Beauty and the Beast by Elizabeth Rudnick

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RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: Belle is a girl that is ahead of her time and wants adventure, but when her father is taken prisoner by a beast, she gives all that up to take his place and discovers that the Beast and his castle aren’t what they appear to be.

 

This review is going to be super short because there wasn’t much going on for me to talk in depth about. I was hoping that this novelization of the live-action movie would provide some fleshing out of the new plot points that were introduced in the film and the new character arcs that were added in order to make the characters more three-dimensional, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. We did get a little more information about Belle’s mother, but that was about it. Of course the story is still told well and it’s hard not to make a story like Beauty and the Beast magical, I was just hoping for something more. If you’ve seen the movie, then you’ve basically read this book. However, if you love the story as much as I do, it’s still a fun read even if there isn’t anything new.

Poor Unfortunate Soul by Serena Valentino

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RATING: 3.5/5

SYNOPSIS: The story of The Little Mermaid from Ursula’s POV.

 

Valentino is an amazing writer and I love the way that she’s connected all of these Disney fairy tales together. That being said, I feel like she focused too much on the connecting story line and barely dealt with Ursula at all. I loved the backstory that was given for Ursula and how what happened in her past affected the sea witch she becomes, but the story of the three witches and their quest to find their sister took away from the story that was supposed to be told. In all honesty the best book of this series so far has been The Fairest of Them All because it focused solely on the Evil Queen and we got so much motivation and backstory from it. The subsequent books have been focusing too much on tying everything together in my opinion and I would much rather have a straight retelling from a new perspective. For a book that was supposed to be about Ursula, she was hardly in it at all. Her motivations for what she does in The Little Mermaid were not as clear cut as they could’ve been and I wish that we had more to go off of besides that fact that she was made to feel ashamed of who she is. The real reason to read this book is for the overarching story that is connecting the series. If you want a story told by Ursula or want more Ursula in general then you’ll end up being disappointed.

A Frozen Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick

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RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: A retelling of Frozen from the alternating POVs of Anna and Hans.

 

This review is going to be very short because if you’ve seen the movie, then the book isn’t that much different. While I did enjoy this book, I was just a bit disappointed. I wanted some more expansion on the characters and the world since there is so much more you can do in a book than you can in a movie and while I got that in all the chapters from Hans’ POV, I found that lacking in Anna’s POV. I did like the fact that Rudnick employed the idea that Hans represents the mirror from the original Snow Queen fairy tale. It really helped to define his character better and I liked that we got to see his motives which we don’t see at all in the movie. I also liked that it was acknowledged that the King and Queen of Arendelle’s actions were misguided and that it hurt rather than helped Elsa. Rudnick did a great job at filling in all the holes and fleshing out all the small moments that we don’t have the opportunity to see in the film. I especially loved Hans’ backstory and that we got to see what his home life was like and we know more about his older brothers. I found myself looking forward to Hans’ chapters because they provided something different to the story. While we did get to see some of Anna’s insecurities and thought process in her chapters, it was still basically the film because the majority of the film follows Anna’s journey. Overall if you’re interested in Hans as a character or are just really into Frozen, I would recommend reading this book.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

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***I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review***

RATING: 5/5

SYNOPSIS: Princess Guari is a prisoner of Prince Vikram’s  country, but when Vikram wins the opportunity to compete in a magical competition for the chance of receiving a wish, he arranges to have her freed in exchange for her being his partner. The duo make an unlikely pair and find a common ground between them, but as their journey brings them together, will the competition tear them apart?

PREVIOUS: The Star-Touched Queen 

 

I am so happy that I was given the opportunity to read this book. I absolutely adored The Star-Touched Queen as I’m sure you all remember well and I’m pleased to say I loved this one just as much! I was a little worried that Guari and Vikram would remind me of Maya and Amar, but I shouldn’t have because they had a completely different dynamic, chemisty, and their personalitities could not be any more different. I am a sucker for banter and Vikram and Guari’s was amazing! I was laughing so hard on multiple occasions. The dynamic between the two characters was so amazing to see develop because they had such different upbringings and such different personalities you could clearly see that both of them analyzed situations differently and actively had to compromise with each other and place a lot of trust on the other person which created some beautiful moments of vulnerability on the parts of both characters. I just adore the way Chokshi writes. Every word is dripping with magic and beauty and if I could live inside her words I would. She has created two vivid and wonderful characters and given them a supporting cast and world that is equally as vivid and wonderful. I especially love the moment when Guari and Maya are reunited briefly because it was such a tender, sisterly moment, but it also helped to tie the two books together and really cement just how important these sisters are to each other. I loved that it wasn’t too much and that it didn’t take away from Guari’s own journey and story. I also really enjoyed that we get to explore both Guari and Vikram’s point of view because it really helped to understand why both of them needed the wish and I just love being able to see people becoming closer through multiple POVs. Overall A Crown of Wishes is an amazing and beautiful book and I am so excited to read more from Roshani Chokshi!

Thank you St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read this book! Get your copy here.

Watcha Reading Wednesday (#70)

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you all have been having a nice week.

This week I’m reading the movie novelization of Beauty and the Beast by Elizabeth Rudnick.

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I haven’t started reading it yet, but I’m interested to see how the novelization will expand on the film and see if it makes some character motivation clearer. Hopefully it will help an already magical movie even more so with the ability to delve deeper into the minds of the characters!

What are you guys reading? Let me know in the comments!

Whatcha Reading Wednesday (#69)

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope your week is going splendidly.

This week I’m reading Poor Unfortunate Soul by Serena Valentino.

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I haven’t started yet, but I am excited to! I loved her retelling of Snow White through the eyes of the Evil Queen and while her retelling of Beauty and the Beast through the eyes of the Beast was a little disappointing, I did still enjoy it. I’m excited to see what extra layers she adds to Ursula’s character and to see what she does with the information we are not given in the film.

What are you guys reading? Let me know in the comments!

Whatcha Reading Wednesday (#68)

Happy Wednesday everyone! I’m sorry I haven’t done one of these in a while. I hope your week has been wonderful so far.

This Wednesday I’m reading A Frozen Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick.

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I’m not very far in, but so far I’m liking how Rudnick is starting to expand upon subjects that didn’t get a lot of attention in the film. I’m very excited to see how she handles Hans’s POV and see what else she is able to improve upon as the story progresses.

What are you guys reading? Let me know in the comments!

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: Madeline is allergic to everything. She has spent her whole life in her house with only her mother and her nurse, Carla, for company. One day a new family moves into the house next door and their son, Olly, is the same age as Madeline. Becoming friends with Olly changes her life and Madeline realizes that she’d rather die doing everything instead of living in her bubble.

 

***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS***

I enjoyed this book. It swept me along and I was in love with how Madeline viewed the world and how her view only expanded the more she explored. I also loved her relationship with Olly. The writing was beautiful and I loved that there was a mixed media aspect to the story telling, like we were reading Madeline’s journal. There is one major thing that I have a problem with and it really disappointed me since there is so much that is wonderful about this book. The major plot twist is that Madeline was never really sick and that her mother convinced Madeline and herself that she had this disease so that she could always keep Madeline safe after the tragic death of her husband and son when Madeline was just a baby. That felt so cheap to me and also explained why Madeline’s illness hardly affected her at all when she left the house or was around Olly which was something I found odd reading because I expected her illness to have a little bigger impact on her life. I was very disappointed that her illness was a sham because I liked that Madeline’s relationship with Olly was different than a typical one and I was interested to see how it all worked out, or didn’t work out as well as the fact that the illness being fake suddenly erased representation. The disease that Madeline has is extremely rare, but there are plenty of people who have chronic illnesses that do affect how they are able to interact with the world the same way Madeline was affected, but the chance to relate with her on every level was taken away. If I had known that Madeline wasn’t really sick before reading the book I don’t think that I would’ve picked it up. The only reason why I gave this book a fairly high rating is because I base my ratings on the writing and the characters which Yoon created very well. While this book is beautifully written I don’t feel I can fully support it because of the plot twist.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: Simon is gay, but he is still in the closet. The only person he’s out to is his pen-pal/crush, Blue, and the communicate solely by email. However, one of his classmates figures out Simon’s secret and blackmails Simon into being his wingman. Simon’s world turns upside down when said classmate ends up outing him to the whole school, but at least nobody knows the identity of Blue, not even Simon. Simon decides he’s ready to meet Blue, but is Blue ready for him?

 

This book was absolutely adorable! My favorite parts were reading Simon and Blue’s e-mails back and forth to each other. It was too cute for words and I loved how distinct their writing voices were. I’m also glad that it wasn’t easy to figure out Blue’s identity because it made the reveal that much sweeter and now I need to reread the book to see if there are any clues that I missed. I;m also glad that the easy choices for Blue’s identity were nixed as soon as possible because it would’ve left feeling unsatisfied and a little angry if any of Simon’s original guesses were his crush. Simon was an entertaining narrator and I liked that he was observant up to a point, so even he missed some little things. It made him feel realistic. I also enjoyed that when his sexuality was discovered, he was instantly pointed in the direction of other gay people that he might know/potentially date and I know that’s a thing that happens constantly and it will never stop being funny/annoying to me. I liked that the drama between himself and his friends was also realistic and didn’t feel forced. They all had valid reasons for being upset with each other and I also liked that everything got resolved in a fairly timely manner. I hate when fights over silly  things are dragged out in a book (or even film and television) in order to add conflict. While I did wish that we got to know Simon’s sisters and close friends a little better, I did love all of their interactions and I liked that you could tell how close they all were to each other. I also loved that even though they all were super close, there was still room for them to learn more about each other and that there were mysteries that still needed to be solved. I would definitely read a series or even just a sequel about Simon and the wonderful people that populate his life. Overall this book was a sweet and enjoyable read!

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

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RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: Laia and Elias are on the run and hatching a plan to free Laia’s brother from prison. Helene has been tasked with bringing the fugitives back to the empire and struggles between her duty and her heart. While life and death is at stake, even bigger forces are starting together to further entwine all three of their lives.

PREVIOUS: An Ember in the Ashes

 

An Ember in the Ashes completely held me captive and while I didn’t want to put down A Torch Against the Night, it didn’t capture me the way its predecessor did. Tahir writes brilliantly and I was so happy that Helene had a POV, but I felt that Laia and Elias together didn’t work for me because we stopped seeing how they are different in their worlds and I still feel like I’m being told that they should be together instead of being shown why they should be together. While I did like how they worked together as a team, they seemed to do a lot better when they were by themselves which was odd to me. I am interested to learn more about Helene and Laia’s powers though and where they come from/how they will play into the bigger picture. I’m also excited to see how Elias’s choice changes everything. A lot of the intrigue and mystery was missing for me and while we got a lot of that during Helene’s moments, it wasn’t enough to satisfy me. I like that we are introduced to the big bad and get an explanation as to what he wants. I wish we understood more why the Commandant is helping him though. I wish we had more information on the Commandant in general because she is such a fascinating character! Lots of intense moments happened which surprised me because the level of violence didn’t feel like it matched everything else to me, but at the same time the violence matched the personalities of the characters committing them. I also appreciated that I didn’t see the plot twist coming at all. Usually I’m very good at seeing through a character’s actions, but this character absolutely had me fooled and I’m very impressed about it. It made what happen even more shocking and even more heartbreaking for me and I liked that Tahir got that reaction out of me. While I didn’t love this book as much as I did the first one, I am still excited to see what happens next!