Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon

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As someone currently writing a mermaid book, this was a perfect read. I seriously could not put this book down. It was beautifully written, stayed within the original minus minor tweaks here and there, and opened up a whole other world within the fairy tale – the world of the princess.

I’ve read a lot of re-tellings, and I absolutely love it when it gives us more insight into how things happened. A lot of reviewers are saying there was no point to this book, but I disagree. This was definitely a wonderful story, and while there were a couple out-of-nowhere sex scenes, it was beautiful and lyrical and made me feel inspired to write.

If you want a great Little Mermaid story with a slight twist that will leave you breathless, this is perfect. But if you’re looking for something original, well…. you probably shouldn’t be reading re-tellings haha.

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Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

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A modern Russian fairy-tale retelling about Baba Yaga and Vassilissa? There was no way I wasn’t going to buy this. Everything about it screamed PLEASE READ ME and I started reading it immediately.

That was three weeks ago, and I just finished it today.

The thing is, it wasn’t too long or too boring. It was just so beautifully written, so abstract, that my brain got too tired from just trying to imagine all the things this book shows us.

If you’re a writer trying to improve your prose, this book should be considered a manual.

Let me tell you, Russians LOVE to be abstract. They love metaphors that don’t actually mean anything, that can’t really be seen but envisioned, things that sound beautiful just to sound beautiful. This book did an amazing job at conveying that, and I cannot begin to describe the talent I am so insanely jealous of that can write that way.

The story itself had a very interesting premise, and was executed…fairly well. I say it like that because there were many points that felt so out of place I couldn’t help but go ‘this doesn’t make any sense!’. Not at the bizarre magics of Baba Yaga’s ‘store’. Not at the explanations of Night and night and the pieces of it. Not even, at any of the characters’ motivations or actions. I got all that.

What I didn’t get was the point of half the characters’ existences, aside from being there to move the plot that didn’t actually have anything to do with the plot. They were just…there. The random kid, the lawyers, even her father. Just…why? They felt so out of place that the whole thing became too muddled, and it didn’t start out that way. Vassa and Erg were great together. I loved the relationship between Vassa and her sisters. Babs and her henchmen? Perfect. And it should have stayed that way.

Another thing that really bothered me were the unnecessary splashes of romance. Vassa was weirdly attracted to our equivalent of Frankenstein. She’s 16 and he’s literally a giant monster-doll-thing she can’t talk to or see the face of and somehow she’s thinking of how she maybe like-likes him? And then Erg calls him her boyfriend? Where does that line of thinking come from? This isn’t Beauty and the Beast. He’s not wooing her. It was disturbing to say the least. It’s like the author wanted it to be more YA than MG and thought what better way to up the age group than add some romance. Ick.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book, and I loved all the magic and description. If you’re looking for a lyrical but sassy tale of magical realism, this is the crème de la crème. Just be ready to ignore some weird stuff and not focus too much on the plot. Enjoy it for the beauty and the fun, and you won’t be disappointed.

Puss without Boots: A Puss in Boots Retelling by Shari L. Tapscott

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I have to say – what a cool cover!

And the name is intriguing to say the least. How many of us actually know the fairy-tale Puss in Boots? Growing up in Russia it was one of many French tales I enjoyed, and so I had to get this book.

It reminded me a lot of the Faerie Tale Collection Series by Jenni James. Cute and feel-good with insta-love and magic and just all those sweet and wonderful things fairy tales should be. It was gender-swapped with a few twists along the way, and I enjoyed reading it, wondering what would happen.

There were quite a few things that felt incomplete, like the point of Puss’s boots. I feel like if the author took just a little more time to think through the plot, it could have been a really great book. For a quick novella it was a fun read, but it left me wishing for more explanations, more development. A worthwhile between-books filler, well written and cute, but not quite satisfying.

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

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Let’s rewind.

A Court of Thorns and Roses was good, but not great. I only picked up the second book because everyone said it was amazing and way better than the first.

And it was. A Court of Mist and Fury was probably my favorite book of 2016. I loved it so much I couldn’t wait for book three.

A Court of Wings and Ruin did not disappoint in terms of giving us a great conclusion to the story. We got it all in an epic fantasy format. No more Beauty and the Beast shadows lurking in the background. This was all out war. However, I can’t go into greater detail without spoilers so here’s my warning – spoilers ahead!

Continue reading

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

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I did not expect to love this book so much.

Modern day fairy tale retellings have a huge caveat for me. They either make it so the fairy tale never existed, which feels fake, or they make it too close to the original storyline (or its retellings) where it’s more eye-roll worthy than unique.

If I had to categorize, Geekerella was the latter, with the modernized name ‘Ella’ a staple in these kinds of stories, and yet it was still so fresh and wonderful and inspiring I would read a hundred more of these.

I could list all the ways I relate to her in terms of geekery and fandom, from my /played on WoW to my horde tattoo, but it’s so much more than that. It’s the comradery in the geek world that really made the book for me. When everyone came together at one part I teared up because that’s what it’s like to connect with people without ever knowing them.

This book was a fun and adorable read, and if you’re geeky and looking for something short and sweet this is perfect.

Thanks to Netgalley for giving me this ARC!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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I’ve had my eye on this for a long time now, it being a huge hit fairy-tale retelling, and finally decided to sit down and read it. My main drawback was that I’m not a huge fan of steampunk – it just bores me – but I liked The Third Daughter so I figured I’d give it a try.

What’s crazy is that the cyborg infusion ended up being the best thing in the book for me.

I really loved all the tinkering and the way a cyborg thinks and acts and just is in the book. The conversational writing style is a huge plus, making me fly through pages. Of course there’s the magical and sinister plots and love at first sight and everything that makes fairy tales what they are and I should have really enjoyed this book…

BUT

There were just too many things that bothered me in order to read any more of the series.

  1. I could not, for the life of me, figure out who was Asian and who was not. Was Cinder Asian? But Cinder is said to be from Europe, so she’s not Asian? And if she’s not, then why is everyone so surprised when she says she’s from Europe? Why is that not a BFD? And if she is, then do the Lunars look Asian too? But they’re blonde! And from the moon! But but but…*brain explodes* And the book trailer shows Cinder as non-Asian but most of the reviews say she is sooooo…yeah. Even the writer herself doesn’t know (according to her website) so how can she possibly show us?
  2.  The ‘place’ is Beijing but there’s nothing to tie the people to actual Asian roots or traditions or food or culture. The way they spoke and things they did were just so…whitewashed. The only times I was reminded that this was, indeed, an Asian country was the addition of Linh to the names.
  3. This book suffered horribly from the MC not making obvious connections. We are literally told, by her, about the lost Lunar princess fleeing a fire in chapter one. She often thinks about it, and even goes as far as helping find her. And yet, not once does she wonder if she’s the princess, even though she’s adopted, dreams of being on fire, and is the right age. Not once, you guys. Even after finding out she’s Lunar. It’s worse than Princess of Tyrone, because there at least she made the connections but dismissed them. Apparently, Cinder’s cyborg brain couldn’t put 2 and 2 together. This really killed it for me.
  4. I just could not believe that a person is classified as a cyborg if any tech is in his/her body, and is then suddenly not considered human anymore. You have to suspend disbelief in sci-fi, I get it, but that’s just silly. A guy had a chip in his leg so we can kill him like a dog now! Nope, sorry, I don’t think so.
  5. No ending except Cinder finally catching up to the reader. What a letdown.

I wish I had more good things to say. I did enjoy reading the overall story and there were times I was surprised and others where I smiled. I really liked the plague angle too. I just…wish it was better. There’s a ton of people that liked it, though, so maybe it’s just me.

An interesting twist on an old classic, but I just could not connect with it.