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.

The End of Oz (Dorothy must die) by Danielle Paige

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Finally! I’ve been waiting to read this book for MONTHS. To finally find out what happens to Amy and Dorothy, to the witches and the fairies, to the Nome King and of course Oz itself.

I have to say I am thoroughly satisfied with this series. It felt more like a TV show of episodes than a book series, with cliffhanger endings and little resolution, but that’s not a bad thing. I enjoyed every single one of them and the story, while over, is still open for us to imagine more.

But, back to this book. If you’ve read the others in the series, you’d be surprised to find yourself reading parts from Dorothy’s POV. It definitely raised my eyebrow. I have to say, though, I really liked her conniving ways, and wish we saw her voice in the earlier books. I’m sure it was something Paige realized too late, but I’m glad she decided to go for it anyway.

I enjoyed getting to know a whole new world. Ev felt like a sexy secret vampire lair type world below while also being a Mad Max type of world above. The imagination behind this writing is incredible. Every creature seemed thought out and beautiful and terrifying. The smallest details bring them to life. I’ve never read books that put that much thought into the scenery and its denizens while not making it feel too descriptive.

Overall, a great series, and one I’m happy to finally complete. The books are short but each one brings something to the table. I truly wish to see this made into a movie.

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

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Ok, so I know this is going to sound horrible, but I almost didn’t pick this up because of the cover. It’s really creepy and I’m taken aback every time I see it.

But, I enjoyed The Selection and the premise of this novel was everything I love in a guilty pleasure sort of way. A royal girl pretends to be a maid to avoid an arranged marriage and escapes to a place far away? Yes please.

And I loved it. I loved it so much, in fact, I’m going to pick up the next one. I loved that it broke away from the romantic couple only accepting love at the end Beauty and Beast style trope. I loved that we actually saw characters transform throughout it. And there is so much more to find out. So many intriguing details I can’t wait to sift through.

It’s a fairy-tale but without magic, which I wasn’t expecting since it was compared to The Selection. I really have nothing to criticize, it was that good for me! Now if only one came out with an F/F and I’d be in heaven.

Overall, a great book if you’re into this sort of thing like I am.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

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I’m not going to lie, the main reason I got this book is because I saw a bunch of people say it had great f/f bi representation. I’m more into traditional fantasy versus modern, but I still put it on my list, and finally got the chance to read it.

And it was…good. At least that’s how I would describe my feelings after finishing it. I’ll go into more depth here.

First off, it had an amazing diverse cast. Alex’s family reminded me a lot of The Raven Boys’ Blue’s family (which was my favorite thing about that series) but they weren’t your typical white witches. The entire book seeped that Latin American vibe and I LOVED it. I felt like I was immersed in that world, and not once did I see the characters as default-white.

Speaking of the world, oh my Dios, Los Lagos was incredible. It’s no surprise this was picked up for a movie. People compare it to Alice in Wonderland but I disagree. To me it’s more like OZ. There are witches and fairies and everything is alive and filled with magic but not insane or silly magic – real and dangerous and sorrowful. They aren’t mad, they’re surviving.

So then, what, might you ask, is the problem?

There is no problem. It was written well, the bi-love-triangle-that-wasn’t-really-a-love-triangle was fairly well done, and it paced itself perfectly well and wrapped up perfectly well. I liked the characters, there were some twists I didn’t see coming, and overall I enjoyed it.

So, once again, why did it take me a month longer that it should have to finish? I kept putting it down to do other things. At first I couldn’t figure out why. And then I did.

It was that the whole thing felt like a Pixar movie. Somehow, the way it was written, with its little sweet interactions and Alex’s innocence and the darkness and evil and death being so surreal that I saw it in my head like a beautiful animated film. Is this a bad thing? Not at all. I love Pixar movies. They have that darkness while still giving us hope and love and a happy ending. This book was about family and self acceptance, and that’s wonderful, but Alex could have been 13 and it would have still been completely appropriate. Actually, I think it would have been better. Made her a stronger character.

A lot of reviewers are saying they thought it wasn’t intense enough so they didn’t feel scared for the characters, but I think it’s actually that it was too intense. Every corner was life or death, every vision a mirage, every escape deemed impossible. The explanation of ‘magic’ just wasn’t enough to make up for the sheer amount of running and fighting and bleeding and still being able to give more. It was, as I said earlier, surreal, thus taking it into a whole new territory. Still, it’s not a -bad- thing. It’s how this book was laid out and it was great. I just think many of us readers couldn’t relate to the darkness because it’s too cartoony in a way.

All in all, a great story that would make a great Pixar animated film, but I think the target audience is middle grade/teen, not young adult+.

A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel Vol 1-3

I love the HBO series but I’ve never read the books. As much as I am interested in expanding that world, I simply cannot convince myself to pick up the behemoths that these novels are. So, when I saw this on Bookbub I wanted to check it out as a possible alternative.

The descriptions say that these are based on the books, not the show. They specifically made sure to try and distance it from the show.

They kind of failed.

Either because the show is just that close to the books, or because I’ve never read the books, but I felt like these graphic novels were almost exactly like the show. Verbatim in many parts, things you can’t forget. Sadly, in all three books I haven’t learned a thing that I haven’t already seen on the show.

I wouldn’t say it was a waste of time. The art is beautiful and I enjoyed reliving the awesome twists and turns of the story. But it looks like if I want canon from the book I’d have to read it. Maybe one day…

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

Yellow Brick War (Dorothy Must Die #3) by Danielle Paige

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Why did I think this was the last book?

I think the better question is, why wasn’t this the last book?

As much as I love how short and sweet the books in this series are, I think this one was even more filler than the last one. We spend half the book in Kansas, looking for a magical pair of shoes, and then half the book in OZ, not killing Dorothy (again). Oh and there’s a new villain or something who pops up here and there. This could have easily been part 2 of book 2, and then we would have had a much more rounded story to lead us into the last part (which is on my to-read after A Court of Wings and Ruin).

Not that I didn’t enjoy reading it. Paige’s writing just sucks me in so bad. I love the ever-changing dynamic of the characters and their relationships. I love being on the inside of Amy’s mind while at the same time feeling like I’m also on the inside of everyone else’s mind too. It’s fantastic. I’m excited to see how this series ends, I’m just glad I didn’t start it when book 1 came out and had to wait for each book because I would have been quite disappointed in the lack of progression.

Overall, a good continuation of the story that leaves you yearning for more.