The Surface Breaks

The Surface Breaks

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding.

Thoughts:

Don’t go into this book thinking that you’re going to get the Disney The Little Mermaid. Oh no. This is definitely the Hans Christian Andersen version reimagined by the ever fierce Louise O’Neill. When I pick up a book by Louise O’Neill, I know I’m going to get a raw story. Louise never holds back. I can certainly see why some people have issues with this book. It is incredibly dark and certainly has feminist elements within its pages.

It starts with the youngest daughter of the Sea King turning fifteen years old. The reader is introduced to Gaia and her sisters. We find out that the monarchy under the sea is corrupt. The Sea King’s daughters are not treated well. They’re expected to look pretty for their men. They are only seen as objects to be sold to men. Urgh.

Gaia, the youngest, is the prettiest and she has a wonderful singing voice. Her future has been decided for her by her father. She is to be married to an older merman (She’s 15 and he’s around 60ish!) Gaia is always told that she is fortunate because she’s been blessed with looks and a beautiful voice. Gaia dreams of swimming up to the surface even though her father is very against it. During her first swim, Gaia sets her eyes on a man up there. She saves him from a shipwreck and from then on, can’t stop thinking of him. Gaia starts to question life under the sea.

Gaia can be a bit of a frustrating character to read about. She’s so naive but I totally forgave that quality because it was clear that she was searching for someone to love her because of who she was. I loved following her story both under the sea and on the surface. I absolutely adored the sea witch. A very strong female character.

This story is so dark and sinister. It really is so far from the Disney version. It’s so close to the original Hans Christian Andersen tale which I absolutely love despite how brutal it is!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Don’t expect Disney. This reimagining is very close to Hans Christian Andersen’s story. 

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Geekerella

Geekerella

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad’s old costume, Elle’s determined to win – unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons – before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he has ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake – until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part-romance, part-love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

Thoughts:

I think I’m in the minority with this book. I was expecting to love it and rave over it like so many other bloggers are doing, but for me, Geekerella was a decent read but not one that I’ll revisit or rave about in the future. That hype monster well and truly got me. Don’t get me wrong, it was an easy to read, cute story. I just didn’t get it as much as others have done.

Geekerella is a literally its title. It’s a geeky retelling of Cinderella. It’s a modern retelling of the fairy tale. It centres around Elle who is treated pretty badly by her stepmother and stepsisters. They find her strange because she’s absolutely obsessed with the sci-fi show Starfield. Elle connects with the show so much because she spent many an hour with her father discussing/watching/doing anything to do with the show. Elle loves being part of the fandom as she feels like it’s where she belongs. It’s who she is. We also hear from the point of view of Darien Freeman who has just been cast as Carmindor in the movie remake of Starfield. Hardcore fans are sceptical about Darien, including Elle who writes a rather harsh blog post about his casting. Darien struggles with fame, fandom and everything that goes with having a major part in a much loved show.

I think my main problem with this book was that I wasn’t overly fussed on Starfield. I liked references to other fandoms because I knew about them and they were familiar to me. I totally get that this was the point of the story- to relate it all back to Starfield, I guess I just felt disconnected to it.

The characters, however, were amazing. I absolutely loved Elle and her journey to find out who she really was instead of being told by her stepfamily who to be. I loved that she embraced her geekiness. I also thought Darien was a fabulous character. He seemed like he was incredibly confident taking on this massive role at a young age, but really he was insecure and worried about how he was going to be perceived. He wanted it to go well and to prove himself.

I do think there’s so much to be enjoyed for many readers in this book. It just didn’t blow me away as much as I wanted it to and that’s okay!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

An enjoyable read! It may not be for me, but many others will really love it!

Heartless

Heartless

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Thoughts:

I am a big fan of the Lunar Chronicles series, so I was super excited when I heard that Marissa Meyer was bringing out a book that centred around Alice In Wonderland. I love a reimagining. Then reviews started to come out and I was feeling a little anxious about reading it! They were so mixed. So, I stepped back from the hype for a while and decided to read it when the hype died down.

Heartless is inspired by the Queen of Hearts made famous by Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland. It centres around Catherine, who is the daughter of a Marquess. She is expected to marry well and live the life of a lady. Catherine is a dreamer and wants to own a bakery and create delicious recipes for the people of Hearts. Catherine has been dreaming about a man and finds herself meeting him… he’s the new court Joker, Jest. Catherine is completely drawn to him even though he’s not what her family want more for her. Catherine is being courted by the King. He wants to marry her. Her family don’t give Catherine a choice. She must marry the king or lose her place in the family.

I liked so many things about this book, especially the characters. I really enjoyed Catherine as a character and loved that she wanted to do her own thing. I also loved reading the descriptions about the yummy goodness that she was baking. I adored her friendship with her maid Mary Ann and I was rooting for them to open their bakery together. I also really liked the character of Jest. I thought he was fabulous, although I didn’t really get on board with their romance. It was a little too instalove for my liking. I thought Cheshire was amazing too. The setting was fantastic and I could picture it easily in my mind.

I do think that this book suffered from being a little slow paced. I wanted a bit more action, much like the Lunar Chronicles. It being a standalone, I expected it to be incredibly action packed but it wasn’t. I was disappointed by the instalove too. Cath and Jest instantly connected and were infatuated and I couldn’t really understand why!

I’m glad that I gave this book a go! It didn’t blow me away but it was still a decent read.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

This book is a good example of why you shouldn’t let mixed review sway you!

Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow #1)

Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow, #1)

How did I get it?:
I received a copy, unsolicited from the publisher.

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Dorothy Must Die

Synopsis:

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.

Thoughts:

When I added this book to Goodreads, I noticed its low rating and have to admit, I went into the book with low expectations. I wasn’t a big fan of Dorothy Must Die. I thought it was okay, but it didn’t blow me away like I wanted it to. However, I did enjoy reading Stealing Snow. I’m pleased it was sent to me, as I don’t think I would have considered it after being slightly underwhelmed by the slower elements of Dorothy Must Die. 

Stealing Snow centres around Snow who has spent a huge part of her life in a psychiatric home named Whittaker. She is treated as if she is crazy and is on a cocktail of medication. Snow has a developing relationship with Bale, but during their first kiss, Bale hurt Snow and hasn’t talked since. Snow knows that Bale would never intend to hurt her, but before she can sort things through Bale is taken away. Snow manages to leave the psychiatric home and finds herself drawn into a strange world which is far from the real world. Snow learns things about herself that she would have never expected. There’s witchcraft and a prophecy, as Snow begins her quest to find Bale.

I do have mixed feelings about this book, so I can certainly see where some of the low ratings are coming from. I thought it was so intriguing to begin with. I really liked the fact that it was set in a psychiatric ward. It was unique. I did really enjoy the magical element of this story and think that this was one of the most powerful elements. I didn’t feel like the story was as fleshed out as it could be and I would have loved to have known more background on Snow. I don’t feel like I connected with her right from the start. She wasn’t a bad character, there just wasn’t much about her, in my opinion.

I’m a massive fairy tale retelling/imagining fan and whilst this book isn’t perfect, I think it’s worth giving a go to see if you can connect with it.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Not the strongest reimagining out there, but a decent world to explore nonetheless!

Briar Rose

Briar Rose

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

For Briar Rose, life is anything but a fairy tale. She’s stuck in a small town in deepest Georgia with parents who won’t let her out of their sight, a bunch of small-minded, gossiping neighbours and an evil ex who’s spreading nasty rumours about what she may or may not have done in the back of his car. She’s tired of it all, so when, on her sixteenth birthday, her parents tell her that she is cursed and will go to sleep for a hundred years when the clock strikes midnight, she’s actually kind of glad to leave it all behind. She says her goodbyes, lies down, and closes her eyes . . . And then she wakes up. Cold, alone and in the middle of the darkest, most twisted fairy tale she could ever have dreamed of. Now Briar must fight her way out of the story that has been created for her, but she can’t do it alone. She never believed in handsome princes, but now she’s met one her only chance is to put her life in his hands, or there will be no happy ever after and no waking up.

Thoughts:

I love fairy tale retellings or reimaginings. However, I think it’s quite hard to get it right. So many people are quite precious about the fairy tales that they know so well.  Sleeping Beauty is definitely a classic fairy tale. It’s one of the most popular fairy tales as well. I think it’s hard to not copy a fairy tale in a reimagining. As a reader, I don’t want to see a fairy tale copied but at the same time I want a glimmer of the fairy tale. I want to see how it links up.

Briar Rose combined several of the Sleeping Beauty elements (Aurora was in the story!) but at the same time I felt like it had some original concepts which I really appreciated. I thought it was a really engaging read although parts of it did seem to drag a little. I could also see where the story was going, there weren’t many surprises along the way.  It was however, a very subtly funny book. I appreciated the humour, that’s for sure!

Briar Rose had some great characters who really made the story for me. I loved Briar Rose and thought she was a fantastic character to follow. I also appreciated how the characters were flawed. No one is perfect and I like to see that, especially in a fairy tale.

I really enjoyed the concepts of Briar Rose. I loved the creatures and the magic. I was captivated throughout the story. I really enjoyed Jana Oliver’s writing style. I’d certainly be intrigued to read more from her in the future.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

An imaginative fairy tale reimagining! I highly enjoyed it.

Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe #1)

Cruel Beauty

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Luna’s Little Library

Synopsis:

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Thoughts:

I was really cautious about starting this book because I had heard so many mixed things about it. I’ve taken forever to get around to it, even though, if you know my blog, I love my fairy tales and fairy tale reimaginings. I decided that I’d give it a go on my summer holiday and I’m thrilled I did. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I am excited to read Crimson Bound although I understand that it’s not connected to Cruel Beauty, it’s still a fairy tale reimagining and from this book, Rosamund Hodge does them well!

Cruel Beauty is a great fairy tale reimagining of Beauty and The Beast. But at the same time, it doesn’t overly focus on the popular story. It puts its own unique twist on it including Greek mythology. Now, I am learning a lot more about Greek mythology these days and I absolutely love when authors include it in stories. I just find it so fascinating. Beauty and The Beast is one of my all time favourites, which I think is why I was apprehensive, but I need not have been, Cruel Beauty is brilliant in its own right.

The main protagonist Nyx is such a great character. I loved that she was a bit of a bookworm. I liked how intelligent she was. Nyx has a very ‘interesting’ family, that I didn’t always like, but I loved reading about their family dynamic. I also adored Ignifex. I found myself smiling when he popped up in the story. I loved reading about their interactions. Shade was an intriguing character too. I can’t say too much about Shade without ruining it for those that haven’t read the book yet.

The plot does tend to stay on the romantic side, but it does have a fantastic storyline, full of darker moments. We’re reading about demons, it’s not so light and fluffy at all times and this is really refreshing. The only reason why I haven’t given this book the five star rating is at times I felt it was a little confusing and there was a bit too much information at points.

I am really intrigued to see where this series goes though and I’ll certainly be reading more from Rosamund Hodge ASAP.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course! 4.5 stars

A fantastic reimagining. I adored this book!