Saturday, May 28, 2016

‘Withering Rose’ (Once Upon a Curse #2) by Kaitlyn Davis

3.5 stars

Aptly named, ‘Withering Rose,’ is a tale about a girl named Omorose whose magic sometimes forces its way out of her, costing her a bit of time off her life expectancy with each outburst.  Set in the same universe as Kaitlyn Davis’ ‘Gathering Frost’ retelling of Sleeping Beauty, ‘Withering Rose’ tells the re-imagined tale of Beauty and the Beast. 

Omorose and her father are left stranded in the ‘real world’ as a result of the same earthquake that affected members of the Fairytale kingdom in ‘Gathering Frost.’  For ten years, she has carefully hidden her magic from those who would cause her harm if they knew, but when we meet Omorose, she has had enough.  She leaves the relative safety of a military base and flees to the Beast’s kingdom, seeking other magic wielders and freedom from hiding.

Beauty and her Beast, here named Cole, enjoy a slow building friendship which turns to romance.  Characters from ‘Gathering Frost’ appear in ‘Withering Rose’ and set us up for the third entry in this series, expected in 2017.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

‘Eerie’ by C.M. McCoy

4 stars!

Angels, Envoys, Demons, and magic…

‘Eerie’ begins as a charming tale of sisters Holly and Hailey, working in their Uncle’s Irish Pub and making plans to attend college together once Hailey graduates high school in a few months.  They work through everything together (missing their parents and Hailey’s awkward high school experiences) in a loving, sisterly way.

When their lives are turned completely upside-down, Hailey learns that the college in Alaska she planned to attend with Holly is for studying the paranormal.  The university has some Hogwarts-like aspects, but is a darker and more mature place.  Along with cute bookworms that swell up from drinking too much tea and professional-grade hairstyling ghosts in the mirror, Hailey also meets Asher, a 3,000-year-old Envoy who has fallen in love with her from time spent together in her dreams.  She discovers that Asher is not only real, but he and his fellow Envoys have been stuck on earth for centuries and her death might be the key to allow them to return home.

On the other side of the love triangle is a young man with all the answers, all the jokes, all the friends, and potentially all the girls.  Though the rational part of Hailey understands the difficulty in trusting either of these suitors, who sometimes treat her badly, her emotions usually override logic and she falls for them both.

‘Eerie’ is an interesting collection of angels, demons, soul-less, and other supernatural beings.  Some students have abilities, some characters seem to possess magic, though it is never labeled as such.  For a 400-page book with a dark setting and serious story, there sure are a lot of laughs to be had in this paranormal romance.

Thanks to author C.M. McCoy for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

'The Glittering Court' by Richelle Mead

5 glittering stars!

With 'The Glittering Court', author Richelle Mead skillfully transitions between several vastly different locations throughout her fictional world of Adoria, allowing readers to enjoy the main characters' thoughts and behaviors in varying settings.  Though the tale clearly begins with fancy dresses, finishing school, and competitive attempts to land a successful husband overseas, there is more to this gem than meets the eye.  Our main character travels from upper class mobility in long-established Elizabethan London-type Osfrid to its colonies overseas, reminiscent of the American frontier.  Plot twists abound!

We begin in the aristocratic Osfrid, at the home of Elizabeth Whitmore, Duchess of Rothford, whose family estate has lost money in recent years.  Desperate for a way out of a severely boring arranged marriage to a cousin, Elizabeth jumps at the chance to impersonate her maid, Adelaide Bailey, as a member of The Glittering Court's finishing school.  She has high hopes of landing a more successful and interesting husband across the sea, in the new colonies of Adoria.

Along the way, Adelaide makes friends with her roommates Mira and Tasmin.  Each girl is resourceful, independent, and interesting in their own way, just like Adelaide.  I look forward to reading their stories as Richelle continues the series.

Throughout most of this book, only the recruiter Cedric Thorn knows of her true identity and her motives.  They grow as close as their status and the situation allows, as Elizabeth-as-Adelaide secures the top position as the Diamond at the head of the Glittering Court, and attends the parties and social events that come with being courted.  Over time, they fight their passion for each other a little less.  Their slow-building romance proceeds at just the right pace and is quite enjoyable.

Would recommend ‘The Glittering Court' to any YA reader.

Snag your copy on Amazon, or check out your local library!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

'The Neverland Wars' by Audrey Greathouse

2.5 stars, B+ for effort

Author Audrey Greathouse hits upon all the classic 'Peter Pan' points; fairies, flying children, shadows, pirates, Indians, mermaids, and a secret hideout involving a tree stump. Though the addition of real-world magic and an interesting back-story for the teenage main character, Gwen, brings a uniqueness to this retelling; its effect wares off after the first few chapters. The majority of this tale doesn't flow as well as the beginning, and it seems the author checked off a box concerning pirates and moved onto the crocodile. Once the crocodile portion was complete, it was checked off, and the story moved onto Indians. All in all, not a bad retelling, but I was hopeful for a better story, considering the additional plot points.

Be warned: 'Neverland Wars' ends on a cliffhanger and absolutely nothing is wrapped up.

Thanks to NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

'The Last Necromancer' (The Ministry of Curiosities, #1) by C.J. Archer

5 stars!

Captivating and full of surprises, 'The Last Necromancer' is a wonderful spin on Frankenstein set in Victorian London, containing conspiracy, romance, and supernatural ability.