to Cincinnati will help clear his head. There he meets the eldest Bennet sister, Jane, while her sister Liz is introduced to Darcy, the unpleasant best friend of Bingley. The story follows the familiar tale, with Darcy and Liz’s dislike of one another gradually turning into something more.

I remembered seeing this book everywhere when it first came out and flip-flopping over wanting to read it. On the one hand, I love Pride and Prejudice and ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ web series. But I had read a few other P&P re-tellings that had fallen short and was worried this would have the same effect on me. I decided to take a chance and get the free sample on my Kindle app. Once I started reading I was immediately hooked and went back to purchase the full version.

I thought the take of having the girls be closer to middle age was great. We were given lots of backstory for each of the characters, especially for Liz and Jane who are the most important characters in each iteration. I honesty could not put this story down. The only part of the book that dragged for me was the last third of the book, specifically the Lydia storyline. I understood what the author was going for in this updated take of Lydia elopement and that not all parents are accepting of different lifestyles, but it was missing something for me. I think what bothered me was that it didn’t seem to take the family very long to find Lydia once she ran away, which is crazy given how big the country (or even the state) is. I also kept wondering how exactly Darcy’s role would play into this. In the original he forced Wickham to marry Lydia, but Wickham had nothing to do with this situation at all.

Overall, this was a good read. However, while I did find myself enjoying this , I’m more likely to recommend ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.’

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars.

Have you read Eligible? Share your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading!

January 24, 2018

Book Review | Dancing Shoes

0

dancing shoesDancing Shoes is the 9th book in the Shoes series by British author Noel Streatfeild, which follows different English children as they enter the show business world. This particular installment follows Rachel and Hilary, adopted sisters who move into the home of Rachel’s aunt and uncle after losing their mother. Rachel is plain and quiet where Hilary is outgoing and charming. Before the move Hilary, who was the biological daughter of a dancer, was going to attend the Royal Ballet School. However, Rachel’s Aunt Cora runs a dance school where she trains her “Little Wonders,” troupes of girls who do gymnastics and tap, and insists that both girls join the dance school alongside her own daughter, Dulcie. The story centers mostly on Hilary’s blooming career as a dancer and Rachel learning to come out of her shell.

I first read this book in the fifth grade. It was the third Noel Streatfeild story I had read that focused on the dance community of London around World War II. Unlike Ballet Shoes and Theater Shoes, the dancing was focused less on classical training and more on the kind I used to watch my sister do at her recitals, specifically jazz and tap. I really enjoy reading books that are about classical ballet or feature ballet corps, but I loved seeing this new side of the dance world. The Little Wonders sounded really cute and the idea of a school being run inside of the house sounded both chaotic and fun.

This was one of my favorite books growing up and I am glad to say that it holds up even now. I highly recommend all of the Shoe books, but I would start with Ballet Shoes first (like Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail, “It’s my favorite.”).

Rating: 4.75 out of 5 Stars.

Have you ever read Dancing Shoes or any of the other Shoe books? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

August 15, 2017

Book Review | Anne of Green Gables

0

IMG_7450

Hey there, Literature Lovers! I recently watched the new Anne with an E series on Netflix and it reawakened my love for Anne of Green Gables! I first read Anne the summer before sixth grade for summer reading and really enjoyed it. I ended up continuing the series up until Anne of the Island. I don’t know if I didn’t realize there were more books or if I just forgot to look for them at the bookstore, but I didn’t continue the rest of the series after book three. Now I am wanting to finish it out and read other L.M.Montgomery works as well.

IMG_0021

I just finished rereading Anne of Green Gables and loved it. I actually rotated between the physical book (this gorgeous Puffin in Bloom with illustrations by Anna Bond) and the audiobook read by Rachel McAdams. Avonlea is such a dreamy place to think of. I was a big Little House fan when I was younger so while reading/listening I kept switching the scenery between the Avonlea from the AWAE series and the town from Little House.

If you are unfamiliar with this classic, we follow Anne Shirley, an orphan girl who is brought to Prince Edward Island to assist the elderly Cuthburt siblings, Matthew and Marilla. Her arrival turns out to have been a mistake, as they had wanted to adopt a boy to help Matthew with the farm work. They (especially Matthew) take a shine to Anne, who is very talkative and imaginative, and decide to adopt her. The rest of the story follows Anne as she goes to school for the first time, becomes bosom friends with a kindred spirit name Diana Berry, and all the misadventures her imagination and fiery temper get her into.

This is easily one of my favorite classic books and I am really looking forward to reading the rest of this series!

Have you read any of the Anne books or seen any of the adaptations? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!