Geekerella

30724132

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

 

Geekerella is a modern-day Cinderella fairytale featuring Danielle, or Ella, who resides with her “stepmonster” and evil twin step-sisters. This book has everything from teen heart throbs, bloggers, CONS, witchy evil characters who are mean, and moments that touch the reader’s heart.

The great thing about this book is the total geekiness/fandom the story provides. First, it is a retelling of Cinderella. Ella does everything in the house, while trying to retain memories of her deceased parents. Ella tries to actively keep their memory alive, while the Stepmonster tries desperately to squash it out of Ella like some fly buzzing around a summer cake. Second, it has a mysterious budding friendship between Ella and THE Darien Freeman, who in this story, is kind of a big deal. Ella cannot stand that Mr. Heartthrob with insured abs is cast as the lead character in Starfield, Carmindor. She rants and raves about it on her blog…needless to say…Darien actually texts Ella thinking she is her father and the two have a budding friendship, with developing feelings. And the kicker… he has no clue she is THE Reblegunner blogger squashing his name in this role, and she has no clue he is Darien Freeman.

Of course, there are twists, and turns, and Ella goes to the ball, and then is grounded until death. But the adventures are fun and it turns into being a cute story that leaves the reader with feelings of joy and delight.

This story is an easy read, the whole book flew by pretty quickly. I like when books are just easy. Having said that, I wish there were a bit more challenges for Ella to overcome. Sure, glass slippers, and hopelessly devoted Carmindors are searching the States for Ella to confess their young love to, but I wish some of the interactions between “Stepmonster”, Catherine, and Ella were more indicative of the crap relationship enslaving Ella. Sure, Catherine is a witch with a capital B, but Ella was a spitfire and sometimes talked back. So I wanted MORE to go down between the two of them. Also, the last chapter or two, just breezed by eight months later…and I wish that was also a bit more dramatic than what it is lead to believe. The book follows the POV of Darien and Ella, and sometimes it focused too much on the little things, so when the drama did happen, it fizzled pretty quickly and didn’t pack quite the punch it could have. BUT. It was still a cute story, and I am still giving a decent rating. It was still entertaining, and one part in particular really had me teary. And when a book makes me cry, it gets a higher rating. We all need an ugly cry from time to time.

Finally, I loved what the book means for nerd girls. Ella was this nerdy girl who really thought she was a nobody throughout the ENTIRE story. It took all of her challenges she did go through like befriending a moody coworker, helping create a cosplay costume, dealing with stepmonster and the evil twins, introducing others to the glory of Starfield, and making unconventional friends from the stars. In Darien’s case, he sometimes came off whiney and I am not sure why it took him so long to take a stand. I felt that the drama between him and Brian could have been better written because it read weird. But I liked Darien. Closet geek. Those are the best.

And remember, look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.

RoseBlood

28818314

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

 

RoseBlood came to me via one of my OwlCrate boxes. I immediately started to read it because I had enjoyed Howard’s Splintered so much, I just knew RoseBlood had to be just as good. Well, this was sort of a miss for me. I have never read or even watched The Phantom of the Opera so I know some things may be lost on me. I was intrigued by the story and had been looking forward to reading it when I first received it.

I want to end on a positive note with my book review, so I will start with what I didn’t like. The pace was not great. It was so slow starting out that it wasn’t until about halfway through the book, things got exciting. Also, completely pace related, but the climax of the story was kind of anti-climatic for me. The entire culmination of events happened in a few short pages, and then the last 10ish or so pages was how Rune dealt with the aftermath. Also, at the end, all is forgiven…and I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. Finally, the ink is red. This may seem like such a small minute detail, but it often hurt my eyes and I would constantly have to focus harder on the words. I get that it was supposed to enhance the eeriness and nostalgia to the story, but it got to be uncomfortable.

So things that I liked. I really enjoyed the budding relationship between Etalon and Rune. I wish I could have had more Etalon than was given. I am glad for how it ended, and would have been distraught had the ending been different. I would love to read a story about Etalon, but more exciting than RoseBlood. I liked Rune, even though I wished her history was a bit more beefed up. I really liked Aunt Catherine and wished she had a larger role during the story…she had a larger role at the end, but would have been nice to have her around more. I mean, I understand why, without giving any spoilers, but I still would have liked it. I feel she could have added some comic relief when needed :).  As a reader, it is important to feel the connection between Etalon and Rune, because, as the story infers, it is electric and intense. I felt that way reading their interactions. This is the biggest reason I rated up instead of down.

 

The Seafarer’s Kiss

32890474

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I would like to think the author for this opportunity.

 

The Seafarer’s Kiss is a retelling of the Little Mermaid, and though this story is largely about mermaids, I feel it is more accurate that this tale is a retelling of Ursula. I say this largely on my knowledge of Disney’s version. Similarities between The Seafarer’s Kiss and The Little Mermaid include: The Little Mermaid and Ersel (The Seafarer’s Kiss) both saving a human from a shipwreck, they both desperately want to leave their underwater kingdom for the land, their love of all things human, and both stories have a Sea Witch (in The Seafarer’s Kiss, the Sea Witch is Loki).

Ersel (sounds like Ursula, doesn’t it??) is not a princess. She is anxiously waiting The Grading, where someone from Aegir’s court comes and determines the mermaids who come of age’s fertility and how many children “eggs” they can hatch to keep the population up. Once the number is released, this number follows them forever. If the number is high, then the males began fighting for them as mates. Ersel is desperately afraid and her dream is to leave the icy glacier their kingdom is situated and experience the rest of the world. Prior to The Grading, she meets and protects and young woman named Ragna, which she falls in love with. Eventually, she is found by her former friend, who betrayed her becoming a guard for the evil king, and is informed that she no longer had a choice but to become her mate. After The Grading, she makes a deal with Loki, knowing she should not. This deal went awry and she was turned into a “monster,” her fins turned into legs similar to Ursula’s. In order to prevent any potential spoilers, she is banished and takes up residence in a boat that has been shipwrecked since Ersel was a child. Loki visits her again to strike up a new deal in order to get her fins back, or something else she desires. Ersel then moves forward in the story with this new deal in mind.

I will not give away the end, but the second part of this story was much better than the first part. I felt that the story was a bit boring prior to Ersel’s banishment. I felt the relationship with Ragna came off kind of forced (from a writer perspective, not that Ersel was forced into a relationship by Ragna), specifically the intimate interactions the two encountered together. I also had a hard time connecting with any particular character and I felt disappointed with the end of the story.

Even though I feel this story is 3.5 overall, I still gave it a 4 star rating because I felt the retelling was a very unique aspect. I felt the imagery of the story was great, and for the  most part, I could visualize along with the story’s narrator. I especially liked the Norse aspect of included in the story. By the end of the story, I still thought this would be a great segue into Ursula/Sea Witch territory for a retelling!

This story is a pretty quick read and flows easily. It is just over 200 pages and can be easily knocked out in a day, depending on the kind of time a reader has to give it. I do wish it was a bit longer, in order to add more into the story to help connect, but if there is a sequel, I will definitely read it. At the end of the day, I would recommend this to others. Just because I did not connect, does not mean others will not. A lot of people really enjoy the book, I just wish there was more and felt parts a bit boring and hard to get through. I enjoyed the author’s writing style, which is important as well.

Troy High

6488327

Troy High by Shana Norris, Narrated by Khristine Hvam

Rating: 4 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

I selected to listen to Troy High over reading the physical book due to the narration style of Khristine Hvam. Hvam brought this Homer’s Iliad retelling to life narrating the intense feud between the Troy High Trojans and the Laseed High Spartans. When the school rezoning happened and one of the popular, beautiful Spartan cheerleaders, Elena, becomes a Trojan teenager, it is only the beginning of a series of increasingly unfortunate events. Putting forward into motion these events, Elena begins dating the protagonist’s, Cassie, brother. Elena decided the perfect time to tell her Spartan on-again-off-again boyfriend, was during one of the first Spartan football games of the season. For the Spartans, this meant war.

Cassie is a sophmore in high school. She goes unnoticed until Elena comes to the school. Elena and Cassie become fast friends, even though Elena’s Spartan boyfriend is the older brother of Cassie’s BFF (whom she secretly wants more with), Greg. Once Elena befriends Cassie, Cassie grows a new found popularity, that she is not wanting to let go of. Once Elena break’s up with her Spartan boyfriend, the Spartans launch a series of pranks against the Trojans. Not to be outdone, Cassie’s 2 older brothers Perry and Hunter lead the charge in retaliation against the Spartans. Caught in between is Cassie and Greg, each on opposing sides, trying desperately to remain friends.

There were very intense moments within the story, especially the culmination of the gifted Trojan Horse from Spartan’s 10th Grade Council at the Homecoming game. I felt that the story was easy to follow along with. I felt that, even though there were times Cassie came off whiney, many of the students dealt with very real issues that we have all experienced in some capacity in high school.  I felt Cassie’s inner struggles about whether or not Greg reciprocates her feelings were very easy to relate to as I am sure at some point we have all been there.

I really enjoyed the narrator. Hvam has narrated many high rated series such as Daughter of Smoke and BoneVampire Academy, and Shade of Vampire. She was able to adequately portray and narrate emotions for the characters and the gut wrenching, intense pranks/experiences.

I am glad the end happened the way it did, but I was starting to question it at some point. I really didn’t know for a while if it would end how I desperately needed it to. This may not be the best written book you will ever read, but it was quick, enjoyable, and brought a new way to retell a classic like Homer’s Iliad.

Heartless

IMG_20170516_113707_200.jpg

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Rating: 2 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

I received Heartless in my OwlCrate box for the Alice in Wonderland theme. I was super excited to read this story, however, it really missed the mark for me.

Heartless is the story of the young woman (Catherine) who turns into the Queen of Hearts in the beloved childhood classic, Alice in Wonderland. Even though the reader knows what the end result of the story is ultimately going to be, the path should have been an interesting one. I will admit, the last few chapters were my favorite and I felt they were the strongest. The events leading up to the end battle, were boring and it felt like too many words describing nothing in particular.

Catherine is the daughter of the Marquess of Rockturtle Cove. She has the dream of opening her own bakery and being the best baker in Hearts. Her mother forces her into a courtship with the King of Hearts, though she falls in love with another member of the Court. The story centers around her budding relationship with this person other than the King, who disgusts her.

I do not like writing negative reviews, at all, but I wanted to be honest with other readers. I was a bit disappointed, especially with how much I love Cinder. Meyer is a fantastic writer, and this story does show case her amazing writer skills, however, the story line was so boring.

The narrator was great! It was the same narrator of the Lunar Chronicles Rebecca Soler. My favorite part of the entire narration occurred towards the end, when Soler really broke out the Queen of Hearts evil voice. It is sad that the most enjoyment I got out of this story, was Catherine’s pain.

One Good Knight

13978

One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 

Narrator Rating: 5

 

One Good Knight is a retelling loosely following the Greek myth of Andromeda. Where Greek Lore indicates Andromeda to be beautiful, One Good Knight indicates she is “lesser” than most females and more homely than beautiful. One Good Knight is also loosely based from St. George and the Dragon, however, it is really in name only as this does not end in an entire town going through religious conversion.

In One Good Knight, Andromeda (Andi) is very book smart and she starts to notice some magical irregularities in her research for the Queen. During this time, the Queen had her consort conjure a dragon to wreck havoc on the villages. Andi is tasked to find out how to “rid” the kingdom of the dragon and discovers meaningful sacrifice would do so. A lottery is set up for virginal women, and each week a new name is drawn. After a while, the reader discovers prior to the cast, that this lottery is not by chance, but whenever a family displeases the Queen or speaks out against the Queen, their daughter is “selected” in the lottery and sent to die. During one such lottery, Princess Andi’s name is drawn and she is sent to be sacrificed, and so the adventure begins.

I really enjoyed the twists and turns this particular story had. As a reader, it is often times easy to get bored when books do as you expect. One Good Knight keeps readers entranced. Without giving away spoilers, the ending has been one of the best I have enjoyed. Much like in The Fairy Godmother, the Tradition had a mind of it’s own, only in One Good Knight I really enjoyed the way the Tradition worked for the characters.  I feel Andi was well written. She is portrayed as a confused, homely, child not to be taken seriously for most of time leading up to her being sacrificed. Queen Cassiopia is one to be despised. She is heartless and offers up her daughter happily to be killed.

The reason the actual rating is 4.5 stars is mainly because it was soooo slow to start out. Once the excitement of Princess Andi being sacrificed to the dragon occurs, things really start to speed up.

I really can’t say there is a particular character I didn’t like, aside from the villains of course, but I even enjoyed them. I thought each character in the book gave the book it’s personality it took on. Oh but the twists!!! It would be too many spoilers to explain the twists, and I want any potential reader to be as shocked as I was when I first came to the twists.

I am really glad I started this series, and I look forward to more Virgin chasing unicorns, fairy godmothers, and all of the other Traditional tales yet to be discovered.

The Fairy Godmother

13982

The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey, narrated by Gabra Zackman

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

A member of my book club talked about this series in a recent book club meeting. I decided to give the series a try. I really enjoyed the narrator. She made the story entertaining to listen to.

The Five Hundred Kingdoms series follows various individuals who discover what fairy tale the “Tradition” wants them to follow. In The Fairy Godmother, Elena was supposed to become Cinderella, however, after some unfortunate turns, she becomes the apprentice of the Fairy Godmother and eventually becomes the Fairy Godmother herself. During one of her Godmother tasks, she turns a prince into a donkey. This prince is supposed to learn about how he treated the Godmother, who had been disguised as an old beggar on the side of the road, is typical of how he treats all of those individuals of similar status. The Prince eventually learns that he was not living the life of a future good king, and begins to change.

I will not go into further detail, as the book is worth the read. I found that there were never really any slow parts to the story. The narrator kept me enamored the whole time. By the end of the story, I was ready to buy the rest of the series to keep going. This start to the Five Hundred Kingdoms series is well worth the read. I do not have anything really negative about the story. I disliked all the characters that you want to dislike. I look forward to learning about the other characters the Tradition has its sights on. My favorite part of the book are the unicorns who get their sights on virgins and follow them around becoming obsessed, protecting them, and doing the virgin’s bidding. The Fairy Godmother is very unique and well worth the read.